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Scuzzy Blues-Punk Band Returns To Hemlock

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 comes back to the Hemlock Tavern this Saturday night, playing it's first show at the venue with new drummer Warren Heugel. Musk are joined by equally noisy electro-industrial minimalists the Tunnel (who last year added Porch drummer Michael Jacobs as a third member) and Cutlass, a new band featuring singer Bob McDonald and bassist/guitarist Andy Oglesby of sadly defunct punk veterans Hank IV with Acid King/Altamont drummer Joey Osbourne and ex-Lost Goat guitarist Eric Peterson that is playing its first show ever.

Musk with The Tunnel and Cutlass
Saturday, Feb. 3, 9 p.m. $8
Hemlock Tavern

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