Fan Death

To Live and Shave in L.A. – ‘The Cortege’ LP
The Cortege is the closing installment to two decades of remarkable albums and riveting live performances from To Live and Shave in L.A. The core trio of Ben Wolcott, Rat Bastard and Tom Smith has led this collective of legendary musicmakers since the early 1990s when they crossed paths in the early Miami Beach punk/noise/experimental scene. Recorded by Don Fleming in 2007 at Think Tank studios in Hoboken, NJ, The Cortege is a completely different journey from what one might expect from TLASILA. Songs like Flattering Circles of Hell and Til Their Legs Gave Way go far beyond the usual noise exercises they are known for. The Cortege finds TLASILA utilizing an almost pop format in terms of not only length but repeating themes throughout each song. Bright Lights, Theatre, Fur inaugurates the LP with its minimal electronics introduction until it explodes with guitar, delayed violin, and its almost singalong repeat of the title. While some songs seem minimal in execution throughout, such as a Rodent, others like I Found My Ruin Instead immediately layer guitars and sax below Tom Smiths tortured vocals. When you reach the end of The Cortege is hard to not think to yourself that not only is this TLASILAs best LP, but also a glimpse at what avant music can be when focused, yet boundless. The TLASILA collective for The Cortège includes Ben Wolcott (oscillator and treatments), Rat Bastard (violin), Tom Smith (lead vocals), Misty Martinez (lead vocal on Flattering Circles of Hell, backing vocals, saxophone), Andrew W.K. (backing vocals), Nondor Nevai (backing vocals), Cherie Lily (backing vocals), Mark Morgan (guitar), Chris Grier (guitar), Don Fleming (guitar), Dimthingshine (percussion and voice), Mark Shellhaas (percussion), Kelly Jamison (percussion), Graham Moore (synth modules), Gaybomb (magnetic card readers), and Patrick Spurlock (electronics).


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