Disappears’ moody postpunk got some extra heft with the addition of Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, not to mention a substantial profile boost. However, the question remained whether theirs was a sound that could sustain crowds bigger than the Empty Bottle. The Chicago-based foursome responds with a resounding yes on this year’s Pre Language, its first proper studio album with Shelley following last fall’s Live at Echo Canyon cassette from Plus Tapes.
Like that limited release, the new LP was tracked at Echo Canyon, Sonic Youth’s Hoboken studio, and finds the band expanding its sonic palette, moving further away from streamlined krautrock and instead digging in its heels with bigger riffs and deeper grooves. John Congleton’s meaty production helps build an appropriately ominous canvas for frontman Brian Case, whose trademark bark continues to define Disappears. Yet Case’s coveted delay is dialed back, allowing his coarse delivery to delve into more unfamiliar modes.
In addition to the gravity-defying space-rock of local outfit Implodes, tonight’s Kranky Records showcase gets off the ground with Lotus Plaza, led by Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt. The crystalline jangle of Pundt’s main gig is at the heart of the new Spooky Action at a Distance, which excels in the sort of unassuming and ultra-textured pop that’s come to define the label in recent years.