Jeff Moody

Go forth and conquer the world, LLTTTD

By - May 5th, 2012 04:00 am

Anybody who tells you that iPhones do not rock is a liar, a fool, and someone you should just simply avoid because they do not understand the magical object’s vast possibilities. I use mine all the time for just about everything, including listening to music, and this past week I listened nearly exclusively to Like Like The The The Death’s debut elpee “Ghosts of Dead Bros,” mostly while driving a small Japanese convertible I’ve affectionately named “My Japanese Girlfriend.” I have a long daily commute (an hour each way!) but I don’t mind… I have a device that plugs into the cigarette lighter that allows me to listen the music I have on my iPhone over the car’s stock radio, and that’s how I do most of my listening research for the comic and this blog.

Some weeks spent with a new elpee are better than others, and this week with Like Like The The The Death (let’s just use LLTTTD from here on in, eh?) was EXCELLENT. This is a tight, TIGHT band that deals heavily in hooks and methodically-contained chaos, spin-cycle drumbeats, vocal tradeoffs that often sound like a squabble inside of a Cretaceous aviary, and all of this comes together in a sound that is both as urgent and ominous as an air-raid siren. IT’S GREAT ROCK AND ROLL in 2012, typical of the sort of stuff Latest Flame is known for by the few people who are familiar with the Milwaukee-based label. There should be (would be, could be) more people like that, and that’s where my iPhone comes in.

Earlier this week, I was sitting in my daughter Vanessa’s pediatrician’s office with nothing to do but watch episodes of “Gumball” with the sound turned down, so I decided to use my iPhone to email the station manager of a small, student-run radio station about LLTTTD’s new record just to see what would happen. The station in question is located in a small town in Wisconsin, so I worked the “Hey! Neighbor!” angle and asked if the station would be interested in playing music by a hot new band from Milwaukee. The station manager emailed back immediately (!!!) saying that, yeah, they’ve played The BoDeans quite a bit over the years.


So I copied and pasted the link to LLTTTD’s Bandcamp site where the band posted the first three tracks from “Ghosts Of Dead Bros” and emailed that, inviting him to listen. Here’s what he heard:

“Collaborative Mess” – The first ten seconds alone sound like the opening theme of an episode of “The Twilight Zone” in the year 2045. From there it’s all nerves and menace and lines like “The better egg left the nest in search of someone to digest”. Creeeeepy and kewl.

“Revival Red Devil” – My favorite, and a song that LLTTTD performs brilliantly live. The maniacal pace and phrasing come together and explode with pogo-matic energy, and is exactly what rock music should sound like right now, goddammit.

“Fight Fauna With Fauna” – Extremely funny title, brings the tempo down a few notches from the insane level of the first two, and therefore sounds solid but not quite magical.

And so I waited for a reply…

“It’s a little noisy for our format, but it might work on a specialty show” was the station manager’s reply, and I thought to myself, “Well, ok. LLTTTD would certainly place themselves proudly in the noise category, the station is in a very small town… specialty show? Whatever. A foot in the door. At least the guy is willing to give it some kind of shot.”

Here’s the thing: LLTTTD have a Trojan Horse of a track called “Holy Ghostly” that is a pure pop confection with a soaring chorus, some crisp guitar work, and 90% of the swarf removed. It’s a warm weather, drive-around-with-the-top-down kind of song. In fact, I asked Vanessa to listen closely to it while we drove around one warm day with My Japanese Girlfriend’s top down. I asked her to tell me what she honestly thought of it, and if it were the kind of song she’d like to hear on the radio. When it was over, she smiled and asked if she could put it on her iPod. “Holy Ghostly” should be the Song Of The Summer in Milwaukee and everywhere else.

