By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Lightning Bolt is a two-piece band from Providence, Rhode Island, and in the past 12 years, Brian Chippendale (drums) and Brian Gibson (guitar) have released four chaotic, spazzy art-metal albums that are metal only in the loosest way. Lightning Bolt songs are like crazy, wounded wildcats: dangerous and unpredictable, with jagged claws and scary fury (and speed and beauty).
The band, which sprang from the vibrant Providence/Rhode Island School of Design noise scene, released its latest album, Earthly Delights, last year on Load Records. As with previous efforts, Chippendale drums, grunts, and yowls into the microphone, and Gibson juggles picks, strums, chords, effects pedals and feedback. (Their former third member, Hisham Bharoocha, now fronts the fantastic Soft Circle.) On Earthly Delights, however, the band has discovered the glory of hypnotic mantras, stretching the frenzied bursts with repetitive passages. "Transmissionary," the 12-minute capper, is one of last year's best rock songs.
Chippendale is also a respected visual artist: His hardcover comic Ninja is nearly the size of a flat-screen, and the artist fills these broadsheets with intricate and chaotic patterns and worlds. Each page looks like the scribbles of a madman—or a 6-year-old boy—until you examine the underlying order, the meandering narrative pictographs, and odd, funny personality at their heart.
Houston's prodigious industrial noise outfit Indian Jewelry shares the bill, along with Fort Worth's spastic Best Fwends.