calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour
you're gonna see some serious. ... "
LundThe guys in L.A.'s the 88
own many suits, from pop tunesmiths to the latest noisemakers
from the world of West Coast rock 'n'
Remember the beginning of "Back to the Future," when Dr. Emmett
L. Brown punctuated those words with a PG-rated expletive before
testing his time-travel machine out on his dog?
Well, throw on anything by the 88 and you'll feel like you've
flown to an era when the sounds of the Beatles, the Kinks and the
Band were inescapable. Yet what you hear won't shake off the shards
of the present – that's still a DeLorean you're sitting in.
If you believe their bio, the 88 actually took their name from a
song by the French Kicks or the number of keys on a piano, or both.
Some people may prefer the Marty McFly reference, and it's a safe
bet that the L.A.-based band would be just fine with that.
By all accounts, these guys – singer-guitarist Keith Slettedahl,
keyboardist Adam Merrin, guitarist Brandon Jay, bassist Carlos
Torres and drummer Anthony Zimmitti – are rather amicable, just like
their music. Even if their modern Brit-pop-flavored style isn't your
thing, you're probably not going to hate it.
also probably won't be able to avoid it, as the band has
successfully used modern tastemaking, like "The O.C." and
MySpace.com, to boost its exposure and fan base. Finding a fan in
esteemed KCRW radio host Nic Harcourt hasn't hurt the band's
The 88, with Satisfaction, the Plus Ones and the
8:30 p.m. Saturday; The Casbah, 2501
Kettner Blvd., Middletown; $8; (619) 232-HELL
Speaking on a cell phone on the drive to Seattle, Jay didn't emit
much rock star pretension, despite the group's recent, and rather
sudden, growth in popularity.
"Yeah, it's pretty nice out," he said, taking in the scenery.
"We're just passing a Pepsi van, so I think they've got Pepsi in
there. And there's a little lake, meadow kind of thing over here to
the right, it's pretty nice. Beautiful country we live in." The 88's
music emits this "Everything's All Right" vibe – with in-the-pocket
playing and bright melodies – without getting cheesy cheerful. The
general pleasantness can belie songwriter Slettedahl's pensive
Cause nobody cares what you've been through / And nobody cares
what kind of drugs you're on he sings with buoyancy on (naturally)
"Nobody Cares," off their latest album, "Over and Over."
The band's second full-length
album features production by Ethan Allen, who encouraged the band to
record live rather than layer each musical component. Consequently,
it sounds more energetic and confident than the debut "Kind of
Light," and the band's currently taking that energy on a short tour
of the West Coast, with a stop Saturday at the Casbah.
The new year should hold more good things for the 88, but that
doesn't mean the band's gotten all serious and made some sort of
"I think the first resolution would be to drive somewhere close
to the speed limit," said Jay.
Resist the flux capacitor jokes, dorks. You can do it.
Kyle Proehl writes about music for
Night&Day and Street.