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.


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