FYF Fest 2009: Parks and Inspiration 

Event's new mission: Save Our State Parks (and deliver a mind-bending roster of punk, electronics and noise)

Wednesday, Sep 2 2009

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Glass Candy
When “Candy Castle,” the standout track from Glass Candy’s album B/E/A/T/B/O/X, filters through speakers, you’re immediately transported to a world akin to a grandiose ’80s fantasy film with a singer who is equal parts Grace Jones, Yoko Ono and Gina X guiding you through a land of synthesizers as epic as they are minimal.

Ultrahip duo Glass Candy straddle the extravagance of disco and the simplicity of post punk with Johnny Jewel’s synth lines flitting between lush and stark and Ida No’s vocals teetering on the edge of breathy melancholy and cool detachment. In many ways, Glass Candy are more like an Italo disco–influenced Saint Etienne than a typical 21st-century electro outfit. At times, they’re downright soulful, with horns swirling through the mix for a strange ’60s-’80s-now hybrid. With thoughtful creativity and oodles of rhythm, Glass Candy are the band to get you dancing right now. (Liz Ohanesian)

Har Mar Superstar
It’s been a while since we here in the States have heard from Har Mar Superstar, who’s presumably been busy of late, building his brand in the U.K. Over there, the portly R&B parodist is something of a celebrity on the order of Paris Hilton–meets–Andrew W.K. This fall, Har Mar (born Sean Tillman, and familiar to fans of early-’00s emo-folk as Sean Na Na) returns to active duty with a new album called Dark Touches, which features an unlikely cast of collaborators, including Jonas Brothers producer John Fields, TV actress Samaire Armstrong, Adam Green of the Moldy Peaches, two dudes from the Faint, and both members of the Bird and the Bee. It’s probably unwise to expect that any of these luminaries straightened out the kinks in Har Mar’s act; if he doesn’t end up in his underwear here, it’ll be because he wasn’t wearing any to start with. (Mikael Wood)

click to flip through (2) Long Beach buzz band Avi Buffalo
  • Long Beach buzz band Avi Buffalo

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If GG Allin, Roger Rabbit and the Shangri-Las had a love child, it would be Nobunny. A mysterious masked man, Nobunny is a mesmerizing blur of obscenities, insecurities and (literal) hopping around. His performances are an incitement, a call to action for good old-fashioned showmanship. The sound is a jangly mess of tongue-in-cheek poppy punk — without the irritating problem of being actual ‘pop punk.’ Recalling the bygone days of such classics as the Angels’ “My Boyfriend’s Back” and other great girl-group sounds, Nobunny’s music swirls with his dirty Cramps-inspired antics; he delivers with nary a breath to take — outside the occasional stage rant. His recent Love Vision, released on Bubbledumb Records, is an exhilarating rush of lightheadedness and repulsion. Songs like “Boneyard” and “I Am a Girlfriend” sparkle with overt, confusing misogyny in the way that American Psycho did. Whether you get it or you don’t, Nobunny will have you snapping your fingers on the walk home — while wondering who exactly lives behind that disgusting mask. (Nikki Darling)

Tim & Eric
When L.A. Weekly caught Adult Swim stars Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim at Comic-Con in July, we were floored. The duo, best known for their shows Tom Goes to the Mayor and Tim & Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job!, emerged from behind the stage curtains in disturbingly outrageous nude body suits, singing and dancing about bodily functions. While this might prompt people to say, “That’s a bit juvenile,” the truth is that Heidecker and Wareheim are simply too odd for such a snap judgment. Live, the duo combines musical sketch comedy with variety-show acts stemming from Awesome Show, Great Job! in a manner that will make you nostalgic for the days of public-access television. Whether or not the FYF performance will resemble their Comic-Con engagement remains to be seen. Regardless of what Heidecker and Wareheim have in store, you can be certain that it will be strange and you will be laughing your way through the set. (Liz Ohanesian)

This year’s FYF Fest is heavy on the hardcore, post-hardcore, pre-grunge punk — you know, the guitar grind that first hit in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the legendary labels Amphetamine Reptile, Touch & Go, Homestead, and pre-Nirvana Sub Pop. That first wave grew tired of the faster-faster-faster sentiment of the mid ’80s and, fucked up on beer and drugs, slowed punk to a more manageable, and lazier, pace. Torche draw from that wall-of-guitar melodicism, add a load of exclamation-point drum fills and double–bass kick action to create insistent, totally catchy and scream-along-able choruses and Naked Raygun “whoa whoa” parentheticals. (They’re so melodic that if you replaced a few of these songs with a buried female vocalist, they could be shoegaze outtakes.) Over the course of a couple EPs and two killer albums, the Miami-based Torche have established themselves as one of the smartest, most consistently surprising sludgecore bands going. Last year’s expertly titled full-length Meanderthal, released on L.A.-based freak-metal label Hydra Head, features songs that sound like old Helmet, Tar and Naked Raygun tracks — a great thing, in this old-schooler’s opinion. (Randall Roberts)

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