Music coverage by people who actually like music...
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Band of the Week: The Black Pine
I’d been working on this complex description of The Black Pine that involved references to “dark, stormy pop music,” then went into how they sometimes remind me of an improbable pairing of The Cranes with The Kinks, and wrapped up with a tongue-in-cheek comment about how they appeal to the misunderstood sixteen-year-old girl in all of us. But sometimes I really can’t describe a band any better than they describe themselves...
On their myspace page, they say, “The Black Pine ride around in ghost ships on smooth dark seas under starry skies.” And though that’s a little more piratey than I would’ve put it, that line pretty much nails it right there.
The group sent me their album With Us a few weeks ago and I haven’t been able to stop playing it since. It’s varied … charming … shadowy and sad, but not oppressively so … and nothing at all like anything I’ve been listening to for awhile. Basically, a textbook example of a nice surprise.
Enough has probably already been written about how The Submarines' John Dragonetti (or Jack Drag) and Blake Hazard used to go out, but now don't, and wrote about it in their music... so, I won't mention it here.
Their album Declare A New State! came out early this year and, damn, if it didn't have some great tracks on it. Here's the video for one of them -- a song called Peace and Hate.
The Submarines will be the Monday night residency artist at The Echo in January, so you'll soon have ample opportunity to see them live -- and for frees.
Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury While the rumors that GNR's Chinese Democracy was finally going to hit shelves this month didn't come to fruition, we do at least get one long-awaited delayed release this week; the sophomore album from hip-hop mixtape legends Clipse. Produced by The Neptunes, Hell Hath No Fury is getting universal acclaim from both the hip-hop community and hipster music critics.
Thom Yorke - Spitting Feathers Japanese import EP with 6 tracks plus 2 enhanced videos for "Harrowdown Hill" & "Analyse." The audio tracks are "Harrowdown Hill," "The Drunk Machine," "A Rat's Nest," "Jetstream," "Harrowdownhill(extended mix)" & "Iluvya."
Holiday greatest hits/best of/box sets:
Jamiroquai - High Times: 1992-2006 Hooverphonic - Singles 1996-2006 Mark Kozelek - Little Drummer Boy Live Spandau Ballet - Singles, Rarities & Remixes
If you like both new music and fun, you ought to come -- because we'll have both in excessive and equal amounts. If you haven't heard one of the acts before, check out our Let’s Independent! myspace page to hear tracks from all three. (And make sure to head over early to see The Devils Romantics, who go on first.)
Other noteworthy shows going on this week include:
Wednesday night? There's Junia May and The Hymns and Handsome Family at El Cid.
Thursday, Joanna Newsom is at The El Rey, Wake Up Incinerate, The Mama Suki, and Die Rockers Die are at Mr T's Bowl, and And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead and Blood Brothers perform at The Henry Fonda.
This Friday, Mark Eitzel of American Music Club and Johnny and The Moon (featuring Dante Decaro of Wolf Parade head to Spaceland, while Beware of Safety and Signal Hill play Pehrspace.
Saturday night, The Dears play The El Rey, Goblin Cock (featuring Rob Crow of Pinback) and Pleaseeasaur are at Spaceland, and Sea Wolf, Ferraby Lionheart, Patrick Park, and What Milwaukee Famous team-up at The Troubadour.
And on Sunday, Artichoke have a free in-store at Sea Level Records.
In Related News:
- According to the Explosions In The Sky fan page, the band has “at long last announced the release of their follow up to 2003's The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, entitled All of a Sudden, I Miss Everyone. The album will be released on the Temporary Residence label on February 20th, 2007 around which they will begin touring again.” - This January, Fresno’s Rademacher will be recording an album at The Ship with Earlimart’s Aaron Espinosa. - Lemon Sun will be playing at Tuesday night (not free, but only $5) residency in December at The Echo. - And the following bands have recently announced shows for LA: The Oohlas, Castaneda, The Deadly Syndrome, Cold War Kids, Anchors for Architects & Henry Clay People, Enid The Dowl, Model Airplanes, Meredith Meyer, Low Redland, Birds & Batteries, The Lava Children, Rocking Horse People, Ema & the Ghosts, Bodies of Water, 8-Bit, The Mormons, Twilight Sleep, Summer Darling, Midnight Movies, The Silversun Pickups, and Twilight Sleep. (See the right-hand column for dates and venues.)
After seeing The Deadly Syndrome play recently at Spaceland, it’s pretty apparent to me why they’re being considered one of the LA music scene's most promising new acts.
Their set’s full of energy, their music – which clocks in at a comfortable place somewhere between Wolf Parade and The Police – is catchy infectious and blows away their recorded demo work. They basically just destroy it live.
So, I checked in with the band to learn more...
You guys haven't been around very long but have been quickly making quite a name for yourself. Have you been letting all the attention go to your head? Are you all smoking cigars constantly and only talking to old friends through your newly acquired personal assistants?
We've been trying really hard to get big heads but really the attention has been very scattered and within a certain scene.
No, but seriously. What's your reaction to the reaction the band's been getting?
We’re happy. We're really surprised that people in France and the UK have found us, and listened, and like it... We're happy about it. It is exciting. Enough said, we suppose... We're happy people like us. Happiness.
It's great that you have only played a dozen shows and are already getting paired up with bigger local acts like Monsters Are Waiting. It's a testament to how good your live performances are: You all really seem to have a lot of fun on-stage.
We LOOK like we're having fun, but all of us are mortal enemies from different schools of ancient thought. (We're happy.)
How did you all start playing together? You knew each other in college, right?
We began by looking at one another. Mike counted us off.
Jesse and Will met in college. They moved to LA, Mike came out here from New York and met Jesse through girlfriend. Chris met Jesse through work... And we all wanted to play music. So we started practicing up at Mike's house, and re-writing some old songs, and writing new songs. Happy!
Who would you mark as some of your influences, either directly or indirectly?
Our influences are kind of hard to nail down. We sound like different things to different people.
Jesse: Harry Nilsson. Tchaikovsky. Elliott Smith. Animal (from the Muppets). Meg White. Jon Bonham. Arlen Thompson. Keith Moon. Brian Chase. Matt Hensley. Bill Waterson. Johnny Cash. The Kingston Trio. Steve Martin. Jack White. Bonnie "Prince" Billy. Jorma Vik.
Mike: Fugazi. Moody Blues. Kraftwerk. I like a lot of different stuff. The Doobie Brothers. Silent Majority. RJD2. Public Enemy. Metroid Theme, Super Mario Theme, Legend of Zelda Theme, The Notwist.
Chris: David Bowie, Neutral Milk Hotel, Public Enemy, Mos Def, Tricky, Massive Attack, My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Bob Dylan, Radiohead
Will: My dad used to teach me southern rock on guitar, so Lynyrd Skynyrd... I used to listen to a lot of Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Peter Frampton. I didn't listen to "indie" rock until college, and then it was Postal Service, the Shins, Modest Mouse.
Also: The Eagles, The Doobie Brothers, a bunch more 70s rock. A guy named Steve Ochoa was my guitar teacher in high school and he started teaching me classical stuff, by Tarrega, etc.
What's the name of the band from?
We're not entirely sure. It's silly. It was between The Deadly Syndrome and The Last Temptation of the Lightning Bringers' Orchestral Majesty.
What's next for you? Are you looking to record and self-release an album or are you waiting for backing from a label? Any tour plans?
We're kind of waiting and seeing what happens. A label would be cool, and we'd love to work with a producer and have them shows us how to capture sound the way we want to. That's not something we're the best at. Or at all good at. But we're writing more songs all the time, and we really want to tour.
We're looking for the right booking and the right timing and the right weather patterns, also for venues with well maintained roadways that lead to them, and money. And transportation.
Last question: What other bands here in LA are you liking the most these days?
Oh No! Oh My! (ok, not from LA, but.), The Bronx, Monsters are Waiting, Let's Go Sailing, 8-Bit, The Penfifteen Club, Chris Pontius and the Big Nasty, Sea Wolf and GUNS AND ROSES.
Yesterday, Octavius from Demo Listen had me on KXLU 88.9 FM to guest DJ a fill-in show he was doing and, man, but it was a great time. From four to six in the afternoon, we played music from local LA bands and ... there are just so goddamn many that we weren't able to get to everyone.
Since today of course is Thanksgiving, I asked a number of local musicians to write me a short message about what they’re most thankful for.
The bands I listed above are one of the main things I’m most thankful for in the last year. After being able to so routinely just walk down the street and catch bands as good as all of them at The Echo, Spaceland, or The Silver Lake Lounge … sometimes I really wonder how I could ever live anywhere else.
But enough about me, here what everyone else had to say…
Cafe Tropical - Rocket fuel coffee Alegria - Strip mall cuisine Dusty's - French Canadian's know how to do it Bellevue Park - I'm really into running right now. HBO on demand - I'm really into TV right now. The Parson Red Heads - residency at The Echo in December.
Kevin: I am most thankful for my friends and loved ones, they've shown me more loyalty and love this year than I could ever wish for.
I am thankful to have our practice space in Eagle Rock, and to have been so warmly welcomed in to the community there by all the bands we share it with. Becoming a part of that little community changed my entire relationship to Silver Lake/Los Angeles, made it so I feel at home here, against all odds considering my history of disdain for LA.
