Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New Releases Tuesday - 10/31/06

Graham Coxon - Love Travels At Illegal Speeds (EMI)
Daylight's for the Birds - Trouble Everywhere This Generation Tapes
Deftones - Saturday Night Wrist (Maverick)
The Low Frequency In Stereo - The Last Temptation Of… (Gigantic)

Lady Sovereign - Public Warning (Def Jam)
Finally...it's here. Seems like people have been talking about this coming out for the past three years, but it's really only been a bit over a year since the S-O-V had that well-publicized first meeting with Jay-Z at the Def Jam offices. That being said, I totally feel like a snotty hipster in this situation (a "trendinista," if you will) because it seemed like I was already "over" Lady Sov 6-months before this debut was even scheduled to be released. In defense of myself and other fickle music fans, a lot of the songs on here have been around for a while, though. Luckily, they've added a bonus Missy Elliott remix at the end which has admittingly rekindled the flame a bit for me.

Willie Nelson - Songbird (Lost Highway)
Remember when Jack White produced that Loretta Lynn record? This record is like that only with Ryan Adams producing Willie. As you may have guessed from the name Songbird, this is a collection of mostly covers (Cohen, Parsons, Grateful Dead, etc.), though Nelson does add three originals of his own and Adams adds one.

Nellie McKay - Pretty Little Head (Black Dove)
To Live And Shave in L.A. - Moon and Eternity (Menlo Park Recordings)
SunnO))) and Boris - Alter (Southern Lord)

The Who - Endless Wire (Universal)
Seriously guys, do you have to keep dragging The Who moniker into the ground? Call it what it is: Townshend & Daltrey. ONE HALF OF YOUR BAND IS DEAD, have some dignity and put The Who thing to rest. Say what you will about Led Zeppelin, but at least they had the sense of mind to move on to other projects after Bonham died without resorting to any sort of lame middle-aged "comeback album." Sure, Page and Plant got back together to record later, but you know what? They called it Page & Plant, NOT Led Zeppelin...because two original members with a random supporting cast is not the same thing as the original band.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Monday Show Low Down (Or "Candy Corn Is Not A Vegetable")

Have you noticed? It’s starting. Many of the fantastic local bands we have here in LA are starting to be snapped up by record labels. Cold War Kids, Great Northern, Division Day, The Little Ones… Others like Sea Wolf, The Western States Motel, and The Mezzanine Owls are being circled or are in negotiations as we speak.

We haven’t seen the mainstream magazines start writing too many articles about what an incredible music scene we have going on here right now, but mark my words, they should start hitting in just a few months.

I started this site earlier this year because there were bands here that I didn’t see getting nearly enough coverage, so the idea that the rest of the country might soon being paying attention to them is great to me. We ought to share, you know?

I mean, sure, it’s going to be sad when you can’t see an act like The Silversun Pickups at a place as small as Spaceland or The Echo anymore, but I guess you can always think back fondly to the seven or eight times you caught them at one of those venues in the past. Ha.

So, if you’re thinking about catching one of your favorite bands at some tiny secluded spot some night and consider backing out last minute to stay home with the Netflix and the dog, don’t. Because, you never know, it could be your last chance.

With that in mind, here are some highlights for this week:

Tonight, Rocket conclude their free residency at Spaceland, while In Waves, The Mezzanine Owls, The Beauty Shop, and The Meeting Places play – also for frees – at The Silver Lake Lounge. (I’m heading to the latter.)

On Halloween night this Tuesday, The Deadly Syndrome – who have recently been receiving a lot of local blog love – perform at The Silver Lounge, The Airborne Toxic Event and Dios Malos roxxor The Echo, Ladytron and Midnight Movies are at The El Rey, and Devo, Flock of Seagulls, and Bow Wow Wow play at The Greek.

Wednesday night, Jamie Lidell heads to Safari Sam's, The Oohlas hit The Scene, Strange Rebel Frequency plays The Derby, and Austin’s Voxtrot take The Troubadour. (That's the night of my b-day and I’m spending it seeing Voxtrot with friends.)

On Thursday, Moving Picture Show and Fairmona play Spaceland and Regina Spektor does The Wiltern. Friday, San Francisco’s Citizens Here & Abroad perform at El Cid, while Mudhoney and Howlin' Rain head to The Ex-Plx/Echo. Then Saturday, Pink Mochi hits Little Pedro’s and on Sunday, The Henry Clay People play The Cocaine and The Bentleys, Enid the Dowl, and The Cinder Cones destroy All Star Lanes.

The following bands have recently announced shows for LA: The Happy Hollows, The Soft Hands, Sputnik Monroe, Fairmona, Moving Picture Show, Ragsy, Warfield, You Me & Iowa, Cavil at Rest, The Henry Clay People, Foreign Born, The Oohlas, Shiloe, Midnight Movies, The Black Pine, The Submarines, Minor Canon, The Devils Romantics, The Spires, The Mezzanine Owls, and more. (See the right-hand column for dates and venues.)

Also? My friend George recently started a music blog called Complicated Dance Steps, which you really ought to bookmark and visit often. Besides being a great guy, George always seems to be obsessed with six or seven bands that I’ve never even heard of before. He's gotten me into a lot of excellent new musics. Go say hi.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Mini-Interview: Airborne Toxic Event

Sure, first impressions are important, but second impressions can be clarifying. That was the case for me with The Airborne Toxic Event, at least.

When I first heard the band’s name, I dragged my feet a little about listening to them because the name sounded to me like some SoCal punk act… but when I heard their music – which varied from the kind of straight rock that The Constantines try to hit, but rarely nail, to more playful sing-song tracks – I did a complete about-face.

So, I asked their lead Mikel Jollett a few questions to find out more about them.

Hi, Mikel. How you doing today? How's LA treating you?

Very well thank you. Los Angeles is just lovely this morning.

So... the name of the band. After doing some searching around on the Interweb, it looks like you're a fan of Don DeLillo's writing, yes?

Very much so. White Noise changed my life. I'm not sure if it was because of his treatment of a world consumed by media or the way he dealt with the fear of death. But there's something both touching and absurd about that book that seemed to capture what it feels like to live in America right now. You know: terrorism, death, fear, YouTube.

It seems like you've also got a lit influence in your song-writing, too. The song The Girls in Their Summer Dresses is based on a short story, correct?

Yes. The Girls in Their Summer Dresses is a story by Irwin Shaw. It's about a man and a woman walking down the street in New York city in the summer. The man keeps staring at these beautiful women as they walk by. The woman, who is his wife, is not happy about this. They fight. He reasons that he's been a good husband, supportive, faithful, etc... but just must stare at these woman. He can't help it. It's a very compelling argument he gives, but she simply can't accept it, won't accept it. The song is basically their argument -- his reasoning and her response to it.

I didn't actually read the story until I saw that Woody Allen movie Celebrity. There's a writer in that movie who says about the story that the title alone is better than most short stories. I thought so too. Such a compelling image the words inspire, kind of a nostalgia for innocence, youth: who are these girls? Why are they wearing dresses? Will I ever know such things again? Have I lost something? Am I dying?

The story's pretty good, too.

Have you slipped any other story references into songs?

Yes. We have a song called This is Not the Point of Babette which is also a reference to White Noise. It's something Jack Gladney (the main character) keeps saying to his wife (Babette) when she starts to freak out about dying.

