Honoring a friend with ‘Will’
If not in the songs, the memory of a good friend lives on in the adventurous production of Ben Eshbach’s latest works. In that way, “Will” -- the fourth album from Eshbach’s long-running L.A. pop quartet the Sugarplastic -- is decidedly buoyant and cathartic.
“It’s a celebratory record, not a depressing record,” Eshbach says. “And I don’t think I’m courageous, or anything, for having made it.”
Instead, “Will” is simply a nod to Eshbach’s longtime friend William Cooper Glenn, a founding member of Paisley Underground outfit Rain Parade and a contributor to and production guru for the music of Opal and Mazzy Star.
In March 2001, Glenn, 44, died of cancer. “I’d never had a friend die before,” Eshbach says. “It was kinda freaky ... very affecting.”
Eshbach worked on the project on and off for several years in his home studio. The result is an album that, except for its sticky melodies, represents a detour from the Sugarplastic’s XTC-inspired template toward a Digital Age psychedelia, with few sounds left untouched by computerized effects.
“Almost the whole thing was done in my dining room on Pro Tools,” Eshbach says, “and obviously I took a long time to tweak it. The digital recording process allows you to work like a painter -- you can’t paint over the top of things if you don’t like how they sound.”
Eshbach joins bandmates Kiara Geller, Sean Jacobsen and David Cunningham for a record-release show Friday night at the Derby.
Under the Influence of Giants, the white-clad outfit whose glam-synth-metal hybrid has set bodies in motion at shows on the Sunset Strip, plays the Troubadour tonight (with Run Run Run, whose new “Endless Winter” EP contains the jewel “Wait Up for You”) and on Monday at the Roxy. Speaking of glammy, Mardo has been playing hard behind the release of its debut album in February; the trio performs Monday night at the Viper Room.... “The Great Destroyer,” the seventh album from Minnesota quietists Low, bears the fingerprints of Mercury Rev/Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann in its subtle textures. Low (with Pedro the Lion) visits the El Rey Theatre tonight.... Two birthdays in one: The last of the 10th anniversary shows at Spaceland is tonight’s bill headlined by Ozomatli -- which is also celebrating its 10th birthday as a band.... The Dublab folks return to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County on Friday for the institution’s First Fridays promotion (think nightclub with cool animals). The L.A. half of the Postal Service, Jimmy Tamborello, is among the DJs, and performing will be the soul-jazz group Build an Ark, whose album “Peace With Every Step” is sure to bend your ear and touch your heart.... And among the Monday night residencies to check out this month: Madman Moon at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa and the Eugene Edwards Band at Taix restaurant in Echo Park.
-- Kevin Bronson