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Pan Caliente: Thee Commons

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Back in April of 2015, I was DJing a stage at the LA Times’ Festival of Books, and as it happened, I would be introducing a couple of bands throughout the weekend.

The opening band in particular arrived just in time to plug in, line check, and burst on stage with what I now know to be their signature amusing performance. Dressed in white button-up shirts, skinny jeans and messy hair alike, Thee Commons, whom I’d remotely heard about through word-of-mouth, blew me away that exact day. Not because they are the greatest of all time or most musically polished, but because their presence as a band on stage had what a lot of others lack: they were having fun up there, and it translated to a public who had no idea who they were.

They hail from Los Angeles and have quickly garnered a rabid fan base through bareknuckle backyard gigs, East side parties, and opening slots around LA venues. Theirs is a 70’s-esque, psychedelic chicha, surf monster, inspired sound that lends itself to great jam interludes and welcomed audience participation.

They gave me a CD to listen to, but warned me the only real way to listen to them was by hearing it on vinyl. I popped the CD in my car, and after I spent the entire weekend listening to it on repeat, I purchased the 10”. They were dead on. The vinyl adds to the raw, lo-fi, and playfully schizo feeling of the album.

There are two covers on the album, which stand out as amazing and you must hear. One is a version of Selena’s “Baila Esta Cumbia,” delivered in a voice that is the antithesis of what Selena’s voice was. And the other is a Spanish rendition of Nirvana’s “Love Buzz” that I’m positive would make Kurt smile.

They’ve got a new album in the works and are at the Echoplex February 20th alongside Porter.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Thee Commons!