The Ex is the anarchist answer to Gang of Four’s Marxist-funk. The Dutch quartet formed in 1979 and infused radical politics with danceable punk in an effort to satisfy Emma Goldman’s condition: “If I can’t dance to it, it’s not my revolution.” Each of their 20 albums displays a gradual evolution of their cosmopolitan ethos as they unite African or Middle Eastern folk musics with stabbing post-punk precision. Always stretching their palette in order to resist patterns, in recent years they’ve worked with furious hornsmen from the free-jazz scene such as Ken Vandermark and Mats Gustafsson. For 2011’s Catch My Shoe, they returned to the studio with Steve Albini (Big Black, Shellac), who produced their last several records. The nine tracks are sparse, with clean-cut slabs of guitar and polyrhythmic momentum providing a vivid texture for Arnold de Boer’s militant musings. This is their first Philly appearance since 2006.
Sun, March 13. 8pm. $12. With DJ/rupture. First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St. 215.821.7575.
PW's Music Issue 2014