Feed Us A Live Insect

Thursday, November 27, 2008

More Pehrspace week 3 pictures

I just found some more pictures of Pehrspace week three (IE, dictator week with Andy Bollas) on Sean Carnage's site--here are my favorites. A good shot of Mary's hair:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nick Lucas!

I am still recovering from last night (or this morning, technically) and will expound on our last Pehrspace residency night in a bit. For now, here's something totally unrelated:

Nick cleans up

So you think Tiny Tim wrote "Tip Toe Thru The Tulips"? Think again, my dears. You have to watch it all the way through, it just gets better and better and better. This is blowing my little tiny brain:

I am really impressed by singers with good falsetto voices. I'm not all that good at it myself, I have a hard time controlling it and my voice tends to crack when I try. I'm not entirely sure if Nick is singing falsetto in this clip or not--he might just have a kinda high natural voice, but on my 78 of "Tip Toe" he definitely sounds like he's in his falsetto range.

Nick was a superstar guitarist in the 1920's and is credited with recording the very first solo jazz guitar records in America. He was also a popular crooner and, yes, his voice was the inspiration for Tiny Tim's falsetto vocal style. In his lifetime Nick's records sold more than 80 million copies. 80 MILLION.

Here's Nick tearing it up half a century after the "Golddiggers" clip--he's 83 in here. My hero!

Here's a really nice interview with Nick from 1980.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pehrspace week four: Winter Prom!

Hi everyone!

There's so much to tell you all today that I'm sure I'm going to forget something--but, in a nutshell: tonight is the last night of our wonderful, beloved residency with Sean Carnage at Pehrspace, and this week's theme is, of course, prom! Did you know that "prom" is short for "promenade?" Well, it is!

Specifically it is the Winter Wonderland Formal Dance, and, as such, formal attire is requested (but we won't turn you away if you don't comply, you NON-COMPLIERS). It's $5 and all ages! We go on at midnight, but there are lots of other wonderful bands/activities tonight! Such as:

Milton Melvin Croissant
Dugout Canoe (from Denver)
Kevin Shields
Ema & the Ghosts
Cristina’s Puppet Show (yes, we did say PUPPET SHOW.)

And there's more! We have special corsage wristbands for the first 70 prom-goers...we have, as promised, HOMEMADE PRETZELS, and you all know what that means...and we also have the final installment of our homemade retrospective comps for sale. This time we're selling all four weeks' worth of music packaged together in one pop for fifteen bucks. LET ME REPEAT: this is almost our entire recorded output, plus extra stuff we never released, for fifteen clams!

And also as promised, we will have a slow dance jam for you all, a cover song that will also serve as our Song Of The Month for November. Shall we see you tonight?

cobra lilies EP almost done

I am going to make an attempt to include news here of other, tangential doings by the various Monolators. As you may know, 3/4 of the Monolators are also in Cobra Lilies, and it appears that we've just finished recording our debut release, which will be a 4-song, 7" vinyl EP. We've been working on it off and on in our garage since, I think, July or something silly like that, and so it seems a little odd that it might actually be wrapping up. Wendy of the Sweet Hurt is producing and engineering, and I have to say I'm preeeeetttyyy excited because so far it sounds kinda on the awesome side. All of the Cobra Lilies are getting really good at singing and harmonizing, uh, myself kinda excepted. They're all nightingales and I'm essentially in the duck/toad echelon. It is humbling, although fortunately a lot of the songs are designed to let me croak away in my own little corner and then let the rest of them take over for the pretty parts.

Anyway: now the EP just remains to be mixed, and then we somehow have to scrape up enough $$ to get it mastered & pressed. GARAGE SALE???

PS: thanks to Raymond & Jonathan for letting us borrow mics & preamps.

PPS: did I think to take pictures of the sessions? Of course I did not.

Residency week three in review

Week three: dictator week!

Questions about this picture: why does it look like I'm wearing a wig? Why does it look like I've got a moustache? What's going on?

Anyway--since it was time to play We Fell Dead with Mr. Bollas we decided to recreate our outfits for the WFD video, including Mary's hair. We also had Sean recite a...I think I called it a "pseudo-fascist" introductory speech at the beginning of our set, the thought of which initially (and understandably) caused a certain amount of trepidation on his part. He pulled it off with great aplomb, though. I will post a recording of it soon.

