Disco sticks and rabbit holes.
Rap to the future: Neighborhood Watch co-founder and emcee 5th Ave and local producer Jon Reyes are Delorean, whose eight-song release, No More Heroes, takes local hip-hop back to the basics: smart raps, catchy hooks, chill harmonies, addictive bass, rich synths—all a welcome reprieve from the hyperfast BPM, aggro-snare, bouncy-lows trends of mainstream rap.
Beats don’t have to bump at 88 damned miles per hour all the time, remember?
No More Heroes is proof: six unique tracks by Reyes and 5th bookended by spoken-word songs featuring lyricist D. Scott. The opener, “No More Heroes,” feels like an overture to a French New Wave film.
On “Look Alice,” a funky, psychedelic but straightforward rap track, 5th alternates with a female-chanted chorus of “How deep does the rabbit hole go?” and complex production that beckons a beguiling wonderland. And on “Needy Girl,” 5th raps, “She’s a needy girl / And I can’t stand needy girls,” to a slick, Billy Ocean-sounding rhythm, including an unexpected outro riffage of keys and a decayed funk bass. “Chillin’” features a cowbell backbeat that’s arguably the only nonannoying use of a cowbell in the past 10 years. And “Dear Langston,” which opens with live applause and a jazzy snare kit/synth strings arrangement, has 5th rapping, “Ask me what I’m writing for / It’s simple: just to give some hope,” a soulful ode to friendship, family and community.
No More Heroes is one of the more listenable, exciting and appealing local releases so far this year. And Delorean will be gigging all weekend: Tex Wasabi’s on Friday, August 7, at 10 p.m.; United State on Second Saturday, August 8, at 6 p.m.; The Press Club next Wednesday, August 12, at 9 p.m. (Nick Miller)
Church lessons in badassery: When Red Tyger Church took the Blue Lamp stage late Friday, some members of the other bands on the night’s bill remained outside on the sidewalk, more interested in smoking and shooting the shit.
Too bad, because if they’d bothered to venture inside, they’d surely been schooled in what it means to rock ’n’ roll.
The longtime Sacramento band’s latest lineup is fronted by Mike Diaz and includes the Ancient Sons’ Brad Teichman on bass, as well as singers Karen Simmons (ex-Skirts) and Becky Lotspeich, and the music they make is dynamic, aggressive and goddamned sexy.
The band opened its night with “Mess Around,” which, with its “I’m waiting for the man / I hope you understand” refrain, recalled 1968-era Rolling Stones shot through with a modern punk edge.
Diaz carried guitar and main vocal duties, slouched coolly at the side of the stage—content to let Simmons and Lotspeich take the spotlight with back-up vocals, dancing and tambourine.
Too often, when female back-up singers are stationed front and center it becomes little more than a show of “look cute and shake what your mama gave you.” But, while both women were a) definitely cute and b) most certainly shook what their mamas bequeathed them, they also c) brought it so hard their performances became frontline lessons in badassery.
Hey, any night during which the audience gets flipped off by a back-up singer (Simmons) is awesome. (Rachel Leibrock)
Leaving the capital: Rap group State Cap.’s A.V. is leaving Sacramento for beautiful … Mississippi. Wha?!
Anyway, State Cap.’s last show, probably for a long time, will be Wednesday, August 12, with DBL, Dahlak, Delorean (see left) at The Press Club (2030 P Street, $3, 9 p.m.). (N.M.)
Summer catch and release: What’s the summer anthem of 2009? (I realize you don’t give a shit, but play along.)
Is it “Walkabout” by Atlas Sound featuring Noah “Panda Bear” Lennox, a shameless guilty pleasure piece of Pet Sounds shuffle pop that will seduce even the most misanthropic critic? Or Kid Cudi’s “Make Her Say”: popular, predictable, forgettable? Or is it Lady Gaga’s “LoveGame,” a trashy, circusy acid-pop dance dump with a Red Light District chorus—“Let’s have some fun / This beat is sick / I want to take a ride on your disco stick”—that makes you feel the need to get an STD test, cotton swab up the peehole and all?
OK: Summer anthems are weak, but there are some Sacramento summer singles out there that are “catchy as all shit”: “Souls of Gold” by Sister Crayon (from their upcoming LP recorded locally by Scott McChane) and Ganglians’ “Blood on the Sand” (off the forthcoming 7-inch release). Both songs can be heard streaming on the band’s respective MySpace pages. (N.M.)
Take the Fire Escape: I swear, about two years ago I decided not to give much thought to Fire Escape Bar and Grill, a place with a stripper pole, bad karaoke and free hot dogs. But at last Friday’s Flip-Offs!, Psychosomatic and Verbal Abuse show, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Fire Escape has been rock ’n’ roll-afied: The walls were covered with vintage flyers and records. And my boyfriend’s jalapeño burger had me wondering why it’s not a “grill and bar.”
The Flip-Offs! started late but were full of energy, luring mohawked men into a ritual-kick/punch-circle dance. Next, Psychosomatic shredded its instruments as if it were a race, and Verbal Abuse finished up with an explosion of hard rock that was evident of decades of expertise. (Olla Ubay)