Of innumerable bands that traffic in dissonance, the musick of Pittsburgh, PA’s Microwaves’ shears clean and hot as an oxy-lance through the defenses of even the most cynical noise rock aficionado. The trio plies a no-wave/prog-thrash scree that evokes the doings of today’s renegade wetware punks who shove glass-sheathed RFID chips and rare-earth magnets into fresh incisions – dimensions away from the bluesy shot-and-beer heartland rock of their local bar scene.
Bursting forth with 2001’s “Professional Systems Overload” EP and the following year’s “System 2” (both featuring original bassist/vocalist Steve Moore, now of ZOMBI) John Roman (drums, formerly of the 1985, and current member of Night Vapor and Brown Angel) and David Kuzy (guitar, vocals) cycled through bass players for several years (including a stint as a synth/sampler-augmented duo) before joining with Johnny Arlett for their longest-running lineup to date. Over the years, Microwaves continued to pick up the loose ends left by Voivod, MX-80, Snakefinger, and some of their own Pittsburgh-area “math-rock” contemporaries, twisting them into a Gordian knot that at once rages and confounds. Their latest album, “Via Weightlessness,” tones down their previous effects-heavy approach, charging lean and unabated toward their dystopian vision. Kuzy’s guitar chimes through the mix with spindly atonal runs more akin to data streams spat from an outdated mainframe, alternately careening into chugging, crossover-thrash riffs. The Roman/Arlett rhythm section is much more than the sum of its parts: Beefheartian clamor served up with cyborg precision underpins overdriven bass, rumbling forth frenziedly as a DMT-dosed rhino. Kuzy, the paranoid town crier, and Arlett, the unhinged shrieker, deliver a twin-vocal assault covering most topics previously found in your local video rental shop’s cult/sci-fi section.
“Via Weightlessness” will be released by San Diego’s Three One G, followed by extensive touring through a town near you. Until then, to paraphrase a kindred spirit: “they’ll see you in Pittsburgh – long live the new flesh!”