Thursday, December 22, 2005

Top 10 List of 2005

The holidays and lots of work have really made it difficult to blog. But here's my favorite music of 2005.....

1) Sufjan Stevens’ ILLINOIS – I enjoyed a few songs off of Michigan, but never expected this. It would have been even stronger if he had cut about 15 minutes of filler. Key tracks: “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.” and “The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts.”

2) Spoon’s GIMME FICTION – He draws inspiration from bands most indie rockers pretend they don’t listen to. Key tracks: “I Summon You” and “I Turn My Camera On.”

3) Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH – I seem to like it more each time I hear it. I put it away for a couple of months and recently picked it up again. Key tracks: “The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth” and “Over and Over Again (Lost and Found).”

4) Fruit Bats’ SPELLED IN BONES – Just some solid Shins-esque indie pop. Key tracks: “Born in the 70s” and “Lives of Crime.”

5) My Morning Jacket’s Z – I always hated their records but liked their live shows. Finally they cut out all the jams and got to the point. Key tracks: “Anytime” and “It Beats For You.”

6) Broken Social Scene’s BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE – They really need to quit messing around and make a consistent record. Maybe they feel the sloppiness is part of their charm? Key tracks: “7/4 (Shoreline)” and “Superconnected.”

7) Low’s THE GREAT DESTROYER – The first song is “Monkey” and the second song is “California.” That’s a great start in my eyes. Producer Dave Fridmann probably deserves a lot of credit for the sound of this record. Key tracks: “California” and “Everybody’s Song.”

8) Pernice Brothers’ DISCOVER A LOVELIER YOU – This record was a little disappointing when I first got it, but only because my expectations were so high. Key tracks: “My So-Called Celibate Life” and “There Goes the Sun.”

9) The Foxymorons’ HESITATION EYES – Sure they’re friends of mine, but I would have really liked this anyway. Key tracks: “Harvard Hands” and “Hesitation Eyes.”

10) Rogue Wave’s DESCENDED LIKE VULTURES – Just some solid Shins-esque indie pop. Key tracks: “10:1” and “Love’s Lost Guarantee.”

Other stuff I recommend: The Earlies’ THESE WERE THE EARLIES, The New Pornographers’ TWIN CINEMA, A Band of Bees’ FREE THE BEES, Dios (Malos) S/T, Iron & Wine/Calexico’s IN THE REINS, The Boy Least Likely To’s BEST PARTY EVER, Bonnie “Prince” Billy/Matt Sweeney’s SUPERWOLF

Monday, December 12, 2005

Live Music Picks 12/12-12/13

I made it out to Spaceland for a little while last night. I saw a bit of Everybody Else (they're ok, a straight-ahead rock band that I've seen before) but unfortunately missed The Good Listeners. I didn't realize that the Honey Brothers featured one of the stars of HBO's ENTOURAGE. The valet lot was full, lots of really dressed up girls and not that many people really drinking. The music wasn't bad (some Talking Heads-inspired stuff) but the crowd made it tough to take so I can't really fully comment.

Aberdeen City / Groovie Ghoulies / Chixdiggit! / The Colour @ Spaceland [FREE] - For fans of more upbeat music. This is my choice if you're up for hearing some free bands and drinking some cheap PBR. Chixdiggit! and Groovie Ghoulies are punk-pop bands (Descendents and Ramones-esque respectively). Aberdeen City is a pretty good indie rock band from Boston influenced by Radiohead and U2. The Colour is Spaceland's December residents. They sound kind of boring.
Download Aberdeen City's "In Combat"

The Grabs / Gliss / Cold War Kids @ Silverlake Lounge [FREE] - For the local music scenesters. The Grabs feature Eleni Mandell on vocals, the bass player from Blondie and the guitar player from W.A.C.O. Gliss plays dreamy rock and has toured with Billy Corgan and BRMC in Europe. Cold War Kids are playing the Monday night residency in December.
Download Cold War Kids' "The Soloist in the Living Room"

Lion Fever @ the Echo [FREE] - For people with a high tolerance for annoying/gothish music. Listen for yourself. They're signed to Dim Mak records and they're the free Monday night residency in December.

