Alpine Decline celebrates album release at Silverlake Lounge on Wednesday night
The name Alpine Decline conjures images of bleached Swiss peaks, treacherous slalom runs and the omnipresent fear of an avalanche, but the inspiration for the locally based duo's sophomore album, "Visualizations," was generated from a trip to China.
Of course, the middle kingdom has its share of mountain ranges, most notably in the thin-aired Tibet Autonomous Region, which guitarist Jonathan Zeitlin and Pauline Mu explored after releasing their eponymous debut last year.
Formed out of the ashes of the fondly remembered Mezzanine Owls, the duo share their former outfit's knack for creating a wracked midnight tension. Zeitlin's swirling distortion pedals and shoegaze guitars combine with Mu's 1,000-horsepower drums to mimic the searing beauty found at alpine elevations. This is music suspended between earth and sky, searching for the supernatural in the mundane (as song titles such as "The Ghost," "Totem" and "The Pyre" attest.)
In an interview with Radio Free Silver Lake last year, the band described its admiration of Japanese psych rock band Les Rallizes Dénudés, and the fingerprints of the seminal noise outfit are readily apparent in the final descent of "Avalanche," where Zeitlin unleashes a pulverizing landslide of screeching feedback.
Graciously, the pair balance their experimental inclinations with an intuitive knack for melody and songwriting. The songs have ski poles, allowing the pair to avoid wayward flurries and stay focused -- they come pre-approved for fans of Sonic Youth, Swervedriver, Kitchens of Distinction, the black diamond slopes at Mammoth and the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland.
Alpine Decline go on at 11 tonight at the Silverlake Lounge. A jacket and ear plugs may be a wise move.
-- Jeff Weiss
Photo: Alpine Decline. Credit: Alpine Decline MySpace
Download: (Pop & Hiss Exclusive)
MP3: Alpine Decline-"Avalanche"