8/13: Halflings at the Grog Shop

The latest release from N.Y.C. power electro-duo Halflings is, perhaps tellingly, titled Self Esteem. Certainly, Jeremy Nissan and Ryan Woodhall are no strangers to noisy spells. As Halflings (and with Frank Ludovico as Yellow Tears), they’ve been at this for the better part of a decade. But Self Esteem is the first Halflings album that can be called a statement of purpose. What sets Halflings apart from Yellow Tears is personality — the forefronting of distressed, jeering vocals in the jagged, sample-swamping mix — and a mannered, gradualist approach to composition that suggests Nissan and Woodhall have carefully studied Wolf Eyes’ recent moves. Note how “Source” builds from silence to full-tilt chaos and how the bloodshot, curdled-rhythm beats of “Trigger Fixation” thump and grind into what sounds like a cross between an acid bath, a videogame fusillade and a chopped-and-screwed death-metal anthem. Halflings are part of Experimental Pizza Night with Peaking Lights, Uneven Universe, Wether and DJ Krauty McCrud. Showtime is 10 p.m. at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Hts., 216.321.5588). Admission is free. — Ray Cummings