Friday, December 29, 2006

What 2006 Meant to LA Indie Music

So, yeah. I thought I’d take a look at the last year by focusing on what it meant to a handful of great LA bands...

Indie pop all-stars Irving released their second full-length album, Death in the Garden, Blood on the Flowers, and toured with Austin’s Voxtrot and Sound Team in support of it. They also produced three videos for the cd and generally got a good deal of attention.

Former Irving member Shana Levy’s band Let’s Go Sailing played a residency at Spaceland and released their first album Chaos In Order, five years worth of pop music goodness.

Current Irving member Alex Church’s other group Sea Wolf also had a residency at Spaceland and it was damn good. They came out with handmade EPs for fans at shows and word about a deal with a label filtered in at the end of the year.

Indie rock stalwarts Earlimart finished recording a new album … one song from it come out on a vinyl single and cd compilation … it and three others were released for free online (here, here, here, and here) and offer a glimpse at what might be the band’s best work yet.

Great Northern (who have two former members of Earlimart in their group) became one of the strongest live acts in town … one of their highlights was a residency at The Echo … They were signed to Eenie Meanie and recorded an album that’s due early next year.

The Little Ones were another band that turned into an amazing live act over the course of ’06. They self-released their Sing Song EP, were picked up by Astralwerks (who re-released the EP), and began touring extensively.

Indie rock fantasticos Division Day also self-released an album, Beartrap Island, right around the time of their residency at The Echo. They were signed to new label Mercy Records and played, like, all over the place.

Soul-blues-rock band Cold War Kids simultaneously self-released two EPs worth of material, which was then combined into the album Robbers & Cowards by Gnarls Barkley’s label Downtown Recordings. They started out the year touring with Austin’s Tapes N Tapes, then began selling out shows on their own, and recently tore it up on David Letterman.

And finally, The Silversun Pickups – LA’s best and brightest – had a great year. They released the album Carnavas on Dangerbird, produced two videos for songs off of it, also played on Letterman, began selling out shows at venues like The Troubadour, and started getting more and more radio airplay.

Yeah, it’s been quite a year for Los Angeles’ incredible independent music scene. More soon on what it looks like ’07 holds in store for us…

Great Northern pic by Blkhrtmdr.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Wednesday Show Low Down (Or "Living for Love and Love Alone")

Yeah, it’s a lazy holiday week in LA … a time of glorious unproductivity here around the Radio Free Silver Lake offices. The staff is loaded to the gills with a mixture of percocet and tequila and the most they seem capable of is 20-minute sessions of Night Driver on the Atari 2600 and staring out the window at the early afternoon sun-showers.

That’s an elaborate and largely fictional excuse for why the Monday show update is running on Wednesday this week. It’s surprising how many bands are playing during these connective days between xmas and the amateur drunk holiday also known as NYE. Because last year? It was a desolate wasteland of no music and more no music.

Last night, The Willowz and The Delta Spirit (one of Rock Insider’s favorites) played at Spaceland. Tonight, Loverlee will be at The Knitting Factory and Repeater at Club Moscow at Boardner’s. Then on Thursday, Upground is playing Spaceland on Ice at Pershing Square where, yup, you ice-skate while they perform.

On Friday, The Good Listeners, The Breakups, and Wonderground head to Spaceland, while The Oohlas take The Echo. On Saturday, The Breakups sneak over to Mr. T’s Bowl and The Minor Canon play Spaceland.

And then on New Year’s Eve? There’s a multi-stage event at All-Star Lanes in Eagle Rock with Wake up Incinerate, Die Rockers Die, The Transmissions, Kind Hearts and Coronets, The F*cked Five, Murmur, and The Health Club.

Then, Bodies of Water, 8-bit, and The Mormons perform at Mr T’s Bowl and Autolux come out of hiding to play with Dead Meadow, Bloodcat Love, and Chris Holmes at Little Radio EV.

