Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Video Free Silver Lake: The Little Ones

All hail The Little Ones. In the last year, they've gone from being good to being great to getting signed to Astralwerks to travelling around the frigging world... I think they're in the UK right now?!

They've recently released a video for the song Oh MJ! off of their Sing Song EP. It's a track I haven't really listened to too much, I have to admit, but that says a lot about how many good songs are on that one short release.

Anyway, I'm in Chicago. Gotta run.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New Releases Tuesday - 1/30

This week, it's the battle of the viral Internet phenoms...with the UK's latest bratty teenage sensation Lily Allen facing off against the godfathers of Blogger buzz, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. It seems like just yesterday we were introduced to the scrappy young DIY kids of CYHSY, but they're all growns up now and looking to kick some ass with their sophomore self-released record titled Some Loud Thunder. Lily, of course, is still in her freshman year of Music Hype 101, and went in the completely opposite direction by signing a deal right away with the bigs at Capitol/EMI. Who will win out?? Text "555-RFSL" to place your vote.

Here's the full list for this week:

Alkaline Trio - Remains (Vagrant)
Lily Allen - Alright Still (Capitol)
Beirut - Lon Gisland EP (Ba Da Bing)
Bracken - We Know About The Need (Anticon)
Busdriver - RoadKillOvercoat (Epitaph)
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Some Loud Thunder (Self-Released)
Early Years - The Early Years (Beggars Banquet)
Hella - There's No 666 In Outer Space (Ipecac)
Norah Jones - Not Too Late (Blue Note)
Xavier Rudd - Food In The Belly (Anti-)
Skinny Puppy - Mythmaker (SPV)
Youth Group - Casino Twilight Dogs (Epitaph)
Zozobra - Harmonic Tremors (Hydra Head)

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Monday Show Low Down (Or “Black Velvet Is Actually A Really Difficult Medium”)

Today’s update has taken enormously long to put together, so I’m going to try my best to keep this kinda brief…

Tonight? There are a lot of great free shows going on here in town, but I’m definitely going to see the final night of The Pity Party’s residency at The Silver Lake Lounge with The Happy Hollows, Eagle & Talon, and Twilight Sleep. And if you like your pop music smart and fun and crazy, you'll be there, too.

Other noteworthy shows happening this week include The Black Pine at The Echo on Tuesday, The Airborne Toxic Event and The Deadly Syndrome at The Echo on Friday, and an early show with Portland’s The Blow at The Echo on Sunday night. (Huge props to the booker for The Echo, apparently.)

- Army Navy have gone into the studio to work with producer Adam Lassus (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Yo La Tengo) on their first full-length album.
- Let’s Go Sailing have announced that their album The Chaos in Order will be released nationally through Fontana Distribution on March 27th. They’re going on their first nationwide tour, too.
- The Central Second Collective -- the group of LA bands including Death To Anders, The Happy Hollows, and more – managed to raise more than $1,000 for at the benefit show at, again, The Echo on January 18th.
- Yes Me To Death are playing out again and will be doing a Sunday residency at The Scene in February.
- The other project band from folks from Irving, Afternoons, have a date at El Cid on Friday, February 23rd. Should be well worth checking out.
- See the right-hand column for dates and venues for the following recently-announced show: The Helio Sequence, Dirty On Purpose, The Besnard Lakes, Oh No! Oh My!, The Deadly Syndrome, Great Northern, The Western States Motel, Canon, Peter Walker, Wired All Wrong, The Colour, Totally Radd!, Enid The Dowl, Anavan, Morrissey, Paul Weller, Carina Round, The Lights From Here, Half Mantis Group, The Shins, Lily Allen, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Cold War Kids, Bitter:Sweet, Service Group, Astra Heights, The Parson Redheads Portastic, Juania May & The Hymns, Young Knives, Let’s Go Sailing, Elvis Perkins, Badly Drawn Boy, Albert Hammond Jr, Mooney Suzuki, Weird Science, Har Mar Superstar, Some Girls, & The Willowz Bright Eyes, Vetiver, Whispertown, Annie Stela, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum/Secret Chiefs, Love of Diagrams, Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3, Bright Light Fever, Aqueduct, Cause Co-Motion, Mika Miko, Simon Dawes, Richard Strange, The 88, The Morning Benders, Ferraby Lionheart, Charlie Windham, Afternoons, The Sharp Ease, The Moon Upstairs, The Abe Lincoln Story, Common Hours, Strangers Smile, The Chapin Sisters, Sparta, Glacier Hiking, Sabrosa Purr, The Intervals, Molecules, Foreign Born, The Hectors, Bodies of Water, Menomena, Explosions in the Sky, Tapes N Tapes, Air, Grizzly Bear, Jose Gonzalez, The Arcade Fire, The Decemberists, The Black Keys, Peter Bjorn and John, The Silversun Pickups, Interpol, Gomez, Rolling Blackouts, The Happy Hollows, The Monolators, PRS HLTN MTHRFCKERS!!, The Bentleys, Teaneck, Tremellow, The Friend of Dennis Wilson, The Chapin Sisters, Buffalo Roam, Casxio, In Waves, Fools Gold, Xu Xu Fang, These Orphaned Eyes, Eastern Conference Champions, The Softlightes, Lenka Kripac (Decoder Ring), Asher, Luke Paquin, Ht Heartache, The Changes, Eastern Conference Champions, Castledoor, Summer Darling, Great Glass Elevator, I Make This Sound, Afternoons, Yes Me To Death, and Busdriver.

