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The chaotic sounds of DEAD

DEAD thrill with raw power. Photo courtesy of Facebook

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The practice of writing about music can get needlessly cerebral (at least when I'm doing it), so the aspect of the visceral gut-punch that music can provide tends to get lost in the mix. At its purest, music has a primal quality that is hard to find elsewhere. It's so invasive, coming directly into our heads through our ears, and yet it gets translated to embody so many feelings and expressions that we overlook just how simple it all is. Sometimes, a band comes across and wows you through the window of simplicity. The Stooges did this, with the raw power of their magnetic presence and the fundamental energy of their music.

DEAD, a duo from Australia, hooked me immediately with the opening track off of their LP, Captains of Industry. "Fools Will Get You Everywhere," an almost eight-minute behemoth, starts off with three minutes of shamanic drumming, before a fuzzed-out guitar comes in to keep it company. Once everything settles into a groove, the lead vocalist comes in with a gruff roar that sets everything into motion. From then on, DEAD never really let up.

The Melbourne duo create quite the cacophony, but they clearly aren't entirely serious about it. In addition to having a song called "Robert Plant: Shhh," their Facebook page also features photos of them playing guitars with their butts. Still, while their hearts may still be on the playground, their music is unrelenting in its minimalistic brutality. There's no bass to add warmth, no keyboards to add levity, no harmonies to lend beauty. This is truly down-in-the-gut music designed to manipulate your internal organs.

Still, a kind of simplistic energy emerges from the power emergent in the interplay of DEAD (whose names, Jem and Jace, come unaccompanied by surnames). The power inherent in their music is reminiscent of a band of revelers gathered around a bonfire. Although their sounds are clearly born in a big city, there still appears to be a feeling of jamming around a fire in the woods, embers floating off into the sky.

Music has so many ways of affecting us. It's easy to take for granted how easily it permeates our bodies and comes bursting out through our everyday actions. For instance, when confronted with a tragedy, both sad and happy music is there to carry us through tough times. Melancholy music whisks us away to a time when we had something that we no longer don't. Angry music is unappreciated, because it tends to come off as unnecessarily negative, but it also serves a useful purpose. Leaning into negative emotions is as therapeutic as anything else. DEAD is a band that can take you by the hand through the howling sounds of chaos.

DEAD, w/ C-Average, Ben Von Wildenhaus, 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 26, $5, New Frontier Lounge, Tacoma, 253.572.4020

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