by Robert Bell
LAUNDRY FOR THE APOCALYPSE
9 p.m. Stickyz. $5 for 21 and older, $7 under 21.
All of the promise held on their early demo recordings has come to fruition on Laundry for the Apocalypse's self-titled debut album. The band's live show has always been top-notch, but now we've got this fantastic-sounding album as a permanent document.
Opener "Hellven" saunters through the door on a tricky rhythm, bent guitar strings and hauntingly chiming vibes, makes a couple of passes around the room and then erupts in a swirl of overlapping trumpet and flute. About three-fourths of the way through, the song takes a turn in a more rock direction, much like "No Despair," which starts off gentle and elegiac only to roar out on a gigantic, circular buzz-saw riff from singer/guitarist Aaron Sarlo (full disclosure: Sarlo is a freelance writer for the Times).
There's great trumpet and flute playing aplenty, particularly on "Fam," a track whose bright, clear trumpet wouldn't sound out of place on a Calexico album or a vintage Morricone soundtrack. Actually, I really can't overemphasize how much John David Hilliard's keyboards and wind instruments — as well as the interplay between percussionists Adrian Brigman and Drew Wilkerson — add to making this record sound incredible. And Matt Rice's thoughtful, fluid bass playing is the bedrock that supports the whole thing.
Throughout the album, there are familiar touchstones that peek out: the loud-quiet-loud of the Pixies, the guitar heroics of Built to Spill and the wide-eyed psych-pop wonder of The Flaming Lips, but really, there's just not another band that sounds anything like LFTA in Arkansas, or really anywhere else for that matter.
Listen to "Helven" by Laundry for the Apocalypse: