Fuck Buttons, Caribou
Cat's Cradle—Noise acts are often described as the sound of deconstruction, apocalypse even. But Fuck Buttons—a band of two British musicians named Benjamin John Power and Andrew Hung—is like standing at the center of whatever storm will end us all, holding fast, and listening as the smoke lifts. It's thick and heavy and abrasive but melodic and constructed and beautiful: Hummable themes tuck inside powerful noise blasts, and tappable rhythms sprint from phantom counterpoints and derailing delays. You can watch the tide push forward and recede or witness the fire burn through and leave the landscape altered. Pick your metaphor, really: Point being, there's a presiding hope inside of the band's debut LP, Street Horrrsing. It's a redemptive push that suggests the obliterative tide quaking through the best noise—vocal spews, static squalls, speaker-slap drums—only lances or overloads sound and structure to let them emerge with renewed meaning.
"Bright Tomorrow," for instance, slowly covers a four-four beat with extra electronics, a keyboard line adding color and a refracted rhythm adding texture. After four minutes, pink noise spills from flood gates, swallowing the sound but lifting it up, too, floating it with the other flotsam until, eventually, all of the album's prettiness spills into a musicbox outro that's like an auditory ellipsis: We all keep moving, but things will get ugly again.
Go ahead and laugh at the name Fuck Buttons. Go ahead and laugh at the two dudes swaying beside, bouncing alongside and hovering over an array of gadgets and pedals orderly arranged on a long table. They're opening for Caribou, which should underline Street Horrrsing's ultimate message: Some people say redemption comes in a pretty pop song, but this seems lightweight in the wake of Fuck Buttons. This band offers reality—a mix of the pretty and the pained—as a conduit for absolution. Its music is a soundtrack for rebirth that doesn't sound like a panacea, for meaning that doesn't need to sell itself in a cloak of pleasantries. Bottom line: incredible band. The show costs $10-$12 and starts at 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin
Smiles of a Summer Night
Griffith Theater, Duke Campus—Ingmar Bergman died last summer, and we're still grappling with the fact that we won't see his like again. Tonight, Duke's Screen Society offers, as its own memorial, one of the saturnine Swede's most buoyant, comic and sexy efforts, his 1955 roundelay Smiles of a Summer Night. Taking an endless Nordic summer day as its pastoral setting, the story resembles the mid-period Shakespeare of Twelfth Night and Midsummer Night's Dream with its multiple mismatched lovers from differing social classes and happy endings for everyone. Burn your incense for Bergman tonight at 7 p.m. in Griffith Theater. Visit fvd.aas.duke.edu/screensociety for more info. —David Fellerath