Over the Weekend: Blackstone Rangers and Kiwi Sisters Blackout 2826 Arnetic

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Blackstone Rangers, Kiwi Sisters, Jakkk-E-Chan 2826 Arnetic Saturday, January 7

Better than: Playing Christian Death albums alone in the dark.

Dallas Distortion Music, a fairly new catchall site for DFW's weirder sounds, hosted this triple-header at 2826 Arnetic Saturday night. I'd just missed opener Jakkk-E-Chan, who was playing a wind chime when I walked in, but later mentioned he'd done some Nirvana covers. I did get there in time to see electronic duo Kiwi Sisters, who are actually not sisters and part of that new wave of cold, dark Dallas sounds.

They had their good moments within each minimal electronic missive, but it was basically the same moment in every song: That climactic wash of bass and synth, but no real momentum beyond that. Singer Caleb Flores-Gutierrez danced from the floor, on to the stage, and back to the floor during the length of the set, pulling at his shirt, amplifying his romantic baritone. The sampler/backup singer was more stoic, eyes rolling back in his head as a sign of aural ecstasy. He's the formal to Flores-Gutierrez's casual, and perhaps that's why it felt a bit disjointed. Last summer's full-length debut, ...For the Young and Fertile Bearers of Fruit..., felt a bit more sinister.

Blackstone Ranger's recent mp3 "I Won't Tell" sounded way different live, no doubt bolstered by the addition of a second guitarist and drummer. Despite a few technical difficulties, the group settled in after song three, presenting a brighter version of Kiwi Sisters.

In contrast, their mix of thick, psychedelic guitars and electronic beats was more appealing, but singer/keyboardist Ruth Smith's voice hovered in a register that was a bit too bright throughout the set; guitarist Derek Kutzer could stand to sing a bit more, as they need that balance. "Sheen Machine" was the night's standout and their cover of The Breeders' "Cannonball" sounded pretty great, but it was also the first time they'd done it. I bet the second and third times will be really great. Still, I excitedly await their upcoming EP. They're on to something.

By the way: 2826 Arnetic, a club which normally hosts more hip-hop and reggae, has pretty great sound. If you can overlook the Dave Matthews mural, it has potential.

Random observation: The men's and women's bathroom doors are labeled "Yorkes" and "Bjorks."

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