Crystal Antlers' Jonny Bell Digs Into N.W.A., Elton John, and Sun Ra

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Photo by Jennie Warren

The Long Beach, Calif., sextet Crystal Antlers teeter between hazy dream-pop and scuzzy garage punk on their debut album Tentacles, released earlier this year. (It looks like Tentacles will be the last release from the acclaimed Chicago label Touch and Go.) The band’s planning to record its next album in Mexico in February, so expect some new songs—as well as some limited-edition homemade cassettes—when they perform at Pilot Light next week.

N.W.A.

They’re from Long Beach, basically. I hadn’t really delved into them completely until now. I’ve also been listening to Eazy-E’s solo stuff.

Elton John, Demos

I got this CD of demos from 1965 to 1972, just so many amazing songs. A lot of them are just him at the piano, some of them he’s with a band. There’s a really old version of “Daniel’s Song” that I really like.

The Sun Ra Arkestra

One of my favorite songs is “Satellites Are Spinning.” It’s one of those rare songs where there are vocals and the Arkestra’s singing, too. I have some friends who were in different punk bands in the ’70s in San Francisco, and they’d always go see the Arkestra. They’ve told me about seeing shows where Sun Ra was hoisted above the audience on ropes.

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