Chain & the Gang

Let's give it up for indie-rock lifers who won't go gentle into that good night: namely, Ian Svenonius and Calvin Johnson. Svenonius, who's fronting the irreverently named Chain and the Gang, has left a slew of projects in his politically sardonic wake: Nation of Ulysses (punk), the Make-Up (gospel/soul/garage), and Weird War (kitchen sink), among others. Judging by the debut, Down with Liberty...Up with Chains!, his latest venture is particularly indebted to the droll cool of groups like the Modern Lovers, marrying stream-of-consciousness and willfully unrealistic spoken-word conceits to minimalist funk, rock, and Beat-poetic frameworks. Down might be the easiest Svenonius-helmed release to stomach ever: His crack-pipe conspiracy theorizing (see "Deathbed Confessions" and his 2006 tome The Psychic Soviet) and rock myth-slashing ("Interview with the Chain Gang") shine in low-intensity sonic settings. Beat Happening/Halo Benders dude Johnson, meanwhile, has started the Hive Dwellers, about whom nothing is known except that the backing band is also Svenonius's backing band. Wanna get the score? Then catch this show. With Vampire Hands, Mystery Palace, and Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles. All ages.
Tue., May 5, 7 p.m., 2009

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