Hearing anything recorded by Nagasaki-based Guitar Wolf seems as if it might have been set to tape in the company of Tav Falco or the Cramps. Each of the Japanese band’s endless slew of records could be misunderstood as a thirty- or forty-year-old collection of lost one-off releases. Trucking purely in antiquated tropes, the ensemble isn’t concerned with how garage and rockabilly have been turned into plastic arts, becoming something closely associated with campy kitsch and cheeseball shirts with flames on ‘em.
Beginning its career with a few recordings that didn’t initially make it to the States, Guitar Wolf has been on what amounts to a fifteen-year world tour. Leaving the road every once in a while, the trio sets up shop and cranks out another handful of tunes most listeners would have a hard time discerning the epoch from which it sprung. With such a concise understanding of its work, losing a founding member, bassist Hideaki Sekiguchi, six years back hasn’t slowed the band. Of course, any trio remaining fenced in by conceptions of rock music set up by Hasil Adkins and his ilk, but with a healthful bit of Stones’ swagger added in, don’t have much need to sit around contemplating the direction of their work.
Granted, the door fee for the show this Thursday could just as well get you a copy of any “Back to Grave” compilation featuring ridiculously obscure garage acts. But in lieu of just listening to half-talented players emulate their heroes, you can watch leather-clad foreigners do roughly the same thing. You might even be able to get away with pretending everything’s a Link Wray cover. (Dave Cantor)
May 19 at the Bottom Lounge, 1375 West Lake, (312)666-6775, 11:30pm. $15.