Reviews \

Earlimart Scores the Dream Team

NEW YORK: The duo's melodramatic indie rock comes alive with strings.

“That’s what we call [hydroning], at the end. It’s just like milking it,” chuckled Earlimart lead singer Aaron Espinoza, after shredding some extra cacophony on top of a fresh track from their latest LP, Mentor Tormentor. Call it comic relief from the texture-smiths of Silverlake, CA’s rainy-day rock scene. Or call it accurate.

Accurate in the best of ways. The milking of cacophony was definitely a good thing with new tour recruits, the String Dream Team quartet, who tugged and lifted a few cuts short of the complete new record. All together, the crew stood nine people deep last night (Aug. 28) at Joe’s Pub in New York City; a deceiving place, with its very un-pub-like table-only service and high-class jazz bar design.

The evening began just as Mentor was pressed: the ominous drum charge of “Fakey Fake” setting up the washed-out acoustics of “Answers & Questions,” but now all dressed up with violins and cello. It wasn’t until the fourth track, an ode to the band’s late friend and inspiration, Elliott Smith, called “Heaven Adores You” off 2004’s Treble and Tremble, that they strayed from the new.

The crowd of mostly weathered fans played the attentive card, keeping the between-track requests to a minimum, save for one gentlemen’s encore shot out that drew a nostalgic response from Espinoza — “Oh shit, we never play ‘Drink On the Job’…’play that one song you wrote when you were 16, but…skateboarding’,” he joked, before honoring the old punk gem.

But just when the band had the opportunity to ‘milk’ it best, they killed it. The exiting track, a cheery in chord, dark in irony sing-along called “Cold Cold Heaven” was sterile without the choir present on the Mentor cut. Why did you bench the Dream Team Earlimart? Why? Mentor Tormentor indeed.

We asked: Taking the new Earlimart LP title Mentor Tormentor at face value, who’s the most evil mentor you’ve crossed paths with, and why?