We started off in duo land, first with The Voyeurs and then with Fertile Crescent, a lovely touring band from (I think) Massachusetts that played lovely, delicate electronic-y guitar/drums folk rock. And as for The Voyeurs, they played their hearts out and put us all to shame. We feel very fortunate that they asked us to play their record release show in January and I'm looking forward to hearing their LP! In a world of duo bands The Voyeurs have a much bigger sound than one would normally expect of just two people--partially because of drummer Sean's virtuosity but also because of Jonathan's keyboard technique, which fills up a lot of low end. I once thought to myself that I'd kinda like to sit in with them on bass one day, but frankly they don't really need it--drums and piano is a great combination.

And then, of course, was Shirley Rolls, quite possibly the loudest band in Los Angeles, so loud that Tom blew up his amp (I see a theme of self-destructing amps at Pehrspace). Thank god they played "Piss Pot." I've got all of their set on 4 track (along with all of the other bands that played) but Tom said he hates listening to himself play live, which is kinda too bad because it was a wonderful set. Oh well, your loss sucker! I also love that Ethan plays a Casio keyboard with a built-in radio. Of course he does.

Then was, uh, us, and it was chaos. Two basses going at once through the whole set=Volume. Tom said "I couldn't get enough treble to cut through, I felt like I was castrated." Ashley said "HA!" Honestly the set was a blur, I tried (dunno how successfully) to keep raising the energy/violence until the end, and all of my recording equipment did end up getting knocked over, including the old 1960's Sennheiser mic--oops, and Tom did end up getting his face cut open next to his eye, apparently on Andy's bass. Oooops! No stitches, though. Tough guy. What the hell did we even play? I can't remember.

Finally at the end was Jim Merson’s Monster Mash, which for some reason I kept calling Kyle Mabson's Monster Mash. Sorry! This was the second soundman Kyle band we've seen (after Allusions To Jazz, whose name I also got wrong), and again he played his terrifying double kick bass kit, but also with a guitar player and a (incredibly friendly and polite) vocalist. It was a bit more straightforward punk rock this time and it was pretty awesome--there was one song I remember that involved lyrics along the lines of "gonna make you dinner dinner and it's gonna be yummy yummy." Right on. I was a little sad to see that, of all the people who came to see our set, only the indestructible Elaine Layabout stayed for JMMM--your loss, suckers! They ruled.

Not too many pictures circulating from the night that I can find, just these from LA Underground:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pretzel Versus Cupcake vote is in

For those of you who weren't at last week's residency show, we had a little vote to determine the kind of food we're going to serve at next week's show (theme: PROM). Despite our dictatorial leanings that night I can honestly and solemnly declare that the results are in and involve no tampering whatsoever on our part.

I can also tell you that it was a landslide! Between homemade cupcakes and homemade pretzels the vote was 18 to 3 in favor of...PRETZELS. So the people have spoken.

Don't forget: formal attire is requested.

Tips For Teens

Monday, November 17, 2008

Return of the Dictators tonight at Pehrspace

Hi everyone!

Tonight we're continuing our residency at Pehrspace with works from the "Our Tears Have Wings" era and the "You Look Good On The Train" EP.
Yes, tonight's the night for "We Fell Dead" and, if you've ever seen its video, you know what that means:

We also feature a guest spot from Mr.
Andy Bollas on twin bass and performances from The Voyeurs, Shirley Rolls, Fertile Crescent, and the sure-to-be-legendary Jim Merson’s Monster Mash!!!!

It's $5, it's all ages! ALSO! I know some of you have noticed the wonderful fabric wristband thingies that Sean uses in lieu of an ink stamp to indicate that you've paid your five bucks. For our residency we've been providing our own wristbands--fake fur for week one, glowsticks for week two.
We've got something extra special for this week but we only have 70 of them and they've sold out (so to speak) every week so far, so if you want one, please be sure to show up early for The Voyeurs!

Much love,

-Eli, Mary, Ashley, and Tom (and Andy)
The Monolators

Pehrspace week two photos

Some wonderful wonderful photos have shown up from the set at last week's residency show--here are some favorites, first from Sean Carnage's site (quote: "November Is Totally Kicking Ass"):

Sci-fi wristbands!

The general mis-en-scene at Pehrspace--note dangling day-glo planetary installations and lone, feeble flourescent black light. Still looked amazing, though!

