Almost Human: Future Blondes, Inspired by Unseen Events

It would be difficult to describe Future Blondes to the kind of ordinary human you often find standing in line at the food truck, vaping. There's a lot of space for common feeling in the glint of the Blondes' sigil, but everyday language isn't there yet. Once, while boarding a flight from Detroit to Houston, a fellow traveler explained that his taste in music extended only as far as Tool, because “no one is freakier than Tool.” Fellow traveler, we all have much further to go, you in particular. To my way of thinking, Future Blondes continues the likable tendency in modernism and utopian aesthetics, like Claes Oldenburg’s soft sculptures, a little strange in origin and pleasantly upsetting, like a cousin Balki to the uptight cousin Larry of rock and roll. There's almost room for a friend at the precipice.

Consider the Butthole Surfers, stripped of pyrotechnics and classic rock; consider an alternate Throbbing Gristle inspired by Manichean metaphysics and Arthur C. Clarke’s various space odysseys; consider the sci-­fi Tenderloin robot rock of Chrome, played in reverse. Or, if you just took the wobbly, swooping parts of Hawkwind and left almost all the guitars at the luthier’s workshop, you’d get an inkling where Future Blondes begins.

On their sought-­after, infrequently released records and CD-Rs, Future Blondes can be hypnotic, even lulling, full of careful repetitions and rising and lowering veils, a few time­-shifting devices removed from human. These releases have found homes on the kind of labels with whom art comes first, business later: Blind Prophet from New York, LA's Chondritic Sound, Skrot Up from Denmark, Gooiland Elektro from the Netherlands, Ratskin records from the Bay Area, Austin's Holodeck records. Houston's long-missed Dull Knife records had some skin in the future game early on, well before the world had slowly started to catch up on what they were missing.


Live, Future Blondes are something else. For example, in Disorderlies, the Fat Boys entry into film, the famous rappers portray home-­care nurses with golden hearts and Rabelaisian appetites who wreak havoc and redemption alike through misadventure — Future Blondes, considerably more svelte, wreak likewise.

Whether they’re playing in darkened art holes or towering, overlit festival stages, Future Blondes don’t follow a script, a tendency proven to confound stage managers and delight knowing audiences. Their music is typically inspired by unseen events, unheard orchestras, confounding, unlike almost anything else anywhere. Those who call it noise allow language to fail them, to use a blank title card like avant­-garde is to ignore its swarming energy, to call it industrial is to cheapen it, but there will be a lot of players wearing different hues of black. There will be pandemonium. Dancers huddled between speakers, performance artists miming the spectacle of birth, hooded musicians hunched over synthesizers, and a conductor in a black chapeau, sometimes center stage, often ordering a drink at the bar midway through the ­set.

Regarding the nature of the group, after everyone is properly bubble­-bathed and shaved, it boils down to Domokos, once deemed too punk rock for punk rock karaoke. He is typically aided and abetted by a small gang of talented underground musicians, dancers and performance artists, drawn from local and national bands. It could be members of national bands such as Cult of Youth, Cock ESP or Lubricated Goat, although it is most often local luminaries — members of Balaclavas (now Rough Sleepers), Book of Shadows, How I Quit Crack, Skullcaster and Twisted Wires. Domokos keeps his voice pitch­-shifted and delayed into abstract shapes, and backed by a CD­ player broadcasting wide synth loops, often in strange time signatures, accompanied by things that oscillate, things that hum or issue digitized whale sounds, perhaps a drum machine, and a bunch of mixer ­gadgets, perhaps from Radio Shack, or Hungarian army surplus, or Brookstone; in any case, most of them will prove not to work properly time and again, at the moment of truth.

Future Blondes perform at Walters Downtown, Saturday, July 30 with Rabit, House of Kenzo, Supraman  and Josiah Gabriel. Doors open at 8 p.m.