Busywork, Detroit Bar, August 29, 2007

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The Pity Party (photo by ionnehendrix)

The Pity Party are in mid-set as I arrive at Detroit Bar, projecting an LA-hipster refraction of the White Stripes—on first impression. But female drummer/vocalist/keyboardist Heisenflei and guitarist/vocalist Maurice-Robert quickly quash that knee-jerk reaction with an approach to rock that's far less trad than Jack and Meg's. The Pity Party's rhythms are fairly primitive (and totally righteous), but the guitar is art-damaged in a way that reminds me of early-'80s Scottish post-punk depressives and Beefheart aficionados Josef K and Fire Engines, respectively, tempered with the brittle, caustic slash of NY No Wave. When they're not on the aggressive tip, the Pity Party can slow down and bliss out while still emitting a cantankerous guitar tone (M-R has eight fx units and a Fender ax, which is a recipe for extraordinary sound).

Multi-tasking demon Heisenflei drums with her right arm and both legs while her left hand plays keyboards—and she sings, too, often all at once. Tonight she's wearing green short shorts, which complement her athleticism and red hair. M-R's dark, forward-sweeping hair looks emo, but he's working in much deeper, weirder territory than those whiny-mall-boy hordes. The Pity Party currently are unsigned, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are entertaining offers from several high-profile indies, even as I type.

Long Beach's On Blast purvey suavely heart-wrenching dance rock with computerized beats. They have the moody Anglophile steez down pat. This is music to swoon, whirl and shed a perfectly formed tear down your chiseled cheekbone to. Hell, one song—“Bad Girl”—even heists (okay, alludes to) the funkily herky-jerky rhythm from David Bowie's “Fashion.” I foresee promising developments for On Blast (NME's already on board)—and many groupies in front man Josh Brown's future.

Between and after these bands, Dan Sena's Busywork DJs GMO and Damager got busy working the Serato with mostly killer new tracks hotting up the hipster dance circuit: Green Velvet's “Shake N Pop,” Mylo's “Drop the Pressure,” Justice's “D.A.N.C.E.” and a roughed-up remix of Depeche Mode's “Just Can't Get Enough.” Skeet Skeet closed things with anthem after banger after anthem, etc., nearly filling the dance floor late on a Wednesday night. Impressive, even if he did play that played-out Outfield hit “I Don't Want to Lose Your Love Tonight,” which never had my love to lose (although I secretly like this catchy-as-herpes song, against all sense of critical decorum; shhhh, don't tell anybody).

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