King Tuff, Jaill

KXLU and Oh My Rockness Present

King Tuff

Jaill

The Coathangers

Fri, July 27, 2012

8:30 pm

The Echo

Los Angeles, California

$10.00 - $12.00

This event is 18 and over

King Tuff
King Tuff
A more charismatic, enigmatic nomad of a furioso frontman/artist/guitar legend could not be imagined. You can't make this shit up.

Grinning gold teeth behind blonde shades, in black, skeletal denim, with a studded "KING TUFF" across the shoulders where feral locks fall around his infamous "Sun Medallion." With an acoustic guitar slung over the shoulder, King Tuff slinks through the abandoned halls of Detroit's Malcolm X Academy. His baseball hat reads "VERMONT." It's the 4th of July.

Will somebody please snap a photo of this animal before it escapes back into the wilderness from which it came??!! 

Magic Jake pulls up on a motorcycle, riding left-handed with his bass guitar hanging from the right arm, shoeless. 

Kenny arrives in a rusted van, drums stacked in the back atop a shedding sofa complete with coffee table and a thermos full of god knows what.

Captain Cox, prodigy engineer, is attempting to "fix" the mixing console, on his back, under the wires, a flashlight between his teeth and soldering gun in hand.

"COX!" I bark, "What the FUCK are you doing?" 

"Just trying to get these channels to work," he laments.  

"What's wrong with them?" I lean under the desk and practically fall into a pile of live spaghetti. 

"I built them," he confesses. 

King Tuff sits, center stage between Magic Jake and Kenny, his trademark guitar, Jazijoo, on his lap while the rhythm section diligently loops the groove under Tuff's frenetic fingering. 

Silent on a marble staircase, a ghost of a child, King Tuff, expressionless, leans back into a half shadow, with rays of silver rings leaping under incandescent light. The sessions go long into the bordering hours of morning.

Never a dull moment. King Tuff exclaims, "I'm an expert on the vibraphone." I laugh, and then he performs one, perfect take. Seriously.

My familiarity with Was Dead, his last release, was limited. Under the avalanche of thirty-something demos, I'd selected 16 to record for his Sub Pop debut.  

After investigating Was Dead I realized that, with his latest offering, his songwriting was stretching far beyond the thrill of the immediate dance-floor reflex and now revealed a songwriter with a keen eye inside everyone. That was the stuff that I was interested in. Embarrass me! I don't give a fuck about your ex-girlfriend.

King Tuff: "You always want to erase the imperfect in your beautiful face, and you think about the time you waste in this impossible place."

"Loop those fucking beats, Kenny!" was my mantra. I shout at the session! Millions of albums arrive daily, yet for Tuff, this is the only one. And I understand that perfectly.   

King Tuff sang 16 songs in two days. We chant: "Nobody gives a shit!" This is not precious, it's priceless—ART. Make it, don't molest it. 

But how? More frustration! More saturation! More immediacy! Filthier! Frighten me! Shake it 'til you break it! It's a perversion of a language that sounds like Rock & Roll. But new, again.

Rock & Roll is dead. King Tuff Was Dead. Rock & Roll is alive. King Tuff is dead. The passion is all there is. We ARE wild strawberries.  

An artist should never be careful, nor should the audience covet. Take the shot! Embrace the imperfection. Create more music, carelessly.  

We've created something here. King Tuff should not be inspected or even listened to with critical ears. Cut your ears off. Rock & Roll is meant to be blasted into your cells, penetrated, and absorbed. It's a visceral experience.  

Seek solace in solitude when you're dead. If you aren't able to recognize the genius in this epic album, then you're already dead. Kill yourself. Or get a job. 

Your choice.

Stop here. Don't pay attention. Blast it! It's not precious; it's real. It belongs to you. Do what thou wilt. It's yours.

