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The Hussy at the Hi-Tone Café

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A wild rock duo from Wisconsin, the Hussy have released three LPs, four cassettes, seven seven-inches, and a lone 10-inch over the past two years — all of which they engineered and produced themselves in their tiny Madison practice space. Each subsequent release has revealed new facets of the Hussy, new technical skills as well as sturdier musical chops, culminating in Pagan Hiss, released in May on Southpaw Records. It's a sharp blast of surprisingly sophisticated rock-and-roll: loud but austere, funny but never ironic, blunt yet nuanced. This band plays loud, blistering punk, which, especially during their live shows, achieves a sweaty physicality as Bobby Hussy flays his guitar and Heather Hussy pummels her drums. But underneath the noise lurks sharp hooks and emphatic lyrics about alienation, despair, bad blood, and good weed. The Hussy strike a fine balance between brute force and measured subtlety, mixing hardcore, surf rock, '60s pop, power pop, and even classic rock into a head-banging, arms-flailing, guitar-burning mix. It's hard to imagine just two people churning up this much noise, but it's even harder to imagine three or more musicians playing together with such intensity. The Hussy plays the Hi-Tone on Thursday, August 15th, with the Sheiks. Showtime is 9 p.m. Admission is $7.

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