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
From that point on it was everything you’d come to expect from the D.D.s: sweeping synthesizers, soaring guitars and Simon LeBon singing the back catalog for all it’s worth. They played some new songs. Enough about that. By night’s end, as the band cut into their “Rio” encore, a weird synchronicity arrived: Both the crowd and the band had the look of people who had remembered, for the first time in years, that they too survived adolescence. (Steven Kotler)
SINGAPORE SLING at the Scene, July 17
The girl up front with 3-D glasses sure didn’t need ’em when the six big Icelanders of Singapore Sling stumbled onstage Thursday, each with his own tumbler full of God knows what kind of poison. The band barely fit on the Scene’s little riser, and stood back to back, looking pissed or bored for the most part. The boys had been at the bar for hours already, taking an easy night off from their big-time U.S. tour, opening shows for the Raveonettes. But it looks like the tour with the hot Danish poppers has inflated their pretty heads; they’re used to larger venues, savvier sound techs and more square feet to splay around on, not to mention celebrity status back home. While the Scene’s measly sound system balked at the Sling’s power act, it did make for a dark timbre, beastly and Bauhaus-ish, like an army of lawnmowers barreling down a tunnel.
The couple tongueing against the speakers didn’t care, nor did the shit-faced blonde who kept extracting bassist (and Tom Waits look-alike) Toggi “Tank” Gudmundsson’s cigarette from his lips for a puff, then suggestively slipping it back in. Singer Henrik Björnsson threw the mic around in a cool but very real tantrum, spurned by waves of piercing feedback that whipped at his and everyone else’s ears, while drummer Bjarni Johannsson rolled his eyes in response to the whole mess. Guitarist Helgi Petursson, however, with his James Dean good looks and strong-armed control of his ax-amp-keys combo, kept up a sexy pout and acute concentration on his end, molding the tortuous feedback melody that ultimately gave the drone its soul.
The downward spiral toward total noise continued till the Sling brought it to a crashing halt with their slo-mo version of the Standells’ “Dirty Water” — both a nod to L.A. on the Reykjavikians’ first outing here and a pounding “fuck you” to the Glendale club that couldn’t contain them. (Wendy Gilmartin)
SILVER at the Viper Room, June 24
When defining silver, Webster’s omits the principal element in the precious metal with the highest electric conductivity: Brandon McCulloch. Over the last few years McCulloch has seen his share of silversmiths come and go through the scuzzy pop-gloom of his songcraft for one reason or another (drugs, ambition, the pursuit of gold), not to mention just-passing-through friends such as beloved weirdo Aaron Embry, Cinjun and Shelby Tate of Remy Zero, and Brian Bell of Weezer. Yet, admirably, McCulloch is captivated by and thrives in his own underground culture, writing fluid and thought-provoking songs that are catchy enough to go places but too conscientious to travel very far.
At the Viper Room, Silver plugged in with their keenest roster to date (save when McCulloch’s sister Dionne played keys), performing a fresh batch of songs that further revealed McCulloch’s magical way of communicating the unspoken. Interlacing holdover tunes such as the splashy minihit “Temporary Girl” from the dark and brilliant 2002 release Red City, Silver introduced new ones like “Beat Boy Baby,” with an uplifting marching beat from drummer Colin Chambers and a vocal that seductively wed sinners and saints. “Turn It Up” came off as a classic coup de grâce that indicts a lazy artist for not working hard enough, and earned the warmest ovation of the night, while “A Train Is Coming” might be the nearest to a ballad Silver has ever strayed. Curiously absent from the set was the band’s initial stake-in-the-soil single, “Suspicious,” from the first batch of recordings on the Substance Records compilation, a sure-tell sign that McCulloch has evolved into an inspired new phase of songwriting. (Chuck Mindenhall)