Standing in the center of Metavinyl, the record mecca in Downtown Santa Cruz owned by drummer Jonathon Schneiderman, the first thing the four members of The Terrible tell me is that they’re not really much of a band. Qué? Friends who’ve been jamming for a decade, they don’t play shows very often (a handful this year) and they don’t really practice (“I’ll practice the day of the show onstage at the Blue Lagoon,” guitarist Nick Gyorkos laughs, referencing this week’s gig). Like a space rock vampire that emerges after long bouts of sleep to clench audiences with a piercing attack before retreating, the hard-driving quartet may not take itself seriously, but listeners do. Plus, lining the wall behind the guys is a big clue that begs to differ with their claim: a slew of copies of The Terrible’s new record, their brown cardboard sleeves screenprinted with art by Stacie Willoughby and neatly wrapped in plastic. There are 300 limited-edition prints of the record, with a 21-minute haze of throbbing psychedelic rock on each side ready to melt your player needle, and it’s the impetus behind The Terrible’s performance with Mammatus and Indian Giver at 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1 at The Blue Lagoon. Just like offstage, The Terrible is all about improv and intuition onstage. “We just know each other so well that we can tell what each person is going to do next on his instrument,” bassist Nate Goodman explains as he takes a swig out of Gyorkos’ Negro Modelo. Sharing is caring. Gyorkos adds that “Jon has a lot of control as the drummer, but we can fight him.” He smirks. “Sometimes it’s like a battle.” The result of said battle is an instrumental wall of sound that Schneiderman calls “urban distress.” And it requires a city infrastructure of amps. There’s also lots of homemade pedals, modified keyboards and, again, as synth keys maestro Scott Makson emphasizes, “it’s best when there is a one-to-one ratio of speakers to people.” Makson then sums up the band’s powerful dose of amorphous, searing stoner rock with a contrasting quiet admission. He says nonchalantly, “We just try to make air molecules do cool things.”
INFO: 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 423-7117. Theterriblethebandthewebsite.com.