Crash Course

Asteroid #4 speed toward your stereo

The members of Philadelphia space rock outfit Asteroid #4 never contemplated their band name until years later, when it started to become irritating. The conscious nod toward elder statesmen shoegazers Spacemen 3 was initially chosen in haste as the band scurried to release their first seven-inch, proudly influenced by the British rockers. Still, taking your name from Vesta, the brightest asteroid in the belt, isn't such a bad move: the band is on their fourth full-length release in 10 years and are enjoying the most exposure in their tenure—four might just be their lucky number. A4's droney sonic experimentation is even getting spins on XM radio, taking all the work out of marketing themselves to hipsters already down to hear the Shins, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and LSD & the Search for God. They also scored March gigs at South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, and tour dates from Liverpool to London through May.

The band members—vocalist Scott Vitt, guitarists Eric Harms and Ryan Carlson, bassist Jamie Mahon, drummer Adam Weaver and percussionist and backup vocalist Aislinn Carlson—were musically nourished as lads on the Church, My Bloody Valentine, the Verve and the Jesus and Mary Chain. 2006's An Amazing Dreamshowcases A4's recognizable grooviness, but not without a few twists and turns and some superior songwriting that Vitt attributes to his infatuation with Gram Parsons. Take, for example, "Meadow Song," a nod to Hendrix's "Hey Joe" with Johnny Cash-like darkness. There's a girlfriend, and she will be obliterated for various crimes, and it all sounds justified.

From there the band comes full circle to a cover of the Church's "To Be in Your Eyes," along with other spacey, fuzzy dream rock that suits the album's tag—a title that surfaced during post-production. At the end of one recording was a conversation captured accidentally: the celluloid kept spinning over beers and stale smoke, conversation drifting to a dream a friend had involving Allen Ginsberg, existentialism, guns, love, peace and more. "It was intimate sexual talk," the unnamed narrator tells his inebriated audience. "But it wasn't like I was trying to get down. I had just woke up."

Asteroid #4 rock along with the Quarter After March at the Prospector, 2400 7th St., Long Beach, (562) 438-3839. Sat., 9 p.m. $5. 21+.

 
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