Bootleg Theater Presents
Kera and the Lesbians
2220 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90057
This event is 21 and over
Now based in Missouri, the Scotsman behind American Wrestlers has been on one hell of a journey. Born and raised in Glasgow, he then found his way to Manchester, where he recorded some demos under a different name and posted the songs online. It was then that his now-wife first got in touch, and after becoming enraptured with one another, he moved across the Atlantic to get married.
“I like to write real songs that survive all on their own,” he explains of the sound. “One human and one instrument. Just the human even.” Melodic and hazy, its ramshackle surface hides an attention to detail that leaves the ‘lo-fi’ tag dead in the water.
“The lo-fi thing was all unintentional,” he confirms. “This was me trying my hardest to keep all the different sounds and layers under control. Make the reverbs and chorus sound nice and get just the right amount of overdrive from the multi-track’s inputs, while at the same time trying to make sure I kept the natural sounds and feels of the real sources the music was coming from.”
Armed with little more than a TASCAM 8-track and “the cheapest pawn shop instruments [he] could afford,” the upcoming self-titled debut took shape in remote and rural America, and that comforting step away from the hustle and bustle is felt throughout.
First single sees ‘I Can Do No Wrong’ sees shimmery guitar-work draw upon that feeling of a Midwestern summer’s stifling heat. Driven along by a crackling beat, it’s a stripped back approach to garage-rock that focuses on melody and avoids the all-too-common desire to drench everything in layer-upon-layer of fuzz.
“The warbling in the chorus is me shaking the whole cassette after taking off the front of the tape tray,” he explains of his process. There’s a similar free-spiritedness throughout the record – on ‘There’s No One Crying Over Me Either’, the four-note piano refrain was a happy accident: “I was walking past a piano in a friends house and hit four notes at random, stopped and played them again a few times, then sang a melody, and it eventually became this song.”
“The last time I had a TASCAM 8-track I was fourteen,” he continues on the subject of the record’s playful and timeless nature. “The TASCAM was fitting because I was kinda trying to write the album I had always wanted to write since I first started playing music.” For the character behind American Wrestlers, then, it’s a lifelong ambition finally realised – for all us lucky enough to hear the fruits of his labour, it’s a wonderfully timeless record, and one that’s destined to inspire another generation of youngsters to pick up their own 8-track.
Kera and the Lesbians
Kera and the Lesbians, hailing from San Diego and currently residing in Los Angeles, lovingly refer to their musical style as 'bipolar folk'. Bipolar in the sense that in one song drummer Michael will pound his drums, expelling his demons with sheer force, while Kera croons and screams and serenades, enchanting all within earshot. Eamon's guitar playing is reminiscent of sleepy desert afternoons, spent on porches accompanied by the smell of leather and aging wood, while Phil's bass lines get the crowd moving and grooving. Brandon's use of brass is at once warm and rounded, but so tactfully manipulated that it inevitably raises goosebumps. The lyrics more literally embody the band's polarity, telling tales of anxiety, friendship, insanity and ill-fated love, from Kera's very unique point of view.
This is a band to see live. Kera's passion is tangible, at times bringing the crowd to tears, but most consistently keeping a dancing crowd completely enraptured, hanging onto every word her very expressive being has to sing. She brings heaps of charm to the set, with her joking between songs and her Elvis-like dance moves, it's obvious that she and the whole band live for this. Their range has allowed them to perform with a diverse list of acts including Devendra Banhart, Best Coast, and Crystal Castles.
The band has a definite DIY work ethic, having self released two EPs, and a debut coming out early 2014. They also do their own booking and artwork internally. Their newest single 'NAILBITER' is a manic blues track covering one of Kera's most aggravating habits and instilling in the listener a mounting feeling of tension that it mercifully relieves, while still giving a taste of the madness of obsession.