Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Video Free Silver Lake: The Airborne Toxic Event & Division Day

Quick post! GTA IV is calling! Here are some recent video clips of up-and-comers The Airborne Toxic Event on Last Call With Carson Daly and indie rock's nicest guys Division Day playing KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Tuesday Show Low Down (Or "His Last Reported Status Is Missing In-Action...")

Hate to have missed the last night of Radars To The Sky's residency at The Echo, but I was helping a friend with a broken wrist move into his new place all day and late into the night. So today is my first real day off and I'm spending it hanging out with the dogs, enjoying the nice goddamn weather, and waiting for UPS to drop off my copy of Grand Theft Auto IV.

It's going to be hard to tear away from that one, but there are a few shows this week that definitely demand it...

Tuesday, April 29
- Rocco DeLuca, Brett Bixby, Ed Vallence, & Jinnrail @ Spaceland
- Electric Touch, Los Trendy, & Brian Grillo @ The Echo
- Mudcrutch @ The Troubadour
- The Beeters, Les Blanks, & The Seizures @ Mr T’s Bowl
- Nick Dixon, Actress, & The Naked @ The Silver Lake Lounge
- She & Him featuring Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward @ Vista Theater

I haven't heard them She & Him yet, but Duke from You Set The Scene has written good things about, um, them. Hope you got tickets already though because it's reportedly sold out.

Wednesday, April 30
- Mike Doughty's Band with The Panderers @ The El Rey
- Indie 103 presents CLUB NME with Kenan Bell, Valentino, & El Ten Eleven @ Spaceland
- The Entrance Band & Fool’s Gold @ The Echo
- Crash Holiday, sleepingboy, Family Tree Analog, & Mooseknuckle @ Mr T’s Bowl
- KCRW Presents Sara Lov, Fol Chen, Messes, & Cinnamon Roll Gang (puppet show) @ Tangier
- Foot Village, Small Breed, Destroy Tokyo, & tik///tik @ The Smell
- Pink Mochi @ Bordello
- Hazelden, Electric Touch, Solarcade, & Troy This @ The Silver Lake Lounge
- Club Moscow Presents Policy @ Boardner's of Hollywood

If you missed Fol Chen at Mr T's Bowl on Monday, here's your second chance this week. They're fucking great live.

Thursday, May 1
- The Health Club & The Poor Excuses @ Charlie O's

- Mudcrutch @ The Troubadour
- The Urinals, Ashtray Babies, Rough Kids, & Apathetic Ronald McDonald @ The Smell
- Kris Special, Service Group, & Daniel Brummel @ Mr T’s Bowl
- Jr Juggernaut & Jesse Deluxe (acoustic) @ Spaceland

Thanks for the suggestions for Thursday night. (See below in the comments.) Kevin Bronson from The LA Times recommends the show at Spaceland and the folks from The Health Club wrote in to say they're playing at Charlies O's w/ The Poor Excuses.

Friday, May 2
- Nik Freitas & David Dondero @ Spaceland
- Soul Slamm with DJ Spinna @ Echoplex
- Mudcrutch @ The Troubadour
- Jon Brion @ Largo
- The Vibrants (UK), Casper, Syndicate, Arshak Alozian, DJ Christopher @ The Scene
- Ninja Academy, We Be The Echo, & Totally Serious @ The Smell
- The Monolators, Underground Railroad to Candyland, Pizza!, Shirley Rolls, & Dead Letters @ Mr T’s Bowl (FREE)
- Club Underground & Echo pres: Supreme Love Gods & Ladies & Gents @ The Echo
- The Dodos @ The Natural History Museum

SF's "happy hardcore" act The Dodos are seriously worth trekking out to The Natural History Museum for alone. The free show at Mr T's Bowl with The Monolators and friends also sounds like a great time.

Saturday, May 3
- EXITMUSIC, The Transmissions, & Avi Buffalo @ Pehrspace
- Nortec Collective featuring Bostich & Fussible @ The Echo
- Bootie L.A. @ Echoplex
- The Warlocks, The Meek, & David Scott Stone @ The Smell
- Midnight Shakes, The Spanks, The Squiddo, & The Last Holyfools @ Mr T’s Bowl
- Brian Regan @ The Wiltern
- Darylalexander, NTG, The Pet Eggs, & Fantastic Sleep @ Echo Curio
- Peter Mor�n (Peter, Bjorn and John), Tobias Froberg, & Big Search @ The Troubadour
- Club Place N Time w/ The Motels @ The Scene
- Nina Nastasia, David Karsten Daniels, & Nico Stai @ Spaceland

Saturday night is all about dream pop group EXITMUSIC and frenetic Central Second act The Transmissions at your favorite hole-in-the-wall Pehrspace.

Sunday, May 4
- Mike Stinson, Hellbound Glory (from Reno), The Midnight Boys, 50 Cent Haircut on the Backporch @ The Echo
- Part Time Punks @ The Echo
- Cinco de Mayo @ the Troubadour! W/ Go Betty Go, Monte Negro, No Way Jose, & Nuestra Sangre @ The Troubadour
- Casey Neill & The Norway Rats, Nicholas Alexander, & February Fifths @ Tangier
- The Dead Science, BARR, Jesus Makes The Shotgun Sound, & Voice on Tape @ The Smell
- Vena Cava, tilwheel, Binghampton, & Nancy @ Mr T’s Bowl
- Two Sheds & Princeton @ Spaceland

I'm such a big fan of the first release by Sacramento lazy pop folk act Two Sheds, it's kind of silly. Took me a bit for it to sink in, but I love nearly every track on it. They're coming into town in support of their new EP and are playing with local favorite Princeton, who also have a new EP.

That's it. Did I miss anything? Please lemme know and I'll update later.

Monday, April 28, 2008

REMINDER: The Final Night of Radars To The Sky's FREE Residency

Hope you're planning on going to see Radars To The Sky, The Western States Motel, The Flying Tourbillon Orchestra, and I Make This Sound tonight at The Echo. It's a fantastic line-up and all kinds of free and... horses with glasses on!

NOTE: Come back tomorrow for a full post on this week's shows. In the meantime, check out our updated calendar to the right...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mini-Interview: EXITMUSIC

Left off center from most local LA indie rock and pop are EXITMUSIC, a preternaturally attractive husband and wife team who create music that's a mix of The Cranes, Mazzy Star, and Tom Waits... a midnight carnival cavalcade, all throaty and dark and full of intrigue.

We spoke to them both -- Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church -- recently to find out more about their musical co-production.

Which came first: the relationship or the band? How did you meet? And how did you start playing together?

A: Our relationship came first. We met on a train when we were both eighteen. There really was this moment of recognition between us - the kind you feel foolish to believe in until you experience it and it can no longer be denied. We spent three days together and then we went home. I, to New York. Devon to Winnipeg.

He wrote me some poems but I never wrote back... I still don't know why, but I guess now it doesn't even matter now.... cause I did write back... eventually. It just took three years.

Then there came a blur of written letters and and phone calls and one day he lived with me and we kept it that way.

D: We started playing together almost immediately... but EXITMUSIC came to be shaped in the later part of 2003 - after we'd moved to LA. The name came while watching 2001 and the movie ends with "thus spake zarathustra" - which was what I was reading on the train and looked up from to see Aleksa for the first time - and the words "Exit Music" in big letters...

