Serena-Maneesh + The Depreciation Guild + Apteka
Bottom Lounge; Wed 31
It’s hard to escape the lasting footprint of shoegaze. Until My Bloody Valentine unveils the long-rumored follow-up to the genre’s 1991 high-water mark, Loveless, there are still dozens of bands more than happy to attempt their own version or at least posit what they think Loveless II might sound like. Tonight’s bill is a prime example: a sweeping tribute to lush fuzz.
On the visceral new No 2: Abyss in B Minor, Serena-Maneesh mastermind Emil Nikolaisen tweaks Kevin Shields’s sonic template with glitchy electronics, smeared guitars and countless layers of dense distortion all hovering beneath lifeless female vocals. It’s exquisitely grimy and so cobbled together that it occasionally suggests a Madlib mix-tape of the Loveless master tapes. Dark and furiously moody, the Norwegian group willingly loses itself within a hailstorm of static that’s as musical as it is enveloping.
The Depreciation Guild flies lighter, as you’d expect from any band whose two thirds also anchor the twee Pains of Being Pure at Heart. But Depreciation isn’t simply a side project; the trio existed pre-Pains, though it now lurks in the shadows of its cutesy counterpart. Still, the contrast of breathy vocal melodies and battering guitars on the forthcoming Spirit Youth is infinitely more inviting than Pains, if not as giddy.
Chicago’s own Apteka goes straight for volume, cranking up its amps and channeling a decidedly more Midwestern crunch. “Aragon Sound,” the B-side of its latest 7" single, sounds like a throwaway track from Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream (the rest of the group’s repertoire nods to several other of Billy Corgan’s dream-pop peers). Like the others here, the foursome’s looking more at the past than at its toes.