ODONIS ODONIS play the Port Friday (December 2). See nowtoronto.com for an interview. See listing. Rating: NNNN
Toronto musician Dean Tzenos self-recorded the demos for Hollandaze before recruiting the other two-thirds of his band, Odonis Odonis. But rather than re-record them at a proper studio, he decided to release them in their original state. Such lo-fi efforts are often viewed suspiciously as attempts to bury unremarkable songs under piles of grime and distortion, but here the production does justice to the 80s-underground-evoking mix of surf, punk, industrial and shoegaze.
Besides, the melodies are definitely there. Surfier tracks like Handle Bars and Ledged Up could qualify as pop tunes if not for the layers of noise and sludge, and even more plodding, foreboding tracks like the six-minute Seedgazer don't leave the hooks behind. Tzenos's strong vocals switch between a flat croon and an Albini snarl, while the largely drum-sampled rhythms never overpower the human element.
Top track: Ledged Up