- Mini-Interview: The Blow
- Mini-Interview: The Airborne Toxic Event
- Mini-Interview: The Deadly Syndrome
- Mini-Interview: Army/Navy
- Mini-Intervew: Let’s Go Sailing
- Mini-Interview: The Central Second Collective

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Lights From Here Show Cancelled

Tonight's show with instrumental rock group The Lights From Here at All-Star Lanes as part of The Eagle Rock Bowling and Drinking Club has been canceled.

The band reports that, "We were informed last night that our Andres had been in a bad car wreck... He is going to be OK thankfully; but we will have to cancel our performance tonight at the Eagle Rock Bowl. We hope he has a speedy recovery and wish you the best AC! And to our friends, our apologies- we hope to see you all at the next show!"

We're also glad that he's alright and wish him a quick recovery.

- Mini-Interview: The Lights From Here
- Sedna (Live on KXLU 88.9 FM - YouSendIt link)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Surprise Show: The Ettes

Hey! Just wanted to let you know that garage rock extraordinaires The Ettes have been added to teh show at Spaceland tonight with The Willowz and Black Lips. They go on at 9:30, so get there early...

- Mini-Interview: The Ettes

- No More Surprises MP3

Friday, January 26, 2007

Mini-Interview: The Submarines

Next Monday night is your last chance to see The Submarines play for free at The Echo -- and, y'know, it'd be a shame for you to miss a chance to watch this electronic pop duo perform. For reasons of goodness...

We recently corresponded with half of the band, the boy part, aka John Dragonetti (aka Jack Drag), to learn more about the making of their album Declare A New State, what's next for them, and a bunch of other stuff in-between.

Hi, John. How are you doing today?

Very Well. Thank you!

So, you've been doing the weekly Monday night residency at The Echo this month. How's that gone so far?

It's been really fab. We've been pleasantly surprised by the turn out and are definitely digging The Echo.

You know, I'd ask the question of what's it like being in a band with an ex, but it seems to go a lot deeper than that because so much of the material is about your breakup.

Not to be overly invasive, but what was the process of putting the album together like?

Initially there wasn't even the concept of an album and because Blake and I had split we were each writing on our own. I suppose we thought we'd be putting together our own records.

When our break-up failed we talked about putting our stuff together to make one record. thematically it was all in sync. At that point we also experimented with trading verses on new material.

A friend of ours mastered it for a wedding gift and we made about a hundred copies -- mostly for our friends -- and then folks we didn't know became interested in it.

Is it safe to say that you have a pretty strong working relationship and friendship?

Yeah. I think that's pretty safe to say. There are always challenges though.

The video for Peace & Hate is about the cutest thing ever. How did that come together?

It was actually the concept of Josh Forbes. We met with josh and really hit it off. He had some fun ideas so we let him do what he wanted. There was definitely a high level of trust.

He pulled together an amazing crew and they did a fantastic job with the sets. We were really in awe when we walked into the warehouse that day.

There's another band called The Submarines in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Do you get a lot of confusion over that when you tour through Ypsilanti?

Well, we haven't passed through Ypsilanti yet but when we do I'll let you know how it goes. That's their turf so maybe we'll change our name for a day to "The Submarines, CA".

There was also an English band about 10 years ago called Submarine and lately I've noticed several more on myspace. Can't we all just get along?

What's next for you? More recording, more touring, or more sleep?

All of the above, but I adore sleep the most. We're working on new material for the next record and expect to be touring more this spring.

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

We both really like The Bird and The Bee. I also like Lavender Diamond.

That's it! Thanks for your time!

The Submarines play this Monday at The Echo with The Henry Clay People, Xu Xu Fang, and The Martinis.

MP3: Peace & Hate (You Send It link)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Let's Independent!: The Aftermath

It’s been two days since our latest Let’s Independent! event at Boardner’s with Tigers Can Bite You, The Black Pine, and Let’s Go Sailing and, I don't say this lightly... it was rad. All three bands sounded fantastic and the crowd was really nice and fun and great.

I wanted to thank everyone who played Tuesday night; dj/funnyman Octavius from KXLU Demo Listen; soundman Lenny; my friends who lent their support (especially Racheal and Flounder); Duke from You Set The Scene, Kevin Branson from the LA Times Buzz Bands Blog, Chuck P from Indie 103.1's Dead Air, and the rest who helped spread the word about the show; Daisy from KXLU 88.9 FM and Todd from Sea Level Records for sponsoring the event, and all the super cool people who came out.

To see some of the great pics that our friend BLKHRTMDR/ George Tapia took that night, go here. Many thanks, man.

