A Frames

Black Forest (Sub Pop)

SXSW Records

A Frames

Black Forest (Sub Pop)

This Black Forest isn't the picturesque pine-painted mountains of southwest Germany, but rather the smoldering detritus of society after the digital age has devolved into something out of Philip K. Dick. Some near-future time when, according to Seattle's A Frames, "humanity is erased." Par-tee! For one thing, with no more Pro Tools, there's nothing to prevent instruments from detuning down to submusical levels. Black Forest is still quite Teutonic, however, factoring in the lumbering, mechanical throb of bass and drums; plus there's a robotic valentine to Eva Braun called, imaginatively enough, "Eva Braun." Other lyrics range from sing-songy refrains about riding the "death train" to the particulars of a "beloved

teacher" incanted from the depths of narcotic stupor. "Quantum Mechanic" is a list of appliances and artifacts standing in for human attachments: "streetcar, VCR, stereo, binocular …" The same way Ian Curtis' pervasive woe generated an erotic inner heat, Black Forest radiates stark sexuality, making it stimulating and alienating, suggestive and impassive, suitable for the leather-clad lynx dancing away her post-industrial blues and the bald guy in the turtleneck with the frozen expression in the corner. If the A Frames' idea that "civilization was a hoax" comes to pass, the primal urge to lash out at the world with guitars and drums will be among humanity's last to flicker out like a stubborn cathode. (Wednesday, March 16, 10pm @ Emo's Main Room)

***.5

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