"You ever been surprised before?" asks vocalist Gabe Chiarello, in his spoken intro to Sink Tapes' "The Soul is in the Kitchen." It's a ballsy challenge from alt-rockers who hone their sound from unsurprising elements - chugging Velvet Underground guitars (circa "We're Gonna Have a Real Good Time Together"), fuzzy dreamscapes via eccentric art rockers Lansing Dreiden, and Sonic Youth's distortion and chiming clangor. It's a recipe for the standard Sundance movie soundtrack, the alt-music bed under a montage depicting the entropy of a collapsing relationship. Against the odds, Sink Tapes' hazy, time-distorting tunes take hold. Propelled by pulsing, precise drums and distant vocals, these druggy songs enter that non-Euclidean space where melody and mood become entwined. With a feedback fog that's part Phil Spector, part My Bloody Valentine, it's all magnificently sloshy and aquatic. If this is crate-digger rock, at least it comes from a cool collection. Many indie rockers nod to Lou Reed and Mission of Burma, but how many cover '80s Danceteria faves Mode-IQ? Despite a few familiar ingredients, it's easy to get sucked into this recipe - and be surprised. With Lions to Lambs, The Orchidales. $5-$7. Jan. 5, 9 p.m. Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Road. 704-398-0472.
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