Here’s a pile of other recently announced shows: The Breakups, Sea Wolf, The Movies, Clinic, Ragsy, The Ettes, Brian Wilson with Al Jardine, Jackson Browne & Willie Nelson, TV on the Radio, Snow Patrol, The Silversun Pickups, OK Go, Earlimart, Sebadoh, El-P, and My Morning Jacket. (See the right-hand column for dates and venues. All props to the excellent LA music site You Set The Scene for reporting on many of these shows.)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Ten Free Songs For Xmas

I wanted to take this opportunity to say happy holidays from the staff of Radio Free Silver Lake – and many thanks to the great bands we’ve covered this year for all the excellent music.

Here’s a collection of songs that they’ve made available for free for your downloading pleasure.

The Movies - Rock In The Slingshot

EarlimartNevermind The Phonecalls

The HectorsI Drove All The Way From Bridgeport To Make It With You

Sea Wolf - You're A Wolf

Division DayTap-Tap, Click-Click

The SpiresI Know Less Than I Did At The Start

The Bedroom Walls - In Anticipation Of Your Suicide



RademacherPlaying For Fun

That could be the start of a damn good mix cd…

Friday, December 22, 2006

Fifteen Favorites for 2006

I’ve realized that there’s really no way for me to write any sort of authoritative list of the top albums that came out in this last year…

I mean, there've been so many releases that other sites loved that I seem to have missed. One look at my favorite music blogs You Set The Scene and Rock Insider and I realize that I definitely let a few pass me by.

So, I figure I can just list a few of my own favorite albums -- and, y'know, fifteen seems like a nice, round, arbitrary number...

BeirutGulag Orkestar (Bada Bing)
I don't know what's more strange and unlikely, that this album has such a distinctly Eastern European folk music sound or the fact that it's headed by a nineteen-year-old musical prodigy. Either way, it's a stunning, immediately likeable debut…

The Black Pine - With Us (The New Black)
The Black Pine make dark, stormy pop music that's at times reiminiscent of some improbable pairing of The Cranes and The Kinks. How can you not like that?

Division DayBeartrap Island (Mercy Records)
There are so many great songs on this album that I’m still discovering new favorites almost a full year after its release.

El Perro Del MarEl Perro Del Mar (The Control Group)
You have to either be iceberg cool or completely ridiculous in order to pull off singing lines like “shoobie doo wah.” El Perro Del Mar falls in the former category, producing some of the best chamber pop since Jens Lehkman and B & S.

The EttesShake The Dust (Sympathy for the Record Industry)
Garage rock, perfected. If you can hear songs like It Ain’t You or No More Surprises without at least bobbing your head, you’re probably dead.

Film School - Self-titled (Beggars Banquet)
Around the begining of the year, this album of haunty, echoey indie rock was about all I was listening to. It's good and messy and all kinds of dark.

IrvingDeath in the Garden, Blood in the Flowers (Eenie Meanie)
Five enormously talented musicians apparently focused with one goal in mind: heart-breakingly good indie pop.

Let’s Go Sailing - The Chaos in Order (Self-release)
Almost five years in the making, Let's Go Sailing's debut album is precious, perfect pop music that was worth the wait.

the Lights From Here - Self-titled (The New Black)
Few bands do instrumental rock where the listener is drowned in sound as well as TLFH. Ideal music to listen to with the lights out during a thunderstorm or driving in the desert with the top down.

Micah P Hinson - Micah P. Hinson and the Opera Circuit (Jade Tree)
If Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen had a baby and left it to grow up on its own in the middle of Texas, it would probably sound a lot like Micah P Hinson. Somehow sad and uplifting, at once.

Say Hi To Your Mom - Impeccable Blahs (Rebel Group)
Probably the album I listened to the most in this entire year. A volley of incredibly charming, catchy tunes. Eighties music for people who don't like eighties music.

The Silversun Pickups - Carnavas (Dangerbird)
Even though this cd doesn't quite capture just how amazing The Silversun Pickups are live, it's still really goddamn good.