I am thankful to have met cool people who I can skateboard with, thankful to have only briefly been put in jail this year, thankful to have finally made it out on tour after years of waiting, thankful that I live so close to good Thai food and a kickin' bakery, thankful that my arm injuries aren't messing up my drumming too much, thankful that I no longer have to do data entry for work, thankful to have met my extremely generous freind E.C. at Pasadena Kinko's, thankful that Masa and Todd will always hang our concert posters, and thankful that I live in such a culturally fertile and exciting place as Silverlake.
To quote Tim from The Movies, "How could life be so good?"
Ryan: My friends here and far away, eating great food with family, the rock block, Verizon In-Calling, Trader Joes, the USPS (sometimes), the Internet, and being able to see a bunch of different towns in the last year - one of which gets a super un-thankfulness check mark next to its name. Music in LA! Pie!
1. Old episodes of Star Trek enjoyed with fuzzy robe and glass of single malt scotch. 2. Cheese of any kind, from any place. 3. All the cool new folks I've met through playing music. 4. Overdraft protection. 5. My sister still being with us.
This year I'm thankful for coffee, butter, my bike, new big-headed nephew, neat (+ weird) friends/family, musical evolution, having the luxury to worry about the stuff I worry about, passing smog test, internet social life!!, and the awesome potatoes I'm going to make today.
We’re thankful for many things this year, among them are Sun Kill Moon’s Tiny Cities, the new Dylan record, tahini with mango salsa on a cracker (it’s amazing), our friend and recording engineer – the fabulous Craig Costigan and his Garage Majal, a Democratic House and Senate, having all our limbs intact, our two fat house cats, our new cool-ass blue practice spot, WFMU out of Jersey City and of course, last but not least – Radio Free Silver Lake.
Video Free Silver Lake: Great Northern and The Movies
I swear, it seems like Great Nortern is about all we can talk about lately ... what with their free Monday residency shows at The Echo this month, all the great acts they've been playing with, how they were recently signed to Eenie Meanie Records and have an album coming up early next year through said label, and, y'know, their just general rockness...
Here's footage from one of their recent nights at The Echo filmed by Michael at Shoestring Concerts. It's the song Telling Lies, which starts all quiet at first but then builds and builds.
And here's a little bonus video... It's some guerilla footage from our first Let's Independent! show at Boardner's where The Movies performed their uber-pretty Creation Lake. The sound and picture aren't great, but the song's so good, it just doesn't matter.
I swear, I don't think I'll ever get tired of that track...
Not surprisingly, the holiday greatest hits/best of/box set bonanza continues: Oasis, U2, Tom Waits...hell, even T. Raumschmiere is in on the act this week!
Holiday greatest hits/best of/box sets:
Johnny Cash - The Legend of Johnny Cash, Vol 2 Cee-Lo - Collection Oasis - Stop the Clocks Run DMC - Collections Sufjan Stevens - Songs For Christmas T. Raumschmiere - Random Noize Sessions, Vol 1 U2 - 18 Singles Tom Waits - Orphans
Actual New Releases:
Brand New - The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me Bent - Intercept Jay-Z - Kingdom Come Snoop Dogg - Blue Carpet Treatment Swan Lake [members of Frog Eyes, Destroyer, Wolf Parade] - Beast Moans
This week is looking a little scant otherwise, but did everyone notice that Brooklyn’s Dirty On Purpose is returning to town on Saturday at Spaceland? Mark that in the can’t miss column.
In Related News (Or Something): - Cold War Kids have announced two shows at The Silver Lake Lounge, one on Friday, January 12th and one on Friday, January 19th. It’s great that they’re playing such a small venue now that they’re filling much bigger ones. Tickets are available here at the time of this writing, but will probably go quick. - Aaron Espinoza from Earlimart reports that they’ve completed their long-awaited new album. No word yet on when exactly it’s coming out or from who, but he’s posted a new song on the group’s myspace page. From what we’ve heard off of it so far, it might be their best one yet. (I’m still really addicted to the song Answers & Questions that they gave us to post along with our interview back in August.) - And don’t forget to mark your calendars for our Let’s Independent! event next week at Boardner’s on Tuesday with The Devils Romantics, The Spires, and Mezzanine Owls – three great bands who you can hear tracks from on our myspace page. Presented by Radio Free Silver Lake, Let’s Independent! is sponsored by KXLU 88.9, Sea Level Records, and Silver Lake Rehearsal. Here’s a look at our flyer. - The following bands have also recently announced shows for LA: Lemon Sun, Tra La La, Annuals, Jim Noir, Jonneine Zapata, Eagle & Talon, Neon Lipstick, The Primos, The Bloody Heads (SLO), Emily Haines, The Dears, Soft Skeleton, Deerhoof, Hella, Of Montreal, Enon, The Mountain Goats, Black Pine, The Faraway Places, Nico Stai, Airborne Toxic Event, A for Attack, I Make The Sound, w/ The Kris Special, The Stevenson Ranch Davidians, Goblin Cock (featuring Rob Crow of Pinback), Pleaseeasaur, The Fucking Champs, Earthless, Citay, Pink Mountaintops, Menomena, 31 Knots, The Delta Spirit, What Made Milwaukee Famous, Carina Round, and Bodies of Water. (See the right-hand column for dates and venues.)