I thought it was a funny thing to say. Just the construction, You know, "This is not the point of you. The whole point of you is that you are not like this." There are a few others.

What about your musical influences – both direct or indirect?

It's a good question. You know, there are the direct things, the people who wrote stuff that was immediate, touching, for one reason or another: Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, The Smiths, Josef K, Television, the Velvet Underground, the Cure, Eric Bachman, Orange Juice, Modest Mouse, etc..

But then the question is also, what makes you write? Like, why do you make music? And the answer to that I think is different for each of us in the band. It is my theory that Daren, who plays drums, really just likes to hit shit. Hard. You know, he wakes up in the morning and wants to bang on things.

We'll go out sometimes and be at a bar or something, and after a few drinks, he can't contain himself. He just has to hit things -- drum his fingers on the table, knock a glass with a spoon -- whatever. I love this quality in him.

Noah, and again I can't really speak for him, but I think he just loves to play anything. A piano, a bass, a guitar, drum. He's the kind of person that just wants to make music every second of his life. He's also great at it. It's sort of remarkable, actually.

Anna, who plays viola and keyboard, I think she loves melodies, and maybe also the whole group thing with music. I guess that's the deal with people who played in symphonies. She has a real ear for it. She'll just start playing a melody line and it's perfect for the song. I'm sort of amazed by that quality.

Steven, who plays guitar and keyboard, I think he likes the pageantry, the symbolism. He's a writer, he's working on a novel, and he reads a lot and has just impeccable taste. You know, loves all this great music. I think he feels a sense of involvement in all that when we play and enjoys it.

I think I write music because I'm afraid to die. My mom got diagnosed with cancer last year, the same week I got diagnosed with this degenerative skin disease. It's not fatal or anything, it just makes you look like Moby. And it was accelerated by the fact that I smoked.

It scared the shit out of me. I quit smoking, broke up with a girlfriend, spent a week in the hospital with my mom (she's fine now) and spent a month walking around in a daze -- hazy, depressed, like I was in diaper. When I came to, all I wanted, like literally all I wanted to do all day long was play music. I don't quite understand it.

Wow. That is a fucking long-winded answer. Next time I think I'll just say: Pavement.

You’re heading out to CMJ in New York soon. Is this your first? Have you gotten to play a lot of other cities?

It's our first time at CMJ. We're really excited about it. We're playing with Devastations from Australia and The Red Romance which is a bunch of guys from Ambulance Ltd.

It's actually going to be only our fifth show. We just had our first show a few weeks ago. We were shocked we got into CMJ and have been sort of shocked by the response we've gotten in general. We expected, like, 50 people to come to our first show at the Echo and there were almost 200. It was surreal.

How long has the band been together? How did you start?

Daren and I have been playing together for about five months. I'd played with a few other drummers and bassists and stuff, but they just kept leaving. I wasn't sure why, but I think maybe a band has to have a certain chemistry and I just didn't have it with them. I met Daren and we hit it off immediately.

I played him some songs and he liked them and then he played his drums with them and it was just instant. Then he told me his e-mail address was something like one_imaginary_boy@somewhere.com. I fell smack in love.

So we just started playing endlessly. We spent months alone in this practice room, twenty hours a week or something just playing and playing and playing. Drinking, I guess. Screaming, stomping, dancing... It was a lot of fun.

Then we decided we need to play a show so we set a date. And even though we didn't have any bandmates yet, we were just going to play, as a two-piece if we had to.

But then Noah and Steven and Anna kind of just showed up all at once. They were all good friends of mine and all kind of doing their own thing. One night we all played together and I think we all just felt it. There was a real chemistry, a real enthusiasm. Like, not only did we like the sounds we were making, but we liked each other, liked what each other was about.

You’ve got a few songs available for download on your myspace page. Are those from a forthcoming EP or are they planned for an album?

We're not sure yet. We have them compiled on an EP, but when we make a record we'll probably include them.

What’s next for you?

Well, we're off to New York next week and then a bunch of shows around town in L.A. in November. I think December we're going to make the record. We don't have a label but we're not sure if that's important or not.

I got some really good advice from a friend who said to just pretend no one is going to help you with anything. Just try to do everything yourself. So that's the plan for now. Play a lot. Make a record. Work.

Last question: What other bands in LA are you enjoying right now?

As far as local bands, God, there's just so many. I really like that band The Happy Hollows. They're exciting and weird and cool. Plus that song Meteors is really good.

Also, Land of Ill Earthquakes is amazing. They're kind of like if Belle & Sebastian were from West Covina. Very musical and the nicest people. Acres of Fakers by them is one of my favorite songs. Bunny, they're singer, has a beautiful voice.

Thailand has this great song called This Officer's Life that I've been playing a lot.

Also, you know: Dios Malos are just the coolest fucking band. I think, like everyone else, I'm in love with Annie from Giant Drag. Irving has been one of my favorite bands since A Curious Thing about Leather (which probably makes me a neophyte or something).

And Cold War Kids -- I love how they just came out of nowhere and are doing so well. Very cool. It's funny too, how these bands are all just so nice -- just the humblest, hardest working people. It's either ironic or appropriate or, you know, karma.

That’s it! Thanks for your time.

Of course, thank you so very much.

The Airborne Toxic Event are playing at The Cocaine on October 28th and The Hear Gallery on November 11th, and then have a free in-store at Sea Level Records on November 18th

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Band Of The Week: Great Northern

It was obvious even at some of their first few shows here in LA that Great Northern were onto something. Their songs Into The Sun and The Middle were the first sign of this … the dual harmonies of leads Rachel Stolte and Solon (previously of Earlimart) Bixler’s vocals combined with the two’s spot-on keyboard and guitar work made both tracks immediate crowd pleasers.

Months later and after a line-up change -- former Earlimart) member Davey Latter is now on drums and they’ve added Ashley Dzerigian, who plays bass with such cool indifference that she barely seems to be attention at times -- it's clear that they’ve become one of the most promising bands in town.

The group currently only has a four-song self-released EP available at shows, but has just finished recording an album for Eeenie Meanie Records, which is due out early next year.

In the meantime, Great Northern are headed into a month-long free residency at The Echo on Monday nights in November and are bringing an amazing line-up of bands with them. They’re playing on November 6th with Dead Ponies, The Meeting Places, and Tigers Can Bite You, on November 13th with Wolf Eyes, on November 20th with The Pity Party, Light FM, and Division Day, and on November 27th with All Smiles, Twilight Sleep, and Irving… and none of them should really be missed.

Photo by Sterling Andrews

RELATED LINK: Great Northern Mini-Interview

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Video Free Silver Lake: The Happy Hollows

I'd like to thank everyone who made it out to our second monthly Let's Independent! event at Boardner's last night. There were about six or seven solid shows going on, so we really appreciate all the fun, great people who made it out.

Big thanks also of course to Division Day, The Happy Hollows, and Thailand, who all sounded amazing, the superstars at KXLU and Silver Lake Rehearsal for sponsoring the event, all the folks at Boardner's, and everyone who promoted the night, like Jax at Rock Insider and Duke at You Set The Scene. Wow... It's hard for me to think of the night going any better.

