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December 21, 2006|Kevin Bronson

Still having fun with 'the sharks'

In the face of travails large and small, the party goes on for Scissors for Lefty. The Bay Area quartet's synthesizer-

infused dance-pop (maybe Panic! at the Disco for people who've read a few of the classics) drips with wit and brims with energy -- the sound of four guys having a good time.

"We had so much fun playing live shows that we decided to throw it to the sharks," singer-guitarist Bryan Garza says of the band's decision two years ago to take a careerist approach to its music. "We went from playing five or six shows a year to 100 last year."

And somebody besides the dancing throngs in nightclubs noticed. London indie Rough Trade Records signed the band of brothers (Robby Garza plays bass, and siblings James and Peter Krimmel man drums and keyboards, respectively) to a deal, and Scissors recorded the album "Underhanded Romance" last spring in Silver Lake. But the financial difficulties of Rough Trade's parent company, Sanctuary, have delayed the release, crimping any momentum the quartet might have enjoyed in its talks with U.S. labels.

"All the right steps have taken place except putting out the album," Bryan Garza notes.

Still, high spirits will prevail when the band hits Spaceland on Saturday -- that is, "as long as we don't drop the van keys down the storm drain outside the club," Garza says. That happened on the last trip to L.A., before they were rescued by the vertically blessed James Krimmel. "He's almost 7 feet tall," Garza says. "Thank God he has long arms; those keys are expensive."

Fast forward

* Pop veterans the Jigsaw Seen have rung the bell again with a new original holiday tune, "What About Christmas?" (available on iTunes). The group -- David Nolte, Dennis Davison and Jonathan Lea, with Joe Berardi sitting in on drums -- assembles tonight at Taix in Echo Park for a holiday show featuring guests such as Probyn Gregory, Lisa Jenio, Kristian Hoffman and Andrew Sandoval.

* Nels Cline appears tonight at a benefit at the Echo for the Society for the Activation of Social Space Through Art and Sound (SASSAS), a charitable group that promotes experimental music and art. The organization is in financial arrears after promoting an October concert featuring Art Ensemble of Chicago heavyweights Roscoe Mitchell and Joseph Jarman. Tonight's benefit is similarly eclectic, with live acts joining DJs from the collective Dublab.

* On Wednesday, Club NME at Spaceland will host a covers project sure to pique the interest of '80s and '90s-era Anglophiles -- the C86 All Stars. "C86" was the name of a compilation cassette of new bands released by the magazine NME in 1986, featuring a large dose of jangly and melodic pop. C86 became a term encompassing a segment of the British indie-pop scene. The Spaceland show will feature one musician from that original tape, the Mighty Lemon Drops guitarist David Newton, as part of a five-piece covering C86-era songs. Bowl haircuts optional.

* Two L.A. bands that released strong albums in '06, the Oohlas and Gliss, head up a KROQ-FM Locals show Saturday at the Knitting Factory.... Two others, Halifax and Agent Sparks, play Friday at the Key Club.... Raucous holiday shows Saturday night: the Vandals' Winter Formal at the House of Blues, Whitestarr at the Roxy.

*

Recommended downloads

Stream "Next to Argyle" by Scissors for Lefty at www.myspace.com/scissorsforlefty

* Stream the Jigsaw Seen's "What About Christmas?" at www.myspace.com/thejigsawseen

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