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The integration of dance music and monster ideology is something that Michael Jackson iconocized in 1983.  Now, as the death of the King of Pop is still slowly settling in, there is blossom of musicians blending dance beats with monstrous sounds and images and one may wonder if this is a response to the call to immortalize a legend.  Mishka NYC recently released a list of 113 musicians and groups that evidence what they are calling the “Grave Wave” movement in music. According to Mishka, “Grave Wave” is “a term used to describe the recent musical upswing of all things dark and deadly.” The list includes acts such as Cold Cave and Fever Ray, who produce music that is eerie and indisputably the descendent of New Wave.

The 3-piece outfit //TENSE//, which formed in Houston in 2006, are on the list. In addition to their contribution to “Grave Wave”, they are proof that we need to reconsider our Bush-era concepts of Texas culture (even outside of Austin)–maybe “Arizona is the new Texas” isn’t so far off. But politics aside, //TENSE// seems like a fitting band to show that “Grave Wave” is real.  On their Myspace page, //TENSE// states that the band “was born with dreams of resurrecting the forgotten Wax Trax! sound” and, when prompted to describe what their music sounds like, they’ve written “slightly melodramatic robots singing the blues to themselves.”

There is something inherently ghoulish about their sound: there is a profusion of electronically-manipulated groans and the percussive sounds often bring to mind images of steam bursting out of a pipe. At the same time, //TENSE// exhibits a expertise in producing dance beats. If this is the music of zombies, these zombies know how to move their feet.

Those in New York have the opportunity to see //TENSE// perform live at the Pendu Disco One Year Anniversary Party at the Secret Project Robot in Williamsburg on Thursday, January 27 at 9pm ($10).

Article by: Weston Clay

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