Negative Scanner’s got aggressive punk


Photo by Matt Kartanata

Halley Freger

Photo by Matt Kartanata
Photo by Matt Kartanata

The Midwest is known for a lot of things—corn, snow, Culver’s—but it also has a ton of great music. Three Midwestern bands, Negative Scanner, France Camp and Pelvis will play Grinnell on Friday, Oct. 30, at 9 p.m.

Chicago quartet Negative Scanner gained attention over the summer with the release of their self-titled debut. The 27-minute album packs a sense of urgency into every second. Negative Scanner’s sound offers something new to the post-punk genre as guitarist/vocalist Rebecca Valeriano-Flores’s haunting bellow cuts through melodic guitars.

The sound of post-punk, a genre that began in the late ’70s and early ’80s, is often difficult to pin down because one of its major characteristics is experimentation with diverse, non-rock styles. Sometimes it’s described as less aggressive or more melodic than punk. Although described as post-punk, Negative Scanner couples their experimental musicianship with a raw aggression comparable to any great punk band. However, their intensity is unique because it is driven by Valeriano-Flores’s powerful voice. On their song “Gone Wild,” Valeriano-Flores sings in an eccentric, rhythmic style that sounds almost like a cross between Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls and a robot.

Their sound is the perfect combination of noise and melody, control and chaos. Distortion builds as quickly as it dissipates in their short, energetic songs. They’ve mastered their sound after playing in Chicago’s DIY and house scene since 2012, earning them notoriety as one of Chicago’s best live bands.

A couple cities away in Minneapolis the buzz is all about France Camp. Front man Jay Simonson is sure to put on a good show, full of screams and leg kicks. Hearing France Camp’s garage-rock makes you want to jump up and down with your friends and ignore how sweaty you are or how bad your hair looks.

France Camp’s songs sound like they were written by someone trapped in a Minneapolis winter while dreaming of a California summer. In “Lavender Boys,” they switch immediately from Beach Boys-esque “oohs” to disorganized, howling screams backed by springing, surf rock guitars. Even “No Love,” the angst-ridden opening track on their latest album “Purge” sounds bright. The chaotic guitars and shouted vocals demand that you dance and have fun.

Opening for France Camp and Negative Scanner is Pelvis from our very own state of Iowa. Pelvis will prepare you for an evening of melodic aggression with twinkling emo guitar washed in layers of post-punk haze.