All that aside, this album fucking rules. I should know, I've heard it about a million times.
Jaill
Jaill
Jaill is a lot like other bands; they’ve slept on your floor, you’ve made fun of their pillow cases, they’re not nearly as good at Excitebike as they said they were and although they all say they’re cool with cats, no one’s excited about sleeping at the cat house. So it should come as no surprise that, as bands sometimes do, they’ve made a new record. And that record is Traps, their second for Sub Pop, but first to adopt the bold new marketing strategy of giving away a free pair of Nike cross-trainers to anyone who steals it on the internet. Take that, Radiohead. So, but, what is Traps? And what about it can best fill five paragraphs? Traps is pretty, it’s moody, it pops. It has the scrappy, vengeful enthusiasm of a puppy stuck under a blanket. It’s an adorably grumpy bear just awoken from his long winter’s slumber, with a mangy heart rarely found outside of the stuffed animal bin of a Salvation Army. It’s an album that expects to be taken seriously goddammit, even though it just puked on the bar.

Traps is also, and confidently, a Jaill record. It’s an acerbic exercise in both humility and aggression. Lyrically and melodically it portrays the malfunctioning universe inside a home, taking into account the myriad ways in which relationships and responsibilities can destroy a person’s mind. “Gave myself a good grade on barely losing my shit,” sings Vinnie Kircher on “While You Reload.” His resignation to the failed road ahead is all over Traps, from the sarcastic slap of the drum-machine snare in “Horrible Things (Make Pretty Songs),” to the recurring, sounding-like-a-broken-Slinky riff of album opener “Waste a Lot of Things.” In “House with Haunting” Kircher waxes philosophical on the pains of getting older, with a home still overrun with friends and houseguests. Yet on “I’m Home,” Kircher laments, “I have clown hands now, bowtie spins around,” whatever philosophies he had giving way to sardonic acquiescence.

But for Traps to sound like its subject matter was in a way inescapable, recorded as it was in Kircher’s crummy, poorly lit basement. Sacrificing most of 2011 to the album’s completion, with minimal gear and a control room of thrift store afghans, Jaill set out to create a record they thought would be worthy of appreciation, without much of a plan beyond that. This was a return to the in-home manufacturing process they honed back in the day, before big labels came along and started throwing their comically large bankrolls around. They started tracking in January, combing through well over a dozen songs, rerecording some, judiciously discarding others. The process became about self-awareness, scrutiny and a strong desire for inventiveness. By October, the band was in agreement: tracking for the lean, eleven-song album was finished. November brought them out to New York briefly, where Brooklyn’s most hilarious jokester, Nicolas Vernhes of Rare Book Room, mixed the band’s mangled masterpiece. He brought the ideas in line, keeping the sentiment true to its basement origins. Clownishly huge stacks of money were again thrown at various problems. High-fives were given, and deserved. Soon the album was mastered and aptly titled, Traps.

When Jaill nonchalantly stepped into the room with 2010’s That’s How We Burn, the group had already turned out a small catalog of self-recorded/released albums and EPs. Sub Pop first heard the band on an LP bought through the mail, the cover still hot from the Kinko’s copier. When it arrived covered in dog hair and finger smears they knew they were on to something. Here was a group of guys so focused on their metier; they couldn’t be bothered with the bullshit details like where not to set the can of La Croix. And as 2009’s There’s No Sky (Oh My My) (the above-mentioned, mail-ordered LP) demonstrated, Kircher is equally comfortable crafting songs that either amble up slyly, or tumble out pell mell, with lyrics that betray his English major background. That’s How We Burn only reinforced this. SPIN said of the album, “What elevates their debut beyond your average twee-punk rager is the gentle psych dabblings: extra delay on a guitar solo, an errant ‘ooh-ahh-ooh,’ a dubby Panda Bear flourish, and the swirling noise that murmurs through the background of the cheerful ‘Snake Shakes’.”