So, I've meant to post the two recently-created videos from The Happy Hollows on the site and, when I went to look them up, discovered that the kids at Avebury Records had already put up some live footage of the band playing last night's show. So, here's that clip, PLUS the swanky new videos for My Wet Tongue and Vietnam. It's three for the price of ... well, it's all free.

The Happy Hollows are playing with The Movies at The Mountain Bar on Thursday, December 14th.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

New Releases Tuesday - 10/24

+ / - Let's Build A Fire (Absolutely Kosher)
NYC experimental pop trio release their first record for Absolutely Kosher.

Download: +/- "Steal the Blueprints"

Atari Teenage Riot - Atari Teenage Riot: 1992-2000 (Digital Hardcore)
Jello Biafra - In The Grip of Official Treason (Alt. Tentacles)
Biz Markie - Make the Music With Your Mouth Biz (Cold Chillin')
Blanche - What This Town Needs (V2)
Blow - Paper Television (K Records)
Bright Eyes - Noise Floor [B-sides and rarites] (Saddle Creek)
Broadfield Marchers - When The Lifted Connive (St. Ives)
Tony Conrad - Joan of Arc (Table of the Elements)
Converge - No Heroes (Epitaph)
Cowboy Junkies - Long Journey Home (Zoe)

Curtains - Calamity (Asthmatic Kitty)
The cryptic musical logic of CALAMITY might be recognizable from Cohen's past projects (both Deerhoof and Natural Dreamers), but this record is brimming over with what was only hinted at before. The singing and lyrics have at last brought The Curtains' vision into a clear and recognizable focus.

Damsel - Distressed (Temporary Residence)
Devestations - Coal (Southern)
Ellie Come Home - Primary Sources (Emergency Umbrella)
Everything Now - Sunshine of Doom (St. Ives)
Fila Brazillia - Retrospective 1990-2006 (23)
Ben Folds - supersunnyspeedgraphic (Sony)
Miho Hatori - Ecdysis (Rykodisc)
Frida Hyvonen - Until Death Comes (Secretly Canadian)
Heartaches - Too Cool For School (Swami)
Horrors - The Horrors EP (Stolen Transmission)
Jan Jelinek - Tierbeobachtungen (Scape)
Koop - Koop Island (K7)

Kill The Vultures - The Careless Flame (Locust Music)
The Careless Flame is the second album by critically acclaimed Minneapolis rust belt hip hop outfit, Kill The Vultures. MC Crescent Moon (Alexei Casselle) lays out an urgent asphalt confessional of Big Apple torment, ghostly hallucinations & white lightening relief over Anatamoy's rickety chain gang rhythms, obscured arabesque guitars & wailing noir saxophone skronk.

Moby - Go: The Very Best of Moby (V2)
Ordinary Boys - How To Get Everything You Wanted In Ten Easy Steps (Universal)
R. Keenan Lawler - Music For Bluegrass States (Table of the Elements)
Robert Lippok - Robot (Western Vinyl)
Roger O'Donnell - The Truth In Me (Great Society)
Skygreen Leopards - Disciples of California (Jagjaguwar)
Smile Empty Soul - Vultures (Bieler Bros.)

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - Broom (Polyvinyl)
The SF Weekly calls this "one of those rare albums where every song is crafted delicious and essential."

Download: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - "Oregon Girl"

Sparta - Threes (Hollywood)
Starless & Bible Black - S/T (Locust Music)
Tall Hands - S/T (Hands Pulse) TM Juke - Forward (Ubiquity)
Jeff Tweedy - Sunken Treasure [DVD] (Nonesuch)

Walkmen - Pussycats Starring The Walkmen (Record Collection)
During John Lennon's separation from Yoko Ono in 1974, he romped around LA with his buddy Harry Nilsson, getting drunk and getting thrown out of nightclubs. In the midst of the party, Lennon, Nilsson, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, and a rag-tag gang of others headed into the studio with Lennon as producer. The result was "Pussy Cats", a fascinating and often misunderstood album featuring a mix of classics and originals rearranged by Nilsson and Lennon to suit the wild mood of those infamous days. In January 2006, after finishing the final mix for their new record, "A Hundred Miles Off", The Walkmen decided to recreate "Pussy Cats"...a celebration of rock 'n' roll, good friends, alcohol, and excessive instrumentation that's right up the Walkmen's alley. -Amazon.com

Download: The Walkmen - "Another One Goes By" (Live at KEXP)

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Monday Show Lowdown (Or “Shock And Awwwww…..”)

Hi. So, tomorrow night is the second of our monthly Let’s Independent! events at Boardner’s and we’re all really excited about it. Last time, it was an amazingly fun crowd and The Movies, Great Northern, and The Western States Motel were all fantastic.

This time, the line-up is equally strong with Division Day, one of our favorite local acts who recently signed to Mercy Records and are soon off to take New York at CMJ, the ever-effusive Happy Hollows (who are basically the band that invented fun), and your favorite new electro pop act Thailand.

Please come early so you can make sure to see Thailand play. (Have you listened to the demo tracks on their myspace page?!) Doors open at 8:30.

For more details and to hear tracks from all three bands, go here. I hope you can make it!

Here’s a look at some other show highlights this week:

Tonight is about tough choices. There’s Yo La Tengo at The Henry Fonda, Aaron Espinoza from Earlimart is playing a solo show at The Silver Lake Lounge along with The Parson Redheads, Frankl, and Meeting Places, The Secret Machines are at The Avalon, Rocket has a free show at Spaceland, and Kind Hearts & Coronets, The Winter Flowers, I Make This Sound, and Entrance are also fo' frees at The Echo.

Besides the show at Boardner’s on Tuesday, there’s also Bonnie “Prince” Billie and Dark Hand and Lamplight at The Smell, Ragsy and The Charles Shaw Proect at The Derby, The Deadly Syndrome at Cinespace, The Secret Machines at The Avalon, Say Hi To Your Mom at Spaceland, Juana Molina at The Echo, and Pop Levi, Capitol Years, National Eye, and Earl Greyhound at The Silver Lake Lounge.

On Wednesday, The Twilight Singers play The House of Blues, Bonnie “Prince” Billie and Dark Hand and Lamplight head to the Malibu Performing Arts Center, The Thermals and Cursive perform at The Troubadour, and The Kooks and Capitol Years appear at Spaceland.

On Thursday, Tandemoro play at Three of Clubs, while Matt Pond PA and Micah P Hinson at Spaceland.

This Friday sees Tricky at The Henry Fonda, Mellowdrone at Spaceland, Benji Hughes at El Cid, The Bird and The Bee at The Silver Lake Lounge, and Alias & Tarsier at The Echo.

And on Saturday, The Sword play The Avalon, while Forward Russia! perform at Spaceland.

