Are You Too Late for the Trend?
28 Local Greats

(Yorba Linda) Yorba Linda hotshots Play Pretty for Baby nail your ass to the wall with leftist politics filtered through punk vitriol, rock swagger and fizzy Motown skronk. They're tight, stylish, saucy and whip-smart—like an amalgamation of the Dischord roster, from which they steal liberally (Plays Pretty for Baby is a Nation of Ulysses album name). With a powder keg live show and an equally explosive self-titled EP, Play Pretty for Baby are one of a small handful of local bands who manage to pull politics into the mix without coming off like hectoring blowhards. "We never wanted to be an overtly political band. No one's preaching. If anything, we're just about 'let's not kill people we don't know for no reason,'" says guitarist Brian Murray. Well, he's no fun! WHEN YOU CAN SEE THEM NEXT: the band is hitting the road in July. WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: self-titled EP on Agency Records; HOW TO GET A HOLD OF THEM:; or call Ben at (949) 413-2297. (Alison M. Rosen)
The Blank Tapes

(Newport Beach) The Blank Tapes are essentially a one-man show operated by the ambitious Matt Adams. No kidding, either. Take his CD, Country Western Honky Tonk Saloon Blues, a 24-song, 80-minute epic (a two-record set, were these still the days of good ol' vinyl) on which Adams handles everything from writing to playing, minus a few guest spots from assorted friends, family and local semi-celebs (yes, that would be Alan Siegel—a.k.a. Tex Twil's Barry Diamond—bleating away there on a saxophone). It's a strange yet scrumptious blend of acoustic-guitar art meanderings, part travelogue, part campfire cookout, part intoxicated love sonnet and part late-night hoot, something that sounds like Beck, Jack Johnson, Frank Black, Jeff Tweedy and Ray Davies got together one night, smoked a ton of pot and rerecorded the Grateful Dead's American Beauty album. A pretty major accomplishment from a guy who's mostly strumming just a six-string the entire time, but it gets even better because Matt isn't one of those types who sacrifices crafty lyric scribbling at the expense of musicianship. The opening track, "Newport Beach," is a funny, if stereotypical, dig at people who live there; "I'm Looking for Love" is a smart tale about shtupping married ladies as their husbands come crashing through the front door that has the feel of autobiography; and the entire CD is pockmarked with break-your-heart stunners. His gigs are an informal romp, too, about as laid-back a musical environment as we've seen in OC short of living-room gigs, with harmonicas and banjo solos and fingersnaps keeping the beat. WHEN YOU CAN SEE THEM NEXT: check the current show listing at Matt Adams' website, WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: their lone CD; another one coming this summer, if it's not done already. HOW YOU CAN GET A HOLD OF THEM: (Rich Kane)SENSITIVE SIDE

(Laguna Beach) "We should start a gay white power band as a joke": if there's a greater band origin in music history, we've never heard it. While the Sensitive Side (or the SS—get it?) never took the joke further than pink arm bands at a party, things could only get better from there—or worse, depending on your perspective. Singer Austin Translation still describes their music as "faux fascist music with a homoerotic twist," but the band's new New Wave is more like Clash songs played by Devo channeling the Angry Samoans: strangled guitar lines, squalling 1983-style keyboards and Translation spewing his best punk rock snotballs, and it's all still catchy as hell. It may be too frantic for the wavers and too keyboard-y for the punks, but when the racialists finally come out of the closet, they'll have their soundtrack waiting for them. WHEN YOU CAN SEE THEM NEXT: at the Loft, Santa Ana. First week of July. WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: forthcoming seven-inch on Vinyl Dog Records. HOW YOU CAN GET A HOLD OF THEM: (Rex Reason)60 WATT KID

(Costa Mesa) When he's not busy stealing light bulbs from communal laundry facilities at nearby apartment complexes—hence the name? The 60 Watt Kid?—Dance Disaster Movement's Kevin Litrow is on a one-man mission to save the world with good old folk-rock. Except that Litrow still plugs away at synthesizer loops like in Dance Disaster, as well as simultaneously tapping at his samplers, strumming his acoustic guitar, blowing his harmonica and even finding time to sing like a young Dylan obsessed with Matmos records. Talk about overextending yourself: he's not even ambidextrous! "Mainly," he says, "what drives this music is the political outlook on what's going on in this country right at this very moment." It's a simple but honest answer, but coming from Litrow, it's a bit of a shock. On most nights, he's busy commanding legions of white-belted hipsters to shake it till they break it, but with 60 Watt Kid, it's an entirely different beast. Instead of Dance Disaster Movement's breakdancing contests and disco beats, says Litrow, "it would be nice to make people go home thinking or feeling some sort of emotional contact within themselves." WHEN YOU CAN SEE HIM NEXT: beats us. WHERE YOU CAN HEAR HIM: unless you plan on knocking down his front door and poking away at his analog Tascam 8-Track, you probably won't be able to listen to 60 Watt Kid just yet. But don't fret—he's starting to weigh his label options. HOW YOU CAN GET A HOLD OF HIM: Did Nick Drake have a website? Send your blues to (Mehran Azma)TECK ANOTHER

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