When: Sat., Nov. 16, 9 p.m. 2013
Based in New York City but belonging to no nation, Barbez are hard to classify, even for an avant-garde outfit, with elements of postrock, jazz, world music, cabaret, and more—though if you want to think of them as “that band with one of the best theremin players in the world,” they might not mind. (That’d be Pamelia Kurstin, who unfortunately isn’t in the touring lineup.) Barbez albums are rarely simply collections of music; they usually come freighted with a heavily researched context and a lurking cinematic sensibility informed by the band’s long-term collaboration with filmmaker John Jesurun. Their new one, Bella Ciao (Tzadik), is inspired by music from Rome’s Jewish community—one of the oldest in the world, existing continuously for more than 2,000 years—and by their partisan resistance to the Axis powers in World War II. It uses poems by Pier Paolo Pasolini and Alfsonso Gatto, and it’s anchored by the old partisan ballad (sung in the studio by Dawn McCarthy of Faun Fables) that gives the record its title. By turns meditative, angry, elegiac, uplifting, and disorienting, it portrays a society struggling against persecution and dissolution, carrying flags of tradition (music similar to Greek and Spanish Sephardic songs) to help it stay rooted in a world turned vertiginous and deadly. —Monica Kendrick Spires That in the Sunset Rise and Rabid Rabbit open.