Music » Critics' Picks

Voluntary Mother Earth

8 p.m. Tuesday, March 24. Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center, 3301 Lemp Avenue.

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It's almost impossible to mention Tokyo, Japan's Voluntary Mother Earth without referencing Frank Zappa, but it seems unlikely that the self-proclaimed "absurdist rock combo" minds. The band shares Mr. Zappa's penchant for wacky, multi-faceted compositions, half-spoken vocal delivery and quirky song titles ("Forgive My Penis," "Your Mother Is Only a Voluntary Mother"). The latter of these tracks may serve as the band's most definitive mission statement: The song collage interrupts Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" riff with lounge-jazz swing, alternates wah-wah guitar solos with Rick Wakeman-esque organ shredding and tells the story of a promiscuous mother complete with disturbing sound effects. Clocking in at a shockingly un-prog four minutes, the song proves Voluntary Mother Earth's ability to showcase stellar musicianship — while planting its tongue so firmly in cheek that it practically bursts through the flesh on the other side.

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