For over a decade, Jarboe (one name only) was the female vocal half of the legendary New York noise outfit Swans, where she provided a breathy, ethereal counterpart to cohort Michael Gira's demented barks and growls. While her group came from the same artsy pool that spawned Sonic Youth and Lydia Lunch, Jarboe's nonverbal lamentations were about as different from Lunch and Youth-mama Kim Gordon as one could get while still remotely considered part of the same scene. Since the Swans flew in 1996, Jarboe (now going by "The Living Jarboe") has lent her voice to various projects, perhaps most memorably the 2003 A Perfect Circle album Thirteenth Step, while also releasing a steady series of challenging, ambient solo releases that have kept her at the forefront of avant-garde rock.
On her latest, the just-released The Men Album, Jarboe and a host of male accompanists cram two discs with nearly two hours of tunes ranging from Indian-influenced techno, to Swans-esque doom and gloom, to some fantastic experimental tracks comprised only of layered tracks of her own distinctive voice. At times, The Men Album gets as close to mainstream rock as anything in Jarboe's past, and as for the lyrics, well ... about the third time I heard the heroine wonder if this is real life, or compare a kiss to sacrament, my eyes started rolling uncontrollably, as if possessed by an ancient chameleon-headed deity. But have no doubt: Jarboe's still "out there" in a way that should be fascinating when translated into a live show. And if nothing else, her voice is still such a spectacular tool, even the remote possibility of hearing her attack a few old Swans tunes makes this show more than worth the five-spot admission.
Local cello hero John McMahon--the guy who played cello on BTS's There's Nothing Wrong With Love and Doug Martsch's solo album--will open, as will git-picking imp Kris Doty.
Wednesday, February 1, 9 p.m., $5, Neurolux, 111 N. 11th, 343-0886
Questions? Comments? E-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.