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the distortions

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The best kept secret in music


"Splendid Magazine, IL"

by: Brett McCallon

I'm sure that everyone who writes for this site has slightly different reasons for doing so; for me, one of the great rewards is finding, among the plethora of "what-were-they-thinking" discs that we receive from self-released artists, an album that showcases an unsigned band that's clearly on to something. Meet The Distortions.

Just to give you an idea of what we're talking about, the fourth track on Exploding Teenage Body Part (an early contender for Evocative Album Title of the Year) is entitled "Shoegazer". Yes, these guys speak fluent Kevin Shields. They've spun a couple of Jesus and Mary Chain records. They enjoy a Ride song or two. But they aren't defined by that genre influence, and as often as not (even on the aforementioned cut) they branch out from their fuzz-bliss starting point to explore other avenues of melodic guitar rock.

There are a slew of terrible unsigned bands out there, and all I can do for them is try to soften the blow. It's great to be able to review a band that, whatever their current faults, is on the verge of doing something great. I'm really looking forward to hearing The Distortions do something great.

"Left of the Dial, Charlotte NC"

By: Chaz Martenstein

Usually in this glamorous line of work, you can pin a label on a band simply by looking at the cover or even just glancing at the band’s name. Before throwing this album on, I was preparing myself to start looking for adjectives and metaphors to describe another glammed-up LA garage punk hit and miss. Instead, I got a blend of lush shoegaze and postpunk with a disillusioned, though talented singer. It’s a fresh take on a beautiful, but gloomy genre.

Dark and haunting, the heavy drive at the beginning of the album retreats into more drawn out, slower spun and dreary reflections on society. Judging by main songwriter F’s tone, you can assume this is caused by his increasing discontent with life. His lyrics contain a lost generation quality to them. The backdrop of music fades from power chords to minimal, picked spaciness, adding a dream-like presence to the album. As I’ve mentioned, the lyrics are very dark, but are delivered in a manner that makes you want to sing along. It’s masterfully done.

This is music for the dreamy and glassy-eyed. Good.


"The Culture Bunker, Los Angeles"

By: Paul Leeds

BRMC seem to have disappeared thanks to a faithless UK label and the shifting sands of modern rock. With a bit of uncertainty, then, The Distortions step into the space recently voided by said band, they also dress in black, dye their hair black and play an underground sound influenced by the great UK gloom bands of yore.
This is night music, cast in shadowy shades of grey, in direct radio contact with the gloomy London of 1983.

Listening to this disc, I'm reminded of other LA bands that tried to convince the suntanned loafers that another world exists, bands like Gwen Mars and plExi can be clearly heard in The Distortions' music. These 9 songs will hopefully succeed where the others failed. Highly recommended.

"UK Music Search, London"

By: Mike Bond

Hailing from Los Angeles, but with a harder edged sound that gives off a New York punk sensibility this three piece create the kind of dark pop songs that The Black Rebel Motorcycle promised on their debut album.

With a straight ahead blend of punkoid guitar riffing and metronomic drum patterns, EXPLODING TEENAGE BODY PART, hits the ground running. F sings in a lazy drawl that seethes with wasted menace, while the band go at it with a unbridled ferocity.

But it's on HINTERLAND that The Distortions really unleash themselves as a band to put your faith in, this is epic rock without the stadium pretensions of lesser bands. Big sweeping melodies that come wrapped in massive guitar washes and the pay off when those choruses hits is sublime in the extreme.
This is the sound of the apocalypse soundtracked by Echo And The Bunnymen jamming with Joy Division.

This is an album that hardly puts a foot wrong, as the nine songs each burn with a shimmering passion that occasionally brims over into full blown majesty.

Cooler than The Strokes and with better songs than Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, EXPLODING TEENAGE BODY PART represents a debut album to cherish and love.


"Sound the Sirens, NY"

By --Sable Yong
April 1st, 2005

Exploding onto the fast-moving front of post-punk rock bands, The Distortions claims their place with Exploding Teenage Body Part.

The band formed nearly a year before the release of Exploding Teenage Body Part and clearly they wasted no time in cutting and pasting their musical skills as well as their ingenuity. For fans of The Killers, The Verve, and Interpol, The Distortions are a dead-on addition to their collection. With their rising popularity and rapid take-over of the radio airwaves in Southern California, The Distortions are surely the next candidates for post-punk rock royalty.

Neither melody nor lyrics are sacrificed in each success of a song. It may sound as if The Distortions ripped their lyrics straight from their most private journals, but these guys have the creative guns to be able to construct such an apt soundtrack to the downcast images of their fallen-city atmosphere during production.


"Drowned in Sound, London"

Rating: 3.5/5
By: michael diver

Sold as a band echoing the work of artists as diverse as My Bloody Valentine, The Verve and, um, The Killers, LA’s The Distortions have a challenge on their hands from the very outset. Such comparisons will only ever have the reviewer set to slate, as what band - really - can reference such an array of acts without sounding like a soulless and mindless patchwork devoid of substance? Well, The Distortions, actually.