In Related News:
- Austin-based Explosions in the Sky have announced that they’ve finished their new album and are coming to play LA on November 14th at The El Rey Theatre.
- Big congratulations to RFSL contributor Gabe Burger and his wife Jaime, who had twins last weekend … Violet Marie and Ezekiel Jerome. (I’m only posting one pic because they look exactly the same. Ha.)
- Local indie electronica artist Paul Avion just released his Pop Music EP, which features studio work by Tanya Haden, from the Haden Triplets and The Silversun Pickups.
- The following bands have recently announced shows for here in LA: Irving, Citizens Here And Abroad, Two Sheds, Let’s Go Sailing, The Deadly Syndrome, The Movies, The Happy Hollows, Ragsy, Rocket, The Capitol Years, Mellowdrone, Kind Hearts & Coronets, Benji Hughes, The Winter Flowers, Entrance, The Charles Shaw Project, Airborne Toxic Event, Racetrack Babies, The Cops, Dead Ponies, The Karabal Nightlife, The Mezzanine Owls, The Beauty Shop, Meeting Places, Bedroom Walls, Thailand, Wonderground, I Make This Sound, and Strange Rebel Frequency. (Check out the right hand column for dates and venues.)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Mini-Interview: The Panda Band

Coming from Perth, Australia The Panda Band recently geared up to take over the US with their twisted, melodious indie pop rock in the form of a North American release of their long-awaited debut, This Vital Chapter, on Filter US Recordings (released on 9/12) and a potential US tour. During a break in their Australian tour, songwriter/singer/guitarist Damian Crosbie took time to answer some questions for RFSL sister site, Radio Free Chicago.

Where are you currently at? Any favorite moments from the tour?

I'm at home today as the Perth shows are this weekend. The tour's been amazing so far, so many highlights, but the second night in Sydney was a bit special. Some extra sing-along magic that night.

Any plans for a US tour?

We had to postpone our US tour plans coz the album took longer to finish but we should make it there before the end of the year still. I do hope and pray.

How would you describe your music, it's feel and sound? Are you influenced by anyone in particular?

Our music is quite filmic, as I tend to gain alot of inspiration from musicals and documentaries. Some songs are quite dream-like but still retain a spooky intensity which is amplified live. We all have such varied influences that it would be misleading to choose one, and probably more informative to people to name bands we remind listeners of. The usual names dropped are Pink Floyd, The Kinks The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Super Fury Animals, Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, etc. Have you heard of them? Ha! You get the idea.

But most agree we're no retro band, we don't look like Oasis or anything, we look and sound like The Panda Band. We all come from Perth, which is a very isolated, spread out, young and un-spoilt city on the west coast of Australia. It's the only city on the west coast of Australia! It's kind of like San Diego, and people say we sound like our location.

How did approach the songwriting process on your debut album This Vital Chapter? (Which sounds amazing by the way.)

I take a lot of different approaches to creating songs, and this helps keep it exciting for me and help the songs have their own identities. Some come from a lyric idea ("We've Got The Face Of The Earth"), some a melody (like "Spanish Bride"), some from messing around with some random sounds on my computer("A Call To Your Arms"). It's never the same.

Who are you listening to right now?

I've been listening to Harry Nilsson As Time Goes By (...the complete Schmilsson in the night). It's wonderful. Another of my favorites is a fellow Perthian Jeff Strong, he's like a cross between Prince and Bob Dylan, mesmerising.

Interview by RFC's Carlos Garcia

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Band of the Week: Sean Lennon

Released back in ’98, Sean Lennon’s last album Into The Sun was a little musical gift and those who got it have been waiting expectantly for a follow-up ever since.

It finally arrived a few weeks ago, begging the question: Was it worth an eight-year long wait?

Honestly... At first, no. After the first few listenings, it’s just a good album -- one more of the same general vein as Elliott Smith and Rufus Wainwright than before.

Like his previous work though, it has a few tracks that draw you in quickly -- like the upbreat-but-dark Dead Meat and Friendly Fire -- before other heavier songs -- like Would I Be The One? and Falling In Love -- sink in and blow your now-pop-music-addled mind. So, yeah... it's a grower, not a shower.

Here's the video for Dead Meat, which has an overabundance of celbrity cameos, but hearkens back to the wonderfully hammy days when videos told a story. (And like those oldies, it'll probably somehow make you like the song more, too.)

Sean Lennon is playing The El Rey Theater on Saturday, November 18th.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Video Free Silver Lake: Wolf Parade

I swear, Wolf Parade's I'll Believe Anything off of Apologies to the Queen Mary always gets me like a hand around the heart.

It was my favorite song off my favorite album around the start of this year and, I don't know... I feel slightly ridiculous saying this, but I've always felt that there's just something so goddamn romantic about it. The end makes me feel like I'm falling.

I recently came across this footage of the Montreal band performing the track live at some mystery location. It was posted by Sub Pop originally, so it's a cut above the guerilla footage you usually get on the interweb wonder that is Youtube.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

New Releases Tuesday - 10/17

Annuals - Be He Me (AceFu)

Badly Drawn Boy - Born in the UK (Astralwerks) Hey, did anyone else absolutely love Hours of the Bewilderbeast but then never listen to this guy ever again after that?

Everclear - Best of Everclear (Capitol) Well, first there's the obvious joke, "best of Everclear? What is it, like 10 different versions of that "Santa Monica" song?" (I just wanna see some...paaalm trreeees) Second though, this totally makes me feel old when bands like Everclear that first hit it big when I was in high school are starting to release career retrospective "best of's." So is this my generation's classic rock??

Goldfrapp - We Are Glitter (Mute) Remix collection taking tracks exclusively from Goldfrapp's last album, Supernature. Features remixes by the Flaming Lips(?!?), DFA, François K, Múm and T. Raumschmiere.

Gomez - Five Men in a Hut: Singles 1998-2004 (EMI)

Imitation Electric Piano - Blow It UP, Burn It Down, Kick It Till It Bleeds (Drag City)

Bert Jansch - The Black Swan (Drag City)

Nitzer Ebb - Body of Work (Mute) The Sadies - Tales of the Ratfink (Yep Roc)

Shiny Toy Guns - We Are Pilots (UMVD) Not sure what to make of this band, though they seem to be a big favorite at Indie 103. All style, no substance...or the real deal? Not sure, but the lead single is catchy:

Download: Shiny Toy Guns - "Le Disko"

Squarepusher - Hello Everything (Warp) Jenkinson cuts back the noise and glitch and returns to his more melodic jazz side? PopMatters has the story...

Christopher Willits - Surf Boundaries (Ghostly)

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Monday Show Low Down (Or "The Ghost Revenge Of ENIAC")

This week? There are an enormous number of good shows going on. So, let’s skip all the formalities and get right to it ... cause I've been having monster tech problems this morning and have to run to work to make some video games.

Tonight, The Front, The Pity Party, & Restaurant are playing a free show at Little Pedro’s , while Teddy's Cheer Club play at Mr T's Bowl and The Hold Steady are at The Troubadour. (I’ve been listening to a few tracks from The Hold Steady off of their myspace page and … it’s good stuff.)

On Tuesday, fellow LA music site Rock Insider is putting on a show with Ferraby Lionheart, Delta Spirit, Jaymay, and The Hourly Radio at The Silver Lake Lounge. Also that night are The Black Angels at The Troubadour, Ladytron at The Ford Ampitheatre, Matmos at The Jensen Rec Center, The Pogues at The Wiltern, and Bettie Serveert at Spaceland.

On Wednesday, Moving Picture Show play at Molly Malone’s while The Pogues return to The Wiltern.

Thursday night sees the start of the Arthur Nights series at The Downtown Palace, with Devendra Banhart, Bert Jansch, Jackie Beat, and more. And that night also has a free show by The Little Ones at Hollywood & Highland, The Ettes, Village Green, and The Purrs at Spaceland, The 88 and The Pogues at The Wiltern, and The Deadly Syndrome, The Vanity, Berko, and Glacier Hiking at The Echo.

