Once considered a gimmick or fad, two piece rock 'n' roll bands featuring guitar and drums are here to stay. I can certainly see the attraction; fewer band members to navigate schedules around, less gear to hump and fewer egos to stroke all come to mind as distinct advantages. The downside is that the format can be somewhat limiting given the shortage of instrumentation. But Lozen more than manages to overcome that gotcha.
The Tacoma, Wash., band should be familiar to Missoula rock aficionados. They've been here for Total Fest, and singer/guitar player Hozoji Matheson-Margullis has been in town multiple times as the drummer for bashers Helms Alee. With Lozen, Matheson-Margullis is backed up by drummer Justine Maria Valdez. Besides solid chops on the kit, Valdez lends strong backup vocals to Matheson-Margullis' throaty wail on the band's 2012 Para Vida and the two create a shimmer of harmony—in "Le Dragon," for example—that provides an excellent contrast to the otherwise heavy music.
Lozen isn't all sludgy riffage, though that sound—notably in "Clay Cliffs" and "WAQ"is probably what most defines them. "Menos Mal" is another vocal showcase, with a guitar line that backs up the south-of-the-border stylings. Finally, record closer "Dig Deep," with the drums carrying the track under vocal howling, appears to be a nod to the band's inspiration, Lozen, a Chiricahua Apache warrior and prophetess who, though out-shined in history books by her brother Victorio, kicked a whole lot of ass of her own. That's good stuff.
Weird Missoula presents Lozen at the VFW Sun., July 6, at 9 PM with QUI, Shraman and Fuuls. $5.