Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sunday Night Music Choices

There's all sorts of shows going on this Sunday night that I missed mentioning in the concert post early this week, so here's a quick rundown...

Part Time Punks returns again to The Echo with a Velvet Underground cover night. I don't know all the bands who are playing, but it should be worth it just to see The Spires, who are, y'know, always good.

Over at The Cocaine at Live Jazz in Japantown, One Trick Pony, The Slow Demise, Joey Siara (from The Henry Clay People), and David Givhan are playing. (There's a good restaurant right next door, if you're hungry before or between sets.)

Post rockers Beware of Safety play with The Drift and more at The Knitting Factory.

And Service Group, Gertie Fox, The Powercords, & Enid the Dowl will all be performing at The Eagle Rock Bowling and Drinking Club at All-Star Lanes.

- Mini-Interview: The Spires
- Mini-Interview: One Trick Pony

Friday, March 30, 2007

Mini-Interview: The One AM Radio

Hrishikesh Hirway is the one man studio junkie behind the name The One AM Radio. After scoring critical acclaim with his 2004 release, A Name Writ in Water, Hirway finally reemerged this year with a brand new album titled This Too Shall Pass, released last month on Dangerbird Records.

Brad Knutson, the EIC for our vastly superior sister-site Radio Free Chicago, interviewed Hirway recently when he stopped to play in the Windy City. Here's the piece again, in case you missed it before.

I’ve always thought that "The One AM Radio" had a nice ring to it. How did you come up with the name?

My mom used to work nights when I was little. I would go with my dad to pick her up, and we’d sit in the parking lot, me half-asleep in the back seat, listening to my dad listen to the radio. Sometimes the Celtics game, sometimes these old radio serials they’d re-broadcast. Something about the sound of AM Radio stayed with me as a soundtrack for late hours.

Fifteen years later, one of the first recordings I made was a 4-track cassette for my sister and a few friends. It was instrumental, these guitar duets. They were supposed to be lullabies, listened to at night, going to sleep. (I’ve always listened to music while falling asleep.) I over-dubbed these fragments of radio programs, floating in and out of the songs.

I really liked the intersection of the two meanings of “AM” and I labeled the tapes, when I gave them out, as "The One AM Radio." As I started doing my solo stuff with a little more focus, I decided to keep that as the name for it.

You’re probably best known as a one-man, home studio-recording machine. How do you like bringing your music out on the road?

I really enjoy it. It’s a totally different set of goals and parameters for me, though, than the ones I have for recording. The songs change a lot in those two settings, and I like that transformation.

What were the highlights and lowlights in making your latest record?

Writing and recording this album was one of the most solitary experiences I’ve ever had, and I think that brought about a fair amount of both happiness and frustration. Just spending that much time alone was odd.

I was in India for part of it, and at the house I grew up in for a part of it, and there were whole days, sometimes two, where I simply wouldn’t see another person. There was a set of four days where the only person I saw was the kid who worked the night shift at the 24-hour grocery store. That was a low point, I think. It, at times, got a little oppressive, that isolation.

I started learning to play the cello a bit ago, just before starting the record. I’ve always loved the instrument, but I figured I’m too far along to learn something that difficult. But then I thought, whatever, I should just try it. One of the most satisfying parts of the process was getting to the point where I could actually play some of the cello parts I wrote.

Mostly, I had Lara Cushing play everything, because she’s amazing, but I snuck in a few sections of my own playing, and I’m pretty proud of that.

What are you drawing inspiration from these days?

I’d been living in California for a few years, and going back to Massachusetts in November for those cold months was a bit of a shock to my system. I found it actually to be pretty inspiring, remembering the winter. -

Any stories from past Chicago visits?

I love Chicago. Once, when I was 19, I heard from a friend that she was driving alone to Western Illinois to see her family. I’d spent the summer in New Haven, working at school, and suddenly, the prospect of being there straight through another semester without even a small break seemed horrifying. So I hitched a ride with her and she dropped me off in the middle of Chicago. I’d never been there, and this was before cell phones and Google.

The only thing I had was a pamphlet for the Stone Soup Co-operative. I talked to them and they let me stay there – which, if you don’t know, is an awesome community center on Leland. It used to be a convent. For a week, I just wandered around Chicago with a map that I photocopied from the library downtown. I called Fireproof Press (RIP) and asked them if I could come visit, because I was getting into letterpress printing myself.

They gave me a tour of the place and an Archer Prewitt-illustrated Fireproof Press T-shirt. I was walking down Clark, and I found a theater that was doing one-acts based on Judy Blume stories. I wandered into Reckless Records and saw American Analog Set and Braid doing acoustic in-store sets. It was one of the best weeks of my life.

What’s next for The One AM Radio after this tour?

Another tour. Then, I think, I might do some touring. After that, I’m planning on going on tour.

The One AM Radio will play here in LA next on Friday, April 13th at Tangier.

- Download: The One A.M. Radio - Lest I Forget MP3

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Video Free Silver Lake: The Western States Motel, Midnight Movies, & The Movies

Lots of videos popping up these days... Here's one each from The Western States Motel, Midnight Movies, and The Movies, who incidentally all played in town last Monday night.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Let's Independent: The B-Day Party Aftermath

Wow... Last night went better than I could have possibly hoped it would. The venue was PACKED with good folks and The Deadly Syndrome, The Happy Hollows, and The Lights From Here all played great sets. Many thanks to everyone who played and came and helped us celebrate the site's b-day in such style.

I'd also like to thank Jax from Rock Insider, Kevin Bronson from The LA Times, Duke from You Set The Scene, Flavorpill, The LA Weekly, and everyone else who helped get the word out about the show; Lenny, Staci, Gabe, Ian, and Tricia from Boardners; and, last but not least, Octavius and Daisy from KXLU 88.9 FM and Todd and Sylvia from Sea Level Records for their continued support.

