There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
If Melt-Banana isn’t exactly the first band to reference the noisy early-’80s No Wave movement, then the Japanese quartet is at least the fiercest. Guitarist Agata Ichiro and bassist Rika Hamamoto highlight the most rhythmic and electric aspects of their axes, wrenching unnatural bleeps, blurts, and burps from their strings. All the while, Yasuko Onuki, the band’s gal singer, yelps along in high-pitched Japlish, her vocals sometimes indistinguishable from the guitar skronk. Whatever Melt-Banana lacks in originality, they more than make up for in speed. Unlike most bands that reference the No New York sound, this one stirs up the prerequisite noise and pours in some blurry, metallike blast-beats. As if to hammer the point home, Melt-Banana is currently playing with quasi-legendary grindcore drummer Dave Witte (he’ll be the non-Japanese guy), veteran of whiplash cult-metal acts Human Remains, Discordance Axis, and Burnt by the Sun. Which means that these Japanoise scions will get no chance to take a breather. And given the vertiginous energy of their live-set-in-the-studio disc, MxBx1998/13,000 Miles at Light Velocity—which squeezes 25 songs into a mere 34 minutes (the last track is a tour itinerary)—this new combination might just verge on the breakneck sublime. Melt-Banana plays with Abilene and Corn on the Macabre at 9:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $10. (202) 667-7960. (Brent Burton)