L.A. Record Xmas Party, Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, December 16, 2007

Magic Lantern peaked “At the Mountains of Madness.”

Weekly poster/music zine L.A. Record cashed in on its good karma and booked a strong lineup to celebrate this obscure, esoteric holiday at the renovated library known as Eagle Rock Center for the Arts. Featuring savvy DJs with deep crates of psych, garage, shoegaze and prog (Billgazer, Short Shorts, Heru John Basil, the last of whom got seriously shortchanged, to my chagrin) and four bands you'd do well to investigate, the night only suffered from the first hour's frequent power outages and the aforementioned abbreviation of Mr. Basil's DJ set. Otherwise, the performers mostly rendered the absence of hard liquor irrelevant with their distinctive brands of sonic intoxication.

Golden Animals churned out raw, tumultuous blues rock (harder but less catchy than obvious reference point White Stripes, much better looking than Black Keys) and old-timey barroom sing-alongs. The male guitarist/vocalist wore a suede vest, black derby and regulation Grateful Dead hair and beard while the female drummer looked as if she stepped out of Robert Altman's McCabe N Mrs. Miller. I half expected to see Jerry and Grace wandering in the crowd (I had to “settle” for RTX/Royal Trux femme fatale Jennifer Herrema).

Crystal Antlers' cyclotronic rhythm N bruise and garage-rock barrage scared all the literary ghosts out of the former library, but this performance somehow lacked the psychedelic overdrive of a September Prospector show with guest keyboardist Ikey Owens. Still, it was pretty thrilling.

L.A. duo Antimc (bass, guitar/laptop) found a sweet spot between post-rock and hip-hop and kept on hitting it for the duration of their set. Check out their album on Mush, It's Free, But It's Not Cheap. They're off to Australia soon to continue their tour support of speed rapper Busdriver.

Long Beach's Magic Lantern climaxed the evening splendidly. Their first song was as mesmerizing as watching explosions in slow-motion or seeing a whole meadow of flowers blossom in time-lapse photography. The second song was a ceremony of shaken little percussion toys, Korg oscillations and mellifluous wooden flute trills. The third song was all sacred plodding and divine whorls, a languorous seduction into the psychedelic vortex (I think somebody may have spiked my Sobe Energy drink). “At the Mountains of Madness” transfixed the remaining headstrong audience members and thrust us to said geological phenomena.

Before this transcendent occurrence, I and many others had our photos taken with “Santa” (L.A. Record publisher Charley Rose) and received generous gifts for our trouble. Mine consisted of four old paperbacks with such promising titles as Girls N Sex, Sexual Behavior, The Art of Loving and The World's Greatest Dirty Jokes.

I wish to profusely thank L.A. Record (which is edited by my predecessor, Chris Ziegler) for making this probably the best Christmas party I will attend this week.

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