Oct. 13 2010 10:06 AM

CD reviews of the latest from Bottomless Pit, The Gaslamp Killer and Wolf People

soundwaves
    Bottomless Pit
    Blood Under The Bridge

    (Comedy Minus One)
    7.3
    Goes well with: Silkworm, Built to Spill, Crust Brothers

    Silkworm ended on a tragic note in 2005 when drummer Michael Dahlquist died in an auto accident. Meanwhile, the remaining two members—Tim Midgett and Andy Cohen—continue on as Bottomless Pit.

    With its second LP, the band presents a sound that's both fresh and familiar to fans of their former trio. Now a four-piece, Bottomless Pit are notable for having a denser sound than anything Silkworm put out once that band was reduced to a trio after founding member Joel Phelps left in 1994. Where Silkworm used empty space as a key element on their later recordings, Bottomless Pit are all about filling every void with sonic goodies.

    Blood Under the Bridge doesn't top their fantastic debut, Hammer of the Gods, though. The latter was an emotionally charged album filled with songs drenched in sadness—most certainly connected to the loss of their longtime buddy, Dahlquist. However, this new one finds its greatest success in the same melancholic sounds that made their first so memorable. The sparse “Rhinelander” hints at the old Silkworm sound with a spacious delivery, and “Winterwind” is a six-minute, mid-tempo nugget that rides a repetitive groove for all it's worth. Just in time for the chilly weather, Blood Under the Bridge is required winter listening.

    —Dryw Keltz

    The Gaslamp Killer
    Death Gate EP
    (Brainfeeder)
    7.0
    Goes well with: Flying Lotus, Gonjasufi, Mulatu Astatke

    William Bensussen, an L.A.-based DJ / producer who goes by the name The Gaslamp Killer, cut his teeth in the Downtown San Diego nightclub scene in the early '00s. But even the hipsters at El Dorado and Voyeur, so used to sweaty dance parties, might have trouble getting into A Sufi and a Killer, Bensussen's 2010 collaboration with vocalist (and fellow former San Diegan) Gonjasufi. The record's retro-futuristic psychedelia isn't club music—it's the kind of thing that would play over a Victrola during a scene in Blade Runner.

    Death Gate, Gaslamp Killer's new five-song EP, mostly traffics in a distinct blend of spaced-out synthesizer and limber breakbeats. “Carpool Dummy,” a collaboration with Mophono, boasts a syncopated thump and a raw snare, sounding like a muscled-up drum track from some '60s b-side. On “When I'm in Awe,” Gonjasufi's hypnotic croon perfectly complements a brooding Ethiopian jazz groove, making the track one of the Killer's most timeless yet.

    The Gaslamp Killer may be a mainstay of the L.A. “beat scene,” but his otherworldly electro has no peer, even among path-breaking cohorts like Flying Lotus. Death Gate may not be especially far-out by the Killer's own standards, but you won't hear anything else like it.

    The Gaslamp Killer plays Thursday, Oct. 14 at Voyeur.

    —Peter Holslin

    Wolf People
    Steeple
    (Jagjaguwar)
    8.0
    Goes well with: Cream, Soft Machine, Fairport Convention, Hawkwind


    Of all the bands christened with canine monikers during the past 10 years, Wolf People stick out quite noticeably from the pack. Firstly, there's nothing on their debut fulllength that could be considered “indie,” at least in the unfortunate NPR sense of the word. Next, they tap into a British pastoral quality—think The Kinks' Village Green Preservation Society—that offers little sign of musical progression since 1973. Finally, unlike the majority of their animal-oriented peers, Wolf People are actually good.

    Running the gamut from heavy freak-outs (“Cromlech”) to catchy, flute-andguitar duets (“Tiny Circle”) and electrified folk (“Banks of Sweet Dundee, Pt. 1”), this outfit can not only play; they can write memorable songs, too. Where their singles collection, Tidings, signaled great promise through its cut-up aesthetic, Steeple seamlessly sutures those parts together, turning Wolf People into one of the most conceptually perfect retro-leaning rock acts since Witchcraft.

    This record is probably best imagined as a long-lost psych LP, one that sat in cut-out bins for years with no audience, only to be discovered by cratediggers years later and praised as an unheralded classic. Given the renewed interest in this type of music by beat-heads—the crews at Now-Again and Finders Keepers, especially—it shouldn't be another 35 years until Steeple gets its proper due.

    —Todd Kroviak

    Calendar

    • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
    • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
    • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
    • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
    • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
    • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
    • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
    • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
    • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
    See all events on Thursday, Apr 28