Lurking beneath the cardboard cutouts, papier-mâché props and meticulous face paint of Yamantaka // Sonic Titan is something much more ambitious than an art-damaged answer to bloated rock operas. Described as “Noh-wave” — a head-on collision of traditional Japanese theater and the noisy art-punk that populated New York’s syringe-lined streets in the ’80s — their mercurial sound is melodramatic without feeling like the loony-bin labors of drama school dropouts. Much like their richly-woven debut, the Canadian collective’s second album sounds deadly serious, as it melds candlelit balladry and Merzbow (“Saturn’s Return”), Cocteau chords and Glassy synths (“Windflower”), and the palatable outer reaches of prog-rock (the second half of “Seasickness”). The only part that veers on the side of sheer camp is “Hall of Mirrors,” a winding horror score that could pass for a progressive rap-metal single from the late ’90s. But even that’s compelling in its own way, leaving a lurid and lucid impression that lingers well after the makeup remover wipes their stage personas away.
By Andrew Parks on 03.17.14 in Live in Pictures
Photos of Charli XCX, Coachwhips and Diarrhea Planet at SXSW 2014
By Jonah Bromwich on 03.24.14 in Reviews
The Atlanta punk band the Coathangers originally formed as a joke, with song titles like "Nestle in My Boobies" (a classic) and "Don't Touch My Shit." But they've tightened up in the past few years, and the loss of the k...
By Douglas Wolk on 11.19.13 in Who Is...?s
Audacity got a head start on their career — their two singer/guitarists, Matt Schmalfeld and Kyle Gibson, have been playing together in one band or another since they met in elementary school in 2002. Over the past decad...
By Caryn Ganz on 06.17.11 in Who Is...?s
The Coathangers couldn't play their instruments when they formed on a whim five years ago but now — somewhat to the dismay of singer/guitarist Julia Kugel — they're getting sort of awesome. "We're still kind...