Let's Independent! will return next on Tuesday, February 27th to spotlight the talents of excellent local acts Molecules, The Hectors, and Foreign Born. Check out our myspace page for the event here -- and add us!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Video Free Silver Lake: Cold War Kids

So, yeah. Cold War Kids have been doing extremely well lately, but have still been playing shows at smaller clubs such as The Silver Lake Lounge and Spaceland when they could fill up venues like The El Rey at this point.

Why are they doing it? I hate to jump to conclusions but the only thing that I can guess is that ... they're pretty damn cool? That's my, um, thesis statement or something: Cold War Kids are cooler than most. That's what I've been lead to surmise by their actions. (Twirls monocle.)

That all said, if you don't have tickets to see them play at Spaceland on Friday, you're probably not going to get them. But there are still tickets available for the event at The El Rey on Feb 21, which, if you're eighteen you should be really happy about because it's also all ages.

If you can't make either ... maybe you don't know what these "ticket" things I'm talking about are, your lack of Spanish skills makes the name of one of the venues confusing, or you just hate fun ... well, there's always these moving pictures.

Here's footage of them playing Hospital Beds live at Lollapalooza last year, as well as the video for Hang Me Out To Dry.

- Mini-Interview: Cold War Kids

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New Releases Tuesday - 1/23

GoodbadqueenIf you feel like you've been in a musical rut since the holidays, head directly to your nearest record store as New Releases Tuesday finally returns in full form this week with a slew of great new tunes waiting on the shelves. And by January standards, this is a pretty impressive line-up. We've got new records out from Deerhoof, Ghost Menomena, Of Montreal, The Shins plus the domestic release of Clinic's last album and the debut of Damon Albarn's The Good The Bad and the Queen project. Check out the full list below:


Affair - Yes Yes To You (Absolutely Kosher)
Arbouretum - Rites of Uncovering (Thrill Jockey)
Ateleia - Formal Sleep (Table of the Elements)
Berg - Sans Nipple Along the Quai (Team Love)
Bird and the Bee - The Bird and the Bee (Blue Note)
The Broken West - I Can't Go On, I'll Go On (Merge)
Rhys Chatham - A Crimson Grail (Table of the Elements)
Rob Crow - Living Well (Temporary Residence, LTD)
Clinic - Visitations (US Release)
David Vandervelde - The Moonstation House Band (Secretly Canadian)
Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity (5RC)
Dredd Foole - Daze on the Mounts (Family Vineyard)
Dustin Kensrue - Please Come Home (Equal Vision)
Earlies - The Enemy Chorus (Secretly Canadian)
Exploding Star Orchestra - We Are All From Somewhere Else (Thrill Jockey)
Field Music - Tones of Town (Memphis Industries)
Fujiya & Miyagi - Transparent Things (Deaf Dumb and Blind Communications)
Chris Garneau - Music For Tourists (Absolutely Kosher)
Ghost - In Stormy Nights (Drag City)
Julie Doiron - Woke Myself Up (Jagjaguwar)
Kristen Hersh - Learn To Sing Like A Star (Yep Roc)
Lovers - Sleep With Heat (Orange Twin)
Maher Shalal Hash Baz - L'Autre Cap (K Records)
Menomena - Friend and Foe (Barsuk)
Mum - The Peel Session (FatCat)
Nurse and Soldier - Marginalia (Jagjaguwar)
Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer (Polyvinyl)
Rafter - Music For Total Chickens (Asthmatic Kitty)
Shins - Wincing The Night Away (Sub Pop)
Six Parts Seven - Casually Smashed To Pieces (Suicide Squeeze)
The Good The Bad And The Queen - S/T (Virgin)
VietNam - VietNam (Kemado)

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Monday Show Lowdown (Or "Soy Milk In A Striptease Highball Glass")

I hope you didn't make any plans because it's another one of those weeks in LA when you could go out every night and still miss some great shows. Let's dive right in and take a look at some of the many highlights…

- The Henry Clay People, Shiloe, & Family Tree Analog @ Mr. T’s Bowl
- The Pity Party @ The Silver Lake Lounge (Free)
- Sylvain Sylvain & Sami Yaffa of The New York Dolls & Idyllists @ Safari Sam’s
- The Submarines, Dead Ponies, & Signal Hill Transmission @ The Echo (Free)
- The Broken West, The Western States Motel, & Ferraby Lionheart @ Spaceland (Free)

DECISION? The events with The Henry Clay People and The Submarines sound great, and I’ll definitely be at The Pity Party’s show next week when The Happy Hollows and Eagle & Talon play. I’ve been meaning to see Ferraby Lionheart and The Broken West for awhile now and heart The Western States Motel, so I’ll be there if I don’t have to work all night.

