By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
FROM NOTEWORTHY TO LEGENDARY
Contemporary rap dates about as well as grandma's shag carpet. Even if you don't know the beat you're hearing, it's easy enough to distinguish, say, a circa-'98 West Coast groove from one that came out just a year later. So how much sense does the following scenario make: An MC's first album hardly caused a ripple commercially, but he's now rereleasing it almost a decade later? Because that's Aceyalone, who garnered marginal popularity in the mid-'90s with the thought-provoking Freestyle Fellowship but left the group to concentrate on his major-label debut, All Balls Don't Bounce. Sales didn't match the critical acclaim of this socially conscious, jazz-tinged (and notably anti-mainstream) piece, and he was consequently dropped. But a few more under-the-radar albums later, and Acey's status has gone from "noteworthy" to "legendary" among both his peers and fans. Armed with a new crew and the label he co-owns (Project Blowed), Aceyalone's big-time reemergence appears imminent. His current outfit is Haiku D'etat, a crew that combines the talents of another former Freestyle Fellowshipper, Mikah 9, with standout solo artist Abstract Rude. They released their first self-titled album back in 2000; continued their solo careers; and came back together for this month's release, Coup de Theatre. This release also combines ghetto poetry with hard-hitting, organic grooves that transcend the bounds of mainstream rap's all-too-temporary trends. So back to the question--why is Aceyalone re-releasing his first record? Maybe he knows better than the rest of us that quality has no expiration date. (Mark Sanders)
THE ROLLING BLACKOUTS
IT'S THE GUITAR TONE TALKING
Above everything else, Black Is Beautiful is a slimy Penthouse letter to tube-amp guitar tone, with warm-to-the-touch chords piled so thick and clear and heavy they really do qualify as "riffs" (that's an overused term, son, but the Blackouts do got riffs), which would be a nice tip-of-the-shag-cut to Andrew W.K.'s obsessive overdubbing, except the Blackouts built all their guitar tracks basically on what God gave 'em in one take, and except W.K.'s I-love-you-for-what-you-are feel-good-ism drops off the Blackout's agenda as soon as they get the girls to follow them backstage (did that sound sleazy? I'm sorry; it's the guitar tone talking). Like the man says, "Met her in a school yard/skippin' hopscotch/suckin' on a lollipop!" Then a Led Zeppelin break and woooo, sure, I'll give you a lift, baby--you like them leather seats? But they don't just schmooze; they critique, too! "Soiled souls, bad tans, frivolous taste--got you wastin' a-a-a-a-all your precious time!" says singer Danny on "Loophole Blues," one of about three songs mined from the last 45 seconds of "My Generation" and one of those songs you get for the girl who's got everything, particularly if everything she's got is sparkling with that '70s coke-and-porno gloss, which will match perfectly with anything the Blackouts wanna throw at/on/to her. Also: second-album Blue Cheer. Anyway, a lot of bands throw around that we-rock-like-a-wizard-riding-a-winged-unicorn-past-Saturn's-rings shit, but these Blackouts, man, I can hear those big white wings a-flappin' behind my back. Maybe it's all the spray-paint fumes I've been inhaling, but whatever--the side of the van's gonna look great, and that's what really matters here. (Chris Ziegler)
THE ROLLING BLACKOUTS WITH FU MANCHU AT DETROIT BAR, 843 W. 19TH ST., COSTA MESA, (949) 642-0600. THURS., OCT. 21, 9 P.M. $10. 21+.
HURRY UP AND WAIT
It's taken a while for the Start to get started. The OC band recorded their debut, Shakedown, about five years ago, and since then, the label that intended to release it folded. Confident they had a good thing going, however, the band (Aimee Echo sings, Jamie Miller plays guitars and keys, Erick Sanger plays bass, and Billy Brimblecom Jr. played drums) soldiered on, releasing the brilliant EP Death Via Satellite on their own and hitting the road. They're a jumpy modern-rock version of the Cars, fusing poppy guitar riffs with airy electro keys and Echo's strident vocals (some might remember her from her former rock band, Human Waste Project). She's kind of like a California version of Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O, but with long, skunked blond and black hair and a little less of the eye-straining, space-inspired fashion. Their most-recent discs—Initiation and Death by Satellite—have now been released by Nitro Records, and Adrian Young of No Doubt will be adding star power and drumming skills to a few of their live dates (including their upcoming Chain Reaction show). Not a bad way to start, even if it is five years late. (Michael Coyle)
THE START WITH THE COLOUR, ACTION ACTION AND THE COLOR TURNING AT CHAIN REACTION, 1652 W. LINCOLN AVE., ANAHEIM, (714) 635-6067. SUN., 7:30 P.M. $8. ALL AGES.
EAGLES OF DEATH METAL
DEATH BY SEXY
Jesse "The Devil" Hughes talks in bursts like the tweaker he says he's been. His speech is full of asides about boogie pirates and his mustache, about feeling a little bit hot and a little bit sticky, about his collection of fan-made capes and the nubile lasses who've become addicted to his band's brand of simple bathtub-brewed dance rock: "I have to fight them off, and then I have to deal with their boyfriends," he reveals with a queer kind of laugh. But this deep-desert denizen is having a grand old time exposing his credo of "death by sexy" through his band the Eagles of Death Metal, who sound nothing like the Eagles or death metal. "Our definition of death metal goes beyond the origin of the [genre]," Hughes explains. "We do everything to make Little Richard proud. Little Richard was the best death-metal band. He was a fuckin' dude wearing pink, singing about 'Be-Bop-a-Lula', so they were burning records and hiding the men, the women and the children. He scared the fuckin' world when he shook his dick on the Ed Sullivan show. That's death metal. A bunch of dudes who have bad relationships with their mother, wearing kabuki makeup and singing like cookie monster--that's not that scary anymore." He jokes about riding drummer Josh Homme's (Queens of the Stone Age) coattails, but says Eagles of Death Metal have soared above those beginnings: "[We're] the badasses of dance rock with the ultimate mustaches. Death by sexy--who wouldn't want to be a part of that?" (Michael Coyle)
EAGLES OF DEATH METAL WITH BULLETS AND OCTANE AT ALEX'S BAR, 2913 E. ANAHEIM ST., LONG BEACH, (562) 434-8292. THURS., OCT. 21, 8 P.M. $10. 21+.