Icy Demons

Where weirdness meets pop smarts and accessibility

PREVIEW There's liberatory potential in choosing a pseudonym, but the members of Chicago-area septet Icy Demons — Blue Hawaii, Pow Pow, Il-Cativo, Smart Cousin, Yo! Hannan, Monsieur Jeri, and the Diminisher — are probably just goofballs. Icy Demons are the sort of band whose surface weirdness is accompanied by both pop smarts and something fundamentally warped. What makes this trickier: their three albums, culminating in last year's Miami Ice (Obey Your Brain), have inched toward accessibility while also housing some of the group's most fully realized songs. While it's tempting to say that Icy Demons are basically a pop combo that have clawed their way out of the slightly hazy, motorik groove of 2006's Tears of a Clone (Eastern Developments) and 2003's Fight Back! (Cloud Recordings), why not say that the inverse is true, that they're a basically experimental ensemble using pop structure to vehiculate some of their best ideas?

However you choose to read them, Icy Demons are part of an emerging scene with unexpected roots and strange allegiances, centered on the Obey Your Brain label: core member Pow Pow plays drums for hokey Philly alt-bros Man Man, and the Diminisher and Blue Hawaii were involved in Bablicon, the Elephant 6–affiliated improv trio. But Icy Demons have less to do with those bands' well-established aesthetics than with a natively skewed sense of tunefulness and music that seems to disappear between reference points. Miami Ice's "Spywatchers" hovers in the interzone between spy movie music and spacey post-rock, and the title track sounds like Brian Eno took the Paper Rad crew to Florida for a vacation of self-discovery. As for the rest of the transcript of what Icy Demons are up to, intuition suggests they will only reveal it a peek at a time.

ICY DEMONS With Yeasayer. Sat/22, 9 p.m., $15. Bimbo's 365 Club, 1025 Columbus, SF. (415) 474-0365, www.bimbos365club.com

Also from this author

  • The underground

    The '80s synth sounds of BART: Bay Area Retrograde are fun and of the moment

  • Haushcka that's good for the ear, not skin

  • The incredibly filthy truth

    Blood, chocolate, and moral decadence in the weirdness of Xiu Xiu

  • Also in this section

  • Good things, small packages

    33 1/3, the ultimate record collector's novella series, turns 10

  • No thanks, Bono

    Three new albums that should magically appear on your iPod in place of Songs of Innocence

  • A show a day: Your fall music calendar

    FALL ARTS 2014 Like a daily multivitamin, your recommended dose of live shows through November