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Earlimart's Mentor Tormentor: An amagalm of LA elements

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Mentor Tormentor
Majordomo Records
released August 21st, 2007

Let me be the first to say that this year will be huge for LA bands. I've written about the not-so obvious, Acute, and the obvious, Sea Wolf. Despite their associations, Earlimart fits in with the former category, but not for long. Their forthcoming album Mentor Tormentor is a prodigious effort that links them to various well-known Los Angeles musicians.

The connections begin with The Ship, an Earlimart-owned studio nestled in the eccentric hills of Eagle Rock. The Ship has produced some of LA's favorite acts: Great Northern and Silversun Pickups. Also, Jason "The Professor" Borger, who recently joined forces with Acute for their latest release Arms Around A Stranger, orchestrated the integral arrangements for Mentor Tormentor. But it doesn't stop there. Dave Trumfio, who has worked with Wilco and Grandaddy (another artist who recorded in The Ship), mixed the new Earlimart and he recorded Acute's Arms Around A Stranger. If I mapped all of this out, then it might turn out as convoluted as the constellations.

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Mentor Tormentor is a comprehensive record, incorporating various elements that LA people have come to accept as commonplace. If you've ever listened to Sea Wolf, The Little Ones, Silversun Pickups or Great Northern, then you know what I'm talking about. With that said, "Fakey Fake" opens the record in a colossal manner. The song progressively builds upon a minimal repetitive acoustic riff, slowly but surely developing into a massive clap-infused chorus. Aaron Espinoza's timid Elliott Smith-style vocals, backed by haunting harmonies, are entirely unique to LA. I can't say anyone does it better.