Posts Tagged ‘fear and loathing in long beach’

Tunabunny at Fear and Loathing in Long Beach

I love your latest record Kingdom Technology. In my opinion, it’s a primal
garage scream of electronica, erotica, and neurotic impulse. What impact
did you seek with the compositions and accompanying album artwork?

Our friends Chris Nelms and Jason Matherly did the artwork, and aside from
thinking they’re wildly talented we’re big fans of each other’s work so it
seemed natural to ask them to do the cover. We don’t necessarily make
music to have an impact—if anything, we have an impact because we make
music. But if we could control the results of our intended impact, we’d
all have swimming pools shaped like palm trees.

You have referred to pop/rock as a “played-out corpse” with Jack White
being the best example of a derivative formula based musician. Do you
feel that the inclusion of ear pleasing melody and harmonizing throughout
your own compositions resembles pop/rock in anyway?

We think our compositions resemble pop/rock in every way. But you know,
all our pop friends think we’re hopeless weirdos, and all our avant-garde
friends think we’re rock stars. Which is probably the best place to be.

You have addressed modern music as “over privileged boys and girls
looking to manufacture an identity…” I personally think there are many
unaddressed personality disorders clogging the creative air of unique
artists and musicians. Why do music listeners pay so much attention and
money to generic retreads of the past?

Because they’re generic retreads of the present? More likely they’re just
responding to a conservative music press/music industry. With so much
music being made these days, it requires a lot of determination to sift
through it on your own, and as a result people are dependent on
websites/critics/etc. to recommend stuff to them. If that stuff is
backwards-looking and easily digestible, it’s more the fault of the music
press/industry than the music listener.

What is the typical reaction to Tunabunny that you encounter the most?

Confusion and/or adulation. Also, an increase in the use of thesauruses.

Do you think music in general should always be undefinable or
unpredictable? Does it benefit the band or the listener more?

We don’t think there’s that much of a split between band & listener. We
were (and are) music fans before we were musicians. And as listeners,
yeah, we tend to get excited by music that sounds different than what
we’re used to (recent examples of this would be Bastards of Fate, Blanche
Blanche Blanche, and Micachu) than something that sounds like, say, The
Stone Roses (though we all unabashedly love their 1st album). But should
it always be undefinable or unpredictable? Not if you want a bigger
swimming pool, apparently. But it’s good to keep in mind that owning a
swimming pool increases your risk of skin cancer.

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Hobbes Fanclub at Fear and Loathing in Long Beach

The spaces in between have a duplicity, they can surge momentum or deliver dream crushing confusion. When people talk about doing something new, changing their lives, or even their wardrobe, a sickening doubt always hangs in the air. Is it worth risking everything you’ve ever known and distrusted to give into the lustful motion of endless nights of pleasure and complete intoxication of all senses? Music has a way of guiding waves into the unknown through haunting melody, self-reflecting rhythms, and the masochistic strumming of road weary chords.

I used to think nostalgia was deadly. It can sting if you don’t bring the ghost into the present to see what captured your intellect and sex drive in the first place. Sometimes looking into the looking glass reveals the disappointing over exaggerations of our imagination or an opportunity to resume unfinished business. Stay in the sludge of complacency or drift and drift into the night with an insatiable appetite for unsolicited purity. The kind of pure that purrs with bite marks and bruises to remind you of how not invisible you really are.

Within the collection known as “Up at Lagrange” by Hobbes Fanclub, the reverberations of these feelings are breathing in distorted waves. Twisting and turning with seductive reverb and lucid solos that scream with Velvet Underground balladry, the empty spaces pop and spark with sugar coated heaviness that relies on nuance and power equally. This sequencing of airy vocals, sweet scattered guitars, and a pulsing bottom section grinds the shoegaze genre with a flirtatious bite of early 80s post-punk. A silver-tongued cocktail brimming with enough emotional turmoil and indifference to keep you awake all night but never promises you the memory of what you’re about to experience.

