The cello is generally renowned for its prettiness, but in Alison Chesley’s hands the sinuous instrument takes on bulldozer-like force. Classically trained, Chesley sets aside the concertos and sonatas under the name Helen Money, instead flexing her bow with the brute power and virtuosic velocity of a thrash guitarist. Recorded by Steve Albini, her latest album, Arriving Angels, evokes the severe minimalism of guitar-based modern composers like Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham. She’ll switch off the distortion pedals for a moment for the Steve Reich-like chamber resonance of a piece like “Midwestern Night’s Dream,” then pummel the ear alongside Neurosis drummer Jason Roeder on the harsh, relentless “Radio Recorders.” So, sure, the cello is pretty — but for Helen Money, it’s like a bruise in a lovely shade of purple.
Sat., March 23, 8 p.m., $10, with A Life Once Lost and Author and Punisher, Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., 215-291-4919, kungfunecktie.com.