Austin’s The Octopus Project make electronic music for people who don’t like electronic music… mad, wonderful, almost orchestral at times, their songs have to be heard to be believed. In fact, you ought to catch the video for their track Music is Happiness right now so you can get on with said believing.
We corresponded with The Octopus Project’s Josh Lambert recently to learn about how the band began and where they’re going next. And it quickly became clear that besides being really talented, he’s also really, goddamn nice.
Hey, Josh! How’s Austin treating you?
Great! We love this town! Best sushi in the world!
How’s the music scene going there these days? Which bands are you liking the most right now?
The music scene in Austin is pretty fantastic. You can truly go out any night of the week and see a good band play. Everyone here is in a band, which makes for a lot of bands, but it also seems to spawn a bunch of creativity.
Obviously, everyone wants to stand out, and that’s harder to do with so many folks playing music. So, people tend to just do their own thing here. I wouldn’t say there’s any sort of scene in the sense that everyone is playing similar music, but in the sense that we’re all friends and are all incredibly supportive of each other. It’s a pretty exciting environment!
So, there’s a good story about how you guys ended up playing Coachella last year. Can you tell it?
Sure! Last year, Coachella wanted to pick one band and one DJ from Myspace to be included in the festival. They asked folks to submit their favorite bands, and then the Coachella people listened to all the submissions and picked their favorites.
It just so happened that someone submitted our name, and the Coachella staff liked what we were doing, so we were asked to play!
We had no idea that the contest was even happening until way after it was over. We came home from practice one day to an email from Goldenvoice asking if we would be interested in playing “a festival” in Indio, CA in April.
Needless to say, we immediately replied: “Yes!”
You’ve been playing together since ’98, right? How did it all come together?
Well, we’ve all known each other and been in bands together forever. Yvonne met Toto when they were 11. I’ve known them both since late high school.
The three of us were in another band in 1998 where we were pretty much just the backing band. We left that band in order to focus on something where we had no limits and could just do whatever we wanted. Initially, we were attempting to throw as many instruments together as we could and see what the results were.
We didn’t play too many shows, and were all in college at the time, so we weren’t really taking the band too seriously. It wasn’t until Peek-a-Boo offered to put out our record that we decided to really focus on the band. This was around November of 2001. We’ve been going at it full-force ever since then!
What’s it like playing in a band with a spouse?
Awesome! We never have to miss each other while we’re on tour!
We’re all first and foremost great friends, and Yvonne and I being married never comes into the picture while we’re in band-mode. We try really hard to keep things separate. We’re just four best friends making music together. But, it is pretty fantastic to get to do something together that we love so much.
What’s your process like for coming up with a song? I mean, you guys switch instruments frequently, so I’d guess it’s different every time.
Writing songs is pretty different every time. It’s pretty rare that we’ll jam at practice and come up with something all together, but it happens every once in a while. Usually, one person will come up with an idea, the others will build on it at home, and we’ll pull it all together at practice.
A lot of times, though, one of us will come up with something entirely on our own, and have the others learn it. For example, Toto wrote The Adjustor by himself, and we all just learned the parts and kind of made them our own.
If I were to ask you a generic “who are your influences” question, would you hold it against me?
No, but we do get that question an awful lot! It’s a really impossible question to answer because we all listen to everything, and are influenced by everything in life. Everybody is. But, if I had to make a list…
Deerhoof, The Flaming Lips, Michel Gondry, Clara Rockmore, Zhou Xuan, Dan Clowes, Haruki Murakami, Werner Herzog, Sonic Youth, colors, Alejandro Jodorowsky, The Beatles, Lost.
Uh….. I don’t know. A million other things.
You do all your own art design work, don’t you?
Yes. For the most part. We’ve had a couple of incredibly fantastic people do some posters for us, Leia Bell and Mike Budai. But, otherwise, we do everything ourselves. Yvonne is the only one who does the sewing, but we all do everything else together. Literally. The new cd that we just did, The House of Apples & Eyeballs, has a cover that Toto and I drew together.
He drew half the image, and I drew half. We all normally gravitate towards the same design aesthetic (cute + weird), and 99.9% of the time agree on stuff. All of us grew up drawing all the time, making flyers for our bands, making crafts, or whatever, and couldn’t imagine not involving those kinds of things with the band. It’s a great excuse to get to do all that stuff!
You know, my mom had this wooden duck in our house when I was a kid that led people to start buying her all these duck knick-knacks over the years to go with it until our living room was basically full of them.
Do people do that for you guys with octopi?
