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Throw Rag paddles its "sailor rock" in from the Salton Sea; Röyksopp plays sorta house-y, sorta trance-y, sorta downtempo-y melodica

Wednesday, Jul 13 2005
Like Queens of the Stone Age, whose Mount Olympus is the rugged California desert, Throw Rag can claim the Salton Sea -- at the edge of which the quintet makes its headquarters -- as the geographical nexus of its quickly spreading rock 'n' roll mythology. The 376-square-mile Salton Sea, you may know, constantly reeks to high heaven with the stench of dead, rotting fish and decaying algae, and serves as sanctuary to homicidal meth tweakers named Pooh Bear who threaten would-be police informants with genital-chewing by a rabid weasel. Such filth, danger, and twisted humor feeds Throw Rag's self-coined "sailor rock" -- a careening muck of old-school O.C. street-punk, swampy psychobilly, and Pabst-drenched garage rock, led by deranged howler Captain Sean Doe (who's been known to stalk a stage in just cowboy boots and a thong), and featuring killer washboard/jaw harp/cowbell/bugle player Jacko the Cobra. If you've ever seen a gang of squalid swabbies maraud a town while on shore leave, you'll know what to expect when Throw Rag takes over on Thursday, July 14, at the Bottom of the Hill; call 621-4455 or visit for more info.

You may remember Röyksopp -- the Norwegian electronica duo of Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge -- from that semianimated "Poor Leno" video a few years back, the one with the adorable little zoo-kept teddy bear creature and lots of flyover shots of snowcapped Scandinavian mountains. Or maybe you were handbag shopping and arguing with your friend about whether the sorta house-y, sorta trance-y, sorta downtempo-y, vocoder-vocaled music tastefully emanating from the fancy-pants boutique's speakers was Daft Punk, Air, or Dirty Vegas, only to have the clerk tell you it was Melody A.M. , Röyksopp's 2002 debut LP. The pair is back with a new album, The Understanding, which further explores the seemingly incongruous notion of "upbeat melancholia" -- lead single "At This Moment," for example, sets a lovely blend of disco beats, bright synth burbles, and boy-girl singing against lyrics waxing wistful over a disintegrating relationship. Expect to hear material from both discs when Röyksopp arrives on Friday, July 15, to chill out Bimbo's (474-0365 or; as Berge explains on the band's Web site, the two find it hard to favor the new stuff over the old: "It's like trying to compare two testicles. One is not better than the other. Both are vital to the Röyksopp anatomy."

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Michael Alan Goldberg


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