On Friday, Arthur Nights has Be Your Own Pet, Boris, Heartless Bastards, and more at The Downtown Palace, The Bird and The Bee play The Silver Lake Lounge, and Two Gallants at The Troubadour. But I really want to try my best to catch The Lava Children at Mr. T’s Bowl.

On Saturday, Doveman and Glen Hansard (from The Frames) play Largo, The Decemberists and Lavender Diamond are The Wiltern, Arthur Nights has Six Organs of Admittance, Sun Ra Arkestra, Money Mark, Future Pigeon, Mia Doi Todd, and more at The Downtown Palace, instrumental rockers Caspian and Beware of Safety perform out on the west side at The Good Hurt, and Acute, Now It's Overhead, and Summerbirds In The Cellar at The Knitting Factory. Me? I’ve got tickets to see Beirut at The Troubadour that night.

And on Sunday, Lou Barlow plays Spaceland, Bonnie “Prince” Billie and Dark Hand and Lamplight all appear at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, The Joggers perform at The Knitting Factory, and Arthur Nights wraps up with The Fiery Furnaces, Comets on Fire, The Sharp Ease, and more at The Downtown Palace.

The following bands have also announced shows for LA: Sean Lennon, Cat Power, Modest Mouse, Bonnie Prince Billy, The Movies, DeVotchka, The Mezzanine Owls, Mark Fossom, The Bentleys, Enid the Dowl, The Cinder Cones, Ragsy, Say Hi To Your Mom, The Outline, Telescopes, Beware of Safety, The Elected, Signal Hill, Dark Hand and Lamplight, The Sword, Acute, Copeland, Hot Chip, Pernice Brothers, Elvis Perkins, The Appleseed Cast, Owen, The Secret Machines, The Wrens, Takka Takka, Sage Francis, Joanna Newsom, Sparta, and Girl Talk. (See the right-hand column for dates and venues.)

- Band of the Week: Beirut
- Mini-Interview: Doveman

Friday, October 13, 2006

Band of the Week: Yo La Tengo

There are some bands that have somehow forever remained as these huge holes in my musical repertoire, and Hoboken, New Jersey’s Yo La Tengo has always been one of them...

I’ve had many friends recommend their music to me, but maybe I didn’t hear the right tracks or it just wasn’t what I was into at the time or whatevah, but I just never got into them. That is, until I caught a review of their new album I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass on NPR a few weeks ago, a segment which included samples of several, incredible tracks.

I snagged the cd shortly afterwards at Sea Level and … there’s simply no escaping how good this album is.

It’s positively endearing how it goes from the eight-minute, heavy guitar opener Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind right into the gloriously poppy and upbeat Beanbag Chair, but there are numerous other reasons to love it -- like the jazzy-in-a-good-way Mr. Tough and Sometimes I Don’t Get You, the mildly psychedelic The Race Is On Again and The Room Got Heavy, the 60s film soundtrack-esque I Should Have Known Better, or the perfect song to wake up to in the morning, Black Flowers.

It's easy to say that I’m looking forward to going back and picking up earlier albums from Yo La Tengo’s twelve-year back catalog.

At least, if I can ever break free of this one...

Yo La Tengo are playing The Henry Fonda Theatre on Monday, October 23rd.

MP3: Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind
MP3: Beanbag Chair

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mini-Interview: Two Sheds

Alright. Let me put this out there in as artless and straightforward a way as possible: Sacramento’s Two Sheds are performing live this Thursday night at The Silver Lake Lounge and you really ought to go see them play.

Why? Hmm... Well, back when they were a Band of the Week pick in August, I couldn't say enough nice things about their debut album, Strange Ammunition. You could either read all of that over again by clicking on this link or download one of the best songs off of the cd right here. Or both.

Last weekend, I checked in with Caitlin Gutenburger, the singer/songwriter/frontperson behind the band -- and she gave one of the best interviews I’ve posted on this site.

Here's how it went...

Hi, Caitlin. First off, are you familiar with the works of Arthur “Two Sheds” Jackson? Do you actually have two sheds?

"No, no. Look. This shed business -- it doesn't really matter. The sheds aren't important. A few friends call me Two Sheds and that's all there is to it. I wish you'd ask me about the music. Everybody talks about the sheds. They've got it out of proportion -- I'm a composer. I'm going to get rid of the shed. I'm fed up with it."

I suppose I should post the Monty Python sketch we're talking about so they don't think we're both crazy...

Okay. Back to it...

Basically, Johnny and Rusty and I had no band name and we had booked our first show. I decided to set up a MySpace page in anticipation of the show, and I needed a damn name to finalize the profile. Well, "caity_two_sheds" has been my email address since the beginning of time, so I just shortened it and called the band Two Sheds. After our first show, we got a bunch of other shows pretty quick, and I never changed it.

How did you all begin playing together? When did it start?

I think it started in the fall of 2004. I was beginning my last year of college, Johnny (bass player) and Rusty (drummer) had a couple months of lag time in between Jackpot touring and recording (Jackpot is Rusty's band, Johnny plays bass for them, too). Johnny's OTHER other band, Milwaukee, wasn't really using much of the studio time he had booked, so we all decided to hang out and mess around together.

I'd just started taking drum lessons, so the whole thing was centered around me getting in my practice time. It was really loose though. We'd switch instruments all the time. I was such a beginner, but there was something really exciting about getting to play with these guys who have been doing it forever - I guess it made me want to learn faster.

In late '04 the boys went into the studio to begin work on the next Jackpot record, I actually started writing songs and recording them on GarageBand at home. I shared them with John and Russ (after some serious negotiation and a few bottles of wine), and they liked them - that's when "mess around time" morphed naturally into band practice.

After a few months, Johnny decided to book us a show - I was terrified, but we did it. Later on, we were joined by our pal Norman Wolfe, who put some really great guitar/ keyboard parts on the record. (Norm has since moved to Portland.)

After recording, Robert Cheek (our engineer) started playing with us occasionally on second guitar/ keyboard. And just this summer Rusty's schedule got so slammed with his other projects, he had to move on.

He toured with Jason Lytle as his multi-instrumentalist, in support of the new Grandaddy record, then he went to Europe for about 7 weeks. That's when our good buddy Sam Coe (former Low Flying Owl) stepped in on drums.

What’s it like playing in a band with a spouse?

I was a really reluctant songwriter - Johnny was the one always telling me he thought I could do it. Without him, I don't think I would have worked up the nerve to try. I can't imagine being in a band without Johnny. Yes, I know. Schmarmy as hell.

It's funny though. When we were recording Strange Ammunition, Johnny would always have these suggestions that I shot down - I guess I wanted to let my other band members (my non-spouses) have more creative input on the songs.

I was worried about it being the Caitlin and Johnny show all the time, and I like to put a lot of emphasis on the fact that we are a BAND, not a husband/wife duo. So Johnny started whispering the same, vetoed suggestions to Robert.

Then Robert would pass them along to me as if they were his own ideas. And of course, then I thought they were brilliant. Sometimes I'm glad John knows me so well.

What’s the reaction been to the album? I know it’s been one of my favorites… probably among my most listened-to cds this year.

Really? That's cool, man. Thanks. It was a really fun record to make. We spent months messing around in the studio, essentially recorded the album twice before we put it out.

