Pop Goes the Dead

It seems unlikely that a jazzy, avant-garde rock band would ever dabble in pop. But then, Seattle trio The Dead Science isn't your typical jazzy, avant-garde rock band. Before forming the Dead Science in 2000, guitarist-vocalist Sam Mickens and upright bass player Jherek Bischoff played in an experimental orchestra called the Degenerate Art Ensemble. "Both of us independently had this deep desire to start a pop band," says Mickens. "We were talking about combining these elements that we really loved, like Talking Heads and Tom Waits."

It's difficult to hear the Tom Waits influence in their music now. But Mickens's cool, quivering voice definitely harks back to the dramatic, unsettling paranoia of David Byrne. His sound has also been shaped by listening closely to pop singers such as Michael Jackson and Prince. "Whether or not it's evident, it's been creeping into our music a lot," he says.

On the trio's latest, Frost Giant, there are lulling, whispered intros that build into catchy, rocking melodies. Then there are disjointed moments when Nick Tamburro's precision drum fills take the band back to its jazzy and experimental past. Past and present will collide today when the band takes the stage at Super Happy Fun Land. The set comes between headliner ex-Geraldine Fibbers vocalist Carla Bozulich and opener Anni Rossi.
Fri., July 7, 8 p.m.


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