That's a good story. How would you describe your music, if pressed?

A: Other...

D: If pressed...

A&D: Other.

What's it like playing in a band with married partner?

It's beautiful and it's intense.

What's your song-writing process like? Do you write music together at home?

D: We write at home. We wrote the whole album together.

A: That was the point.

D: To sort of mingle our energies in this alchemical process. So everything, lyrics, music, beats, weird little sounds - we chose them all together.

You home-recorded and self-produced your album The Decline of the West, right? What was that process like? How long did it take?

D: We record as we write. It was a process of
discovery, both creative and technological. Neither of us had any recording experience beyond messing around with a four-track, so it took some time - about three years.

A: But if it took longer we would have given it that time. You see, we didn't start out thinking we want to put out an album.... we didn't even want to play live for the longest time... writing songs was just something we were doing. And at a certain point we knew we had something true and special and worthy.

How did your video come together?

D: That was pretty amazing. Aleksa had auditioned for the director, Matthew Wilder, for his film Your Name Here which is a crazy picture with Bill Pullman about a sci-fi writer named William J Frick. He wound up coming to our very first show at Bordello and offering his services for the video.

Then he put together this cast of carnival folk and led us to a giant warehouse filled with all kinds of crazy crap and shot this six-minute video which encompasses all of American history in one uninterrupted take. There's no cuts in that video.

Aleksa, your "day job" is acting in shows like The Sopranos and films like Before The Devil Knows You're Dead. What are you working on now?

I have a movie that is just in it's final editing days... It is presently called Baker. It's an amazing script, beautifully written with a lot of depth. A thriller, but in the classical sense, written and directed by Laura Lopez.

Then I have a few projects lined up to go but no official start dates so... anything can happen.

What's next for the band? Touring, more recording, a residency?

A & D: We have an amazing new drummer, Dave Mcfarland, who was the cinematographer on our video. So we're really working on taking the live show to the next level.

We're also working on a new batch of songs. Touring - definitely sometime this year. We have a show at Pehrspace on the 3rd of May with The Transmissions and Avi Buffalo, and one at Spaceland on the 26th with Mezzanine Owls.

Aleksa is shooting in June, but then we have the big Let's Independent! show in July with eskimohunter and The Black Kites. And more videos!

One last question: Who are you listening to these days?

Roberto Murolo, who's a Neapolitan folk singer. And Bob Dylan's Albert Hall concert with the Hawks.

That's it. Thanks for your time!

A & D: Thank you even more.

- The Following Winds MP3

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Some Quick Random News Bits...

As the headline implies, here are some quick local music news bits -- some of which have been gleaned from half-remembered, drunken conversations and may be dated and/or quite possibly completely incorrect…

Thailand’s new EP should be available late next month… Princeton just released a new EP and will be the Monday night residency at The Silver Lake Lounge in July… Wait.Think.Fast. are recording… The Black Pine have been recording a new album with Raymond Richards at Rocket Red Glare and Andrew (The Poor Excuses) Lynch and Aaron (Earlimart) Espinoza at The ShipThe Western States Motel are planning a digital EP release for next month and recently debuted their new backing band… Former WSM-bandmates Tandemoro are recording new material… The Coral Sea are about to go into the studio… Foreign Born are putting together a new album… Earlimart’s new album comes out on July 1st… Le Switch’s debut album should be ready during one of the night’s of their Monday night residency next month at The EchoSignal Hill are hitting the studio on May 15th to record their full length album… Division Day are working on new songs… The Lights From Here have some new tracks up on their myspace page and should have their new album done by June… and The Minor Canon are about to work on a second album and are getting several new members.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Monday Show Low Down (Or "I Woke Up In The Past Then Realized It Was Today...")

Nope. Not going to Coachella this weekend. I went a few years back when it was the amazing line-up of Radiohead, Broken Social Scene, The Pixies, Belle & Sebastian, The Black Keys, The Cure, Air, and more, which was fantastic. And we stayed at an old Howard Hughes’ bachelor pad with a pool and a Jacuzzi and all the style in the world.

Since then, the line-ups haven’t grabbed me as much, someone else has snagged that damn house, and I’ve been, oh, a little more focused on local LA music -- also? lazy... -- so I’ve skipped.

If you’re heading out, have a great time. Definitely some great shows in town before the festival.

Monday, April 21
- Radars to the Sky, You Me & Iowa, Rademacher, & "Special Guests" @ The Echo (FREE)
- Blanket & Emily Lacy @ Echo Curio
- Ruby james & Matt Ellis @ The Troubadour
- The Lieutenants, HMS Terror, & Go Betty Go @ The Silver Lake Lounge (FREE)
- Sissy Spacek & Skull Skull @ The Smell
- The Abe Lincoln Story, The Burlington Family, & Kate Kilbane and The Porters @ Mr T’s Bowl
- Norfolk & Western, Weinland, Next of Kin, & Lamps @ Bordello
- Sean Carnage Presents The Monolators, Battlehooch, & Right Hand Band @ Pehrspace
- Seasons, Mind Sound, Ghost Machinist, & The Beeters @ The Scene (FREE)
- Johnathan Rice, Amnion, Jonathan Wilson, Johnathan P Sparagus @ Spaceland (FREE)
- Pre w/Health @ UCLA's Kerckhoff Hall
- Indie 103.1 Presents Sky Parade, Moonrats, Mercy Mercy, & Warpaint @ The Viper Room
- KROQ Presents Locals Only w/ Moving Picture Show, Emery Bird, & Big Bang @ Crash Mansion (FREE w/ RSVP)

If you find the Radars To The Sky residency w/ Rademacher and You, Met, & Iowa at The Echo too crowded tonight because of their unannounced “special guests” (I’m working from the assumption this is the band what was signed last week) then it’s worth checking out last minute adds Amnion at Spaceland.

Tuesday, April 22
- Indian Jewelry, Geneva Jacuzzi, The Muslims, & Imaad Wassif with Two Part Beast @ The Echo
- Black Kites & The Hectors @ La Cita
- Rocco DeLuca, Annie Stela, Trainwreck, Luke Paquin @ Spaceland
- Mark Mallman, Dorian Wood, Fascinoma, & Tour De France @ The Silver Lake Lounge
- Chase Frank @ The Knitting Factory
- Coca Cola, Lamicaela Bastidas, Naima Earth Band, Excessive Acts, & MASTER CYLINDER @ Mr T’s Bowl
- KROQ & Safari Sams presents Virtual Tuesdays w/Guitar Hero Competition and THE EYE PODZ(18andOver) @ Safari Sam’s
- ASCAP Presents The Weather Underground, Aushua, Oliver Future, & Karin Tatoyan @ The Troubadour

The Weather Underground’s EP release party w/ Aushua, Oliver Future, & Karin Tatoyan at The Troubadour sounds fun. (Scroll down for our interview w/ them from last Friday.) And so does The Black Kites and The Hectors at La Cita.