- Let’s Go Sailing, The Black Pine, & Tigers Can Bite You @ Let’s Independent at Boardner’s of Hollywood
- Birdmonster, Wired All Wrong, The Drawing Board, To Live and Die in LA @ The Echo
- Dustin O’Halloran @ The Derby
- The Bird & The Bee w/ Colorforms @ The Troubadour
- Enid the Dowl @ The Key Club
- The Procession @ El Cid
- Midnight Movies @ Safari Sam’s
- The Broken West cd release party @ Sea Level Records
- Emily Haines & Soft Skeleton @ The El Rey

DECISION? Yeah, it’s probably no surprise that I’ll be at the Let's Independent! event that we’re hosting at Boardner’s with Let’s Go Sailing, The Black Pine, and Tigers Can Bite You. (I don’t mean to push this show down your throat, but it should be really goddamn fun.)

Too bad that The Bird & The Bee’s cd release event at The Troubadour with Colorforms is the same night because I’ve wanted to see both bands.

- Deerhoof & Hella @ The El Rey
- Rock Insider Presents The Valley Arena, Light FM, Thieves and Liars, Stepsonday @ The Silver Lake Lounge
- Lo-Fi Sugar @ 3 of Clubs
- Bloodcat Love @ Club Moscow at Boardner’s of Hollywood<

DECISION? I've missed seeing Light FM play a few times now and don't intend to make that mistake again -- plus I want to support local music site Rock Insider's event.

- The Colour @ Spaceland
- Lavender Diamond, The Finches, & Winter Flowers @ Safari Sam’s
- The Break-Up Brendas, Death of a Dancer, Sunday Drivers, Sink To See, The Naked @ The Knitting Factory
- Foreign Born & Los Abandoned @ The Troubadour
- Lemon Sun & Takota @ Detroit Bar
- Family Tree Analog, Die Rockers Die!, and The Health Club @ The Verity Room
- The Softlightes, Castaneda, & Casxio @ The Silver Lake Lounge

DECISION? Lavender Diamond are always amazing and I’ve heard great things about Sunday Drivers lately, but Foreign Born are excellent and Los Abandoned are supposed to be as well. In short, tough call…

- Cold War Kids @ Spaceland
- Black Lips @ The Echo
- The Shins @ Amoeba Music (Free in-store)
- The Obsolete Heart @ The Knitting Factory
- Veruca Salt, Run Run Run, OK Stranger, & The Distants @ Safari Sam’s
- Of Montreal & Enon @ The El Rey

DECISION? Cold War Kids are rad live, but that show is long since sold out. I really like what I’ve recently heard from Black Lips, who are also playing on Saturday.

- Black Lips, The Ettes, & The Willowz @ Spaceland
- Mezzanine Owls, Lemon Sun, & Robbers on High Street @ The Echo
- LoveLikeFire, Gliss, The Moderates, & Muscadine @ The Scene (Glendale)
- Brian Wilson with Al Jardine @ Long Beach Theatre

DECISION? I’d pretty much give my first born child to see Brian Wilson play, but that’s not going to happen… Mezzanine Owls at The Echo sounds like a super solid back-up plan. And The Ettes have been added to the line-up at Spaceland with Black Lips and The Willowz.

- Murmur, Robedoor, & The Lights From Here @ The Eagle Rock Bowling & Drinking Club at All-Star Lanes
- Chris T-T @ Spaceland.
- Of Montreal @ The Troubadour

DECISION? I can’t say enough good things about The Lights From Here. They’re one of my favorite instrumental post rock acts. Plus? Bowling! I’ll definitely be there.

That's it for the week... Please lemme know if I missed anything.

These bands have also announced new dates (or else I just noticed them): Trans Am, French Kicks, Enid the Dowl, Service Group, The Henry Clay People, Paleo, Family Tree Analog, Die Rockers Die!, The Health Club, Clark 8, Good on Paper, The Loose Ties, Studio FX, Warfield, I Make This Sound, Castledoor, The Breakups, The Break-Up Brendas, Death of a Dancer, Sunday Drivers, Sink To See, The Naked, Black Lips, The Octopus Project, The Autumn Defense, Sebadoh, The Procession, Astra Heights, The Obsolete Heart, Veruca Salt, Run Run Run, OK Stranger, The Distants, Midnight Movies, The Broken West, Miho Hatori, Red Sparrowes, Cold War Kids, Moving Units, The Deadly Syndrome, The Spinto Band, and Dios Malos. (See the right-hand column for venues and dates.)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Band of the Week: Saturday Looks Good to Me

You know the way that it seems most people into teh indie rock regard Elliott Smith’s work? The way it touches them on both an aesthetic and personal level? Fred Thomas’ music hits me like that, too.

I’m such a fan of his “pleasantly melancholy” solo work that I put up a myspace page so I could post some of his harder-to-find releases for people to listen to -- but he’s also part of several other bands, chief among them the chamber pop outfit, Saturday Looks Good to Me.

I’ve been amazed by them since I first heard their fuzzy Wall of Sound track You Work All Weekend and count their albums Every Night and All Your Summer Songs among my favorite releases of the last, hmmm, decade.

They’re touring soon to play material from a new album due this fall and stopping off here in LA on Thursday, March 8th to perform at Spaceland – and Thomas will be doing an in-studio performance and interview on KXLU 88.9 FM at 5:00 PM earlier that day to help promote the show

Here’s some video footage of the band playing live in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2005, as well as an MP3 of that first song I heard from them. If you haven’t checked out their music before, consider this early warning so you can track it down before they come to town.

