Whatever happened to Joey Fatone?
Went to the hardware store but they were all out of those huge jail-strength mops. With the amount of verbal ejaculate generated recently by stories on that putative rising star named Justin Timberlake—our esteemed local daily being one of the more embarrassingly gushing offenders—I’d figured it would take the Cell Block No. 9 model to do the trick. On reading the Bee’s coverage, along with Ann Powers’ laughably hagiographic drivel in the Los Angeles Times about Timberlake “grooving and popping” onstage, one might be deluded in thinking that John Lennon himself had risen from the big dirt nap to moonwalk and lip-synch to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” with a spectral Johnny Ramone on guitar.
Come on, kids. Let’s face some reality here: Timberlake may be a seasoned show-business pro, but his artistic DNA (a manufactured boy band by way of The All New Mickey Mouse Club) should by all rights exclude him from any serious consideration as an A-list cultural force. And having heard both Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds, I’d have to say that anyone in the thrall of this wind-up Ken doll should stop watching American Idol immediately. All Vegas smoke and mirrors.
Anyway, last Friday I eschewed grooving and popping at the Maloof family mausoleum, instead opting to check out a couple of old local hands in new bands at the Blue Lamp. First up was the Mission Satellite, the latest wrinkle on the old Red Star Memorial model. In the new band, Bobby Jordan (or Bobby J) is a frontman who works a mic stand, leaving the double-Gibson attack of Steve Amaral and Andy Vaughan to underpin his voice. Freed from playing guitar, Jordan sometimes seemed cast adrift. As this band is relatively new, it would only be fair to give him time to grow into the role, which requires larger, more theatrical gestures to put the songs across.
As for the songs, all—save one Cheap Trick cover—Jordan originals, the more grooving and popping ones evinced a ’70s Chinnichap glam-pop trajectory. One song, with a “wham bam thank you ma’am” chorus, was real, ahem, sweet. Other tunes were more perfunctory meat-and-potatoes rock. A little more road testing will benefit this band.
Second on the bill was Radio Orangevale, which succeeds the sadly now-defunct Las Pesadillas. Here, singer Noah Nelson has put together a less eclectic, more straightforward rock band, backed by former Pesadillas drummer Jason Cox on lead guitar. If you’re into comparisons, Radio Orangevale is Cracker to Las Pesadillas’ Camper Van Beethoven. Some of the delicious idiosyncrasies of the former band have fallen away, replaced by a more linear expression of a similarly grooving and popping universe. The closing number, David Bowie’s “The Bewlay Brothers,” approached minor godhood.
I didn’t stay for Flounder, figuring I might catch the end of Amy Cooper’s set at Old Ironsides. Missed it, but got really surprised by Desario, the latest vehicle for the sublime post-shoegazer aesthetic vision of John Conley (California Oranges, Holiday Flyer). The bespectacled quartet, which I might rename “16 Eyes” in one of my lamer moments, positively shimmered, grooving and popping through an oscillating set of crystalline guitar textures and haunting melodies.
With pure local-pop products like this so readily available, why mop?