BLAH BLAH BLAH Local author Kim Cooper has written a book on the making of Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, often considered the “masterpiece” of the Elephant 6 collective (see also Apples in Stereo, Olivia Tremor Control). Like the ’98 album, her book — part of the 33 1/3 series of pocket-size LP histories — is a sleeper, outselling the series’ Springsteen and Bowie books!
You edited the anthology Bubblegum Music Is the Naked Truth. What’s the E6-bubblegum connection?
COOPER: Bubblegum is a geeky, joyful, unselfconscious scene, and so is Elephant 6. None of the Neutral Milk Hotel players were at all cool, and they were flabbergasted when cool kids started turning up at their shows. (Which happened for the first time in L.A., actually.)
Get much fan mail? I’ve received lots of very sweet messages from people who were moved by the book. My favorites are the ones that say, “I was dreading this book, but I ended up loving it.”
Where does Aeroplane fit in the catalogue of Jesus-inspired freak-folk? In the annex where faith is more implied than slathered, and all people are welcome who have ears to hear.
Will you tour? Here’s a scoop: I’ve just teamed up with filmmaker Chris Dortch to make an Elephant 6 documentary, and we plan to travel to many important places in the E6 mythos. I’ll set up readings in as many of those towns’ book or donut shops [as possible].
Final thoughts? This book surprised me by being not so much about a rock band but about friendship and love and faith and art. Cooper reads at Vroman’s in Pasadena, Saturday, 4 p.m., with Ben Sisario, author of a Pixies Doolittle tome. (Kate Sullivan)
THURSDAY, March 23
The Subways at the Troubadour
The Subways are young, attractive and British. But that only gets you
so far up the charts these days, so it’s lucky that the band play
hormonal, yelping, unbridled rock, the kind only teenagers can pull off
with any kind of credibility. The three-piece are touring the U.S. to
promote their youth-cultishly-titled album, Young for Eternity,
fueled by the success of the single “Rock & Roll Queen.” The song
is a pleading, manic exaltation that, like any good rock number, is
volatile, rough around the edges and just under three minutes.
Stylistically, the rest of the record doesn’t hold it right there and
keep doing what it’s doing, so it’s still unclear whether this teenage
thrill will get grounded somewhere between, say, the Vines’ “Highly
Evolved” and the Von Bondies’ “C’mon, C’mon.” This show is sold out.
The world needs a new hero, so why not Emily Haines? The Metric
singer sounds so inspiring on “Monster Hospital,” from the Toronto
quartet’s 2005 breakthrough CD, Live It Out (Last
Gang Records), taking on the entire war machine by herself. “I fought
the war, but the war won,” she sings pleadingly, exhilaratingly against
the dramatic backdrop of Jimmy Shaw’s surging guitars, subverting and
expanding Bobby Fuller’s old lyric. Then, she cuts through the military
doublespeak, political hand-wringing and punk distortion with a
chillingly simple aside that brings everything (if not the troops)
home: “Stop, for the love of God.” Ms. Haines is more than just an
avenging angel, revealing a confessional pop side amid the gauzy swirl
of her keyboards (“Poster of a Girl”), climbing the trellises of Joshua
Winstead’s bass (“Patriarch on a Vespa”) and slinking subversively
around the barriers of modern life (“Glass Ceiling”). Meet the new
boss. 6126 Hollywood Blvd. (213) 480-3232. (Falling James)
FRIDAY Deftones, Thrice, Atreyu, As I Lay Dying, Dredg at Long Beach Arena
This year’s Taste of Chaos tour — a grab bag of guitar-tossing acts who give headbangin’ a Hot Topic makeover — offers co-headliners who’re a then-and-now of moody muscle: Sacramento veterans Deftones plateaued after their 2000 watershed, White Pony, yet still command respect for their genre-bending meeting of post–Faith No More nu-metal and Cure-ish moodiness, while O.C.’s Thrice became the new lords of leather-free rock with the quantum quality shift of last year’s Vheissu. Atreyu conjure paranoia and isolation with their hardcore/metal hybrid; As I Lay Dying launch vomity vocals, militaristic double-kick salvos and ominous twin-guitar chuggery; Dredg’s anthemic efforts make them U2-lite (and late); Pelican purvey instrumental metal (wait — keep reading) that’s technically deft yet willingly loose; and Greeley Estates bring melodramatic dynamics and obligatory screaming/singing interplay. 300 E. Ocean Blvd. (213) 480-3232. (Paul Rogers)