Are You Too Late for the Trend?
28 Local Greats

(Westminster) Troubadours are a peso a million, but few weep with the same solitary vivacity and vision as Long Nguyen. Like the bards of yore, Nguyen arms himself only with a guitar (sometimes acoustic, sometimes electric, always plucky) to lament lost loves, broken hearts and . . . okay, so his subject matter doesn't vary, but who cares when you've got chops like his? His voice bobs like a dippy drinking bird, rising and lowering according to the demands of melancholy and wordplay, switching from gentle puns to pentametric rhyming schemes. And his chord progressions are as complex as a trigonometry problem and about two strings away from a Villalobos composition. The UCLA student croons mostly in English but does break out the occasional Vietnamese ballad to please the older generation. And our favorite Nguyen composition remains his bilingual ode to an unnamed beauty he once met on the bus—a woman who can become Little Saigon's Girl-in-the-White-T if someone ever discovers Nguyen. WHERE YOU CAN SEE HIM NEXT: every third Friday of the month as the resident musician for the One Mic Project, a Little Saigon open-mic night that's the county's first attempt at grouping bilingual, bicultural Vietnamese youth together. For more info on One Mic, contact Taylur Thu-Hien Ngo at WHERE YOU CAN HEAR HIM: self-titled 13-track demo, each song a little crystal of joy. HOW YOU CAN GET A HOLD OF HIM: (Gustavo Arellano)
Thee Indigents
Photo by Rick Bain

(Anaheim) Like a lungfish crawling from the primordial sea, eventually the beach punk sound that labels like Hostage Records and bands such as Smogtown and the Stitches became known for would have to creep inland. Enter Anaheim's Thee Indigents—well, Anaheim in general, but the "Sadlands" skatepark specifically. The entire band skates, including award-winning skater/drummer Dean Randall. "Without the Stitches, Smogtown and US Bombs, this band would never have started," says guitarist Lloyd Darwin Chase. But while those bands pogo immediately to mind, with Thee Indigents, there's a distinctive inland stink here, too. Singer Richard Salazar is Bowzer from Sha Na Na aping Jerry Lee's moves (minus the piano) and Bon Scott's yowl (set to 45 RPM), and Lloyd is all Chuck Berry duck walks, guitar runs and funny hats. The hooks are sharp, they've got handclaps everywhere, and there's even a song with a '50s teen-tragedy intro. "Chuck Berry is the THING to me," says Lloyd. Oh, and the two Es in thee? Not art or marketing—just a clever way to differentiate themselves from the OTHER Indigents in Ohio. WHEN YOU CAN SEE THEM NEXT: no upcoming gigs scheduled. WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: "Brain Dead World" b/w "Been Ripped Off" seven-inch on Hostage Records. HOW YOU CAN GET A HOLD OF THEM:;; (Rex Reason)OPERATOR

(Los Alamitos/Long Beach) It's 2004, and Operator just found out about 1979; good—because we're all tired of 1977. It's funny that this sort of machine-precision post-punk ("I love our name—it's about a person who doesn't act like a live being," says singer Charlie) could pop up this close to the beach bunnies, until you flash back on Middle Class, the last Crowd songs and the third T.S.O.L. album, and then it's just a relief—and a long time coming back. Operator's ex-members (guitarist Ed was in the Distraction, other guitarist Paul in Fifth Story Tenants, bassist Mike is in the Thingz, and drummer Jason had some crazy percussion project with Pat from the Alleged Gunmen) kick up a stiff-shouldered rockist racket, set off by flashy musicianship all round and arch gal vox by Charlie that fall in between Poly Styrene's fire drill and Dinah Cancer's reverbed death rattle. The tough songs are pre-Joy Division Warsaw, the tense ones are Pink Flag Wire, and the cute poppy ones—to be released later—were written by closet softie Mike. ("We aren't tough guys," says Charlie. "In fact, none of us have a single tattoo!") "Rome Burns" and "Real Nobody" are as edgy as an ephedrine enema but don't last nearly as long; Ed isn't sure if that's intentional or just a malfunctioning attention span. Either way, it's a nice attention getter, as well as a distinctive shtick: "New wave or 45 Grave?" asks Charlie. "None of the above!" WHEN YOU CAN SEE THEM NEXT: with the Checkers at the Thunderbird, 4657 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hollywood, (818) 766-4644. Fri.; with Minus Fashion at Prospector, 2400 E. Seventh St., Long Beach, (562) 438-3839. July 1; with the Checkers and Sick Fits (from Canada) at Prospector. July 24. WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: debut single on Unity Squad Records this summer; self-released demo out now. HOW YOU CAN GET A HOLD OF THEM:; (Chris Ziegler)
Doug Schmude

(Irvine) Schmude is a terribly good singer/songwriter who's spent his life ramblin' 'round—born in Louisiana, childhood divided between Oklahoma and Texas, craft honed on the sidewalks of Boulder and Nashville—and who as of right now is, inexplicably, making camp in Irvine. We sense he probably won't be here forever, though, so we must enjoy his eloquent acoustic and slide pickings (and those of his friends, who help pepper his tunes with beautiful mandolins, dobros and violins) while we can. Wandering is a major recurring theme in his songs, too—on his album A New Century, someone's always arriving or leaving or waiting for somebody to show up. Astutely observant, Schmude reflects a world where the days pass like freight trains; neighbors complain about loud steel guitars; gamblers stick around for one last hand; and tornadoes, floods and hurricanes rip up the lives of the guilty and the innocent. Like any self-respecting nomadic minstrel, he drops place names everywhere (Dallas! Memphis! Lawrenceburg, Kentucky!), and every so often, you can almost get a whiff of the stockyards, paper mills and dead skunks flanking the Interstate. Schmude has a great singing voice, a warm, beckoning tone he frequently carries just to the edge of hoarseness. When he chants the line "There is nothing so beautiful as an open road" at the end of "St. Julian," his homage to the patron saint of innkeepers, all you want to do is hook up with him and go along for the ride, no matter where he's heading. WHEN YOU CAN SEE HIM NEXT: dunno. WHERE YOU CAN HEAR HIM: download MP3s and buy his album off his website, HOW YOU CAN GET A HOLD OF HIM: (Rich Kane)THE PAPERPLANES

« Previous Page
Next Page »