Tapes N Tapes - The Loon (Self-release)
An album of such quality and variety that it's almost like listening to a mix cd of your favorite songs.

Two Sheds - Strange Ammunition (UnderACloud)
Another cd that got near constant rotation around both the RFSL mobile and home offices... each song distinctly different, charming, and strong. It's a sad, happy, sad event with many tracks that get right under your skin.

The Western States Motel - Self-Titled (Firebird Field Recordings)
This album has a lot of the same heart you hear in The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and was written by a guy who -- no shit -- put it all together alone in his basement.

Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass (Matador)
"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 Sometimes I Don’t Get You, the 60s film soundtrack-esque I Should Have Known Better, or the perfect song to wake up to in the morning, Black Flowers."

Ha. Okay. That's sixteen...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Video Free Silver Lake: Foreign Born

Gah. I've got a big deadline at work and have been sticking around until a hundred o'clock a lot lately, but I wanted to make sure to quickly post this live footage from Foreign Born. They're one of my favorite rock acts here in LA and I haven't covered them nearly enough.

They're playing next on Monday, February 5th at The Viper Room with In Waves.

- Mini-Interview: Foreign Born

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Monday Show Low Down (Or “Spinning in the Hallway”)

It’s great to see The Silversun Pickups doing so well right now, what with their two sold-out shows at The Troubadour last weekend, their frequent radio airplay here, and their recent appearance on David Letterman.

But it’s not only exciting because they’re among the best and brightest that LA’s independent music scene has to offer, it’s also great because they’ve always been so good at promoting other excellent bands here in town. If there’s anyone that’s going to help shine a spotlight on the incredible volley of bands playing here right now, it’s them.

As I’ve said often before, that’s one of my favorite things about living here… The majority of the great acts I’ve encountered in LA really go out of their way to help promote others and it just makes for a very familial atmosphere. I guess that’s as anti the general perception of LA as you could possibly get -- and I think that's what the recent article in The LA Weekly was missing most for me.

Anyway, I gotta run. I just updated the concert calendar to the right with new dates for the following bands: The Western States Motel, Let's Go Sailing, The Black Pine, Rhett Miller, Thailand, Grizzly Bear, The Minor Canon The Delta Spirit, The Prayers, The Willowz, Japanese Motors, Indian Jewelry, Clip'd Beaks, The Transmissions, Die! Rockers Die!, Death to Anders, One Trick Pony, Anchors for Architects, Dosh, Birdmonster, Wired All Wrong, The Drawing Board, To Live and Die in LA, Ninja Academy, 8-Bit, The Mormons, We Be The Echo, Girl Talk. Matt & Kim, the Gray Kid, M. Ward, Victoria Williams, Camera Obscura, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, The Good Listeners, Entrance, Briertone, Peter and The Wolf, Dodo Bird, The Lottery, Fairmona, The Soft Lightes, B.R.A.M., The Changes, Dead Ponies, Antiques, Parson Red Heads, Dustin O’Halloran, The Happy Hollows, Eagle & Talon, The Pity Party, Twilight Sleep, Casxio, Sylvain Sylvain & Sami Yaffa of The New York Dolls, The Good Listeners, The Idyllists, Tandemoro, The Dagons, Dr. Dog, Wake up Incinerate, Die Rockers Die, The Transmissions, Kind Hearts and Coronets, The F*cked Five, Murmur, The Health Club, In Waves, Foreign Born, The Bird & The Bee, and Nico Stai.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Mini-Interview: Califone

Califone11As much as we hate to admit it back in Chicago, we can no longer call Califone all our own. A couple of years back, after living around the Windy City for all his life, Califone ring leader Tim Rutili packed his bags and moved to Los Angeles. While he still finds time to come back to Chicago to record and play with his old mates, these days Tim is a full-fledged L.A. resident who enjoys hanging out by the ocean and going out for Chinese in Monterey Park. Rather than doing yet another who/what/when/where and how interview, we thought we'd pit Tim on the spot and have him weigh the pros and cons of living in L.A. vs. Chicago. After much deliberation, here's Tim's top 5 best and worst things about each city:

L.A. = Great

1. Fish Burritos
2. December, January, February(oh so beautiful)
3. Monterey Park Chinese food with Jason and Gina almost anytime.
4. The Pacific Ocean!
5. Hills!

