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Franki Chan talks Check Yo Ponytail 2, Death Set and IHEARTCOMIX, preps SXSW party

March 15, 2011 | 11:22 am

20110315-cyp-flyer-full There’s one reason why sonic melting pots such as IHEARTCOMIX records' monthly event Check Yo Ponytail 2 manage to survive: The mish-mash lineups generate a lot of energy.

Tuesday’s record release show for Brooklyn, N.Y.-based punks the Death Set marks the seventh CYP2 show at the Echoplex since it resurfaced in November. Adding a slew of high-octane buzz bands to the bill, CYP2/IHC founder Franki Chan continues to help desegregate L.A.’s heavily partitioned music landscape.

The woofer-rattling lineup at the Echoplex also includes hip-hoppers Ninjasonik, Low End Theory resident Gaslamp Killer, electro poptress Zowie and garage rock hybrid Biker’s Daughter.

“They may be different genres, but they all have the same type of energy and they’re all coming from the same place, how they want to do music,” Chan said. “They’re all people that exist as leaders of their own scenes.”

Started in 2006 at the now-defunct Safari Sam’s, the original CYP was meant to be a band-focused alternative to the hoard of DJ nights in L.A. As the sweat-soaked parties grew in stature, the club got really big, really fast. In 2008, Chan halted CYP at the peak of its popularity to focus on his label and his DJ career.

Since its reemergence in November, CYP2 has opened its doors for underground acts of all pedigrees.

“There’s so many great artists in L.A. and so many things going on, but as far as live shows, it feels very broken up,” Chan said. “You go to Hard L.A. for dance stuff, you go to FYF shows to see punk stuff, and there’s nothing really in the middle ground… We just wanted to have an event that could show that.”

Tonight's Death Set  show offers L.A. crowds an evolved brand of three-chord savagery a la Beastie Boys. The impending release of its sophomore full-length, "Michel Poiccard" (out today on Counter Records/Ninja Tune), effortlessly  aligns with CYP2’s eclectic bent.

“The record isn’t just a punk record,” said vocalist Johnny Sierra. “There’s song that I think you’d be whistling down the street as well as sweating at a show to. There are different styles that we took on for this record that I’m really glad that we did.”

All this growth came in the face of debilitating loss over the course of 2010 as the band pressed on with the record after the 2009 passing of former guitarist Beau Velasco.  That, combined with Sierra and guitarist Dan Walker’s recent move from Baltimore to Brooklyn (by way of Gold Coast, Australia), has made for a rather hectic year thus far.

With Velasco’s spirit permeating Death Set’s record in everything from samples of his voice to unabashed song  title tributes (“I Miss You Beau Velasco”), the band rages on and whirls into its L.A.  record release show at CYP2 with full force displayed in tracks such as “Slap Slap Slap Pound Up Down Snap.” The track even comes with its own handshake,  a tidbit that’s certainly worth learning if you plan on raging at Tuesday night's show.

If you're headed to Austin, Texas, for South by Southwest, IHEARTCOMIX will be celebrating with a party at the Beauty Bar on Thursday. The Death Set will be performing there too, along with an impressive roster including She Wants Revenge, Pictureplane, Big Freedia and Chan himself on the decks.

-- Nate Jackson

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