The Drones roll through Portland tonight, and their unhinged rock is like playing with fire—fun, unpredictable, and certain to leave a blister. They're one of Australia's best bands right now, playing a barbed, twisted vein of rock that doesn't belong on any radio playlist but is still piloted by the fully thought out songwriting of Gareth Liddiard. As far as the Drones' sound goes, they've been compared to Nick Cave and Tom Waits, but usually they play much heavier than either. I've also heard comparisons to Neil Young, but the Drones are much more demonic than anything Grandpa Granola has done, even with his Les Paul turned up all the way.
The Drones' new album is called Havilah, and Liddiard tried the cut-up technique of William S. Burroughs to compose some of the lyrics—in other words, taking phrases and jumbling the words around in a different order to subvert linear thought and lazy writing patterns. The melody of "Minotaur" (above) sounds similarly cut up, but the bouncing, jerky patterns build up a powerful momentum that is the Drones' finest asset. They performed one of the best sets I saw at SXSW this year, and tonight's show should be equally as exhilarating.
w/Mission 5; Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th, 9 pm, $8