It's rare that we'll recommend something up in Baltimore, but Saturday's DNA Test Fest is worth the trip up 95 to Sonar. Last year's event was a two-day soiree at the Velvet Lounge, but this year, even though it's just one day, it features more bands. The lineup is impressive. Most of the bands tend toward the intense side of the spectrum, so experiencing more than a dozen in one night will be exhausting, but in a good way. As at the Sonic Circuits event, lovers of sticky choruses might find themselves out of place. There are some pop bands on the bill, but they approach things from a more off-center base. Home Blitz could be called slapdash, but it's more just overexcited, pop-savant stuff cloaked in an appropriate level of distortion. Some might say Neon Blud uses an inappropriate level of distortion, but the trio cooks up a wildly appealing garage-pop/sludge-rock combo. Lamps has a similarly overdriven take on pop, but you can hear the hooks buried in there if you listen hard enough. That's really just the beginning -- avant-noise trio Sightings, noise-rock monsters Pissed Jeans, indie brats Psychedelic Horse[expletive], garage-rock rippers Birds of Maya and many more will make your ears hurt so good.
-- David Malitz (March 2010)