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Jobs, Jessica Pavone, Erik Kramer

  • Communication 2645 Milwaukee Street Madison, WI, 53704 United States (map)

Jobs has transformed from a math-rock band into something far more challenging. Info


Editor’s note: This item has been updated to reflect that Julian Lynch is no longer on the bill.

Jobs began a decade ago in New York City as an instrumental math-rock trio, and originally went by the name Killer Bob, but the band's past two releases have taken it through a few dramatic evolutionary turns. On the 2015 album Killer Bob Sings, Jobs made the name change official and introduced vocals, first enlisting guest singers and then spreading out those duties among drummer Max Jaffe, guitarist Dave Scanlon, and bassist Rob Lundberg. (Full disclosure: Lundberg, now based in Madison, has worked closely with Tone Madison on event planning.) Rather than making things more accessible, the vocals only heightened the tension in Jobs' music, providing a new set of sounds for the band to dice up into bizarre harmonic and rhythmic shards, as on the melodic but punishing "Threes."

The transformation accelerates on the 2018 album Log On For The Free Chance To Log On For Free, which also finds multi-instrumentalist Jessica Pavone joining the band as a fourth member. Vocal elements begin to feel far more integral to the band's songwriting on Log On, especially on the strangely uplifting "Cable To The Sky" and amid the sickly march of "Came To Take," a song that benefits greatly from Pavone's staccato viola figures. Much of the record dives straight into brain-rattling abstraction, doing justice to the circular logic of its title. On "Cell-Service," for instance, Jaffe's drums steer the band through a stark and episodic soundscape, where ringing guitar figures rub up against entrancingly cryptic vocal phrases like "you're a malleable capsule that moves." For the most part, Jobs no longer sounds like a band rooted in noise-rock or post-punk or however one might shorthand abrasive, complex instrumental rock. Instead, it has worked its way into a territory that references minimalist classical music, electronic music, and the far reaches of experimental jazz.

In addition to playing here as a member of Jobs, Pavone will play a solo set behind In The Action, her third album of solo-viola compositions. Erik Kramer, a Madisonian who melds folky guitar explorations with lo-fi psychedelic elements, will also support. —Scott Gordon