Maybe when “Holy Ghostly” joins the first three tracks on LLTTTD’s Bandcamp page along with the remainder of “Ghosts Of Dead Bros”, I’ll send that station manager a link to it, and maybe he’ll hear what my daughter and I hear in it, and maybe that’ll break the station door down for LLTTTD, and MAYBE that scenario could repeat itself with enough emailing and iPhones, and cutting and pasting. Then again, maybe not. My i{hone also has a radio app that comes in handy and I used it to tune in to that student station later that evening and… man. They were playing Jason Mraz, followed by something that sounded like Jason Mraz, followed by a female version of Jason Mraz, which may be an oxymoron, but there you have it. That’s when my mind screamed “YOU ARE A NON-COMMERCIAL STUDENT-RUN RADIO STATION AND YOU ARE MAKING THE KIDS PLAY THEE SAME SHIT THAT EVERY OTHER RADIO STATION BETWEEN MILWAUKEE AND CHICAGO PLAYS. WHY?”

If you’ve ever looked and listened to a band like Black Veil Brides and wondered why the hell kids like ‘em, I’ve got an answer: If, by the age of thirteen, YOU’D already spent half yer life on Ritalin while subjected to yer Mom’s goddamned Jason Mraz records, you’d think Black Veil Brides were pretty rad too.

It’s times like this when I have to remind myself that IT has ALWAYS been like this (people love what’s lame), and I have ALWAYS been like this (frustrated by all that is the inescapable lame). That station manager, what if he left his PC on overnight with the LLTTTD Bandcamp page open? On-air talent student playing JASON FUCKING MRAZ may wander past that PC on his way back from the toilet after throwing up from ALL THAT MRAZ, and maybe he clicks around and takes a listen to the first three tracks from “Ghosts Of Dead Bros.” Maybe the kid turns on one or two of his best fellow freek friends, the guys and girls he knows who like the same weird stuff he likes, and they all go nuts and decide to trek to Milwaukee to seek out LLTTD at a live show that they have to sneak into, and they all have an adventure they’ll never forget. Having yer young life altered by an early brush with something that is APART from the smothering sameness that dulls all other possibilities is the best thing for a kid, and is the only hope anyone has of not being a mere tool. The guys in Police Teeth (another criminally-overlooked band on Latest Flame) put it like this in “Bob Stinson Will Have His Revenge On Ferndale“: “Do you remember that spreadsheet that you wrote up, way back in 1993? Nobody ever said that changed my life, nobody ever said that inspired me.” All of these bands on Latest Flame have day jobs, and they certainly don’t haul tons of equipment around at strange hours because it’s financially lucrative. They do it because they’ve found a meaningful way to live, certainly more meaningful than Tuesday night tavern dart league.

LLTTTD are Dan Hanke on drums (he’s also the guy responsible for Latest Flame – BUY HIM BEER), Michael Marchant on guitars and black electronic magic (and all of LLTTTD’s stunning graphics… and the great IFIHADAHIFI’s too, cuz that’s his primary band), Kyle Scheuer on bass and vocals (NICE vocals), and Anthony Weber on guitar and vocals (CRETACEOUS vocals, in this band as well as the excellent Heavy Hand, Weber’s primary band). Go see them, bring yer friends, and be inspired.

Categories: Rock, Stripwax

0 thoughts on “Stripwax: Go forth and conquer the world, LLTTTD”

  1. Anonymous says:

    LLTTTD are Dan Hanke on drums (he’s also the guy responsible for Latest Flame – BUY HIM A canadian BEER)

  2. Anonymous says:

    […] Stripwax: Go forth and conquer the world, LLTTTD May 5, 2012 7:15 pmadminLeave a Comment Tweet Stripwax: Go forth and conquer the world, LLTTTD That station manager, what if he left his PC on overnight with the LLTTTD Bandcamp page open? On-air talent student playing JASON FUCKING MRAZ may wander past that PC on his way back from the toilet after throwing up from ALL THAT MRAZ, … Read more on ThirdCoast Digest […]

  3. Anonymous says:

    […] The Death (hey, blame David Berman), whose excellent debut album Ghosts Of Dead Bros may or may not get some airplay on certain regional college radio stations but it will definitely sound great blasting out of your car stereo with the windows down (because […]

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