For the band Lost Patrol, which plays regularly on a circuit running from home base in the New York-New Jersey area to Nashville, coming to the Galaxy Hut is almost like coming home. Danielle Kimak Stauss, who provides ethereal vocals plus guitar and percussion for the electro-lounge quartet, said the intimate space is "one of our favorite venues to play. They've always been so hospitable and kind. We've averaged two shows a year there for the past three years."
Responding to questions by e-mail, she credited owner Alice Despard with creating a band-friendly environment. "She's a musician, so she knows how tough it can be," Stauss said. "It's a remarkable place that has a great, open-minded crowd, good food and an awesome beer selection. We look forward to the shows there."
The Lost Patrol, which first enchanted New York audiences as a duo featuring Stauss and multi-instrumentalist Stephen Masucci, has released a new CD almost each year since forming in 2000. Not to be confused with a solo Swedish musician who released one CD under the same name about a year ago, this Lost Patrol is as American as the hash browns that inspired its 2002 CD "Scattered, Smothered and Covered," an homage to Waffle House dining.
By the time the group released 2003's "Off Like a Prom Dress," Michael Williams was contributing 12-string acoustic guitar. Drummer Seth Clifford also has joined in the creative writing.
"It's pretty much been a full quartet in the past year," Stauss said. "It gives us more varied choices when we're picking sets to play live. The traveling is also a barrel of laughs, as we all get along very well."
Though Stauss and Masucci are often listed as "partners," Stauss brushed aside any suggestion of romance. "[It's] strictly business and friends."
One could describe the band's sound as retro-surf-alternative-cocktail rock or a combination of Mazzy Star (ethereal female vocals), Echo and the Bunnymen (alternative rock atmospheres) and Duane Eddy (spaghetti western guitar). Given that description, Stauss said: "We do have other influences, but those three give a great idea of the sound. I got to see Echo on their recent 25th anniversary tour. . . . Amazing!"
A distinct element of the group's sound is Masucci's use of an omnichord, which Stauss described as "a Japanese school kid's instrument. It looks like something Judy Jetson would play. Through a PA system, with the right reverb, it sounds like some weird, old, huge organ from some primordial professional ice hockey game."
Masucci has previously worked with independent director Hal Hartley, writing songs that appeared in the films "Flirt" and "The Book of Life." The group creates a widescreen sound that fits an indie/noir vibe. It's a course that Lost Patrol would like to pursue.
"There are some independent filmmakers who have some plans for us," Stauss said. "We are also into John Waters, Wes Anderson, Jim Jarmusch, David Lynch . . . their movies, too, would be fab."
Also on the cinematic tip, the Lost Patrol recorded a cover of "You Only Live Twice," the theme song of the James Bond movie by the same name, for last year's "High Noon" CD. At that time they were also approached to appear at a New York City tribute to James Bond movie theme composer John Barry.
"It was a lucky coincidence. Stephen and I heard the tune in a club [while] waiting to play and we were in awe of the strings and arrangement," Stauss said. "It's always been one of our favorite movie flicks, so we had to do it. Just as we were finishing, [tribute organizer] Joe McGinty approached us to play."
For now, the Lost Patrol is looking to have a new CD out in October, with a support tour to follow in the Northeast, including shows in Upstate New York, Boston and Providence. The band will hit the Galaxy Hut again in the winter and the West Coast in early '06.
Stauss is optimistic and determined. "Things are going really well in the metro area," she said. "We are also having some conversations with some record labels so we'll see if anyone is willing to help spread the sound out. . . . But, we'll keep going with or without."
-- MARIANNE MEYER
Galaxy Hut, 2711 Wilson Blvd. For more information, call 703-525-8646 or visit www.galaxyhut.com. Dominic Carpin, from Richmond, also is on the bill. Admission is free.
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