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London’s Tronics might be the ultimate crate-digger band of the post-punk era. Led by the mysterious Ziro Baby, the band made a handful of recordings between 1979 and 1984, including the LP Love Backed by Force and the immortal “Shark Fucks” single, both of which New York label What’s Your Rupture? reissued this year. In their day, Tronics nearly dodged immortality by rejecting a reissue offer from the legendary Creation Records, then disbanding. Ziro Baby became Zarjaz (a reference to the British sci-fi zine 2000 A.D., presumably), made one single for Creation, and began releasing music as Freakapuss. It was a solid recipe for permanent obscurity, but over the years, Tronics’ outsider records became collector’s items and bootleg fodder, with good reason: The music is hissy, stripped down, and adventurous, prefiguring DIY acts like Beat Happening and drawing on everything from Gandalf the Grey’s bizarro psych-folk to The Kinks’ Americana era to Zarjaz’s immediate art-punk milieu. At times, Tronics even sound like the missing link between arch romanticists Jonathan Richman and Stephin Merritt. “You’re so cold, you’re so hard,” Zarjaz sang in 1981. “So much like the Marquis de Sade.”
Zarjaz performs with Foul Swoops at 8 p.m. at CD Cellar, 2607 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Free. (703) 248-0635.