Magic Lantern, Crystal Antlers, The Prospector, September 8, 2007
Oh, mantra: Magic Lantern at The Prospector.
What a nice psychedelic night this turned out to be. I went to The Prospector in Long Beach mainly to catch Frederick Phases (aka Jeff Moore), a DJ who co-hosts with Elvin “DJ Nobody” Estela KXLU's She Comes in Colours, a show specializing in '60s psych rock and folkadelia. His set—along with his fellow selector J. Mendez' shoegaze-rock-oriented selections—did not disappoint, as he laid down some exhilarating obscurities from around the globe (Italy's Le Orme and Hungary's Illés being two particularly awesome gems I am now hotly hunting down). The man's a treasure trove of arcane sonic delights and if you have any interest at all in psychedelia, you owe it to yourself to check out his show on Mondays midnight-2 a.m. or any club gigs he does.
I hadn't heard the bands on the bill before, but they made a profound impression and definitely will merit further exploration from this writer. Despite being saddled with a name no band should even consider using in 2007, Magic Lantern quickly steamrolled my skepticism with hypnotic, throbbing rock instrumentals that reminded me of the late great UK band Loop—not an influence you hear every day (or night). Magic Lantern's songs—mantras would be a more accurate term, actually—burrow deep into your consciousness through repetition and intense, densely textured riffage. It's very hard to make this sort of music exciting, especially in a time when attention spans are diminishing like Republican-party credibility, but these five Long Beach dudes find the ecstasy in stasis and ride it into the sun with distortion pedals a-blazin'.
Crystal Antlers have a bit of a buzz going, and now I understand why. Holy bananas, do they bring it. With special guest Ikey Owens (Free Moral Agents, Mars Volta, etc.) absolutely burning on organ, this Long Beach quartet peddle a kind of supercharged garage soul, somewhere between first-album Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and the Hospitals. Imagine a group with every member being imbued by the energy and passion of Otis Redding and Iggy Pop and you get an idea of the aural turbulence Crystal Antlers manifest (I exaggerate only slightly). They play MAXIMAL music possessed of a manic, cyclonic power. It's not so much in your face as it is drilling into your gray matter, ferociously striving to rearrange your god-damned thoughts. With Crystal Antlers, more is more... and then some.
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