In Imperial China’s recent video for “Letter of a (Zombie) General,” the D.C. band channels its cascading, menacing post-rock into the soundtrack for a blood bath. Set to scenes from the 1973 horror film Messiah of Evil: The Second Coming, the song’s moody tension dovetails nicely with the movie’s doom and paranoia, culminating in a predictably bleak yet satisfying conclusion (things don’t end well). “Letter” is one of many impressive cuts on Phosphenes, Imperial China’s debut album that breathes new life into the hallowed “D.C. sound,” however you define it. The band has a remarkably tight live show, which earned it an opening slot when Chicago’s slow-burn titans Tortoise came to the Black Cat in September. Tonight may be your last chance to dance (or not) aggressively in 2010.
IMPERIAL CHINA PERFORMS WITH RA RA RASPUTIN, MON KHMER, AND AK SLAUGHTER AT ROCK & ROLL HOTEL, 1353 H ST. NE. $10. (202) 388-7625.