The Blood Brothers
After forming in 1997, the Blood Brothers -- co-vocalists, Johnny Whitney and Jordan Billie, guitarist Cody Votolato, bassist Morgan Henderson and Mark Gajadhar on drums -- released two speeding blasts of discordant noise-punk, 2000's This Adultery Is Ripe and the following year's March on Electric Children. The group (right) then thrashed around the country with such like-minded souls as the Locust, Arab on Radar and Lightning Bolt, among others, before inking with I Am/ARTISTdirect for last year's Burn Piano Island, Burn. The aural equivalent of receiving a root canal with a jackhammer, Piano Island was light years beyond the two-minute explosions on the Brothers' previous albums. In fact, thanks to a newfound instrumental complexity, the band's smackdowns often came across as free jazz imagined by art punks. Sedate acoustic guitar and abrupt a cappella interludes augmented the Brothers' traditionally frayed guitar riffage, rhythmic intricacy and vocal-cord-shredding screams. While at times some of the phrases on Piano Island are head-scratching ("I packaged my heart and FedEx'ed it to the octopus queen"), its clear critiques of excessive affluence -- "All your luxury/All your well-hidden trash/All your empty wine bottles disguised as class" -- are a thing of grotesque beauty. Decidedly contrary to the dour demeanor of these songwriters, however, is the Brothers' live shows, which are legendary for their pummeling energy -- and for degenerating into onstage mayhem. Right on, Brother. Let it bleed.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.