Emmylou Haris @ Walt Disney Concert Hall [$26-66] - For fans of Christmas music. I love Emmylou Harris and it's pretty wild sitting in the Disney Concert Hall but I'm too cheap to go. Let me know how it is.

Lucinda Williams / Son Volt @ the Roxy [$22.50] - For alternative country fans. This lineup is just too weird. Phantom Planet and Marjorie Fair are also on it. I think Lucinda is great, but I can't deal with the Strip and all the other bands. Apparently she's also palying at the House of Blues tonight. She gets around.

The Shore / Innaway / Marjorie Fair @ Silverlake Lounge [$10] - For the regular rock fans. Three local bands...the Shore were on Maverick but they're looking for a new deal. Innaway is hot off a tour with Echo & the Bunnymen. Marjorie Fair is on the Decembrists' label, Capitol Records.
Download Innaway's "You Know Everytime"

Charlie Haden @ the Echo [$25-27] - For the jazz fans.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Weekend Live Music Picks

I didn't make it out last night - just caught up on some reading so I could wake up early. That's the Honey Brothers (playing Sunday at Spaceland) on the left.

Mellowdrone / The Lashes / The Divorce @ Spaceland - For the rock'n'roll fans. Mellowdrone is a local band that has a classic Radiohead/Muse type of sound. The Lashes are a bratty rock band with haircuts and clothes. The Divorce are also from Seattle but a little more emo/anthemic.
Download Mellowdrone's "Fashionably Uninvited"
Download the Lashes' "Death By Mixtape"

Merle Jagger @ The Mint - For country fans. It's the Sin City night at the Mint. Merle Jagger is an upbeat instrumental country band. If you're mainly interested in Merle Jagger I recommend you see them on Saturday at Sea Level Records for free.

The Good Listeners / Jesca Hoop @ El Cid [$10] - For the public radio crowd. Tom Waits has apparently said some nice things about Jesca Hoop. The Good Listeners are mellow and sound decent (maybe a little like the Eels?). You can sample both on their web sites (but they don't offer any MP3s). The Good Listeners will also be at Spaceland on Sunday.

Merle Jagger @ Sea Level Records 3:00 PM [FREE] - See above. It's free. Buy some Christmas presents while you're there.

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) @ the El Rey [$19] - For the dance-punk fans. They have grooves that get indie kids dancing.
Download a sample of !!!'s "Take Ecstacy with Me"
Download a sample of !!!'s "Hello? Is This Thing On?"

The Good Listeners / The Honey Brothers @ Spaceland [$10] - For the indie rock fans. See comments above for the Good Listeners. New York City's The Honey Brothers have a good sense of humor, a ukelele or two and some catchy songs.

Mark Gardener (of Ride) / Goldrush @ Knitting Factory [$12] - For the Brit pop fans.

The Brokedown @ Tangier [$8] - For the indie pop fans.
Download the Brokedown's "Down in the Valley"

Alan McGee (DJ set) @ the Echo [FREE] For the brit pop fans who aren't at Mark Gardener. Alan McGee founded Creation Records (Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, Felt, My Bloody
Valentine, Ride, Teenage Fanclub, Oasis, Super Furry Animals).