Wednesday, April 23
- Club Moscow Presents Policy @ Boardner's of Hollywood
- Bigbang, The February Fifths, & The French Semester @ The Silver Lake Lounge
- Security Productions, Bad Poetry Minute, The Hell Surfers, & Kamikaze @ Mr T’s Bowl
- The Dodos @ Amoeba Music (7pm)
- Sean Hayes @ El Cid
- Dub Club Presents: Michael Prophet, Meets Scientist @ Echoplex
- The Ruby Suns & The Happy Hollows @ The Echo
- Indie 103 presents CLUB NME w/ His Mischief @ Spaceland
- Sara Lov, Hands, Eulogies, & Cinnamon Roll Gang (puppet show) @ Tangier
- Her Space Holiday @ The Troubadour

The Dodos are playing Wednesday at Amoeba for free and then returning next week to perform at The Natural History Museum (w/ Les Savy Fav). Definitely go to one or both.

Thursday, April 24
- The Afternoons, Throw Me The Statue, & Siberian @ The Silver Lake Lounge
- Caribou w/ Fuck Buttons @ The El Rey
- The Watkins Family Hour @ Largo
- La Micaela Bastidas, Halloween Swim Team, Blue Jungle, & Manhattan Murder Mystery @ Mr T’s Bowl
- Hell Ya! pres: Birds of Avalon, Twilight Sleep, Venus Infers @ The Echo
- Flight of the Conchords @ Amoeba Music
- The Black Heart Procession @ The Troubadour

You can’t go wrong with pop aficionados The Afternoons and the haunty echoey Twilight Sleep are also well worth catching.

Friday, April 25
- Daniel Brummel (of Ozma), The French Semester, & Foreign Keys @ Spaceland
- LaCo$te, Ima Gymnist, & Dude Dogg @ Pehrspace
- Club Underground pres: Aanchors Aaweigh @ The Echo
- Urban Underground @ Echoplex
- Le Face, NASA Space Universe, Duke Nukem Forever, & Fail! @ The Smell
- Look Past the Stars, Mama Suki, The Time of the Assassins, Paul Avion, & Bigfoot on Mars @ Mr T’s Bowl
- Jon Brion @ Largo
- Mudcrutch @ The Troubadour
- Coachella Valley Music Festival @ Empire Polo Fields in Indio

If you missed pop act The French Semester on Tuesday because you went to The Troubadour (and are skipping Coachella), here’s your second chance.

Saturday, April 26
- One Trick Pony, Mad Gregs, & The Slow Demise @ Pehrspace
- Evil Maria CD Release Show @ Tangier
- The Joggers & The Big Sleep @ Spaceland
- blue mask, Smash Fashion, Steve Gregoropoulos, Biblical Proof of UFOs, Freehead, The Urinals, Motorcycle Black Madonnas, Backbiter/Friends/Amadans, The Probe, & End Fatso Jetson @ Mr T’s Bowl
- Mudcrutch @ The Troubadour
- The Traditional Fools, Thee Makeout Party, Pterodacdude, A.M., & Audacity @ The Smell
- Jon Brion @ Largo
- James Brown Tribute @ The Echo
- Coachella Valley Music Festival @ Empire Polo Fields in Indio

One Trick Pony’s show at Pehrspace on Saturday won’t be a cd release party now, but it’s a great opportunity to see them play at a nice small, quiet place where you can appreciate 'em fully.

Sunday, April 27
- Neil Hamburger w/Andy Kindler, Fancy Space People, The Fuxedos, Mack Lindsay, & plus special guest @ Spaceland
- Taylor Goldsmith @ Tangier
- The Human Echo, Joshua Lane, The Health Club, & ? @ Mr T’s Bowl
- Richie Hass Memorial/Benefit @ Echoplex
- Grand Ole Echo pres: Dead Rock West, Jeremiah & the Red Eyes, Bob Woodruff, Sarah Stanley @ The Echo (early)
- Part Time Punks @ The Echo (late)
- Captain Ahab, Fleshtone, I.E., & Kyle H Mabson @ The Smell
- Coachella Valley Music Festival @ Empire Polo Fields in Indio

Oops! The show at Pehrspace has been pushed into the future. Anyone have any recommendations for Sunday night?

That’s it. Did I miss anything? Please lemme know.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Mini-Interview: The Weather Underground

Mouse from Classical Geek Theatre recently wrote about The Weather Underground that “it's unfair, really, that some bands can play around town for years and years and not be as good as these guys are right now.”

Strong words, to be sure, but the southern-inflected indie rock act will be working to back them up at the release party for their latest EP at The Troubadour next Tuesday night with Aushua, Karin Tatoyan, and Oliver Future. We checked in with singer/guitarist Harley Prechtel-Cortez over AIM to discuss.

RFSL (1:01:28 PM): Harley!
WeatherUnderground (1:01:56 PM): HEY! Salutations.
RFSL (1:02:18 PM): How's it going?
WeatherUnderground (1:02:26 PM): Good. Just writing a little bit here...
WeatherUnderground (1:02:55 PM): You?
RFSL (1:03:35 PM): I'm doing pretty well today. It’s gorgeous out.
RFSL (1:03:48 PM): What writing were you working on?
WeatherUnderground (1:04:38 PM): Believe it or not, I am working on a finishing up a book of short stories...
RFSL (1:05:04 PM): That's great. Do you have a publisher lined up or do you plan to shop it around?
WeatherUnderground (1:06:30 PM): No publisher... I have a few friends who have published random works (poetry, sociology, text books, etc) who want to help me with that later when I feel it is ready…
WeatherUnderground (1:06:51 PM): Days like this it’s really a shame because it’s so beautiful out!
RFSL (1:07:25 PM): I hear you. Writing is a solitary thing, but especially on a nice day.
WeatherUnderground (1:07:31 PM): I generally end staying in writing music and working on stuff...
RFSL (1:08:29 PM): Did you start song-writing or story writing first?
WeatherUnderground (1:09:22 PM): Story writing... I've always written stories, even as a little kid... In cartoons, little rap diddies, and later poetry and prose became very vital and important to me.
RFSL (1:09:48 PM): When did you start writing songs?
WeatherUnderground (1:10:47 PM): Probably when I was 15 or 16 years old....
WeatherUnderground (1:11:08 PM): At least trying to write songs.
WeatherUnderground (1:11:59 PM): I actually couldn't have really considered myself an enabler of song crafting… hehe… until I was about 19 or 20.
RFSL(1:12:56 PM): Were you in a band back then?
WeatherUnderground (1:14:41 PM): Yeah... I grew up in Inglewood and South Central Los Angeles until I went to high school... My mom remarried and we traveled across the country to live in NYC with my new Stepfather... At 16, I had a band in Queens and we'd practice on rooftops and play in a couple of Irish bars in the neighborhood that would have us...
WeatherUnderground (1:14:58 PM): Man, were we horrible!
WeatherUnderground (1:15:05 PM): as you can imagine...
RFSL (1:15:19 PM): Ha, ha. It's like they say about painting, you need to get the bad art out.
WeatherUnderground (1:15:44 PM): Haha... Yes, most definitely.
RFSL (1:15:51 PM): I found a bunch of old high school poetry the other day and I think I'd been listening to too much Danzig.
WeatherUnderground (1:16:05 PM): haha!!!
RFSL (1:16:54 PM): So, how long has The Weather Underground been around? How did you guys come together?
WeatherUnderground (1:16:03 PM): Well, we've been around about three years...
RFSL (1:16:54 PM): How did you guys meet?
WeatherUnderground (1:19:07 PM): Well, I was in a band with an English guy named Ed and we were set to play on KXLU fm for one of our first shows... But Ed had got his visa denied (father in the UN) and moved back to England... Sho, my cousin, didn't really play guitar very well but I asked him if he could help me out cause I didn't want to cancel the show and I'd teach him the parts... He's a way better guitar player than me now...
WeatherUnderground (1:21:51 PM): Ryan, our bassist, had an ad out looking for a guitarist or something and his influences seemed perfect so i called him and he was confused as he was the one looking for a member...but he came in an Sho and I really took to him...he had a great charismatic energy that we needed...'cause we didn't really know what we were doing or going to do... so with in 3 days of rehearsing with Ryan and Sho we played our first show live on the Radio, KXLU, and ...
RFSL (1:22:08 PM): Was that on KXLU’s Demo Listen?
WeatherUnderground (1:22:14 PM): It was Noise Pollution i think...
RFSL (1:22:32 PM): Ah, cool. Such a great station. They've done a lot for local music.
WeatherUnderground (1:23:01 PM): Yeah, indeed they have...
RFSL (1:24:54 PM): And how did things go from there?
WeatherUnderground (1:25:28 PM): Well, we've all just grown as best friends and the chemistry has just always been there for us... Diego came about two years ago from the Bay Area ... A friend of a friend who told him he would be perfect for our band... and he was.
WeatherUnderground (1:27:09 PM): The first year and a half was really just playing and getting used to each other playing live... Then we finally started to just fire on all cylinders and decided to tour and finally release material that we found ourselves very excited about.
RFSL (1:28:06 PM): Speaking of releasing material, you have an EP release show at The Troubadour next Tuesday.
WeatherUnderground (1:28:42 PM): Yeah for our third EP, Bird in the Hand.
WeatherUnderground (1:28:53 PM): Very excited.
RFSL (1:30:10 PM): Excellent. Who are you playing with again?
WeatherUnderground (1:30:49 PM): Oliver Future, Aushua, and ...
WeatherUnderground (1:31:05 PM): Karin Tatoyan.
WeatherUnderground (1:30:01 PM): You should come...
RFSL (1:31:25 PM): That's a great line-up.
RFSL (1:31:31 PM): Definitely be there.