You can see a few pics that Simon Cardoza, Jed, and I took from the night right here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Radio Free Silver Lake Turns One Today

Did you go to The Echo last night?! Jesus, I swear it was a night of my favorite performances yet by The Movies, The Western States Motel, and The Airborne Toxic Event, as the latter finished up the final night of their March residency there. (Here are some pics detailing all of the madness.)

Radio Free Silver Lake celebrates its one-year birthday today, and we here at the site have been really ecstatic about spending the last twelve months covering LA's fantastic music scene -- last night being an absolutely perfect example of it.

We've heard some great bands, met some amazing people, and just generally had an excellent time of it. Thanks to all of the local artists and readers for your continued support.

We're having a birthday party at tonight's Let's Independent! event at Boardner's of Hollywood tonight -- and The Lights From Here, The Happy Hollows, and The Deadly Syndrome are all playing. (You can hear tracks from all three bands and get all the details here.)

It really should be more fun than anything... We sincerely hope you can make it.

Here are some videos from The Deadly Syndrome and The Happy Hollows to put you "in the mood" or something.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Monday Show Low Down (Or “The Days Run Away Like Wild Horsies Over The Hills”)

It took me so long to research and write this concert update today that I had to stop and take a nap during the middle of it. Oh, I love having time off…

… which I have right now because my latest game -- Medal of Honor Vanguard for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii -- ships to stores tomorrow. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I work as a video game producer as my day job, and I wrote the dialogue for the game, did design work on it, and a buncha other things.

So Tuesday night, I’ll be celebrating both its release and Radio Free Silver Lake’s one-year birthday at our latest Let’s Independent! event at Boardner’s. This time, we’re having The Lights From Here, The Happy Hollows, and The Deadly Syndrome play, which are all great bands separately … but together? You’ll be able to spot all the gleaming smiles from space. (And I'll be drinking tequila out of both sides of my mouth. Whatever that means...)

Here’s what the rest of this week is looking like for shows in the City of Angels:

- Berko, The Hard Lessons, & Dynamite Walls @ Spaceland (Free)
- Midnight Movies & Kind Hearts and Coronets @ The Viper Room
- The Airborne Toxic Event, The Movies, The Monolators, & The Western States Motel @ The Echo (Free)
- Veruca Salt, The Greatest Touchdown Ever Scored, & Thee L.A. Gentlemen Callers @ The Scene (Glendale – Free)
- Buffalo Roam & Castle Door @ The Silver Lake Lounge (Free)
- El-P @ The Troubadour

I’m starting to feel self-conscious about recommending The Airborne Toxic Event, The Movies, and The Western States Motel so much, but they’re all playing together! And free.

- The Deadly Syndrome, The Happy Hollows, & The Lights From Here @ Boardner’s of Hollywood
- Corazon County @ Molly Malone’s
- Fairmona & Hour of the Shipwreck @ El Cid
- Datarock @ Safari Sam’s
- The Watson Twins @ The Prospector (Long Beach)
- Calla, Lion Fever, & Molecules @ Spaceland

Again, you know where I’m going to be… The Calla show should also be great.

- Names in Vain @ Mr. T’s Bowl
- The Ebbs @ The Silver Lake Lounge
- Datarock @ Spaceland
- Casxio @ Safari Sam’s

I’m not really too familiar with any of these bands. I need to start researching better or something...

- Moving Picture Show @ The Mint
- Monsters Are Waiting & The Brobecks @ Safari Sam’s

While Monsters Are Waiting’s album didn’t really grab me, I thought they were phenomenal when I saw them play live at The Eagle Rock Music Fest last October.

- Eagle and Talon @ Pehrspace
- The Ettes & The Willowz @ Spaceland
- RTX w/ Totimoshi & It's Casual @ Relax Bar (Record Release Show)
- Hour of the Shipwreck @ The Unknown Theater
- Mose Giganticus @ Il Corral
- Adem, Big Search, Fools Gold, Bedroom Walls, @ Tangier
- Sky Parade @ Safari Sam’s
- TV on the Radio @ The Henry Fonda

Eagle and Talon are experimental and fun, while The Ettes nail the whole 60’s garage rock thing and Bedroom Walls are "romanticore." You pick.

- Xu Xu Fang & LSD and The Search For God @ The Scene (Glendale)
- Mose Giganticus @ The Smell
- Dialtone @ The Derby
- Mitch Easter @ The Silver Lake Lounge
- Earl Greyhound @ The Troubadour
- TV on the Radio @ The Henry Fonda

I’ve heard good things about Xu Xu Fang and have been meaning to see them play.

- Service Group, Gertie Fox, The Powercords, & Enid the Dowl @ The Eagle Rock Bowling and Drinking Club at All-Star Lanes

The folks who put on The Eagle Rock Bowling and Drinking Club events are super nice and always find these interesting acts who I’ve never heard of before. (Plus, you get a free shoe rental with admission.)

That’s it. Did I miss anyone? If so, please lemme know.

I've just added shows for the following bands to our show calendar: Earlimart, Sea Wolf, Veruca Salt, The Watson Twins, Lavender Diamond, Peter, Bjorn, and John, Fujiya and Miyagi. Hour of the Shipwreck, Hearts of Palm UK, Agent Ribbon, Io Perry, Luke Paquin, The Black Pine, Stevenson Ranch Davidians, Veer Right Young Pastor, Luther Russell, I Make This Sound, The Moon Upstairs, Luna is Honey, Winter Flowers, Eagle and Talon, The Pity Party, Minutes til Midnight, Tandemoro, Moving Picture Show, Lucinda and the Lost Dogs, The Karabal Nightlife, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Persephone’s Bees, The Ettes, The Mezzanine Owls, 8mm, What Made Milwaukee Famous, The Raveonettes Electric Duo, Jason Lyttle and Aaron Espinoza, Light FM, Human Value, Blood on the Tracks, Eskimo Hunter, Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3 + Spectrum), LSD and The Search For God, The One AM Radio, Ola Podirda, Joel Virgil, Sara Lov, Bedroom Walls, Big Search, Biirdie, Eleni Mandell, Good Listeners, Gwendolyn, Irving, Nora Keyes, Marjorie Faire, Pity Party, Priscilla Ahn, Thundersnail (Amps for Christ), Ina James, Leviathan Brothers, Douglas Lee. Kennedy, Yes Me To Death, The Bird and The Bee, Benji Hughes, The Greatest Touchdown Ever Scored, Thee L.A. Gentlemen Callers, Evil Maria, and Obsolete Heart. (See the right-hand column for dates and venues.)

