Nihilism and depression have long been compatriots. Dwelling together in the darkness, they lay entangled, drawing from one another, separate, yet not inseparable.
It is apt, then, that the stars would align for California’s experimental two-piece Wreck & Reference to cross paths with Portland goth-rock duo Muscle & Marrow. It is beyond fortunate, and a gift to the sullen, that both bands will occupy the same space on the same night while on their own respective tours. These are two acts that revel in gloom, that champion the plight of the misanthrope and approach heavy music in a way that is uniquely their own. Having them collide for one night in Eugene proves that sometimes fortune shines on those who hide from the sun.
Last year Wreck & Reference hit the road as tour support for big names like Deafheaven and Pallbearer, touring with the band’s second full-length release from Flenser Records — 2014’s Want.
Now returning to the road as headliners, Wreck & Reference create music that lives in the unique space where electronics, metal and noise meet, yet fail to appropriately define sound. Though devoid of guitar, and sample-heavy, Wreck & Reference are loud, challenging and often aggressive. With lyrical themes focusing on loss, disappointment and mankind’s failing, the band walks a tenuous tightrope between the bleak and the morose, all the while remaining thoroughly captivating.
Meanwhile, the haunting and unsettling Muscle & Marrow comes on like a doom-rock Chelsea Wolfe, or what might have happened if EMA had never escaped South Dakota to discover vitamin D-induced indie-pop bliss.
Over swells of discord and explosive guitar and percussion, Kira Clark’s vocals evoke images of agony and loneliness, but embody a melancholic beauty despite the direst of moods. The duo’s debut LP, The Human Cry (out now on Belief Mower Records), is generating a considerable buzz and is sure to launch the Portland darlings into the upper crust of the dark music stratosphere.
Wreck & Reference and Muscle & Marrow will share the stage with up-and-coming post-punk act So Stressed and locals Lakes 8 pm Sunday, March 22, at Wandering Goat; $5. All ages.