A dreamlike tornado of “Pleased to Meet Me” Replacements twists into a decadent pose with Galaxie 500 and the Jesus and Mary Chain. Tracks such as “Into the Night” and “Outside Myself” highlight what this band is capable of while providing an album that’s in perfect balance with itself. Standout tracks include the hypnotic “Stay Gold” and the feverish “Up at Lagrange”. This is definitely a band I will keep an eye on and one that keeps it hot coolness with each repeated listen.


Eureka California at Fear and Loathing in Long Beach

Athens, Georgia’s Eureka California have been active since 2007, with singer/songwriter Jake Ward remaining the only static member since their formation. On 2014’s Crunch (HHBTM Records), Ward bares his proclivity for higher knowledge once again, stating in the album’s opening track Edith (One Day You’ll Live In A Bunker) that “I’m a deep thinker, and I know who Descartes is.”

At times, Ward’s voice is reminiscent of that of Rhett Miller of Austin, Texas’ The Old 97’s: a pining, bourbon-drenched ode to someone or something lost long (but not too long) ago. On tracks like I Bet That You Like Julian Cope and Happy Again, Ward resembles a Teenage Hate era Jay Reatard: a snotty, vibrant display of corduroy angst. This comparison is eased by the overdriven, home-mixed touch that Ward has bestowed upon another quality recording, as he is also the band’s head studio man.

Rounding out the 1+1 equation is drummer Marie A. Uhler, who’s rhythmic tempos certainly help to magnify the band’s already prevalent Alt-Country-Polaris (the one off band from Pete & Pete, not the ATV company) sound. Uhler assists Ward in taking the listener to such locations in time as Berkeley ’89, London ’79, and Austin ’98 without ever making them leave the couch. The finishing track How Long Til The Medicine Takes echoes Roy Orbison, not so much in actual sound, but in chord structure, guitar tone, and the eerie, ethereal way Ward closes with a haunting reminder “It all seems normal until you sound it out”.

FFO: Billy Bragg, early 90’s indie rock, The Old 97’s – Too Far To Care, ice cold lemonade on a porch swing in mid July
Standout Tracks: Sneaky Robby, Twin Cities, Happy Again


Close Lobsters at Fear and Loathing in Long Beach

I was pretty stoked when I placed the new single by Close Lobsters on my turntable. Two songs of Love Spit Love and early Alarm catchiness with a brooding intensity well worth repeated listening. It conjured a memory of my awkward junior high days back in the late 80s and the cool mix tapes I would get with a diversity of bands consisting of The Alarm, New Model Army, Black Flag, and The Accused. I remembered a summer night at the local public swimming pool, where they would let the “teens” hang out, blare tunes, and have their own space for a few hours. 

There was a really cute skate betty named Shannon at the get together that night, I was trying to impress her. I could barely get two words out of my mouth while I had New Model Army playing on my boom box poolside. At that moment, two creeps from the wrestling team decided it was time to lift me off the ground and throw me into the pool. I had to plead with the dimwits and they just dropped me on the concrete. I felt so stupid that I couldn’t pull some heroic move to knock these two goons out. Oh well, I would spend the rest of that summer recovering my self-esteem. I did run into Shannon again when I was 21, got her number, and never bothered to call her. Sometimes you can’t repeat the past and it changes its shape as you move on in life. 

The Close Lobsters have made a nice explosion in their return to the scene of moody post-punk. The lead track “Now Time” has a classic picked apart chord opening with a nice drum break-in of Echo & the Bunnymen proportions. The guitar work is melodic and uses clean distortion mixed with tasteful chorus effects to compliment the atmosphere. If you’re a fan of early John Hughes films, this would fit in perfectly with those timeless soundtracks of youthful confusion, distrust, hope, and bright-eyed irresponsibility. 

