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Cribshitter, Heavy Looks at Crystal Corner Bar
October 22 @ 9:00 pm - 11:30 pm$10
Quite a long time ago, Madison band Cribshitter made it clear that it has more to offer than sick jokes. It did start as a prank in 2004, and has never outgrown its love of juvenile gross-out humor. (Tracks on Cribshitter’s 2008 debut album, Cry A Little Rainbow, include “Hooked On Colonics” and “War Torn Vaginer.”) If anything, their humor has just gotten more weird and deadpan over the years, while the band got more serious about songwriting craft. By the time 2015’s album Acapulco rolled around, the band’s embrace of gauzy soft rock and throwback country (and a dash of most other flavors of popular music) had stopped feeling ironic, and more like a sincere vehicle for very unhinged ideas. As it gets more elaborate it gets funnier, as it gets funnier it gets more genuinely enjoyable as a whole.
This virtuous cycle continues on Goin’ Soft, the new album Cribshitter’s celebrating at this show. As the title suggests, the album further wades into the yacht-rock elements the band explored on Acapulco. It also opens up with a surprisingly weighty sense of sadness on “She Barely Loves Me,” which is saying a lot for a song with the line “I cry my way through boner pill commercials.” This lightens up just a bit, into a delicious lonesomeness on the next track, “Sausalito Sunset.” Don’t worry about things getting all pouty and over-serious—as longtime fans look over the tracklisting, they’ll see reassuring titles like “Assplay” and “Taipei Personality,” and 2020’s brilliantly dumb bro-country single “COVID Cove” returns here as an album track (“Remote work is hard, so I’m hardly workin’ / A real man needs a woman with a freshwater merkin”). The emotional heft that sneaks up on Goin’ Soft is, instead, another welcome twist in the career of an improbably rewarding band.
Another standout Madison band, Heavy Looks, opens the night here to celebrate its own new album, Apathy. The long-in-the works follow-up to 2015’s Waste It Right, Apathy gives the band’s power-pop a big, rugged edge. Guitarists/vocalists Rosalind Greiert and Dirk Gunderson write sweetly dejected, exuberantly pissed-off songs. Occasionally the band takes a more aggressive lunge—”don’t be so mean when I want you to be nice,” Greiert warns on “Shake Me Up,” in the velvety baritone voice of someone you would not want to piss off. This song also appeared on the band’s 2014 debut, Senses Growing Dull, which really lets you hear the band’s growth over the years—the material was solid from the start, but they’re now sounding better than ever. Bassist Jarad Olson and drummer Shawn Pierce also give these songs some extra muscle on the album. Since the recording, Heavy Looks has switched to a new rhythm section with Tricia DiPiazza on bass and Jess Nowaczyk (who mastered the album) on drums. Apathy bodes well for a set that’s as powerful as it is catchy.
Photo by Dustin Sisson.
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