Tues Aug 23,
El Corazón, 8 pm,
$8 adv/$10 DOS,
It's FItting that L.A.'s 400 Blows are named after a film. (François Truffaut's 1959 societal oppression joint, in case you were wondering.) Singer Skot Alexander stalks the stage looking like John Belushi scouting for drugs at a party. And sometimes, dressed in military leather and gloves, he looks like I'd imagine Brando's Colonel Kurtz did before he became the death-tripping jungle hippie we know in Apocalypse Now.
It's Alexander's gnashing, dramatic stage presence that helps make 400 Blows such a memorable live show. He's a short, squatty dude in aviator shades, stomping the stage like a baby fascist, shouting unintelligible hate speak (the band says the lyrics are about love and hope, but I dunno), while the drummer beats a kiddie-size drum kit and the guitarist makes farm animal noises: BLEEAT! RRROWW!
It's a lean sound too on the band's new one, Angel's Trumpets and Devil's Trombones—A Clockwork Orange reference, natch. The guitar, drums, and singing are sparse, bare and hard. On previous records, their formula whited itself out (low-rent production, too loud, and too much in too little space), but the new one is full of Alex Newport's (who turned the Locust into a primordial psyche-grind symphony on their Ipecac EP) tender production caress. Their sound has opened up; you hear gaps between skronk—heavenly ringing silence, before the noise comes back to blast it all to hell.
Opening this show is GSL Records co-owner Sonny Kay's band Year Future. He's been in a lot of bands that have inspired younger musicians to make similarly artful noise, and with Year Future, he's rocking a post-hardcore steez. Par for the course with Kay's kinda famous past bands (VSS, Angel Hair, et al.) Year Future is a screaming, scuzzy slap—pure snake venom. Bonus: Now that Moving Units broke up, disco drummer Chris Hathwell is on the YF bus. Expect a mix of pain and sweetness from both these bands.