Oh, and is anyone else completely addicted to chocolate soy milk or is just me?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Mini-Interview: The Spires

There are no White Stripes-style “Are they or aren’t they?” questions surrounding Ventura-based melancholy pop duo, The Spires. They’re married and proud of it… And, perhaps more important to the listener, they’re also really rather good and play in LA fairly often

We spoke with them on the verge of several local performances in the area about their past, present, and future.

Hi, you two. How are you doing today?

Tired, but always happy to talk to you, Joe.

So, how long have you been married? How did you meet?

We have been married for six years - a shock how quickly it's gone by. We actually met quite awhile before that - Jason was my brother's friend as teenagers. I first met him one night when my parents were out of town - my brother was throwing something of an illicit party and I came home from work (before my brother or anyone else got there) to find Jason standing on our porch smoking cigarettes.

I asked him if he wanted to come inside to wait for everyone else and - believe it or not - he turned me down! Not exactly love at first sight, I guess.

How did you decide to start playing music together?

I don't think I decided anything - we were driving home from a friend's house one night and Jason told me I should take drum lessons so he would have a drummer to play with - the next day he called the drum teacher at the local music store and I started the next week. A couple months later I got a drum set and we started playing in our living room (very quietly).

So, Jason, you’d never sang or played guitar and, Colleen, you’d never played drums. I’m guessing you were a little nervous for your first few shows.

Terrified - we only played once before we recorded the first record (Amplifier) and it was god awful - a train wreck. Colleen forgot to tighten the lugs on her drum and it fell over mid-set - adding to the chaos.

Who are your influences? What were you shooting for when you started playing? And how has that changed?

I don't know if I have any influences in the traditional sense - I have more sounds that I hear (which could really be from anything) and I want to follow them to their conclusion of being played and recorded.

Now, I think we try to straddle that kind of naiveté that you have when you first start - which I think is important - with trying to keep it interesting for us and trying new sounds. The Spires are built low to the ground and sturdy for the long haul, not for speed. I think you have to take a band on its own terms as far as its evolution and not compare it to others too much.

How did your first EP come together? Who did you record it with?

We had no intention of actually recording it - Jason called his friend Dave Bassett one day (who has a studio in his house - Chateaux Relaxeau) and on a lark asked him when he would record us (since this is Dave's job we didn't actually expect him to have any time for us).

Much to our surprise, he had two days available the following week. So we thought: We better learn how to play these songs! Sadly, that recording cost us our Honda which exploded under the weight of our equipment on a hot July day in the Valley.

How were your album and new EP Sky Sky different?

The LP for us was different from Amplifier in that we have played most of the songs out live before we recorded them. I think there are some good songs on there but I think we lost the thread there somewhere in the middle due to circumstances outside the studio - it took a long time to finish the record and by the time it was done we had kind of moved on mentally and musically - most of the songs on it didn't really get played out again once the record was done.

With Sky Sky, once again - an accidental EP. We just went into our friend Craig's studio in Santa Barbara (Garage Majal) with our friend Jeff Sparks to record a song and ended up coming back the week after that, and the week after that... It came together very quickly and overall the result is probably more what we intended.

So, you’ve played Smiths night at Part Time Punks at The Echo before and people seemed to love it. What did you play?

Jason: We played Girlfriend in a Coma and Back to the Old House. Back to the Old House has been in the set for awhile - we love playing it.

The Smiths are one of our favorite bands and I think that we definitely owe some debt to them for our sound. We would like to have played more but we didn't have time to get our act together as much as we would have liked to.

You’re playing the Velvet Underground night at Part Time Punks soon. Which songs do you have planned for it?

Well, that's all very top secret right now - I don't want to give away too much. But we do have a whole set, say eight songs or so, planned. We have brought in the Sterling and John doppelgangers to round out our sound. We thought a two-piece Velvet Underground would be kind of lame. We are very much looking forward to the whole affair.

You two live out in Ventura. What's the music scene like out there?

What scene? Ha! Well, that's not fair - there are a couple cool places for bands to play, like Buffalo Records and Zoey's Cafe. We don't actually know many of the bands that are probably around - we tend to play with the same people when we play around here at all.

Some of the bands that we think are good are Franklin for Short, Tall Tales, and Maria - those are the ones that kind of come to mind right now.

What’s next for you?

Plenty of shows and hopefully another full length record in about a year. And trying to grow Beehouse Records as long as there is money to do so.

Last question: Who are you listening to these days?

Mostly my new iPod which has freed me from the musical tyranny of Jason! I love the Clientele right now; Clap Your Hands Say Yeah; just got Lanterna from our friend Mark and I love that. And a week never goes by that I don't put on GBV at least 3 times.

Jason: Lots of John Coltrane; a lot of Velvet Underground learning those damn lyrics! The Johnny Greenwood Is The Controller Trojan records compilation. And (think it's called) the Many Sides of Fred Neil. We both love the new Sam Prekop like crazy. Colleen is not big on Fred Neil (Colleen: See above regarding Jason's tyranny).

That's it! Thanks for your time.

The Spires will play a live on-air performance on KXLU 88.9 FM today at 7:30 PM (simulcast available online); at Part Time Punks at The Echo as part of the Velvet Underground night on Sunday, April 1st; and at the Eagle Rock Bowling & Drinking Club at All-Star Lanes on Sunday, April 15th.