WeatherUnderground (1:31:35 PM): Fantastic.
WeatherUnderground (1:31:45 PM): Yeah, it should be a great night.
RFSL (1:31:47 PM): So I know I'm retreading some ground that Kevin Bronson at The LA Times already covered, but you mark your influences as Kerouac, Dylan, Camus, Ginsberg and Basquiat.
WeatherUnderground (1:32:02 PM): Yes.
WeatherUnderground (1:32:13 PM): Andre Breton...
WeatherUnderground (1:32:37 PM): And in my opinion one of the best poets of the 20th century... Bob Kaufman.
RFSL (1:32:24 PM): I can see why you guys get along with Mikel from Airborne Toxic Event.
RFSL (1:33:26 PM): Who is also a big reader. (I'm probably going to edit this line later to make it sound better...)
WeatherUnderground (1:33:29 PM): Yeah, Mikel is a big sweetheart... Saw him at our last show at The Echo... He loves the fact that I read a poem at our shows from time to time.
RFSL (1:33:40 PM): I don't know Bob Kaufman!
WeatherUnderground (1:33:51 PM): oh man amazing!
RFSL (1:34:15 PM): Will have to check him out. Been on a big non-fiction kick lately and need to diversify.
WeatherUnderground (1:34:17 PM): His wife wrote almost all his works for him as he recited it... She wrote it in short hand.
WeatherUnderground (1:34:26 PM): And later transcribed it...
WeatherUnderground (1:34:36 PM): A real rebel. The real thing.
RFSL (1:34:44 PM): So how would you say that they influence your work?
WeatherUnderground (1:35:38 PM): Well me, personally, lyrically I like to encapsulate a story or some sort of vignette in our songs...
WeatherUnderground (1:36:45 PM): I think the ethos of having the mad men and rebels always there by your side really keeps me/us afoot... Especially when the horse has broken and we must tread lightly...
WeatherUnderground (1:37:29 PM): Currently reading Hemingway’s Sun Also Rises.
RFSL (1:37:40 PM): I just listened to the book on tape on a road trip last week.
WeatherUnderground (1:38:00 PM): Really... Did you like it?
RFSL (1:38:01 PM): My favorite from him is For Whom The Bell Tolls.
WeatherUnderground (1:38:56 PM): To my shame I have only read Old Man and The Sea from him... but I am really excited about this story so far.... and plan on reading For Whom The Bell Tolls after…
RFSL (1:39:29 PM): I liked The Sun Also Rises. It's younger Hemingway, so it reads a bit more like him writing his own experiences and trying to capture the time.... the whole Lost Generation. It's good, but I love some of his later work where he really puts a lot of philosophy into it.
RFSL (1:39:59 PM): I need to read Old Man and the Sea. I was supposed to for a report for school but think I just read the back cover or Cliff's Notes.
WeatherUnderground (1:40:40 PM): haha... Oh Cliff Notes... or clip dotes.
RFSL (1:40:36 PM): I'm a big fan of philosophical writers like Hemingway, Kundera, Cormac MacCarthy...
RFSL (1:40:47 PM): Sorry, don't get me started. I used to work in a library and went to a liberal arts college.
WeatherUnderground (1:41:27 PM): No, I love it, man... My girlfriend is getting her Phd and
WeatherUnderground (1:41:39 PM): I have an uncle who is a librarian...
WeatherUnderground (1:42:00 PM): My biological father is a writer...
RFSL (1:42:34 PM): There's a theory that rock n roll is best when it takes from a lot of different mediums, so it's great that you're inspired by a lot of great authors.
WeatherUnderground (1:43:47 PM): I read as much as i can i find it comforts me to no end... and trust me I will take some titles and names you just put down ...
WeatherUnderground (1:44:06 PM): Next time we talk...
WeatherUnderground (1:44:17 PM): brb
RFSL (1:44:54 PM): Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy is a recent favorite. It's kind of an atrocity exhibition, but it's frigging amazing at the same time.
WeatherUnderground (1:45:10 PM): Flipping over the record... My ipod just broke but I got a great record player... Little Richard’s Keep On Knockin’ is on.
RFSL (1:45:20 PM): Excellent.
WeatherUnderground (1:46:00 PM): Oh, shit... My girlfriend has that book right here... That’s so random...
RFSL (1:45:30 PM): So, you guys are going on tour soon.
RFSL (1:45:50 PM): What are the headlights going to be for you? You’re playing with French Kicks, right?
WeatherUnderground (1:47:07 PM): Well, we are heading on some sort of national tour in June...
RFSL (1:47:40 PM): You're just on the west coast first, right?
WeatherUnderground (1:48:11 PM): In May, we will be giving our love to California and heading all over, Santa Cruz, Merced, Modesto, Fresno, San Diego, SF, Sacramento, and LA with a number of those dates being with the French Kicks, who we love... Very excited...
RFSL (1:48:34 PM): That's great. You've got Bonnaroo and the High Sierra Music Festival during that national tour.
RFSL (1:48:52 PM): I was going to ask you what's next for you guys, but I'm sure that's going to keep you pretty busy for awhile.
WeatherUnderground (1:49:26 PM): Yeah... That’s going to be quite a head shaft so to speak...
WeatherUnderground (1:50:15 PM): The great thing too is that Bonnaroo is in TN, and we're planning on going to Memphis, TN to visit Sun Studios !!
RFSL (1:50:26 PM): Wow.
RFSL (1:51:15 PM): Just read Johnny Cash's book where he wrote about those days. That would be great to go there.
WeatherUnderground (1:51:27 PM): Yeah, I personally want to visit Lawrence, Kansas. I heard there is some sort of W. Burroughs museum there...
RFSL (1:51:53 PM): Ha. I have a Mayan hieroglyph off the cover of Burroughs' Ah Pook Is Here on my chest.
RFSL (1:52:01 PM): Most pretentious tattoo ever.
WeatherUnderground (1:52:07 PM): haha...
RFSL (1:52:09 PM): That would also be a great place to visit.
WeatherUnderground (1:52:16 PM): Oh, man... Johnny Cash... Ryan just got that book...
RFSL (1:52:48 PM): Best part of the Johnny Cash book? He wrote that “I was raised right so I knew right from wrong, but there were still times when the Black Dog had its way…"
WeatherUnderground (1:52:57 PM): My mom is from Guatemala and Sho and I just went in Dec...
WeatherUnderground (1:53:40 PM): I climbed many temples and pyramid in Tikal... Man, the ecosystem in that rain forest is just magical
RFSL (1:54:04 PM): That sounds like a dream.
WeatherUnderground (1:54:12 PM): Haha. That J. Cash quote is so great!!!
WeatherUnderground (1:55:05 PM): yeah the whole trip really was...
RFSL (1:55:29 PM): Sounds like you guys are going to have a great trip this summer. That's fantastic.
WeatherUnderground (1:55:47 PM): The new song from the new ep Fight Song for the Desalojos came from that experience, lyrically.
WeatherUnderground(1:56:43 PM): Yeah, we are excited... We've been very blessed and are really just grateful to be together and playing as much as possible...
RFSL (1:57:16 PM): So, hell, man. It's been really good talking to you. I don't want to take up too much more of your time.
RFSL (1:57:21 PM): Just one last question:
RFSL (1:57:31 PM): What are you listening to these days?
WeatherUnderground (1:58:18 PM): A lot of Etta James, Marlena Shaw, Otis Redding, Stax Records compilations...
WeatherUnderground (1:58:28 PM): new records:
WeatherUnderground (1:59:14 PM): love The National’s Boxer...Delta Spirit... Iron and Wine... Richard Swift... Two Gallants...
WeatherUnderground (1:59:45 PM): and i always listen to the two billys....
WeatherUnderground (2:00:24 PM): Billy Childish and Billy Bragg.
RFSL (2:01:11 PM): Right on. Well, that's all I've got for you.
RFSL (2:01:19 PM): Thanks so much for your time!
WeatherUnderground (2:01:20 PM): Great talking to you Joe! Cheers.
RFSL (2:01:30 PM): See you guys on Tuesday night.