Depeche Mode / The White Stripes / Death Cab For Cutie / Coldplay / Hot Hot Heat / Nada Surf / The Bravery / Jack Johnson @ Gibson Amphitheatre [SOLD OUT] - For the KROQ people. I had front row tickets for Depeche Mode in Bonner Springs, KS in about 1992. They were great, but that was about 14 years ago. I've seen the White Stripes a bunch of times at the Troubadour, at Emo's, at the Greek. Each time it's less and less interesting. I've seen DCFC a ton of times at Emo's and smaller places I don't remember anymore and I'm not even a big fan. I've seen Coldplay at the El Rey and Coachella and I'm not even a fan. I've seen Hot Hot Heat at La Zona Rosa and I'm not really a fan at all. I've seen the Bravery at Spaceland and I walked out after two songs. Jack Johnson just makes me feel icky. Why's he even part of this lineup?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Live Music Options - Thursday

I made it out to the Paper Magazine/Dim Mak party last night. The open bar part was nice - free Svedka Vodka and Amstel Light. Loads of hipsters. I saw the lead singer of dios(malos), Jason Faulkner, Rolan Bolan and a lot of the other usual suspects.

The Probe @ Spaceland - For the punk rock fan. The lead singer is a really good guy. You should check 'em out and buy him a drink at the bar.

Shooter Jennings @ Troubadour [$15] - For the country music fan. He's Waylon Jennings' son (and played his daddy in WALK THE LINE). He doesn't seem to have the outlaw sound of his dad, but maybe he has more edge live?

Tosca & Richard Dorfmeister @ The Vanguard [$30] - For the downtempo jetsetter. The leading names in downtempo live in Los Angeles. Breakout the Armani suits and grab a coctail.

The Rapture @ Viper Room [$13] - For the postpunk, dancey fan. If you missed them last night...good luck with the parking and the drink prices on the Strip.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Live Music Picks

I slept on posting Monday and Tuesday picks. Sorry.

Freakwater @ Spaceland [$10] - For the Americana/Country fan. These women have been doing it for over 15 years. Lots of good collaborations over the years and tributes to the Louvins, Carter Family, Woody Guthrie and many others.

The Rapture @ Troubadour [SOLD OUT] - For the dance-y rock fan. I saw them when their hype was at its peak at SXSW some years ago. I wasn't impressed, but maybe you will be.

MF Doom @ the El Rey [SOLD OUT] - For the backpack hip hop fan. This should be a good party. DangerDoom and Madvillian are there. I went to an Adult Swim at Comic-Con one year and Danger Mouse was the DJ. It was a good time.

Lion Fever / Foreign Born @ Acme - For people who refer to themselves as hipsters. This event is sponsored by Paper Magazine and it's called Hipster Heaven. I think there might be some free drinks?

Live Music Review: The Earlies

So last Friday I finally made it out of my house for some live music at the Echo. The show opened with Great Northern. I had recently seen them open for Brendan Benson at Spaceland but I didn't pay much attention. They share some members with Earlimart (but not Aaron Espinoza) and sound quite a bit like Earlimart. There's also bits of Grandaddy, the Flaming Lips and the Beatles in their sound. I enjoyed it. Next up was Idaho Falls. The leader of Idaho Falls is Neil Halstead's (from Mojave 3 and Slowdive) pedal steel player. I like the pedal steel moments on Halstead's records and I like the music of Idaho Falls. My only real problem with them is the slightly affected way that Raymond sings the songs. He sings with a twang that he probably doesn't have when he speaks. It's the same thing that bugs me about early Jeff Tweedy. Finally the Earlies came on (at about 12:15 AM). I'm old and I was anxious to get home to bed so they had to be good to keep my attention. Fortunately they were. They opened with two of the best songs off of their album. There were eight people on stage and many of them played multiple instruments. This included strings, keys, horns, guitars, drums, bass, triangle, etc. Very full and great live sound. You've got to appreciate that kind of ambition on a tour of small clubs. There are about five really good songs on their album and they played all of them. They rounded it out with some stuff I didn't recognize. Normally I don't like to go out on Friday night, but the Earlies were well worth it. See them if they make it to your town. I even stopped by the merch table to pick up a picture disc 7". The full length vinyl comes with a really nice book. If I hadn't bought the expensive import of the CD I would have picked that up too.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Weekend Live Music Picks

I apologize for the slow week of posting. It's been really chaotic. Here are some picks for the weekend. That's the Earlies in the picture on the left.