Yes, definitely. It’s incredibly nice of folks to do that kind of thing for us, but none of us are infatuated with octopi or anything. I’m assuming the same went for your mom and the duck!
The name of the band was incredibly random, and the only reason why we picked it was because the words sounded good together.
It’s pretty awesome when people give us stuff, though! Recently, a girl brought a whole bunch of octopi-decorated cupcakes to our show! Yummy!
Last question: What’s next for you?
Wow! Lots! We just put out a collaborative record with Black Moth Super Rainbow. We’re planning on spending the rest of the winter writing new songs, and then we’re going to go record them at Bear Creek in Seattle in February.
We should be putting the record out around June or so. We’ll be touring as much as humanly possible all of next year until we make another record, and start the whole process over again.
We’re going to tour Europe for the first time in May/June and Taiwan in July, and we’re outrageously excited about that! We’re so incredibly lucky to be doing what we love!
That’s it! Thanks for your time, Josh. Oh, and come to LA soon.
“We’ve got a really tough name for a band,” Shana Levy said on-stage at a recent show at Spaceland. “Let’s Go Sailing, bitch!!”
She’s entitled to go a little agro after spending five years working with a rotating cast of musician friends to complete her group’s self-released first cd, The Chaos In Order.
Well worth the wait, it's a collection of precious pop gems made up of upbeat, intelligent charmers such as Icicles, Sideways, Better Off, and Heart Condition and slow-burning piano bar numbers like the Cat Power-esque All I Want From You Is Love.
The album’s available for order through the band’s website or in-person at the two remaining Monday night residency shows this month at Spaceland… which there’s really no excuse not to attend since they promise to be both good and free.
Video Free Silver Lake: Citizens Here & Abroad and Irving
You might remember that we ran an interviewwith San Francisco’s Citizens Here & Abroad a few weeks ago, right before they played El Cid here in town. Unfortunately, I missed the show because I was traveling to Chicago, but Michael from Shoestring Concerts luckily attended it and put together this excellent footage from the night.
Also, one of our best local indie pop acts Irving are playing at Spaceland on Thursday night to celebrate the release of their new video for Jen, Nothing Matters To Me, their theme song for the emotionally unavailable off of their latest album.
It’s well worth attending the show – they’re great live -- but if you can’t, here’s a look at said video.
Jarvis - S/T (Rough Trade) I'm totally biased because I'm a big fan of Pulp and Brit Pop in general, but I'd say this is one of those releases that's worth shelling over the import cash for. Or, because the high price of the import version might keep the Brit Pop-lovin fan in your life from picking this one up right away, this would make a great gift for the holidays. (wink, wink...nudge, nudge) Ah, but how's the record you ask? So far I love the first three tracks, especially "Black Magic" with its great "Crimson & Clover" sample. Listening to the full album stream on JarvSpace yesterday, I remember losing a bit of interest on a couple of tracks in the middle...but thought it rebounded nicely toward the end. Also, as a great added touch, the much publicized Internet-only single "(Cunts Are Still)Running the World" serves as the hidden bonus track. Perhaps they're huge fans as well, but I couldn't help but notice that The Guardian gave the album a full 5-stars.
Tahiti 80 - Fosbury (Militia) Fifth album from the French indie popsters who originally debuted stateside via Chicago's Minty Fresh label. I knew this was a domestic reissue, but didn't realize until I looked it up that this record dates all the way back to April of 2005 (ouch!). To reward stateside fans for their patience, they have at least included a few US exclusive bonus tracks on this issue, including an amazing cover of "Happy Together" by the Turtles. Check them out live this Thursday at Double Door.
...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead - So Divided (Interscope) Joanna Newsom - Y's (Drag City) Walter Meego - Romantic EP (Brilliante) Damien Rice - 9 (Heffa) Tralala - Is That The Tralala White Magic - Dat Rosa Mel Apibus (Drag City)
BEST OF/GIFT SETS OUT THIS WEEK...
Johnny Cash - Live At San Quentin [Legacy Edition CD/DVD] The Clash - Singles [Box set of 19 individual CD singles with original artwork] Depeche Mode - Best Of, Vol 1. [CD/DVD or CD-only] Mercury Rev - Essential Mercury Rev: The Weird Years 1991-2006 Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Live at the Fillmore East 1970
The Monday Show Low Down (Or “Like Some Kind Of Reptile Brainiac”)
All apologies for the less than full week of updates last week. My day job got the best of me. No complaints though, because I love it. (I’m a producer on this PlayStation 2 game and I write dialogue and do level design for it, too.)
Our next Let’s Independent! night is coming up in a little over two weeks and it’s promising to be as much or more fun as the previous events. Probably the most satisfying part of the last show was that so many people said that they really enjoyed the hell out of all three bands, though they’d maybe only heard of a single act.
