Those lovable peckerheads

Pub date May 9, 2006
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

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An aggro dance-punk explosion of smart-ass energy and drunk-kid shit, Clipd Beaks can be summed up in an endless bout of name-game banter: They’re tweaked shoegazer for the top 40 soul. Nauseated psychedelia. The guitar-driven grittiness of Prince’s "Darling Nikki" meets the smooth-as-glass PM Dawn faux-original "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss." Man, fuck Prince. He doesn’t have shit on PM Dawn. What did he give us after Sign of the Times?

Needless to say, the tugboat of inspiration doesn’t drop anchor there. Since migrating from the Purple One’s old stomping grounds of Minneapolis to Oakland, the quartet hasn’t shied away from any particular aspect of the music world they’ll pump your ears full of all types of loud, freaked-out noise.

The band wallows in a hearty hybrid of electrofunk and kraut rock ambience, cavorting amid tropical storms of sonic upsurges and acid-laced melodies. Colorful aural washes seem to crawl up your nostrils like billows of tonic mist and pulsate down your brain stem. If this flavorsome visual doesn’t have your toes tingling for the nearest club floor just yet, maybe you’ll think otherwise when the band’s latest EP, Preyers (Tigerbeat6), latches itself onto your hindquarters. CB fabricate a cluster of feel-good turbulence with proggy synth bursts, octopuslike drumbeats, and the hollow resonance of vocal distortion. Add jumbled samplers and grimy bass squawks thick enough to saw through your ankles and you have what Beaked vocalist Nic Barbeln refers to as a "total meltdown."

CB’s kick-out-the-dance-jams ethos grew out of the merging of two bands that shared a practice space back in Minneapolis in early 2003. Searching for something more invigorating than the mellower waters each group’s sound was treading on, Barbeln, synth player Greg Pritchard, bassist Scott Ecklein, and drummer Ray Benjamin chose to align.

After building up a fan base in Minneapolis and self-releasing a couple of homemade CD-R EPs, Pritchard departed for the Bay Area just after the recording of Preyers while the other Beaked players continued working at home. "I knew that they were still recording and doing Clipd Beaks," Pritchard says. "But when I heard the music, I said, ‘This cannot exist without me being involved with it.’<\!q>”

The rest of the group soon packed their bags and joined Pritchard on the West Coast, and before long fate came knocking. Pritchard had been mailing the band’s music to the Bay Area’s Tigerbeat6 through another friendly community: MySpace. Pritchard laughs: "I happened to ask them to be our friend on MySpace, and they wrote back and were like, ‘You guys are awesome.’<\!q>”

"They asked us to send more shit than what we had, and then a half an hour later, they were like, ‘Do you want to put out a record?’<\!q>” Barbeln continues.

Grateful for the massive amount of support they’ve received from the label and their fans in such a short amount of time, CB will spend the summer recording their full-length debut. Seeking to expand beyond the layered walls of sonics that hatched two years ago during the recording of Preyers, the band has expended a great deal of time perfecting the gem that’ll capture the intensity of their live performances and have the Bay Area party people passing out on the dance floor.

"We’re trying not to have jobs," Barbeln says.<\!s><z5><h110>SFBG<h$><z$>

Clipd Beaks

With Kid 606 and Friends, Dwayne Sodahberk, Eats Tapes, and Gregg Kowalsky

May 19, 9 p.m.

Elbo Room

647 Valencia, SF

Call for price.

(415) 552-7788