May Black gives Oakland garage rockers Spider Heart an unforgettable edge.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Within the ribcage-rattling, garage-punk rock and tinges of psychedelic textures that fuel Spider Heart’s forthcoming debut Under the Gun, a tale circulates throughout all nine tracks.
“When I write songs, I sit down with an attitude and see what comes out of it,” says lead singer/guitarist May Black. “[Under the Gun] is a story of love and heartbreak and guns and alcohol.”
The album – set for release on Jan. 20 but to be played in full Friday at Jose’s – kicks off with “Voodoo,” a spoken word overture featuring an acoustic guitar strumming alongside feedback and Black’s reverberated prose running on without a breath: “I’m dry, I’m empty, got nothing left/ Somebody send me a message, a note, a dream of love/ Give me something, a sign from above.”
The tune awakens from its heroin state midway through. The band – Rip Reed on guitar, Jeffrey Archer on bass and Julien Bloit on drums – breaks through the dreary wall with heavy riffage and Black’s boundless lung capacity. The 30-year-old’s vocals aren’t flawless by any means but she sings with the conviction of Patti Smith and has the nihilistic stage presence of Kim Deal.
The psych-punk “Little Doll” secretes a Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” chord progression, a cacophony of high-hats, and a narrative populated by a wasteland of irreverent teens offering opinions based on irreverent logic.
“There seems to be a lot of vengeance running through the album but I don’t think it’s angry,” Black says. “I wrote a lot of the songs a long time ago when I had a lot of angst, so that comes out. But I’d like to think that there’s some redemption too.”
SPIDER HEART, AUDIO WALTZ and BURNT PALMS perform at 9pm Friday, Jan. 11, at Jose’s Underground Lounge, 638 Wave St., Monterey. $5. 655-4419.