In most of today's art-rock bands, the emphasis is on rock, not art. On the other hand, the members of Twisted Teenage Plot are better known for their work on canvas than their encounters with vinyl. Joseph White, Michael Clark, Judith Watkins, Kevin Macdonald and Robin Rose, all recognized Washington artists, are more often seen at openings than as opening acts. On Thursday they'll mix things up at Herb's Restaurant as they celebrate the release of their debut single, "Oil in the Soil" (described as a "neo-psychedelic geopolitical rap mantra") and "Elephants Stomping on My Head" ("a biting arts/politics allegory set in an expressionist musical landscape").
The single was produced by Robert Goldstein, a bona fide musician, and with Rose, a former member of the Urban Verbs, one of Washington's first new-wave bands.
The Plot has been hatching over the past three years at sundry show openings. "There's a lot of potential there," says Goldstein. "In a sense, they are the ultimate art-rock band; certainly no one can question their credentials. It's a question of what level they want to commit themselves to this. When one of them makes a painting, they just make it -- they don't know what's going to happen afterwards. They're compelled to do it. In that sense there's a connection between their art and their music, a question of attitude and how that carries over to this thing they're doing with instruments."
Especially if they confuse being in focus with being in tune.