Billygoat with Mary Monolator performing the mysterious Slide Projector dance.

The very much one and only Karen Centerfold.

Ema of Ema & The Ghosts & Cobra Lilies on whisting for "Tiny Bicycles"

Cobra Lilies on vocals for "Santa Claus Versus Dave Matthews"

David from Billygoat on glockenspiel for our version of "Best Friends In Space"

And from Classical Geek Theater:

I like how this one has a fragment of Ashley's bass & hair and my prominent, white butt.

Thanks Sean and Mouse!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

online store up & working

Hi everyone:

We've got our cardboard mailers at the ready in case you want to buy a physical copy of one of our records or cd's, including the new Don't Dance LP--and we're going to get our t-shirts up there soon. Please hit us up, I actually like going to the post office...

The store is here:


Residency week two in review

The theme for week two of our Pehrspace residency was, in case you missed it, outer space. Mary and Ashley (and Ema on guest vocals) wore sequins; I wore my best attempt at Barbarella fashion, with white pants, white motorcycle jacket, a grey pajama/Star Wars-esque shirt with white piping, and (courtesy of Ema) glitter antennae. Mary hung day-glo planets, stars, and...er...long squiggly spirally things from the ceiling and put up a flourescent black light bulb--which sort of made the planets glow in a feeble sort of way. We also hung up large watercolors of the girl and monster from the "Best Friends In Space" single cover. Wristbands this week were cheap glowstick bracelets.

Billygoat started the night with their magnificent 17-minute animated projection opus, with Nick and David providing dreamy synth-fuzz bass-and glockenspiel live accompaniment. The room was packed for them and utterly quiet throughout the entire show--apparently Sean had trouble finding anyone to watch the door because everyone wanted to watch Billygoat. They very, very sweetly ended their set with a cover of "Best Friends In Space," which utterly demolishes ours, and also medley'd in a few verses of "Sleep the Clock Around" by Belle & Sebastian--all while Mary Monolator performed a sequined slide projector dance! Actually I'd say it was less a Dance than a Sway.

Manhattan Murder Mystery
went on next, introduced in slightly rambling fashion by one Karen Centerfold. She mentioned that the band were named after a Woody Allen movie, which apparently is true--for some reason I had it in my mind that they were named after a track on the third Velvet Underground record, which, I now realize, is actually called "The Murder Mystery." This bums me out slightly, but no matter! The MMM were magnificent, and extra cool because of Don of Don's Music on bongos! Even if, as Mouse says, it was a slightly off night for them, it was still one of the best sets I've seen of any band this year...

The Heath Club are old friends from the Mr. T's scene, and I think this might have been the first time I've seen them play outside of Eagle Rock/Highland Park. They played beautifully, and, as Mouse says, 'I will publicly complain on this blog after until "Swim" is recorded.' Except that I DID record it on 4 track on Monday! Does the HC want to hear it? It, uh, sounds like a 4 track recording.

Then it was us, and we played a few more tracks from Rejection (Summertime In My Car, Tiny Bicycles) before moving on to the Tears era. Except that I forgot to call out "Our Tears Have Wings," so we didn't play that one! Idiot! Well, maybe next week. We were very ably assisted by Ema on whistling for "Tiny Bicycles," Ema, Arlene, Jesse, and Jade on background vocals for "Santa Claus Versus Dave Matthews," and David from Billygoat on glockenspiel for our version of "Best Friends In Space." Speaking of the latter song, I'd gotten pretty well sick of playing it for a LONG time, but after putting it away for a while it felt pretty cathartic, especially that last verse. Thanks so much to everyone who stayed to watch!

Finally rounding out the night was 60-Watt Kid, who were pretty astonishing (I think they run their entire band through a Space Echo), except that the guitar player's amp blew up just a few minutes into their set, blowing fuses and taking a lot of Pehrspace's lights out with it in the process. We smelled smoke and wondered if the place was actually on fire--it wasn't, but it kind of threw a wrench into the proceedings. I very much want to see them play another set to get the full effect.

NEXT WEEK: Mr. Andy Bollas joins us on bass, we move on to the "Train" period, and the dictator costumes come back out again...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

from an undisclosed location...

