Long Beach’s Crystal Antlers justreleased their latest album Nothing Is Real via Innovative Leisure this past October 15. The band is on an extensive U.S. tour now in support of the new album and we recently caught them opening up for Gogol Bordello at the Fonda Theatre. Crystal Antler’s riveting, loud-as-fuck, fast and furious set is a pretty clear reflection of their recorded music. Nothing Is Real brings the noise, but isn’t over-the-top brash with stylistic leanings towards lo-fi garage rock and 90s grunge. Vocalist/bassist Jonny Bell’s shouted vocals easily transpose a sense of frustration, which could suit any listener’s darkened mood and gloomy post-punk or psych-rock playlist. While it isn’t overtly joyful music, I find a sense of relief in the songs’ powerful, high energy release of tension — and for me — that allows it to potentially suit any listening mood. Jonny Bell’s long, wispy dirty blond hair and scruffy look also provide a visual aid, along with the music — reminiscent of Nirvana — but I never get the feeling that I’m stuck in a played-out 90’s time warp. Crystal Antlers prove that they know how to get down to brass tacks and bring that bare bones, genuine rock n’ roll sound to life.
Three Words to Describe Nothing Is Real: Raw – Escapism – Tumultuous
This Album Would Go Well With: The Nirvana Pandora Station. Headbanging. The windows rolled down.
“Rattlesnake” – The slow, bass heavy intro builds up superbly into a vociferous “Rattlesnake!” chorus and Jonny Bell’s signature vocal cry is undeniably raw, yet mesmerizing. Paired with a simple, but in constant state of motion video (graffiti in progress, live playing, time lapse clips, and even a slithering snake), you won’t be able to stop watching or listening to this track for awhile, or ever.
“Paper Thin” – By far, my favorite track on the album. It’s a dusty Western epic, a straight shooter of fast distorted guitars, rolling drums and wailing keys. Pre-game any raucous, rock n’ roll evening with this fist-pumping, feet flying jam. Get caught driving in your car rocking the fuck out to this track because it’s no doubt better than what the next guy over is jamming out to (insert your favorite douchey car/music/song combo here).
10/17 – Last Exit Live – Phoenix, AZ
10/19 – Mohawk Inside Room – Austin, TX
10/20 – The Foundry – Dallas, TX
10/21 – Hi-Tone Cafe – Memphis, TN
10/22 – The End – Nashville, TN
10/23 – Drunken Unicorn – Atlanta, GA
10/24 – The Moth Light – Asheville, NC
10/25 – The Pinhook – Durham, NC
10/26 – Comet Ping Pong – Washington, DC
10/27 – Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
10/28 – Glasslands Gallery – Brooklyn, NY
10/30 – Il Motore – Montreal, QC
10/31 – Zaphod Beeblebrox – Ottawa, ON
11/01 – Silver Dollar – Toronto, ON
11/02 – Call the Office – London, ON
11/03 – Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL
11/05 – Replay Lounge – Lawrence, KS
11/06 – Moe’s – Denver, CO
11/07 – Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT
11/08 – Neurolux – Boise, ID
11/09 – Bunk Bar – Portland, OR
11/10 – Electric Owl – Vancouver, BC
11/11 – Comet Tavern – Seattle, WA
11/13 – Hemlock Tavern – San Francisco, CA
Album Review: Emily Saex