on thursday i went out to a club AGAIN -- wow! -- this time to check out a local band called the forward (that's them up there). i'd gotten a press release about them and saw that their forthcoming album, nothing but teeth, was produced by ethan allen, who also produced the 88, one of my fave local bands.
checked out their myspace and really liked the songs: "smoking is sexy" is a staccato, ringing new-wave rocker with a cool walking bass line and a vocal full of bravado and desperation. "touch" is a seductive little number that at points sounds sort of like the raconteurs' more aggressive moments, with some nice urgent, chiming guitar work and another great vocal. and "con man" is a totally addicting, hard-edged anthem, sinuous and cynical. (they also have a song called "whateverwhateverwhatever," so how could i not like them?) anyway, the music is thoroughly modern, ever-so-slightly "emo" (whatev, i hate that word), but with a broader sonic palette and better lyrics -- and also less whingy -- than your average MCR/FOB damage. the press release mentions the foo fighters, interpol, and coldplay -- which are as good of au courant touchstones as any, i suppose. so i recruited mimi and 00soul, and off we went.
since the band had been written up that day in the l.a. times' "buzz bands" column, i walked into the alterknit lounge expecting a crowd ... but the place was nearly empty. an echo park band called the monthlies was playing. we were immediately charmed, and not just by the fact that they had a girl guitarist. who was tricked-out a bit '40s-style in a blue cocktail dress and shiny black high heels. but that didn't hurt -- nor did the fact that she wielded that axe like a pro.
so, we got drinks and were standing there listening, and all of a sudden the monthlies started playing that old '80s hit "come on eileen" (by the inimitable dexys midnight runners). i totally freaked out, b/c that fucking song has been stuck in my head for a week!! omg, it was like a doctor who episode where the effect precedes the cause.
anyway ... the monthlies are also very pop, somewhat quirkier and more far-ranging than the forward, and with seriously eggheaded lyrics (not a diss). but that same kind of new-wave/pop energy. after the set mimi and i fawned over the guitarist, jana, much to her delight. she said she'd played guitar as a kid but stopped, and had relatively recently started up again. i wished we'd seen more of the set, b/c the monthlies were great. so check out their music on myspace. if you like it, they're playing saturday, july 19, at 14 below in santa monica and tuesday, july 22, at safari sam's in hollywood.
ok, so ... the forward. i think less than 50 people were there, more like 40 i'd say -- but the band played their ass off like the room was full. the set was really good -- standouts included "touch" and "con man," plus something else they jokingly called their "pop song" ... dunno the title, but they played it right before "touch." it's all pretty pop to me (not a diss), but i did think that "touch" was the best tune: VERY catchy and cool.
the down side was totally superficial, but what the hell. the band has this very hip neo-mod arrow logo on its drumkit, although it isn't really very mod (neo or otherwise). but the lead singer and the guitarist were wearing RUNNING SHOES. i mean, ugh! the bassist was wearing chuck taylors, so good for him. but he also sported a white sweatband -- dude, waaaay too olivia newton-john!! just keep a towel handy if you sweat, b/c you look like a big dork.
i mean, these guys definitely have a cool sound, and that's what really matters. but they also look like they'd clean up pretty good. so i suggest they consider dressing better on stage: maybe even suits, and definitely better shoes (chucks all around would do it). i am told that running shoes are "in" right now (god help us), so it's highly likely that my judgment is impaired by not being up on the latest trends. still. dressing well certainly hasn't hurt the 88.
plus, most of the people up front were adorable young chicks dressed in super-tiny dresses. the least these guys can do is look as good as their fans. sheesh.
anyway. the forward plays again at the key club on august 19. i highly recommend checking them out -- whatever they're wearing.