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Growing all over

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Every good rock article begins with a pithy anecdote, right? Well, that or a quote that pins the band with a pop-culture reference illustrating the ironic juxtaposition of cultures the band would like to be associated with. Well, you're out of luck here -- for now, anyway. San Francisco's Creeper Lagoon is more slippery than that, cutting a broader path through the typical indie pop landscape than any "that band + that band = this band" equation could summarize.

Or, and here's that quote you're drooling for, as Creeper Lagoon's Sharkey Laguana says, "We're not representative of anything except cold-hearted creativity. We'll look you straight in the eye and rock you hard with stuff you've never heard of!"

The band's latest album, I Become Small and Go, plays like a how-to manual for integrating technology, eclectic cross-cultural elements, funkosity and heart-on-sleeve lyrics into a pop framework. These songs deserve a chance to throttle those of the demographically crafted Matchbox Third Eye 20 Blinds of the world off the airwaves. Tune in to the album and you'll find fat hip-hop beats punctuating the end of a grand pop ditty; violins; a Bulgarian chant instrumental; spare, lovely and lonely piano parts over a slow, groovy funk; and a world of subtle, diverse sounds that could come only from a group of artists consumed with the idea that music is utmost, and everything is fair game to throw in the stew.

"We're at the crossroads where everything meets," says Laguana. "We're just boiling the pot till it boils over.

"It's about beauty and emotion, but it's all weaved together and has the most impact when it's not just regurgitating something someone else did. (Our music) is about looking inside yourself and trying to accurately express how you feel without rules and without limitations."

But, he adds, "if we want to cover Bob Seger, don't tell me what we can and can't do."

Songwriters Laguana (who onstage plays guitar, tambourine, triggers a sampler with a foot pedal and sings) and bandmate Ian Sefchick (who builds from scratch all of the band's amplifiers and electronics) grew up together in Cincinnati, weaning themselves on the Butthole Surfers, the Fall, Oscar Peterson, Randy Newman and Negativland (okay, there's some name-dropping). They formed Creeper Lagoon after reuniting in San Francisco several years ago, incorporating tape loops into their music in lieu of a flesh-and-blood drummer, and the band's current lineup solidified last year to include bassist Geoffrey Chisholm and formally trained jazz drummer David Kostiner.

"We're a product of how we grew up and how we came together and our inventions were born out of necessity," says Laguana of the band's evolution.

Don't come to a Creeper Lagoon show expecting a mere regurgitation of the band's recordings. Live, the band's set is ever-evolving, consistent only in the players' energy and enthusiasm for rocking the crowd and taking names. "It's like a Ouija board; we let the pointer do the work and it may spell our name wrong, but É

"One thing that sets us apart is that ultimately our main goal is to get people to dance. We're trying to express something a bit deeper than 'Boom, boom, boom,' but we're not afraid of technology."

So bring your brain and your booty to the dance, because Creeper Lagoon certainly will. And, if it's necessary in the band's quest to get its music stuck in your craw, Creeper Lagoon may just break out a cover of Seger's "Hollywood Nights." They care that much. Chris Handyside is a freelance writer for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com

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