Chicago = Great

1. My bandmates, co-conspirators and friends...
2. Midwest Buy and Sell (one of the better guitar/pawn shops) and better thrift stores overall.
3. September, October, May
4. Clava/4deuces recording studio
5. The Hideout

L.A. = Sucks

1. Too much driving
2. Malls (too many)
3. One million unnecessary facial surgeries/ironic hipster moustaches(tied)
4. EVERYTHING costs more money here!
5. This can be the most lonesome crowded delusional town on earth sometimes

Chicago = Sucks

1. This can be the second most crabbiest, hopeless town on earth sometimes.
2. The traffic, the police, the city government, parking tickets, the boot.
3. December, January, February(frozen spit)
4. One million un-ironic Ditka moustaches/fearless rats(tied)
5. Wrigleyville almost anytime

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Band of the Week: The Spires

My friend George from Complicated Dance Steps described The Spires pretty succinctly in his November post: “I know nothing of this band but they are really making me sad right now and that is a good thing.”

This boy-girl act from Ventura creates pleasantly melancholy pop music that takes from (but doesn’t bite off of) such acts as The Smiths, Robyn Hitchcock, and Lou Reed. It’s pretty empathetic stuff, happy if you’re happy, sad with you, if you’re sad. But in the end? Just really good

That’s what people kept stopping by and saying to me when the band was playing our Let’s Independent! event at Boardner’s last month. They’d walk up during their set, grab me by the arm, and mouth those words, eyebrows scrunched up in seriousness. Then for days afterwards, people kept telling and writing me the exact same thing. Everyone. Exactly. The. Same. Thing.

The Spires have two EPs and an album out on Beehouse Records --- the Sky Sky EP just came out – and you can find them all for sale here.

DOWNLOAD: I Know Less Than I Did From The Start

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Video Free Silver Lake: Space Mtn

I’ve been meaning to do an interview with LA indie pop group Space Mtn for pretty much forever now. We talked about doing a face-to-face discussion with the band at dive bar Club Tee Gee over a game of Scrabble … and then just a phone interview as time wore on … but I haven’t had time to write more elaborate features since the ones I did on The Movies and Eagle & Talon.

From what I understand, the band is working on a new album and isn’t playing out right now, so maybe we’ll be able to time something around when they eventually come out of hiding.

In the meantime, here are videos for the songs Undermining and Oh off their first album, A Drawing of a Memory of a Photograph of You.

By the way, Space Mtn’s drummer Andrew Platts also plays bass in Tigers Can Bite You – one of my favorite new bands – who are opening up for Irving and The Silversun Pickups this Sunday night at The Troubadour.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Monday Show Low Down (Or “It All Went Downhill After The Penguin Bit Me…”)

Hey, my tortoises woke me up having sex at like 6AM, but somehow I’m still running late to work, so I've gotta keep this sorta quick...

Highlights this week? On Monday, The Parson Red Heads and Airborne Toxic Event play The Echo for free, and Juania May and The Hymns perform Tuesday at El Cid.

On Thursday, it’s all about either The Movies and The Happy Hollows at Mountain Bar or Spaceland on Ice at Pershing Square with Great Northern and The Submarines. And Friday, [Post-Foetus] and The Deadly Syndrome head to The Unknown Theater in Hollywood, while The Natural Disasters take The Old Towne Pub in Pasadena.

On Saturday night, The Lights From Here, who are one of my favorite instrumental rock bands and just reformed, will play Pehrspace. Or maybe you scored tickets early for the now-sold-out show of The Silversun Pickups, Midnight Movies, and Twilight Sleep at The Troubadour.

Then on Sunday, The Silversun Pickups return to The Troubadour with Irving and Tigers Can Bite You.

