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March 25, 2004|Kevin Bronson

Avion's Bertrand survives turbulence

Before there was Avion, songwriter Steve Bertrand was flying solo. A difficult period in late 2001 when national events combined with two breakups -- one with a girlfriend, the other of his pop quartet, the Tories -- had him reeling. But he emerged with a batch of poignant songs, and, guitar in hand, he tried them on L.A. audiences, who latched on to the same melodic qualities he'd brought to the Tories. "But in my head I'd never really seen myself as a John Mayer," the 28-year-old says. "I see myself onstage with a bunch of guys and the amps turned up." That's where Bertrand will be tonight at the Roxy, with new bandmates Ben Hazlett, Josh Dunahoo, Joey Clement and Jamie Wollam, celebrating this week's release of Avion's self-titled debut. The album was released on the songwriter's imprint, the Console, through L.A. label Image Entertainment. "I know it's David vs. Goliath," Bertrand says, "but we're going for it."

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Fast forward

Chalk up another gem for Saddle Creek. The indie label from Omaha this month released "Fall Back Open" by Now It's Overhead, the band fronted by Athens, Ga., production guru Andy LeMaster. Overhead plays Spaceland on Sunday.... Early leader for most ill-advised cover of 2004: a rendition of the Jam classic "Going Underground" by the electropop duo I Am the World Trade Center (on their album "The Cover Up," due in May). Maybe they'll leave it out of their set Friday at the Echo.... Long Beach quartet Signal Yeah finish up a strong residency Monday at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa.

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