High Fliers

Listening to Elixir Vitae, the sophomore release from Low Flying Owls, it's hard to believe that the California band wasn't born out of the same sultry, distortion-heavy San Francisco scene that birthed bands like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Vue. Formed in 2001, LFO's meld of dreamy, orchestral pop and foggy-minded rock condenses in a dense cloud of low vibrations, a sexy, after-hours sound that should come with dark, ambient lighting (or at least a back catalog of Jesus and Mary Chain material). Frontman Jared Southard ponders topics like serial killers with the lax delivery of someone a couple pills removed from sobriety, but then he'll snap back into complete clarity for a song or two. Theirs is a composite of psychedelic style and slinky rock substance that marked some of San Francisco's best in the late '90s, only LFO are from 90 miles northeast in Sacramento, a state capital previously known more for schlock pop like Cake than anything more subversive. The city of cheap dive bars and suburban sprawl is now home to a cool little spectrum of bands, from FM Knives and Corpse Fucks Corpse to the Proles and LFO.

Speaking on the phone from New Jersey, where he and Southard have planted themselves while the band enters temporary transition status (i.e., quitting jobs and getting out of leases to spend the next year on tour), friendly guitarist/keyboardist Andy Wagner says of their latest release, "It's a pretty moody record because it touches on a lot of what you could be feeling--dark, happy, whatever."

The band's gotten a little boost in the press since the release of Vitae last August, thanks in part to our local indie radio station, KEXP. "At CMJ, we did a live broadcast from the Museum of Television and Radio for KEXP," Wagner says. "That station has been very, very good to us." LFO return the favor by playing on KEXP on Friday, January 23, at 1:00 p.m., the day after their show at the Crocodile with the Decemberists.

Another event of note happening this week: No Space, the cool little art gallery that was responsible for the infamous Lightning Bolt street show last year, is having an art opening on Thursday, January 22, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Curated by Yeti editor Mike McGonigal, the show will include local artists such as Kevin Willis and Ryan Iverson, among others, with the musical guest to be announced. The free, all-ages event is at 534 Summit Ave.

And it's that time of year to spill your guts out again. Anonymously flatter your secret crush or send in completely obvious love notes for The Stranger's annual Valentine's issue. It's the cheapest gift you'll ever have to give, 'cause it's free. Just send a message of 30 words or less to love@thestranger.com.

(Speaking of e-mails, I forgot to add the contact info for the Pop Shoppe Record Swap the other week. If you want to get involved in the monthly music merch event, e-mail popshoppe@earthlink.net.)


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