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(the) Control Group

In 1999, (the) Control Group rose from the smoldering ashes of the Pittsburgh bands Human Investment (featuring Pressgang guitarist Dan Goldberg and Davenport/Vehicle Flips drummer Tim Williams) and Secret Weapon (multi-instrumentalist Justin Rathell and bassist Adam Hinterlang). The result of their collaboration is a frantic combination of scattered rhythms, creative instrumentation (saxophone and synthesizer), punk rock aesthetics, and a wacky sense of humor.

Each of the band's live shows is based around a theme (i.e. suit night, facial hair night, head injury night, etc.), and the audience is encouraged to participate in the shenanigans. The music is too tough to be called a "schtick," however. By picking apart their favorite styles of music (hardcore, '80s metal, prog rock, '60s soul, and plenty of No Wave), (the) Control Group has managed to create a sound that is both thoroughly familiar and impossible to neatly categorize.

Humiliator, the group's debut recording, combines the hard-working rhythm aesthetic of the Minutemen, the complex musical flourishes of Yes, the new wave glitz of Adam And The Ants, and most of all, a large dose of abrasive, hook-filled guitar histrionics like Trenchmouth or the Contortions. Lyrically, the band is political but never preachy, commenting on social cliques, labor practices, and the state of the lives they live.

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