Wednesday, March 7; Rocket Bar.

If country is the new punk and quiet is the new loud, then Canyon is well on its way to becoming one of the best new bands in America. Spawned from emo stalwarts Boy's Life and the Farewell Bend, Canyon plays a kind of quietly desperate rural music, full of steel guitars and plaintive vocals but presented with punk-rock intensity. Unlike former emo-rocker Rex Hobart, Canyon hasn't abandoned punk, just turned the amplifiers down and the weirdness up until it's almost unrecognizable. The volume on their self-titled debut (on Slowdime Records) may never rise much above a mournful cry, but every song takes a surprising twist or features an unpredictable arrangement or unusual instrumentation, making the songs as powerful as they would be if they were played through full Marshall stacks, and although the music has a definite dark country feel to it, the band has less in common with alt-country or Hobart's Dwight Yoakam-isms than with stark spooky art-rockers like Black Heart Procession and Nikki Sudden. (Nikki Sudden? About six people in St. Louis just perked up and said, "Ooh, really?") Fans of cookie-cutter emo-pop won't find much to bob their heads to at this show, but music fans who like a little dark, quiet and country in their punk are advised to give Canyon a try.

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