By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Tonight was a record-release party for the Golden Bats and "Bottom Feeders" from that album rocked with spare guitar riffs and a very cool lyric: "I always wanted to be down with the bottom feeders because they understand me." Bats guitarist/singer Arye has thick, perfectly shaped eyebrows that illustrate a point with the preciseness of a neurosurgeon; he swung out on his Les Paul, playing a rock that was smooth and technically clean, while his voice often lilted into something reminiscent of a young Elvis Costello. Lura on bass sported a punky Cruella de Vilinspired coif and started out bell-clear on backing vocals, then went a little muddy. She effortlessly and with great posture pick-pulsed her steady bass lines in fabulous glitter heels and a sneer or two, perhaps inspired by Bad Apples. (Was it catching?) Meanwhile, exceptional drummer Markie put richness and fullness in his sound without being over the top -- and he's a total babe to boot!
The Super Bees have a group case of puckering, pouty lips; they were tight, romping-stomping and heavily '60s-fortified, filling the night with a moody rocking sound that stuck with all the little bees as they hummed back home to their hives. (Pollyanne Hornbeck)
MOMUS, RROLAND, SUPER MADRIGAL BROTHERS,
THE GONGS, PHIILIIP
at Spaceland, July 6
What's better than Momus all to yourself? That's easy: The American Patchwork Records Tour, featuring the cracked visions of all four bands on Momus' label topped off by the randy Glaswegian himself. Of course, you could also have called tonight "The Return of Baroque Analog," starting with Rroland's doodlings on, yep, a Roland SH3A analog mono synthesizer. Super Madrigal Brothers' twinkling blippity-bleep was at times banal, but you gotta love any band that can bridge the 500-year gap between courtly Renaissance dances and synth-pop.
The Gongs -- a ragtag crew of Ohioans that formed less than a year ago -- were discovered by Momus when he stumbled onto a free concert at Oberlin College. Having been compared to "the lapidary alpine glockenspiel of Webern's Five Pieces for Orchestra" but perhaps closer to Harry Partch doing gamelan, the Gongs' orgy of crisscrossing twang on homemade instruments (from the just-released Rob Reich) fully satisfied the room's collective craving for bumpkin troubadours from outer space.
But it wasn't until Euro-trash gadfly Phiiliip showed up that things got truly bent. Like a Larry Clark model with rabies strutting across the Dior runway, Phiiliip (real name Philip Guichard) pulled off a seductive blend of electro-clash melodies and drum-machine aggro from the long-awaited Pet Cancer. While his new book, The Fevered Sea, is soon to be published by the Black Ice Press, the precocious 20-year-old American musician-writer-artist was contributing to The Village Voice while still in his teens. Not surprisingly, he currently resides in Berlin, where so many musical freaks seem to be incubating these days. Oh, and Phiil, loved the one-sleeved vinyl-bleed jacket . . .
After the evening's parade of curios, there was a palpable need for the highbrow toilet humor of Momus, and the pirate-patched ectomorph drew a throng that befit Spaceland on Saturday night. As long as he was telling us everything we didn't want to know about his penis and the ambiguous pleasure of coming into a girl's mouth, Momus pushed all the right buttons, until a riff on John Ashcroft got a glancing boo. He even graced us with a rejected Pizza Hut commercial he'd composed back in the day, then graciously thanked past shags in "Everyone I Have Ever Slept With." One of his more libidinous devotees uttered sotto voce, "If only I were so lucky." (Andrew Lentz)
at Bar Sinister, July 6
What the fuck is this? In the Transylvanian courtyard of this goth bastion, up jump three blokes in matching black military shirts: gargantuan guitar, tiny drum kit, convulsing front man and no bass. 400 Blows cater to no one: They lay mongrel, punk-spiked indy-metal on the slab and let us love it or leave it, vocalist Skot making no secret of his bemusement at the unlikely surroundings. After a close call with an uncooperative PA, they spew up the rotating, hypnotic sludge of opener "Premature Burial." It's eons before the vocals enter, and when they do they're an unintelligible, sneering rasp, part John Lydon, part -- amid an unwelcome wash of reverb -- Bauhaus.
"Bull That Killed the Matador"'s unifying bombast -- like most things dark, dense and distorted -- owes much to Sabbath; it's "Iron Man"inspired blasts and breaths juxtaposed against ever-shifting self-flagellating rhythms. Nothing stays still for long in 400 Blows' harsh world, the unpredictable perversions of groove and pace the improbable common ground between death metal and emo-core. Skot squirms through the single-string, bee-in-a-bottle bridge of "The Gods Are Laughing at Us," resembling Kelsey Grammer's disowned, disturbed offspring on his first day at the academy. In a perpetual half-crouch, he wields his mic stand horizontally, Daltrey/ Mercury-style, but more as a punctuating weapon than a mere baton to be twirled.
Though out of place -- Bar Sinister is awash with misfits, but not thisbreed of misfit -- 400 Blows enthrall all assembled for much of their brief assault. The sheer unapologetic enthusiasm, zero-attention-span song structures and waves of bomber-drone guitar crack even the masks of the assembled Manson-spawn, and converts are many by the time the spitting nursery-rhyme verses of "The Bards Must Drink and Junket" close the set. Disconcerting though they are, without those black shirts 400 Blows could be the guy in the next cubicle at your office; in a club where looking outlandish is the norm, the truly fascinating freaks are all onstage tonight. (Paul Rogers)