Desperate Measures

The men of Starlite Desperation favor the vinyl solution.

The casual listener may choose other adjectives. For all the combo's deliberation, the act's style smacks of late-Seventies/early-Eighties garage fodder. An example is "New Year's Bathroom Magic," which intentionally lends itself to multiple interpretations. "That's about both sex and drugs, but it's also about magic, ritual and sacrifice," White-Aliano discloses. "I just played with the concept of wanting something really badly and the various things that happen in a bathroom taking on an almost cult significance."

Observers unsympathetic to such tried-and-tried lava-lamp themes may dismiss White-Aliano and company as mere snots who crank their drag-strip rock through shitty components. Early in their careers, the Starlite three all but confirmed this impression by wrapping their skinny frames in velvet and the other type of vinyl. But as they've grown more confident in their songwriting, they've disposed of such blatant dandification.

"We wanted to project a certain vibe," White-Aliano admits. "But we wanted to do it through music, and now that the music does it, that's enough for us. A lot of other bands have been popping up that do what we were doing, and that kind of turned us off to it. It started to seem like some kind of revival movement, and we're not about that. We're not a retro band, and we didn't want to be pinned as such."

At the same time, White-Aliano recognizes that the only sure way of dodging this label would be to "make music with a calculator." In his view, "Playing a guitar is retro these days." But don't dismiss the performers as Luddites who would rather live in a cabin in Montana and write manifestos than utilize modern conveniences. After all, a jewel-boxed version of Show You, supplemented by a few of the group's early singles, is in the talking stages. "We do prefer vinyl," White-Aliano emphasizes. "But CDs are a necessary thing in this day and age."

Starlite Desperation, with Register. 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 20, 15th Street Tavern, 623 15th Street, $4, 572-0822.

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