You Work All Weekend (You Send It Link)

Mini-Interview: Fred Thomas

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Video Free Silver Lake: Giant Drag

LA Times writer Kevin Bronson recently confirmed in his excellent Buzz Bands blog that local two-piece rock outfit Giant Drag is now a one-piece. Also? Lone singer/guitarist Annie Hardy is hard at work on a new album.

I don't really have much to add to that because we lack anything that passes for real news reporting on the site. I mean, who has the time? (Shrug.) But ... videos snagged off of YouTube? That we have.

Here are the moving-pictures-with-music for Giant Drag's Kevin Is Gay and This Isn't It -- the two best tracks off of Hearts and Unicorns. They're both worth watching. Don't just pick one. Make the commitment to both.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New Releases Tuesday - 1/16


New Releases Tuesday won't be back up to full speed until next week, but smooth retro pop-lovin Chicago boys The Autumn Defense (aka John Stirratt and Pat Sansone of Wilco) are sneaking one under the radar this week with their latest release, a self-titled affair on Broadmoor Records. Expect more 70's AM rock goodness ala CSN, Steely Dan and The Beach Boys. Here's a preview track from the new record:

Download: Autumn Defense - "Canyon Arrow"

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Monday Show Low Down (Or “Picture My Hands Really Far Apart”)

Gah. I’ve been hard at work on my video game and am behind on, um, just about everything in what passes for my personal life these days. But I’ve finally caught up on show listings for the site today...

Some of the best recent show announcements include last week’s Band of the Week pick El Perro Del Mar playing The Jensen Rec Center on March 13th … the day before SXSW in Austin.

Then two of LA’s best new bands The Airborne Toxic Event and The Deadly Syndrome will play the same night at The Echo on February 2nd. And Portland's The Blow are coming to town to play The Echo on Sunday, February 4.

Don’t forget that next week is our Let’s Independent! event at Boardner’s on Tuesday, the 23rd with Let's Go Sailing, The Black Pine, and Tigers Can Bite You… Go listen to tracks from all three bands at our myspace page. Mark your calendars. Tell your friends.

And be sure to listen to KXLU 88.9 FM on the radio or via their site’s live simulcast on Thursday, the 19th at 5:00 PM for an interview and in-studio performance with The Black Pine and then Monday, the 22nd at 5:00 PM for headliners Let's Go Sailing.

These bands have announced new shows for LA: The Movies, The Airborne Toxic Event, The Deadly Syndrome, Hello Astronaut, Goodbye Television, 8mm, El Perro Del Mar, Rykarda Parasol and the Tower Ravens, Softlightes, Amy Cooper, Black Lips, The Annuals, Bloc Party, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, The Books, Bloodcat Love, Mezzanine Owls, Lemon Sun, Robbers on High Street, Xu Xu Fang, June in July, The Henry Clay People, The Ponys, Deerhunter, The Blow, Josh Haden, A Minor Canon, Pity Party, Nels Cline, Glenn Kotche, Viva Voce, The Village Green, Kind Hearts & Coronets, The Lava Children, Eleni Mandell, The Autumns, All India Radio, IO Perry, Hello Meno, Richard Swift, The By And By, Signal Hill, Amestor, The Valley Arena, Light FM, Thieves and Liars, Stepsonday, The Depression Party, Ryan Gilmore, Sink To See, Caught Up, Red Sky Warning, Them Terribles, The Battle of Land & Sea, The Colour, Demander, Languis, Hopewell, Timonium, Maya Shore, Life Underwater, Hearts of Palm UK, Odd Modern, Murmur, The Primos, A.M., The Digits, Signal Hill, Idyllists, Timonium, Rajiv Patel, The Changes, The Front, Ninja Academy, Earl Greyhound, Castaneda, The Sharp Ease, Dead Ponies, Little Wolverines, Brother Reade, Lavender Diamond, Peter Bjorn And John, The Henry Clay People, Shiloe, Family Tree Analog, Sincere Parody, Murmur, Signal Hill Transmission, The Narodniks, Robedoor, The Lights From Here, The Black Pine, In Waves, The Good Listeners, Cavil At Rest, Tandemoro, Tigers Can Bite You, Black Palms, I Make This Sound, Bodies of Water, The Shakes, Division Day, and Great Northern. (See the right-hand column for dates and venues.)

Whew! This update took hours to put together… Lemme know if I’ve missed anything.

- Mini-Interview: The Airborne Toxic Event
- Mini-Interview: The Deadly Syndrome
- Mini-Interview: The Blow
- Mini-Interview: Let's Go Sailing

Friday, January 12, 2007

Mini-Interview: Thailand

I heart Thailand and I don't care who knows it... I’ve loved the demo tracks they posted online more than a year ago, was really impressed by them when I saw them play live late last year, and basically talk them up to everyone every opportunity I get.

Somehow we've never interviewed them for the site, though. So I recently asked a few questions to this LA band whose somehow made it okay to like electronic rock again.

Hi, Staci. Hi, Marc. How’re you doing these days?