The follow up track “New York City in Space” has a hypnotic and slower paced groove that moves along with bluesy new-wave inspired interplay. Solid playing and carefully crafted songwriting shine through on this strong release. Close Lobsters are legendary in their own right, with their debut in 1986 on NME’s seminal C86 compilation and singles with Enigma Records that had serious airplay back in the days when college radio ruled the indie airwaves in 1988. Hey, that’s around the same time I was thrown around at the pool party. Perfect timing then and perfect timing now. Available on blood colored vinyl exclusively from Shelflife Records. Until next time and the time after that…


Bastards of Fate at Fear and Loathing in Long Beach

A thin line exists between nightmares and memories in the swamp of interpretation. If you can picture the hangouts that you loved as a teenager and the bars that solidified your psyche in your 20s, stand back, and absorb all of it in. Was it that good or was it that bad. Now envision a spiked wrecking ball tearing through those mental sights with violent sound and you will be arriving at a destination called Vampires are Real and Palpable, the latest musical deconstruction by Roanoke Virginia’s Bastards of Fate. 

An uncut and unstable substance that sucked the usable blood from Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, The Remains, and The Faint. The finished product is a cacophony of an apathetic concerto that mocks the world falling down around it while getting high from the fumes of the ensuing debris. The lead track “Winter of our Discontent” is a maniacal revision of rock music that blends crooning, noise damage, and anthemic phrasing into a twisted guide for the senses.

“Chromosome I” and “Go No Further” add another element to this lethal dose with bizarre and catchy renderings of LCD Soundsystem and Oingo Boingo, at the height of their experimental phases. Unlike others attempting to sail the turbulent seas of experimentation, the hooks are still firmly in place, just not where you’re used to finding them. A map of a brilliant schizophrenic’s mind replaces antiquated songwriting formats that numb us in car commercials, grocery store Muzak, and superficial brain-dead television shows. 

“One True Love” displays severe psychedelic corrosion with almost angelic harmonies swirling above deranged balladry. This track along with “Identity Theft” are my picks for playlist inclusion, if not the whole album. A unique catchiness and addictive fever bleeds off these tracks. 

Manson Family (the real one) choirs and electro machinery drilling pulverize your cerebellum on “Own It” and “Ultimate Death”. The Bowie-esque pop snarl of “Credit” seriously kicks my ass every time I hear it, the beauty of the line “Did you figure out the answer, oh no…did you figure out the cure for cancer?” gives a glimpse into the soul of a generation left with nothing, and they don’t care. 

Coming near the closing, “Copilot” shakes up the feeling in your bones of being so far away from home, only nostalgia makes you miss it. Even though the home you had, was never a good one and long since disappeared into the void. The rock crumbling uproar of the melodic middle-section is a true moment of rock n roll grandeur. 

The downward spiral of jangled honky-tonk cacophony in “Optometrist” will ensure your head is spinning when the bomb drops on your neighborhood. After this, imminent extinction of all you know will arrive in a form no one has witnessed before. 


Cosines at Fear and Loathing in Long Beach

Missed opportunity, waiting in line, and life brutally speeding by while you lie awake disheveled in the middle of the night. Minutes and hours lost to minutia. I don’t know what to say. What will she say? I just can’t speak the language and I don’t know the “code”. The fevered feelings of frustration and trepidation are running rampant on the new 7” by Cosines. A sophisticated silver bullet constructed of clever and devious musical hooks that cling to you, like a pair of Calvins on Brooke Shields. A two-song affair highlighting the different dimensions of composition that breathe within these new-wave art rockers. 

“Commuter Love” is a full-bodied buzz of glam with a punky pulse. The lead track revs itself with a Bolanesque riff that rides slightly off the rails with a sparse synth accompaniment. The sleek repetitions of melody and chord crunch accentuate the painful parting of one’s nightlife for the responsibilities of day-job survival. The drag of growing old never grows old. A totally worthy A-Side that has enough angst, musical muscle, and self-awareness to give modern indie-rock bands a run for their money. 

The follow up track “Disclosed Stories” sounds like a psychedelic melding of Pete Shelley and The Lightning Seeds. Pop with just enough bite to keep the grooves surfy and the undercurrent raw. A pining for something more out of a relationship that never lends itself to more than just intimate conversation. Conundrums and uncertainty provide guaranteed anxiety in our daily lives. Unfortunately, glib solutions and psychobabble never provide us with insight or resolution. This nice slice of British Invasion tainted pop does what a great song should do, it offers a realistic observation. As a whole, this nice shot in the arm of edgy pop reminds me of those cool gems you would hear on the early Enigma Variations compilations. This single comes courtesy of the UK’s Fika Recordings label, which I might add, takes 7” artwork to a completely new level.


