Any time Earth rolls through town is ample cause for celebrating the fuzzy power of drone metal. Especially these days, when Earth-style, zoned-out trips are cropping up across the spectrum of left-field rock.
Not only are bands like Sunn O))) revisiting the territory once trod by their forebears in Earth, but bands like Psychic Ills and Gang Gang Dance keep dipping into post-hippie trance territory, and even indie-friendly bands like the Black Angels and Film School are sprinkling the empty space between their albums' hooks with dashes of interstellar, shoegazy fuzz.
With this common thread running through both the poppier and edgier ends of indie rock, it's safe to assume our generation has become completely overwhelmed by this uncanny din. Earth-related Brooklyn duo Growing are among the finest of the new batch. Color Wheel, the twosome's new double LP, oozes along at the speed of continental drift. Though Color Wheel is flecked with plenty of familiar metallic glitches, Growing stretch into stranger terrain, on a quest for nothing less than the sound within the sound. Consider Color Wheel to be the Q-tips for your white-noise-clogged ears—the means to cleanse yourself of the stubborn hum of car engines, copy machines, and cell phone chatter at the end of a long day.
Infrared to Growing's ultraviolet is Portland's adrenaline-fueled pop-punk darlings the Thermals, who bounce through the Crocodile on Thursday, May 25. Their youthful vibrancy and catchy power hooks are always worth a look, but this show marks the first time Seattle will be treated to new material from The Body, The Blood, The Machine, the band's third LP due out in August on Sub Pop. This is also a good chance to check out new drummer Caitlin Love, who is replacing the thoroughbred drive of Jordan Hudson.
For fans of all things Kinski, guitarist Chris Martin and bassist Lucy Atkinson are getting geared up to unleash their new little side project, Liverburst. While their debut of this new material won't be until Tuesday, June 6, at the Sunset, eager fans can go to www.myspace.com/liverburst to listen to a 96- second decompression of their entire album. From this goofy little sample, it appears that Liverburst will be a blast of raucous highs and spaced-out lows.
For those of you not heading to the Gorge for Sasquatch, this weekend also marks the 35th annual Northwest Folklife Festival. Even if acoustic music isn't your bag, Folklife is at least an easier stroll through the Seattle Center grounds than Bumbershoot, and the sidewalk buskers can be quite engaging.
As for me, I'm off to Sasquatch for a couple of days. There, I'm destined to squint at the sun, sweat out multiple hangovers in succession, and catch plenty of local bands. Expect more on all of this in next week's column, in which I'll no doubt complain about my sunburn and the downright ludicrous price of bottled water.