- My Favorite Cigarette MP3 (You Send It Link – Expires in one week)
- Riot Mp3 (You Send It Link – Expires in one week)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Band of the Week: The Switch

I don't know quite how I ended up with The Switch's recently-released Hello Today. I can't remember if they sent it to me in the mail, if I bought it at Sea Level, or what exactly...

That seems terribly ungracious, I know, but I've got to say that I've been really enjoying it, no matter how I came by the EP. It took a little bit for the band's bedraggled, fall-down-the-stairs pop to sink in for me, but then it really did, and I've been listening to it quite often.

But let's skip any more of the flowery or overworked descriptions you normally get on music sites and just have you download the tracks Tongue Tied and Crazy below to hear for yourself.

Then, you can see them play next month on April 17th at The Scene in Glendale -- a venue that's been getting increasingly better and better lately -- with local pop heartthrobs Tandemoro. I know I'll be there.

- Tongue Tied MP3 (You Send It Link - expires in a week)
- Crazy MP3 (You Send It Link - expires in a week)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Video Free Silver Lake: Jeniferever

I fell for Swedish post rock outfit Jeniferever a few years ago after downloading three of their incredible EP tracks off of 3hive, who marked them as "slow, sparse, and epic rock 'n' roll."

The band has since released a full album -- which I didn't crush out over as much, though it still had a few super solid tracks -- and are currently touring all around Europe. They've never come to the US ... which would make me kind of pissed if I, y'know, ever got really bothered about stuff.

Here's some footage of them performing the song Swimming Eyes off said new album. (And here's a link to those EP tracks I mentioned before. If you like Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky, you will likely heart them in the worst possible way.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Helio Sequence & Dirty On Purpose at The Echo on Wednesday Night

The show was originally scheduled for tonight, but was changed to Wednesday at some point, I guess... (Or else DOP were just really nice about correcting me just now.)

It's a must-see show if you like lush, dreamy pop music. (And who doesn't?) Dirty On Purpose's Hallelujah Sirens was one of my favorite albums last year and Helio Sequence always completely destroy the room live.

As always, click on the band names to hear tracks from them on their respective myspace pages -- and here are some interviews with them from a few months back.

- Mini-Interview: Dirty On Purpose
- Mini-Interview: Helio Sequence

New Releases Tuesday - 3/20

Run, don't walk, to your friendly neighborhood record store today. Essential releases include Adult, Andrew Bird, LCD Soundsystem, Low, Ted Leo, El-P, Modest Mouse and J Dilla. Hopefully you're not like me and didn't blow all your cash at SXSW so you can afford pick up a few of these today. Click here for the short list via Metacritic and here for the complete list via AllMusic. Happy shopping!

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Monday Show Down (Or “Have You Hugged Your Sea Level Records Today?”)

As reported elsewhere and in a more timely manner by local music site You Set The Scene, a drunk driver apparently drove his pick-up truck through the front of Sea Level Records in Echo Park last Wednesday.

According to sources, this is how it went down: During the middle of the day, the motorist took a left turn at Lemoyne from Sunset, somehow continued to veer around, hit a parked car, demolished a parking meter, ran into two skateboarders, and planted his pick-up truck in the front of the store. Shortly after getting out of his vehicle (laughing), the driver was arrested by LA police.

No one inside the store was hurt -- though no word on the skateboarders -- and the building’s owners are still arranging repairs.

If you’ve never been to Sea Level Records, this is a fine time to stop by and show some love. I can’t think of another music shop that’s more supportive of local artists. It’s a great place to find new music and the folks that work there are really goddamn nice. (You can send them an online "Get well soon!" message here.)

[Full NPR-style disclosure: Sea Level Records and KXLU 88.9 FM are co-sponsors (or something) for our Let’s Independent! event at Boardner’s w/ The Lights From Here, The Happy Hollows, and The Deadly Syndrome on Tuesday, the 27th -- but we’d talk them both up excessively, anyway.]

I’m heading out of town, but here’s a real quick rundown of what I’d most recommend seeing this week:

- Berko, Jamie T, Airborne, & Wolf and Cub @ Spaceland (Free)
- The Airborne Toxic Event & The Horrors @ The Echo
- The Western States Motel & Austin James Band @ The Viper Room
- Buffalo Roam & Castle Door @ The Silver Lake Lounge (Free)
- Bloc Party, Final Fantasy, & The Like @ The Wiltern

The Airborne Toxic Event are great and the line-up at The Wiltern looks pretty strong, but I haven’t seen indy pop heartbreakers The Western States Motel play for a long time, so I’m choosing them for our officially official Monday night pick.

- Corazon County @ Molly Malone’s
- Fairmona, Troika, & Anni Rossi @ El Cid
- Peter Walker & La Rocca @ Canter's Kibbitz Room

That show at Canter's seems worth checking out.

- The Stevenson Ranch Davidians, Sincere Parody, & Wallpaper Airplanes @ The Derby
- Radars to the Sky @ The Silver Lake Lounge
- Black Heart Brigade @ 14 Below (Santa Monica)
- Sondre Lerche @ The El Rey
- The Helio Sequence, Dirty On Purpose, & The Besnard Lakes @ The Echo

Like I’ve said before, Radars to the Sky really deliver live. Their EP is good, but they really shine on-stage.

But, Jesus, please us. Why do I have to be gone on the night when both Portland’s Helio Sequence and Brooklyn’s Dirty On Purpose are sharing the same stage? It's not a show to be missed ... if you’re in LA on Tuesday, at least.

- The Apples In Stereo @ Spaceland
- Badly Drawn Boy @ The El Rey
- The Autumns @ The Scene (Glendale)
- Jackson Browne & Willie Nelson @ Gibson Ampitheatre

I haven’t seen the pop music stylings of The Apples in Stereo in forever and a day now, but my friend Octavius from KXLU swears by The Autumns.

