The Show: Wednesday, February 20, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios

By Jimmy Fowler

“We all agree there are vast multitudes of purposeless people living drone-like existences in subservience to agendas which are not their own,” Milemarker’s vocalist/bassist Al Burian told a Portland newspaper last year. If you think he’s discussing the demographic that plans to stick around for an 11th or 12th or whatever season of Friends, you probably aren’t familiar with the baleful Luddite lyrics that stud this Chicago-based quartet’s unwieldy, intriguing four albums and an e.p. These musicians say they’re on a deadly sincere mission to warn the world — via slickly produced techno-punk songs on disc and head-whipping, guitar-stripping jams onstage — about the perils of technology. I’m still waiting for some indie-informed film archivist to tap Milemarker for a fresh score to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

Many fans have overlooked the overtly political content of the band’s lyrics — expressed simplistically as a “globalization equals homogenization” rant — because the dissonant soundscapes of table-saw guitars and icy-perky synthesizers in the mix are so chaotically riveting on their own: Last year saw the re-release of the band’s first effort Frigid Forms Sell, in which the plastic-smelling “sex jams” that Milemarker noodled through were about as simpatico as the blend of Burian’s Sabbath-ian screams and keyboardist Roby Newton’s robotic chanteuse shtick. Steve Albini engineered half the tunes on the new e.p., Satanic Versus, and located the most concise marriage of the shrill and the catchy that the group has ever found. Before Albini, concocting art-rock instrumentals seemed Milemarker’s certain fate. Now if they could only begin informing their dystopian dread with a bit of reality: I mean, how seriously can listeners take warnings about losing their souls to internet chat rooms and government surveillance from a band that uses the web so aggressively to promote its music?

10:30pm Thurs, Feb 20, at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, 411 E Sycamore, Denton. $8. 940-387-7781.


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