The Mad Walls, Rips, Adult Books And Cosmonauts At The Echoplex, Tuesday November 21st 2017
Thanksgiving is a slow period for shows, and that’s why the pre-turkey day at the Echoplex featuring no less than four bands in one night was an opportunity not to be missed. I was already more or less familiar with The Mad Walls, Adult Books and Cosmonauts but there was also Rips, a band visiting from New York City, which made this night of indie garage rock, a sort of variation around the eternal theme of guitars.
The Mad Walls had a fresh and vintage sound at the same time, while their performance was dynamic with the fierce and morose delivery of their frontman and singer Christopher Mercado. Once again, it was a band with a sound difficult to categorize, and it seems to be more and more the case with these new bands (the Mad Walls formed last year) playing into a sort of post-psychedelic haze with the energy of punk, the sophistication of many genres abruptly blending into each other with style. I may have heard influences coming from all directions, from the Velvet Underground to Talking Heads, sometimes experimenting with romantic take on badass countrish guitars or wide-screen punk gallops. They have an album ‘Somewhere Anywhere’ on Birth Records, the label of White Fence’s Tim Presley, and their eclectic set is something to follow.
The foursome of Rips had a full guitar sound and a speedy delivery, ferociously sung by their frontman, who was standing on one side of the stage. In a very shoegaze style, the quartet didn’t move much during their set of roaring rock ‘n’ roll wrapped around a lot of fuzz. Their self-titled debut album was produced by Austin Brown of Parquet Courts, but it may have been because of New York part, as I suddenly had the Strokes in mind during a few songs. There was the fury of punk, a mournful and aggressive delivery and plenty of stage confidence and guitar distortion. Nevertheless, one of their songs, called ‘Malibu Entropy’ sounded a bit different, like a more relaxed holiday on the beach in the middle of this urban rawness.
Adult Books can certainly excite crowds and make people mosh – I have seen the scene a few times during one of these Echo Park Rising late afternoons – in this despite a poppy and bouncy sound kicking behind Nick Winfrey’s upbeat vocals, Named after one song of Los Angeles’ iconic punk band X, they make music filled with a sort of playful energy going from a pop bounce to more frightful punk riffs. This was a joyful set with plenty of hair whipping air, and if this pre-Thanksgiving crowd was rather calm, I saw a few guys starting to get excited by their jangling and effervescent pop.
Cosmonauts headlined the night, and worked in a mystical and heavy psychedelia, under a low lighting and with a sound quite louder than those of the other bands. They have been active for a few years and have released several albums with this same rewarding and furious psy-punk sound, like the madness unleashed during ‘Gillian’, which was at times echoing Thee Oh Sees’ work. A lot of the songs were a long ride into a druggy-fuzzy atmosphere fueled by their stage energy – just listen to ‘Motorcycle One’ – but at the core of their layered sound, behind their thick reverb, there were some strong hooks, some powerful poppy hooks. Who knows if they would appreciate the comparison? But Cosmonauts could be the Brian Jonestown Massacre of Burger Records with Alex Ahmadi and Derek Cowart sharing the vocals. They have a propulsive and intense sound that could put in orbit the sweetest song of the night.
More pics here