The highlights of the highlights? The top three would have to be The Silversun Pickups, Irving, and Tigers Can Bite You at The Troubadour, The Movies and The Happy Hollows at Mountain Bar, and Spaceland On Ice with Great Northern and The Submarines at Pershing Square. All three shows should be really goddamn amazing...

But there’s even more going on this week. Check out the right-hand column for who is playing where and when, including new dates for The Pity Party, Autolux, Dead Meadow, Bloodcat Love, Chris Holmes, The Bloody Heads, Cosio, and Port O’Brien, Scissors for Lefty, ArtDamaged, The Bentleys, Loverlee, Stephen James, Teddy's Cheer Club, The Temporary Thing, Philistine, Zanzibar Lewis, Sunset Rubdown, Xiu Xiu, and Low.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Mini-Interview: The Hectors

This Sunday, LA's The Hectors will perform their brand of rad, echoey indie rock at Bar 107 with Mospeada. So, download the MP3 below and read the following interview with band members Corinne Dinner and Jim Saunders to see why you should drag your lazy ass downtown that night and join us all there.

Sorry to hear that you guys had to cancel your KXLU performance earlier in the week. What kind of sick did you have, Corrine?

Corinne: I caught a nasty head cold in the Bay Area, so we thought it best to postpone the KXLU thing - nobody wants to hear Yoda front a rock band. (Actually, what am I talking about? That would be awesome). They're letting us come in and play on December 18th instead.

So, your name comes from 17th century gang of London hooligans? Are you guys all, like, really tough or something?

Jim: Corinne is really, really tough. We once saw her take a swig of whiskey straight from the bottle…it was totally intense. The boys in the band, well, not so much. We weep a lot, have whining contests (Erik is the reigning champ), and sometimes we stop playing right in the middle of a show because the guitar strings pinch our fingers.

Your site says that "The Hectors have been called 'the shining culmination of 50 years of underground rock 'n 'roll' by one major music critic, although a second music critic called that 'the drunken ravings of a pure-bred asshole.'"

When the hell did all of this happen? And who said what?

Jim: Because of all the ongoing lawsuits and counter-lawsuits and acts of petty violence and aggravated slander that resulted from the incident, we're not at liberty to discuss the details. I'm sorry.

It’s great that you have one of Corrine’s elementary school papers on your band site.

Corrine, you said in it that you wanted to draw cartoons (“mostly disgusting ones”) or become a comedian (“wakka wakka wakka”) when you grew up, but didn’t list musician. When did that start?

Corinne: Yeah, well, when "wakka wakka wakka" is your "A" material, it's probably best you don't try to become a comedian. I took a few guitar lessons when I was twelve or thirteen, but it really turned me off because the music store would always set me up with this greasy ponytail guy who spent half the session showing off his sweet metal licks.

I think I learned the beginning of Master of Puppets and Sweet Child 'O' Mine, then called it quits. I kept my guitar though.

How about you, Jim? When did you start playing music?

Jim: I started learning bar chords in high school so that I could join a local punk band, and I'm pretending not to remember the band's name. The highlight was playing at Gilman Street in Berkeley twice, and in many an Orange County backyard.

Later I teamed up with some friends for a recording-only band called Pushcar. The highlight was having Pitchfork liken me to Satan.

Then I met Corinne and she convinced me that playing in front of actual people again might be fun.

How did the band come together?

Corinne and I were living together and started writing songs. I had played and recorded with Robert previously, and knew him to be a talented musician (if a bit of a dandy).

Robert was asked aboard and more songs were written. Erik was a friend's friend from art school, and since he looked a little like Ed Begley's drummer character from Spinal Tap, he was in. More songs were written, gigs were gigged, and beers were sipped. And then the groupies.

When did you put together your EP? Tell me about the process.

Our modus operandi, for both the EP and the full-length that we are in the middle of recording, seems to be to go into a studio to lay down the drums - who has that many microphones? - and then track the rest at home. We have a few decent amps and a couple of good mics and our trusty Pro Tools rig, so it makes more sense.