Luxembourg Signal at Fear and Loathing in Long Beach

My head is usually swarming with too many disconnected thoughts towards the end of the day. Where am I really going? What am I really doing? I usually have no idea most of the time. When the final curtain comes down on the sun, I usually retreat to my rooftop, take one or two of those blue pills, and light up a smoke for the perfect rest stop between up and down. I let my mind lose itself as I stare loosely at the tapestry of skylines, electrical wires, and cable dishes. I like to drift into the world of blurred lines while an anarchy of sound sparks in the background. Detachment is pleasure at the right moments. Luxembourg Signal’s debut single “Distant Drive” is the prescription for your surreal fever. 

“Distant Drive” is like a cosmic clash of Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Blake Babies. Beth Arzy’s meditative and whispery voice gels perfectly with the psychedelic-surf riffs and edgy acoustic strumming of Johnny Joyner. The interjection of Tubeway Army drum dynamics gives this deserving single an epic sound, reminiscent of “Reel Ten” by the Plugz on the Repo Man soundtrack. A lighthearted tease with heavy intentions is the atmosphere on this very cool dream-pop single. On this distant drive, life is better, at least for a little while. Where we end up… doesn’t really matter. 

The band turns down the lights and provides a more complex slice of contemplation with “Wishing Pool”. This track sounds like a lost gem from the Psychedelic Furs “Mirror Moves” album. A blend of post-punk guitar jangle with a smoldering melody that keeps itself in a straight-ahead rock groove. A short but sweet follow-up track. The more I check out the B side of this single, I realize it’s just as addictive as the lead track. I always dig a band showing its versatility on a single without having to include filler. Jump on this quick, it’s a limited 7” pressing of 300 brought to you by Portland Oregon’s Shelflife Records. The band is also the latest project by members of acclaimed indie acts, Aberdeen and Trembling Blue Stars. Check it out for yourself and see what you think.


Muuy Biien at Fear and Loathing in Long Beach

“Nobody hangs up on me. We’re through! Oh…uh, and one more thing. I’ve been cheating on you!” Those words ring true when you’re living in denial and enjoying the short lived euphoria of a funhouse reality. I never know when the party starts or when the party ends. Confusion is bliss sometimes. Muuy biien annihilates the robotic personalities around us with their latest release D.Y.I (do yourself in).

Vocalist Joshua Evans screams, “Another white ego, another good gone bad, to overcompensate for everything you lack” in the blistering and twisted fray of “White Ego”. Equal parts Saccharine Trust and Lost Sounds, this band brandishes an updated cacophony of freeform punk that is ready to start a blood-spattered intellectual revolution. Contempt, hostility, and self-loathing fill the concise blasts of frantic vocalization, the sounds of solitude amplified by menacing bass and guitar interplay. 

The album opens with the foreboding dissonance of “Cyclothymia I” and rips into frantic rock mode with “Human Error”. The high hat driven beats highlight the insane guitar action that infect and terrorize with a steady bass driven undertow. Side one of this pristine platter flies by in the blink of an eye with non-obvious hooks planted throughout the poisoned compositions. “What isn’t” and “She Bursts” have a cool Nation of Ulysses vibe running through them.

Side two opens with the fitting “Cyclothymia II” and demonstrates that this modern symphony is a virus in full bloom. Complete with its own orchestral movements firmly rooted in early SST releases, the rage goes into the red with “Virus Evolves”. This tune in particular shreds with a ferocity I haven’t heard from a band in quite some time. The rage gets moody and groove oriented with tracks “Dust” and “Frigid” providing icy post-apocalyptic anthems. The lights go out as your nervous system shuts down during the guitar feedback frenzy of the title track “D.Y.I”. As the dust clears, a beautifully sad piano gracefully leads you to the exit.