- Sleepytime Gorilla Museum/Secret Chiefs @ The El Rey
- Signal Hill,, Panther Attack, & Soundtrack Symphony @ The Verity Room (Canoga Park)
- Electric Soft Parade @ Spaceland
- Casxio, Von Iva, & The Trucks @ El Cid
- Que Sera & Good On Paper @ Pehrspace
- Elvis Perkins @ The Jensen Rec Center

I don't know many of these acts too well, except for Signal Hill. Some of my friends from SF seem to love Von Iva in a way that’s approaching an unnatural obsession.

- Elvis Perkins @ Largo
- West Indian Girl @ Spaceland
- The Natural Disasters & The Primos @ Crane’s Tavern
- Red Sparrowes @ The Troubadour

I keep hearing good things about The Primos from guys from Division Day and have wanted to check out The Natural Disasters.

- Divisadero, Lion of Panjshir, Hello Menno, & C is for Carlo @ The Eagle Rock Bowling and Drinking Club at All-Star Lanes
- The New Motherfuckers & Giant Haystacks @ The Echo
- Matt Bauer & Garrett Pierce @ Tangiers
- Signal Hill,, Panther Attack, & Beware of Safety @ The Scene (Glendale)

I'd like to see Lions of Panjshir play, but I was completely floored by teh post rock sounds of Signal Hill live earlier this year. Tough one...

That's it! That’s it. Did I miss anything? If so, please lemme know.

I've just added shows for the following bands to our show calender: Sea Wolf, The Hectors, Lo-Fi Sugar, Nightfur, Rocking Horse People, No Little Kindness, The Stevenson Ranch Davidians, Sincere Parody, Wallpaper Airplanes, The Youngs, Matt Bauer, Garrett Pierce, Adult, Erase Errata, Bright Eyes, Devotchka, Saul Williams, Oakley Hall, Cass McCombs, Arboretum, Say Hi To Your Mom, The Clientele, Beach House, Morrissey, Band of Horses, The Shins, Cornelius, The National, Os Mutantes, Maximo Park, The Broken West, Mastodon, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, My Brightest Diamond, The Postmarks, Dinosaur Jr., The Sea and Cake, The Black Angels, Lavender Diamond, Mose Giganticus, Sky Parade, Mitch Easter, Good On Paper, Saint Motel, Wake Up Incinerate, Austin James Band, Von Iva, Casxio, The Natural Disasters, The Primos, Dean & Britta, Benji Hughes, West Indian Girl, Electric Soft Parade, Dialtone, Names in Vain, Black Heart Brigade, The Ebbs, Hearts of Palm UK, and Datarock. (See the right-hand column for dates and venues.)

(Special thanks to Duke at YSTS for both the shot above and some inadvertent help with the calendar.)

Friday, March 16, 2007

It's A Party In Your Heart And Everyone's Invited

So, we're happy as hell to announce that Radio Free Silver Lake will be celebrating our one-year anniversary later this month on Tuesday, March 27th at the Let's Independent! show at Boardner's of Hollywood.

We've gathered a coalition of the thrilling to help mark the site's first birthday with a party to remember. Playing the night are three bands who are so good that you'll realize you didn't need to fly all the way to Austin to see the new face of independent music ... it was right here all along.

Local post rock giants The Lights From Here will open up the night... They perform the sort of crashing waves of instrumental guitar that fans of bands like Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai weep openly about regularly, but they also have numerous surprises all their own.

Up next are Central Second Collective act The Happy Hollows, an indie pop act who we can't say enough good things about. Like "Ever effusive...basically the band that invented fun." and "One of the bands to watch out for in 2007." and “They put on a great show of music that’s experimental and accessible at the same time."

And headlining the event are recent Dim Mak signees and likewise super-fun live act The Deadly Syndrome, who The Passion of the Weiss once wrote “With the mania of meth-heads, the band writhed, wriggled and leaped across the stage, with caveman drums and crunching spiraling guitars. When all was said and done, The Deadly Syndrome displayed that their window as an LA club band is rapidly shrinking. This band is ready for the bigs.”

Mark you calenders. Tell your friends. Wash your faces. As Peter Murphy once put it, all aboard for fun time...

(Go here for more details and to hear songs from all three bands.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Video Free Silver Lake: Peter Walker

I was trying to explain this smarty little video for Peter Walker's song What Do I Know? to a friend the other night, but I'd apparently had too much tequila and Red Bull -- yes, I have decent taste in music, terrible taste in alcohol -- to do it properly.

So, here it is. Take a good hard look at it, Mikel. This is what I meant by it being "all backwardsy," I guess...

Peter Walker played the Electricity Free Silver Lake show at The Echo on Monday, is off to SXSW in Austin now, and has an album out on Dangerbird, which is also home to The Silversun Pickups and Sea Wolf.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Electricity Free Silver Lake: The Aftermath

Last night's event at The Echo with The Airborne Toxic Event, Foreign Born, Eagle & Talon, Mezzanine Owls, Peter Walker, and Correatown was, like, more fun than fun or something. Thanks to everyone who played and came out!

Here are a random assortment of pics from the show:

And if that's not quite enough for you, you can find a complete set of shots right here.

Thanks to my friend Mary for taking them all!

New Releases Tuesday - 3/13

MitcheasterdynamicoOutside of the new release by Radio Free Chicago favorite Baby Teeth, not much going on this week in New Releases land due to the fact that 99% of the music industry will be frolicking the streets of Austin this week. However, as a big fan of old school R.E.M., I was really amused to see the name "Mitch Easter" in the new releases section. Easter is easily best known for his work as the producer for R.E.M.'s early classics Murmur, Reckoning and the Chronic Town EP, but he also managed to record some of his own jangle-pop in the early 80s as a part of the band Let's Active. Now, some 18 years after the last Let's Active record, Easter has reemerged with his first ever solo release, titled Dynamico.

