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Nightranger

“Kick out the preserves, fatherfuckers!” proclaimed witty wino Julian Davies, as two glass goblets of crimson devil juice were poured generously before us. Nightranger was looking for a chill hang to accompany the weather change last Friday, and The Echo’s Irregular Wine Tasting, which this month featured “death haiku” (so goth), seemed like just the thing. Six different vintages of Jean-Luc Colombo later, the Echo’s white Christmas-lit outdoor patio was anything but a serene scene. DJ Reverend Roy Lee Gittens spun a cool smash of punk and indie obscurities, while Echo grand dame Liz Garo and staff made sure the revelry never got too out of hand. The cops did ask ’em to turn down the tunes — but declined to hand out citations for misdemeanor verse and reckless endangerment of an adverb. (“A last fart: Are these the leaves, of my dream, vainly falling?”) Pithy poetics aside, this salon puts the high in haiku. [Who put the ‘ku’ in? Just wondering. Perhaps it was the doves, of my dreams, quietly farting. —ed.] We left Japan’s morbid prose behind and sought its new joy-toy culture, heading down Sunset to Workhorse Studios/Millicent Gallery, where Theme magazinehosted a soiree for its latest issue, with party favors including limited-edition all-black Teddy Troop figurines. Our new little friend made the perfect companion (he was dressed the part, anyway) for our final stop Friday: Spaceland, where we caught the highly touted gloomy psychedelia of Australia’s Morning After Girls. (They only have one girl, but, like, four guys who kinda look like girls; i.e., they’re all really cute.) The band enjoyed quite a few mornings-after in L.A. this week, couch-surfing at various Warlocks’ pads and performing at Lovedrug at The Derby on Tuesday and Club Moscow at Boardner’s Wednesday. Easy to see why everybody came out for these dreamy-eyed Aussies (joined onstage by a Warlock or two, and members of Brian Wilson’s band at the gigs). They come off like a hash of The Dandy Warhols, The Raveonettes and The Velvet Underground. With hit indie discs from the likes of Bloc Party and The Kills (on his Dim Mak label) and raging bashes at Cinespace (with Franki Chan and Jason Stewart) and The Loft downtown, it seems Steve Aoki can do no wrong. But can he bring the hipsterati and the wiggy-jiggy hip-hop contingent together on Saturday nights? We checked out his new VIP gathering called The Clash, taking place upstairs during Btoll Entertainment’s main-room Saturday-night party at The Vanguard last week, and with DJs like Benji Madden and Chris Holmes meshing lewd and tattooed kewpies with the boulevard cruiser crowd, it seems to be living up to its name. Speaking of Good Charlotte, we hear Ben’s twin, Joel Madden, came out to see him spin at Loosetooth last Thursday, with gal pal Hilary Duff in tow, but the jailbait starlet couldn’t get in — at least until some strings were pulled. Fake IDs are so yesterday.