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CANCELED: Throwaway, Ben Willis

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

Two acts from Detroit play experimental music with an improvisational edge. Info

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Editor’s note: The lineup of this show has changed. This preview has been updated.

This show features two experimental artists from Detroit whose adventurous compositions collectively thrive on the intuitive interplay of jazz improvisation. The headliner, Throwaway opts for a raw off-the-wall style of post-hardcore, but its dedication to sound dynamics is intensive and stunning. In July, Throwaway dropped its first official album, WHAT?, after a single and split in 2016 and 2018, respectively. But lead songwriter Kirsten Carey has been crafting the group's aesthetic for the better part of this decade after her James Joyce-inspired post-jazz opus The Ulysses Project . Throwaway often finds Carey donning a brown paper lunch bag with deadpan emoticon-like expression as a character mask, and exploring a wry mythos that alludes to the weirdly engrossing world-building of artists like Gorillaz or Iglooghost.

Carey's interest in these zany personae manifests in an altogether different sonic form and personality, however, as she and drummer Oliver Dobrian channel the abrasive, tongue-in-cheek bravado of bands like Shellac. Her snarled, shouted sarcasms and condemnations mesh well with angular, disjointed riffs and percussive fills that further recall Circle Takes The Square. Maybe most appropriately, WHAT?'s coyly boastful and concisely composed first single, "I Work," is accompanied by some fantastically elastic handmade animation (by bassist and former Madisonian Ben Willis, who also performs here and last visited with a playfully extended appearance with his band Saajtak at the Children's Museum's Adult Swim series in May) that feels a bit like absurdist Don Hertzfeldt homage, complete with spiraling strings of lyrics (à la karaoke video). Other standout tunes are as spiritedly anthemic as they are angular, like "The Revenge Society," which ultimately emerges as a defiant, riot grrl-esque ode to independence. —Grant Phipps

Earlier Event: August 5
Lady Bird (free)
Later Event: August 9
Madison New Music Festival 2019