Download: Mitch Easter - "Sudden Crown Drop"

also this week...

  • Aqualung - Memory Man

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Monday Show Low Down (Or "Draw Up A List Of The People You Kissed Last Year")

I usually skip writing anything like show reviews because, hey, if you missed it, what good is it going to do you? But there were three nights last week that were so fantastic that I have to mention them…

Last Monday night, the free residency show at The Echo with The Airborne Toxic Event, Radars to the Sky, and The Happy Hollows was incredibly fun. All three acts performed with such energy, verve, and panache that it couldn’t help but remind you how great live music can be.

Then Thursday night, Detroit’s Saturday Looks Good to Me had a practically flawless 60's-tinged pop performance at Spaceland, their lead displaying so much talent and effortless charm that it was almost galling at times.

And then there were local favorite Earlimart at The Getty on Friday night… The stylish and austere grounds there are one of the most beautiful places in SoCal and the gorgeous purple cloud-framed sunset that occurred made it even dreamier… So, it was a pretty fitting setting for the lush sounds of the band playing with a, wow, string quartet backing.

Aaron and crew played a handful of songs from their upcoming album – some which have been released online already, like Answers & Questions and Never Mind The Phone Calls, and others that haven’t, like the final encore where The Parson Redheads singing back-up – and then earlier heartbreakers like We Drink On The Job and The Hidden Track.

They were good times… Where were you? We missed you. (And I thought we’d had that discussion about you coming out more…)

Tonight at The Echo has the potential to be as good as those shows, too. Like I mentioned last week, KXLU 88.9 FM and Radio Free Silver Lake are teaming up to present a night of acoustic sets by six great local bands… The Airborne Toxic Event, Foreign Born, Eagle & Talon, Correatown, Mezzanine Owls, and Peter Walker … acts who are all worth coming out for singly alone, but together? It’s going to be murder.

It’s free, they have some dork MCing the night, and it’s going by the name of "Electricity Free Silver Lake."

Here’s what the rest of the week is looking like:

- The Airborne Toxic Event, Correatown, Mezzanine Owls, Peter Walker, Foreign Born, & Eagle & Talon (Acoustic) @ The Echo (Free)
- Berko, Low vs. Diamond, Fionn Regan, & Children Collide @ Spaceland (Free)
- Buffalo Roam & Castle Door @ The Silver Lake Lounge (Free)

If you haven’t skipped the intro above, then you already know my choice for Monday night.

- Youth Group & In Waves @ Spaceland
- Fairmona & Thao Nguyen @ The Silver Lake Lounge
- The Breakups & Corazon County @ Molly Malone’s
- Hearts of Palm UK, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, & Daniel Ahern @ The Echo
- El Perro Del Mar @ The Jensen Rec Center

Much as I’d like to check out In Waves, The Breakups, Fairmona, and Hearts of Palm UK, I’ve had tickets for 60’s style pop act El Perro Del Mar for about six weeks now. Why do good shows dogpile on the same night so often?

- El Perro Del Mar & The One AM Radio @ The Hotel Cafe
- Dr Dog @ The Troubadour

I’ve heard that Dr. Dog is pretty good, but haven’t heard them. Seeing El Perro Del Mar at such a small venue would be fantastic, if you could somehow blackmail someone into giving you a ticket.

- Charlie Wadhams and The Harmony Brothers & Ivy Walls @ The Silver Lake Lounge
- Death To Anders @ Zen Sushi

The Central Second Collective’s Death To Anders are a punk/folk outfit with an enormous amount of heart.

- Casxio & The Briggs @ The Knitting Factory
- Lots of Love @ The Hotel Café
- The Youngs @ Abbot's Habit (Venice)

Casxio seem fun for people who like crazy dancey stuff and The Youngs are nice and experimental and weird.

- The Youngs @ The Cocaine at Live Jazz

(See above.)

- Divsadero, Land of Ill Earthquakes, The Henry Clay People, & Enid the Dowl @ The Eagle Rock Bowling and Drinking Club at All-Star Lanes
- Au Revoir Simone, Frida Hyvonen, & Under Byen @ The Knitting Factory
- Via Violenta, Blue Checkered Record Player, & Fierce @ The Scene (Free - 5pm)

Tough call. The Eagle Rock Bowling and Drinking Club boasts several renegade pop acts, while Au Revoir Simone are made up of three extremely pretty women from NYC who all play keyboard… And then there's a free show at the increasingly fun venue The Scene out in Glendale.

That’s it. Did I miss anyone? If so, please lemme know. (I'm just heading back from Chicago, so haven't been able to do a full update.)

Friday, March 09, 2007

Mini-Interview: One Trick Pony

One of the best things about the LA music scene is how distinctly varied it can often be. You'd never mistake Cold War Kids for The Little Ones, or The Lights From Here for The Movies.

Take One Trick Pony, for example, a band that refers to themselves as "indie/experimental" on the Myspace, but "really goddamn pretty" would probably be a more apt description. Just listen to Box Song, the quiet, almost lullaby-like track off of their new album Phantom Pains -- you can find the MP3 for download at the end of this article -- and you'll find it's about different from anything you're probably listening to right now.

We recently corresponded with One Trick Pony's lead, Randolph, about the making of the album, what inspires the band's unique sound, and more.

Hi, Randolph. Can you tell me a little bit about the recording of the album?

The album actually took almost two years to complete, mostly beacause drastic band member changes, money, and and changing of studio's in the middle of recording. The first song was Little Packets of... which I recorded with a producer named George Dum. It was done when our drummer and bassist at the time decided they'd rather vacation than stay around to record.

However I have the philosophy that things should get done whether people show up or not and you deal with your limitations, hopefully turning them into assets. The result was a stripped down song with guitar, vox, violin (Chanlene Huang), and some sampled and looped snare clicking noises.

I think the theme of the album was created out of limitations. After that, we toured with Death to Anders for a short while which pushed the process back. We recorded off and on for the next year or so and late in the game I ever rerecorded all the vocals in another studio.

