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Blonde Redhead

Kings and Queens of Art Rock

In the good old days when the Yeah, Yeah, Yeah's and TV on the Radio were just punky kids smashing brass monkey bottles down Saint Mark's Place and posing in front of the mirror, rockin' out to WFMU, Blonde Redhead was creating the sound that they would latch onto and twist into their own version of youthful agitation.

Blonde Redhead formed in 1995 when they met in New York City. They took their name from a band they all love, DNA, a no-wave outfit from the 80's. Soon they received their big break when they caught the attention of Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley. Under his tutelage they recorded their first full length.

The band has kept the same format, adding some minimal keyboard flourishes to its new material. Japanese transplant Kazu Makina sings/screams, plays guitar and keyboard, Italians Amadeo Pace plays guitar and sings while his twin brother Simone plays drums. Still without a bass player, the band's music is lean and haunting. Kazu's voice (often cited as both sexy and depressing) draws you in with its floating quality, as if it's entering your brain from on high. Vocals are another instrument layered into the mix of crashing beats and silky smooth, feedback laced guitars.

Blonde Redhead mellowed with age on its sixth full length, Misery Is A Butterfly, out earlier this year on the 4AD label. It's been four long years since the release of their last album, the popular Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons. The hiatus is in part due to a shattered jaw Kazu received during a horseback riding accident in 2002. The unfortunate fall allowed the band to mold the album free of label pressure, and at their own pace. "It's hard to say what influenced us for this album specifically because it's so vast," says Amadeo. "We were listening to Sigur Rós and some Cure records. It was a mix of things. "

If the band's sound has mellowed in the studio, on stage it has not, as they proved last year when they previewed several new songs at the Fillmore. Blonde Redhead stays true to what works for them on stage; lots of knowing glances to their fret boards, punctuated by moments of flailing back and forth while howling into the mics. Mesmerizing. Like Sonic Youth, the band takes the stoic, regal approach as kings and queens of art rock should. They leave the wrangling and writhing to the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and other princely royalty with the same rich NYC pedigree.

Bottom line, these are shows for all who are interested in the music of New York City and the sounds that emanate from the lower east side: for young and old alike.

Bimbo's 365 Club
November 16th and 17th 9 PM
$18. 18 and over show
with Helios Sequence (11/16 only) and Low Flying Owls (11/17 only)