It’s that time again: this year’s edition of AS220’s annual sprawling block party known as the Foo! Fest takes over Empire Street on July 14 from noon to 1 am. What began life as the comparatively modest Fool’s Ball has mutated into an unruly (but lovable) behemoth. The all-day party is sure to have something for everyone: two stages, 20-plus bands (with music ranging from country, experimental rock, folk, free jazz, and hip-hop through to metal, slab o’ noise, punk, and reggae), the Rock ’n’ Roll Yard Sale, the Anarchist Book Fair, food and drink — plus plenty of local vendors selling their artsy-crafty wares. Call 401.831.9327 or go to as220.org.
DE-TUNED DEBRIS: The simply astonishing Neptune.
Here are some musical highlights:
An ever-shifting Finnish freak-out psych collective that includes members of like-minded Kemialliset Ystävät. Plenty of humor animates this music, chiefly a Dadaist love of delightful nonsense. At times, the group sounds like an orchestra of Rube Goldberg contraptions, all wheezing, clanging, and chirping in perfect harmony.
ALEC K. REDFEARN & THE EYESORES
Singer, songwriter, and accordionist Redfearn’s long-running mutant ensemble seamlessly blends gypsy folk, klezmer, jazz, and Krautrock influences into a gracefully multivalent whole.
This nimble, muscular three-piece builds their own instruments out of debris and scrap metal (making them Boston’s longest-running spasm band), resulting in an improv-heavy outfit that is nevertheless surprisingly light on its feet. Simply astonishing live, the group specializes in de-tuned yet danceable dub.
Kazutaka Nomura writes funny, bittersweet songs about holding chopsticks wrong, missing pets, and just being yourself. What keeps the whole enterprise from becoming cloying is his deftly filigreed guitar work and unpredictable vocals.
SPIRES THAT IN THE SUNSET RISE
Sounding uncannily like the Slits by way of Comus, this complex, chameleonic Chicago-based four-piece constantly trades off on instruments (an impressive array of harps, guitars, cello, drums, harmonium, banjo, mbira, spike fiddle, bul bul tarang, and bells) and vocal duties. (They also favor otherworldly, complex harmonies.) The results are playful, dark, and complex — even discomfiting — but they’re never anything short of thrilling.
Named after a Dostoyevsky character, this Philadelphia-based instrumental power trio has been refining its own inimitable brand of “doom-jazz” for more than a decade. It’s no wonder their combination of post-Sabbath riffs, fierce drumming, and howled vocals caught the discerning ear of Steve Albini, who recorded their debut album. Don’t miss ’em.