If you like weird-as-hell, entirely twisted takes on rootsy stuff originally planted behind the cesspool somewhere in Appalachia, then this is the gig for you. New York's O'Death are a toxic cross between old-timey hillbilly and punk, with plucky banjo, wheezing fiddle, and caterwauling vocals from Greg Jamie that ricochet from off-kilter drawls that suggest a few genes short of the pool, to raging howls culled from the echoes of CBGB. The quintet's latest, Head Home (Ernest Jenning), is full of raw, visceral, dueling banjos-on-acid, snake-venom-in-the-moonshine music that can also soar into a folky nirvana akin to the Waterboys when Bob Pycior's fiddle leads the way. Meanwhile, Toronto's Rock Plaza Central adhere a little more to the folk-pop route, albeit equally riddled with strangeness. In his own way, lead singer and songwriter (and novelist) Chris Eaton sounds like he has as slippery a grip on sanity as Jamie, although he favors the wild-eyed folkie shout approach. As a songwriter he prefers surrealistic conceits linked into elaborate conceptual frameworks that still manage to retain their earthy immediacy. RPC's Are We Not Horses (Yep Roc), for instance, consists of a dozen songs about robotic horses with six legs who thought they were flesh and blood, and are enduring a post-apocalyptic world after a war between humans and angels. No, really. Musically, the RPC septet uses an ensemble approach to concoct a swirling roots sound that, with an occasional blast of horns, sometimes suggests the Band. The Western Fifth open. 21+.
Sun., Sept. 9, 8 p.m.