- Jim Herrington
- Western Jubilee Recording Company will be hosting John Doe, co-founder of the L.A. proto-punk band X, at its historic warehouse theater this Friday.
Just under a year later, the band is back with its first full-length LP, Expectations, which will be celebrated with a local “Spooktacular” release show at the Mesa Haus on Oct. 28 (joined by Shiii Whaaa and Schapero), to be followed with a Denver release show at the Denver Bicycle Cafe on Nov. 3 (with Copyleft and Ancient Elk).
While the lo-fi and heavily electronic COS(home=Audio) was recorded in an abandoned house in the Ivywild neighborhood and was largely the individual work of frontman/multi-instrumentalist Mitchell Macura, Expectations takes a more fully-collaborative approach amidst the brothers Mitchell and Mason Macura and new bassist Thom Spano. The art-rockers’ new LP definitely sounds fuller, more realized, and even more adventurous than their already highly-experimental previous work.
Opening track “Rabid” begins with a swirling vortex of synthesizer swells and manipulated voices that give way to a chilly, full-band groove before collapsing into an angular, discordant coda. Indeed, Mitchell Macura’s polychordal electric guitar freakouts serve to punctuate much of the first half of the record, shaking you out of the disquieting beauty achieved when the trio keeps things minimal behind Macura’s often-spectral voice.
The second half of the record becomes more elegiac and acoustic-based, as in the plaintive, almost folksy “Bike.” But the mournful title track is further bolstered by synthesizer lines and electronic drums that are haunted by the promising retro-future that never arrived. Fitting, I suppose, for a band that describes itself as “writhing between post-bedroom pop and pre-Kurzweill Singularity prediction.” It’s definitely a wintry record, and one firmly of our current political landscape, with its talk of consumerism, date-rape drugs, isolation, and escapism, but it’s also an engaging one that demands many listens.
Following the release of Expectations, Cocordion plans to head back out on the road, starting with a jaunt through the southwestern US in December featuring stops in Taos, Santa Fe, Phoenix, Oakland, Lompoc, and Las Vegas, after which the group plans to embark on a multi-month national tour in early 2018. You can order your copy of Expectations — digital, CD or on cassette — at their website.
Similarly, you might never know about many of the secret shows it holds in its historic, 130-seat warehouse theater, given that many are held on an invite-only basis. However, it’s been hard to keep its next upcoming show on Oct. 27 much of a secret, as it features John Doe, co-founder of the seminal punk band X.
X, for those who don’t know or have fallen victim to how challenging it is to search “X” online, was one of the major entities in the first wave of American punk rock, formed in Los Angeles in 1977. The band, which still tours with the original lineup, was recently honored with an exhibit at Los Angeles’ Grammy Museum, whose title sums up their importance to the genre: “X: 40 Years of Punk in Los Angeles.” Hugely influential for the co-lead vocals of Doe and Exene Cervenka and the pair’s poetic lyrics, the band always featured prominent integration of American roots music into their loud and raw punk sound, so Doe’s appearance at a western-themed venue isn’t as much of a surprise as it might seem on paper (and also in a vacuum).
In fact, X’s records, while more rockabilly-influenced in their early years, gradually developed a unique punk-country sound, showcasing guitar work from the Blasters’ Dave Alvin on 1986’s See How We Are. Doe’s subsequent solo work and contributions to the acoustic X side project The Knitters plunged headfirst into Americana territory — his earthy renditions of Merle Haggard’s “Silver Wings” and Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” are lovely enough to make even the staunchly anti-country contingent cry unironic tears in their beers.
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