That’s fantastic because that’s why I’ve been both doing this site and putting on the night -- to help share music that I feel really passionately about. I try to focus on groups that I really believe deserve a larger audience and I’m extremely goddamn happy to hear that folks are enjoying the bands as much as I do.
Anyway, the next show is on Tuesday, November 28th at Boardner’s of Hollywood and begins with The Devils Romantics (they call their music “melodic deconstruction with victrola leanings and No-Wave angularity,” but perhaps could easier be described as “rad”), then The Spires (who The Santa Barbara Independent say are “unique and inviting”) will go on second, and Mezzanine Owls (aka “edgy love songs built on overdriven guitar melodies”) wrap up the night.
Go to our myspace page for Let’s Independent! and you can hear why I’m gushing about all of them.
As far as this week goes, there are some great shows happening here in LA that you’d really be sad if you missed...
And finally, These Arms Are Snakes perform at Spaceland on Sunday.
The following bands have also announced shows for LA: Pink Mochi, Teddy’s Cheer Club, Thailand, The Black Pine, American Music Club, Casper, Flight Orchestra, Derek Michael, DJ Olivia Arthur, The Couch, and Homesick Elephant. (See the right-hand column for dates and venues.)
All India Radio - Echo Other (Minty Fresh) This is one of those albums that walks the very fine line between hip downtempo/ambient electronica and new age cheese, though overall I think it does mostly succeed in the former. The best review of this Australian group that I've read so far theorizes that they sound like a collaboration between Kruder & Dorfmeister, The Alan Parsons Project and Calexico. Of course, as with just about any downtempo band, you could also compare these guys to Air, which makes me wonder if the acronym for the band (A.I.R.) is more than just a mere coincidence.
-Arab Strap - Ten Years of Tears (Chemikal Underground)
-Babybird - Between My Ears (Babybird)
Isobel Campbell - Milkwhite Sheets (V2) Solo album number three from the Scottish chanteuse is a decidedly "low-key" album (even by Isobel Campbell standards) heavy on folk influence. The project was actually conceived while she was working on Ballad Of The Broken Seas and finished shortly afterward. "Mark took some time to work on his vocals, so I had all this time to play with...When we started Ballad…I wasn’t really that knowledgeable about folk music. There’s so much folk music I can’t listen to, the stuff that’s more arran sweaters and drinking ale than anything else. But while making these albums, I immersed myself in the folk music that captivated me, listening to the Harry Smith Anthology Of Folk Music over and over… Natural, earthy songs that belong to the people." - Isobel Campbell
PJ Harvey - Peel Sessions 1991-2004(Island) Harveyjoins a list of artists including Pulp, House of Love and Siouxsie and the Banshees whose Peel Sessions will be released for the first time, during a month of commemorative events, to mark the second anniversary of John Peel's death. '"John loved the sessions and was thrilled to have Polly record so many for his show. He considered her a wonderful artist and they were great friends. It's fantastic that they're coming out on CD. I think he'd be very proud.'" Louise Kattenhorn - Producer, The John Peel Show
The band released their new album Movers & Shakers at the end of last month and I haven't been able to stop listening to their song Cool To Be Cold off of it since.
Here's the video for the song Stars off their Lock Your Doors EP (which they have available for download for free on their website). It's got a lot of LA landmarks throughout, as well as one of the Mikes doing the caterpillar while wearing a space suit.
The Monday Show Low Down (Or “Sometimes You Eat The Bears, Sometimes The Bears...”)
I’m out in Chicago right now – a town I like to tell people I was thrown out of years ago for not being into sports – updating the site while the family watches The Bears/Dolphins game in my brother’s living room. (Three of us have laptops on our laps, which prompted me to joke, “Why can’t we all just sit and watch TV together like a family for one goddamn time?!”)
Late 80’s midwest punk gods Naked Raygun are playing a reunion show in town while I’m here but I’m skipping it to spend time with my dad because I guess I’m not a complete music dork.
In related news, the following bands have announced shows in LA: The Silversun Pickups, The Little Ones, The Western States Motel, Dirty On Purpose, The Hectors, Sea Wolf, I Make This Sound, The New Motherfuckers, Peter and The Wolf, The Lottery, Jeremy Enigk, The Front, The Pity Party, Black Fur, Dappled Cities Fly, Irving, +/-, Redcar, Dead Ponies, These Arms Are Snakes, Ferraby Lionheart, The Grates, Birdmonster, Pit er Pat, Wallpaper, The Autumns, Digital Fridge, The Rinse, Eskimo Hunter, The Datsuns, 400 Blows, Gil Mantera's Party Dream, Grand Buffett, Upsilon Acrux, The Lovemakers, Gram Rabbit, What Made Milwaukee Famous, Patrick Park, Dead Meadow, Spindrift, and Tsk Tsk. (See the right-hand column for dates and venues.)