We’re good, thanks.

So, how did the two of you begin making music?

Marc: My dad was a one-man lounge act in Florida, and when he wasn’t playing revolving rooftop restaurants and old-school Italian joints, his rig resided in our living room. So I grew up with loads of analog gear – Korgs and Arps and drum machines, a set of vibes.

He taught me the circle of fifths on a Wurly and I was hooked. Stace started really young with piano lessons, recitals, competitions, the whole bit. But instead of music school, she ended up in Music City, which is where we met.

How did you begin making music together?

Staci: We were living together in Louisville but playing in separate bands at the time. When we decided to get married, as a “gift” for our wedding guests, we made a three-song CD with a rented stage mic and a digital four-track. After that, we started a new band together and played for about a year before the two of us moved out here. We kept making music as a duo until the Thailand thing.

What have you been trying to accomplish musically with the band?

Marc: We’re still figuring it out. Our basic hope is not to get lost in the swamp. Though the digital age definitely has its advantages for musicians, it also seems to have turned “being in a band” into another recreational activity. There’s so much output. We just want to be one of the ones worth listening to, record a proper album someday, play a good live show, make people feel something, whatever it may be.

You've primarily been a studio (or home studio?) band so far, correct?

Staci: Yeah, we’ve been largely holed up in our apartment since moving to L.A., but that’s starting to change. It’s good to get out again. We haven’t played in a band with live drums for a while, and it alters the whole spirit, of course. But in a very good way, we think.

You started playing live shows a year ago with a different line-up. What's changed since then?

Staci: Well, we played some shows as a quartet last fall with a couple talented friends of ours, Russell Sanzgiri and Adrianna Granville. Marc and I were actually on the verge of moving to Toronto at that time, but it fell through at the last minute, so the whole band thing sort of got reconceived.

The two of us decided to record a full-length album instead. This summer we started looking for more of a rock rhythm section and were very happy to find Daniel Goldblatt and Eddie Random, our drummer and bassist.

Your album has been more than a year in the making. What's the process been like? When's it due out?

Marc: The curse of the bedroom composer. You’re not paying for studio time, so you throw a lot of shit at the wall and see what sticks. We lost our hard drive about halfway through the year, but it was probably a good thing. There was a lot of fickleness because we were writing most of it as we recorded and constantly scrapping ideas, but we’re pretty happy with the end result.

The process itself was pretty insular. We were the bassist, the “drummer,” the recording engineer, etc., all much to the chagrin of our downstairs neighbor. Sonically it’s a step up from the demo but still very homemade. We’ve just gotten our master back and are putting the album art together, so we’ll have our CDs in January.

One of the songs you've had on your myspace page didn't make it onto the album. Why didn't it make the cut?

Marc: At the Expo. Lyrically, it just felt out of place with the rest of the stuff we were doing. Daniel and Eddie call it our Philip K. Dick song. Very sci-fi.

It’s funny, though, we continue to play it, and they’ve breathed a whole new life into it. Now it’s one of our favorites again. Maybe we’ll put it on the next album.

What's next for you? I know I'd love to see you guys do a residency at Spaceland or The Echo.

Staci: Now that the record's finished, we're just ready to concentrate on playing out and getting good at it. We'd definitely love to do a show at Spaceland or The Echo sometime.

What were your favorite albums of 2006?

Marc: The Thermals, The Body, The Blood, The Machine; Islands, Return to the Sea; The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America; Tapes ‘n Tapes, The Loon; Josef K, Entomology (anthology of a great '80s band); Billy Bragg, Volume 1 reissues!

Last question: Who are you listening to these days?

Marc: Young Marble Giants, Scritti Politti, The Futureheads’ underrated second album, King Biscuit Time, The Streets, and a good deal of Echo and the Bunnymen, especially Ocean Rain.

That's it! Thanks for your time!

Thank you, Joe!

Thailand will play next here in LA at El Cid on February 9th with Radars to the Sky.

MP3: At The Expo (You Send It link)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Band of the Week: El Perro Del Mar

I've had El Perro Del Mar's self-titled album for a few months now and, jesus, how I keep coming back to it for more. It's chamber pop at it's finest, so immediately and completely endearing that even the ever-crusty Pitchfork likes it.

If you've been keeping up with most indie site and mag's Best of 2006 lists, this cd is probably nothing new to you, but allow me to introduce this: Although the band has rarely played any shows in the US, some international concert footage started showing up on YouTube about a month back.

The best clip out there is them performing the song Party in Paris, which unfortunately has embed disabled, but you link to it here. And then there's the video of God Knows and this messy-looking, but great-sounding video of the track I Can't Talk About It (which finishes with a call from a heckler).

I'm guessing that you'll soon hear that El Perro Del Mar will be playing one of the summer music festivals, either Coachella, Intonation, or one of the others. Here's hoping, at least...

