Thurs July 28
Food Hole
20 NW 3rd Metalux guitarist J. Gräf habitually snaps photos of her band's audiences. Reversing the usual fan/artist interface has resulted in many interesting shots. Metalux crowds "often have a mysterious combination of looks," Gräf relates. "They'll simultaneously be really attentive and open while looking horrified. Which is really strange to play to. I always used to turn my back on the audience. Then I decided that I had to start connecting with people."

Along with bandmate MV Carbon, Gräf didn't so much connect with people as alienate them in their previous group, Bride of No No. Both women played guitar with that Chicago quartet, which was led by AZ of Scissor Girls. BONN's two albums sound like a no-wave-inflected prog-rock unit painstakingly grinding out Byzantine song structures that could give math majors migraines and leave the rest of us with knotted limbs.

Following BONN's 2003 dissolution, Carbon moved to New York City and Gräf to Baltimore. The geographical distance hasn't hindered Metalux's productivity, as they've issued eight releases, including their latest and greatest on 5 Rue Christine, Victim of Space.

Unmoored from reality and gravity, Victim of Space is a nightmare soundtrack of unfathomable distress, a creepy compendium of blown-neuron symphonies. Listen to Metalux for any duration and you'll notice similarities to sonic surrealists like Chrome, Butthole Surfers, Residents, Royal Trux circa Twin Infinitives, and various no wave artists. But even with those points of reference, a stern constitution's needed to withstand the band's disorienting experiments with the time-space continuum.

Appealing to the psychedelic-explorer mindset, Victim of Space seems like it would be especially interesting under the influence. Perhaps this effect is merely an unintentional byproduct of the duo's imaginations.

"I can see what you're talking about, because some of the songs are ritualistic," Gräf says, after stressing that Carbon would respond differently to my questions. I definitely think Metalux is about inducing different mental states. But hopefully the music is a bigger part of it than the drugs."