Bright Light, buttrock
Lest anyone get the wrong idea about last week’s column, here’s a fine old quote, taken from the writings of Thomas Jefferson: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Ergo, you shouldn’t let any Constitution-trashing monarchists intimidate you or tell you to confine your opinion to a “First Amendment Zone.” This whole damned country should be a First Amendment Zone. So sing away.
Of course, one interesting aspect of the runaway plutocratic dystopia we’re currently experiencing is that we of the hoi polloi get to observe spoiled rich kids, who cut in at the front of the line, foisting their creative efforts. Paris Hilton, for example, has a vanity-label deal with Warner Music Group and an album due in June. It’s the sort of thing that makes one wonder: “At what point did I die and wake up in hell, and no one bothered to tell me?”
Not sure if Sarah Lewitinn, a.k.a. “Ultragrrrl,” is a spoiled rich kid, but given the trajectory of her career—Manhattan party girl turned Spin magazine columnist and then Island Def Jam Music Group executive who’s even got her own custom label, Stolen Transmission—coupled with the vacant narcissistic ramblings at her MySpace page (www.myspace.com/ultragrrrl) and her blog (http://ultragrrrl.blogspot.com), I’d be willing to bet there’s a trust fund or two bankrolling her dolce vita.
Nevertheless, Lewitinn’s label appears to have signed a local band, Bright Light Fever, whose MySpace page is linked to hers. Now, even if it were Ms. Hilton who had signed Bright Light Fever to her Heiress Records imprint, this band would deserve to be evaluated on its own merits and not through some warped lens of plebian disgruntlement.
So, here it is: Bright Light Fever can bring the rock, the kind of pharmacologically hyperactive minor-key guitar noise that makes underfed Gotham fashionistas swoon, with an energetic, brittle angularity that’s almost martial. The singer—not sure if it’s guitar-playing brothers Evan or Matt Ferro, or bassist Dan Sauve—sounds like the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas after a rough weekend at Rikers Island, with a knife stuck in his throat. (That’s a good thing.) And the sum is greater than the parts, as evidenced on tracks like “Mother Mary Blues,” which is available for free download at http://islandrecords.com/toc as part of the label’s Taste of Chaos compilation, or “Telephones” and “Lost Las Vegas” from the band’s MySpace page (www.myspace.com/brightlightfever). The band’s entire album can be listened to at www.stolentransmission.com.
But onstage is where the merits of a rock band shine, or don’t. The curious can catch Bright Light Fever on Saturday at the Blue Lamp, located at 1400 Alhambra Boulevard. The 21-and-over show, which starts at 9 p.m. and will set you back $7, also features up-and-coming local buttrock juggernaut Hot Pistol, along with Bridges and Morse.
Blinding flashes of the obvious: Although the album hasn’t been picked up on the radar at www.metacritic.com yet, regional critics seem to be quite tumescent for Jackie Greene’s new album, American Myth, with Joel Selvin of the San Francisco Chronicle getting particularly worked up. It’s a fine disc, the release of which Greene will be celebrating locally on Friday at Empire Events Center. See you there, perhaps?