Music News

Critic's Choice

Cello plus drums and screams: How can you go wrong? Especially if you're the Portland duo known as Discharge Information System, who perform on Wednesday, October 29, at Revoluciones (719 West Eighth Avenue), with the May Riots and Nightshark. Andy Gehrz pilots the traps and Melissa Collins scrapes the catgut for the group, whose self-titled CD is a sparse yet shattering exploration of mood and texture. Like an amputated chamber ensemble, the twosome uses dead space almost as a ghost instrument, carving spectral shells of dark rhythm and melody around where the sound isn't. Collins's cello clicks back and forth between taut melancholy and sheer meltdown, courtesy of a strategically misused distortion pedal; Gehrz's percussion cuts and reassembles beats and pauses into quanta of jittery energy. As mid-to-high concept as D.I.S. is, however, the playing is still loose and intuitive, and the recording on the disc has a granular, lo-fi quality -- which helps keep the whole thing soulful and far removed from slick, technical self-indulgence. Oh, and don't forget the screams: Although mostly instrumental, the songs are punctured here and there with Gehrz and Collins's banshee-devouring-a-riot-grrrl howls. So show up early, catch D.I.S.'s set, and bear witness to the hottest, classical noisecore, drums 'n' cello duo sinceuh, never.
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Jason Heller
Contact: Jason Heller