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
Sitting intently at an electronic-MIDI drum kit, Libythth (secret identity: Qrqyt Ixoteptek) natters the predawn hours away, his compromised computers and synthesizers cementing his title as master of the dissonant consonant — shattered and shivering beats effected by an infrared response unit working like a theremin with merely the slightest movement of his head. (David Cotner)
BURNING BRIDES, THE FLASH EXPRESS at Spaceland, August 13
After three straight years promoting their 2001 debut, Fall of the Plastic Empire, Burning Brides could probably have done without this final tour stop. Let’s face it, opening for Audioslave’s North American juggernaut and kicking out the jams with Perry at Lollapalooza must have made this little postscript for a less-than-capacity crowd at Spaceland seem a little anticlimactic. But you wouldn’t have guessed it watching the Philadelphia trio tear through their set. As always, drummer Jason Kourkounis and bassist Melanie Campbell provided a rock-solid slab of rhythmic flooring above which front man Dimitri Coats performed his perfectly pitched balance of hook-laden, melodic vocal lines over furious punk guitar chords and old-school metal riffs. And though he thoroughly thrashed his voice on an apoplectic “Stabbed in the Back of the Heart” and the stoic cock-rock of “If I’m a Man,” it still rang out sweet on the band’s most contagious track, “Arctic Snow,” whose verse built with the kind of cross-cutting vocal line Kurt Cobain used to favor and exploded into full flower with a pop chorus that could leave the Gallagher brothers green.
The Flash Express, another power trio with a sound firmly rooted in the blues revivalism of late-’60s Britain, served a tasty if atavistic appetizer. Though singer-guitarist Brian Waters’ tired lyrics (“I called the doctor and asked him what to do!”) and smug delivery (“Gonna flush you down the toilet . . . yeah!”) occasionally threatened to curdle tunes like the band’s theme, “Ride the Flash Express” — a self-promotional ploy dangerous for any group that doesn’t include Davy Jones — it was impossible to resist drummer Lance Porter, who played every tune with the limbs of an octopus and the heart of a lion. (Liam Gowing)
XO, PARTY OF ONE at Spaceland, August 1
Just when you thought there wasn’t room for another guitar-drums duo, XO emphasized yet again that you don’t need a bass to rock out. This was Sabbath-kissed deep-rockin’ sludge à la Jucifer with role reversal: Bean Babasoloukian rumbled her toms with meaty fills and a sexily sloppy backbeat, while Bryan Moon strangled his fretboard good when he wasn’t screaming like a liquored-up banshee. Sparking off each other in a deceptively elaborate courtship dance, they achieved moments of real magic.
It’s hard to get blown away by indie rock today, but the Minneapolis trio Party of One showed there’s hope yet. Science-nerd singer Eric Fifteen, butch-cherub bassist Terrika Kleinknecht and yeoman skin pounder Geoff McCusick whipped up an impossibly rich tapestry of noise that veered into baroque synth sparkles as prancy as late-period Stranglers, or droning orch-pop crescendos that made the shoegazer sound of yore seem fuddy-duddy — think Milemarker with technical mastery. PoO never failed to suck in the eight or so people present, though if you think Midwestern uplanders are polite and folksy, you’ve seen Fargo too many times, because these wiseacres took sarcasm to a whole new level. (“I missed XO because I was eating, but I’m sure they were fabulous.”) Fifteen, last of the great misanthropes, might have gone too far in declaring, “We like to play this song whenever embassies blow up,” but a champagne-popping “La La-La La” chorus (and a one-song encore of “Shotgun Funeral,” their catchiest tune) proved he did in fact wish to give us some relief from the cruel world. (Andrew Lentz)