If you're any kind of Scene reader, you've probably noticed The Spin's been Spinnin' Daniel Pujol periodically since his ambiguous departure from the now semi-legendary local outfit MEEMAW all the way up to his recently signed status at Saddle Creek — which, Saturday night, manifested itself into a record release show at The End for his latest and aptly titled Nasty, Brutish and Short.
With five whole bands on the evening's bill, things kicked off at an uncharacteristically decent hour — at least by The End's standards. Scrappy high school-age duo Fox Fun burned through a quick set of tunes that were sometimes blisteringly high-speed and punk in nature, and at other times power-poppy and advanced well beyond the band members' years. (Seriously, why weren't we in a band this good when we were 16?) Then it was time for some tight, midtempo, lady-fronted, catchy indie pop from King Arthur. With PUJOL drummer Stewart Copeland (yes, seriously, he's a drummer named Stewart Copeland) providing guitar and backing vocals, Arthur's lithe, dueling riffs and sweet, poppy melodies made The Spin and our cohorts think that these kids have probably listened to at least a little Built to Spill (Modest Mouse may also be substituted in this instance).
Then it was a particularly breezy set by locals D. Watusi. Frontman Dillon Watson has been impressing the shit out of us since before he could drive, back when he was fronting the precociously raw blues-rockin' Kindergarten Circus. These days he's harnessed those primal licks into sweetly tempered garage pop much better suited for dancing. Though when it comes to dancing — at least this night — The Spin just tends to sway in any number of directions doing our damnedest to make sure no beer spills in the process.
Taking the stage — on, of all days, that of his birth — our newest hometown heavyweight, Bright Eyes labelmate and sometime Cream contributor (via his poems, EGGS, with partner Alexa Zöe Sullivant), Pujol and his crew came out to give us a taste of what he's been up to alongside those Omaha-based indie stalwarts. Frankly, it's not a whole lot different from the sporty-tempo'd, brainily worded, despicably catchy pop-as-punk bullets he's been firing in the form of EPs, mp3s, cassettes, singles and the like from every damn bedroom label in town and beyond. The newer jams are just as smart, sweet and singable — and they sounded way better once our 20-minute wait for a PBR ended so we could elbow our way up front.
Speaking of birthdays, this one was a double-header. It'd been Pujol's mortal coil anniversary all damn day, but head Turbo Fruit Jonas Stein turned a ripe 24 at the stroke of midnight — an opportune time to headline this clambake of clamor. Like Pujol & Co., the Fruits too seem to have gelled their contagious take on bluesy garage pop that seemed to rollick, dip and dally as we wove in and out of The End's awkward entrances and exits to maneuver various vice and conversations. The new tunes were the tightest ever. And somewhere in all the ruckus and between the barrel-rolling crowd surfers, we talked to a friend of the Fruits about their forthcoming record. We're sworn to secrecy, but there may just be a cameo in there that's well worth holding out for. Our lips are sealed.
So anyhow, happy birthday, boys. We should hope that you — unlike us codgers at The Spin — have got many more comin'.
A bit off
We were about to have a nervous breakdown. Our head really hurt. And then ... OFF! played on Monday at Exit/In! No, seriously, after a week of the Old Farts and Un-Hipsters in Western Shirts Festival and a Sunday night set from The Pains of Being Bored in Public, The Spin was ready to have a nervous breakdown. Like f'real, if we saw one more dude with a beard playing a midtempo, Dead-recalling, meandering guitar solo or another New York buzz band, we were going to shiv somebody with a rusty, um ... a rusty thing that's readily available in rock clubs. Maybe a rusty Solo cup? Do those rust? A rusty PBR can? A rusty studded leather jacket? A rusty mohawk? A rusty something. Regardless, someone was going to die if we had to hear one more midtempo treatise on how tough it is to be a person with long hair, feelings and a guitar in the 21st century. Thank God for Monday!
We should mention that there were two openers: Retox and Cerebal Ballzy. We caught a bit of of Retox — who our intrepid photographer described as "shitting on my fucking face" — and, well, we feel like maybe our photog was being a bit generous. Again, we only caught a couple of songs, but they definitely had a turn-of-the-century douche-core vibe. It was like The Locust if The Locust was, say, 10 years too late and really, really, really shrill. Like, mullet-and-a-V-neck shrill. You know, like the dude in your art appreciation class that read that one book that one time and wants to make sure he mentions that he read that one book that one time every time the teacher asks if there are any questions. It's that dude, but he has the mic cable wrapped around his neck like a low-rent puppet from a Tool tribute video.
Which is why we skipped Cerebral Ballzy: If the runners-up in the Shittiest Band Name of All Time contest were that bad, we weren't about to make an effort to see the folks who got first place. The Spin was entirely too busy not giving a fuck, because we're so fucking punk and there were some fucking bar stools that we had to occupy, but we were doing it Seattle '97 style and fuckin' shit up just 'cause we could.
Kidding! We were watching sports and bitching about our jobs at the bar across the street. We've turned into our dads!
Well, our dads are more of the Loggins & Messina types, so they probably wouldn't have enjoyed LA not-a-supergroup OFF! as much as we did, but you get the point. And our dads probably wouldn't have made that short-lived and hilarious attempt at joining in the circle pit, which one of the more foolhardy members of our entourage tried. Hell, our dads would have walked right out the door once OFF! launched into their high-speed aural assault, because dads and punk rock go together like milk and orange juice — or at least that's the way it's supposed to be. The fact that lead OFF-er Keith Morris is old enough to be our dad doesn't really factor into any of this of course, because he is, was and always will be the greatest punk-rock singer of all time — long grandpa stories and all. Bassist Steven McDonald, despite having 30 years of music under his belt, still looks like a baby-faced kid. And that the whole damn band plays with an intensity that is scarce in bands a third their age, well, shit, our dads definitely couldn't handle that — 30-some-odd minutes of pure, punk-rock fury and the perfect cure for a nervous breakdown.
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