...comes these two videos, courtesy of an agent whose identity must remain secret for her own protection. Thank you mysterious benefactor!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Video--Pehrspace 11-3-08

A million thanks to Elaine Layabout for shooting this footage, which is a good chunk of our first week at Pehrspace! Incidentally, if you hadn't heard, Elaine has been banned from shooting video at Spaceland, The Echo, and The Echoplex by Spaceland Productions--and ordered to take down all of her archives shot at those venues. This is a big problem for bands like us, who benefited greatly from the exposure via youtube clips of, say, our release show with a gong and nine bassists (yes, that's gone) or playing "We Fell Dead" with Castledoor. Elaine says:

i have been ordered to remove all of the echo, echoplex and spaceland vidis from my youtube archive, and while many of you have asked that i resist, fight the power, and strike a blow for free speech, i am now taking them down, one sweet memory at a time . . . i am, alas, a lover, not a fighter

now, i have said this before and i will say it again: i did not profit from making my vidis, and i took care to promote the venues and producers, as well as the bands . . . my sole purpose was to encourage folks to attend live music events, because one day i got tired of standing through great shows at places like the echo and spaceland with only ten other patrons . . . more, in elaine layabout's world, is always merrier

More discussion is here on Classical Geek Theater. I suggest that bands playing at these venues remember this when asked to sign a Spaceland Recordings contract. Fortunately Pehrspace is not part of Spaceland Productions, so we're still able to share this with you. Again, many thanks, Elaine.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Because wolves and shirts are shapes


Monday, November 10, 2008

Web In Front interview + live tracks

Hi everyone! A quick note that, on the eve of our second Pehrspace residency show, Travis from Web In Front has very kindly posted a nice interview with us--please check it out. Also, you might be interested to know that I taped our set from last week (as I will tape tonight's set and our other residency shows) on my 4 track, and Travis posted mp3's of two songs from the tape at the end of the interview...I think the whole show will come out eventually, but this is a little taste.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Pehrspace photos

Some lovely writeups and photos from the first Pehrspace show have shown up on Sean Carnage's site and Classical Geek Theater. Here's some of my favorites from Sean's post on "Mono-vember":

And here's some great pictures from Classical Geek Theater's super nice writeup--thanks Mouse!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Pretty Freakin' Awesome, Dear Readers

I am currently listening to the soundtrack of "Wizard People, Dear Readers," which is an unauthorized alternate narration/audio track to the first Harry Potter movie, created by one Brad Neely. It's meant to be played while watching the movie with the sound off, Wizard Of Oz/Dark Side of the Moon-style. I have never seen any of the HP movies, but no matter, you can listen to it by itself and it's pretty freakin' awesome.

Some quotes:
Harry, in a spiral of depression, turns to the escape of the world of miniature equine aficionada. He produces many a Wine-out-of-Nowhere Spell and is drunk every day before noon.


Harry feels right with himself. He's down there, a new god who has found a calling.

He holds up that Snitch and bellows:

'I am a beautiful animal!

'I am a destroyer of worlds!

'I am Harry Fucking Potter!'

And, dear readers, at last the world was quiet.

There are links to the audio track (and a full transcript) on this wikipedia page.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Plastic Snow

We're going to debut a new Xmas song called "Hot Sleigh" at our final Pehrspace residency show at the end of the month, but, briefly: it was created for this project:

Plastic Snow is a compilation cd created by Laura, who blogs as Confessions Of A Would-Be Hipster. It's made up of local bands (tons of them: Earlimart, Great Northern, Hectors, I Make This Sound, Fol Chen, Breakups, Sweet Hurt...etc. etc. etc.) playing Christmas songs. All profits from sales of the cd go to benefit Los Angeles' longest running homeless shelter, Midnight Mission. I am extremely proud that Laura chose to include us, and am also quite proud of Hot Sleigh (even if it was recorded and mixed, rather obviously, by us in our garage) and would be even more proud if you'd all go buy a copy of the cd, which is available for sale here. To be perfectly clear: neither Laura nor ourselves will receive a penny in profits from this release. Thanks once more to Laura for including us, I think Hot Sleigh is quite the HJ!

Note: this is, as far as I know, the first Monolators song to be issued on disc by someone other than ourselves!

Residency week one in review

First of all, yes.

Second of all, thanks to all who came out to Pehrspace this past Monday for the first installment of our November residency--extra special thanks to Mike Dennis for reuniting the Monolators of olden days and staying out real late to sit in--and of course to Cupcake the Bear for making his/her/its (?) cameo. I HAVE NO PICTURES YET FROM THIS EVENT! If anyone has some, please please forward them! It's mail (at) themonolators (dot) com. I know the inestimable Elaine Layabout has some video footage, so when she's ready to upload it I'll post it here.

