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Are You Too Late for the Trend?
28 Local Greats

Saw this band the other night, and they killed us. Played some bar to four people, gummed the dew off a few beer bottles, and then they left like nothing had happened. Happened again at a house party. Different band popped every vacuum tube in the house, then sat out on the porch smoking while no one talked to them. And then again on some markered CDR. Broke the stereo so it won't play anything else. And then another band and another and another and—yeah, now we could call it a trend. And this isn't even all of them, but we scooped up a few. Some are so new you can still snip the price tags off their amps. Some have been around for a while but off our radar—no matter how many shows you play in San Pedro, OC Weekly (the O and C standing for Orange and County) cannot cover them—or under it. Some came out of nowhere, and we gotta convince them not to fuck up and go right back. And some just deserve to be here. Something to do every night; something to listen for when you're not doing anything. Show up late, but not too late.

EL CHIVO EXPIATORIO

(Fullerton) Ska and rock urbano are two of the least inventive genres in the Latin alternative galaxy. So why are we so loco, then, over El Chivo Expiatorio, a Fullerton-based outfit that sticks to those styles like hummus to a pita? Because all riffs lead to Chivo's front man, Jesús "El Pelos" Olvera, a staff writer for the fine Spanish-language rag Al Borde and the county's most tireless promoter of everything rock en español (not associated with JC Fandango). Sonic activism on Pelos' behalf is fine and all, but that doesn't necessarily put out the perky songs about Bush's foolish wars, the idiotic heart and alcoholism that get ska fests from Downey to Chicago chasing after the brothers-and-cousin Chivo trio. Nope, that schizoid-but-talented songwriting emanates from Pelos' blitzkrieg mind: one lobe switches tempos between ska's twitchy scratches and rock urbano's blues-based blasts faster than Rummy changes alibis, the other transforms every lyric into a sparkling opportunity for Spanish-language puns, the likes of which haven't been uttered since Tin-Tan. Add that to a stage presence more auctioneer than rock star, and El Chivo Expiatorio is la naranja's equivalent of a traveling carny show—minus the bearded lady and the World's Smallest Horse. WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM NEXT: not for a while. They're recording a full-length EP that they can pass out in concerts rather than the . . . WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: . . . fine self-produced demo they recorded last summer. HOW YOU CAN GET A HOLD OF THEM: jesus@alborde.com. (Gustavo Arellano)THE DISTRACTION

(Long Beach/Huntington Beach) It's been a long, ugly march toward pretend superstardom for the Distraction, but after three years of improbable misadventure—lineup changes! Passport irregularities! Lymph cancer!—these new wave snobs finally accomplished something they could pretend to not care about. With new singer/ex-mortician Hot Rod Todd and new drummer/ex-Auto Trader delivery boy Peter Pan Motherfucker augmenting usually blond guitarist the General and cheerful bassist Triple J with (says the General) a lot of welcome negative attitude, the Distraction started moving fast: where punk is all plod, the Distraction is instant action, barfing out 10 quick minutes of gutter new wave like last night's Wild Turkey, then adjusting their scarves and strutting out the back. That kids love them so much is a testament to just how unsalvageable the American family really is: the first 1,000 copies of their three-song Trouble at the V EP—the debut of the new lineup—sold out in, like, 48 hours, with some of the more intricately packaged versions going for unconscionable amounts on eBay. "A kid e-mailed me and said he bought two on a buy-it-now auction 10 minutes after it was posted for, like, $180," says the General. "I told him he was stupid!" WHEN YOU CAN SEE THEM NEXT: no shows scheduled this month; they're recording an LP. WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: Trouble at the V 12-inch EP on TKO Records; upcoming live DVD available at smarter record stores. HOW YOU CAN GET A HOLD OF THEM: www.thedistraction.com; you might also check the Yahoo! fan group dedicated to them. (Chris Ziegler)THE DAYS END

(Long Beach) Hard art rockers the Days End aren't the typical Southern California band, all the way down to their instrumental setup: two guitar-playing shouters and a drummer. You'd figure it's some sort of artistic statement; rather, as guitarist/singer Robert Sammelius explains, it's convenience. "Now the chemistry is there between us, so having to work in another person? I guess we're just too lazy to do that," he admits. "And we're control freaks, too." And while Southern California's fickle attention span seems to get shorter every year, Sammelius hopes tastes may again shift back to slow-mo guitars because, he says, "We're the ultimate guitar band." It's a sound more suited to the industrial climes of Chicago—Shellac and Don Caballero are obvious antecedents—with twin guitars that do heavy without being metallic and drums that never take the shortest route from A to B. To add to the "commercial appeal," vocals are usually an afterthought: "I kind of think of us as an instrumental band," says Sammelius, "with vocals." WHEN YOU CAN SEE THEM NEXT: at Alex's Bar, 2913 E. Anaheim St. (entrance in back), Long Beach, (562) 434-8292. June 26. WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: split seven-inch with the Manifolds on Shaman Records or their demo CD. HOW YOU CAN GET A HOLD OF THEM: thedaysend@yahoo.com; coming soon, thedaysend.com. (Rex Reason)DUSTY RHODES AND THE RIVER BAND

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