Get funky and/or dead with this latest roundup of Vegas music releases:
■ DEADHAND, “3 Song E.P.” (deadhandband.com): “This damage is permanent,” Deadhand singer-guitarist Brendan Scholz announces on “Giving Up The Let Down.” His band? Not so much, as this could be the last we hear from this ace punk trio. Bummer, because the aforementioned tune may be Deadhead’s best yet, a hooky heart-attack-in-waiting with a “woo-hoo” chorus that you’d be singing in the shower for days if only showers were your thing. “Maybe One Day” would sound right at home on a mixtape of ’90s alt-rock radio hits, while bonus cut “Unsettling” sees the band approximating Hot Water Music at its boiling point. This band’s days may be numbered, but it is making the ones it has left count.
■ STRANGE MISTRESS, “Electric Psychedelic Pussycat Swingers Club” (facebook.com/strangemistress): Strange Mistress takes a page from the immortal Frank Zappa, who had a pronounced sense of humor when it came to just about everything but his playing. Same with these dudes, who pen first-person narratives from an amphibian’s perspective, sing about the facial hair of storied mathematicians and reference Austin Powers while throwing down tightly honed funk rock jams where the musicianship is as serious as the subject matter can be silly, upon occasion. The first track: “Ya Dig?” Yes, I do.
■ DAVID ROSEN, “Echoes in the Dark” (davidrosen. bandcamp.com): “Echoes in the Dark” unfolds like the score to some lost John Carpenter flick from the ’80s, its carefully cultivated mood and sense of mystery sculpted from brooding keys, reverberating digital beats and spectral, strangely unsettling melodies. Rosen has been composing music for video games and indie films for some time, but this is his most ambitious, fully realized effort, dark and cinematic, the soundtrack to a film of your own imagining.
■ TALES OF THE GROTESQUE, “E.P. 2013” (facebook.com/talesofthegrotesque): “Where does your allegiance lie?” frontman Danny Ace bellows at one point on Tales of Grotesque’s latest EP, but it’s no secret whom he and his bandmates throw in with: the ever-growing melodic American death metal hordes. Like the biggest act of this ilk, The Black Dahlia Murder, TOTG alternates guttural yeti grunts with higher-pitched shrieks while the guitarists supply touches of breakneck melody. The execution here is top-notch, exemplified by the ominous guitar lead on “Sepsis,” the duck-and-cover groove of “Vulcan” and the seismic breakdown on “Raper’s Cave.” If these dudes can continue to develop their own identity, they’ll really have some tales to tell.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at email@example.com or 702-383-0476.