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The careening crash of The Jesus Rehab

Sibling Band

The Jesus Rehab reminds of the Flaming Lips in the early ‘90s. Photo courtesy of Facebook

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It's a cliché, at this point, that there is no counting for taste. This much is true. Still, for many parents, out there, there is still the urge to mold the minds of their children, so that their musical taste may pass down through the generations. And so, we have Ramones baby T-shirts. Even so, children are unpredictable monsters, so your nudging of your kind toward your kind of music may ultimately blow up in your face.

Growing up, my parents played oldies for my older brother and me - compromise, I found out, of my father's taste for prog-rock and mother's taste for '70s soft rock. While I happily ate up most everything I heard on 97.3 KBSG, my brother found his way to death metal, black metal and all sorts of other metal that were a far scream away from the Four Seasons. Even in later years, as my tastes broadened, and I tried to show my brother "Helter Skelter" and the Pixies (because screaming?), there was nothing doing. Two brothers, raised in the same household, diverged at a musical fork.

This is what makes siblings like Jared and Dominic Cortese so fascinating to me: not only do they more or less share tastes in music, they solidify this bond by forming a two-piece band together, known as The Jesus Rehab. For the record, I didn't ask what the name is supposed to mean (a fact that Jared Cortese thanked me for at the end of our interview), but I think it's coincidentally helpful that the name casts my mind to the Flaming Lips' first masterpiece, In a Priest Driven Ambulance. The tough and melodic sound of that record sounds like a precursor to The Jesus Rehab's music.

"My brother and I have been playing music together, unofficially, for a long time," says guitarist Jared Cortese. "I moved to Seattle and started the band with a couple other people, and then around the second album that we did, the drummer started getting pulled away for other things. My brother came to Seattle to work with AmeriCorps, and I basically said, ‘We need a drummer to finish this record. You have to do it!' I didn't really give him a choice (laughs)."

Eventually, the other band members dropped off, leaving the duo of Jared and Dominic as the last remaining players in The Jesus Rehab. Even though the two of them have slightly varied tastes in music, they were able to gel into something surprisingly cohesive.

"I went to school for jazz, so I became interested in that side of popular music," says Jared. "Dominic went to school in the South, so they had a whole different set of pop-rock that was being played down there, kind of jam band stuff. So, he was getting into that. ... Becoming a two-piece ended up being really smooth and easy. I think that a lot of it had to do with becoming a band where everyone was on the same page - not necessarily musically, because that can create some really cool things - but as far as what you're definition of being a musician is, and what your goals are. Dom and I are on the same page."

Their most recent LP, The Zoo At Night, is described by them as being about "mind-reading lizards, chubby 10-year-olds and what its like to grow up in a world where no one is as they seem" - a fanciful and emotional description that, along with the heavy guitars and crashing drums, reminds once again of the Flaming Lips of the early '90s. For a two-piece, the Cortese brothers do an admirable job of creating an enormous sound that bounces and skips when it's not slashing and burning. The nimbleness of their minimalist setup means that the Jesus Rehab are free to careen anyplace, anytime.

THE JESUS REHAB, w/ Back From Hiatus, Terrapin, Trevor Peach, 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 11, The New Frontier Lounge, 310 E. 25th St., Tacoma, $5, 253.572.4020

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