Tuesday, February 28, 2006

New Releases Tuesday (2/28)

Trespassers William - Having (Nettwerk)
Third full-length album from this local band that sounds a bit like a cross between Mazzy Star and My Bloody Valentine. Having has some great tracks (especially at the beginning) and it socres huge hipster points for featuring production by Dave Fridmann, famous for his work with The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev and Mogwai. However, the press release for the album also touts that the band has been successful in the "TV & film world" with tracks featured on "The OC," the WB's "One Tree Hill(?!?)," a John Travolta movie I've never heard of and a forthcoming Disney flick. I'd say that negates all of the hipster points gained from picking up Fridmann, but as I was reminded of last week, even The Flaming Lips had to stoop to promoting themselves on teen TV back in the day...remember their classic "live at The Peach Pit" performance on 90210?

Rhett Miller - The Believer (Verve Forecast)
Amazon.com sez:

...Already widely-loved for his work as frontman and main songwriter of the hard-charging rock 'n' roll quartet the Old 97's (of which he is still a member), The Believer takes its predecessor's achievements several steps further, with a dozen deeply felt, craftily melodic tunes that demonstrate the Texas-bred artist's knack for using accessible songcraft to address complex emotional issues.

RFC.com sez:

Haven't heard the new record, but Rhett Miller is a complete spaz. We saw him play solo a couple of years back at Metro in Chicago and it was almost unwatchable. Miller put on the singer/songwriter/rock star schtick way too heavy and his songs sounded terrible live.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Your New Favorite Band: Pink Mountaintops

In many ways, it was a pretty blah day. I mean, I never really recovered from the late nights and lack of sleep from the weekend, my computer showed corrupted files and wouldn’t build my holodeck at work (so I couldn’t “tighten up the graphics for level three”), and it rained for hours, causing everyone in the LA freeway system to drive like pensive senior citizens.

But on the bright side, I spent most of my afternoon listening to tracks from Pink Mountaintops and soaking in that thrill of discovery you feel when you find a new band that sounds a lot different from everything else you’ve been into lately.

The band’s fronted by the same guy behind Black Mountain and takes up residence in the same place in my eighth grade heart that unrepentantly loves The Fucking Champs and Queens of the Stone Age. It’s good stoner rock that seems to focus on two main themes: drugs and sex. (Because, really, what else is there?)

The good news is that they’re playing at Spaceland on Saturday, March 11th -- unfortunately on the same night as The Lights From Here -- along with Oneida and We Are Wolves. I listened to all the tracks on both of those band’s myspace pages today too and … it sounds like it’s going to be a great show. A loud one, definitely.

For those of you about to rock out with your cock out, we salute you...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Music News is for Lovers

So, yesterday I mentioned that Film School is coming back to town on April 1st at The Troubadour, which is great news to me because I’ve been listening to their recent album for the last few weeks and loving it.
Oddly enough, many of my friends seem to have been fetishing out on it almost as much as I’ve been, all independently of one another.

What's it like? Well, it’s charmingly raw and loose, kind of like Wolf Parade’s last release, and sometimes nods towards your favorite, faster Cure songs. But I'd rather just tell you to go to their myspace page and listen to "On and On" to start.

They’re opening up for Cloud Room, a band that’s supposed to have built up some buzz playing in NYC and at SXSW. I don’t know much about them besides listening to a few so-so songs on their website (they – gasp! – don’t have a myspace page) and reading a middling review of their debut on Pitchfork. (Granted, those guys didn’t care much for the new Film School, so I might have to take them with a grain of salt now.)

What I didn’t know until today is that local indie pop favorites Space Mtn will be the first opening band that night. So, Film School and Space Mtn? Sounds like a good show to me, whatever the headliner sounds like.

In other news, local indie pop acts Irving and Green and Yellow TV both have new albums out (or are coming out any day), and chamber pop superstars Saturday Looks Good to Me have released a collection of thirty rare tracks and b-sides on Redder Records.

So, yeah. It might be worth trying to order the cds off their sites or heading down to Sea Level Records in Echo Park to see if Sea Level Todd has copies for you.

