Come/Railroad Jerk/Skeleton Key
Here's an unusually solid triple bill, one with more parallels than most. In Skeleton Key, percussionist Rick Lee hits an assortment of metallic junk with sticks. Railroad Jerk guitarist Alec Stephen used to work with junk, for the New York Sanitation Department. The junk Come uses is addictive -- bandleader Thalia Zedek has a history with hard drugs, and her ragged throat and ominous blues-punk guitar playing admit as much. The interlocking dialogue she's developed with second guitarist Chris Brokaw, former drummer for Codeine, is one of indie rock's most distinct and riveting sounds. The band's music suggests the darkened rings around Zedek's eyes, all abhorrence and nervous exhaustion. Railroad Jerk, on the other hand, sound like they're having a Sing Out!-style hootenanny inside a janitor's closet. Skeleton Key, the newest of these three East Coast bands, has songs that sound like Come performing a lullaby ("You Might Drown") and Railroad Jerk covering Tom Waits ("Nod Off"). What a load of junk.
-- James Sullivan
Come, Railroad Jerk, and Skeleton Key play Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 9:30 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. Tickets are $7; call 621-4455.