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Buzz Bands

January 03, 2008|Kevin Bronson

For all its immediacy and convenience, the Internet-based music universe sucks all serendipity out of discovering new music, and maybe even undermines the process of a listener finding his own subtext. It also lays bare a band's aspirations -- which, in the case of L.A. quartet the Weather Underground, are pretty high. There on the band's MySpace page, without irony, are the likes of Kerouac, Dylan, Camus, Ginsberg and Basquiat. "It's a way to engage people -- those are really important influences for us," singer-guitarist Harley Prechtel-Cortez says. "I can see how it can be daunting . . . but maybe somebody who likes our band might wonder, 'Who is Guillaume Apollinaire?' We're trying to do something we're not hearing much these days; we're just not into the dumbing-down of things." The foursome's two self-released EPs, "When I Was a Soldier" and "Psalms & Shanties," are far from piffle. "Neal Cassady" nods to the Beat Generation figure; "When I Was a Soldier" displays Prechtel-Cortez's deft touch at framing vignettes in song. Musically, the taut rock laid out by the songwriter's cousin, guitarist Shoichi Bagley, bassist Ryan Kirkpatrick and drummer Diego Guerrero recalls a post-punk Kings of Leon, or the Walkmen soaked in Southern Comfort. "That Southern thing, it's in us. I don't know why, but it's in us," says Prechtel-Cortez, who grew up in Inglewood and New York City (his cousin is from Hawthorne). Live: The Weather Underground, along with bands such as Rademacher and Venus Infers, plays a benefit concert on Sunday at Safari Sam's. ALSO: The Airborne Toxic Event starts a Thursday residency tonight at Spaceland; on Monday, the Parson Red Heads (Spaceland) and We Barbarians (Silverlake Lounge) kick off residencies, while Mighty Six Ninety plays Tuesdays at the Key Club. More on the blog: www.latimes.com/buzzbands

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Kevin.Bronson@latimes.com

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