Seeing that guitarist Todd Rittmann of long-running Chicago freaks U.S. Maple is a member of D. Rider, it may not come as a surprise that the band fits snuggly under the “avant-garde” heading. What is surprising is that on Mother of Curses, D. Rider aren’t afraid to embrace at least some of the songwriting standards U.S. Maple have shunned over the years. The music is fragmented yet accessible, like David Bowie hooking up with a new school of art-gallery noisemakers. Opener “Arranged Marriage to No Toms” features an eerie mix of trippy guitars, blasts of static, ritualistic vocals and the squeak of dry-erase markers. The mad-scientist-rock continues on “Dew Claw, Don’t Claw” (which includes free-jazz horn blurts, spliced drum beats and broken-guitar ruptures) and “Dear Blocks,” which sounds like a sleazy first date between Cap’n Jazz and Cake. Album closer “Misery Whip” is the only track where the band runs out of ideas; a crunchy rock riff keeps the sluggish tune in the realm of mediocrity. It’s a strange burst of testosterone-driven modern-rock on an otherwise boundary-pushing album. D. Rider play Now That’s Class (11213 Detroit Ave., 216.221.8576, myspace.com/nowthatsclass) at 9 p.m. Reverend Deadeye, Home and Garden and Wifestriker open. Tickets: $5. — Whelihan
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