Long Beach's Crystal Antlers have mastered the art of thrash, that combustible build-up of noise and melody that so many others have tried to harness, only to fail in a miserable pool of fuzzy annoyance. Blending messy, raspy vocals with pummeling drums, writhing riffs and strident organs, the band produce a kaleidoscopic tornado of inflection that's so right-this-very-moment.
Not that these guys would seem to give a fuck about what's hot right now. They've got the rugged, turbulent presence of a band that would trash your house party. (We're talking holes in the walls, vomit in the front yard, the pet goldfish missing . . .) Not that Crystal Antlers would do that, per se; they seem to have good karma on their side. The band's van was recently stolen with their equipment inside, only to be found later with all the gear intact—something that's probably never happened in the history of vehicle-jacking.
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Crystal Antlers—Kevin Stuart (drums), Damian Edwards (percussion), Andrew King (guitar, organs), Jonny Bell (vocals, bass) and Victor Rodriguez (organs)—bridle raw, seething energy and funnel it into a purple rage. "A Thousand Eyes" is an urgent cry that bounces from bellowing convulsions to jittery murmurs. The slightly slower "The Owl" may lower the tempo, but it keeps the intensity tight and uneasy. "Until the Sun Dies Part 2," meanwhile, is a spastic, frenzied howl.
If there's a more intense band in the Southland than Crystal Antlers, please let us know.
Crystal Antlers perform at the Nugget Grill & Pub, Cal State Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 985-4133. Thurs., April 17, 8 p.m. Free. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/crystalantlers.
Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and a decent high-resolution photo (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 email@example.com.