Autolux have pretty much been a hype band since their inception, or at least since 2001 or so, when Tim "I Love You, Honeybunny" Roth sported one of the L.A. trio's homemade tees on VH1's I Love Pointing Out the Obvious in '80s Pop Culture. In my mind, they've been a hype band since 1999, when the inexplicably unheralded space-pop trio Failure disbanded, leaving crazy-talented guitarist Greg Edwards all alone to cultivate his inner Kevin Shields. In the minds of the many concertgoers who didn't give an empty bindle about Failure a week ago at Neumo's, Autolux's opening slot was simply Indie Gestapo identification verification: Are they or are they not the next (well, only) big thing in stateside shoegaze?
As soon as multiple panels strung with hazy orange mini-bulbs lit up during the climax of opener "Capital Kind of Strain," the mass-sway began, halted only by demure sups of beer (hello, affirmation). Edwards had enough pedals to restore electricity for a coastal Thai village and put them to fine use in re-creating the phased-out cosmos of debut Future Perfect. New aficionados were born, and I somehow resisted harshing everyone's realm by blurting out Failure requests.
Next on the docket were two more established indie sensations that—shocker—I've totally missed the boat on. Preliminary research indicated that the first, the obnoxiously named Moving Units, were disco-punk (great); concert buddy Heather June kicked the extra point, likening them to a blend of Hot Hot Heat and the Rapture (double great). More conflict than anticipated ensued onstage—the party bro drummer alternated between preening/clapping for the kids and "attacking" that all-important hi-hat, but the far more subdued frontman and bassist just wanted to conjure Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Confused, I posited aloud, "Does this band have what it takes to make the masses dance?" to which some handsome prat beside me replied, "Do the masses have what it takes to dance?" and rolled his eyes. This would normally incite me to petition Satan for his immediate, agonizing death, but I respectfully shut up ("my" band got to play without any snarky, uninformed running commentary) and enjoyed the Units' weird disparity.
The night wound down with the Secret Machines, who, despite looking like Strokes rejects, play Iraqi-occupation-loud psychedelia with a complementary tripping balls light show. Since I'm not five years ahead of the curve on this one, gimme a six-month mulligan; they were rad enough to warrant a way more comprehensive recap.