On Saturday night, New Coke (featured in the Top 50 South Florida Songs of 2011) and the Cop City Chill Pillars (featured in the Top 50 South Florida Songs of 2012) performed at new Wynwood watering hole Gramps.
Arriving five months later than expected, the West Palm duo Love Handles’ first proper release, in all its purple majesty, is finally ready for the needle. Comprising Jordan Pettingill (keys, drums) and C.J. Jankow (vocals, guitar), both members of Cop City/Chill Pillars and co-operators of the Snooze Theater (featured in the Miami DIY series), Love Handles blurry brand of radical psych rock isn’t just an abstraction of chaotic noise, but a willed natural progression of hierarchical rock and roll that begins with proper folk rock melodies, is layered by early blues rock ballast, and, finally, funneled through the experimental electric concoctions of Helios Creed’s Chrome.
Pettingill and Jankow committed 12 resounding minutes of spastic pop rock to vinyl for Handled …
Bad news out of Lake Park: The Snooze Theatre, the center of gravity of West Palm Beach’s dynamic music scene and one of the venues featured in our four-part “Miami DIY” series, has shut down after the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office cited its co-owners for allegedly selling alcohol without a beer and wine license, according to the Broward New Times’ music blog, County Grind. The operative word there is “allegedly” as, according to one comment on the New Times’ piece, the Snooze had (has?) the proper license.
The Snooze, which opened back in June after the previous tenant, a blues bar called The Orange Door, closed up shop, has cancelled all its upcoming events “until further notice,” according to a posting on the venue’s Facebook page, which is also currently shut down.
Like so many South Florida musicians, Palm Beach County residents Jimmy Bradshaw, Jordan Pettingill, and Chris Jankow Jr. (known to most as C.J.) found themselves lusting after the urban allure of the great North. Jankow and Pettingill have been friends — and band mates — for most of their lives and linked up with Bradshaw in 2007 to form the first incarnation (then performing psychedelic dirge rock) of Cop City/Chill Pillars. They made their big decision in the parking lot of what would become, a short four years later, The Snooze Theatre, their greatest contribution to South Florida music yet.
“Being the morons that we are, we came up with a plan to be [in New York City] by Valentine’s Day,” Jankow says. “That might have been the first and last time we successfully met a deadline.”
All joking aside, the Pillars found NYC to be less than hospitable.
“New York was an experience, to say the least,” Jankow knowingly generalizes. “Sometimes I don’t even remember it, and I’m not sure if it was a good or bad time, but I can safely speak for all of us that we are happy we aren’t there anymore.”
The corollary is that the trio is happy to be home. The past four years have consisted of non-stop performing in numerous groupings but most notably the aforementioned Cop City/Chill Pillars, Love Handles (a CC/CP side project), and Krautrock-Dub ensemble Universal Expansion. These three projects perform in numerous forms with fluid lineups that sometimes swell to big-band proportions.
This dogged momentum has culminated recently with cult garage label Florida’s Dying releasing the first Cop City/Chill Pillars full-length LP, Held Hostage On Planet Chill. The Pillars currently recall the power trios of yore and the post-punk fixation with contemporary underground music, but they ultimately forge their own distinct dialect: trashy, inescapable grooves; uneasy, atmospheric zone outs; perfectly simple, comically misanthropic lyrics (“There’s a lotta things I got/That you don’t got/There’s a lotta things you got/That I don’t got”) chanted by druggy gang vocals; and a Phil Spector-like devotion to sonic walls, always heavy but never hard.
While Held Hostage finally documents the material the band had been performing live since their outdated “Weird Love/I, Animal” seven inch, released in 2009, The Snooze is certainly the greater testament to the group’s insatiable hustle.