Crystal Antlers' live show rocked my socks off during my first evening in town last Monday; and a good thing, too, because I was wearing sandals. (Not my best look.) It was the second date of their month-long Monday night residency at the Echo, which, you know, is free.
Drummer Damian Edwards was a show onto himself, twirling his sticks, playing the tambourine, and leading the way as the group members became increasingly shirtless. (The male players, anyway.) The energy was reminiscent of My Morning Jacket, particularly lead singer and shaggy bassist Johnny Bell. All in all, they spent most of their time pulling memorable riffs out of their back pockets.
In his review for Pitchfork last week, West Coast Sound contributor Ian Cohen speculated that the songs off of their new album Two-Way Mirror — out tomorrow — would kill live, and that proved true. In fact, the disc itself feels like a concert, a prog-rock celebration that eliminates the dissonance of their previous full-length Tentacles and focuses almost entirely on burly melodies you can grab onto. My only gripe with Cohen's write-up is the rating, 7.0, to which I'd add Matt Kemp's OPS, minimum.
In any case, go tonight, as these free shows are a privilege, not a right. Last week was pretty packed so you'll probably want to show up a bit early. Set times and openers after the jump. Oh, and if you're under 21 we'll also tell you the location of their other, all ages, free show after the jump.
Vacation Vinyl, July 18, 2011, all ages
Crystal Antlers – 7 pm
The Echo, July 18, 2011, 21+
The Allah Lahs – 9:00pm
Jeffertiti's Nile – 9:45pm
Tijuana Panthers – 10:30pm
Crystal Antlers – 11:15pm
One last thing. The band is selling special limited packages on their web site. For $30 you get the new album on clear vinyl, a tote bag, a pin and the rarities Son of the Mirror 10″. Amoeba, Origami, Vacation Vinyl and Fingerprints Music also have advance copies of the clear vinyl.