'Demolisten' Veterans Pump It Up

"Demolisten," a radio show broadcast Friday nights on Loyola Marymount's tiny KXLU-FM (88.9), is the kind of testing ground the city needs for a thriving music scene. On Friday at the Alligator Lounge, five Los Angeles bands--all "Demolisten" veterans--played a dual-purpose gig: a benefit for the station and a release party for a new compilation album, "Demolisten Volume 2."

Imperfect and casual, the night--part of a series of four shows that concluded Sunday--was a feast of rough-edged acts. Retriever, 10, the Abe Lincoln Story, Karen Reitzel and Erik Core had all done the "Demolisten" drill: They'd sent in a demo tape that caught the quirk-attuned ears of hosts Fred Kiko and Tony Kiewel, who aired their music. At the Alligator, the Abe Lincoln Story's Steve Moramarco dipped into a song that appeared on the then-nascent show 10 years ago, in his former incarnation as Bean.

Core, a blue-haired punk bard who kicked off the evening armed with just an acoustic guitar and terrific riffs, probably prides himself on being a major-label longshot, but the headliner, 10, stood out as a post-Beck pop-radio contender.

Flavored by jazzy bass, hip-hop beats and words that remember cartoon-saturated mornings, 10 delivered a weary, late-night show riddled with promise, from the cute, goofy "Chocolate Chip Cookie Monster King" to the more serious "Big Smile."

The Silver Lake trio's eccentric vibe underscored that "Demolisten" is all about local solidarity and free expression, and its set perfectly capped a night that resembled a high school reunion--if everyone had picked his own schoolmates.

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