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Culture Warriors 

by JEFF ECHERT & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & hose who practice the ancient art of 8-bit rock are no slouches. Though their instrumentation may be arcane and odd, though they may straight-up drop Konami Code references in track names, they are not the slacker kings you may assume them to be. There is sophistication present in the genre, a complexity that belies the bleeps and pixels from whence it springs.

But Seattle's Truckasauras will have absolutely nothing to do with that. Screw your nerdy pretention. This is a band whose live show includes a videotape mashup of monster truck rallies, wrestling matches and wicked explosions. They come to the stage in full redneck regalia, sporting trucker hats and John Deere memorabilia. They will stare you down, size you up, and knock you sideways.

OK, so it's really more of something in between. Yes, they dress like rejects from a tractor pull, but they've assembled a collection of gear that rivals that of even the most hardcore audiophile. Truckasauras is not so much a performance as it is a spectacle -- four frantic knob-twiddlers rushing about on stage with an army of Roland drum machines, synthesizers, Commodore 64s and modded Gameboys. These are the vanguard troops in a console war long since over.

But the overall result is nothing less than sublime. For all the brouhaha around the live show, the music that results is worth some serious attention, resulting in their new album Tea Parties, Guns, and Valor. Like fellow 8-bitters the Advantage, they're firmly rooted in the video game tradition, with tracks like "Angels Sound Like Bottle Rockets" bringing to mind mid-stage platform jumping marathons. But the end result of the journey is IDM, that bastard child of minimalist techno that's given us Aphex Twin, Autechre and other fractured geniuses. Take "Hold On," for example, which starts as an oddly skewed MC guest spot with DJ Collage. Halfway through the song, Collage drops out and all that's left is gently skittering static punctuated by the familiar sound of Mario collecting a few more coins. Nostalgia percolates.

Truckasauras clearly thrives on subverting stereotypes, on creating a unique spectacle in their live show, but mostly, they seem to thrive on creating an amalgam of musical genres that will simultaneously confuse the hell out of you and knock you flat on your ass.

Truckasauras plays with the Globes, Square Wail and more at Empyrean on Sept. 6, at 9 pm. $7. Call 838-9819
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