By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Photo by Tod SeelieROGERS SISTERS: START TO MOVE
Think about the Rogers Sisters when you're stuck in traffic: when you got all that impotent mechanized power idling underneath you, all that time to tap a backbeat on the steering wheel, all that time to think about what you could do if things would just . . . start . . . moving. "Fantasies are nnnnnnnnice! Ffffffffantasies . . . are nice!" vox/guitar Jen R. snaps on the new Three Fingers EP, the needle skipping around in her cadences, bassist Miyuki Furtado barking in the back that yeah, this is his brand new car, this is his kitchenette, and the vac tubes in their Fender heads pop like bubblegum at the checkout counter: "FANTASEE-EE-EE-EES!" They're a little tired of the Talking Heads comparisons—sorry, but Furtado sings so ultra-nervously you can hear his bug-eyes bounce into the boom mic—so maybe instead we'll try the Monks' uber-beat (from other Sister Laura), the Contortions' rigor mortis bass, Kate Pierson's kicky cuckoo vocals and . . . well, yeah, Talking Heads. It's record-collector music—you have the feeling the Rogers Sisters don't get out much (this chorus is about a freight elevator, this song is about fast-food restaurants, this song is about shopping at the supermarket, and it all sounds just right waiting at the red light), but that's probably because they're up in one of those tiny New York studios, listening to Irma Thompson (see Washburn's story, elsewhere in this section) and forgetting that right out the window is someone else's brick wall. But then again, the world's only as small as the song you want to write about it. "Even the walk from the house to the supermarket is an experience!" says Furtado. "I'm like a big sponge—I like absorbing everything I can!" (Chris Ziegler)Rogers Sisters perform with The Gossip and Dance Disaster Movement at 51 Buckingham, 296 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 629-0051; www.theglasshouse.us. Fri., 7:30 p.m. $10. All ages.
JAPANTHER:STILL LOVE THEIR PARENTS
Ian Vanek and Matt Reilly: the lo-fi punk band Japanther, two twentysomething teetotalers from Brooklyn, hopped-up on banana-and-peanut-butter sandwiches, smiling drunkenly (even if they're not intoxicated) through several loud encores, and, right now, sleeping really late. Vanek's on the phone from a squishy bed in a motel room in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, after a show in the kitchen of a Milwaukee squat called the Barely Legal House. The kids in attendance, most of them 18 and 19 years old, drank like full-grown sailors (his words), lit firecrackers, and stage-dived off the counters. That's Japanther's favorite show: young fans with no inhibitions, or grown-ups who act like it. Onstage (or on counter), Vanek, Reilly and summer playmate/vocalist Claudia Meza are a temper tantrum: sometimes they take off clothes, sometimes Meza sings into a telephone. When they first started playing almost three years ago, Reilly and Vanek thought their band's name and heavy-metal logo would do the marketing for them: "When you go to see a band with a tough logo and a tough name," says Vanek, "you already know they're tough as hell without even seeing them." But really, though, Vanek and Reilly are too precious to be tough. Their music—fast-paced punk songs about biking at night in the city and hanging out with your parents—is composed (and performed) in bedrooms, basements and the back yard. Vanek likes bedrooms the best: "You feel really safe there," he says. And, yeah—he still loves his parents. "So does Matt," he adds. "His mom bought us granola bars and water that we're still enjoying." (Angela Valdez)Japanther performs with the Lipstick Pickups and Le Joshua at Koo's, 530 E. Broadway, Long Beach. Mon., 7 p.m. $6. All ages.
THE THINGZ: DRAG YOU ONSTAGE
Thirty drunks, 30 first graders: the Thingz know there's no difference. Singer/guitarist Mike and singer/ bassist Kim both pay the bills as teachers, and even new drummer Pat Butterworth sees the similarities between being onstage and being in front of a classroom: "Some of them are going to pay attention, some of them aren't," Butterworth says. "Exactly," says Mike. But Kim's third graders know about the band and like them, just like those 30 drunks, and with the band's sooper-fun garage-punk songs ("Glad I'm Not a Mollusk"), it's easy to hear why. "It doesn't really take effort to enjoy what we're doing," says Mike. "It's not pretentious." The band released their first full length of Groovie Ghoulies-ish, Ramones-y punk earlier this year on Costa Mesa's Pelado Records, but now they feel like a different outfit altogether with Butterworth. Maybe it's Butterworth's cymbal-heavy style, but the Thingz have a bit more of a garage edge now—as well as a steady drummer. "I think the total count was something like 14 drummers if you count every single one," says Mike. "That includes people who we just sort of dragged onstage to play one show." "That's how Pat started," adds Kim. "Dragged onstage." (Rex Reason)The Thingz play with The Woods, the Shakes and the Sick Fits at Alex's Bar, 2913 E. Anaheim St. (entrance around the back), Long Beach, (562) 434-8292. Sun., 8 p.m. $3. 21+.