Rhythm & Views

Indian Jewelry

How do you fairly evaluate drone rock? The same damn way you judge the quality of any music--subjectively. With drone, it's all in how the music makes you the feel, whether it's massaging your viscera or buzzing through your brain. On its latest album, Indian Jewelry does both marvelously.

On its new release--scheduled to hit the streets on May 20, but available at the Solar Culture show--the Houston-based performance collective juggles ambient textures and freak-out noise, experimenting with electronic, industrial and pop rock, all the while creating a surprisingly melodic and joyful sound. The results often sound like a blend of the Butthole Surfers and the Chrome.

It's been a long time since you've heard a drum machine used as obviously, and as artfully, as it is on such tracks as "Temporary Famine Ship," "Nonetheless" and "Too Much Honkytonking," which with its infectious, quasi-funky, sorta-country guitar lead is nothing less than riveting. The beautiful "Bird Is Broke (Won't Sing)" and the lead single, "Swans," will inspire fuzz-deprived fans of psychedelic garage rock to flash back on some of the great drones of the Jesus and Mary Chain.

If you dig some surreal in your pop, "Pompeii" is a clever and infectious two-minute tidbit that sounds as if it were borrowed from an early Robyn Hitchcock album. That sweetness illustrates that although Indian Jewelry makes challenging music, it also has an approachable appeal.

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