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Preview: Protomartyr 

The Detroit rockers play Gasa Gasa Feb. 24

click to enlarge music-protomartyr-by-zak-bratto3.jpg

Photo by Zak Bratto

Putting aside the questionable nexus of internet fan sites and judging books by their covers, Detroit rockers Protomartyr have inspired a minor miracle (for lovers of music and comedy, anyway): Joe Casey is the band's deadpan, 10-years-older-than-his-mates frontman, and he looks like "the guy who's always hanging out in any office building's copy room," "a Belgian lorry driver," "an alcoholic uncle," "a disgruntled middle manager after a cocaine breakfast" and "my loan officer on my condo." How does a "business casual Jeff Daniels" "about to do your taxes" end up leading the charge of 20-something post-punks on a Motor City march through the valley of the shadow of death? Skip straight to album three (The Agent Intellect, issued last year by Hardly Art), track 10 ("Why Does It Shake?"), for the spoiler. Over chalkboard-nailed guitar scrapes and circle-of-hell drums — all snare and tom, no cymbal — Casey schools anyone willing to listen on what perspective means when you are staring down 40, lost your father to heart failure and your mother to the fog of Alzheimer's, and have only one working outlet: "Sharp mind, eternal youth / I'll be the first to never die / Nice thought, and I'm never gonna lose it," he mono-intones before steering it headfirst into a cultish, bark-chant call and response ("Why does it shake? / The body, the body ... Why does it move? / The fear, the fear"). And just that quickly, a fashion-satire Tumblr blog feels like mass whistling past a graveyard. Spray Paint and Black Abba open. Tickets $10. — Noah Bonaparte Pais


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