Basically, today's a good day to like music...

Friday, February 24, 2006

New LA Shows Announced

Okay, so I've done a little house-cleaning on the Upcoming Shows column to your right and updated it with a number of recently announced concerts, like Metric, Sea Wolf, Voxtrot, Arab Strap, We Are Scientists, Film School, Wilderness, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs (who, sorry, are already sold-out), Snow Patrol (sold-out, too), and -- whew! -- many more.

It's not a complete list of every independent band that's playing all the local venues, just the ones I've heard ... or, at least, heard of.

If I'm missing anyone, please let me know.

And, hey, if you're catching The Wedding Present on Saturday night at The Troubadour, I'll see you there...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Band of the Week: Army Navy

Army Navy’s an LA indie band that plays in local venues here so often that it’s sometimes almost easy to take them for granted.

That would be a crying shame though, since they’re an extremely tight pop act, both live and in their five-song debut ep.

You can hear four of tracks off of their ep over on their myspace page and see them play tonight at The Knitting Factory with Dead Science.

(Side-note: I just read that their lead Justin Kennedy used to sing along with Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service's Ben Gibbard in a band called Pinwheel, which I’ll have to look up.)

They’re supposed to be putting together a few new songs with producer Steve McDonald (Redd Kross, Beck, Be Your Own Pet), which they’ll likely play both tonight and at their show at Spaceland next month with The Spinto Band.

They're one of a handful of unsigned acts in the area who I'm really surprised don't have a record deal already. I've caught them play about three or four times now and have never been disappointed.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Foreign Born Live

Blink and you might just miss it. Tonight's the last night of Foreign Born's residency at the Three of Clubs over in Hollywood.

They're a local indie rock band that a friend of mine recently remarked has some Echo and the Bunnymen sound to them.

I'm not sure if I agree with that whole-heartedly, but don't really know how to describe them in any kind of clear catchy way, so recommend going over to their myspace page and listening for yourself.

I've seen them play three times now and two of the times, I really enjoyed them. (The third? They skipped a few of my favorite songs.)

If you're looking for something to do tonight, catching a free show in a dirty Hollywood bar could fit the bill nicely.

The show starts at 9:30 when opening band In Waves is supposed to go on and The Three of Clubs can be found at 1123 Vine Street.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Statement of Porpoise

Does it seem kind of defensive to start off this column by saying that I'm not a music snob?

Yeah, well, whatever. I figure it's worth getting out there, because the reason I'm doing this is since I really like sharing good music with people, not cause I want to come off like some sort of monocle-twirling, indie rock authority or anything.

I'm lucky enough to live in the heart of Los Angeles, a town with a friggingly I-CAN'T-BELIEVE-IT-SOMETIMES incredible local music scene. There are great bands playing every night of the week -- signed and unsigned -- and I catch a lot of shows here.

So, this blog -- like its excellent Midwest counterpart Radio Free Chicago (which Brad will be reprinting Tuesday releases from) -- will exist to mention good new albums, upcoming concerts, and so on.

And if you hear anything good, please be sure and holler back with your own recommendations.

Anyway, enough about me...

Tomorrow, I'll start writing about who's coming to town this week.

New Releases Tuesday (2/21)

Artic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am Thats What I Am Not (Domino)
Oh snap! The debut record by 2006's most hyped band is in stores today. Watch out for long lines outside of Tower Records.

Califone - Room Sound (Thrill Jockey)
My favorite album from Tim Rutili and Co. has been reissued by Thrill Jockey. Originally from 2001, this record features the smash hits "Slow Rt. Hand" and "Bottles and Bones(Shade and Sympathy)"

Chicago Underground Duo - In Praise of Shadows (Thrill Jockey)
The ninth release from Rob Mazurek's "Chicago Underground" project (4th as the "Duo") features more great improvisational experimental jazz with drummer Chad Taylor.

Eels with Strings - Live at Town Hall (Vagrant)
I guess I wasn't the only one who thought this tour rocked, as it's now been immortalized on this CD/DVD combo release.

