The first thing you’ll notice about Brooklyn art-rock trio Extra Life is frontman Charlie Looker’s intensity. Onstage, Looker stares ahead with a possessed gaze, intoning lyrics that are alternately emotional, creepy, cryptic and funny. A graph of his vocal line would look something like an EKG chart, with syllables dragged up and down in a way that brings to mind medieval chants. With collaborators Caley Monahon-Ward (guitar) and Nick Podgurski (drums), the group veers from delicate, churchly acoustic-guitar sounds to a bludgeoning, Swans-esque grind, marked by brutal synths and pounding drums.
Under the helm of Looker, who has played with Zs and briefly in Dirty Projectors, Extra Life’s five-year evolution has been interesting to watch. Among the city’s splintered scenes, the group has seemed equally at home playing alongside black metal, experimental noise, art pop and avant-jazz acts. Fittingly, its 2012 LP, Dream Seeds, found a home on Northern Spy, a forward-thinking label that also ignores boundaries.
For its final show on Saturday 19, Extra Life will be joined by a lineup of friends: composer Mario Diaz de León’s power-electronics act Oneirogen; synth duo Tyondai Braxton and Ben Vida; and former Dead Science singer Sam Mickens. The band’s members will continue with other projects, with Looker devoting his time to acoustic project Seaven Teares, which pairs his voice with that of mezzo-soprano Amirtha Kidambi. You’ll be glad to hear that the group’s forthcoming Power Ballads LP is sweeter but no less exacting.—Andrew Frisicano
Follow Andrew Frisicano on Twitter: @apfpower