Our buddy John Baccigaluppi (he runs the Hangar, the studio where we recorded), pretty much gave us carte blanche with the studio time. I couldn't have imagined a nicer way to experience my first recording process - no pressure, all fun and ideas.

And it's funny, it really seems like people picked up on that. A lot of people say they listen to the record while they clean, while they work, while they make art, and it cheers them up - I like hearing about the context in which people enjoy the record.

Do you feel like comparisons to great bands a double-edged sword? I know I’ve read (and written) comments about Two Sheds at times being like a mix of PJ Harvey, Mazzy Star, and/or Cat Power, though that hardly does you justice…

I ask because I know when I was in a band I didn’t care for getting compared to The Strokes and The Psychedelic Furs, even though it’s not like I actively disliked either act.

You know, I'd be lying if I said I never cringe when those comparisons pop up, but ultimately, I don't care. Anyone that sees us knows that we aren't those artists. People need a frame of reference for things. It's how we create connection and meaning out of all the seemingly disparate elements in our lives.

Insound, an online retailer, contacted us about sending out a promo email to all of their customers that bought the Cat Power record - one of those "If you liked this, you'll probably like this" kind of deals - they were concerned that I wouldn't want to be associated with her.

I told them I didn't care - well, about 500 people downloaded our stuff and Insound sold out of our records in about a day. So, thanks Cat Power.

You say that you’re pretty new to song-writing, but it’s kind of hard to believe after hearing tracks like It’s Hard or Mine. What’s the process been like?

I did get an extremely late start on songwriting. I think that has something to do with how the songs turn out. Songs are different when you start writing them at 24 versus 15.

It was actually one of the reasons I didn't want to do it in the first place. I thought that if I hadn't started creating music as a fetus, I had no business doing it at all. You see these actresses on TV these days - they have been in commercials since they were two - it's discouraging to someone who's had office jobs their whole life.

But really, fuck it. It's not like I've been using fax machines since grade school, anyway.

So, I have a natural tendency to shoot myself down a lot, to put the kibosh on ideas that aren't even formed yet. I set this rule - I have to finish everything I start. And I generally have to do it in one sitting. I tend to write songs like essays - I try and make sure all of the lyrics and music inform a general mood or theme, but that doesn't always work out. Even if it feels like it's not working out, I still finish it.

Then I take the songs to practice, hand them to the boys and they decide what they want to play on them. Not much of the songs ever change - the arrangement, the lyrics, etc. - the boys just add textures to them.

Who do you consider your influences? Song-writing or otherwise?

Musically, I tend to refer to Neil Young, Pavement, VU and early Beck a lot. I have always enjoyed the way these guys write songs - weird, but not weird - the circus tent-full of words they use in their lyrics, the sense of humor that comes across... I dunno.

Other than that, I listen to mostly classical music - Bach, Dvorak, etc. - and more recent composers, too. I like Philip Glass a lot. I don't feel that my music necessarily sounds like any of these people, but they continue to stoke my desire to make music.

Also, I tend to write a lot of songs about my family. I have a really interesting family. So, I guess they are my other influence.

How much have you toured to support the album? I know you’ve played here in LA at The Silver Lake Lounge a few times. Have you ventured out of state?

We did a string of shows up in Oregon and Washington, but nothing out-of-state besides that. We all decided that we would break touring down into a series of long weekends. We never do more than four or five dates on a single trip out of town, and we leave town every month.

We'd definitely like to go back to the Northwest, but gas is so damned expensive. We come to LA and San Diego a lot because it's always fun and the drive is so much easier.

We play a fair amount in Northern California too - mostly in Davis, Sacramento and San Francisco. We play a lot.

What’s the Sacramento music scene like these days?

There is definitely some cool stuff going on, and it's not specific to any particular genre. No one band is really associated with any club in particular - it's not like LA where you have The Fold and Hollywood and the OC - this is probably due in part to the fact that Sacramento is smaller.

It seems like everyone is working really hard at playing as many different places and as much as they can. The only thing that's palpably lacking is a really good, all-ages venue in Downtown Sacramento. There really aren't too many places for kids to go these days.

But in absence of actual venues, there are always house shows. Sacramento has and always will be a place where you have to build from the ground up. I think this is what makes some of the bands that come from this area so neat.

What’s your favorite song been to work on?

The last song on Strange Ammunition, for sure - The Sea to E Minor. It was this total throwaway as far as I was concered.

We had Rusty play piano over this keyboard part that Norm had layed down. Rusty almost missed the chord change, so the piano has this lovely, delayed mess vibe. When we soloed out those parts we realized how cool they were on their own, and it went from there.

We ran the drums through this kick ass Chandler compressor, and I played some guitar we looped backwards - parts of it started to sound like Harvest, which got me all excited.

We had our pal Melody write some string parts for the end - she is incredible. She sat in a corner of the control room for a couple of hours writing out the music on her notepad, tapping her fingers silently on the fingerboard of her violin. When she finally played everything, she looked up at us and said "Um, is that okay?"

Well shit yes, it was okay. I just think her parts are really, achingly beautiful. So, Robert and John and I just ended up staying up all night, turning this three-minute song into a really neat, six-minute mini-opus.

We started drinking at around four in the morning - by 8:00am we were so delirious that we were laying around on the floor - we went out to breakfast to celebrate and Robert fell asleep in the bathroom - I can't remember when I've had more fun.

What’s next for you? Are you working on any new material? Any plans to record?

Johnny and Robert woke me up at four this morning to tell me that we are going to make an EP. (This is how most band decisions are made. John and Robert talk all night and then let me know what's going on.)

We have a handful of new songs that we can use for it. And I need to get back into the studio - winter recording at the Hangar is so much fun. Cold as hell, but really fun.

Last question: What current bands are you listening to the most these days?

I have been listening to the Brightblack Morning Light record a lot. I think they are so, so good. Johnny was just talking about a Beach Boys record I wanna revisit - Surf's Up. This band Dame Satan, our friends from SF, their stuff is great. And our other pals, the Chapin Sisters - love them too.

That’s it. Thanks for your time, Caitlin.

MP3: It’s Hard

Video Free Silver Lake: Monsters Are Waiting

It's not like this video from last weekend's Eagle Rock Music Festival has the greatest picture quality or anything -- I mean, you'd probably be hard pressed to make out anyone on stage -- but Monsters Are Waiting's cover of I Wanna Be Adored by The Stone Roses sounded so good, I had to post it. (I've gotta say that though the band's cd didn't quite click for me, I was really impressed by their set at the event. They're great live.)

Monsters Are Waiting are currently on tour across the country, but return here to LA to play Safari Sam's on Wednesday, December 6th.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New Releases Tuesday - 10/10/06

120 Days - 120 Days (Vice)
Apoptygma Berzerk - You and Me Against The World (Metropolis)
Bitch - Make This/Break This (Kill Rock Stars)
Blood Brothers - Young Machetes (V2)
Busdriver - Kill Your Employer (Recreational Paranoia is the Sport of Now) (Anti-/Epitaph)

Califone - Roots & Crowns (Thrill Jockey)
CalifoneCalifone started recording Roots & Crowns in October 2005 and worked on it in chunks at 4Deuces Studio in Chicago with Brian Deck, in Long Beach and Phoenix with Michael Krassner, and at home in Los Angeles and Chicago until May 2006. “Some of these songs started as hummed melodies into my cell phone recorder while I was driving. Others were triggered by overheard conversations, loops brought in from home, field recordings or sounds we made in the studio before the tape was rolling,” says Rutili.

