Unleashed from the Middle East

I first heard about Monotonix, a three-piece punk band from Tel Aviv, Israel, when I ran into vivacious Sub Pop publicist Joan Hiller and Chunklet curmudgeon Henry Owings on Sixth Street in Austin, Texas, a couple of weeks ago. They had just come out of the band's SXSW showcase, and Hiller was utterly flabbergasted. "I've never, never had a band truly blow me away like these guys just did," she feverishly enthused, flipping through pictures of the show on her digital camera. Indeed, it looked like quite a spectacle: Singer Ami Shalev, a small, wiry fellow brimming with bravado and sporting a substantial mustache, had climbed on top of his bandmate's snare drum and was then passed overhead by an evidently brave and supportive audience. I was seriously sorry to realize I had missed such a show, but Hiller, still practically pogoing from excitement, assured me, "It's OK! They are going to be in Seattle at the end of the month!"

Granted, Ms. Hiller's paycheck is derived from vigorously spazzing out over bands, but Monotonix aren't on Sub Pop, and a quick perusal of the sound and video clips on the band's MySpace page (myspace.com/monotonix) made me an instant convert as well. They recently finished recording their debut full-length in Tel-Aviv with esteemed Shimmy Disc founder-producer Kramer, best known for his work with Pussy Galore, Butthole Surfers, and Royal Trux. Boasting a ton-of-bricks low end that would make them easy bed(rock)fellows with the Melvins or godheadSilo, and an agile, melodic fluency that matches their reckless stage acrobatics, it's no surprise that the trio is already attracting plenty of stateside label interest, with Drag City rumored to be leading the feeding frenzy. When I reached the band via e-mail, guitarist Yontan Gat said, "We're talking to several labels and hope for the best. Growing up listening to a lot of American indie music, it's very exciting to me." Hopefully, Shalev's aforementioned physical adventurousness won't derail them anytime soon. "Ami has gotten hurt a couple of times, especially in New York City, for some reason," admits Gat. "But it's all a part of the job; we pick up the pieces and roll ahead. Our drive is the energy in the music and the crowd—at our best shows, the crowd is just as involved and energetic as the three of us. That's just the way we are. Anything can happen at our shows, literally—we like that." Go see what happens this Saturday, March 31, when Monotonix unleash their antics in the suitable confines of the Comet Tavern.

There's no way I'm missing that show, so it's going to be a challenge to catch both that and Reversion, who are opening for Earth at El Corazon. Reversion is the new project from Caustic Resin frontman/part-time Built to Spill guitarist Bret Netsen, who recently teamed up with local marimba player Erin Jorgensen, a liberally tattooed gal with a notable Francophile streak (she also plays in cabaret pop act the French Project). This unexpected pairing is as weird as one might think, but also strikingly beautiful, with Netsen's Ozzy-evoking vocals and reverb-drenched guitar merging dreamily with the delicate, silvery plinks of Jorgensen's marimbas. The atmospheric, organically appealing sound gets even more depth of field with the contribution of pedal steel from Built to Spill guitarist Jim Roth, who will be joining them onstage at Saturday's show.

Local metal alchemists Lesbian just returned from their post-SXSW touring run and celebrated their homecoming with an old-fashioned kegger at their Phinney Ridge house this past weekend. There's something downright heartwarming for me about walking into a house party where there's an Iron Maiden banner hanging in the window, vintage horror posters on the wall, and copies of Revolver magazine lying about (the Lesbros just scored a flattering mention in the May issue). In keeping with that relaxed, rocker-friendly vibe, the band will celebrate the release of their long-awaited debut, Power Hor, with a listening party and DJ set at the reliably rowdy Tin Hat this Thursday, March 29.

If going out on a school night isn't in the cards, you can at least look forward to spending Friday happy hour in Queen Anne, when the Blakes will play the first SW Outsider Music Showcase at Easy Street Records at 7 p.m. While the showcase is all-ages, grown-ups can look forward to Easy Hour, Easy Street's happy hour at Solo, beginning at 5 p.m. Hope to see you there.


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