Play On

San Francisco's Erase Eratta emerge from the hype machine.



Crocodile, 441-5611, $7 all-ages show at 5 p.m.; $10 over-21 show at 10 p.m. Fri., Aug. 23

I like to stay abreast of all the bands that get touted as the New Big Deal. Not just because I'd likely stop getting a paycheck if I didn't, but because it makes for a curiously fun-yet-frustrating sport. It's sort of like throwing darts at a turntable blindfolded. About a year ago, the name Erase Errata came up in the Contenders o' the Week slot; they were the Ones to Beat, the Underdogs from San Francisco, the New Old Sleater-Kinney, the Gang of Four Revisited as the Girl Gang of Four—and even under the unfair Rules of Play dictated purely by my grumpy whimsies, this four-piece proceeded to the Winner's Circle, meaning that I've been listening to their first CD, Other Animals (as well as their debut 7-inch), because I genuinely like it, not just because of my pseudo-psychological need to get into the mind of the Hype Machine.

Angular, dance-y, and typically to the point (read: really short), Erase Errata songs weave like post-punk classics from England circa '79. Jenny Hoyston's vocals, and the rhythm section she keeps up with, pay no allegiance to conventional time signatures or cadences, unless by conventional you mean the kind perfected by the Minutemen. Hoyston's narrative, often political bent and her bandmates' frantically poppy instrumentation place the group in the company of Oly queer punks the Need or '80s pioneers the Au Pairs. And as good as the songs sound through your speakers, they're even better live. Just ask Thurston Moore or Kim Gordon; Erase Errata have spent the summer touring with Sonic Youth.

On the line from a tour stop in Brooklyn, Hoyston, bass player Ellie Erickson, guitarist Sara Jaffe, and drummer Bianca Sparta are understandably psyched to be traveling with N.Y.C.'s resident noise-rock legends. (Erickson reports that Moore is "really goofy" and Gordon is "really nice.") Also understandable is their reverence for SY's staying power. "It's been neat touring with Sonic Youth just because they're such an amazing example of being able to stay current," says Erickson. "It's pretty amazing that they can keep doing this after 20 years."

As for whether or not they can keep up for the long haul, Erickson offers that "Jenny is really creative. She's always sort of humming something crazy. . . . She's always got some crazy idea, and that always helps to inspire the rest of us."

It is a crazy game, this rock thing, and one you can only really revel in by accepting that insanity. From the sound of things, Erase Errata have more than enough moxie to keep playing.

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