I really like the way Sic Alps do things. They operate outside the margins of big hype in this city, and yet they've amassed quite a following over the years. Ok, yeah, the fact that Pavement, Sonic Youth, and Yo La Tengo invite them to open for them offers a ton of cred, but there's something in Sic Alps' music and performances that says they don't care about the prevailing buzz — they're gonna go their own way regardless. Besides, they've got their own buzz going on as it were, and it has a lot to do with the heavy distortion on their guitars, the blizzard of artful noise that always threatens to overtake their jagged pop sensibilities.
I've seen the band twice in the past month, and their set on Monday opening for Godspeed You! Black Emperor was the best I've seen in a while. The performance was loose and fun, and carried with it that early '90s grunge-or-whatever-you-wanna-call-it sound I grew up on and always dig. Their vibe isn't as heavy as those Seattle godfathers, but they have a bit of the Northwest lo-fi, playful vibe, awash in white noise that brings a good punk edge.
Tonight is the release party for the trio's great new record, Napa Asylum, out on Drag City, about which Pitchfork had some nice things to say. It has a bunch of great tunes, my favorite being "Do You Want to Give $$?" (video above). They're celebrating this new batch of fuzz at the Eagle, one of my favorite spots to see shows (so long as I don't have to pee. Not fun navigating your way to a women's room that's behind the bands on stage). If you don't see Sic Alps tonight, you're gonna have to wait a month while they bring the Asylum to the rest of the county (and you'll miss sets by The Mantles, Meercaz, and No Boss to boot).