The Earlies / The Idaho Falls / Great Northern @ the Echo [$10] - For the indie rock fan who likes spacey, psychedelic stuff. I've written about the Earlies before. Half of their album is really inspired and interesting and the other half is just ok. They haven't toured much so tonight is the night to see them. This is my choice for the night.
Download The Idaho Falls' "California Day"

The 88 @ Troubadour [$12] - For the pop fan. I've written about them a bunch too and I've even reviewed their record. They seem to play around a lot, but it's always good to put some money in their pockets.

The Wrens @ Troubadour [$13] - For the maudlin, indie rock fan. I really like about five songs on their 2003 album MEADOWLANDS. I hope they're working on a new album. This is just a mini West coast tour. This is my choice for the night.
Download "Everyone Chooses Sides"

Ariel Pink / Tsar / The Adored @ Spaceland [$10] - For supporters of local music. This is a weird lineup with very different types of bands. The LA Weekly put this together. Tsar is a glammy punk-pop band. Ariel Pink is a freaky hippie with experimental tendencies (on the Animal Collective label). The Adored has more of a Buzzcocks vibe. The track below even has Pete Shelley on guest vocals.
Download the Adored's "TV Riot"
Download Ariel Pink's "The Doldrums"

Nebula @ Knitting Factory [$10/$12 DOS] - For the stoner rock fan. Heavy music with big guitar riffs.
Download Nebula's "Atomic Ritual"

Calvin Johnson @ the Smell [$5] - For the indie rock fan who tolerates bad singing. I just can't get over his voice (about the most I can take is his contribution on Beck's ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE album). His label (K Records) has released some great stuff by other bands.

Live Music Review: No-Neck Blues Band

Last night I stumbled upon the No-Neck Blues Band @ Spaceland. What a bunch of garbage. You've really got to question Thurston Moore when he says a band of hippies like that is the best band in the universe ever. Completely unlistenable crap. Noodle-on back to Brooklyn fellas.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Live Music Picks 11/28-12/1

There's a lot of style over substance, some aging rockers and something for everybody on Thursday. That's Languis pictured at the left.

The Subways / Group Sounds / Living Things / Circus Minor @ Spaceland [FREE] - For the early adopting trend watchers. This is the place to be seen tonight. The Subways are another hyped British band. Group Sounds are from NYC, don't take themselves too seriously a and are on the dance rock side of things. Living Things are local major label dudes who seem like they take themselves pretty seriously. This is the last night of Circus Minor's residency. What have you got to lose?
Download Group Sounds' "Things Fall Apart"
Download Group Sounds' "Goodbye"

Paul McCartney @ Staples [SOLD OUT] - For the rich folks. I've never seen him and I would love to see him but it's just too much money for a show in a basketball arena.

Donovan @ Wilshire Ebell Theatre [$38-43] - For the aging hippie with disposable income who can't get into Paul McCartney. I love Donovan but I don't know if he's still good? Has anybody seen him recently? He's celebrating 40 years as an artist with a new book, a box set and a tour. "Jennifer Juniper" and "Catch the Wind" are just two of his great songs.

Super Furry Animals / Caribou @ The Avalon [$20] - For the psychedelic pop fan. I'm surprised this isn't sold out yet. They've got a rabid fanbase and put on a good live show. Caribou (f/k/a Manitoba) are a pretty good indie electronic band. Should be a fun show and the artists aren't completely over the hill (although SFA probably peaked five years ago).

The Subways @ Cine-Space [$5] - For the trend chasers. If you miss them at Spaceland and can deal with the nightmare of going out in the Cahuenga corridor, then here's the show for you. It's also DJ Steve Aoki's birthday. Have you ever noticed that a lot of really rich people have creepy relationships with their siblings? I even saw it on Six Feet Under.

