As hardcore gradually and inexorably seeps upward into rock's mainstream, a lot of shit ends up getting filtered out. Leave acts like Thrice and Glassjaw to the sassy and fashion-whipped; we'll keep Yuriko. This Denver quintet is as staunchly committed to maintaining its independence as it is to yanking punk rock kicking and screaming into hitherto uncharted areas of sound and expression. Assembled in 2002 from the remains of Rivers Run Dry, Darkness Before Dawn and the near-legendary Angels Never Answer, Yuriko ditched the obligatory three-word name along with any pre-conceived ideas of what hardcore is supposed to be. The group's music is equal parts pain and beauty, a seething, soaring torrent of metallic brutality and brooding atmosphere. Tender emo arpeggios tangle with cock-rock squalls; cello, piano, sampled choirs and female vocals flutter mothlike against lead singer Dave Blackwelder's blinding shrieks and soft-white murmurs. The outfit's self-released, hand-packaged debut, I Hope Your Cancer Kills You, falls somewhere between the Fire Theft and Until Your Heart Stops Beating-era Cave In, cloaking itself in an ethereal darkness without lapsing into My Chemical Romance-type quasi-goth. Catch Yuriko with Dartanian, Evanstar and Fallen Stars Forgotten on Friday, January 30, at Rock Island in the first installment of the "Bands You Need to Know" monthly concert series, a joint venture between Soda Jerk Productions and Radio 1190's Local Shakedown that seeks to mobilize and promote local music. In a scene with such a rampant propensity for selling itself short -- and out -- Yuriko plays it pure, smart and true.
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