- Neal Cassady MP3

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Local Act Makes Good... Record Deal

Big congrats to local act The Airborne Toxic Event for not only signing a record deal with Majordomo -- which is distributed through Sony/BMG and is also home to Earlimart -- but apparently nailing a partnership similar to Radiohead’s sweetheart agreement with TBD Records.

Bet it's easier to propose retaining creative control when your unreleased single is getting requested on KROQ every day, eh?

According to the band, their debut album will be out on Tuesday, July 15th and they’ll be announcing tour dates soon.

- Interview: The Airborne Toxic Event
- Wishing Well MP3

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Let's Independent: The Aftermath

It's been more than twelve hours since The Minor Canon, Luke Top, and ((eagle winged palace))) played our Let's Independent! show at Boardner's of Hollywood last night and I still have songs from each band firmly stuck in my head...

Huge thanks to everyone who played, attended, and helped spread the word about the event -- hope everyone had as much of as a great time as I did -- and muchas gracias also to elainelayabout for taking the following videos.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Let's Independent! Tonight: The Minor Canon, Luke Top, & (((eagle winged palace)))

Just one final reminder about our FREE show tonight with the smarty pop line-up of The Minor Canon, Luke Top, and ((eagle winged palace))) at Boardner's of Hollywood. Read all the details and hear tracks from all three acts right here.

Here are some links to interviews we've done with the groups in the past, as well as some MP3s.

The Minor Canon - "We had to, sort of, claw our way through this record. Recording in different studios on the cheap, at my apartment in Silver Lake, and at a high school auditorium in Burbank. We were trying to spend money as wisely as possible."

DOWNLOAD: It Never Was MP3

Luke Top - "My band has been blessed with many talented friends. It always seems to come together very naturally. We've had the same solid lineup for a while now and its been great. Some of the guys I've been playing with practically my whole life."

DOWNLOAD: Lord, Save Me From This Valley MP3

(((eagle winged palace))) - "The basic concept for EWP is centered around Old California. The themes, the instrumentation, the spirits are all connected to that, and originally I found some kinship in friends who I'd hope may help play some stringed instrument here, sing a lead vocal there."

DOWNLOAD: Hand of Doom MP3

Rad poster by Christine Hale.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Monday Show Low Down (Or "We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service To Everyone...")

Last Friday at Bordello w/ The Movies, The Happy Hollows, and The Savages was one of those nights that felt more like a party than just a regular show -- and it looks like we're in store for an entire fucking week like that.

So forget about catching up on the latest episodes of John Adams and/or Battlestar Galactica because over the next few evenings, you're going out...

Monday, April 14
- Radars To Sky, The Transmissions, The Henry Clay People, & Death to Anders @ The Echo (FREE)
- KROQ Presents Locals Only w/ Moving Picture Show, Eastern Conference Champions, & Hazelden @ Crash Mansion (FREE w/ RSVP)
- ECHO & dublab presents pres: Stars of the Lid, Christopher Willits, & Nudge @ Echoplex
- The Lieutenants, Shiloe, & Valentino @ The Silver Lake Lounge (FREE)
- Indie 103.1 Presents Check One... Two w/ Let's Go Sailing, Calamity Magnet, The Happy Casualties, & Mike Krum
- Josh Haden's Dead Sea Scrolls, Abe lincoln story, & Castano @ Mr T's Bowl
- Sean Carnage Presents 2.0, I.E., 60 Watt Kid, E & E, & Snacks @ Pehrspace
- Seasons, Crooked Cowboy, Old Toy Trains, Soul or System @ The Scene (FREE)
- Django James and the midnight squires, you me & everyone we know, Socratic, A Race Called Man, & Zach Broocke @ The Troubadour (FREE)
- Obedient Waves, The Meemies, Stab City, & The Deepsea Goes @ Bordello
- Johnathan Rice, Whispertown 2000, & The Heavenly States @ Spaceland (FREE)

There are some solid choices for your Monday night, but if I had to narrow it down to one, I'd pick the titanic team-up of Radars To Sky, The Transmissions, The Henry Clay People, & Death to Anders all for FREE at The Echo. (I've had Radars' song Victoria stuck in my head all week...)

