Music News

The Starlite Desperation

Echoes are cool. You know, the way they lap against your skull like waves, slapping faster and faster until they start to run into each other, clipping their edges off and ultimately collapsing into a clunky, recursive stutter. Rock-and-roll history is full of them; in fact, the progression of '60s rock can be boiled down to a series of echoes between the U.S. and England: rhythm and blues, mod, garage rock, psychedelia and proto-metal. California's Starlite Desperation (due at the Larimer Lounge on Monday, July 12) is steeped in echoes, literally and figuratively. Besides the fact that singer/guitarist Dante Adrian's voice amounts to a pile-up of reverberating squawks and yowls, his songs are contained within a feedback loop described by Screamin' Jay Hawkins at one end and Uriah Heep at the other. Of course, the Starlite Desperation resembles neither of the above, instead settling somewhere in the median near 13th Floor Elevators and the Seeds. The sound is steeped in flung shit and orgiastic blasphemy, a sludge so primordial you half expect a legged fish to crawl out of it. The group's two previous full-lengths, Show You What a Baby Won't and Go Kill Mice, vacillated between the slightly less antiquated noises of Richard Hell and Glenn Danzig. But Violate a Sundae is one step forward for the band, two steps backward for rock and roll: On "The Thing," a filthy corkscrew riff burrows into your brain like one of those goddamn alien earworms from Star Trek II; and "Born to Be Happy" is a galloping ballad in which Adrian repeatedly gulps the line "Everybody dreaming in public," which could be interpreted as a cut-and-dried case for dosing America's municipal water supply. But no matter how fluttering and ghost-infested Sundae is, it connects -- both to itself and to the listener -- like a brain stem to a spine, like an echo to its origin. File under good vibrations for bad people.