When: Mon., July 18, 9 p.m. 2016
As a palate cleanser following a weekend at Pitchfork, you could do a lot worse than Castle Freak. The Philly outfit are neither hip nor critically acclaimed; instead they stuff the quintessence of non-Pitchforkness into two-minute blasts of grindcore leavened by occasional horror-movie audio clips. Their most recent EP, the self-released Human Hive, out earlier this year, sums up the approach: Andrew Gigan mashes together snotty skate-punk and death-metal vocals while the rest of the band race ahead as if being chased by ax murderers and/or very speedy zombies. True to its title, the title track sounds like bees trying to claw their way into your nasal cavity, while “Toxic Winds” flirts with a bluesy groove before revving up to ranting speed. When the band opt for a cover, it’s not a way to expand their stylistic range but to pay tribute to the verities—their version of grindcore-grandpa Impetigo’s “Boneyard” is faithful down to the spoken-word serial-killer intro. Castle Freak have no pretentions, no frills, and no main stage, but if you’re looking for whiplash induced via excessive headbanging, they’re here for you.