Tuesday, April 15
- Radio Free Silver Lake Presents Let's Independent! w/ The Minor Canon, Luke Top, & (((eagle winged palace))) @ Boardner's of Hollywood (FREE)
- I Make This Sound, Nick Jaina, & The Break-Ups @ The Silver Lake Lounge
- Fort King, Helene Renaut, & Ruthann Friedman @ Cafe Mariposa
- Avangaad, Vaudeville, Lovely Bones, & The Beeters @ Mr T's Bowl
- Obedient Waves, The Meemies, Stab City, & The Deepsea Goes @ Bordello
- Rocco DeLuca, Bryan Scary, & Wyoming @ Spaceland
- Guitar Hero Competition @ Safari Sam's
- The Nightwatchman & Friends @ The Troubadour (sold-out)
- The Echo Presents George James & Telematique @ Pehrspace
- Subhumans, Ciril, & Hit Me Back @ The Echo
- Red Maids, El Haru-Kuroi, The Sweet Hurt, Jack Wilson Jr, & Charles DeCastro @ Echo Curio

Our last few Let's Independent! events at Boardner's have been really goddamn fun and the FREE line-up of smarty pop acts The Minor Canon, Luke Top, and (((eagle winged palace))) looks to only continue that trend.

Wednesday, April 16
- The Sweet Relief Benefit w/ Afternoons, The Pity Party, The Franks, & Karin Tatoyan @ The Echo
- Indie 103 presents CLUB NME with AvanGaad @ Spaceland
- Golden Ratio @ The Silver Lake Lounge
- Dub Club w/ Half Pint @ Echoplex
- The Eels @ The El Rey
- Sara Lov, Patrick Park, Learning Music, & The Cinnamon Roll Gang @ Tangier
- HB3, The Other Side of Morning, & Strangely Attractive @ Mr T's Bowl
- Tigers Can Bite You & Carré is Queen Kwong @ Three of Clubs

The Afternoons, The Pity Party, Karin Tatoyan, and The Franks are playing at The Echo on Thursday for Sweet Relief, a charity which provides support to musicians who need help paying for major illnesses. It's a good cause and a great show and only $7.

I've also been meaning to see Carré is Queen Kwong (w/ favorites Tigers Can Bite You), who is performing at Three of Clubs later that night.

Thursday, April 17
- Classical Geek Theatre & LA Underground Present The Monolators, Natural Disasters, The Breakups, & Sister Grizzly @ The Scene (FREE)
- Marvelous Toy, The Cat Hair Ensemble, & Ema & The Ghosts @ Mr T's Bowl
- Tift Merrit & Sara Watkins @ The Troubadour
- The Eels @ The El Rey
- The Watkins Family Hour @ Largo
- 89.9 KCRW Presents Scissors For Lefty, Oliver Future, The Frequency, & more @ Safari Sam's
- Led To Sea, Peculiar Pretzelmen, & Mimes of Wine @ Echo Curio
- Eli ’Paperboy’ Reed & The True Loves, Jail Weddings, The Shackeltons, Don Cavalli @ The Echo
- The Western States Motel, Flashing Red Lights, Happy Stars, & Hello Dragon @ Spaceland

Tough calls here... The Western States Motel perform long-awaited new material at Spaceland with a new backing band... Marvelous Toy and pals take Mr T's Bowl... and Classical Geek Theatre and LA Underground present The Monolators and friends (and homemade pretzels) at The Scene for FREE...

Friday, April 18
- Division Day & Facing New York @ The Troubadour
- LA Record Player featuring The Moon Upstairs, Lion of Panjshir, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, & DJ Short Shorts @ Charlie O’s
- Jaxart Presents Bad Dudes, We Versus Shark, The Valley Arena, & Guppies @ Pehrspace
- Nightshift @ Mr T's Bowl
- Megafuckers, Rats, Silver Daggers, & Peter Kolovos @ The Smell
- Club Underground pres: Quarter After (Record Release Party) plus Underground DJs
- Pre & The Mae Shi @ Spaceland
- The Sword @ The El Rey
- Tweak Bird & more @ El Cid
- Jon Brion @ Largo
- Seether & Flyleaf @ The Wiltern
- Don Cavalli, Team Scrub, & Deepakalypse @ Echo Curio
- The Pacific & Friends (acoustic), Ladies And Gents, & Panic Club @ The Scene

Division Day at The Troubadour? Bad Dudes and The Valley Arena at Perhspace? Jon Brion at the soon-to-move Largo? The interesante line-up at Charlie-O's? Friday night's like a Choose Your Own Adventure. With music.

Saturday, April 19
- Guest DJ Sets 12 - 6 by Peanut Butter Wolf, The Donnas, & Daniel Ash and David J from Bauhaus @ Amoeba Music
- A Sunny Day in Glasgow, State Bird, & No Little Kindness @ Pehrspace
- South Toward Home Benefit Concert @ The Troubadour (FREE)
- Hang The DJs @ The Echo
- Jon Brion @ Largo
- Matinees, Sadie Contini of Invisible Cites, & Clark 8 @ Mr T's Bowl
- The Deludes & Barrio Tiger @ The Scene
- Manhattan Murder Mystery, Die Rockers Die, & The Health Club @ Echo Curio
- Bodies of Water, Flowers Forever, & Elf Power @ Spaceland

If you like the loud, Echo Curio has the show for you. If you like the pretty and melodic, go directly to Spaceland.

Sunday, April 20
- Grand Ol Echo pres: Dan Janisch, Rich Mahan, Last Campfire, The 1921A on the Backporch @ The Echo (early)
- Part Time Punks @ The Echo (late)
- Taylor Goldsmith, Rachel Cantu, & Night Canopy @ Tangier
- Kate Kilbane and The Porters, Abe Lincoln Sotry, & The Knockout Spunx @ Mr T's Bowl
- HEALTH, PRE, Ima Gymnist, Teenage Moms, Foot Village, & David Scott Stone @ The Smell
- Rainman Suite, Clash City Rockers, Tommy Peacock and the Gas, & Lincoln Bedroom @ The Scene
- Casket Salesman, Auditory Aphasia, Ojos Rojos, Mythmaker, Mongoloid, Ride The Boogie @ Spaceland
- The Eagle Rock Bowling & Drinking Club w/ The Hectors, El-Haru Kuroi, Sister Grizzly, & Wait. Think. Fast. @ The All-Star Lanes

The ample wiles of The Eagle Rock Bowling and Drinking Club draw you to All-Star Lanes for The Hectors, Wait. Think. Fast, bowling, drinking and more.

That's it. Please let me know what I missed. (I always miss something, but I tried to be pretty careful this time...)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mini-Interview: (((eagle winged palace)))

Despite positive press from such disparate local outlets as The LA Times, The LA Weekly, KROQ, and You Set The Scene, LA's garage rock outfit The Prix quietly folded late last year -- but leads Cashew Von Harding and Blake Jordan have recently returned with a new group, the 60s psyche folk-themed (((eagle winged palace))).

We caught Von Harding over AIM earlier this week to find out more before they open our FREE Let's Independent! event at Boardner's w/ The Minor Canon and Luke Top Tuesday.

