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Friday, Jan. 19, 2007



Isis and Boris

In the age of digital downloading, it's still possible to get people to buy CDs and records. You've just got to be smart about it.

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Isis (left) and Boris (right)

Over the last several years, Los Angeles-based avant-garde metal act Isis have boosted their sales by offering extremely limited CDs and LPs. While the CDs are part of the band's ongoing "Live" series -- the most recent of which, "Live.04," quickly sold out last spring -- the LPs are copies and remixes of studio efforts printed on colored vinyl. Pressing only 1,000 copies or less has made each highly sought after by both fans and music collectors.

Selling a few thousand extra albums a year won't necessarily make them rich quick, but Isis have never rushed things. Formed in 1997, the quintet have spent the last decade carefully constructing their intricate, mammoth sound. What started as a crushing amalgamation of sludge metal and hardcore on 1998's "Mosquito Control" EP has morphed into a dynamic blend of hard rock and post-rock, as heard on last year's captivating "In The Absence Of Truth." Despite straying slightly from their metallic roots (Aaron Turner now sings more than he bellows), Isis haven't lost their intensity or technical edge. Their more expansive work has appealed to a larger audience and earned them an appearance on the White Stage at last summer's Fuji Rock and an opening slot on Tool's 2006 North American arena tour.

Performing with Isis on their upcoming Japanese dates are Boris. The Tokyo trio's fantastic 2005 album "Pink" was praised by influential Web site Pitchfork, among others, helping Boris to establish an underground following outside Japan for their Black Sabbath-inspired stoner metal and psychedelic rock. The band have put out music through several imprints in North America, including Turner's Hydra Head Records.

Isis and Boris play Jan. 29, 6:45 p.m. at Shibuya Club Quattro; Jan. 30, 6:45 p.m. at Nagoya Club Quattro; Jan. 31, 6:45 p.m. at Shinsaibashi Club Quattro, Osaka. All shows 5,800 yen in advance. For more information call (03) 3444-6751 or visit www.smash-jpn.com. House Of Low Culture (Aaron Turner from Isis solo) and MGR (Michael Gallagher from Isis solo) play Feb. 1, 7 p.m. at Shibuya O-Nest. For more information visit www.daymarerecordings.com.

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