Saturday, March 28, 2015

New Music: Solar Cat

This week's new music is from Charlotte hard rock duo Solar Cat who celebrates its "Tales From the Savage Land" EP release Saturday during the late show at Evening Muse.

What's so interesting to me about Solar Cat is as much about what the band is not as what it is. Chris Rigo spent a decade playing guitar for Sugar Glyder, a band that wrote ambitious, layered pop-rock arrangements that balanced hooks and complexity and would have sounded at home in an arena. With quick, riff-anchored psychedelic songs about comic books, fantasy, and dinosaurs, Solar Cat sounds nothing like Sugar Glyder.

As Rigo's girlfriend Sara English bashes away on the drums with purpose, Rigo shifts from thick stoner rock riffing to more hurried passages and flashier guitar work (which comes as no surprise) while demonstrating a knack for a classic psychedelic stoner rock style of singing that places Solar Cat in league with bands like NC's ASG (one of the most underrated acts in the genre by the way). It's like hearing a whole different musician.

What's more, Solar Cat sounds like its having a blast ripping through tracks like "Weather Witch" and "Ter-O-Dac-Tal Man" (my four year old's favorites, by the way). But it's got more than one color too as illustrated on the slower (but not weaker) track "Kazar and Zabu."

The pop and punk shows up on "Mister S" and "She Devil." The former sounds like a superhero anthem that aspires to really catchy `80s college radio hitdom - a bit like Tom Petty meets one of R.E.M.s early lesser known contemporaries.

You can check it out and download the entire EP here. Solar Cat is also part of our online video series this week. You can watch the trippy clip for "Weather Witch" here.

Saturday's show starts at 10:30 p.m. The Business People, Del Rio, and the Body Bags round out the bill. Admission is $5 to $7.