EWP (6:11:20 PM): Hello?
RFSL (6:11:34 PM): Hey!
RFSL (6:12:18 PM): How are you doing? You ready to do this?
EWP (6:12:21 PM): Sure, I'm on the bus.
RFSL (6:13:27 PM): You get points for taking public transit in LA!
EWP (6:14:16 PM): Gas is kinda expensive and it gives me some breathing room to write, scribble, chart, and just fuck around.
RFSL (6:14:24 PM): Cool. So, what is (((eagle winged palace)))?
EWP (6:14:33 PM): The name?
RFSL (6:14:54 PM): How would you describe the band?
EWP (6:15:21 PM): I guess if they were filing it at Amoeba, they'd probably put it under folk or psych folk. Obviously, we try hard to go farther, but understand practicality.
RFSL (6:16:34 PM): I think you mentioned before that there's a concept uniting all the songs you've created so far... Sort of a 60s psyche Hollywood theme?
EWP (6:16:54 PM): Yes and no. That's just one of the stops are train goes to. It travels Old California, whether it’s Big Sur in the 20s, or Hollywood in the 50s, or the Salton Sea at the turn of the century, lyrically speaking.
EWP (6:17:24 PM): We even hit old time Tijuana if it feels right!
EWP (6:17:42 PM): But musically, its connected by a sound that does come across sounding 60s and west coast
EWP (6:18:24 PM): Very trippy.
RFSL (6:19:34 PM): Very different from what you guys were doing with The Prix.
EWP (6:22:41 PM): Yeah, me and Blake were just having fun and wanted to rock out, but we were both raised under classical and folk music households, as were the rest of the collective.
RFSL (6:24:41 PM): So, how long has EWP been around now?
EWP (6:26:27 PM): Well, it started as a little art project more than a year ago, but didn’t take real shape until I asked my friends for help last November
EWP (6:27:20 PM): OOH! An accident on Olympic Blvd!!
RFSL (6:27:29 PM): Everyone okay?
EWP (6:28:21 PM): Yeah, but not the passengers on this bus. It’s an unruly mix of LAHS kids and pissed-off peeps who wanna go home.
RFSL (6:28:34 PM): Ahh.
RFSL (6:29:20 PM): So, EWP is your first band since The Prix broke up. What happened?
EWP (6:30:55 PM): Well, I had been working on it well into it while The Prix were doing their thing, but I think it was fatigue for most of the guys.
RFSL (6:32:12 PM): Then you had a few people join you in EWP afterwards.
EWP (6:34:35 PM): Yes, the basic concept for EWP is centered around Old California. The themes, the instrumentation, the spirits are all connected to that, and originally I found some kinship in friends who I'd hope may help play some stringed instrument here, sing a lead vocal there.
EWP (6:34:41 PM): To my surprise.
EWP (6:35:20 PM): We all forged a straight up vocal group still wrapped up in the same concept, but with an unexpected instrumentation - serious harmonies.
RFSL (6:35:30 PM): Including Blake, who played keys for The Prix.
RFSL (6:35:41 PM): Who are the other members? What are their backgrounds?
EWP (6:39:13 PM): Michelle Vidal is quite the premiere picker around town. The girl can play, but man can she back it up with her voice.
EWP (6:42:50 PM): Uncle Rhea-Rhea is my lovely wife who, while raised singing opera, has also kept her talent to herself since high school and now is blessing this project with her clear, perfect tone.
EWP (6:43:30 PM): Sister Meegan has been a friend of mine for years and has kept her talent to herself until now and she's taken my songs and thrown them somewhere else. I'm beside myself with her voice.
EWP (6:43:50 PM): Helping us on shows has been Super Karma on ukelele and she has her own fabulous band that I lend my hand in, with guitars and mandolins and the like.
RFSL (6:45:21 PM): Ut oh. Haffing some connection trouble...
RFSL (6:46:28 PM): You there?
[My connection has gone down. We reschedule on the phone for tomorrow.
RFSL (12:14:34 PM): Hey!
RFSL (12:14:43 PM): How's it going?
EWP (12:15:16 PM): Hola, Joe.
RFSL (12:15:56 PM): You have time to continue the interview?
EWP (12:16:45 PM): Sure. Today I'm sitting in a boring food court in Century City surrounded by agents and cubicle warriors. Save me!
RFSL (12:16:52 PM): Ha, ha.
RFSL (12:26:27 PM): Cool. So when we were interrupted by Bad Internet Weather last night, you were talking about the backgrounds for the different people in the band.
EWP (12:29:01 PM): Yes, I believe I got everyone in. For several, this is their first music project on the scene, so to speak, save schools or churches.
EWP (12:29:43 PM): I'm proud of them all.
RFSL (12:29:58 PM): Excellent. And you've recorded how many songs so far?
EWP (12:32:33 PM): We're currently recording a cycle of songs which should end up as about 12 when finished. We've put together three as a sampler EP to generate some fun and I'm currently putting the means to making it interactive for parties to make their own mixes and add beats, etc.
EWP (12:32:51 PM): We'd like to have something in the can by the fall.
RFSL (12:33:14 PM): Cool. And you've played a handful of shows in LA so far.
EWP (12:34:29 PM): Yes. We're looking forward to playing the night at Boardner’s. We seem to be mutual friends with Luke Top and we do love us some Minor Canon.
RFSL (12:34:49 PM): What's next for you guys?
EWP (12:38:09 PM): Focusing on our recordings is probably #1 priority. Having a collective with this many voices and ideas, songs are pretty much created on a daily basis and its a challenge to catalog them all, while producing what we have, and maintaining a strong performing set.
EWP (12:38:18 PM): It's quite exhilarating!
RFSL (12:39:10 PM): Cool Well, I just have one more question for you: What are you listening to these days, local or otherwise?
EWP (12:39:38 PM): Hmmmm.
EWP (12:40:08 PM): Locally, a new act popped on my radar whom I like He's My Brother She's My Sister.
EWP (12:40:55 PM): Its also satisfying seeing old friends like No Age and The Weather Underground start to kick them national doors around.
EWP (12:41:53 PM): Strangely enough, I've been on a speed metal kick again though. Don't ask.
RFSL (12:42:28 PM): I had a big black metal kick about ten years back which culminated with me buying The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds.
EWP (12:43:04 PM): They pretty much spearheaded the movement, didn't they?
RFSL (12:43:42 PM): Heh, I needed something different and had spent years hearing that it was so many people's favorite album.
RFSL (12:43:47 PM): And now it's my favorite album.
EWP (12:44:05 PM): Every song is a treasure.
RFSL (12:44:47 PM): But I still have a place in my heart for bands with singers that sound like giant monster bats.
EWP (12:45:11 PM): You bet.
RFSL (12:45:22 PM): It's like if Man-Bat sang.
EWP (12:45:35 PM): Haha.
RFSL (12:46:14 PM): Well, that's all I've got for you, sir.
RFSL (12:46:22 PM): Thanks so much for your time!
EWP (12:46:35 PM): Thank you.

- Hand of Doom MP3

Photo by Sterling Andrews.

Reminder: The Movies' Bootleg Album Release Party w/ The Happy Hollows & The Savages

You don't want to miss tonight's event with The Movies, The Happy Hollows, and The Savages at Bordello. Besides the great show, it's a chance to get an advance copy of The Movies' new album more than a month early, so why wait?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Video Free Silver Lake: The Minor Canon, Helio Sequence, TRS-80, Wallpaper, & Tara Busch

Once a week, we either scare up passable live footage of local bands we like or post video oddities what people have sent us recently. That day is today and that viewer is you, so sit back on the couch (pictured right) and enjoy.

