Easy With Crush, The Entire Universe At The Echo, Friday September 7th 2018
Friday night at the Echo was unusual, it was a night of new bands with familiar faces, and if you didn’t read the details of the show, you probably didn’t guess that fist act Crush was, in fact, Cole Alexander of Atlanta’s The Black Lips and Zumi Rosow of K-Holes (LA) & The Black Lips, and headliner Easy was, in fact, the new project of The Shrine’s Josh Landau.
Crush, the duo-couple Cole and Zumi, sounded effectively weird and familiar, with songs haunted by Zumi’s noir sax buzzing into their semi-country tunes. However, the duo immediately revealed us their very eclectic range, going from a hip-hop track to a hee-haw singalong or a doo-wop torch song performed by Zumi crawling on stage and crushing at Cole’s feet. It was an intense and very entertaining set, pulsing and rising, passionate and emotional, as they were playing full-fleshed music despite being only two on stage. You could hear some Black Lips sax and guitar licks here and there, especially in their most upbeat country-ish songs but Crush definitively sounded weirder than anything the Black Lips have ever done, often ending into a noisy and improvised chaos.
The Entire Universe is a band I have seen a few times, as they had a successful residency at Zebulon, and, just like last year, they rocked the Echo with sweet hooks, some big bright sound, and forceful drumming… Jeffertitti, the man at the center of the Entire Universe, is the singer-guitarist who leads the game with energy and an emotional bravado. The band created their own universe of deep and spacious rock ‘n’ roll, often channeling the ‘70s with many complex layers involving a synth and some pulverizing drumming. They used to wear military outfits and commando caps, to spread ‘a peaceful militant visual aesthetic’, but they were more casual this time, while the music sounded even more powerful and ambitious. If each member of the band has previously been involved with different musical ventures (Corners, Jeffertitti’s Nile…) they were not trying to sound like any of their previous bands, their explosive set had some glam component, plenty of Syd-Barrett-like psychedelia wrapped around a garage rock sound inspired by the British invasion and delivered with a real confidence. And one thing is certain, all set-long, the Entire Universe never forgot about hooks and memorable choruses, something that not every young band can claim.
It was Easy’s release party and they came on stage with the aura of rockstars. Fronted by Josh Landau of The Shrine fame, this band’s sound may have been a bit tamer than his raucous and explosive Shrine number, but Easy’s music was still deeply rooted in a genuine rock sound, with plenty of shredding and action. Plus, it was a super band with a few very notable people as professional skateboarder Don “Nuge” Nguyen was on bass, Jordan Jones on the second guitar, Amoeba Records manager Ben Brown on synth and Run The Jewels’ producer Wilder Zoby on drums.They are also a super young band, which debuted just last year at a private festival hosted by photographer Atiba Jefferson titled “Last Night,” where they played alongside Future Islands, Animal Collective, Explosions in The Sky.
The howls and moves of the always charismatic Josh Landau were the highlights of the show (this guy is a real rock star) while the riffs stayed heavy, wrapping interesting melodies which often had a catchy power-pop anthem potential. There was a cinematic sense of evasion during certain songs, and a real abandon to the long spiraling road of rock ‘n’ roll, people jumping with their beers behind me understood this very fast, it was music to drive fast, skate hard and drink beer. However, if the music had this rock ‘n’ roll high-cylinder engine with a foot on the pedal, one calmer song brought the Arctic Monkeys in my mind,… if Alex Turner had known how to shred like Landau.