Music News

Crystal Antlers

The only thing delicate about the band called Crystal Antlers is its name — and then only just. The music on Tentacles, the first full-length by these Long Beach, California, noisemakers, is raucous and sloppy, a joyously chaotic mélange that maintains a sense of tension because it always seems on the verge of total collapse. "Painless Sleep," the busy swirl of an opening number, most likely became an instrumental because the crew couldn't figure out where the hell to squeeze in words — but vocalist/bassist/reeds-player Jonny Bell makes himself heard on cuts like the beach-storming title track, baying with abandon amid clattering drums, fuzzy guitars and Victor Rodriguez's lustily fingered organ. The influence of psychedelia and old-school garage rock hangs heavily over "Until the Sun Dies (Part 1)" and plenty more. But the sweaty ecstasy of the performances by the Antlers, joined at the Lounge by Tjutjuna and Fissure Mystic, renders charges of nostalgia-mongering moot. These Antlers aren't fragile.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts