As a music critic, I get a ton of review CDs in my mailbox. Ninety percent of it ranges from bad to pretty good, but every now and then a beautiful jewel of an album arrives, transfixing me so much that I want to learn more about and champion the band in question. My current dark-horse release is Lovers’ Dark Light.
Lovers is an all-female electronic-rock trio from Portland, Ore., signed to the Badman Recording Co. label, and Dark Light is the band’s fourth full-length. Led by singer Carolyn Berk, who writes the haunting, aggressive lyrics—“I was a dagger/but in whose heart?” is a line from the eerie dance track “Boxer”—Lovers somehow connects the dots between Daft Punk, Ani DiFranco and Joy Division. If that sounds like a stretch, then sample Dark Light for yourself and tell me what you think.
Lovers perform May 5 at Beauty Bar, and I had recently spoke with Berk about how they devised these intriguing song structures. She says they definitely employ an egalitarian approach when it comes to writing.
“We let each other do what she wants,” Berk says. “I think that’s perhaps the foundation of the band—everyone chooses where her participation should lie.”
It’s this organic method that accounts for Dark Light’s resonance. When so much of today’s pop music seems disposable, as if made for a disposable era, Lovers manages to achieve a balance between digitized sheen and palpable emotions.
“Most of the time I have the lyrics completely worked out before we pick up a simple acoustic guitar,” says Berk, explaining the process. “Then we start experimenting with instruments. It’s an aesthetic we like playing with—the ‘digitally organic.’”
If you get a chance to sample Dark Light, try “Shepherd of the Stray Heart,” which sounds like a softly crashing, synth-pulsing fever dream, or the extended metaphor of “Boxer,” like Suzanne Vega fronting the Postal Service. A sleeper, but a keeper.
Metal/hard-core crossover legends D.R.I. (a.k.a. Dirty Rotten Imbeciles) return to Las Vegas at 6 p.m. May 5 for an all-ages show at Count Vamp’d (formerly Feelgoods, 6750 W. Sahara Ave.). Hailing from San Francisco, D.R.I. is known as the first band of the mid-’80s to fuse the two scenes. These guys performed last September at Cheyenne Saloon and sold out the place. Now it’s the kids’ turn to see how the old guys do it. Also on the bill is retro-thrash outfit Warbringer, sure to give every headbanger whiplash. Local openers: Guilty by Association, Monster Zero, Life’s Torment. Tickets are $15 at BrownPaperTickets.com or pay $20 at the door.
Finally, I’d be remiss in my duty as a Scraper of Underground Sound to not mention the fact that straight-out-of-Holland anarcho-punk act Suicidestate is slated to storm Yayo Taco at 8 p.m. May 10. Admission is $5, and this is an all-ages show. C’mon, when was the last time you saw a Dutch D-beat band live and in the froth? See you there. (Look for an allergy-suffering man in a Benadryl daze.)