Little Women, Apiary Critic's Choice Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., April 7, 9:30 p.m. 2010

Last year young New York saxophonist Darius Jones made waves with his debut album, Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing), a sensual blast of dark, ruminative post-Coltrane free jazz. On that record Jones cozied up to swinging rhythms and smoldering melodies, so it's a bit of a shock at first to hear him in the quartet Little Women, whose ferociously abrasive music recalls the tightly wound "brutal prog" that former Chicagoan Weasel Walter used to play with the Flying Luttenbachers. Their first full-length, Throat (due later this month on Aum Fidelity), is a seven-part suite that uses recurring clusters of tightly registered blasts to lend structure to the same kind of blitzing chaos that defines Peter Brötzmann's 1968 classic Machine Gun—there's a constant push-pull between rigidly metered pummeling and unhinged violence. Over the high-speed, almost martial rhythms of drummer Jason Nazary and guitarist Andrew Smiley, Jones and fellow reedist Travis Laplante blow terse lockstep riffs that frequently explode into tangled strands of overblown overtones. But Throat isn't always assaultive: sometimes the two reedists uncork eerie unaccompanied long tones, or the band reshapes a melody that sounds like an old spiritual (a la Albert Ayler) into a beautiful meditation that wouldn't feel out of place in a Radiohead song. Little Women toggle between extremes with impressive fluidity, and the transitions consistently make sense—something that couldn't always be said of their debut EP, Teeth. I'm looking forward to the next step in their evolution. Little Women also play Thursday, April 8, at the Velvet Lounge; Ken Vandermark opens that show with a solo set. —Peter Margasak

Price: $8

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