Where did you record?

We started the recording in George Dum's studio in North Hollywood where we did little packets of..., spinning movies, and parts of machines night out and city heart.

We ran out of money so the whole project stalled for months, however I met Jon Mattox who started a small label called Bright Orange Records and he decided to front us and finish the album in his studio, also in north hollywood. Our first song together was box song.

What was the process like?

I think the process as a whole was rather frustrating in our particular situation. There were so many stops and starts due to money that I felt it interferred with the the continuity of the songs. But it gave me time to really listen to them over the stalled months, and pin point what I liked and didn't like, allowing me to strip out or add in what I probably wouldn't have thought of had I been rushed.

Also, since the span of time from start to completion was so long, my writing as well as my taste started to change the later songs hint at what is to come. Under the conditions, lack of money and restricted studio usage, I am happy with how it came out and I learned a great deal as to how I want to do the next album, which is already in the planning stage.

Who did you work with?

Initially we were working with George Dum and later we switch over to working Jon Mattox, both of who worked as engineers and consultative co-producers. I met Jon through an artist he recorded named Erinn Williams. I liked the stripped down aesthetic of her recordings so she put me in touch.

When did you start making music? What inspired you to start?

I started relatively late in life, picked up a guitar at 15 then quit until was 19. Went to college and played alone for years, blues mostly and Hendrix (my first inspiration, the song Elecric Lady Land).

By my last year I was in a incredibly lame jam band , just doing blues riffs. I didn't know much about rock actually, I grew up on random things as a kid like Stevie Wonder, The Police, James Taylor, Paul Simon, jazz like Jimmy Smith, and Prince. After that my sisters and the neigborhood turned me onto hip-hop, which, oddly enough, lasted through most of my life.

The more I played guitar, the more I had to expand my taste through a none-linear web of influences in a short period of time, going backward and branching out, learning what most people probably grew up with naturally. Radiohead being my next big discovery and inspiration.

Still, I'd never sang until I heard Jeff Buckley (after he had been dead for years) in early 2003. I feel I did some strange musical growth spurt and expansion, somehow ending up in this bizarre genre (whatever genre that is).

You have a very unique sound in the LA music scene. Do you think that's helped you, hindered you, or a bit of both?

I think it's both. In the short term, it's always painful to be different. Not to be too self important because when I think of someone truly unique I don't necessarily think of myself, I think of people like David Thomas Broughton or Bjork or Deerhoof, but it can be frustrating to feel unappreciated and to be passed over for bands that you would consider unoriginal or contrived.

Unfortunately, I get the feeling that people will always feel more comfortable with sounds that they've heard before or what the formidable crowd of "cool" deems worthy.

Not that I'm bitter! Seriousely, I like the music I'm making and I feel thats all I wanted. People will recognize it if it has merit, at some point in time at least. If not, I did what I wanted to do.

What's your favorite song that you've worked on?

I think Eater of Hearts is my fovorite however Box Song was the most fun to record. I loved doing all the random voices and melodies and playing the glockenspiel. It was also a time when the whole band (morgan/bass, josh/drums) was in the studio hanging out, it was happy time for our disfunctional otp family.

Last question... What are you listerning to these days?

David Thomas Broughton - A Complete Guide to Insufficiency, Deerhoof - Apple O, Koop - Waltz For Koop, Thom York - Eraser, Nick Drake - Way to Blue, Tom Waits - Nighthawks at The Diner & The Black Rider, Astrud Gilberto - Best of, The Libertines - the song called The Man Who Would be King, Belle and Sebastian - Story Telling, Joy Division - Closer, Emily Haines - Knives Don't Have Your Back, Modest Mouse - Good News..., Sigur Ros - Von, El P - I'll Sleep When You're Dead, and Mr. Lif.

And local bands like Transmissions, Death to Anders, The Happy Hollows, Henry Clay People, Die Rockers Die, Health, Rademacher from fresno (I love this band), Todd Mclaughlin. I really like the venues The Cocaine and il Corral.

That's it! Thanks for your time.

One Trick Pony are playing this Sunday night at The Eagle Rock Bowling and Drinking Club at All-Star Lanes in, duh, Eagle Rock.

- Box Song MP3 (YouSendIt Link - Expires in one week)

Electricity Free Silver Lake On Monday

Just wanted to give you a little early warning so you can mark your calendars...

Next Monday, KXLU 88.9 FM and Radio Free Silver Lake will be sponsoring a night of acoustic sets by The Airborne Toxic Event, Foreign Born, Peter Walker, Correatown, Eagle and Talon, and Mezzanine Owls at The Echo.

I'll be MCing the event, so besides having an amazing line-up of bands, it promises to be an evening of unintentional comedy to boot. It's free, so please come out and show your support.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Tonight at Spaceland: Saturday Looks Good to Me

Sometimes we get so spoiled by all the great local acts in LA that we let bands visiting from out of town slip by without much attention. (At least, I know I do...)

But tonight's a rare opportunity to see a fantastic group of out-of-towners perform -- and one that might not come again for a long time. I'm talking about, as the title of this post suggests, Saturday Looks Good to Me at Spaceland.

I've written before that they're "modern indie pop meets 60s Wall of Sound" and that “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? SLGTM lead Fred Thomas’ music hits me like that, too.”

And a bunch of other gushing stuff that I normally hold back for just my favorite, favorite acts.

The afore-mentioned Fred Thomas is also going to appear on KXLU 88.9 FM (you can find a simulcast on their web-site, if you’re not near a radio) at 5:00 PM today for a live solo-performance and interview.

Here's that video of them playing live in Sweden again, just to give you an idea of what you’d miss if you stayed home and watched must-see TV or something.

