Los Angeles Times

Pollenating the rock world

Spores explore the dark side

That's quite a crowd the Spores assemble onstage: singer-bassist Molly McGuire, guitarist Greg Biribauer and drummer Kenny Pierce, not to mention a cast of set-crashers that includes the Preacher, DJ Tito Zzorro, Stunbunny and Miss Fishnets. The latter group, it should be pointed out, are puppets, the L.A. trio's alter-egos and other products of their whimsical dark side.

The Muppets they aren't.

"I was a visual artist first and became a musician later. People should know that when they're coming to see the Spores, it's more of a variety show," McGuire says. "It's entertainment."

So at a Spores show you might witness the snarling Preacher's ranting, Tito Zzorro's scratching and Fishnets' vamping, along with sundry other characters and finger puppets.

The music on the Spores' debut, "Imagine the Future," on Sidecho Records, has some character too, mixing thumping rockers with twitchy electronica — imagine Garbage in electroshock therapy, or spaced-out Joshua Tree quartet Gram Rabbit even more spaced out.

The trio marks the release of its album with shows Friday at Pappy and Harriet's in Pioneertown, Sunday at Safari Sam's and Monday at the Viper Room.

Songs to 'pep' himself up

If the next batch of music from Orange Countian Chris Karn sounds, in his words, "like little pep songs to myself," it won't be because of what happened to the previous batch.

Karn fronts the pop quartet Deccatree, which was shown the door in late 2004 by Atlantic Records with its album of seemingly radio-ready pop, "Battle of Life," near release. Yes, he took it hard, but his record-industry nightmare has a happier ending than some. And besides, there was, well, the battle of life.

"About the time I lost my situation at Atlantic, my dad passed away, and then shortly thereafter my son was born. And then my mom lost her father," he says. "So there were plenty of other things besides the mixing of commerce and art that were affecting my life.

"You never take anything like [being dropped] easy; you spend three years, or even your whole life, stewing those songs up. And usually you don't get a chance to record them again."

Deccatree did, because Atlantic, at the behest of executive Craig Callman, returned the music to the band, which self-released the album. Karn has carried on in his Mission Viejo studio, not only readying new music for his quartet but also producing for other artists, including Brett Bixby, Sleepless Me and, especially, rising singer-songwriter Tyrone Wells, whom Deccatree will support Friday night at the Key Club.

Fast forward

Touts: Radiohead and Built to Spill won't be playing the only sold-out shows Friday night; Band of Horses figures to fill the Echo. The bonus is that the Seattle gang will be serving as the backing band for L.A.'s Mt. Egypt, touring behind his sophomore release, "Perspectives." ... Indie hip-hop fans will be out in force Friday at Spaceland for rising star Edan, whose music is like psychedelic Twister for the ears. Support will come via DJ Nobody, performing with Busdriver, and a set by the very tall, very frank Subtitle, who raps like he's giving a dissertation. Or, as he told us once, "It's not like I'm trying to say genius things, but it's more than 'Hey, [woman], take off your clothes.' "

Shouts: To the L.A. trio Gliss, whose album "Love the Virgins" will be released Sept. 5 and who showed Monday (in the final night of a Silverlake Lounge residency) that it has ramped up the atmospheric rock displayed on its 2005 EP.... To kitsch-punkers the Holograms, who not only delivered another can't-stand-still set a couple of weeks ago to a Ruby Tuesdays crowd at the Key Club but also announced they had sealed a deal with OutKast DJ/producer David Sheats.

-- Kevin Bronson

Recommended downloads

Download the Spores' "Heat Seeker" at www.myspace.com/thespores.

Hear Deccatree's "Battle of Life" at www.myspace.com/deccatree.

Download Mt. Egypt's "Snow Through the Pass" at www.recordcollection.com.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times