When someone calls your band “experimental,” it’s not necessarily a compliment. It’s more like they didn’t know what the hell else to call you. When hearing your songs, their musical knowledge was most likely stretched to the breaking point, trying to make connections to other artists, genres, and bits of info gleaned from pulpy zines strewn about a sweat-soaked Gilman floor after a hardcore punk show. It’s like attempting to cling onto an iceberg with your bare hands.

San Francisco-based trio Impuritan are certainly “experimental,” but their sources of inspiration aren’t so obscure that you won’t be able to recognize at least a sliver of their musical allusions. Their latest LP Make It Look Like Nothing Happened is full of varied influences — ’70s psych rock, ’80s post-punk, doom metal, shadowy electronica, stoner sludge, hypnotic seances — and the experimental quality comes from blending these diverse and disorienting genres together, creating something that, yes, is hard to describe, hard to pin a label on, and hard to articulate to those unfamiliar with the dark heart of rock n’ roll. That’s how we end up with “experimental.”

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=3656314236 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

Maybe some will hear traces of Swans or the ghosts of largely forgotten prog-rockers like Atomic Rooster and Gong in the included music. That recognition, however, won’t help you ward off the creeping chill you’ll feel when listening to “Sun Goblins,” or halt the impending dread of “Monster Acolyte,” or mitigate the hallucinogenic effects of “Primeval Circles.” This is something without a tangible precedent. This is why the music is so compelling, so mystifying, and so terrifying in the way it takes you down a new sonic pathway yet never leads you back. If you want to get lost, Impuritan is the band to lose yourself to.

3 Leafs, Impuritan, IMA
Hemlock Tavern
September 10, 2015
8:30, $7 (21+)