None of us really like to perform "on the clock" – it’s a lot more fun for us to experiment with different takes and sounds and instruments in the comfort of someone's apartment. If only the neighbors understood.

I bet there’s a good story behind the song I Drove All The Way From Bridgeport To Make It With You. (You don’t have to answer that. Just nod once for yes, twice for no.)

Corinne: You'd think so, but you'd be wrong. We were watching Stardust Memories, and it's a line that some girl uses on Woody. I thought it would be a good title for a song, so it kind of evolved from there.

So, the song Cold Star on your myspace page is a demo track off your album? How far along is that?

Corinne: All of the songs are written, a few songs are partially recorded, and a few are pretty much done. We're starting to get a bit more momentum going with recording now that we've taken a short break from playing live.

There's something to be said for cocooning yourself away for a bit to let all the dreamy subconscious stuff be able to find it's way into the recording process.

What are you trying to do with the album? (This is an extremely broad question. Feel free to explain the band's manifesto.)

We've pretty much got it all planned out. We'd like to find a small but loyal indie label who really understands what we're trying to do as artists, and work with them to find unique ways to distribute and market the album. We'll then want to tour and cultivate a strong fan base.

Hopefully, we'll create just enough buzz to attract the major labels, and a bidding war will ensue. We'll tell our indie label that we appreciate everything they did for us, but we need to do what's best for our career. You only go around once in this life, we'll say. For the highest bidder, we'll record a hastily written-and-recorded sophomore album that will do decent business, but not enough to make us one of the label's priorities.

Our experimental third album will be shelved when the label is bought by a Dutch food conglomerate. Then we'll turn to drugs.

What are your plans when it’s done?

And then the groupies.

Last question: Who are you listening to these days?

The Mae Shi, Cold War Kids and some Electrelane.

Jim: New Sonic Youth, old Ghostface Killah.

That's it. Thanks for your time, guys. See you on Sunday.

MP3 DOWNLOAD: I Drove All The Way From Bridgeport To Make It With You

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Band of the Week: The Hold Steady

To rabid followers of new music, I probably sound like a Johnny-Come-Lately adding my voice to the throng of people praising the latest Hold Steady album, which came out several months ago. But I routinely run into people who haven’t, say, picked up the new Say Hi To Your Mom album or who have never listened to Explosions in the Sky or Wolf Parade, so I never just assume.

Boys and Girls in America is simply loud, dirty rock and roll at its finest. It comes off like some sunny-eyed, bastard child of Bruce Springsteen and Jack Kerouac and makes fans of chamber pop question their feelings about music...

For evidence, let me present the video for the song Chips Ahoy!, which includes singing sportscasters and someone dressed up as Zorro playing a church organ. As Stan Lee would say, ‘nuff said...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Video Free Silver Lake: The Silversun Pickups and The Deadly Syndrome

Sure, Jax over at Rock Insider already beat me posting this video from last weekend’s Silversun Pickups performance on David Letterman, but I figure what the hell... I wanted to make sure that everybody got to see it. Great job, guys.

I’ve also found some live footage of The Deadly Syndrome playing at Spaceland awhile back. They’re opening up for local shoe-gaze giants Monsters Are Waiting at Safari Sam’s tonight. Make sure you get there early to see them. Like I’ve said before, they’re one of LA’s most promising new acts and destroy it live.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New Releases Tuesday - The Rest of 2006

Well, that should about do it...the major labels are sneaking in a big release or two each week up until Christmas (Gwen - today, Ghostface - 12/12, Nas - 12/19), but for all intents and purposes, "New Releases Tuesday" will be going into hibernation until next year. I did find a To Roccoco Rot rarities collection that's supposed to be out today, and Sonic Youth releases a B-sides collection next week, but otherwise you won't be finding anything remotely underground/indie until January. Happy shopping...

