Like It Rough
I saw Art Brut at the Echo on June 19. Sure, that alone (a U.K. band at an LA venue) wouldn’t have much relevance to an Orange County music column, but they really got me thinking—as surprising as it may be to hear that a band who sing about milkshakes and comic books could inspire deep contemplation.
On their song “Slap Dash for No Cash,” lead singer Eddie Argos rants about bands—he mentions the Killers and Kings of Leon by name—who emulate U2 and basically want to sound as clean and perfect as possible, at the same time sacrificing spontaneity, honesty and creativity (Art Brut take gleeful pride in their amateurishness). It hit me that there are quite a few local bands falling under this category, producing technically proficient music that can be catchy and pleasant to listen to and may very well yield success, but it’s ultimately just more of the same—they have a voice but nothing to say. I’m sure every bustling local scene has plenty of bands who fit this description. But it did make me think that instead of just saying “Hey, they’re local, and they sound like they could be on the radio! Good for them!” maybe we should all challenge our local talent to be more, well, challenging.
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As first reported by Nate Jackson on our Heard Mentality blog, there’s a new record label pulling together some local notables. La Chupacabra Records—named after the cryptid said to eat farm animals—plans to release four split 7-inches in August, featuring Fullerton faves the Living Suns, Audacity and the sometimes-known-to-not-think-before-e-mailing My Pet Saddle (three bands who always seem to be playing together; maybe they can invest in some sort of super-tandem bike to ride around town), plus Costa Mesa’s the Growlers and Long Beach’s Gestapo Khazi.
Founded by 19-year-old Kyle Schuster, the group have already put together one benefit show for Sweet Relief Musicians Fund (whom we wrote about last week), scheduled for June 25 at eVocal, with all those bands minus the Growlers but plus Sons at Sea. Me, I’m just happy I got to use the word “cryptid.”
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Newport Beach’s Dolphin City is now Make Moon (www.myspace.com/makemoon). I dropped bassist Tyler Ellis a line to try to find out why, but they’re in Europe, and I don’t think they have e-mail access there. Whether or not the name change has anything to do with the fact I once wrote that the name Dolphin City sounds like “a Lisa Frank-folder-sporting 8-year-old girl’s dream” remains unclear.
Sadly, Santa Ana’s thrashy the Vessel Tongue have broken up. Happily, lead singer Nigel Burk and bassist Nathan Kloss are in a new band, In Heat (www.myspace.com/callmama).