Somebody got new-wavey B-movie camp in with my grindcore. Somebody got grindcore in with my new-wavey B-movie camp!
No matter one’s perspective, The Locust is a band so unique and without peer that listeners are hard pressed to forget their first experience. Take a grindcore/power-violence base and add sci-fi synths, brilliant costumes, and humorous/asinine song titles (often in questionable taste), and boom: The Locust.
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Mars Volta fans know Isaiah “Ikey” Owens as a master keyboardist, also lending his talents to the related experimental dub/reggae side project De Facto. But Owens’ own one-time side project, Free Moral Agents, has transformed into a full-time band with a second studio release, Control This. Though his musical associations are enough to give him reputable standing as a versatile and adaptable session player, Free Moral Agents is far from sounding like a complex math-rock outfit.
The band’s music is, however, complex in its own way. Control This is an omnivorous kind of record — as diverse as it is visionary — and is comfortable in taking on different musical personas at once. Over a combination of ambient pop and trip hop, crunchy guitar riffs and avant-garde fusion motifs construct a critical foreground, and the esoteric vocals of Mendee Ichikawa make for a strong and fitting melodic element.
California-based artists Sonny Kay and Jeff Jordan were brought together through the distinctive artwork that they created for the progressive-rock darlings The Mars Volta. Jordan’s contributions to the band include multiple paintings used for album artwork; Kay’s ties with Volta songwriter Omar Rodriguez Lopez span back to his days heading Gold Standard Laboratories, and most recently, he has designed the band’s stage backdrop and tour merchandise.
Pumping out loud, fractured rock, The Mars Volta challenges their audience with every new release and live show. If you’re offered ear plugs, take them. And if you’re asked to describe them, don’t say “prog.”