Download: Califone - "Spider's House"

Caroline - Sunrise EP (Temporary Residence)
Chavez - Better Days Will Haunt You (Matador)

Chin Up Chin Up - This Harness Can't Ride Anything (Suicide Squeeze)
Recorded by Sir Brian Deck [Iron And Wine, Red Red Meat, Modest Mouse] at his Engine Studios, the tracks are a joyful mix of shifting dynamics, stuttering riffs, and buoyant arrangements all held together by front man Jeremy Bolen’s scratched up discourse on breasts, beavers, and Minnesota.

Cold War Kids - Robbers and Cowards (Downtown)
Daedelus - Throw A Fit (Alpha Pup)
Damien Jurado - And Now That I'm In Your Shadow (Secretly Canadian)
El Goodo - S/T (Empyrean Records)
Euros Childs - Chops (Wichita)

The Fix - The Speed of Twisted Thought (Touch and Go)
Not to be confused with the "Saved By Zero" dudes... Lansing, Michigan’s The Fix were one of the earliest hardcore bands in the Midwest and also one of the first bands to release a record on Touch and Go. Vocalist Steve Miller, guitarist Craig Calvert, bassist Mike Achtenberg, and drummer Jeff created super fast and ferocious music that never failed to blow away those who were lucky enough to witness one of their live shows or buy one of their 7”s. There were only 200 copies of their first 7” (Vengeance / In This Town) that was issued in early 1981, and only 1000 copies of their Jan’s Rooms 7” that was issued in late 1981. By the end of 1982, The Fix had broken up. Steve and Mike went on to form Blight with Meatmen vocalist Tesco Vee.

Fucked Up - Hidden World (Jade Tree)

Charlotte Gainsbourg - 5:55 (Atlantic)
Indeed, Charlotte is the daughter of French music icon Serge Gainsbourg and besides starring in the uber-hip new Michel Gondry vehicle, The Science of Sleep, she also hits record store shelves this fall with her second solo album featuring an uber-hip supporting cast consisting of Jarvis Cocker, Nigel Godrich and Serge heir apparents, Air. Charlotte has always been more of an actress than a songstress, but All Music Guide says this new record defines her as "an artist and interpereter in her own right."

Gothic Archies - The Tragic Treasury: Songs from a Series of Unfortunate Events (Nonesuch)
I Am Ghost - Lovers' Requiem (Epitaph)
Johann Johannson - IBM 1401 - A User's Manual (4AD)
Micah P. Hinson - Micah P. Hinson & The Opera Circuit (Jade Tree)
Nikki Sudden - The Truth Doesn't Matter (Secretly Canadian)
Oxford Collapse - Remember The Night (Parties)

Pit Er Pat - Pyramids (Thrill Jockey)
Powerful rhythms provide the solid floor for ethereal melodies and layers of textural samples on Pyramids. Contemporaries describe Pit er Pat’s sound as distinctively modern and fresh. Doran and Fuego’s vocals often flit with Davis-Jeffers’ in an exchange evoking haunting innocence...As with their last release, the 3-D Message EP, Pit er Pat recorded this album at Soma Studios with John McEntire.

Pompeii - Assembly (Eyeball)
Portastatic - Be Still Please (Merge)
Rhys Chatham - Two Gong (Table of the Elements)
Robert Pollard - Normal Happiness (Merge)
Sparta - Threes (Hollywood Records)
Spider and the Webs - Frozen Roses (K Records)
Sybarite - Cut Out Shape (Temporary Residence)
These Arms Are Snakes - Easter (Jade Tree)
Transmission - S/T (Table of the Elements)

Under Byen - Samme Stof Som Stof (Paper Bag Records)
In a house full of secrets Under Byen (pronounced Oh’nah-Boon) began recording their new record. The basic try outs – what was later to become “Samme Stof Som Stof” – took place in an old 18 century house in Brussels, a house in which the leather wallpaper hung loose from the walls and the heavy planks on the floor would creak with every foot step.

Download - Under Byen - "Samme Stof Som Stof"

Whitey - The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Is A Train (Dim Mak)

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Monday Show Low Down (Or "I've Fallen In Love With Its Peanut Taste!")

My hat is off to the folks at Little Radio for their part putting on The Eagle Rock Music Festival last Saturday night, where Monsters Are Waiting, The Movies, The Parson Redheads, Great Northern, and more played.

Good times, good times…

We’ve announced the official line-up in our second Let’s Independent! event at Boardner’s in Hollywood later this month on Tuesday, October 24th. Opening up the night are electro pop act Thailand, followed by the ever exuberant Happy Hollows, and then headlining the show are Division Day, who have been one of our favorite live acts in LA for some time and were recently signed to Mercy Records.

To hear and/or download tracks from all three bands, go check out our myspace page for Let’s Independent! … and, hell, add us.

I mean, you like stuff. We like stuff, too.

Anyway, here’s what this week’s show line-up is looking like:

Tonight, The National plays sad, self-reflective pop over at The Troubadour, the increasingly-talked about act The Oohlas perform at The Viper Room, the wonder that is Lavender Diamond appear at The Echo with Winter Flowers, Sufjan Stevens folks up The Wiltern, Rocket reside for free at Spaceland, and The Karabal Nightlife heads to The Knitting Factory, but the show I’m most curious about is Light FM over at The Silver Lake Lounge.

On Tuesday, I guess you’re on your own for entertainment. I got nothing.

But on Wednesday, Kasabian and Mew head to The Henry Fonda, Cold War Kids celebrate the release of their cd at Spaceland, Lava Children do a last-minute free show at Safari Sam's, and The National return for a second show at The Troubadour.

(If you can get in to Spaceland for Cold War Kids, do it. They signed to Gnarls Barkley’s label and might not play a venue that size any time soon…)

On Thursday, Teddy’s Cheer Club venture out to The Prospector in Long Beach and The Fcked Five stay close to home at Zen Sushi, while Sacramento’s Two Sheds come to The Silver Lake Lounge.

I’ll definitely be at the Two Sheds show since I heart their debut album in the worst possible way. I’ll have an interview with them w/ mp3 up on the site this Thursday morning.

On Friday evening, Inara George’s The Bird and The Bee play The Silver Lake Lounge, The Bentleys head to The Knitting Factory, The 88 perform at The Getty, and Lucero return to The Troubadour.

On Saturday night, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Architecture in Helsinki team-up at The Henry Fonda, Thunderbirds are Now! and You Say Party, We Say Die join forces at Spaceland, Ghostland Observatory and Bodies of Water wonder-twin The Echo and Lilly Allen plays a sold-out show at The Troubadour.

Then on Sunday, Sarah Coleman is Ladytown performs early as part of the Grand Ole Echo series at The Echo while The New Motherfuckers go on later as part of Part-Time Punks, then Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Architecture in Helsinki play a second night at The Henry Fonda.


In LA residency news, The Western States Motel have announced they’ll be playing at Little Pedro’s on Sunday nights from November 12th through December 3rd, and Great Northern will appear at The Echo on Monday nights in November, while Let’s Go Sailing plays over at Spaceland.

