If the name of its new CD, Telescopic Eyes Glance the Future Sick, makes John Wilkes Booze sound none too enamored of tomorrow, there's an easy explanation: The Indiana-based group is obsessed with history. Formed in 2001 by singer Seth Mahern -- nephew of Paul Mahern, leader of the legendary punk outfit the Zero Boys -- the group released a series of handmade discs called The Five Pillars of Soul that paid homage to pop-culture fringe-dwellers like Patty Hearst, Melvin Van Peebles and T.Rex's Marc Bolan. Compiled by Kill Rock Stars in 2004, Five Pillars was followed earlier this year by the vinyl-only release Heliocentric Views and Telescopic, a volatile distillation of garage rock and jazzy post-punk that basks in the influence of everyone from Pere Ubu to Blind Willie Johnson. The band's beer-soaked, sax-blasted live show is not to be missed. When it comes to getting stuck in the past, there's no time like the present.
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