The Time of the Assassins

Photograph: Nadia Blue

Trash Bar; Mon, May 26
Rock Star Bar; Thu, May 29
Lit Lounge; Fri, May 30

“I take art with deadly seriousness,” said Aspen Michael Taylor, guitarist-singer for the Time of the Assassins, in an interview. Young Aspen may one day look back on this earnestness with bemusement, but for now his attitude helps explain the Melbourne band’s severity—which is so unblinking and focused that it actually feels exhilarating.

The Time of the Assassins’ debut full-length, 2007’s Awake in Slumberland (Kiddiepunk), sounds black and gray, like relentless rain across a stormy sky; you can’t call it fun, but it is gripping. And it’s been a long while since we’ve heard the kind of anguished, cathartic wailing that bassist Carisa Bianca Mellado lets out on “Prayer.” The deadly seriousness Taylor speaks of is best illustrated in the particularly ferocious “Bones,” during which Mellado screams: “We are going to hell HELL HELL HELL HELL!” in between shards of guitar straight out of “Death Valley ’69”–era Sonic Youth. “Bones” alone may be worth going to all three of the band’s local shows.