Folk-flavored Seattle trio The Cave Singers feature bassist Derek Fudesco (also of Murder City Devils and Pretty Girls Make Graves) and Peter Quirk, the gloomy frontman of post-punkers Hint Hint. At times, the Cave Singers' rootsy, haunted sound suggests a more Celtic-minded 16 Horsepower, more Pete Seeger than Peter Murphy.
While TCS boasts a higher profile thanks to pedigree and label (Matador), Dark Meat is more impressive, if only by virtue of their numbers. The 18-member Athens, Georgia, outfit forges a ramshackle acid-folk-punk squall reminiscent of early Flaming Lips, with a meandering pulse juiced by brass, odd blasts of free jazz cacophony and deep-fried Allman-esque boogie. Like a Tex-Mex combo plate with the beans, rice, guacamole and enchiladas mingling in the middle, Dark Meat's multitextured sound verges on chaos, barely held at bay by the band's rollicking good-time attitude.
Frontman Jim McHugh — a fan of the 13th Floor Elevators — believes in the power and spectacle of so many people making music together. "These days, who fucking cares if you can play your guitar like an ace?" McHugh asks. "We're past the point where rock bands are going to make a really important impression. I'm not talking about market niches, I'm talking about changing people's lives."
With Quiet Hooves, Wednesday, April 14, at Walter's on Washington, 4215 Washington Ave., 713-862-2513.
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A little ambition in music is refreshing, isn't it?