The Tough Shits - Missed them as this started and finished before 8pm. They were just here opening for Redd Kross and here is what I thought then for what it is worth.
Habibi - I really need to relearn how to print so I can read my notes. I am looking at my notes and they start with what looks like "99% nice Satan-esque vocals". That is better than anything I actually wrote, but alas, it does not describe these four (and sometimes five) women. They play a brand of noisy pop that is quite dark, but very comforting. Oh, and I figured out that 'nice Satan' translates to Nancy Sinatra, whose deep straightforward delivery is similar to the style here. There is no slick Lee Hazelwood production here, it is raw garage sound that is just north of the Shaggs (who I have on my mind as I just read that one of the Shaggs is recording a solo album!!). At times, it sounds like Marissa Nadler is singing in front of a teenage Joy Division tribute band, which was as good it sounds.
together PANGEA - From LA comes this strong quartet that takes the garage pop from earlier and punks it up some. They cover everything from the sixties and seventies and beyond in their sound and keep it all fresh and in your face. They have just enough snottiness in the vocals to keep it punk, while the guitars add enough edginess and obtuse moves to the powerful rhythm section. Franky, you can play this music competently and win me over so long as you are having fun with it. But fortunately this band has the talent to push it a little further and make themselves into something I would want to go back and see again. Hopefully this Burgerama tour, will convince many more to follow this interesting band.
Gap Dream - Also from California, comes this trio on guitar, bass, and keyboards/electonics/vocals. They keep it in the garage psychedelic world, but go into a more electronic direction. I was skeptical, as I was thinking this was merely taking me back to the old days of the Flying Lizards or other interesting new wave bands. But it did not take long where the bass player hooked me into his groove. The guitarist was also locked in jabbing away with various noisy thrusts. They gave plenty of room for their third member to play with his sounds and beats and handle the vocals. Ultimately, this reminded me more of a less extreme Wooden Shjips and was quite impressive.
Cosmonauts - This twin guitar quartet has a 12-string mixed in with a six, which creates that classic ringing sound. But they don't exactly sound like their fellow Californians, the Byrds, but employ a more British sound circa Echo & the Bunnymen era. They have that same Bunnymen psychedelic rock approach that is easy to slide into and enjoy. They had it going to near hypnosis levels, and although these 20-minute sets were generally a little shorter than I wanted for so many good bands, it actually served the Cosmonauts well. In future, I would like to see a touch more variance in their songs, as I believe they have the skill and players to create some more challenging music. Maybe it is there already, as you can only do so much in 20 minutes.
The Growlers - Last up comes the first band that seems completely misnamed. I hear nary a growl all set, but instead way too much reverb. They employ a full time vocalist who sounds like he can sing, but the reverbed voice is lost in the two guitars. This was a serious sonic whiff here tonight, which was too bad as they have an appealing low-key take on psychedelia. Maybe it is even too low key, as I feel I am seeing Jimmy Buffet's stoner kids in a band. This is probably a good band, but I just could not get past their sonic choices tonight.
Quote of the Night: Last thing I heard from gabby people I walked away from so I could focus on the music... "Like, he's from Texas, so he doesn't understand sarcasm".