Cancel your plans tonight, because San Francisco's Citizens Here and Abroad are playing LA at El Cid and you should go see them. (Assuming you're actually reading this article on Friday, November 3rd, at least.)
If you haven't heard of the group before, they were one of this site's Band of the Week picks back in September -- when we said they "come armed with a number of haunting male-and-female harmonies to bring you smart pop for your cute, but sort of sad, little face" -- right around the time of the release of their new album, Waving, Not Drowning.
We recently caught up with the band via email while these music-making citizens were, in fact, traveling abroad during their recent UK tour ... when they were admittedly a little punchy and jetlagged from the road.
Hi, guys. So, have you ever gone to a party and ignored everyone inside like you sing in the song Stranger?
Last week we were at a party and I fell asleep on the couch after many wine drinks, ignoring everyone.
You just returned from a tour in the UK. How was it? What were the highlights?
We are answering these questions from our Ford Transit van while navigating our way through London. Other than hitting the worst one-land road traffic congestion we've ever seen, the tour has been grand, with the show in Newcastle a certain highlight. The sun even broke through the cloudy English sky the next day.
I've read a bit of your tour blog. How long have you been writing it? Why?
We started writing it on our first US tour I think, 2 years ago, as a way to remember what happened and to help us maintain our typing speeds of 75+ words/minute during long drives.
How did you start playing together?
A combination of geography, rental pricing, employment rates, and a mutual friend who worked at Kinkos in the financial district.
What does the band's name mean?
It means the same thing as Taking Back Sunday, but our name is pronounced slightly different.
What bands inspire and/or influence you? Today or yesterday?
New Order, Modest Mouse, Ral Partha Vogelbacher, Frank Black, The Smiths, Sonic Youth, REM, Led Zeppelin, Joy Division, Fugazi.
Only Chris W watches it and says, "It is one of the best-scripted shows on television. It's remarkable that they've turned a B-movie science fiction plot into some of the most compelling television ever." One of his fave episodes is 'Act of Contrition.'
Your new album just came out. How has it been received so far?
Mostly by mail or download, because it's an underground number.
What's next for you?
Purchasing new socks and underwear.
Last question: What current bands are you most enjoying right now?
If you haven’t been listening to The Ettes, you’ve been living under the same rock that I’ve been under until recently. I mean, it’s kind of ridiculous that I hadn’t heard their music before. They had a free Monday night residency at The Silver Lake Lounge last March and one at The Echo in August, two great venues that are both in walking distance from my place, and I’ve heard multiple people go off about how good they are.
And I love it. Like RFC put it, “Built on a strong foundation of 60's garage rock, London beat, and classic American Punk, The Ettes aren't messing around when it comes to playing and creating music.” They’re a complete surprise and they’ve been practically in my back yard the whole time.
Here’s a video and an MP3 of the songs Dead and Gone and No More Surprises, but to hear my favorite track on the album, the hugely rocking It Ain’t You, you ought to visit the band’s myspace page.
It’s funny that one of the local music sites -- crap, I can't remember which one right now -- recently called Oakland's Xiu Xiu “not the sort of music for a Friday night.” Because I saw them with friends once last year at The Echo on a Friday night and I can confirm that were right.
I remember a lot of people there were in a mood to jump or dance around -- I know I was -- but the band decided to play even their more accessible songs from Fabulous Muscles in a more fucked-up, experimental way. Needless to say, there wasn’t a lot of dancing going on that particular evening.
I think someone commented that it was “the pinnacle or weird boy music.” (And I know ... because that little boy was me.)
But whatever, there are still so many excellent tracks on Fabulous Muscles that you can’t get too mad at them for their occassional indulgences. Here’s footage of them performing one of them, i luv the valley, in Austin.
