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Local hardcore band Slices evolves from noise origins 

If you saw Slices play in 2004, you saw a pair of teen-agers twisting knobs and generating noise -- a far cry from the hardcore four-piece that plays under the moniker now. But John Kasunic, who founded the band along with brother Mike, doesn't see the changes as being all that dramatic.

"I don't feel like any [of the band's] stylistic shifts have been too extreme," he says. "It's always been aggressive and chaotic music. We still play some of the songs [we] played six years ago."

It's that stylistic depth that makes Slices one of the more interesting punk bands in town right now, and that led to the hookup with well-known Seattle duo Iron Lung, who released Slices' first full-length, Cruising, on Iron Lung Records. (The two bands will tour the West Coast together this summer.)

The transition from noise outfit to (mostly) straight-up punk band happened gradually. After the initial straight noise phase, Mike Kasunic took up drums and the shift toward a more rhythmic form began; John Kasunic had played guitar all along, albeit in an unconventional manner, using extended techniques and plenty of effects.

After some time off in 2005 and 2006, Slices began playing shows again with Mike Kasunic moving to bass and Mike Ovens joining the band on drums. Soon after, the band invited Greg Kamerdze to take care of vocals, "effectively stealing half of Warzone Womyn," the powerviolence band both were in at the time, John Kasunic notes. 

With each member currently or recently having a hand in another project -- in addition to Warzone Womyn, there's Brain Handle, Tusk Lord, Baby Bird, Rot Shit and others -- Slices, which began as a pair of young kids from the suburbs, could legitimately be called a local supergroup. 

Lyrically, Slices songs can be goofy. "They're usually about mundane scenes or actions I've witnessed that I think would be interesting or funny to associate with some melodramatic emotion and reaction," explains Kamerdze, the scribe. The result is songs like "Mike's Insane Problem" and "Laughing While Eating."

But the lighthearted silliness is offset by the boundary-defying sonic work that is Slices' signature. "Red Raft," the longest track on Cruising, employs a lot of the brutal, plodding dissonance of the noise-rock outfit of the past -- and serves as a reminder of the band's metamorphosis.

 

Slices, opening for Balaclavas. 10 p.m. Wed., April 21. Gooski's, 3117 Brereton St., Polish Hill. $5. 412-681-1658

click to enlarge Slices, by night - COURTESY OF MISSY WRIGHT
  • Courtesy of Missy Wright
  • Slices, by night

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