We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
As any self-respecting independent musician will tell you, the “ex member of” tag is the bane of a new band’s existence. It is the skeleton in your closet that keeps wearing your finest outfitand it will haunt you from town to town until reading the same half-assed comparison to your previous band in each city’s alt-weekly becomes as much a part of the touring routine as trucker’s speed and late-night veggie burgers at Denny’s. By that logic, it might seem as if Olympia, Wash.’s, latest all-star supergroup, the King Cobrawhich includes Rachel Carns (The Need and Kicking Giant, among others), Tara Jane O’Neil (Rodan, Retsin), and Betsy Kwo (Ibobuki)will be destined to live forever in its predecessors’ shadows. But the band’s upcoming eight-song CD proves that Carns, O’Neil, and Kwo should be able to lay the ghosts of their rock pasts to rest: Gone is the Need’s whimsical playfulness and the time-changing mind-fuckery of Rodan (which all but epitomized early-to-mid-90’s math rock). In its place is a sinister sense of humor only hinted at by the trio’s former bands. But it’s far from ironic heavy-metal riffing: The King Cobra is updated doom rock for the art-school crowd, complete with noodling guitar lines, quivering vocals, and bouncing drum beats (courtesy of Carns, whose kit sounds composed solely of steel pipes and trash-can lids). The Need is dead, so leave nostalgia in the graveyard where it belongs when the King Cobra slithers its stuff with Olympia’s electro-dance performance artist Tracy + the Plastics and Providence, R.I.’s, V for Vendetta at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24, at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $8. (202) 667-7960. (Matthew Borlik)