SUNDAY: The Like, the Black Apples and Some Days at Alex's Bar, Long Beach
It's tempting to hate on bands such as LA's the Like. The group features four attractive young women with the three core members being born into the music business (parents are a former Geffen A&R man, producer and a drummer for Elvis Costello, respectively). Surely, connections like that helped the Like land a major label deal. Their debut full-length Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking? came out on Geffen in 2005. And then there's the gossip linking drummer Tennessee Thomas to super producer Mark Ronson, who Wikipedia says has produced "their new album ... due out in 2010." So, yeah, we can see why people might dismiss the band based solely on their privileged background, and boyfriends.
But here's the thing, the Like's music, while a tad formulaic and a bit frothy, posses an undeniable allure recalling the girl groups of the 1960s--if they wrote their own songs about love sucking and recorded the material in a garage, or at least sans Phil Spector's Wall of Sound. Front woman Elizabeth "Z" Berg exudes a winning combination of pluck and vulnerability, deftly selling songs about conquest and heartbreak. The Like's guitar-led melodies are memorable without relying on sugary hooks. And there are those wonderfully trippy organ runs that sound swiped from any number of fantastic Nuggets selections. Plus, it's always fun to hear a woman threaten to murder some cad, which Berg does with awesome aplomb on the psychedelic standout "Wishing He Was Dead."
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