The term ‘experimental rock’ can sometimes conjure up images of unlistenable frequencies laid over even less listenable instrumentation, especially for those of us without the technical (and sometimes masochistic) craving for the likes of Frank Zappa or the Residents. Battles brings the genre home for fans of anything. Relatively straightforward drum lines by Helmet’s former drummer, and odd, piecemeal harmonies by former guitarists of Don Caballero and Lynx (as well as the avant garde jazz pedigree of Tyondai Braxton) come together to form something experimental without the pretentious sentiment often bundled with acts of the sort. It’s simply good listening.
Battles is playing a one-off at Terminal 5 (my favorite Manhattan venue) on September 4th. See it now or wait indefinitely for another record and another set of shows.