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Monday Show Low Down (Or “Making Out With Gas Masks On”)

Gah. I worked all weekend, so I’m making sure to go to tonight’s free residency show at The Echo with Parson Red Heads, Nico Stai, and last week’s Band of the Week pick The Black Pine. Also tonight and free are The Delta Spirit and What Made Milwaukee Famous at Spaceland and Twilight Sleep and Summer Darling at The Silver Lake Lounge.

On Tuesday, there’s a Rock Against HD (or Huntington's Disease) fund-raising event at Boardner’s of Hollywood (where we have the monthly Let’s Independent! shows) with Buffalo Roam, Bloodcat Love, and Lexington Queen. Dead Ponies and The Cops are at The Scene in Glendale, Lemon Sun is having a party at The Echo, Mezzanine Owls are playing The Prospector in Long Beach, and Death Cab For Cutie and Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins head to the Bren Center at UC Irvine.

On Wednesday night, Tra La La, Annuals, and Jim Noir play Spaceland, The Youngs are at The Silver Lake Lounge, The Lava Children, Rocking Horse People, and Ema & the Ghosts rock Mr T’s Bowl and Monsters Are Waiting, Low Vs Diamond, and The Deadly Syndrome take Safari Sam's.

Thursday, The Faint return to town with Ratatat and Ladytron at The Palladium, Warm Climate, The Kris Special, The Harpeth Trace, and Joan and Caesar play Mr. T’s Bowl, and Jonneine Zapata annihilates Molly Malone’s.

Friday night? I’ve got nothing. What am I missing?

This Saturday, Dead Meadow, Spindrift, and Tsk Tsk head to The Troubadour, The Pink Mountaintops, Menomena, and 31 Knots roxxor Spaceland, and The Little Ones, June in July, and Small Sins blow up The Echo.

Then on Sunday, Jet plays Spaceland, J DiMenna performs at The Silver Lake Lounge, 400 Blows, Die Princess Die, and The Pope destroy (for free) The Scene in Glendale, Enid The Dowl plays as part of the regular Eagle Rock Sunday Night Bowling & Drinking Club at All-Star Lanes, and The Hectors and Mospeda take Bar 107 downtown.

In Related News:
- According to You Set The Scene, The Silversun Pickups have announced a second night at The Troubadour, after the one on Saturday, December 16th with Midnight Movies and Twilight Sleep sold out. This one is on Sunday, December 17th and will have Irving and Tigers Can Bite You open up which is, uh, wow, one of the best line-ups of the frigging year? (Duke also says that The Broken West are January’s Monday night residency at Spaceland and Division Day are February’s, by the way.)
- According to Autopia Music, Lavender Diamond signed with Rough Trade for distribution in the UK, while the Beggars Group will re-release their EP here on January 20th. Now how about someone re-releasing Becky Stark’s enormously hard-to-find solo album? Jesus…
- The Datsuns have cancelled their tour. No idea why. Booooo.
- The following bands have also recently announced shows for LA: The Natural Disasters, Repeater, Signal Hill Transmission, The Flower Machine, The Stevenson Ranch Davidians, & LSD and The Search for God, Juania May & The Hymns, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Cold War Kids, The Depression Party, Heroes and Heroines, Kid Moxie, June in July, Small Sins, Death Valley Days, Bon Reve, The Lamps, Franklin For Short, Madraso, Sabertooth Tiger, The Mormons, The Submarines, Great Northern, Eskimo Hunter, Bodies of Water, Los Abandoned, and Upground. (For dates and venues, check out the right-hand column.)

- Band of the Week: The Black Pine
- Mini-Interview: The Deadly Syndrome
- Band of the Week: Lavender Diamond
- Video Free Silver Lake: Monsters Are Waiting

Friday, December 01, 2006

Mini-Interview: The Ettes

With songs as potent as It Ain't You, Reputation, and Dead and Gone, 60s-style garage rockers The Ettes basically just rule the fucking school. Not much more needs to be said.

