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October 28, 2004|Kevin Bronson

Lassie to the rescue

Put away the antidepressants -- the Lassie Foundation has a new album out Tuesday. The long-running Southland quintet's marriage of frothy pop and blissed-out shoegazer guitars has linked it sonically to such seemingly disparate acts as the Beach Boys and My Bloody Valentine. "Face Your Fun," says vocalist Wayne Everett, 34, "taps into the '80s thing we grew up with."

But hold on to your Members Only jacket. Unlike the wave of '80s fetishists mining the era's darker or dancier times, the Lassies' songwriting triumvirate of Everett, guitarist Jeff Schroeder and bassist Eric Campuzano has harked back, without discernible irony, to Flock of Seagulls. "You hear the chiming guitars, the bass, in things like early U2 and Flock of Seagulls, and it's pretty dramatic and majestic," Everett says. "We took the elements that were most inspirational to us and went for something that sounds fresh."

If the results are smile-inducing, the album's themes are more serious. In some ways, "Face Your Fun" is a midlife crisis album, documenting the encroachment of real-life responsibilities on an indie rocker's creative space. "When you get older -- at least in music years -- you can't make the same commitment you did when you were younger," Everett says. "It doesn't really lament. There's no 'Woe is me, I'm getting old.' It's more just acknowledging reality."

He shows Gratitude

Jonah Matranga's music is coming out of the bedroom. After three albums of intensely personal -- and, his followers would say, profoundly affecting -- indie pop as Onelinedrawing, he and collaborator Mark Weinberg have a new band, Gratitude, and an album coming out in March on Atlantic.

It's straight-ahead rock, full of hooks and singalong choruses and exuberant bursts of guitar -- music that, rather than peering inward, "is much more outward," Matranga says.

"I've always drawn lines in the sand with my music," says Matranga, who began writing songs with Weinberg in 2003. "This is the first music I've made that could go anywhere -- and I don't just mean commercially but socially.... It's not as overtly self-referential or idiosyncratic."

But it's no less sincere -- the quality that has always made his bedroom pop a commodity. "I know there are some people who come and see me who are going to be surprised," says Matranga, whose quintet plays Wednesday at the Troubadour. "It feels weird, but in a good way."

Fast forward

Too bad that the year's headiest album of sociopolitical rock won't be released until election day. That's when "Reagan Baby," the debut from L.A. indie rock/hip-hop trio Ross Golan & Molehead, will finally come out, after an assortment of hurdles delayed it.... Metric, which plays the El Rey Theatre on Friday, aims to get busy this winter recording its follow-up to the New Wavy gem "Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?"

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