So in conclusion, even though you said you were ready to go like fifteen minutes ago, here is Jaill still ambling around the stage having loaded out barely any of their gear, and the merch is still sitting out everywhere. And although it would be great if they could just move it along a bit faster because, as you’ve mentioned more than a couple times already, you have to work in the morning, perhaps have work to do even now, you wait because you know deep down that you love these guys. It might take until three in the afternoon, and every last clean dish in the kitchen, but they will totally get you back the next day with some breakfast tacos and perhaps an LP. (At cost.) And besides, what else truly makes a house a home but having five vibrantly unwashed men sleeping on the floor of your living room? Traps comes out June 12th, 2012, on Sub Pop Records, not coincidentally six days following National Gardening Exercise Day. So cop a disc, get out there this summer and exercise with your plants!
The Coathangers
The Coathangers
If you’re familiar with The Coathangers then you probably know the Atlanta group’s premise. The story goes that four young women decided to start a band for the sole purpose of being able to hang out and play parties. They weren’t going to let the fact that none of them knew how to play any instruments get in the way of their having a good time. The backstory certainly added to the charm of early songs like “Nestle In My Boobies” and “Stop Stomp Stompin’”--songs that resided somewhere between no-wave’s caustic stabs of dissonance and garage rock’s primal minimalism. In the seven years since their formation, The Coathangers have released a slew of records and toured across North America and Europe countless times. The persistence of such a casual endeavor is a testament to the infectious quality of their songs and the electric nature of their unruly live show.
Suck My Shirt is the The Coathangers’ fourth full-length. The title refers to an incident involving the salvaging of spilled tequila during the recording session for the album. While the title implies that little has changed with regards to the band’s celebratory mission statement, even just a cursory listen of their latest album demonstrates that there have indeed been changes in The Coathangers’ camp. First off, the quartet was reduced to a trio for the latest record, with keyboardist Bebe Coathanger (Candice Jones) stepping down from her duties. But the absence of keyboards isn’t nearly as noticeable of a difference as the band’s refined songwriting approach. Refinement is an attribute we expect to see in any group that has a career spanning more than a couple of years, but the extent to which The Coathangers have honed their trade with each successive album dwarfs most bands’ maturation. This isn’t to say that The Coathangers have polished their sound; the group once again worked with Ed Rawls and Justin McNeight at The Living Room to attain the same production values of their Larceny & Old Lace album and their recent slew of split 7”s. Rather, the refinement can be heard in the quality of the songs themselves. While the band retains the alluring spontaneity and happy accidents of their early releases, the trio’s current work sounds far more deliberate and locked-in than anything they’ve done in the past.
“It’s a balance between overthinking and just going for it,” guitarist Crook Kid Coathanger (Julia Kugel) says of their songwriting strategy. It’s a duality immediately apparent with the album opener “Follow Me”. It’s a classic Coathangers tune with the raspy vocals of Rusty Coathanger (Stephanie Luke) belted out over the signature grimy rock laid down by Crook Kid and bassist Minnie Coathanger (Meredith Franco). But the chorus opens into one of the most accessible hooks in the band’s canon, just before segueing into the next verse with a squall of violent dissonant guitar. From there the band launches into “Shut Up”, a title that harkens back to the brash sass of their first record. The song still has its spikey guitar riffs and shouted chorus, but here The Coathangers sound less like a jubilant version of Huggy Bear and more like the art-pop of late-era Minutemen. Dedicated Coathangers fans will recognize the re-worked versions of “Merry Go Round”, “Smother”, “Adderall”, and “Derek’s Song” from their run of limited edition split 7”s, and hearing them in the context of the album shows that these tracks weren’t merely isolated examples of the band’s more sophisticated side, but were actually demonstrative of the group’s increasing capacity for nestling solid melodic hooks and rock heft into their repertoire. By the time the band wraps up the album with the humble pop perfection of “Drive”, it’s hard to believe this was the band that garnered their reputation with raucous bombasts like “Don’t Touch My Shit”.
“Ultimately, every album is a snapshot of who we were at the time,” says Crook Kid. And while that might mean that The Coathangers in 2014 don’t feel compelled to chronicle the youthful piss and vinegar that yielded the Teenage Jesus & The Jerks-esque spasms of their debut album, it’s exciting to hear the output of the band as they explore the range of their temperaments with a broader musical palette at their disposal. Suck My Shirt is available on LP, CD, and digital formats on March 18th 2014 via Suicide Squeeze Records.
Venue Information:
The Echo
1822 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, California, 90026
http://www.theecho.com