Several years ago, a Brooklyn band named A Place to Bury Strangers arrived on a casket of hype and then essentially vanished. In the parlance of our times, "disappear" pretty much translates to: Blogs stopped covering it and Hype Machine hyped on. According to a cursory search I just made, the band's now big in England. Good for it.
I don't remember very much about A Place to Bury Strangers except that every review of its self-titled record trumpeted the claim that it was "New York's Loudest Band." Granted, that epithet doesn't necessarily yield good music, but like hip-hop, rock and roll has always been heavily predicated on levels of volume and velocity that would cause your parents (or, at this point, your grandparents), to pop a handful of Valium.
Crystal Antlers may be L.A.'s loudest outfit, a point that local sharp-dressed man Ian Cohen makes clear in his Pitchfork review of the group's self-released "Two-Way Mirror": "Two-Way Mirror is what to spin at the point when you stop caring about noise complaints."
Fronted by bassist/vocalist Jonny Bell, the best band with Crystal and/or Antlers in its name steps into the kitchen like it's been keeping acid in an icebox since Richard Nixon's first term. The band's guitars scrape and thrash, and Bell's vocal sounds like they've been bathed in battery fluid, a corroded but urgent wail. The drums thwack like the kit was made by Acme, and percussionist/group griot Sexual Chocolate, adds an extra freneticism that no local group can match.
Stream the new Crystal Antlers album in its entirety: Crystal Antlers -- Two-Way Mirror' (Left Click)
The band's sophomore full-length finds it filtering split ends of sound into its unkept and frayed aesthetic. There is the unmelted psychedelia of Santa Cruz psych kings Comets on Fire, crossed with noise rock and drone and the dulcet familiarity of the "Nuggets" garage rock compilation. They're at the point where comparisons do little justice. They're just Crystal Antlers now.
Thanfully, the Echo has no such noise restrictions. Crystal Antlers play there tonight for free, alongside a stellar bill that includes Pangea, Clorox and the Mexican Summer-signed Cold Showers. Bring ear plugs.
Download: Crystal Antlers -- 'Two Way Mirror' [MP3]
-- Jeff Weiss
Photo: Crystal Antlers: Credit: CrystalAntlers.Com