The Parson Red Heads photo by Zach Schrock
The three bands on this bill proved that rock can be uplifting without being corny—which was an inspirational lesson on a Sunday night in a mostly empty house. Detroit Bar's desolation was a shame and maybe to be expected, as the lineup seemed to be cobbled together at the last minute. But the groups proved to be troopers, playing as if to a packed room.
LA's Parson Red Heads number eight (four guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, a keyboardist and a tambourine specialist) and dress all in white onstage. They radiate a euphoric positivity, like Polyphonic Spree at one-third the membership, but with a tougher psychedelic edge than the Texas-based orch-pop troupe. PRH's six-dude/two-gal lineup infuse their sunshiny, angelic psych pop with some scrappy Anglo-fied indie-rock guitars that made me think of the C86 cassette NME magazine issued 21 years ago (surely you remember that?). I could listen to PRH sing “ooh la la la-la” for hours (see “Mossback” for proof). After their set, I bought their King Giraffe CD, and I'm not disappointed at all.
Austin, Texas' Brothers and Sisters are mellow-gold soft-rock revivalists; they're so sincere, they dissolve your cynicism during their first song. Their smooth country-ish rock—replete with steel guitar and dulce male/female vocals—is as comfortable as decade-old denim pants. They make ultra-familiar songwriting tropes evergreen against great odds. Plus, the male singer has the thickest beard this side of ZZ Top. That has to count for something, especially in muggy Texas.
Fullerton/Garden Grove's My Pet Saddle look like high schoolers, but their music harks back to the mid-'60s, two decades before they were born. These fresh-faced youths are unabashed freakbeat throwbacks, but their energy and chops are undeniably contagious. Their MySpace includes quoted lyrics by Tom Waits and a video of Velvet Underground's “European Son,” betokening promising things for this quartet.
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The Parson Red Heads play The Prospector in Long Beach on June 26.