The Best St. Louis Noise/Experimental Shows: July 2014

Experimental bassist Darin Gray performs July 14 at the Kerr Foundation. - Robert Iwanik
Robert Iwanik
Experimental bassist Darin Gray performs July 14 at the Kerr Foundation.

Deliberately shrill and mostly dense, "noise" has become a blanket term for bands that explore and experiment around the beaten path. The genre, like others, isn't without its share of hangups, but that's why we're here. Every month, we supply a short list of sure bets in St. Louis, ranging from needlessly complex to minimalist drone. Connect the weird to your ears.

Now that the outside world feels like a hot blow dryer, most of us will take solace inside air-conditioned walls any chance we get. The nights aren't as harsh, though, and there are plenty of reasons to brave the mean streets of St. Louis. This month Darin Gray takes a short break from touring with Jeff Tweedy's family band to open for the legendary Jon Mueller. Zorch provides a great gateway to outsider pop while Nathan Cook's Bruxism series returns for its fourth show this year.

Jon Mueller (Death Blues) w/ Darin Gray + Ghost Ice, Demonlover July 14 at William A Kerr Foundation 8 pm | $10

In Death Blues forceful beats peek through a curtain of guitar chords and ethereal voices. Percussionist Jon Mueller leads his backing band through dark dirges that weigh a ton. Inventive rhythm drives the set, bringing a heavy tone most metal bands only dream of. Mueller's mix of typical rock elements (drums and guitar) feels visceral and deliberate.

The fashionably late will have a lot to regret on this night. Show up on time for local heavyweights Demonlover and a rare collaboration between Darin Gray (TWEEDY, Dazzling Killmen) and Ghost Ice (voted Best Noise Artist in our recent readers' poll).

Zorch w/ Laika, Jr. Clooney July 14 at Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center 8 pm | $5

While Zorch ventures through the pop realm a bit more than other acts in this column, it's safe to say the band strays off the beaten path. Its slurry of synth and guitar expands through clever layers, and while the drumming is scattered with busy fills, the rhythm stays on point. The duo fires off a full-on aural assault, but it knows the meaning of a good hook. Zorch employs minimal vocals throughout, but the presence of the human voice brings the songs back down to Earth.

With this and Jon Mueller's Death Blues on the same night, you have a hard choice to make.