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Buzz Bands

May 22, 2008|David Greenwald

Most high school seniors spend prom night spiking the punch and trying to make nice with their dates. James Pants (pictured) was too busy convincing Peanut Butter Wolf to come record shopping. "We met up and I chauffeured him around Austin," says the DJ-musician, who goes by James Singleton when he's not spinning vinyl. A few years and a handful of mix CDs later, Peanut Butter Wolf -- the head of Stones Throw Records -- asked him to a record a cover of goofball '80s jam "Grandmaster Lover," and a record deal soon followed. For Singleton, a hip-hop aficionado with jazz roots who plays drums, guitar and keyboards as well as manning the turntables, it was a perfect fit. "They had elements of weirdness that I really liked. It seemed like the label didn't take itself too seriously," he says. Neither does Singleton, whose DJ name stems from his wife dubbing him "fancy pants," even if his debut album, "Welcome," is too gritty and offbeat to be runway-ready. It's also mostly sample-free, with the instrumentation provided by Singleton himself "out of necessity." "I live in Spokane, Wash.," he says, "There's really no scene here." Equal parts hip-hop, dance and soul grooves, the album's 16 tracks were handpicked by Peanut Butter Wolf out of 100 recordings. "I'm not very good at finishing songs," Singleton says, "but I'm pretty good at starting them." Live: James Pants opens for Jamie Lidell at the El Rey next Thursday and May 30; a "Welcome" release party goes off that Friday afternoon at Turntable Lab. Also: Radar Bros. get woozy at the Knitting Factory tonight. . . . Local psych/drone wizards Pocahaunted play the Smell on Friday. . . . Barroom soul-pop good-timers Le Switch finish off their Monday residency at the Echo with Vanessa Micale, the Minor Canon and the World Record. . . . And at Spaceland, Mezzanine Owls finish their residency Monday with support from psych-rockers the Quarter After and Asteroid #4 -- both of whom are supporting new albums.

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-- David.Greenwald@latimes.com

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Kevin Bronson has the week off.

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