“The loudest band in New York”? Them’s brawling -- or squalling -- words in some circles. A Place to Bury Strangers may have one of the more cumbersome names on the indie scene at the moment, but that fact doesn’t mean much when it comes to the clean bite and fury of the trio’s sound: heavy on the dark-wave shoegaze and deeply romantic in its own damaged way. Harking back to the pop abstraction of My Blood Valentine more than rusticated descendants like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, A Place to Bury Strangers strip it down further and take their noisome brand of indie rock to a fierce, melancholy place with its second album, Exploding Head (Mute).
Cheerful nihilists? One might assume that listening to the opener, “It Is Nothing,” until the siren sounds break in at the end. Tunes like “In Your Heart” mark A Place to Bury Strangers as Anglophiles enraptured with outfits like the Jesus and Mary Chain, Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, as well as 4AD bands of the past. Still, A Place to Bury Strangers puts its own twist to the screws and bolts of shoegaze and goth: “Keep Slipping Away” revs up the dour doings and rides a surge of brisk new energy, transported on the ecstatic waves of noise patented by fellow New Yorkers Sonic Youth. And by the time the listener reaches Exploding Head’s final burning dirge, “I Lived My Life to Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart,” the thorny walls of distortion clear to find songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist Oliver Ackermann working new, riveting wrinkles in those old recipes. Don’t be a stranger, APTBS.
"Missing You" from the band's 2007 self-titled debut.
A Place to Bury Strangers play Oct. 17, 9 p.m., at the Independent, 628 Divisadero, SF. These Are Powers, All the Saints and Geographer open. $12-$14. (415) 771-1422. www.theindependentsf.com