So, we checked in with Coco, the lead of this excellent LA three-piece, to, y’know, chitchat about stuff.

Your album Shake The Dust has some of the best tracks I’ve heard this year. Was it as much fun to record as it is to listen to? Or at least equal parts work and enjoyment?

Well, thank you! It was the most fun I think any of us have ever had. It was also very demanding in so many aspects, which is why I think it's so rewarding for us. Liam is challenging, but also very imaginative and fun. It was a joy to have that working relationship, and to get the results that we did.

How did you end up on your label Sympathy for the Record Industry!? And get paired up with producer Liam Watson (who has also worked with The White Stripes and The Datsuns)?

We sent Liam an e-mail, asking if we could send him a demo, because we were so interested in working with him. He was at the top of our list. We loved the sounds he got, and he worked with so many artists that we loved, it seemed like a great fit. He listened to our demo and invited us to Toe Rag.

After we did some work at Toe Rag, we came back to the States and sent John at Sympathy some songs. He loved it, we loved him, and he sent us back over to London to finish the record, and he put it out! All in a nutshell, of course!

And how did you all meet and start playing in the first place?

Poni and I met just working retail in LA. We'd both moved out from New York in the same week, but we didn't know each other. We of course hated our jobs, so we would jump on furniture and we had an air band, which got us in plenty of trouble, but seemed to entertain customers and drivers-by.

I'd been playing guitar and touring since I was about 15, so when Poni suggested we start a real band, it just clicked. And Jem was in another band we played with a lot around LA, so when they kind of parted ways and we had an opening for a bassist, it was a match made in heaven.

How would you describe the band's sound? Who/what influences you?

We love a lot of '60s beat and garage rock, especially British/ Northern soul. And we also love American early country and punk rock music. I think we've got a punk rock sound, I think we've got a straightforward sound, but people can hear all the nuances of our influences too.

You’re an LA-based band. What do you think are some of the pluses and minuses of residing here? (For my part, I can tell you that my neighbor's rooster is driving me crazy.)

I'll have to hear more about that rooster! Well, rather famously, none of us are terribly fond of LA, which is not entirely LA's fault. We're all from the east coast and just live and work with a sort of frenetic mentality that seems so out of place out in LA. But it also sets us apart, I suppose, which can be a good thing or a bad thing.

LA is a hub of entertainment, which gives an artist a bit of a sense of freedom, which is essential. And we've got a lot of really great friends in LA. But we live on the road, really, so we never get too fond of or too tired of anywhere.

You recently completed a national tour. How did that go? What were the high and low points?

The tour was really awesome. We're so at home on the road, it just suits us. We get to see and meet so many people and play for so many new friends, and we just love to travel. Seattle was an amazing show; KEXP took really excellent care of us there, and we're going back up for New Year's Eve to play for them.

Chicago is a really cool town, and we always love going back to New York. There are so many towns in this country, so many cool people. Some shows were packed and crazy, and some had tumbleweeds rolling through them, but we had a really excellent time.

You’re heading out for a second UK tour soon. Excited? Who will you be playing with?

I'm not sure who we'll be playing with, but we're thrilled to be going back to the UK and playing so many shows. We get to go places we've never been before, and we love that. I have a feeling it's going to be really cold, though!

What’s next for you? More touring? A new album?

A bit more touring before the UK dates, and then yes, a new album! We're working on it now. We're really excited about it. Never a dull moment!

So, you’ working on new songs. How are they different from previous ones?

They're an evolution, thankfully. We'd hate to harp on the same thing, over and over. The new stuff demands more from each of us, which we enjoy immensely.

Last question: Who are you listening to these days that you like?

We get asked that a lot, and it's difficult, because we don't hear any new music unless we play shows with someone and get to hear them. Most of the time we really react to discovering or rediscovering old favorites. There's a giant collection of really excellent music that's hidden away, and we love stumbling upon it or being shown new things by our friends. We said we can always say Kings of Leon, if pressed to claim a modern favorite.

That's it! Thanks for your time, Coco.