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This Little Underground

Bao Le-Huu takes on Beach Day, Lone Wolf, the Big Sleep, Maps and Atlases and more

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The rarer thrill was NYC opener the Big Sleep. It was great seeing them recently at this year's Orange You Glad Music Festival, and now only a few short months later. It almost makes up for the several years' drought of Orlando appearances. OK, no, it doesn't. But the significance this time is that, thanks to Maps & Atlases, the Big Sleep's seductively noisy loudness finally got the good, receptive audience it deserves, something I wasn't sure I'd ever see here for this worthy but unheralded band.

Even louder and much harder was the punk-thrash slash of San Francisco's Black Cobra (May 29, Will's Pub). These guys roll like their brake lines were cut with the throttle wide open. While most would freak, they just make a day of it, rock the fuck out and hurtle down the cliff with style and gusto.

Also gripping was Salt Lake City opener (and Khann labelmates) Gaza. Their intense sonic bomb blasts with hardcore, sludge, math and crust shrapnel. It's tough but progressively expansive music featuring lots of finger taps that give them a berserk edge when their angles aren't chopping into you. And live, they're a searing presence.

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