Music » Critics' Picks

Trans Am with Dälek

Sunday, April 27; Rocket Bar


Trans Am is here to save us from stultifying boredom with a future dreamed up from the wreckage of the past. It's Betamax rock: blocky, awkwardly attractive, perhaps not as accessible as Trans Am's VHS-style rock counterparts (see Zwan) but ultimately of higher quality. The band plays with rigid funkiness, a sort of mutated hybrid of krautrock and electronica, interrupted only by angular space-rock excursions into the mausoleums of the video-arcade graveyard. Trans Am picks through the moribund files of pop music and recording science, welding synthesizers and guitars into a rickety analog soundtrack for the digital age: primarily instrumental, mathematically sound and programmed for obsolescence.

The band members aren't retro-futurists or hipsters ironically re-creating the sounds of their older brothers' past; they are recklessly creating a simulacrum of a past that never existed, in which Kraftwerk and Kiss shared musicians and composed the score for Logan's Run as a binary rock opera. These are the sounds of lovesick machines that just want to dance, a disco version of your Judas Priest/Hawkwind mix tape being casually, heedlessly masticated by a plastic Korean boombox. In Trans Am's America, all Trans Am albums are eight-tracks, and all Trans Am concerts are released on laserdisc. Why strive for DVD when you can settle for Beta?

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