On Saturday, October 11, Rozz-Tox will be the site of one band’s re-emergence and another’s reinvention, as Giallows and Murnau share the bill.
Returning to the stage after a long, multi-year sleep are the guitar-and-drums two-piece Murnau. Their resurrection began in earnest in mid-August with a show at a tiny pizza joint in their equally tiny hometown of Morrison, IL, about an hour’s drive up I-88 from the Quad Cities; now they are kicking off string of local dates in Rock Island as they prepare to record a new release.
Doors open at 8, show starts at 9, cover is $5-10.

They cite a lengthy block of influences, but the sound boils down to slow, fuzzy grunge riffs with a strong melodic sensibility and just a touch of post-rock atmospherics. It is equal parts catchy and trudging, heavy and understated, but they manage to maintain a tight balance between these disparate elements. Their new album Static is available to stream on Bandcamp, and vinyl copies will be available at Rozz-Tox.

Giallows is a new but familiar name in the QC music scene. The experimental rock band takes aesthetic and musical cues from “giallo” films, a subgenre of Italian murder-mystery/horror films from the 60s and 70s known for being “incredibly, incredibly violent, plotted tightly with as many twists as they can pack in… and completely and hypnotically visually arresting.”

According to frontman/mastermind Devin Alexander, “To watch a giallo film is to be pulled into a story full of intrigue and nightmare, a feast for the eyes and a trauma to the soul, all in the best way possible, of course. ” To see a Giallows show is to be pulled into a hypnotic, nightmarish feast for the ears, with its own twists- in this case, the unexpected presentation of the band as a synthesizer-and-vocals duo. Alexander explains this unexpected decision thus:

“Giallows is a band designed from the get-go to be as flexible as possible, and able to take any gig in order to force creativity and new opportunities to perform. For this particular incarnation we initially had missing members and a small stage, so we decided to jump at the chance to rework the songs into synth-focused new wave altgoth versions that will be one part Suicide (the band) and one part Nick Cave. Hopefully for 30 minutes or so we can keep the audience on its toes!”

The last time this approach was put into action was back in June, when the full band did a marathon 5-hour set as the house band for the Factory of Fear haunted house in Moline. That undertaking- a mix of existing compositions and total improvisation- is being edited down for a vinyl release early next year.

 

With no guitar, drums or bass, only Alexander’s unadorned vocals keyboardist Andrew Cline’s stack of synths, a new minimalist Giallows will take the stage for the first time. This two-piece will be playing a live session on a local radio station, Vintage Radio 107.7 (WQUD-FM) in Erie, Illinois at noon on Saturday, October 5th for those who want a preview of what lies in store on the 11th.

Chew Toy kicks off the night’s proceedings. The Macomb four-piece describe themselves as “loud, quirky, catchy as heck indie rock.” Their most recent full-length, 2014’s See Level, is a detailed, deceivingly complex set of songs adorned with soaring, melodic post-rock guitars and inscrutable yet evocative lyrics. This is their only scheduled date in the area for the rest of the year; fans of indie rock, Modest Mouse, and unique approaches to conventional music will not want to miss out.

Loren Thacher is a freelance writer, musician and radio host in the QC area.