By Dave Pehling

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Offering up a pungent mix of noise rock and punk injected with guitarist Chris Owens’ corrosive six-string squall, Bay Area band Musk has been a furious racket since first coming together in 2011. Inspired by Australian punk bands like the Scientists and feedtime — Owens (ex-Killers Kiss) bonded with singer Rob Fletcher at a San Francisco reunion show by the latter band as both lamented the lack of real hostility in modern garage punk — as well as the roots-focused sounds of the Chrome Cranks and the Cramps, the group was soon forging its uniquely malevolent sound.

The band’s unhinged early demos featuring Fletcher’s demented howling and Owens’ hyper-distorted guitar abuse led to the debut Musk album coming out on Holy Mountain Records in 2014. A solid approximation of what the Jesus Lizard might have sounded like if iconic instrumental great Link Wray took over on guitar, the band’s menacing self-titled effort produced by regular John Dwyer studio collaborator Chris Woodhouse earned a slew of rave reviews, as did their wooly live performances at clubs on both coasts.

While it took some time for the band to get together a follow-up, last year the even more caustic sequel entitled Musk 2: The Second Skumming finally surfaced on 12XU records. Introducing elements of downtown NYC jazz skronk reminiscent of John Zorn’s Naked City, the band produced an even more baleful cacophony that balanced against woozy, Neil Young and Crazy Horse-style lament “Weathervane.”

The band has been busy of late, playing the Hemlock Tavern in support of aforementioned Australian noise-punks feedtime last fall and opening for hardcore NYC noise icons Unsane at the Bottom of the Hill last month. This Friday night, the band returns to the Hemlock, sharing the stage with blown-out LA punk band Die Group, trashy Oakland bubblegum punk crew Midnite Snaxx and local openers Year Zero.

Musk with Die Group and Midnite Snax
Friday, Jan. 12, 8:30 p.m. $10
Hemlock Tavern


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