As loathed as I am to mention that band again (oh, you know - NME cover stars, pretty boys, New Order rip offs), ‘Getting What We Deserve’, the second song here, does all that The Killers (ergh) do, only better, faster and stronger. It’s a song prime for FM radio exposure and no mistake - deceptively uncomplicated and immediately catchy, and replete with a slight lyrical drug reference that’ll have the fashionistas’ ears pricking up. “What? They buy drugs? Cool!”

Yeah, probably. ‘Shoegazer’, predictably enough, offers a nod to the dreamscapes of MBV, Slowdive et al without ever sounding like a pastiche or parody. Sure, the name of the song is so obvious it practically demands a critical mauling, but the music effortlessly sings for itself; laconic vocals float comfortably in a sea of beauteous noise. ‘Hinterland’ repeats the trick with similarly satisfying results.

Closer ‘Into The Next’ warrants that Verve reference - it’s a slice of psychedelic rock a la the Wigan outfit’s early work, all hazy sunrises and orange skies - but, truth be told, The Distortions don’t really need such comparisons to warrant interest, both of the commercial and critical variety. This album contains nine strong songs that are both creative and radio friendly, and that, in today’s market, is a stonewall recipe for success.

"Opus Magazine HI-FI Pick"

Rating: "HiFi Pick"
By: Jason Morehead

I suppose one could fault The Distortions for trying too hard, for wearing their influences a bit too obviously. For starters, their dark, distortion-laden (NPI) pop bears the obvious influence of The Jesus & Mary Chain (you can practically see the sunglasses and leather jackets) mixed with trace elements of goth and 1980s alt-rock bands such as L.S.U. And then the band cheekily namedrops the likes of Bukowski, Gang Of Four, Ian Curtis, David Bowie, and Jason Pierce.

However, a track like "Shoegazer" comes on and suddenly, you feel guilty for rolling your eyes. The trio's dark posturing suddenly makes way for a gorgeous crescendo that is far too short, the band's guitars ringing out a beautifully catchy melody. Meanwhile, frontman F half-croons, half-sneers "Sickness always comes to the dark and the beautiful ones." It's enough to make your inner angst-ridden high school student mope for joy. -

"Somewhere Cold, Ontario"

Rating: 4.5/5
By: Jason Lamoreaux

The Distortions are a Los Angeles based group that come at you with tons of energy akin to Sonic Youth and Social Distortion, but they also have the subtlety of shoegaze bands of the 80’s and you might want to throw in some Flesh for Lulu and Psychedelic Furs for good measure.

Forming in 2004, this trio has quickly established their sound and, if they can pull off live what I hear on the disc, they have gotten tight in a very short amount of time. Being from around Los Angeles, they really communicate the dark side of that city. I feel like I am in the midst of Los Angeles in the mid-80’s with this album churning in my player.

Exploding Teenage Body Parts begins with a song of the same name that has aggressive guitars and driving percussion. Right away, the listener is hit with the high-energy barrage this band is capable of. The song is very pessimistic and has a worldview that is altogether dismal.

This is followed by “Getting What We Deserve.” Again, this begins with high energy and continues throughout the song. This song reminds me of soundtracks compiled for movies like Pretty In Pink and other fab 80’s movie comps. Again, this track is way fatalistic. Don’t look for your pie in the sky on this disc for sure.

“Books” follows with a slower pace, but no less fuzz and noise. I think the closest thing I have heard to this recently is Asobi Seksu’s live set. This tune seems to be about people who steal their images from others and are not really intellectuals but just act like it. The darkness of Ian Curtis’ past is mentioned in the song, which is kind of cool and gives you a sense of the tone of the album.

“Shoegazer” shows The Distortions somewhat shimmery side. F’s (yes, that’s his name in the jacket) vocals are charismatic and really powerful. He weeps through the speakers and the guitars jangle and shimmer around his vox.

“Hinterland” has a medium tempo beat with staccato type vox in the verses. The chorus soars a bit with bright, shimmery guitars. A deep, dark world of drugs and, perhaps that “bottom of the barrel” place, is communicated through this song. The bridge on this song is eerie, glittery, and layered with guitars.

“The Dogs,” is a true punk song. It feels like Social Distortion mixed with Sonic Youth. It has that punk anthem sort of feeling, but F’s vocals are not grating and annoying like many such songs.

“Mansion” begins with shimmering guitar picking. It is a slow tempo song with those Flesh for Lulu style vox again. Really, this is what I think Distortion does best. When they are slow, patient, and glittering, they really shine the best.

“Into the Next” has floating vocals and a strong beat with bright guitars. It is a loft sort of ending to this disc and is very fitting for their final track. This was a very good choice for a closer.

All in all, this is a solid album. The Distortions sound brings back a lot of old memories from my high school days, yet, they are fresh and the mixing on this disc is great. I can’t wait to hear what they do next!


LP "exploding teenage body part" released 2.05 on blank recordings.
single "exploding teenage body part" in rotation on west coast college radio and indie 103.1 in LA.
KXLU "the album you MUST hear" 6.05
live in studio radio performance 6.2.05 on KXLU los angeles.


Feeling a bit camera shy


true downtown los angeles band. a rock and roll trio with stereo guitars, loud bass and swooping drum grooves setting a tough, postpunk/shoegazer foundation for soaring vocals. a minimalist, fuzzed-out and pounding tribute to fucking and being fucked.