- Band of the Week: Saturday Looks Good to Me
- Mini-Interview: Fred Thomas

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Video Free Silver Lake: Irving

Gah. Glomming a free Internet signal off of your neighbors can sometimes lead to having a shoddy connection ... which made it a little tough to post these new videos from local indie pop all-stars, Irving.

The first is a solo performance of their song Jen, Nothing Matters To Me by Steven Scott on German TV and the second is him performing Situation, while the rest of the band streams in from LA.

The group is currently working on a new album and is heading out on a tour of Eur-ope at the end of the month.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Monday Show Low Down (Or "Based On Actual Events What Really Happened")

So, I've been watching a lot of the first season of Six Feet Under and playing a lot of Dead Rising on the Xbox 360, so I feel like I’ve practically been confronting death on, like, a regular basis.

That doesn’t really have anything to do with anything, I just was blanking on a good intro again and didn’t feel like putting in the work to try to connect it in any way, shape, or form to something else.

But, this week? Oh, the shows you’ll see…

- The Airborne Toxic Event, Radars to the Sky, Low vs Diamond, & The Happy Hollows @ The Echo (Free)
- The Henry Clay People, Dusty Rhodes and the River Band, & Price @ The Troubadour (Free)
- Berko, The Panda Band, & Langhome Slim @ Spaceland (Free)
- Buffalo Roam & Castle Door @ The Silver Lake Lounge (Free)
- The No Show @ The Knitting Factory
- Great Northern, The Front, & The Pity Party @ The Viper Room

This is a decision that each man or woman is going to have to make for his or herself. I mean, I love Great Northern live. I’ve seen them play about six or seven times now and I swear that they get better every time. And The Pity Party are a force to be reckoned with on-stage.

But I really enjoy The Airborne Toxic Event’s rock musics, Radars to the Sky have tons of off-kilter charm and really deliver live, and The Happy Hollows are always super fun.

And both shows are free? I love LA.

- Young Knives & Lo-Fi-Fink @ Safari Sam’s
- Albert Hammond Jr & Mooney Suzuki @ The El Rey
- Corazon County, US Mail Band, Gwendolyn, Langhorne Slim, & Mike Stinson @ Molly Malone’s
- Lemon Sun, Saint Motel, & Nico Vega @ The Troubadour
- Family Tree Analog @ The Scene

I’m not really familiar with anyone playing tonight. But, Albert Hammond Jr is the guitar player for The Strokes and people seem to like Lemon Sun.

- Young Knives @ Spaceland
- Skyscraper Foundation, The Henry Clay People, Cosio, & Golden Arms @ The Silver Lake Lounge
- Que Sera @ Club Moscow at Boardner’s
- The Distants, Midway, The Mulhollands & The Sirens @ Safari Sam’s
- Albert Hammond, Jr @ Amoeba Music (Free)
- Bright Eyes, Vetiver, & Whispertown @ The El Rey Theatre (Sold-out)

I’m going to finally try to catch The Henry Clay People live this Wednesday. I’ve meant to forever, but somehow life just keeps getting in the way.

- Saturday Looks Good To Me, Ladyhawke, Bright Light Fever, & Chris Bathgate @ Spaceland
- Kind Hearts & Coronets @ The Knitting Factory
- Bright Eyes, Vetiver, & Annie Stela @ The El Rey Theatre (Sold-out)

Saturday Looks Good To Me are one of my favorite bands, so we’re helping promote this one. If you haven’t heard them before, they’re a mix of modern indie pop and 60s Wall of Sound, and their lead Fred Thomas is pretty much embarrassingly talented.

- Earlimart @ The Getty
- The Deadly Syndrome, To Live and Die in LA, The Cassettes, & Cavil At Rest @ El Cid
- Razorlight @ The El Rey
- Lion Fever @ Mountain Bar
- Sebadoh @ The Troubadour

I’ve got my tickets to Earlimart at The Getty, where they’re going to play a lot of their upcoming album ... with strings! I can’t quite explain how much I’m looking forward to this one.

- Menomena & The Parson Redheads @ The Echo
- And A Few To Break @ The Good Hurt (West LA)
- needle @ Room 5
- Sebadoh @ Spaceland

You’ve got to admit that it’d be pretty great to see Sebadoh at Spaceland

- Viva Voce & The Village Green @ The Echo
- Panther @ The Smell
- The Natural Disasters @ The Cocaine at Live Jazz
- Divsadero, Policy, The Davin Givhan Band, & One Trick Pony @ The Eagle Rock Bowling and Drinking Club at All-Star Lanes
- The Mountain Goats @ The El Rey

I’m out of town that day or else would be going to The Eagle Rock Bowling and Drinking Club at All-Star Lanes to catch the unique-plus-cool One Trick Pony.

That's it. Did I miss anything? Lemme know.

Here are a few bands that I’ve added to the show calendar: The Decemberists, Frog Eyes, The Little Ones, Lion Fever, Monsters Are Waiting, Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Brobecks, Divsadero, Policy, The Davin Givhan Band, One Trick Pony, Land of Ill Earthquakes, The Henry Clay People, Enid the Dowl, Lions of Panshir, Hello Menno, C is for Carlo The Spires, The Henry Clay People, Teaneck, Quazar and the Bamboozled, The Electrolytes, Death to Anders, Lucinda and the Lost Dogs, Service Group, Casxio, The Briggs, The Trucks, Eagle & Talon, Low vs. Diamond, Fionn Regan, Children Collide, Jamie T, Airborne, Wolf and Cub, The Hard Lessons, Dynamite Walls, Molecules, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Daniel Ahern, Man Man, Que Sera, The New Motherfuckers, Fifty on Their Heel, The New Collapse, Giant Haystacks, and Clutch. (See the right-hand column for dates and venues.)

Oh, and Brian at Queen City Independent is doing a Sebadoh ticket giveaway. Go check it out.

- Mini-Interview: The Airborne Toxic Event
- Band of the Week: Saturday Looks Good to Me
- Mini-Interview: Fred Thomas
- Mini-Interview: Earlimart