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Rumble seat

The video clips on Boxcar Satan’s new DVD collection No One at the Wheel are linked by footage of a car winding its way through desolate, after-hours San Antonio. The creeping sense of unease that these snippets create is akin to the feeling that Boxcar Satan’s music conveys, although a few bars of BS classics such as “Silent and Automatic” or “Ghost of a Chance” might also make you wonder if there’s a cold body stashed inside the trunk of that moving car.

Current choice

Boxcar Satan

DVD-release party
Fri, Apr 21
(Free admission)

Wiggle Room
2301 S. Presa

Boxcar Satan comes by its dark, dissonant spookiness honestly, and the same warped sense of quality control this trio applies to its musical offerings is in ample supply on the seven videos directed by Texas filmmaker Brant Bumpers. The band plays along with good humor and appropriate excess, and Bumpers keeps the settings and concepts unpredictable. For starters, there’s the railroad-track lunacy of “Calamity Jones”; the cool, black-and-white, cabaret ambience of the skronky, avant-jazz track “Best Be Gone”; and the carny freak-show malice of “Pig in a Dress.”

The rest of the DVD is composed of 10 songs from the group’s performance at Contemporary Art Month’s 2004 CAM Carnival. The band is in typically fine form here, playing an open-air show to a clutch of dedicated believers who savor every cryptic, throaty whisper from singer-guitarist Sanford Allen.

Boxcar Satan will celebrate the DVD’s release on April 21 with a screening at the Wiggle Room. Admission is free, and although the band won’t be playing, No One at the Wheel will see to it that everyone is sufficiently gorged on bluesy menace by the end of the night.

Gilbert Garcia

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