Crash of the Titan
Sole Man Band Ezee Tiger
w/Le Flange Du Mal, Bill Horist
Sun June 26, Funhouse, 9:30 pm, $5.
When I say that Ezee Tiger is a one-man band, I don't mean it in the style of, say, some major-label outcast doing his best Dylan on the old acoustic. Or that Ezee tickles the iMac under a fluorescent glow. I mean he's a one-man rock band—which, in typical genre phrasing, means Ezee plays drums, guitar, bass, and sings, all in the course of one song, and both live and on his recordings. He morphs what usually requires a two- to five-member lineup into the scrawny frame of one Anthony Petrovic, a bike messenger prone to smoking cigarettes while dressed in a squirrel suit (at least that's the look in photo shoots). And when he's not huffing it across the hilly landscape of San Francisco, he's creating the clamor of the titans as Ezee Tiger—his music a pandemonium of murky feedback, speaker-thrashing guitar and bass riffs, and slurred vocals. Ezee's blossoming walls of sound consume each other whole, belching out the byproducts through trash-bin electronics. And yet somehow it all comes together with catchy melodies that threaten to lodge dangerously long in your memory.
Ezee's 2005 eponymous debut blasted out on the KimoSciotic label, home to such underground, art-damaged sonic experiments as Zeigenbock Kopf and Crack: We Are Rock. The 10 tracks take you light-speed through Petrovic's perpetually cluttered imagination. Songs like "Mumble" sound like a tour van turned sideways, instruments toppling over one another as Petrovic wails over the top, while "Lil'n Organ Thang" offers nothing more than the church staple played until it stutters back on itself. As Petrovic explains in the liner notes, the whole idea was definitely lo-fi: "I played everything live to tape and we did some overdubs cuz this is a fancy schmancy record. Then we put it in the mean computer to extra fancy it up."
Petrovic says the thin thread tying together all his tracks is melody, whether it's within the manic metal of "For the Sweater Kids (For Hightower)" or the Spiritualized-on-a-crappy cassette concept of "Ballad of the Scooter Heshian (S.P.)." "I like crazy noise but I also like melodies," he explains. "I guess My Bloody Valentine would be a big influence on that—where you can interpret it as all-out noise, but you can still hear a really pretty thing underneath it."
Yeah, but Petrovic's stuff definitely comes closer to the tumultuous dirge of the Load/Bulb Records rosters than the Creation catalog. Would My Bloody Valentine ever write a song like "How to Rock... For Red Bennies?" The spastic 1:42 sprint hyperventilates down the fuse from typical instructional track to some freak having a weed smoking, puking explosion. "I don't like to take stuff too seriously," Petrovic explains. "I just thought, wouldn't it be funny if this sounded like a guitar lesson, but then the guy gets really wasted and shits his pants."
Playing live can be a double-edged deal for the solo setup. Where most rock acts dole out guest-list spots and drink tickets between multiple members, Petrovic takes all the spoils. Although he doesn't have to hassle with the collective input of, say, his old Denver band Gay Barbarians, there is the technical challenge of actually playing a show. When Ezee took the stage at the Crocodile in 2003, Petrovic dumped his arsenal of instruments (ranging from drum kit to turntables to "fancy electronics," guitar, and bass) all over the stage. Moving across one piece at a time, he jammed out a riff and looped it, each new sonorous texture more obese than the last. Finally, he'd bash the hell out of a drum kit, bleating into the mic like a farm animal on its way to the slaughter. (Petrovic admits, "There's no lyrics. I do this thing where I just pretend to sing. It's cool because sometimes you can even throw in a British accent.") It's a manic feat to witness live, and an accomplishment Petrovic continues building upon.
"I'm doing an a cappella doo-wop song now that's pretty neat. It's the same as the instruments where I just loop my voice and make all the different vocal parts like a barber shop would have, and that's going pretty cool," he explains. "It's never too late to kick it into more fun mode. Right now I'm going for 10 times more fun." ■