Weather | Traffic | Surf | Maps | Webcam

ForumsVisitors GuideShoppingClassifiedsAutosHomesJobsEntertainmentSportsToday's PaperHome

 Metro | Latest News
 North County
 Today's Paper
 AP Headlines
 In Depth
 In Iraq
 War on Terror
 Pension Crisis
 Duke Cunningham
 Special Reports
 Photo Galleries
 Health | Fitness
 Steve Breen
 Surf Report
 E-mail Newsletters
 Wireless | RSS
 Noticias en Enlace
 Internet Access
88, the easy way

The five-piece band dials the right number for pop stardom


January 26, 2006

Jeaneen Lund
The 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' roll.
'If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour you're gonna see some serious. ... "

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.


The 88, with Satisfaction, the Plus Ones and the Daffodils
8:30 p.m. Saturday; The Casbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd., Middletown; $8; (619) 232-HELL

You also probably won't be able to avoid it, as the band has successfully used modern tastemaking, like "The O.C." and, to boost its exposure and fan base. Finding a fan in esteemed KCRW radio host Nic Harcourt hasn't hurt the band's credibility either.

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 lyrics.

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 heavy resolution.

"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.

Restaurants Bars
Hotels Autos
Shopping Health
Eldercare Singles
Yellow Pages
Free Newsletters

Vegas Spas/Salon
Travel Weddings
Wine Old Town
Baja Catering
Casino Home Imp.
Golf SD North

 Sponsored Links

Copyright 2006 Union-Tribune Publishing Co. A Copley Newspaper Site