Lovely Bad Things, Paper Lions

Lovely Bad Things

Brought together by time and fate—they'd all known each other since high school, but finally made a band together in 2009—and named by some kind of esoteric computer filename error too complex to further explain, Orange County's The Lovely Bad Things are the hyperactive omnitalented and relentlessly hilarious garage-pop band who crowdfunded their way to an encore performance at the world-famous Primavera Sound festival and whose new album The Late Great Whatever was titled during a dream at the suggestion of their spirit guide, who happens to look strangely like Dinosaur Jr drummer Murph. Was that a lot to take in all at once? Then now you can sympathize with the cop who pulled them over on their way to the UFO museum in Roswell, New Mexico: "'Who here has ADD?'" Brayden Ward remembers him asking. "And we all raised our hands."

The Lovely Bad Things are Brayden and brother Camron Ward, Tim Hatch and Lauren Curtius, each a multi-instrumentalist and each devoted to a bottomless knowledge of ridiculous pop culture and comprehensive appreciation for the Pixies, though if you dismantled their songs and their record collections both you'd find Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse, the B-52s, the Wipers and of course Redd Kross, whose sense of humor and sense for a hook the Bad Things have inherited. They mostly come from the city of La Mirada, but their true home is the Lovely Bad Pad, a converted suburban garage—converted personally by the band members—that's hosted truly legendary backyard punk shows, up to and including a surprise set by Peter, Bjorn and John, who know a good thing when they hear it.

It's this combination of D.I.Y. spirit and off-the-wall luck that carried The Lovely Bad Things from that backyard to a cassette release on trendsetter label Burger Records that would be called one of the best L.A. punk releases of 2011 by the L.A. Weekly. And from there they ricocheted into a surprise slot at Primavera Sound festival, crowdfunding and benefit-showing just barely enough for airfare to get there and winning over their audience forever once they did. Now, after building a fan base show by show and person by frothing-at-the-mouth person—a guy once came all the way from Belgium to see them play one special song—The Lovely Bad Things have finished The Late Great Whatever for Volcom Entertainment.

The Late Great Whatever was started just after the release of the maxi-EP New Ghost/Old Waves, until now the Lovely Bad Things' signature release. Although they'd released a full-length called Shark Week in 2010, the album that would become …Whatever was going to be something new, they explain: "Our first real full-length," says Tim. At least half of Shark Week's songs were written in … oh, about two minutes, calculates Lauren, because back then Lovely Bad Things were just discovering the knockout sugar high that came from just playing music with each other. But this would be different: "How do I say it and not sound like a super-cliché musician?" asks Camron. "More mature, I guess?"

So what's that mean? Not one but two Star Wars references on the tracklist, Bigfoot on the cover, a shout-out to Macho Man Randy Savage and a relentless collection of the strongest songs The Lovely Bad Things have ever done. What, did you think "mature" meant? They were going to get all mopey and slow? ("Just say it's 'globular' and 'shapeshifting,'" suggests Camron.) Produced by Jon Gilbert in the studio built and run by Crystal Antlers' frontman Jonny Bell, this is a record by a band who've developed a telepathic language of their own, with songs that stop and start and turn inside out in ways you just can't play unless you know exactly what everyone else in the studio with you is thinking.

On The Late Great Whatever, Lovely Bad Things roll out just about anything you'd want about 15% faster than you'd expect. Do they do it all? They indeed do it all. They have stormers like "Kessel Run" and the stand-out "Randall the Savage," which is all jittery post-punky guitar and gradually building insanity. Then they have sweetheart pop-punk like "Maybe I Know," which is born for the best mixtapes of 2013. They have surf's-up guitar ("Styx And Branches") and wah-wah guitar ("Oozin It") and oh-my-God-I'm-being-attacked-by-furious-bees guitar ("Kessel Run"). They have Frank Black-style spoken-word stammer ("Fried Eyes") and cooled-out Kim Deal back-ups. And those heartbreaker harmonies that are part of what make The Lovely Bad Things so special? Pretty much everywhere, thanks to Lauren's gift for melody, but why don't you go right to "Rope Swing" if you need 'em right away? And if this still seems like a lot to take in at once, don't worry—down some (or too much) caffeine, roll down the windows and let The Late Great Whatever take the wheel. Just watch out for the cops on the way to the UFO museum. When they hear music like this, they pay way too much attention.

Hailing from the unlikely small community of Belfast, Prince Edward Island, brothers John and Rob MacPhee and neighbour Colin Buchanan began playing music together at a very young age in a variety of garage bands. After meeting in high school, David Cyrus MacDonald was recruited and Paper Lions cemented with John and Rob filling the positions of lead vocals and bass respectively, Colin on lead guitar and David on drums.

After the release of their critically acclaimed, five-time ECMA nominated 2010 EP, Trophies, Paper Lions has literally been around the world. They performed at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and Paralympics, the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China, from Italy and Malta, to Nashville and New Orleans, as well as a series of shows that brought them from Goose Bay, Labrador, all the way to the most northern human settlement on Earth - Alert, Nunavut.

The Lions have seen their fair share of success on the home front as well. Their song Traveling was uploaded to a fledgling YouTube in 2006, and it’s not hard to tell when watching it. By December 2011, the heavily pixelated video had received 60,000 views. By May 2012, it had garnered over 1,000,000 views and continues to climb. The band decided to offer something to these new found fans, and started giving away their EP Trophies in exchange for an email address.

Automatic Children

NYC collective Automatic Children sound a little bit like every cool rock band your older sibling or somewhat friendly record store clerk told you about growing up, thrown into a blender and spit out, creating an entirely potent blend of upbeat, guitar-driven pop.

On their latest 7" Johnny/Now You Know, loud hooks recall Surfer Rosa-era Pixies, while the high-registered vocal delivery of Adam Lippman echoes The Get Up Kids, matched with the world/weary smarts of Paul Westerberg. Influences aside, the simple fact is that Automatic Children are a rock band, streamlined to the basics, who have taken the best of the best and reflected it back in their own way, creating music for discerning fans who are too old to care about trends and like their rock lean, fun, and unpretentious.

Rounded out with Ed Vail (bass/backing vocals) and Kevin Letsch (drums) Automatic Children is at heart the combined songwriting efforts of Adam Lippman and Crista Giuliani. The two met when Adam auditioned Crista to sing and play backup in his solo band in 2006. Once the connection was made and the chemistry and mutual influences obvious after a few shows, the decision to form a proper band was solidified and the rest is history.

"The music is based on our lives, and our experiences, with a little bit of politics thrown in," explains Lippman. Adds Crista, "I think with multiple songwriters, you get a very diverse sound. I think it's good to have different songs for different moods. Who would want to eat the same thing every night for dinner?

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Lovely Bad Things, Paper Lions with Automatic Children

Wednesday, June 12 · 9:00 PM at BAR