Over the past 25 years, “noise pop” has evolved beyond the original idea of guitar-heavy, melody-based music. Even so, it’s nice to see that the initial concept—which has been harvested by San Francisco’s own Noise Pop Festival—is still very much alive in the form of Terry Malts. On its debut LP, Killing Time, the Bay Area trio slathers cathartic, speaker-shattering feedback over thumping punk drumbeats and melodic vocal hooks. At the same time, lead singer Phil Benson delivers surprisingly literate, complex lyrics. On “Where Is the Weekend?” he perfectly captures the soul-sucking misery of the working underclass, while on “No Sir, I’m Not a Christian” he details the upside to existentialism. Several numbers encapsulate the euphoria of drunken twentysomething angst, with “Tumble Down” depicting it most vividly (“Up on the hill / I held your hand / So drunk we couldn’t stand / Making our way in the moonlight / Wondering what death would be like”). Throughout Killing Time, Terry Malts makes a stirring case for noise pop’s continuing relevance, decades after the genre’s, and the festival’s, inception. A-
Terry Malts perform at Rickshaw Stop with the Crocodiles and Bleeding Rainbow at 9 p.m. on Friday, March 9. Buy tickets here.