Blonde Redhead (pictured) is what happens when art- and music-school types are allowed to congregate without supervision: Like Yoko Ono, singer-guitarist Kazu Makino is always ready to make you suffer for her work, and identical twins Amedeo and Simone Pace (on guitar and drums, respectively) never let a good riff stand in the way of their avant-garde impulses. The band’s sound—imagine Sonic Youth minus the saving patina of Lower East Side sleaze but with the occasional flute or piano tacked on—is as antiseptic as a morgue table but not quite as cozy. And if I keep the group’s albums around, it’s only to remind myself that things really aren’t any cooler in the musical environs of Manhattan. To sum up: Blonde Redhead is the perfect argument for awarding music critics combat pay. Tonight, it plays with double-necked-guitar strummer (and ex-Melvin) Joe Preston’s one-man, slow-motion wrecking ball of a band, Thrones. An intimidating hodgepodge of industrial pummel, Sabbath sludge, and occasional moments of Hawkwind-like prog bombast, Preston’s music is recommended to hard-core Melvins fans and paleontologists curious to hear what a mastodon sinking in tar really sounded like. It is certainly not recommended for depressives or people who have just ingested large amounts of amphetamines. Slow up at 9:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $10. (202) 667-7960. (Michael Little)