by Ryan Snyder

Upcoming shows you should check out


For the greater part of the 2000s, a couple of Matts reigned in the guitar blues scene in the Triad. Matt Hill carved out a following with a sound dug out of Chicago blues and the nothing-is-prohibited flamboyance of Johnny “Guitar” Watson that took him on tour of Europe. Matt Walsh, on the other hand, was at the time the yin to his yang, a darker, statuesque presence hidden behind shades and shaggy hair who yielded rawer, guarded tones. His music education was as likely to have come from Ron Asheton as it was Hound Dog Taylor. In the rare occasion they performed alongside one another, it was Walsh’s resonant bark that put him at forefront. While Hill has gone on to promising things nationally as a sideman and often ostentatious foil to his wife, the eminently talented blues-soul singer Nikki Hill, Walsh has kept it closer to home. Walsh later met drummer Austin Hicks and in 2012, the two formed a musical partnership that would overcome the inevitable creative dead ends that come with being a blues musician in 2014. The Low Counts released their self-titled debut album in March, which revels in grimy tones and heavyhanded rhythm, but rendered as loud and lucid as possible. The common thread between its 10 tracks are the filthy backwash of reverb and fuzz, its lyrics exploring love, loss and booze in near-equal portions, but the delineating element is Hicks’ drumming. At one extreme, his violent kicks doubled with Walsh’s stuttered guitar imbue “Keep On Worrying” with an ineffaceable sense of danger. On the other, his discreet approach to the open spaces in the roiling “Cut way for the album’s best jam. The Low Counts will play the closing set toHopfest this Saturday at Greene Street Club at 11 p.m. as part of a bill thatincludes Stephen Murray of Holy Ghost Tent Revival, the Heritage, the OldOne-Two, and DJ sets by Matt Irie, DJ Bonzani, and 50 Foot Shadows. Admissionis $5.


Listening to the 2013 debut EP from Greensboro post rock group Black Squares / White Islands, Designer Drugs, was a categorically head-spinning experience. Like their closest approximation, Don Caballero, their all-instrumental pieces made frequent use of looped guitar phrases and volatile time (Late signatures Show) to create a hefty compositions, both sonically and cerebrally. There wasn’t a style or pattern they weren’t willing to give a go, but the result was closer to World-Class Listening Problem than What Burns Never Returns, trading musicianship for intuitiveness at 75 cents on the dollar. There was a schism between it trying to be both a danceable post-rock record and an eye-glazing technical feat, but Black Squares / White Islands’ forthcoming self-titled release, due out this week, mostly rectifies that. While it still favors a constant state of melodic mutation “” at times channeling Jaga Jazzist-style baroque funk and the urgency of Maserati in the same track “” the common thread of most of the album’s eight tracks is a keen sense of rhythm, typically in 4/4, but not married to it. When it does veer away, it pushes the irregular stuff to it’s logical conclusion and doubles back quickly enough that it will not just keep your feet moving, but your mind as well. Black Squares / White Islands will release their new album at New York Pizza on Friday at 8 p.m. with support from Black Santa and Xelos Verv, a new project from Owen Burd and Codeseven vocalist Jeff Jenkins. Cover is $5. !