Pop & Hiss

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Earthmen and Strangers land tonight at the Redwood Bar & Grill

November 11, 2009 |  3:29 pm

Earthmen and Strangers brings its searing brand of psychedelic desert garage rock to the Redwood Bar & Grill tonight. The band's self-titled debut album on Philadelphia's FDH Records, released earlier this year, is a triumph of sharp musical skill and raw, almost heartrending feeling. Frontman Ryan Rousseau, whose garage rock pedigree stretches all the way back to 1998 in the first lineup of the Reatards, has a way of writing songs about matters of the heart that are both emotional and tough, a quality that makes for compelling live performances.

Anchored by the solid rhythm section of Luis Padilla on guitar, Joe Mathis on bass and Lenny DeLeon on drums, Rousseau is the creative wild card in the group. Playing upside down left-handed guitar, he sings with his eyes closed, as if transporting himself to another world. When he plays the jagged, feedback-heavy guitar solo for the epic "Desert Snow," it's like a magic carpet ride across a prickly black-lit Southwestern moonscape.

Currently on the last leg of a West Coast tour, Earthmen and Strangers will be joined by the bluesy, atmospheric Becky Lee and Drunkfoot and Orange County's own post-punk Cat Party.

-- Jason Gelt

Earthmen and Strangers at the Redwood Bar & Grill, 316 W. 2nd St. (213) 680-2600. 10 p.m. $10.
Photo: Earthmen and Strangers. Credit: Christy Masengarb