Thursday, October 23, 2014

Square Zeros #30: Brian LaRue (The Planes, Shelter Dogs, The Blowout! Dialogue From A Silent Film, Women's Basketball, Pet Rescue)

It’s tough to know where to start with Brian LaRue, because he’s such a damn talented dude and has a hand in such a cool batch of projects.

You might know him as the Telecaster wizard in the indie rock outfit The Planes, which you’ll find playing scruffy pop tunes all over the north Brooklyn circuit. Or maybe you recognize him as the crooner at the front of the more aggressive four-piece Shelter Dogs or the bassist in brooding post-punkers Dialogue From A Silent Film. Have you been to a show at Pet Rescue, the cozy, off-the-grid DIY space by Cooper Park? Brian’s the brains behind that. And if you’re really lucky, you might have caught him performing a solo set as Women’s Basketball. He’s also a hell of a good writer, especially when it comes to music.

If there’s a way to package all that, it’s this: when Brian leaves his stamp on something, it’s unmistakable. You can hear it in his knack for vocal melody, his proclivity for big yet tasteful guitar riffing, and his mordant and often hilarious lyrical emanations. No fucking pretense.

Brian’s been playing music for a long time, and we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to hear a sampling of his talents as he was developing them.

Flashback to the early 2000s, when an 18-year-old Brian was living in suburban Connecticut. A devotee of Lookout! Records, the Descendants, and other punk fare, he’d been playing basement rock for a few years. But the pressures that come with the transition out of adolescence and into the adult world were starting to set in, and he found himself questioning whether he could continue to make music in that style. So he decided to assemble a punk rock project that he thought would be his last.

“You know how it is,” he said, “when you’re 17 or 18 years old and you think adulthood is going to take a certain form? At the time I thought, I wanna try this one more time, just to put together one more straight up punk band because soon the impulse to rock like this is going to be gone and I want to document it while I can.”

“Which is dumb,” he said, “but you don’t realize that when you’re 18.”

Thank goodness, because his last-ditch punk project, The Blowout!, kills.

Brian shared half of their six-song EP, I Don’t Wanna Talk About It, a wonderfully raw, snotty, and original effort that we sure as hell would have blasted during a Saturday afternoon skateboarding session or the un-chaperoned drive to the all ages show.

Think Screeching Weasel, The Queers, maybe a little early Bad Religion, and of course Milo Aukerman and co. — irreverent, at times desperate, always attitude-driven. But the songs aren’t all teen angst. Brian and his counterparts clearly spent time working out hooks and piecing together changes that make these songs more sophisticated than your typical high school pop punk. And, man, if you don’t come away from “Love, We’re Fucked” with that chorus in your head…

Thanks to Brian for coming on the show!

Catch The Planes and Dialogue this week at CMJ!

Go see a show at Pet Rescue!

Look for new stuff from Shelter Dogs!

Peep this Women’s Basketball EP!


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