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Surfacing

July 22, 2006|CASEY DOLAN

Turning the spotlight on musicians making a commercial breakthrough.

"Fascination"

Monsters Are Waiting

Retone Records

Artist info: Singer Annalee Fery mews, whispers and scolds as her stalwart cohorts offer a brittle, minimalist post-punk sonic platter. There are plenty of retro influences, both musical and in stage attire, harking back to the early '80s and mid-'60s, but the L.A.-based band never gets mired in its borrowed trappings. "Fascination" boasts well-constructed songs with hummable hooks, harmonic surprises and a tough rhythm section, but Fery is the band's primary focal point when it performs live.

Back story: Monsters' beginnings are shrouded in some mystery -- even the record company has no bio to supply -- but bassist Andrew Clark insists that it isn't deliberate. "Bios seem ridiculous. We didn't want to think too much about what the band sounds like." All the members had run through major label courtships or relationships with other bands, and Clark, drummer Eric Gardner and guitarist Jon Siebels were already playing together when Fery joined nearly two years ago. They put out 1,000 copies of an EP, financed by a credit card, which sold quickly thanks to constant gigs around town. This debut full-length CD includes the EP tracks, and the group also has two videos on its MySpace.com page. A residency at Spaceland in June may have been an ideal extended release party and send-off for an East Coast tour, but the band is on its way back to L.A. for a show Tuesday at Safari Sam's. "We've pretty much always wanted to do it our way, to do it ourselves. And that's the way it's been up to now," says Clark.

Influences: The Sundays, Elastica, Gang of Four, Cure

Trivia: Bear and Monkey, two bandmates' pets, are listed as influences on their MySpace.com Web page.

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