Pontiak, Guardian Alien | Kings | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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Pontiak, Guardian Alien 

When: Tue., Dec. 3, 9:30 p.m. 2013
Price: $10
As 2014 begins, New York's Guardian Alien and Virginia's Pontiak will release new albums on the same day and the same label, the artistically exploratory and long-risky Chicago imprint Thrill Jockey. Taken together, these records—Guardian Alien's Spiritual Emergency and Pontiak's Innocence—paint a wonderfully boundless picture of what rock 'n' roll can still be.

Pontiak, a band of three brothers named Carney, is bedrock stuff. They pit woozy blues against overdriven tumult, mirrorball organ against barbed guitars, fraternal harmonies against soulful soliloquies. More and more, Pontiak's records play like mixtapes, with a unified mood spread through an assortment of songs that could be culled from a record store's stacks of used wax. They build their live show like a DJ set, meant to slingshot through this variety with momentum and without pause.

Very little feels secondhand about Guardian Alien, though: A collective of sonic rovers, they use a tape-collage sensibility to build dioramas. Spiritual shrieks, ponderous samples, howling guitars and assorted contraptions serve as the layers that wrap around the drumming of founder Greg Fox, a marathon man of rhythm whose shifting sense of time is the current flowing forever beneath this band. The sidelong title track of Spiritual Emergency is an aptly named anthem of eternal unrest, with all those fomenting elements eventually bursting like an overworked automobile engine. —Grayson Haver Currin

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