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Live Review: Sea Level Records Going Away Party @ Safari Sam's 06/22/07

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Friday night's "celebration" at Safari Sam's was testimony to the tremendous impact Sea Level Records has had upon the local Los Angeles music scene. As reported previously, the foremost indie record store decided to throw in the towel after their influential 5 1/2 year reign. So, party, celebration--any word used to connote remote contentment would simply be a misnomer. As friends of Sea Level sporadically graced the stage to eulogize, it became harder to truly enjoy. I felt conflicted as to whether or not I should enjoy myself at the demise of an Echo Park landmark. For this reason, the night will forever remain in my memory as a laudatory laying to rest.

The Switch opened the party with their fervent brand of intoxicated rock and roll. As they revved up with 'Tongue Tied', I could instantly discern the jangly piano-pop Golden Smog influence. Front man Aaron Kyle's tattered delivery reminded me of a more abrasive Okkervil River's Will Sheff. As multi-instumentalist Maria Deluca switched from trumpet to viola, the slow tempo, piano-based 'Crazy' served as a change of pace. The drastic contrast of Kyle's volatile crooning with that of DeLuca's calming back-ups provided for an incomparable sense of gratification. I'd recommend The Switch to anyone with a palate for boozy rock and roll.