Eliot Lipp - Tacoma Mockingbird (Hefty)
Pushed back a couple of weeks, this fine instrumental hip-hop/electro is finally available for mass consumption. Check out our recent interview with Lipp here.

The M's - Future Women (Polyvinyl)
Spin magazine hails that this record "contains gorgeous, sweeping three-part harmonies recollecting fuzzed out 60's era Brit pop and 70's era T. Rex, cut and reformed with a glimpse toward the future."

Damn, busy week...check out these fine releases out today as well:

Acid Mother's Temple - Starless and Bible Black Sabbath (Alien 8)
Dilated Peoples - 20/20 (Capitol)
Lying in States - Wildfire On The Lake (Flameshovel)
Maximo Park - Missing Songs (Warp)
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - The Proposition [Sndtk] (Mute)
Ray Davies - Other People's Lives (V2)
Various Artists - All Natural, Inc Anthology (All Natural)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

New Releases Tuesday (2/14)

Magnet - The Tourniquet (Filter Recordings)
Formerly of the band Libido, Norwegian singer/songwriter Even Johansen returns for his second full-length as Magnet. As a sucker for "sad bastard" music, I was totally obsessed with Johansen's 2001 solo release, Quiet & Still, which critics described as "Thom Yorke trapped in a David Lynch movie." The Tourniquet finds Johansen a bit more optimistic and pop-friendly, but his trademark meloncholia still shines through. I'd still recommend Quiet & Still first, but The Tourniquet is worthwile listen if you dig dreamy singer/songwriter pop.

Sergio Mendes - Timeless (Concord Records)
Seminal Brazilian bossa nova king Sergio Mendes teams up with Will of the Black Eye Peas for a brand new record featuring guest appearances by the likes of Stevie Wonder, John Legend, India.Arie, Black Thought and the rest of the Black Eyed Peas crew.

The Subways - Young for Eternity (Sire)
Domestic release of the debut album from the band that won the Best Unsigned Band award at the 2004 Glastonbury festival. Features production from Ian Broudie, the former lead singer of The Lightning Seeds.

Sing-Sing - Sing Sing and I (Reincarnate Music)
Domestic release of the latest album from the British band featuring former Lush guitarist/vocalist Emma Anderson.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

New Releases Tuesday (2/7)

Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit (Matador)
Stuart Murdoch continues to push B&S from an introspective indie collective to a one-man pop juggernaut.

Electric Six - Senior Smoke (Metropolis)
The domestic release of the Detroit ironic rockers sophomore effort comes a full year after it was released in the UK.

Minus 5 - S/T [The Gun Album] (Yep Rock)
Scott McCoughey of Young Fresh Fellows and REM returns with another installment of his Minus 5 project. As usual, Peter Buck is along for the ride...along with guest contributions this time around from Wilco, Colin Meloy, John Wesley Harding and Kelly Hogan.

Beth Orton - Comfort of Strangers (Astralwerks)
Recorded in just two weeks with Jim O'Rourke at the controls as producer, this album takes a much needed step back to basics after her overly glossy and bland 2002 release, Daybreaker.

Prefuse 73 - Security Screenings (Warp)
Not a proper follow up to last year's Surrounding by Silence, but rather a shorter "transitional" record of new material to hold you over while Scott contemplates the direction of his next full-length opus.

Various Artists - Run the Road, Volume 2 (Vice)
No Dizzee, Skinner or S-O-V this time around, but there are two tracks with Kano. If this is half as good as the first, I'll be happy.

Various Artists - To: Elliott From: Portland (Expunged)
New Eliott Smith tribute featuring covers by The Decemberists, The Helio Sequence, The Thermals, Dolorean and more.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Coachella Line-Up Announced

So...the Coachella line-up has been officially announced, and it looks like it's Depeche Mode, not the Smashing Pumpkins, who will be headlining. The NME has the full list of performers, but then again this is the same news source that was reporting the Pumpkins reunion, so I suppose it should be taken with a grain of salt. Tickets for the 2-day festival in Indio, CA go on sale this Saturday at noon.