by Brad Roberts
It all started for me on a magical night of October 30, 2008 when I experienced my first exposure to a band called Tommy Santee Klaws. My pursuit of new and unusual music had grown to enormous proportions in the three years since I had fallen under the spell of indie rock, and at the time I was in hot pursuit of Avi Buffalo. He was playing a solo set at that fabled gallery/venue, Echo Curio, on that balmy October night and I remember arriving and seeing Avi sitting outside. He rose to greet me. I was startled because he remembered who I was after only seeing him once and briefly saying "I love your music" as he swept by after a set at the Unkown Theatre in September that year.
The friendly and familiar atmosphere of the art gallery, it's owners, of Avi, and the remarkable impact of Tommy Santee Klaws all made the night unforgettable. At the time I described their music as "beautifully orchestrated melodies contrasted with ironic/sardonic lyrics" and Tommy's voice as having the ability to melt glass". That doesn't even begin to scratch the surface.
I met the band that night, we became fast friends, and thus began my pursuit of this band every time they played. I saw them acoustic, plugged in, in various configurations, and every time, they bowled me over. Always writing and presenting new material and releasing new recordings that never quite represented the best of what the band can do live, they now have a new record that comes the closest I've heard to recreating the band's magical, mystical live sound.
On Saturday, September 8, Echo Country Outpost will host a Release Party, in collaboration with The New Los Angeles Folk Festival, for the CD version of this new Tommy Santee Klaws album, Of Light. Coming out digitally on September 11, this will be the premiere release of the new label being put out by Echo Country Outpost called Outpost Records. Possibly proving this could be a perfect marriage of band and label, Outpost owner, Chris Hajek calls Tommy Santee Klaws "L.A. east side's musical force" and I couldn't agree more. It feels completely appropriate that to inaugurate his new label, Chris has chosen Tommy to introduce this new enterprise.
In the spirit of this supportive community coming together to help and nurture the burgeoning number of bands that really deserve the attention, Outpost Records will be dedicated to highlighting artists who have been plying their trade and honing their craft of the stage of this unique oasis in the local music scene. For three years they have played host to some of the most unusual and original artists and offered the community a clubhouse and performance space. Now they will assist in getting this music and art out to the world at large. A noble experiment.
The party on Saturday is promoted as a radical party/multi-sensory celebration for Of Light, with performances by Madame Headdress, Kitchen Hips, Dirt Bird, Tommy Santee Klaws, Nora Keyes, White Dove, and Bloody Death Skull. Emceed by Nicole Disson of The Series, the event will also feature 3D art installations by artist Franklin Londin, and projections by artists Geoff & Sarah Seelinger, plus hot dogs by Serendoggity and cupcakes by Cupcake Mafia. 7:30 PM, all ages, $5 w/bonus track download, $10 w/OF LIGHT cd.
photo by Brad Roberts