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Maxxfemm LIVE at Spaceland ~ Silver Lake

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Maxxfemm reconciles the avant-garde with nostalgia for the spurting, rich electro-pop/new wave of the late 70’s and 80’s. The Los Angeles-based band, comprised of siblings Paul (29) and Lara Layton (27), makes the 90’s seem a distant, forgettable decade; musically speaking of course, for which I owe them greatly.

Don’t get me wrong. I, too, had Nevermind on repeat and listened to Smashing Pumpkins to aid and alleve my melancholy (or shall I say Mellon Collie?) and finite sadness at the time. But what I really longed for since my Soft Cell-ridden childhood was something like the Layton duo to musically move forward while invoking a past feeling when I'd bob my head to Krafwerk’s Trans-Europe Express or sing along to Abba’s Lay All Your Love…la-di-da. That feeling of: "I want a martini...and where are my black patent leather pumps?"

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Lara’s voice conjures the image of a Beverly Hilton lobby singer sprawled out on a baby grand. For the Laytons this means a trigger that Lara squeezes, controlling the centerpiece for all of their ra-cock-ical electronic effects, with an electric strapped to Paul and the synth-recorded tracks playing underneath and over.

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From the classy Lara there is no spreading out, or open, for that matter. By no means is this to indicate that she is uptight. Lara is among a few blonde women whom I’ll let myself fall into profound admiration of; Debbie Harry is among them, too. Lara is poised, chic, and talented. Well, more than just talented, she is gifted. Before watching her perform, I wondered how much of that sultry and versatile voice was digitalized. I’ve become very skeptical about these things since Britney Spears' broke our hearts so many moons ago. But to say that Mrs. BS Federline shouldn’t even be in the same paragraph as Lara Layton illustrates my opinion about the latter. This conviction was reinforced during Confusing Love, when Ms. Lara hit quite a few high ones while tapping her glammy gold pumps into the stage. Eso, girl! Work it.

O Paul Layton, Paul Layton! Wherefore art thou Paul Layton? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I’ll no longer be a Ruiz. The mastermind, Paul Layton, must know that these songs are solid. How long before I run into one of your tunes at infamous nightclub Kapital in Madrid on New Year’s Eve? The theatrical elements of the show were rockin’, too—a projector on the handsome sibling pair; Lara’s lean, muscular limbs raised somewhat in circa-Vogue Madonna fashion; and Paul working at his white Firebird.

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Too bad the audience, despite an energetic production, did mostly shoe-gazing & Lara-gazing. I offer no empathy for the former type. I’m inclined to say that Ms. Layton has little of it herself. Depending on her mood, she may just pull people up to dance along with her. You side-swept banged people at Spaceland get a pass just this once, okay?

Paul’s lyrics are pretty tight, too. Paul, all it took was that look you gave as you put a glass of Merlot to your lips for me to know the song Weak Condition was about me. Sure, I’ll tell you that I want it, of course I’ll stay, and in your weak condition, I will without any doubt take you in my lonely arms. Shit, I’m fantasizing...again. But here are some certainties and personal favorite facts about Maxxfemm's newly released CD, facts outside of my serial wet dreams about Paul.

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The EP titled Weak Condition, currently available on iTunes, is stellar. Track 1, Traces, is funky and infectious. Storm, with its ultra piano-reverb and ominous bass drum intro is “gigantic and dreamy”, in the words of the composer himself. And Hope’s All There Is is nothing less than an electro-bang for the non-electro-faithfuls, as well. I’ve been listening to it ALL the goddamn time.

Among the several imperative things for the people of Los Angeles to do, one of them is to go see Maxxfemm. For the remainder of September, they will be playing every Sunday night at Spaceland, and you will be there. And please, in the name of all things Taco, dance your electro lovin' ass off.

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http://www.myspace.com/maxxfemm

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