Sound Advice: : 1990s and I Am Ghost

Upcoming concert previews of note


I Am Ghost with Strung Out and Evergreen Terrace

Friday · The Mad Hatter

For a band with such a short history, I Am Ghost has a lot of back-story. The Long Beach, Calif., sextet came together three years ago exuding a Goth vibe and a sound that mixed the immediacy of Punk and the brutality of Death Metal with the ethereal splendor of Prog and Classical.

Months after assembling, I Am Ghost self-recorded a six-song demo for no other purpose than to attract local bookings. Before IAG had played a single show, they had already distributed thousands of CD-Rs of that recording, We Are Always Searching. The band's first show was an opening slot for Tsunami Bomb, and by their fourth show they had signed with Epitaph. IAG's first EP for the label was their original demo with three new tracks added.

Last year saw the release of IAG's epic Hardcore/Metal concept album, Lover's Requiem, an operatic song cycle about no less than the Purgatorian struggle between heaven and hell. Sporting orchestrations, choirs and a sonic density that suggested My Chemical Romance channeling Queen and Pink Floyd, IAG (thanks to Lover's Requiem) was considered one of the bands to watch in the genre and the group earned coveted spots on the Kerrang!, Epitaph and Warped tours earlier this year.

This summer, things got complicated in the AIG camp. Violinist/vocalist Kerith Telestai and her husband, bassist/keyboardist Brian Telestai, both staunch Christians, had begun claiming to the media that IAG was a Christian band, against the wishes of frontman Steven Juliano, who insisted that the band was neutral in religious terms.

After having dropped off previous tours for medical reasons, Kerith Telestai announced on June 30 that she would be leaving IAG, and her husband followed suit days later, opting out after the band concluded their tour with Aiden. Ron Ficarro was brought in on bass, paring IAG down to a quintet as they subsequently announced they would not seek a replacement for Kerith Telestai.

Juliano has since stated that this new version of I Am Ghost is darker and heavier, and that their newly intensified stage presentation is bound to have an impact on their next studio jaunt, whenever that might be. Until then, I Am Ghost is filling venues with their new dark vision, dense sonic rage and complex lyrical structure. (BB) Buy tickets and find nearby restaurants and bars here.

1990s with The Fairmount Girls

Sunday · Southgate House

The music industry can market American Idolotry down our throats with million-dollar advertising budgets, but success in music often boils down to intangibles like chemistry and timing. Look at The Yummy Fur, for instance. The Glasgow band couldn't buy a break, so they drifted apart; Alex Kapranos and Paul Thompson found a bit of good fortune with Franz Ferdinand, while YF guitarist John (now Jackie) McKeown and bassist Jamie McMorrow connected with former V Twin drummer Michael McGaughrin and formed the irresistibly infectious 1990s.

The trio started as little more than a chance post-pub meeting between McKeown and McGaughrin, which led to a few liquor-soaked house parties and a drunken living room recording of an impromptu song they called "Enjoy Myself."

The pair grew to a trio when they teamed with McMorrow to become the jam-drenched backing band for a handful of iconic Can frontman Damo Suzuki's improvised 2005 tour dates. After the Suzuki gigs, the trio, who lived on the same street, began meeting to piece together a few songs and record them for a lark with absolutely no intention of calling themselves a band.

Then a gig opportunity came up, which was ecstatically attended. Then another with even more fervent response.

Before any of them could process it, they had hired a manager and found themselves opening Scottish tour dates for their comrades in Franz Ferdinand ... on the seventh show of their existence. Rough Trade honcho Geoff Travis saw the subsequent London show and signed the band when they forced him to the dance floor as though he'd been cattle-prodded.

The band's debut album, Cookies, is a lot like their album's namesake — sweet, crunchy and chock full of nuts. 1990s is the frenetic sound of the Violent Femmes if they'd been obsessed with the Stooges ("You Made Me Like It"), the Stones ("Weed"), the Modern Lovers ("Cult Status") and the Sex Pistols ("You're Supposed to Be My Friend") and then channeled it all with a mop-top-shaking melodicism and piss-drunk sense of humor that would have made the Kinks green with envy in 1965 ("See You at the Lights").

1990s walk a brilliant line between chaos and control as their tight Pop chops duel boozily with their loose Punk dissonance, creating a masterfully melodic tension in the sonic gap. (Brian Baker) Buy tickets and find nearby restaurants and bars here.

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