Childhood dreams and modern nightmares

Nintendo rockers West Coast jazzers and an all-out aural assault

When local instrumental quintet Thwomp says they play the music of your childhood they aren’t talking about Raffi. More like Mario or better yet Mega Man. The group specializes in those aggravatingly catchy tunes from original and Super Nintendo games. Don’t call it kitsch though. The songs are technically challenging melodically unorthodox and unquestionably rockin’. Given that three-fifths of the band does double duty in Günther that’s just par for the course. Don’t miss them at The Marquee Room on Thursday July 31.

If Thwomp conjure up youthful memories Holzkopf is the stuff of nightmares. Saskatoon’s Jake Hardy makes utterly uncompromising electronic noise mixing ambient drones with broken break beats and shattered melodies. He describes his music as “free-form worship of digital and biological degradation” but it often feels more like an aural assault — one targeted at the boredom built up by the throngs of acts content to rest on their pop laurels. Join in the worship this Friday at Vern’s.

For those who are reluctant to tread on such dangerous sonic terrain Calgary’s Woodpigeon present a fine alternative. After finishing their last album Songbook and before finishing the upcoming Die Stadt Muzikanten the band somehow found the time to record Treasure Library Canada a limited-run full-length that they’ll be releasing at Broken City on Friday August 1. The first 200 copies are hand-stamped and numbered by the band and the homemade feel perfectly suits the band’s carefully crafted tunes.

Friday night also provides a chance to check out one of Canada’s top jazz groups Rabnett 5 featuring former Calgarian and Shecky Forme alumni Dan Gaucheir on drums and led by Vancouver’s Rich Rabnett. Their latest Leopardism has been topping jazz charts across the country and has earned accolades for its Hammond-heavy sound. They’ll be peddling their groove-laden wares at Beat Niq on Friday August 1 and Saturday August 2 as they make their way to Saskatoon.

Lastly Saturday sees Winnipeg political popsters The Consumer Goods make their way to The Marquee Room. The band attracted some infamy in their home town with a highly critical song about Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz and they’re trying to do the same with “Hockey Night in Afghanada” a ditty about Don Cherry’s tendency to insert pro-war editorials into Canada’s favourite sports broadcast. First Propagandhi and The Weakerthans now this — something about the Red River must be suited to leftist pop.