Parts and Labor

Propulsive, post-punk power-skronk
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PREVIEW The hiss and garble of a psychedelic seeker mid-acid trip, the righteous fury of a dad scolding a litterbug, and the sodden sadness of paranoiac who suspects secret agents are tailing him. All these sounds unexpectedly, remarkably crop up on Parks and Labor's new Receivers (Jagjaguwar).

When I last caught the band, clobbering all in earshot with a propulsive, post-punk power-skronk, at South by Southwest a few years ago, I never imagined the Brooklyn-Union, N.J.-Milwaukee, Wis., combo would be going into interstellar overdrive and taking a page from the starlog of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon (Capitol, 1973). In creating Receiver's prog-orchestral sound, Parts and Labor referenced not only the exploratory courage of Wire's Chairs Missing (Harvest, 1978), but Dark Side's use of samples. Its overarching inspiration: the general glut of digital information, which spurred the group to invited listeners to submit samples for Receivers via its MySpace page. The combo used all 650 or so, of them — altering, pitch-shifting, and morphing the contributions along the way — vocalist-bassist BJ Warshaw assures me by phone from Indiana.

"We always got friends to appear on recordings, so Dan [Friel, vocals and electronics] and I thought, why limit this?" he recalls. "Why not ask the world and see what comes of it?" It led to an "intense but fun" mixing job. The satellite noise, say, at the onset of Receivers was created by playing every sample simultaneously. Still, one's enjoyment of the album doesn't depend at all on one's appreciation of the band's technical and conceptual machinations, which climax with the hurtling "Solemn Show World." And the world can continue to experience the disc's sampling project on the road: "We've got a toll-free phone number [1-888-317-5596] that people can call, and we've been improvising, working the calls into the live show, which has been really fun," Warshaw says. "We've got 20 sounds so far, and it's only the second day of the tour."

PARTS AND LABOR With Gowns and Curse of the Birthmark. Sat/1, 9:30 p.m., $8. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF. $6. (415) 923-0923, www.hemlocktavern.com
 

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