Arizona's Destruction Unit plays the Hi-Tone next Wednesday night, returning to Memphis after a triumphant performance at Goner Fest 10 two years ago. Memphians may remember another Destruction Unit (featuring Jay Reatard and Alicja Trout) playing around town in the early 2000s, but founding member Ryan Rousseau took the moniker with him when he relocated to Arizona and reformed the band into a psychedelic powerhouse.
Destruction Unit now features members of the Ascetic House Collective, a group of individuals who mostly release cassette tapes and zines (all of which are available for free to those who are incarcerated) and might be slowly forming a nationwide cult of psychedelic psychos. While it's not mandatory to be on drugs to enjoy the noise created by Destruction Unit, I'm told it certainly helps.
One of the more interesting things about the band is how active their members are with other projects, despite Destruction Unit's grueling tour schedule. Drummer Michael Flores has a highly regarded electronic project called Jock Club, and guitarist Nick Nappa is in Marshstepper, a band whose live show incorporates performance art and can only be accurately described as insane. It makes sense then that when all these creative forces combine something special happens. And Destruction Unit is a group that knows how powerful they can be, with slogans like "The New American Heavy Underground" and "Destruction Unit: Better Than Food" proudly displayed on their merchandise. After releasing the highly regarded Deep Trip LP, the band took a short break to focus on some of the projects mentioned earlier, but with this upcoming tour and a new album that's currently in production, it seems as if Destruction Unit is ready to take the world by storm once again.