Here's an older live clip of The Minor Canon, who are headlining our FREE Let's Independent! show at Boardner's next Tuesday. (Hint: You should come.)

Did you catch Portland's Helio Sequence when they came to town recently? Here's a video for their song Keep Your Eyes Ahead off their same-named new album.

Not normally a big follower of electronic music, but I kind of heart this song and video by Chicago ex-pats TRS-80.

Same goes for "electronic funk" but this video from Eenie Meanie Records' artist Wallpaper contains entertainment.

Any you have to hand it to local performer Tara Busch, who runs the site Analog Suicide with her husband, can shatter glasses with her voice, and sings backwards well (below).

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

L.A.'s Vinyl Revival

The key to improving record sales might lie in the past...
by L.J. Mancha

Grad student Bianca Lopez, 24, used to show up to her Silver Lake friends' parties with a bottle of wine. These days, she arrives with her $25 dollar portable record player and a stack of LPs.

Over the past several months, these items have become regular fixtures at get-togethers and are often demanded by Lopez’ friends prior to party time.

“If you bring vinyl to a party, you’re [more likely] to listen to an album all the way through,” Lopez explains, sipping her drink and looking through a worn Trader Joe’s bag packed with records. “Plus, an [iPOD] playlist can hurt the flow of a party, if one minute you’re listening to MC5, and the next, you are listening to something off [Bob Dylan’s] Blonde on Blonde.”

Lopez is one of many music lovers who are a part of a vinyl revival, a far-reaching phenomenon that has accelerated over the past couple of years. In a time when music fans have the capability to transfer their entire CD collection onto iPods, more people are choosing to buy records in addition to, or instead of, digital formats.

This resurgent love for analog began roughly two years ago, when record labels began offering download cards with vinyl purchases. These cards enable one to download mp3s of the songs featured on the record. This package deal, known as digital vinyl, has acquainted fans with a more focused music-listening experience that dates back decades, and in the recent past, was only enjoyed by the most serious vinyl collectors.

Merge Records, one of the first indie giants to develop digital vinyl offers, affirms that many followers of their artists have bought vinyl for years. Merge was motivated to push vinyl/downloads by listeners’ affection for vinyl and by their own affinities.

“We were thinking of our fans when we made the decision [to include downloads with vinyl]…and as all of us who work here are vinyl fans, it just seemed like a great idea,” Christina Rentz, publicist for Merge Records, explains. “Our fans responded the way we did, with excitement and gratitude that they wouldn’t have to steal mp3s or buy a Merge release twice, just because they liked vinyl.”

Jeff Tafolla, Director of Licensing and New Media at Saddle Creek Records, said that his label was inspired by Merge’s digital vinyl move and followed suit with their own artists’ releases.

“We love vinyl,” Tafolla said, “and are always looking for ways to make it more enticing for the consumer.”

There is no denying that Merge and Saddle Creek developed these deals with the longtime vinyl lover in mind; still, a new wave of music fans is finding record playing to be a more tangible and enjoyable experience than setting their iTunes to random play.

What’s more, many local bands and upstart labels in Los Angeles have produced their own vinyl recordings, and much to their delight, they are often outselling CD versions.

Los Angeles-based alt-country band Everest chose to release their first recording as a 12” 45rpm single last year. Guitarist Joel Graves, who has been buying vinyl as long as he can remember, relates that fans’ reaction to the record has been positive.

“…It’s sold pretty well,” Graves said. “We later made a CD that was an exact mini-replica of the 12”, and the 12” still sells better.”

Everest’s debut album, which will be released in the beginning of May on Vapor Records, will also be available on vinyl.

Some groups have opted to exclusively release vinyl and downloads and swear off self-releasing CDs altogether.

Eli Chartkoff, singer and guitarist of The Monolators, relates that his band put out their first 7” single in 2004. More recently, the band has released another 7”, as well as a 10” EP, 'You Look Good on the Train'.

Initially, there was no real justification [for doing vinyl releases] other than to satisfy my nerdiness. But after our first record, it became kind of addictive,” Chartkoff said. “There’s just nothing like getting the first test pressing back from the mastering engineer and putting it on our turntable, instead of just playing it on a computer. It seems more real somehow.”

Friends and fans of The Monolators especially responded well to the 10” EP, their most substantial vinyl release to date.

“A lot of our friends who are in bands have asked us for advice and contacts for putting out vinyl, especially after this last record,” he said. “Maybe it inspired them to put out their own records somehow? That would be great if it were true.”

While bands like Everest and The Monolators continue to release their latest works in their favorite format, there are other creative self-starters whose deep-seeded love for vinyl has inspired flourishing projects.

Ashley Jex, aka Jax, founder of L.A. music blog Rock Insider, started her own design company, JAXART, in 2005. But in the past year, the indie renaissance woman widened the scope of JAXART by releasing limited edition 7” singles of local bands, under the name JAXART Records.

“I’ve been a psychotic record collector since college and spend way more than I should on vinyl every month,” Jax said. “…I’ve worked in new media at record labels for five years now and have seen how digital sales have gone up over the years. I decided I wanted to do a vinyl [and] digital-only label, because I wanted to combine something collectible with something convenient.”

Jax is quick to voice the reasons that music fans find vinyl so desirable, including vinyl’s bassier aspects and warm tone to its keepsake quality.

“If I have my way, JAXART will never release albums on CD,” she said.

One of the advantages that vinyl has over CDs and mp3s is that an album is more likely to be heard in its entirety, instead of being skipped through as on a CD or picked through for iTunes playlist purposes.

Bassist Noah Green of L.A. rock band The Henry Clay People, one of the vinyl-friendly bands who have released a 7” on JAXART, identifies this as one of the reasons he prefers to buy LPs.

“I think that more people are getting into buying records these days as a result of what a neutral experience it is to play an mp3 on a computer,” Green said.”…You can literally set iTunes to play for days on end without having to think about anything, whereas with records, you are more aware that you are the one controlling the music and that you have to be around to flip the record over to hear an album in its entirety.”

Many musicians and the most ardent of music fans appreciate vinyl in terms of how the format safeguards the album. Vinyl forces listeners to appreciate an artist’s songs in terms of how they fit together…just like in the not so distant old days.

“I think people still love the idea of an album,” Jesse Davis, vinyl lover and singer/guitarist of rock band The Karabal Nightlife says. “Vinyl allows people to reclaim the album again. I think that if labels and distributors really start to invest in the idea of vinyl, the music industry might improve.”

According to Nielsen SoundScan, vinyl sales rose 15.4% in 2007 from the year before; however, label people like Tafolla say digital formats still sell better.

“Even though vinyl is making a comeback…it still [accounts for a] pretty small percentage of our music sales,” Tafolla said. “CDs and digital downloads are the majority of our business.”

While vinyl might not be saving the music industry, there is no denying that the old school format encourages listeners to experience an entire record and stimulates artists’ to create collective works instead of catchy pieces.

“Labels will obviously benefit from the combination,” Davis said, “but artists will feel freer to make albums, rather than singles that will hopefully make it onto someone’s playlist.”

In a modern context, this could be vinyl’s greatest contribution; at least, to those who create the albums being played.