by Robert Bell
12:30 a.m. Midtown. $5.
Vanishing Islands occupies a relatively lonely space in the musical landscape. Lots of bands seem to want to fit into recognizable genres, and from a marketing standpoint, I suppose that's logical.
But this Memphis synth-bass-drums trio seems to have little use for tidy categories, instead straddling the line between Devo-esque, herky-jerky post-punk and, in texture if not in overpowering showoff-iness and freakish time signatures, prog rock. There's a kind of a bummed-out, Van der Graaf Generator vibe going on with "Leben Picchu," from the band's "Extended Player #3" EP from last summer.
Bassist Jason (couldn't find a last name anywhere) has a singing voice that reminds me of Peter Hammill, so that might be part of it, but Vanishing Islands has several tracks that capture Van der Graaf's moodiness like few others I've heard.
On the band's Facebook description, they list the following rad, very un-trendy musical influences: The Stranglers, No Means No, Oingo Boingo, Genesis, Alice Donut, Can, Jesus Lizard. If all of that sounds like your bag of skronky weirdness, don't skip this one.