Like a bunch of current New York bands, the Rogers Sisters combine influences so baldly as to dare you to reduce them to an equation--maybe something like (Gang of Four - the Fall) x (B-52's + Bush Tetras) divided by Talking Heads. But their Purely Evil (Troubleman Unlimited) is so much more than the sum of its parts that postpunk trendiness is not only excusable but beside the point. I mean, if someone mixed gin, milk, and apple juice into a drink you could not only swallow but enjoy, you'd be too amazed to complain how sick of milk you are. Sisters Laura and Jennifer Rogers play drums and guitars respectively and harmonize like Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson with sinus trouble, while Miyuki Furtado stammers like David Byrne and plays rubbery bass. Unlike Gang of Four, the Rogerses aren't wannabe Frankfurt scholars laying bare the mechanisms of pleasure--they're hipsters recoiling from the anxiety that creeps into their good times. On "Zero Point," for instance, they await the end of the world with a spirit that's more "1999" than "London Calling," and "I Can Tell You How I Feel About You," addressed directly to "United States," is about wanting to protest. The more contemptuous of their topic they are, the more deeply implicated they sound, or is that vice versa? Their dis of unnamed famous bands, "Now They Know (XOXO)," is hooked to the repeated admission "And I wish it was me," and on the title track they respond to their own litany of the world's ills with a pat "As long as it's out of my hands." The Watchers headline; the Ponys open. Tuesday, September 30, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Letha Rodman-Melchior.