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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Garage A Trois Play Saturday, Offer 12 Last-Minute Entries in the SF Indie Film Festival

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 12:51 PM

click to enlarge MICHAEL WEINTROB
  • Michael Weintrob
Pan-American postskronkjazzcore supergroup Garage A Trois's new album is a stone-cold killer: It'll lure you in with sultry saxophone wails and vibraphone licks, root you to the spot with a lurching organ drone here and a cop-drama suspense motif there, and finally club you to blissful death with an unrelenting, slightly idiosyncratic rhythm section. Also, it's called Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil, which rules.

The quartet has been on the prowl since 1999 -- though the present incarnation was minted in 2007 with the addition of keyboardist/organist Marco Benevento (of the excellent Benevento-Russo Duo) -- taking just enough time from the members' respective projects (Seattle industrial-jazz veterans Critters Buggin! New Orleans funk ensemble Galactic! Underrated R.E.M. offshoot Tuatara!) to record five albums, including the soundtrack to a never-released French film called Outre Mer

That last bit of information confirms the eerily precise cinematic quality to Garage A Trois's jams, and also suggested the framework for today's Q&A: we asked percussionist Mike Dillon (far left in the picture) to describe an imaginary movie featuring each song on Always Be Happy. If his answers don't entice you to check out the quartet's free 2 p.m. in-store at the Haight St. Amoeba on Saturday, or their show at the Independent that evening, maybe a sampling from Garage A Trois radio will do the trick.

click to enlarge gat_always_be_happy_cover.jpg

"Omar": This song was actually inspired by The Wire. It was composed after a tour with Les Claypool. We watched all five seasons. This song plays as it pans to the kid's face after he offs our hero.

"Resentment Incubator": Four men in a van, on tour with their first band. The idea of touring has been a dream. They talked about it all through high school. At the end of the tour they hate each other, two of the guys are strung out, and one dude's girlfriend has left him. The glamorous life.


"Earl Harvin": African-American man gets gig playing drums with the French band Air. He falls in love with Europe. A few years later he moves from LA to Berlin. Becomes fluent in German. Meets his true love.

"Shooting Breaks": A man is on the top of a beautiful hill overlooking Lake Austin. He is massively depressed. He graduated valedictorian of his high school. He graduated with honors from law school. It all seemed perfect. His girl left him.  Life seemed empty. He didn't know he was bipolar. In a split second he puts a gun in his mouth and shoots himself a break.

"Kansas": Feel the '70s, man. Dust off the ghost of the tube, brah. Experimental cinema.

"Swellage": Crazy guitarist from huge rock band hangs out in a hot tub with ladies on Molly. People always trying to get next to him. This is a beautiful experience on ecstasy, so he often repeats it.

"The Drum Department": A modern drummer poster child has a beautiful wife who is a genius. They have crazy adventures in the world. Traveling, sweating, airport stalls. He recalls his first hardcore show, which was Bad Brains. He quits being a studio whore and joins a punk band from New Orleans.

"Thumb": A wonderful man leaves Brooklyn for upstate New York. They find a place with a pond and 8 acres. He realizes that HR from Bad Brains has been squatting in his barn. The drama unfolds as his daughter teaches HR the one lesson he failed to remember.

"Baby Mama Drama": A creative woman is always asking her jazz millionaire ex for more money. She drives across the country to put stickers on public buildings. She is preparing for 2012. She must instill the Native American spirit, or else.

"Chimp and Flower":  A New York City woman falls in love with a dirty ape. The dirty ape is always on the road. He cannot be had. His world consists of fossil fuels, tabla practice, and espresso. They travel, love, and fight. However, the limbo of not knowing what he can give drives her back to the world she left. She ends up a curating the Tate Modern and he relapses on heroin and dies in a hotel on Lombard.

"Dark Bogul": Same film. The friends of the dead jazz musician play music at the wake.

"Assault on Precinct 13": See John Carpenter movie

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