Invoking not the country but the era when it was the United States' obsession, Vietnam is the appropriately obsessive expression of Michael Gerner, who rages at assorted demons over a sprawling, gritty sound that draws heavily on the Velvet Underground, bluesy rock, and hazy experimentation. He also has a major Dylan fixation that comes out sporadically in his vocal phrasing and more frequently in his stabs at rock poetics. The first incarnation of Vietnam paired Gerner with guitarist Josh Grubb, who put out a well-received 2004 EP, The Concrete's Always Grayer on the Other Side of the Street, then an eponymous LP in 2007. Shortly after, the band split up. Gerner reportedly spent five years on the West Coast fiddling with ambient music, but returned to New York, put together a new version of the band, and subsequently issued An A.merican D.ream. Like U.S. policy during the Southeast Asian war, the new album is messy, confusing, sometimes nonsensical, other times riveting, and often riddled with the sounds of helicopters and falling bombs. A pair of local bands with folk-rock/psychedelic overtones, Pony Trash and Mages, will open. 18+.
Sat., May 11, 8 p.m., 2013
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