Who? Jonathan Edelstein (guitar/vocals), Julian Bennett Holmes (drums) and Lucien Buscemi (bass/vocals/son of Steve) were just 12 years old when they initially formed then StunGun, in between snack time and drum class at a Park Slope band camp. Now 16, and calling themselves Fiasco, the garage punk trio have played New York's CBGB's, Cake Shop and Studio B. What's the Deal? God Loves Fiasco, a 23-song debut on the band's own Beautiful imprint, is a startlingly good way to get your teenage kicks. The incendiary guitar work, drum thrashing and perceptive lyrics -- including subject matter as diverse as unrequited love for a lesbian titled "Disappointment," and the slinky instrumental "Shot in My Sleep," which was inspired by Buscemi's nightmare vision of Zakk Wylde with a semi-automatic -- echoes everyone from a hormone-drenched Sonic Youth to a youthful-sounding Slint.
Upon first sight of Benzos, it's hard to imagine that four dudes in plainclothes T-shirts could churn out such melodic, orchestral-tinged rock with no less, live improvisatory remixing. But the Brooklyn foursome beat the brutality of a hot NYC summer night last evening (July 9), urging a varied assortment of elder indie rockers and bespectacled scenesters to chill out (quite literally). A few lo-fi multivalent ballads kicked off the near-hour set as frontman Christian Celeya's signature hair toss and "save me from myself" lyrics squelched the summer-soaked vibes at the Knitting Factory. "This song's called 'Hurt Everybody,' but we are peaceful men," forewarned Celeya, introducing material from Benzos' forthcoming sophomore effort, Branches.