Incus with Yust Lundeburg
Wednesday · Bar Humbug
Something hot, dark and body-painted comes to the Cincinnati area this week as the "tribal gothic" band Incus makes two stops in town (the group also plays Thursday at The Dock downtown). Their "Dark World Cabaret and Body Painting Festival" tour offers something a little out of the ordinary, mixing light and dark, art and magic and frenzied, fiery drumming (almost literally) with gothic-orchestral soundscapes. Their show can contain everything from belly dancers to performance art to fire-twirling and more. Their latest CD, Music for Fire Worshipers (available at the band's site incus.net), should tip you to their pagan origins as well as their sensual approach to music. There's something in their compositions that truly seems to connect with the elemental forces of nature, and this connection carries over and appeals to honest, stripped-down humanity and perhaps even spirituality. Vocally, Incus puts one in mind of Goth outfit Dead Can Dance, and musically they're reminiscent of the string-focused Goth favorites Rasputina. But Incus are very much their own animal. Unafraid to take chances and unashamed to lose their clothes (and perhaps even encourage you to lose yours too), Incus brings spiritual heat but no humidity to these last days of summer.
The opener for Incus' shows is local poet Yust Lundeburg, a.k.a. "The Magnificent Naked Faery King," "His Divine Y-Ness" and "The Mystical, Magickal, Yust II Oberon." All of those titles are a lot to live up to, and Yust doesn't disappoint.
His poems on a variety of subjects are compelling, and his stage presence is magnetic. Yust has been likened to Jim Morrison of The Doors on stage. His shamanistic, raw-yet-refined appeal is similar to Morrison's but more genuinely spiritual. It's a fine weekend to fall under the spell of these two acts. Gather 'round their fire. (Dale Johnson)
The Impossible Shapes with Drakkar Sauna and Meadoe
Thursday · The Comet
Six years ago, guitarist Chris Barth was filling his non-high school free time in a "band" he and friends Aaron Deer and Peter King christened The Impossible Shapes. "We started doing lots of home recordings," Barth says from his Bloomington, Ind., apartment. "That's all the band really was. We'd occasionally play a show at a record store or coffee shop, but mostly it was us messing around on 4-tracks."
What began as after-school jams ultimately resulted in the first two Impossible Shapes albums (2000's The Great Migration and 2001's Laughter Fills Our Hollow Domes), after which King departed, Deer moved to Bloomington from Indianapolis and the Shapes solidified into a real unit with the addition of Mark Rice and Jason Groth. They released their last Recordhead album, Bless the Headless, in March 2003 and their Secretly Canadian debut, We Like It Wild, in October. Given the patchy process of the band's initial albums, Barth was determined to give We Like It Wild a more traditional band sound.
"We Like It Wild was recorded a lot more live than anything else we'd done," Barth says. "Just the four of us playing in a room together." The only other directive was to keep the quirk factor low. "We were always trying to be as off and as weird as we could be, to see how weird we could make things sound. This album is different because I was more interested in writing songs that stood on their own."
Barth wanted an album reminiscent of '60s icons Love filtered through his contemporary interests, a laundry list of influences including Pavement, Olivia Tremor Control and Built to Spill. The Shapes folded these sonic touchstones into their own vision of retro Pop/Rock, contemporary Indie Pop, Psychedelic Folk and proggy Art Rock. But there's one truly surprising aspect of the Shapes' latest release. "I've been joking this is the first album I've ever made that my parents really dig on," Barth says with a laugh. "I don't know if that's a good thing or not." (Brian Baker)
She's Your Sister with Bluf and Bosley
Sunday · BarrelHouse
Blowing in following the fireworks for an after-party is Chicago's She's Your Sister, a four-piece rock band that includes former local Jenn Johnson on bass. Drawing inspiration from the MC5 and The Pixies, SYS distill those two elements by combining the straightforward, guitar-heavy attack of the MC5 with the more textured approach of The Pixies. Comparisons have also been made to The Smashing Pumpkins (especially vocally), although She's Your Sister is less baroque and far less prone to temper tantrums than Billy Corgan and Co. They also possess a hint of The Clash in their ferocity, and there's a splash of Lenny Kravitzian Funk in there too. Forming just last summer, they've already gigged such places as L.A.'s fabled Viper Room, whose manager said that they were his favorite band of the evening, adding, "(They're) straightforward Rock & Roll. No bells and whistles."
If you're still craving aural pyrotechnics after the last ash from the last firework has settled somewhere downriver and shortly before the last drunken teenager has been pried off the Newport floodwall, She's Your Sister is your best bet. And they sure beat the living hell out of sitting in traffic and watching shirtless guys in backwards baseball caps stumbling around yelling, "Wooo!" and "Par-tay!" Unless you're into that kind of thing, of course. (DJ)