- God Knows (You Send It link)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Video Free Silver Lake: Sea Wolf

The worst kept secret in Silver Lake and is now official: Sea Wolf has signed to Dangerbird Records, the label which is also home to The Silversun Pickups. According to band frontman Alex Church, "plans for an EP to be released this spring are in the works, as well as an LP for September." That's great news for everyone in town who has been waiting patiently for an album after seeing Sea Wolf's fantastic live performances here over the last year or so.

Here's footage of them playing the song Winter Windows at their show at The Troubadour last June.

Sea Wolf's next shows here in LA are February 26th at Spaceland with Division Day and March 2nd at The Troubadour with Clinic, and then they head up to San Francisco to play with Earlimart and Clinic at The Independent.

- Mini-Interview: Sea Wolf

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Tuesday Show Low Down (Or “Don’t Ruin The Devils”)

Last night was one of those nights that make me realize how much I love living in LA. There were three great free shows going on and I tried my best to catch all of them.

There was Mezzanine Owls opening up for Broken West at their residency over at Spaceland, Fresno’s Rademacher was in town to record their album at The Ship and opened for The Pity Party at their residency at The Silver Lake Lounge, and we sponsored the first of The Submarines’ residency nights at The Echo.

And there are still a lot of great shows going on throughout the rest of this week, which I’ll get to in a minute because I want to quickly write about what I think is an amazing one coming up… We’ve announced the line-up for our next Let’s Independent! event at Boardner’s on Tuesday, January 23rd and it’s looking really exceptionally good.

Starting out the night is Tigers Can Bite You, who just opened up for The Silversun Pickups a few weeks ago at The Troubadour and are one of my favorite new bands. On second are The Black Pine, who make dark and stormy pop music that wins over both hearts and minds. And headlining the night are indie pop darlings Let’s Go Sailing, fresh off their residency at Spaceland.

I don’t want to come off like I’m over-hyping this show because we’re, like, curating it or something, but the whole idea around the monthly event is to spotlight some of LA’s best independent acts. We only sign up bands we really believe in and, goddamn, we’re just really excited by the acts we’ve been able to line up for this night.

The event is also sponsored by excellent local music store Sea Level, rad college radio station KXLU 88.9, and the upcoming Silver Lake Rehearsal, and will be MCed by KXLU Demo Listen’s Octavius. Again, fun stuff. Mark your calendars, listen to all the bands on the Let’s Independent! myspace page, and, hell, add us.

As far as noteworthy shows go this week go...

- Tonight: The Deadly Syndrome is playing at Safari Sam’s. Like I've mentioned before, they're very fun to see live. Lotsa energy and it's clear they enjoy what they do. And The Front, The She He He's, and Fireworks Apart are at The Scene out in Glendale.

- Wednesday: Rock Insider presents Briertone, Peter and The Wolf, Dodo Bird, and The Lottery at The Silver Lake Lounge. I don't know any of these bands too well, but Jax and I share a lot of favorites like Division Day and The Western States Motel, so it should be fun. And don't forget that Castaneda is playing at Spaceland as part of their regular Club NME night.

- Thursday: Fairmona, The Soft Lightes, and B.R.A.M. perform at The Silver Lake Lounge -- and I've heard good things about Fairmona. And Yes Me To Death gig The Scene out in Glendale and 8-Bit will play at Safari's Sams after a showing of Spike Jonze's film Yeah Right and a skateboard competition.

- Friday: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks and Entrance head to The El Rey and Light FM perform at El Cid, while Cold War Kids and The Deadly Syndrome play a very sold-out show at The Silver Lake Lounge. And The Parson Red Heads, Books Died On, Pink & Noseworthy, and The Cherry Tempo at The Plug Awards Pre-Party at Tangier.

- Saturday: The Western States Motel and Rhett Miller take The Troubadour, SF's The Fucking Champs play with Earthless and Citay at Spaceland, and Girl Talk, Matt & Kim, and the Gray Kid have sold-out The Echo.

And Foreign Born, Great Northern, and The Gray Kid at The Plug Awards at The Little Radio Warehouse, while Anchors for Architects, The Primos, and The Soft Hands destroy Pehrspace.

That's it. I've got a ton of new dates to add to the concert calendar, but am behind due to site difficulties and lack of technical skill. Soon, though.

- Mini-Interview: The Deadly Syndrome
- Mini-Interview: Cold War Kids
- Mini-Interview: The Western States Motel

Monday, January 08, 2007

Radio Free Silver Lake Presents: The Submarines

Hey, all. We're sponsoring The Submarines' show tonight at The Echo. It's the first of their, duh, four free Monday residency nights there and it should put the rad in radical.

Here's that really goddamn cute video of their song Peace & Hate off of their album Declare A New State again, you know, just for good measure.

The Echo is located at 1822 Sunset Blvd in the Echo Park neighborhood of LA. Doors are at 8:30 PM, it's 21+, and Jim Putnam (Radar Bros.) and Io Perry are opening.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Mini-Interview: Mezzanine Owls

If you live in the great LA metropolitan area, you really ought to go see local indy pop act Mezzanine Owls open up for The Broken West this Monday night at Spaceland.

Why? Besides the fact that it's free, they’re really rather good. More and more people are talking about them all the time – from sites like Autopia Music to Rock Insider – and it's definitely not for nothing.

