By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
POPPY LIKE A PIT BULL
Plotting Totimoshi's sludge takes some sort of algebra—vectors along punk and metal axes—and still it's not quite right. Better to go zoological: singer/guitarist Antonio Aguilar says the band is a pit bull. But not one of those tortured and trained tough-guy accessory pit bulls; instead, like the two cute dogs he and wife/bassist Meg Castellanos have at home, it "sounds like it's rough, but inside, it's sweet, delicate and beautiful," he says. Along with drummer Tyler Cox, Totimoshi oozes mountain-leveling magma rock that should take 20 able bodies to produce (but doesn't, thanks to the miracle of guitar amplification!), and beneath the layers of continental riffs are a strong pop sensibility and oddly optimistic lyrics. "I would say we're incredibly positive," says Aguilar. "The lyrics tend to be sort of dark, and they stem from a lot of anger, but they're from a positive perspective." Take the band's most recent album, Monolí: Aguilar's father had recently passed away, so most of the album was a poetic examination of death, dedicated to the memory of Aguilar's father. Not morbid, not simple, not angry, not perky—and so not easy to figure out. Yeah, says Aguilar: "We're neither punk nor metal. We're somewhere in between the two, kind of on the fringes of both of them. The problem that we've had with our existence so far is that we're neither." (Rex Reason)
TOTIMOSHI WITH HIGH ON FIRE AND NEBULA AT ALEX'S BAR, 2913 ANAHEIM ST., (562) 434-8292. FRI. CALL FOR TIME. $10. 21+.
STIFF LITTLE FINGERS
In the crevice between Black Flag and the Adolescents, there's the wicked Channel 3; the glorious Tuff Darts get left out where the Ramones and New York Dolls get the nod; and while both the Jam and the Clash were incredible and groundbreaking, isn't about time Stiff Little Fingers get a little due, too? This Belfast outfit welded political lyrics and a street-level oi sensibility onto a powder keg of sharp guitars, firing the bombs and gunfights of Northern Ireland right into punk's spotlight. Writers and rockers took the easy cues, slotting the raspy howl of singer Jake Burns and the band's potent political stance alongside Joe Strummer and his London outfit as "the Irish Clash." Their 1979 classic Infammable Material is one of punk's prime debuts, buoyed by era anthem "Alternative Ulster," but 1980's Nobody's Heroes includes perhaps the band's finest moment—the rousing rant "Tin Soldiers." And just about 25 years later, Stiff Little Fingers still hasn't turned into a time capsule: when Burns reformed the band in 1987, he enlisted lauded bassist Bruce Foxton (from the aforementioned Jam) and hasn't slowed down since. More than a dozen live records and snapshot powerhouse shows defuse the touchy issue of growing old with still-strong punk passion and vitriol. We've seen it ourselves: Burns, Foxton and company are flawless. (Donny Kutzbach)
STIFF LITTLE FINGERS WITH THROWRAG AND THE GOD AWFULS AT THE GALAXY CONCERT THEATRE, 3503 S. HARBOR BLVD., SANTA ANA, (714) 957-0600. SAT., 8 P.M. $17.50. ALL AGES.
THE HELIO SEQUENCE
Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel—filing jointly as the Helio Sequence—aren't ones to let expectation derail evolution. The duo, bolstered live by a laptop computer known as "Chip"—first won some notice for the audio acid trips on their first two albums, Com Plex and Young Effectuals, as self-taught (and self-described) recording geeks piling layer upon layer of keyboards, guitars and drums (and a vast constellation of bloop- and bleep-ery) into ultra-dense electro/ indie/pop. Three years later (after drummer/keyboardist Weikel spent a year playing drums in both the Helio Sequence and touring partners Modest Mouse), they've released Love and Distance, a straight pop record with a sparser sonic backdrop. Guitarist/vocalist Summers explains, "We didn't want to make another wall of sound. As time goes on, you kind of change. For Young Effectuals, we were three or four years younger, working at a music store. This record was totally different. We had quit our jobs; we were pretty much on the road all the time. It kinda changes your outlook on things." They navigate the band on feel alone, Summers says, all the way down to the colors they used on the cover: "We did a bunch of different color treatments to match it up with what the music feels like," he says. "It ended up being the colors of Benjamin's favorite socks. So it just ended up working." (Rex Reason)
HELIO SEQUENCE WITH GOLDENBOY AND MATT SHARP AT THE GLASS HOUSE, 200 W. SECOND ST., POMONA, (909) 629-0377. SAT., 7:30 P.M. $10. ALL AGES.