New York imprint Mexican Summer has branded the bejesus out of that sun-kissed, art-students-on-spring-break vibe—see Best Coast and Real Estate—but could industrial darkwave be its next frontier? Let’s hope so, especially if Light Asylum leads the charge. The duo (Shannon Funchess and Bruno Coviello) now has two punishing, mostly excellent releases on Mexican Summer, despite—or because of?—the blogosphere’s general consensus that Light Asylum is kind of scary. Sure, indie bloggers are wusses, but that impression is not totally off-base—few contemporary synthwave acts are as full-throttle as this one. “Skull Fuct,” from the EP In Tension, is especially spine-crushing: Its “Blue Monday” machine-gun drums, paired with Funchess’ guttural bellow, dumps bubbling tar on Mexican Summer’s bucolic back catalog. The band’s new album is crazy danceable—with a darkness pinched from the nine circles of hell. But while Light Asylum’s primary expressions are angst and isolation, Funchess’ power springs from her total lack of inhibition: Watch the video for “Dark Allies,” and see the singer, in her intoxicating way, artfully losing her shit in a dungeon of lasers.
Light Asylum performs with Daughn Gibson at 7 p.m. at U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. $12. ustreetmusichall.com. (202) 588-1880.