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There are a bunch of Chicago bands I’ve always really dug: Shellac, Rope, The Jesus Lizard. They all share a distinct, personal voice. Essentially, they all sound like they make music because it’s their total art, and total freedom. You can hear it: it’s fucking real. Add Ganser to that list: a modern post-punk quartet with quick abandon and wavering counterpoint. The group bends and dips in angles of no-wave frosting. There’s Sonic Youth-like propulsion, and Joy Division blankness. You experience direct impressions. The edge is where they linger: always teetering towards something like insanity. It’s great to feel. The band just released Odd Talk a few weeks ago, and I picked up the cassette. It’s fucking great. You should get it.

Brooklyn-based darkwave noise duo Winkie opened up -- and what an epic little set. The group was singular: arty and abstract, layering sub-zone bass frequency with shadowy mind patterns. Masks covered the duo's faces for most of the set, offering a plastic intimacy that was horror and beauty: a possible question to the unnatural-naturalness of life and memory. There was science fiction here, and deep club dreamscapes; gritty urbanity sequenced with blue melody and shine. The pair floated and danced, the music very much film-based and mood structured. It was a moving performance, inspiring and deep. And the color (metaphorical) was something. I wonder if they’re Wolfgang Tillmans and Cindy Sherman fans?

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Deaf Poets actually closed the set (they weren’t originally scheduled to). Good thing, because it gave me a chance to leave after a few songs. It’s hard to shit on any underground band that tours and plays music (it’s difficult stuff to do); but some grooves I just can’t get with, and that’s really not a knock on the band per se. It’s just my own personal definition based on "levels," something Plato touched on in the Republic. This band excels at, well… shit, I don’t know. They play White Stripes/Black Keys/Royal Blood rock (cool rock). Compared to the two previous bands, the level of conviction was downright confusing. This is not to say the pair didn’t bring energy. They did. A lot of people were rocking out, but the way they played, and why they played, that was my question. Why?

Back to Ganser, who formed in 2014, so they’re pretty new. Odd Talk is their first full-length. The band seems very much right for this particular moment in time; they’re multi-dimensional, androgynous, noisy as hell, and offer something every person could use these days: a look inside the depths of one’s outer questions. Is human life only possible with distinction and division? If everyone believed in the same message, would life cease to exist completely? Nice job, Ganser. Thanks for coming through New York.

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