Baby Champ's baby faces
Baby Champ's baby faces

[Locals Only] Baby Champ, 'Illoee'

I always hate seeing a good band go. On the other hand, developing an earful of aural awesomeness to be forever preserved in the annals of music history is a great way to avoid the depressing slump of fading appeal. But when they’re just getting started, giving you a taste of certain greatness to come, then . . . poof!? That just chaps my ass.

So it is with Long Beach’s Baby Champ, two members of which (bassist Bob Fink and drummer Kenn Shane) are moving to the country soon, thereby ending this short-lived jubilation. However, the band aren’t looking at their looming demise as a breakup, but more of “an expiration date,” according to guitar man Greg Doyle. Together only one year, Baby Champ gave themselves the ambitious goal of making two albums in their short lifespan. The first of these is Illoee, a glorious experiment in song structure and texture. Not looking for industry success in the least, Baby Champ are giving the album away for free. “Only music matters,” explains Doyle, “no commercial considerations. Simplicity and economy.” Melding the quirky with the catchy, Illoee has a sound that’s effortlessly cool: “Focal Point” mixes elements of both Mew and ’90s Nada Surf to sculpt dreamy layers of light and heavy, while “Slow Moving Dream” is a no-frills, lazy grunge jam, and “Roman Jet Set” is a jittery smattering of weird-pop.

Baby Champ’s next and final album, Faya, will be out in November and available on their MySpace, also for free. At least they’re leaving us with something to look forward to.

Baby Champ play the Prospector, 2400 E. Seventh St., Long Beach, (562) 438-3839; Thurs., Sept. 11, 10 p.m. For more information, go to

Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and decent high-resolution photos (plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or just be lazy and e-mail your MySpace link to


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