LES MOUCHES with the TIN STAR BAND , ANOTHER BLUE DOOR and the SYNDICATE at the Silver Dollar, June 26. Tickets: $6. Attendance: 40. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
You worry a bit about a rock band that has to keep telling the audience to shut up. That's why my heart went out to Les Mouches during their super-intense set last Thursday at the Silver Dollar . They're the new noise-art indie project of Hidden Camera violin warrior Owen Pallett , From Fiction skins-basher Rob Gordon and guitarist Matt Smith , but it seemed like a fair portion of the crowd took the band's name (which means "the Flies' en français) seriously, treating their tunes as an annoyance to swat away rather than a focus-worthy performance.
But Les Mouches are worth listening to. Their deconstructed songs fall into the grey area between experimental free jazz, hushed indie rock lullabies and Sonic Youth-style noise-rawk freakouts. The structures are unconventional, chucking the comfort of head-nodding verse-chorus-verse for something more akin to weather systems. Pallett starts from silence, shoring up tissue-thin layers of brittle acoustic fingerpicking and breathy vocals.
Just when you settle into the airy sweetness, the warm front collides with a high-pressure explosion of Gordon's manic drum thrashing, a sudden howl or a static-crackling burst of electric guitar feedback.
Sure, their approach can be disconcerting and disruptive, and some songs had the feel of half-finished jams. But Les Mouches' emo-evoking stylistic and dynamic interplay makes you question the act of listening itself. Those wild, jarring contrasts elucidate what sounds beautiful - and force you to ask yourself why.
Maybe that kind of eggheadish attention was too much to ask for on a sweltering night, especially since the Silver Dollar's pair of table fans did little to combat the heat.
The more straightforward bands on the bill fared slightly better, from the Tin Star Band 's sweaty back-porch rattletrap roots rock to Another Blue Door 's plugged-in indie rock, which made visions of Treble Charger circa 1993 dance in my head.
By the time NYC's queer punk Syndicate (think Sleater-Kinney with a violin) took the stage, the handful of listeners who remained were more concerned about getting pissed before last call than taking in the music.
The cute Syndicate girls and boy were not impressed.