The Burning of Rome is an enigma of a local San Diego band. They aren’t the typical, emo-leaning types. Nor do they rely on dated fashion statements so prevalent in the ‘Rock’ scene. In fact one assumes their music would perplex most rock show attendees looking for instant gratification. They are a rock band but they play it through a kaleidoscope of influences–maybe they took Danny Elfman, Frank Zappa, Nobuo Uematsu (composer of famed Final Fantasy role playing video games) and fistfuls of mushrooms to bring the scrambling weirdo contingent their opus, Death Pop to life. An overall impressive and ambitious debut from this San Diego sextet, Death Pop sounds like what Neil Stephenson’s idea of pop music would be inside the Metaverse.
The melody on “For Fear of Time Machines” sounds like a keyboard interpretation of Loggins’ “Dangerzone” riff, with the song itself being shoved through an LSD tunnel that resides in Lynch’s Black Lodge. In between those moments of weird calliope marches, little lunatic carnival barker yells infuse Disco Volante-era Mr. Bungle into moments of temporary lucidity. Dulcimer, reverse vocals, Rhodes piano and violent bursts of guitar pepper each tune in tasteful helpings. I like it the more I listen to it, and I’ll admit the song that captured me was their most traditional, “Cowboy Death-Pop Star,” a tune that sounds like it was recorded on a Fischer Price toy microphone—its also the most accessible of the records 14 tracks.
If you’re bored with the same old album being put out by the same old band in the same old clothes, you’re money or downloading time would be well spent picking up this nugget of eclectic music.
I’m going to take this soapbox opportunity to give a positive endorsement for Preston, who is currently a DJ for 91x’s LoudSpeaker show which airs Monday mornings from 1am-3am (I know, stupid fucking time slot, but hey its corporate radio). Anyway, Preston and his cohort, Rowley have been doing a great job of playing a lot of local bands, even if everyone is asleep while they are playing them. I’m attempting to have him play a little more Three One G and Gravity bands but nepotism* takes work and sometimes folks aren’t ready to hear “We Have Reached An Official Verdict: Nobody Gives A Shit” by the Locust.
You can hear this show by listening to it at a reasonable hour and you won’t even have to change your sleep schedule by downloading the latest at http://www.91x.com/loudspeaker.html
They’ve also got a great line up picked out for their very own Loudspeaker side stage including The Sess, Weatherbox, The Material, The Burning Of Rome, and Shark Attack.
Some of you may be wondering why I’m endorsing a 91x show after I lambasted them for their last live concert debacle during last years holidays–it’s because good music is possible on the radio. And the fact they’ve given an entire stage to some talented local San Diego bands adds to their sluggish climb to credibility. Tim Pyles has proved the positive aspects of intriguing local music on 94.9 for years and Swami has shown that different genre’s can be heard without pissing off some lame ass suits in the marketing department.
Now, if 91x would stop sitting on their hands and embrace multi-genre, free form radio, they might actually have something redeeming besides their best show that airs during the graveyard shift. Hows that for a backhanded compliment?
*With respect to disclosure, Preston and I are related, by blood. And no we didn’t cut our hands with a bowie knife then shake–that’s dangerous.