Thursday, March 12
- Plants & Animals, Castledoor, Avi Buffalo @ The Echo
- Bodies of Water, Lake, Fol Chen @ Echo Curio
- Horse Stories, Leopold and His Fiction, Jenny O. @ HOME
- Sara Bareilles, Tony Lucca @ Hotel Cafe
- De La Soul @ The Key Club
- Sara and Sean Watkins @ Largo
- Elvis Perkins in Dearland, Tim Eriksen Shape-Note Extravaganza @ The Troubadour
- Thee Oh Sees, The Fresh & Onlys, Bipolar Bear, Private Beach @ The Smell
- Or, the Whale, Willoughby, Foundry Field Recordings @ The Silver Lake Lounge
- Cursive, Modern Memory @ Spaceland
- Yelle, We Are the World, Casxio @ The El Rey Theatre
- Free Moral Agents @ The Air Conditioned Lounge (Venice)
Friday, March 13
- Mouse's B-day Extravaganza w/ Manhattan Murder Mystery, The Besties, & Mystery Guest (plus DJ set by Squaregirl Marion) @ Pehrspace
- Exposure Photography Show w/ Works by Ben Hoste, Jeff Koga, & Simon Cardoza w/ Meiko, Adeline, & Evan Way @ WHERE Space
- Say Hi @ The Echo
- Gram Rabbit, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Crooked Cowboy @ Echoplex
- Cursive, Ladyfinger, Little Brazil @ The Troubadour
- Sara Bareilles, Tony Lucca @ Hotel Cafe
- Ben Weasel, Toys That Kill, Underground Railroad to Candyland, The Girls @ The Knitting Factory
- Lady Gaga, Chester French, The White Tie Affair @ The Wiltern
- The Twelves, Gina Turner, Little Red Radio, Destructo, Mr. White @ Avalon
- Tindersticks, Spain @ The Henry Fonda Music Box
- Casxio, The Nights @ HOME
- Jon Brion @ Largo
- Minmae, John Vecciarelli, Azalia Snail @ Echo Curio
- Purple Rhinestone Eagle, Meho Plaza, Forever, Tacocat @ L'KEG
- Richard Swift, We Barbarians, Dappled Cities @ Spaceland
Saturday, March 14
- The New Standards, The Fresh, Katie Costello, Sean Kelly, Ryan Calhoun @ Hotel Cafe
- Asobi Seksu, Bell, Resplandor @ The Troubadour
- Phosphorescent, Viva Voce, The Donkeys, Rafter @ The Regent
- Ben Weasel, Toys That Kill, Underground Railroad to Candyland, The Girls @ The Knitting Factory
- Rickie Lee Jones @ Largo
- The Bird and the Bee, Haim, The Damn Sons, Post-Foetus @ Tricot Showroom
- The Von Bondies, Nico Vega, The Pink Snowflakes @ The Roxy
- El Ten Eleven @ HOME
- Franklin for Short, Moses Campbell, Enid the Dowl, No Paws (No Lions) @ Echo Curio
- Miami Horror, Danger, Futurecop! featuring Short Circuit & The Kids Are Radioactive @ Echoplex
- Sky Larkin @ Spaceland
- Smegma, Aaron Dilloway, Joe & Joe, Allen Pyle, Pigs in the Ground, Pod Blotz @ The Smell
- The Monolators, Roman Candles, Audacity, Jonesin' @ L'KEG
- Space Mtn, Light FM, Divisadero, Siggy @ Silver Factory Studios
Sunday, March 15
- Zee Avi, Luke Top, Michael Rosa (of Satisfaction) @ Spaceland
- Alela Diane, Come Gather Round Us, Josh Pyke @ Hotel Cafe
- These Are Powers @ The Echo
- Former Ghosts, Infinite Body, Felt Drawings, Amir Coyle, Knight Rider @ The Smell
- Australian All Ages BBQ w/ My Disco, The Drones, Dappled Cities, Red Riders, The Fumes, The Boat People, Leone Carmen, The Art, Hell City Glamours @ The Echo
- Part Time Punks w/ These Are Powers, Death Sentence: PANDA! @ The Echo
Monday, March 16
- Great Northern, O+S, Electrocute @ The Silver Lake Lounge
- Jennifer Gail, James Harries, Jeremiah James @ Hotel Cafe
- Primal Scream, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Red Cortez @ Club Nokia
- Simian Mobile Disco @ The Henry Fonda Music Box
- Mad Happy, French Quarter, Hell-Kite, The Seizure, Hello My Name Is Red @ Pehrspace
- Meg Baird, Lucky Dragons, Kurt Vile @ Echo Curio
- Mika Miko, Clipd Beaks, Lovvers, Megawand @ The Smell
- Larytta, Girls, Hecuba, Nosaj Thing @ Echoplex
- MSTRKRFT (record release party) @ The Roxy
- The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Shane Alexander @ The Troubadour
- Nico Stai, Youth Group, Josh Pyke @ Spaceland (FREE)
- Wait.Think.Fast., VOICEsVOICEs, Dame Satan, The Late Birds @ The Echo (FREE)
Wednesday, March 18
- ISGOODMUSIC & Radio Free Silver Lake Present Nightfur CD Release Party w/ Old Toy Trains & The Breakups @ The Silver Lake Lounge
Friday, March 20
- Exposure Photography Show w/ Works by Ben Hoste, Jeff Koga, & Simon Cardoza w/ The Gena Rowlands Band, The Movies, & Ema and The Ghosts @ WHERE space
Sunday, March 22
- Jaguar Love & Thriller Party @ Space 15 Twenty
- The Library @ Cinespace
Saturday, March 28
- The Library @ Bardot
Sunday, April 5th
- Pam Shaffer CD Release Party @ Echo Curio
Friday, April 10
- Jack Wilson, Jr, Correatown, Amateurs, & Marvelous Toy @ Pehrspace
Thursday, April 30
- The World Record, Jack Wilson, Jr, & Les Blanks @ Echo Curio