Saturday, January 26, 2008

Austin Fever: YellowFever, Her Girl Friday, Dylan Doren @ the Smell January 25, 2008

I will not lie to you all. I only went over to the Smell because I found out YellowFever was going to be playing. Initially I didn't know who else was playing and really wasn't concerned because I had the yellow fever.... Sorry, that was ridiculous, it's early right now. But getting there at 9:30 and sitting through the first two sets two things became apparent: I can listen to noise rock with ear plugs and actually enjoy it because my ears do not feel like they've been permanently damaged, and the first two bands were un-expectantly fun to listen to.

There's this trend at the Smell to just slide from band to band, and many times band names are not said. Or, a band name is missed because suddenly they are already playing and you're still standing outside the club. So, that's my introductory excuse as to why I'm not 100% on the first two band names (if you know what they were, please feel free to jot down in the comments below). The Smell attracts a LOT of young people/bands who are really into the noise scene. Really into it. Expect one of the bands in a line up there every night to fit this genre. The first person/band up, and don't get mad if I mix the names here, I believe was Dylan Doren. Now, that could be the guy's name, or the band. I say name but what do I know? His set began with about 10-15 minutes of him sitting on the ground with some keyboards, a pedal, and microphones. My first thought brought be back to seeing Mincemeat or Tenspeed at Pehrspace back in December (sorry, no review, but you can listen to the show here!). Now, I enjoy noise, when done well, and when they added some live drumming to the mix, the whole musical experience suddenly made my attention snap right to them. The drum beats were live, but had the quality of feeling like they were sampled. The songs were pecked with these tiny screams that could barely make themselves heard over the instruments, forcing you to pay attention to the two people before you. They really turned it into an unexpected surprise performance.

Second up was Her Girl Friday, a 3 piece all girl band that included their own bubble blowing robotic looking chick standing in front dressed like she belonged at an anime convention. I'm not sure what 'look' they wanted to achieve by having this; 'cute' I guess comes to mind. The three blended guitars, keys and drums into a dark, droning pop sound. At times they reminded me a bit of Electrelane and other songs were a bit tipping towards bands like the Warlocks. Heavy, melodic, occasionally screaming tunes. They were also surprisingly enjoyable.

And then right into YellowFever. I can't remember which blog I first heard about this Austin band from. I want to say Gorrila vs. Bear, because any good music coming out of that part of Texas I will hear about through their site. In the usual Smell style, there were some technical hiccups. One I swear was as close to the 'brown noise' as you can get. I felt really bad, cause later the drummer was saying how it fucked up his ears bad. I think the problem was that the vocals were too low and the bass too high, and the attempt to fix it by the guy who runs(?) the Smell, made it the opposite of fixed. It terminated "Cats and Rats" a bit short, which was too bad, cause it's a cute song. Anyways, stuff started to go better from there, launching into (in no particular order except for what I can remember) Metarie, Hellfire, Joe Brown, and Culver City. I'm missing some, but I forget which. It would have been even more awesome had they played Alice, but I'm not complaining, they came to L.A. and I will be perfectly satisfied with just that much. Their music crosses between bands like Stereolab, Tuscadero, Heavenly, and in some ways reminds me of earlier music from the Breeders. But there also feels like there is this darker streak just under the surface of their music. The quite, sometimes somber tone to the lyrics, backed by the more poppy bass and guitar notes makes for some more bittersweet concoctions. At least I get that in there sometimes...

Right, ok, this post is starting to get a bit long. I just wanted to direct your attention to Austin, TX for a moment. Austin seems like this magical far away land filled to overflowing with great bands and constant flow of incredible albums. The city makes me jealous with its green-ness awareness and cool shows and really nice people, compared to living here in L.A. But then I remember a friend telling me it 90+ยบ for most of the year. And then L.A. seems ok, and Austin will just have to be that awesome city I visit.

Coming soon: Dare I step into the Smell for a second night in a row?!?!?!?


FUJI MINX said...

Very funny & interesting blog!
Plase check out FUJI MINX.
or Too bad you just missed their Safari Sam's show but playing the Mint, April 10th.

FILM RECORDS / b.h.c.c. said...