If the rodents of the world could lift their voices from the gutter, what would their bucktoothed chorus sound like? Nothing like the newest GoGoGo Airheart release, Rats! Sing! Sing! (GSL), which shakes the basement with lo-fi post punk, garage, and loose, Libertines pop meets punk dub. After years of turnstile band membership, the San Diego group sounds as unstable as ever, traversing new sonic landscapes where the territory never feels quite charted enough.
These days, GGGAH consist of a random assortment of old and new members, and their best moments involve gritty, Rapture-esque dance punk or plucky pub rock. On tracks like "Taxi Up," guitar riffs scrape like rusty razors, and the percussion is deep and propulsive as the band wails, chants, and conjures an odd communal hypnosis. "Heart on a Chain" is just as laissez-faire in delivery, but it manages to cast some catchy, early British punk vibes. But for every track like "Chain," there's one like "Turn out the Lights," where dub dissolves into white noise and uninspired lyrics.
Overall, Rats! is a rocky ride, seemingly unraveling more with each listen. And yet, GGGAH's core need to fuck with formalism—but also throw in some hooks—is enticing enough that I can't give up hope on the group just yet. There are some decent nuggets under all that mess, and it may be worth sticking around to hear if the next—or any—incarnation of the band can pull it together a little more cohesively than this one. They perform with the Joggers on Saturday, November 26 at Neumos.
Speaking of all things air related, Quentin Ertel, former general manager of Viceroy, is opening a new bar on 10th Avenue between Pike and Pine streets on Capitol Hill. Those with lofty life and libido ambitions will appreciate the name of the new venture—the Mile High Club (www.milehighseattle.com). Ertel says the bar, which should open this spring, will be a cocktail lounge that's "a bit rough around the edges, with palms and bright colors, balanced by rich leather booths and old chandeliers."
It sounds like the kinda space my uncle Pete would love. Pete's lived in the land of palm trees and cocktails—Hollywood, Florida—for most of my life, making his living as a jazz drummer, and scuba diving on the side. His was the first press photo I owned, for a group he played in years ago called Clique. I remember they had a female singer who looked like a prettier version of Liza Minnelli. But I digress (for the sake of The Stranger's Thanksgiving uncle theme).
New band alert: Punk "super group" the Unnatural Helpers played the Croc last weekend. The band features former/current members of the Dipers, the Pulses, the Lights, and more, and they were banging out some pretty heavy, distorted garage rock. Keep an ear to the speakers for that one.
And no Live Wire next week, as I take a quick vacation to the land of tequila—visiting the actual town Tequila, I hope, per Ertel's suggestion.