Noise to go

Pub date July 9, 2008
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

Load combo Monotract inspired immediate double — nay, triple — takes as it took the stage at the label’s South by Southwest showcase at Room 710 in Austin, Texas, last year. Noise impresario Carlos Griffoni and ace drummer Roger Rimada were missing in action due to a snowstorm, and the New York City band’s sole rep turned out to be guitarist-vocalist Nancy Garcia — flailing away on guitar with massive curls and girlish frock and evoking images of early punk women before the genre’s look, and sound, became codified. Alongside Garcia was an impromptu experimental-music supergroup incarnation of Monotract — Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore also on guitar, Burning Star Core’s C. Spencer Yeh on violin, and Magik Marker’s Pete Nolan on drums — generating a memorable, noise-fueled set only tangentially related to the genuine article’s powerful album that same year, Trueno Oscuro (Load). The fourth album by the band ended up drawing praise from both Pitchfork Media and The Wire for its loud-soft waves of epic distortion ("Red Tide"), no-wave-ish blurt ("Cafu y Kaka"), and electronic-groan tribal-chant ("Big N"), which saw Garcia memorably motor-mouthing toward the reverb-bristled finale.

Apparently Garcia is not only resourceful in a jam, but something of a triple, even quadruple, threat. The Miami, Fla., native of Cuban American descent has been working in dance, video, and visual art, in addition to music, since moving to NYC eight years ago, where she studied at the Merce Cunningham dance studio and recently received a master’s in interactive technology at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. And she’s traveled far —aesthetically and geographically — from her sun-baked teen years in Miami, listening to grunge on the radio and flailing at her guitar as part of Rat Bastard’s Laundry Room Squelchers.

Her first tour with the noise group at 18 led to some "permanent damage, for sure," she says with a chuckle, speaking by phone from NYC. "I was really young and in high school, so it was just really amazing that someone invited me to go on a stage and I could play whatever I wanted. Basically there was no judgment passed, ever."

A dancer since age six, Garcia began composing music and dance at around the same time, so it was natural that one medium informed the other. Garcia’s 2007 dance piece, No Keys, for instance, juxtaposed frugging and head-banging rock moves drawn from Tina Turner and Iggy Pop with lyrics from the Slits and John Holt, beneath one of the musician’s wall-size drawings. Another work, 2005’s localstwang, saw Garcia moving and making music simultaneously, using contact mics attached to effects pedals and amps. That sense of play will factor into Garcia’s Mission Creek show — a first for her as a solo live performer: it will involve guitar, oscillators, and perhaps other "random instruments in the space," she offers. "I like to stay sort of open. Oh, also some movement. It’s hard not to move when there’s music playing."


With Fishbeck/Duplantier, Jane(t) Pants, and Kunsole

Fri/18, 8 p.m., $5–<\d>$15 sliding scale

New Langton Arts

1246 Folsom, SF

(415) 626-5416