Creekbird appeared, resplendent in pith helmet, red sunglasses, stripy socks, and wonderful two-tone blue suede shoes. I thought I had the best blue shoes of the night (mine are pointy) but I think he beat me. He also had an adorable 1/2 size stratocaster type guitar that did not seem to want to stay in tune. He played to a backing track, which was quite astonishing but sadly obscured most of his vocals. I was watching his left hand and it appears to me that Creekbird has a quite advanced grasp of chording--I tend to hold onto one simple chord for as long as possible but Creekbird switches it up like an old-time jazzer--maybe from all of that ukulele playing? He's got a lovely guitar style and I'd love to hear it without all of the backing tracks sometime. IN FACT I recall seeing him play a show a year back or so at Pehrspace with nothing but a tiny 1/2-sized acoustic guitar (I see a theme here) and it was my favorite show of his that I've seen. Maybe I could convince him to come over and record a few songs that way on the old 4-track in our living room. CREEKBIRD ARE YOU READING THIS?

Next was Kyle Mabson, who I believe went under the name of Ascension To Jazz? Without the question mark, I mean--I was trying to indicate indecisiveness on my part. It was a relatively brief free-jazz workout with Pehrspace soundman Kyle on drums (with double kick pedals--terrifyingly loud, but fantastic and awe-inspiring), a fellow playing a droney, bassy keyboard part, and Sean Carnage himself on squawking tenor sax and Creekbird on trumpet. I did manage to make a tape of this if anyone wants to hear it (I tried recording Creekbird too but since his vocals were mixed a bit low with the backing tracks through the PA feed, all you really hear on the tape are the backing tracks).

Then was Zombelle, who played Velvetsy gothic drummerless rock with three singers and were lead by a woman who strongly reminded me of Siouxsie Sioux. Most of the singers, plus the bassist, had interesting black shiny makeup on, some masklike on their faces, others glovelike on their hands. At first I thought they were wearing skintight leather gloves, but now I'm not sure--it looked too much like skin. Some kind of black latex? Anyone? I'm admittedly out of the loop on this. The guitar player had this wonderful 60's Teisco-ish guitar but had forgotten his strap so he borrowed Creekbird's--Creekbird has huge musical notes emblazoned on his strap, which didn't quite fit the gothic theme, amusingly.

Right before us was Pizza! I taped their set too--guys do you want to hear it? I think I'll give it to you whether you want it or not. This was one of my favorite sets of theirs that I've seen. I kinda wish I was in this band but I AM TOO OLLLLLLD. I am sorry we broke your mallets! HJ. Hot Jam.

And then we played and THANK YOU ALL FOR STAYING! That was super sweet of you. Obviously I taped the set and I listened to the tape last night and it sounds SURPRISINGLY AWESOME. For a 2-track recording (mics on the amps would've been great, but I don't have the resources really). It captures both versions of Spandex Hitman (we finished the first one and then Tom said 'let's do that again,' so we did. I messed up the lyrics the second time through though). It would be amazing to put this show out as a 12" LP--I love the sound and, of course, it has almost the entire personnel of the band, past and present (Andy is going to play on the third week, so he'll be accounted for later). Anyone have a spare $1500 they'd like to hand over for this? Maybe I could post it here as an mp3, anyway.

NEXT WEEK: we finish up the Rejection Set Me Free-era tracks and move on to Best Friends In Space territory.

EDIT EDIT EDIT: LA Underground has posted a couple of pics from our set and Pizza!'s . I hope they don't mind if I repost them here. HI CUPCAKE!!!

Original Monolators guitarist Mike Dennis to my left

Cupcake the Bear in diaper and bow. The whole reason for the diaper is that I have a distinct childhood memory of being sick and watching odd daytime television featuring a bear cub in a diaper--it was supposed to be cute and appealing but I found it terrifying. A thousand thanks to Agnes Lily for giving life to Cupcake.


His shirt says "Sweet Home AlObama." I believe McCain took Alabama but it didn't matter in the end. Perhaps if McCain had a Madonna-style headphone mic he would've won.

Cupcake's first Monolators appearance. YES that is indeed Aki Lily: