I can think of at least a dozen incredible death-metal releases so far this year. But my absolute favorite has to be Labyrinth Constellation by New York’s Artificial Brain. It’s technically accomplished, deeply atmospheric and, yes, even lyrically impressive. (Which isn’t easy given that death metal mostly involves scream-gurgling.) Indeed, every song on Constellation conjures the epic, pitiless expanse of outer space. There’s the asteroid-chopping miasma of “Worm Harvester,” powered by black hole-warping drum patterns. And then there are the gravity-bending guitar riffs of “Moon Funeral,” unlike anything I’ve heard from death metal. Artificial Brain checkmates Cheyenne Saloon at 10 p.m. October 2. Also on the bill: Gigan, Pyrrhon and Opticleft.
I missed their Life Is Beautiful appearance last year, so I’m going to make it up to Living Colour by checking out their Hard Rock Café on the Strip performance at 7 p.m. October 6. The rock band is touring now in celebration of its 30-year career and in preparation for the upcoming release of a sixth studio disc (the first in five years), Shade. (It’s being mixed by Ron Saint Germain, who helped produce their classic 1988 album Vivid.) Also on the bill: local neo-grunge act Paper Tigers.
I spent my teens ghetto-blasting the music of L.A.-spawned alternative-rock band Concrete Blonde. From the bracing 1986 self-titled debut to the spooky vibe of vampire-themed Bloodletting (1990), singer-bassist-songwriter Johnette Napolitano never let me down. After 1993’s Mexican Moon, the band’s output has ebbed and flowed. However, Napolitano has steadily worked on film music and even written a book called Rough Mix, published for the Kindle in 2010. She’ll be performing an acoustic set and reading from this mixed-genre memoir (drawings, lyrics, philosophy) at 8 p.m. October 8 at Bunkhouse Saloon. I hope she’s willing to autograph my cracked and sun-faded cassette copy of Concrete Blonde’s Walking in London.
Your band releasing new music? Email Jarret_Keene@Yahoo.com.