The anarchic blues-punk band returns after a decade-long hiatus. Info/tix
Olympia-based mixed media artist and musician Arrington de Dionyso (Old Time Relijun, Malaikat dan Singa) has become something of a revered figure in the past few years for his 2016 essay about getting wrapped up in the bizarre Pizzagate conspiracy theory when right-wing trolls baselessly claimed his sexually charged paintings were linked to sex trafficking in D.C. Dionyso firmly concluded that he would stand against their intimidation by continuing to create uncompromising art that draws from dreams and mythology, and by fostering "safe environments where people can explore new ways of organizing expressive sound.”
Perhaps as a formal response to the ordeal, Dionyso re-ignited the fires of Old Time Relijun, his avant-blues/art punk band that went on hiatus in 2008. Now touring in support of its first release in over 11 years, See Now And Know, the reformed group boasts its grooviest and tightest rhythm section ever. No doubt refined from Dionyso's time in Malaikat dan Singa, an offshoot band that borrows from Indonesian music traditions in addition to Tuvan throat singing and avant-garde jazz, Old Time Relijun's new face boasts some of its catchiest and most immediate material, largely contained in three-minute bursts.
EP opener "Jeremiad" radiates a full-throttled energy from Aaron Hartman's upright bass before Germaine Baca's drum fills interject and collide with Dionyso's angular two-note guitar chord and an impassioned, elastic, quavering wail that's comparable to the legendary Captain Beefheart. The song's second verse vibrantly buzzes as bass clarinet mingles with Benjamin Hartman's saxophone skronk, which blooms into full-on jazz phrasing on "Dragon Juice" and even psychedelia on standout track, "Crows In A Row" with its discordant organ sounds. The danceable Spanish language track "El Naranjo Gritando" (or "The Screaming Orange") mocks our infantile, treasonous President, giving Dionyso's most unorthodox endeavor a newfound satirical grandeur. —Grant Phipps