U.S. Nero, “Why Don’t They Cherish the Moon?” (Independent)

Hello friends! Do you have musical ADHD? Do you enjoy torturing/illuminating friends with such famously “difficult” classics as Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica or the first Mr. Bungle album or Shudder to Think’s lost classic Pony Express Record, Mindless Self Indulgence’s Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy, the first two albums by The Dismemberment Plan, or just about anything by Frank Zappa? Well, no need to be bored a minute longer. U.S. Nero’s latest release is a blast of nervous post-punk that gets a lot of mileage out of just over half an hour of run time: experimental rock that turns from gentle to corrosive in a flash and balances its arty tendencies with real balls.

Largely the brainchild of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Michael Kunz and his crack rhythm section, Why Don’t They Cherish the Moon? largely continues the process set forth on earlier releases like their debut EP Goes Pop And Buys Mansions in the Hollywood Hills and the full-length Free Thinker (not to mention last year’s unlikely single “Plumbers, All of Them,” included here): delicate mope-rock suddenly mutating into monster riffage and back, usually in a head-spinny two to three minute burst. 

“The Truth the Living Know” is probably the purest expression of this antilogic, and thus the easiest to get your friends into, but the distortion is matched by a lovely glockenspiel and admittedly genius lyrics like something out of an insane screamo psychedelic version of “Moby Dick”: “Your pink, candescent harpoon /Reflects the light of the moon /Which hangs aloof in the sky /Dull as a loyal servant’s eye.” No one said it would be easy finding converts, but like all the best music, these 10 bursts of post-prog punk (post-punk prog?) eventually reveal their own inner logic on repeat listens. Just don’t expect the patterns to be ordinary ones.