And the following bands have also announced shows for LA: The 88, In Waves, Acute, Now It's Overhead, Summerbirds In The Cellar, The Thermals, and Cursive. (See the right-hand column for dates and venues.)

- Mini-Interview: Cold War Kids
- Band of the Week: Two Sheds

Friday, October 06, 2006

Mini-Interview: Bedroom Walls

When I first saw Bedroom Walls’ live act at El Cid last July, it was such a pleasant surprise that I soon wrote that it was “some of the most instantly endearing music I’ve come across.”

The way the five-piece band went through lush, swooney song after song -- frequently switching instruments from organ to glockspiel to triangle -- positively knocked me on my ass … you know, figuratively speaking.

(Just listen to their latest album, All Good Dreamers Pass This Way, and you'll hear why.)

I spoke with Bedroom Walls frontman Adam Goldman recently to learn more about the band and quickly found out that besides being a talented singer and guitarist he’s also, like, funny or something...

Though I guess should have been little surprise from a guy who once told The LA Times, tongue planted firmlyin cheek, that his band’s mission was: “We just want to make people sad.”

Hi, Adam. How’s it going?

Eh, alright I guess. I just found out that an old friend from summer camp is one of those batshit Libertarians who is obsessed with ending income tax and hates the UN. I'll always remember him as the guy I first got high and listened to The Wall with.

How did the Bedroom Walls first start out? You guys have known each other for years, right?

I opened a show for Radio Vago at The Smell a long time ago. It was my first time playing out in L.A., and I'm pretty sure it was a fiasco, especially since everyone was there to get a sonic beatdown from Radio Vago and had to sit through my tender little acoustic songs first.

I didn't feel the need to do it again any time soon, but my roommate, Julian Gross, got it in his head that we should start a band. He was very persistent. And very smelly.

He ran into our pal Melissa Thorne in the Von's parking lot in Los Feliz and sweet-talked her into coming over to our apartment and playing some of my songs. Julian left to join Liars. And over the years we've collected Vanessa, Donna, and Jeff through friends and friends-of-friends.

You guys call the music you make “romanticore?” Did you come up with that term? What is it, exactly?

Romanticore is like emo for people who aren't retarded. Just kidding. You can be retarded and still like us.

But seriously...when we started out, there weren't too many bands in L.A. playing quiet, pretty songs. This might seem hard to believe now that you can't swing a dead cat in Echo Park without hitting 10 bands who wear their sensitivity on their sleeves, but it's true.

Way back in '01 or so, the "east side" scene was overrun by cute, dumb boys with shaggy hair and riffs that were at least two decades old. I guess Romanticore was our tongue-slightly-in-cheek way of addressing what we thought of as outsider status.

What really set it off was a "What is Romanticore?" mission statement I posted at our website. I listed things like "Eating stale cake for breakfast (and lunch)" and "knowing your ex-girlfriend is happier now." Heartfelt, corny, and (at least to me) pretty hilarious. Promoting the idea of melancholy as a decadent lifestyle choice just seemed funny to me, but not everyone sees the comedy element.

Anyway, the reactions we've gotten tend to fall into three categories: 1) People who take it seriously and love it (bloggers, reviewers, sad teens and sadder post-teens); 2) People who take it seriously and hate it (bloggers, reviewers, and all-around humorless types); and 3) People who see it as a mix of sincerity and sarcasm.

We like types 1 and 3 a lot.

Now that everybody's so effing sensitive, I guess the Romaticore thing makes less sense, and the humorous aspect of it gets lost.

Seriously -- every band on Myspace describes their music as "an autumn breeze at dusk" and "the smell of warm bread in Tuscany." Ugh! It's enough to make you miss the '90s.

What was your experience recording your new album? How is it different from the first?

The first album, I SAW YOU COMING BACK TO ME, was supposed to be completely instrumental. This was at a time when we played shows sitting down and didn't look at the audience.

It's totally embarrassing to think about it now, but we were one of those bands that regarded with some contempt the idea of providing the listener with too much "pleasure." The unspoken guiding principle seemed to be "Maybe we can dismantle the capitalist system if we refuse to sing catchy choruses!"

I believe this is what people call "art damage," and it is a terrible thing.

Anyway, right before going into the studio to make ISYCBTM, I played an early version of our song Do the Buildings and Cops Make You Smile? for Melissa and Julian at practice and they really wanted to put it on the album.

I think they were reacting to the fact that it was actually a real song. It had a melody and lyrics! I thought it was a dangerous move, but I relented and we recorded it.

I guess the point I'm kind of trying to make is that we had a lot of rules and restrictions on ourselves for the first album, which sounds like a bad thing, but I think it gives the record a special character.

For the new record, though, I just wanted to unleash a bunch of epic moments. I tried to make sure that each song had a big climax -- something that would sound great with headphones.

I wanted to make something stoned suburban teenagers could freak out to.

You guys made a few videos for the new album, including one that's “all sexy.” How did those come together?

Like the recording of the album itself, we just exploited the free labor of some of our genius friends.

The funny thing about the smutty video for Somewhere in Newhall is that it was made by a lovely young lass named Jessica Hundley.

Meanwhile, Eon McKai -- an actual director of hardcore porn -- ended up making a very innocent and sweet video for Mandy.

LOL, as the kids say...

You seem to have a love/hate/love/hate relationship with LA. Which is parts do you love and which do you hate? About its music scene or otherwise.

First off, let me say that even though I've probably had enough of L.A. for the time being, I've actually had a great time living here. And even when I do hate it, it's not for the cliche San Francisco/NYC bullshit reasons like "L.A. has no culture/no history/no soul/no blah blah." That's all nonsense.

I guess I'm just a little worn out on the youth obsession and the traffic. These things are everywhere, but maybe (hopefully) not as X-treme as they are here.

Anyway, as far as the band goes, I'm wishy-washy. L.A.'s been our home and we love it. I think it's been a bit tough at times, though, because things fall in and out of fashion so quickly.

We were a flavor of the month for a while, but that passes. We're kind of a "national act" these days, so it I guess it doesn't really matter that much, but it still bothers me that we're maybe slightly taken for granted in our hometown. I'm just a big baby.

You’ve said that you don’t really listen to a lot of modern music. What older music influences you?

Ah -- this is the "influences" question! I have a pat answer for these now:

Prince-meets-Billy-Joel-meets-Steve-Reich! (Plus Rickie Lee Jones, Led Zeppelin and late-period Talk Talk)

At one of the Bedroom Walls shows I saw, you called out to the audience for classic rock requests into the audience and then played them solo. How often do you do that?

I spent a lot of time in my room in the Long Island suburbs getting high and learning classic rock songs. I also did homework (once a nerd, always a nerd), but I can't remember anything about trigonometry.

I do however remember how to play "Lonely is the Night" by Billy Squire. So, if someone in the band is having a technical difficulty, sometimes I'll call out for classic rock requests to keep busy.

How many instruments do you guys bust out over the course of a night?

Um, I was promised there would be no math questions on this thing.

Last question: What’s next for you?

Next we are going to make an album that will solve the problems of world hunger, racism, global warming, worker exploitation and religious persecution.

It's going to sound like Janet Jackson getting it on with Jacques Brel, and it's going to kick your ass.

MP3: In Anticipation Of Your Suicide