released August 3rd, 2010
from the album - Transit Transit
from all music
With a unique sound that samples equally from electronica, noise pop, post-punk, and shoegaze, Autolux formed in 2000 in Los Angeles. Singer/bassist Eugene Goreshter had first met former Ednaswap drummer Carla Azar while collaborating on the score for Dario Fo's play Accidental Death of an Anarchist, and following the addition of former Failure guitarist Greg Edwards, the trio made its live debut that summer at the Silverlake Lounge. Upon releasing a self-produced EP, Demonstration, in the spring of 2001, Autolux signed with producer T-Bone Burnett's fledgling DMX label and began writing material for their upcoming debut LP. The group's momentum took a brief pause when Azar fell from a stage and shattered her elbow in May 2002, but she later made a complete recovery, thanks to an experimental surgery that required the implementation of eight titanium screws.
The group finally entered the studio in November. Although recording sessions wrapped in early 2003, Autolux spent more than a year refining the final mixes, and Future Perfect didn't hit retail outlets until October 2004. It was met with positive reviews, and Autolux hit the road as the opening act for bands like the Secret Machines and Nine Inch Nails. The group also made a handful of festival appearances, including Coachella and the Vincent Gallo-curated All Tomorrow's Parties event. When T-Bone Burnett's label folded, Autolux moved over to TBD Records, all the while continuing to play shows and record new material. Some of that new material made its way onto the group's second album, Transit Transit, which was released in the summer of 2010.
The Los Angeles trio Autolux sound like a band out of time. Their first album from 2004, Future Perfect, should have been called “Past Perfect” for the nifty way it channeled the good parts of the '80s/'90s indie rock scene like loud/soft dynamic shifts, murkily distorted guitars, and lazed-out vocals. Six years later, the band is still looking backward on the follow-up Transit Transit. This time out, the mood is decidedly more downbeat and the focus is more on creating an overall feeling where the songs blend together in a haze of somber vocals, layered guitars, and rolling drums. The group has pretty much tuned out all their influences except for shoegazers like My Bloody Valentine, the Pale Saints, and the Swirlies. What makes the album more than just some pointless exercise in revivalism are the elements the trio add to the shoegaze sound (subtle electronics, restraint), the care they take with arrangements, and the overall strength of the songs and performances. Drummer Carla Azar, in particular, shows off some impressive skills, whether pounding her way through the uptempo tracks or adding atmosphere on the more restrained songs. The way her sweetly sung vocals combine and contrast with the gruffer vocals of her bandmates is nice, too, it’s another trademark shoegaze element that the band does extremely well. As for the songs, there isn’t a standout or a potential single. Instead, there is a string of songs fit together like puzzle pieces that casts a spell of moody overcast. Quiet ballads like the piano-led "Spots" or woozy "The Bouncing Wall" offset the noisier, more distorted tracks like "Kiss Proof" and "Census" perfectly. If anything, the album could have used another couple of loud, lunging rockers, but that might have sacrificed the overall mood for a few moments of transient sonic pleasure. As it stands, Transit Transit is a beautifully executed work that would have made the band solid contenders if it had been released back in 1992. It’s just as impressive in 2010, though it may struggle to find an appreciative audience.
1 Transit Transit Autolux 2:53
2 Census Autolux 4:40
3 Highchair Autolux 3:25
4 Supertoys Autolux 4:37
5 Spots Autolux 4:36
6 The Bouncing Wall Autolux 3:42
7 Audience No. 2 Autolux 4:34
8 Kissproof Autolux 3:27
9 Headless Sky Autolux 4:05
10 The Science of Imaginary Solutions Autolux 6:03