Folkicide and Witch Jail at Mills Record Company

This Saturday at Mills Record Company, Folkicide and Witch Jail will fill the store with their soft-metal and noise-tinted blues. Both bands stay within the liminal spaces of music–never quite committing fully to a single genre (or even a few). And it’s this refusal to be tied to any aesthetic that makes their songs so exciting to listen to. Combining the impossibility of their music to sit still within a formula and live shows that jitter with an obscene amount of energy, this in store is sure to shake Mills Record Company with a weird and manic insistence.

As shown above, Witch Jail plays a live set that sounds like The Blood Brothers (circa 2000′s This Adultery Is Ripe) holed up in a swamp for six months. This conceit seems to drive the band’s progressions. The trio blends blues, rockabilly, noise, and thrash in a way that could be grating if it weren’t so enticingly magical. Witch Jail never lands fully in noise or melody. Instead, the band plays the two off each other to counterpoint and highlight their contrasting textures.

While their self-titled EP is described as “pretty ruff demos,” the gritty, dirt smeared feel seems to work well with the band’s penchant for juxtaposing disparate tonalities. The EP vacillates between weirdo rockabilly with backwoods narrative. Despite the immediate differences between the two, Witch Jail and AJ Gaither share a certain aesthetic space.

The slowest song of Witch Jail’s EP, “Sin in the Suburbs,” plods along with its creepy blues much like AJ Gaither’s rural surrealism. “Sin in the Suburbs” buzzes and pops with such tense energy. Half pre-punk horror story and half swamp-soaked ballad, the song gives credence to the theory that every creak in the night is a threat, which is a paranoia that Witch Jail conjures again and again in their songs.

Folkicide seems to move in the opposite direction. The band takes feelings of paranoia and arranges them such that they become soothing. Whether Folkicide is channeling a darker version of The Shins (in songs like “Meaningless Glare” or “The ineffable”) or breaking into Neutral Milk Hotel-like noise interludes, the band puts their spin on each song and makes it entirely their own. Their latest album, The Meaningless Glare of Broken Human Beings, glitters with a rough DIY vibe and a more subdued indie-folk meandering.

“Little Death” is my favorite of the album. The shrill strings build a dissonance into the song that gives it a nice arc. All of the songs from The Meaningless Glare of Broken Human Beings offer a new perspective to the band’s aesthetic. Much like the cover art (which is as amazing as Father John Misty’s I Love You Honeybear or The Faint’s Wet from Birth), the album works as a collage, offering the butting up of every perspective around a single object, which in this case is a sound.

Saturday’s show starts at 7pm and is all ages. Come out and see the stranger side of local music.

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