So, we checked in with Mezzanine Owls’ singer Jack Burnside about the band's origins. Here's what he had to say for himself.

Hey, Jack. How long have you been together now?

The four of us have been playing music together for a little over a year and a half now.

How did the band start up? How did you all meet?

I met Pauline a few years ago through an ad in the LA Weekly or Recycler or something like that. I was playing in a band looking for a drummer. She agreed to do it, I'm still not totally sure why.

Pauline and I met Jonathan through another ad later on. We were fortunate enough to forgo the musician's classifieds with Dan, who we met through friends.

Where did your band name come from?

We wanted to call the band Owls, but there's already a band called that - a couple actually. We ditched the idea, but on a long drive we kept seeing Owls everywhere so we all made a list of words we could combine with it. Jonathan's list had "mezzanine" on it and for whatever reason that stuck.

Where did you record your album Slingshot Echos?

Andy LeMaster, who has a studio in Athens GA, recorded and produced Slingshot Echoes. All things considered, it was a pretty great experience.

Andy’s extremely talented and really helped shape the sound of the recording. It's a little bit stressful being on the clock in a studio but that was minimized by hanging out in Athens, which is a really sleepy, welcoming town.

What’s next for you? A tour? New album? A post-holiday eggnog bender?

Eggnog bender. After that, we're going to do some west coast dates with Robbers on High Street in January. It would be fun to make some new recordings, but I think we'd like to do some touring before we start that process.

Who are your influences – direct or indirect?

If you asked each of us this question separately I suspect you'd get four very different sets of answers. Some stuff I know we all agree on: Yo La Tengo, Built to Spill, My Bloody Valentine, Pavement, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, The Beach Boys, Talking Heads, and The Osmonds circa Crazy Horses.

What are your favorite and least favorite things about being a band in Los Angeles?

It's fun to be able to see good shows all the time, and play shows with bands you like. I guess the biggest downside is all the driving.

Last question: Who are you listening to these days?

Peter Bjorn and John, Vietnam, Cocteau Twins, The Clientele, New Order.

That’s it! Thanks for your time.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Music to Watch Out For in 2007

So, you’re hungover from celebrating a holiday so contrived that greeting card companies don’t even make money off of it - unless they also own liquor companies - and you’re feeling a little melancholy thinking about this next year and wondering what ups and downs and ins and outs it might hold for you.

Well, I have seen the face of the future, I have climbed high upon the mountain of time, gazed down upon all that live in the valley below, and I am here to report back that it is … good.

Or I guess I’ve heard the face of the future … And my ears? They feel … nice?

At this point, my over-wrought analogy breaks down... Anyway, here are the musics I’m looking to forward the most in ’07.

I’ve been listening to Thailand’s demo tracks for more than a year now, but their self-produced album is finally coming out in January. They’re electro-pop with a Manchester flavor, but much better than that description sounds, and when they played our Let’s Independent! event in October, they got a lot of people talking.

They’re one of the bands that I’d most like to see get one of the vaunted residencies at The Echo or Spaceland in 07.

Another is The Happy Hollows, who are made of fun and put on a great show of music that’s experimental and accessible at the same time. They’re playing a free show – well, free for 21 plus, $3 for 21 minus – at The Troubadour on January 15th and one of The Pity Party residency nights at The Silver Lake Lounge on January 29th.

Local legends The Movies are working on an EP with The Monumental Life, When I Was In Nam, and several other great new songs that they’ve been playing at their live shows. They’re playing next at one of the Monday residency nights for Division Day, who are also rad, at Spaceland on February 5th.

I’ve also been looking forward Sea Wolf’s full-length since I first heard You’re A Wolf on their myspace page over a year ago. Band lead Alex Church has said last October that they should have a label “by the end of the year,” so maybe we’ll hear something new about it soon. After hearing a handful of demos, I already know I’ll love this album.

(They’re playing one of Division Day’s free nights at Spaceland on February 26th.)

I’ve also heard enough of Great Northern and Earlimart’s upcoming albums online to know I will hold them close to my heart light forever, too. Both are due out early this year. I’m not sure when Great Northern are playing here next, but Earlimart is performing at The Getty on Friday, March 9th.

Fresno’s Rademacher are heading into The Ship studio next week to begin recording their first full-length album with Earlimart’s Aaron Espinoza. I’ve really enjoyed their three EPs, so I’m looking forward to hearing what they come up with next. And they’re also playing one of The Pity Party residency dates at The Silver Lake Lounge on January 8th.

And while I’m on the subject of bands from out of town, chamber pop act Saturday Looks Good to Me is playing Spaceland on Thursday, March 8th and I can’t say enough good things about them.

In closure? The end.

- Band of the Week: Thailand
- Mini-Interview: The Happy Hollows
- Feature Interview: The Movies
- Mini-Interview: Great Northern
- Mini-Interview: Sea Wolf
- Mini-Interview: Division Day
- Mini-Interview: Earlimart
- Mini-Interview: Rademacher
- Mini-Interview: SLGTM's Fred Thomas