Thurs Jan 6
1 SW 3rd
The world is full of music, both admirable and shameful, that merely strives to continue a consciousness of the past--concerned not so much with innovation as prolonging tradition. Some of this music is performed with an almost academic proficiency; the rest, sometimes indistinguishable from the former, is more about aping and raping the past than respecting it--a kind of lazy, bullshit mimicry wrapped in musical theater and fashion. When it comes to something as convoluted as neo-psychedelia in the 21st Century, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two, but for my money, the Out Crowd is a pretty good starting point.
Formed in the early oughts, the trajectory of the Out Crowd began to take shape when founding Brian Jonestown Massacre bassist Matt Hollywood left the band (an implosion now famously documented in the acclaimed documentary Dig!) and relocated to our fair city back in 1998. After a handful of false starts and nearly a year off, Hollywood began collaborating with guitarist Elliott Barnes, another L.A. import, and the initial seeds were planted. The twosome recruited drummer Stuart Valentine and tambourine player Sarah Jane, and after juggling a handful of bassists through the recording of their debut EP, finally settled on Dave Hicks. Melding into a sleeve-worn amalgam of the usual suspects (read: Stones, Byrds, Velvets, Floyds) with a dash or two of their revisionists (particularly Spacemen 3, Hollywood's own BJM, and their brethren the Dandy Warhols), the Out Crowd create a beautifully sinuous approximation of the past--languid and listless, stoned and sincere.
On Then I Saw the Holy City, the Crowd's solid debut full-length, the band reclines upon their influences with surprising comfort--Hollywood's innate melodic sense (and faux-British accent) masterfully propelling the dreamy din beneath. A reverb wash of ringing acoustic guitar, billowing fuzz, and ever-present tambourine, Then I Saw the Holy City carries tradition with impressive deftness--and by the time it's over, the Crowd manage to breath a little bit of new life into music that sounded half-alive to begin with.