The Cribs @ Spaceland [$12] - For the trend followers. Pitchfork absolutely hated their album, but I think they're probably being too harsh (even though I haven't heard it). They play a lot of big shows in their native England with Kaiser Chiefs, Maximo Park and Franz Ferdinand.
Download The Cribs' "Baby Don't Sweat"
Download The Cribs' "Another Number"

Paul McCartney @ Staples [SOLD OUT] - See above

No-Neck Blues Band @ Spaceland [$8] - For fans of weird psych, avant-garde music. Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth said they're "the best band ever in the universe."
Download NNCK's "The Doon"

Tristeza / Languis @ Knitting Factory [$10] - For the post rock fan. Languis is a popular local band and part of the Plug Research scene. Their recent live performances have impressed me (their CD is decent but I'm really looking forward to their new stuff). Tristeza is a like minded instrumental San Diego band.

gogogo airheart/ The Joggers @ the Echo [$8] - For the indie dance crowd. Gogogo Airheart are a San Diego band with a post punk sound (probably influenced by Gang of 4 way before most of these bands were influenced by Gang of 4). The Joggers are similar.

The Mae Shi / Japanther @ The Smell [$5] - For the punk rock crowd. The Mae-Shi are a local band I've written about before. Don't know anything about Japanther.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Music Picks for the Rest of the Week

Kingsbury Manx / The Standard / The Heavenly States @ Spaceland [$8] - Here's a show for the indie rock fans. Kingsbury Manx is a mellow indie band from North Carolina that's been around for about six years. The Standard is a much more dramatic, less guitar pop inspired band from Portland. The Heavenly States are poppy band from Oakland with a serious Beatles homage on the first song from their new album.
Download the Kingsbury Manx's "Pelz Komet"
Download the Kingsbury Manx's "Over the Waves"
Download the Standard's "A Year of Seconds"
Download the Standard's "Metropolitan"

Deerhoof / Paul Williams @ the Echo [EARLY SHOW @ 6:00PM] [$12] - Here's a show for fans of more challenging, experimental indie music. Deerhoof tends to give me a bad headache.

Tom Vek @ Troubadour [$12] - Here's a show for people who are bored with watching guys stand and play guitars without much stage presence. He plays some dancey music informed by rock.
Download Tom Vek's "I Ain't Saying My Goodbyes"

Eat some turkey and then go to see WALK THE LINE or HARRY POTTER. WALK THE LINE is pretty good, but not great. Joaquin Phoenix does a good job and Reese Witherspoon does a great job. I think it either needed to be 20 minutes shorter or 40 mintues longer - some of the stuff just didn't work. I haven't seen Harry Potter yet.

I don't see anything worth seeing. Go buy some records at Aron's Records. They're going out of business and everything's on sale (at least 20% off).

Jason Falkner @ Troubadour [$12] - For serious pop music fans. Pedigreed songwriter who was a member of the Paisley Underground band The Three O'Clock, Jellyfish, The Grays (with Jon Brion) in addition to putting out his own stuff. He's also worked with Eric Matthews, Brendan Benson, Beck and probably a bunch of other people.

Castanets / Phosphorescent @ Hotel Cafe [?] - For the indie folk fans. I haven't been to the Hotel Cafe in ages but this is one to get excited about. A couple of bands with good songwriters, folk mentality and a subtle twang. Download some tracks and see for yourself.
Download Castanets' "All That I Know"
Download Castanets' "Three Days Four Nights"
Download Phosphorescent's "Joe Tex, These Taming Blues"
Download Phosphorescent's "I Am a Full Grown Man (I Will Lay in the Grass All Day Long)"

The Muffs @ Spaceland [$10] - For the pop-punk fan. The Muffs have been making catchy music on the L.A. scene for over a decade.
Download the Muffs' "Wish That I Could Be You"
Download the Muffs' "Prettier Than Me"

Milemarker / Kodiak @ the Echo [$10] For the emo kids. Milemarker sounds like they own a Fugazi record or two (just listen to "The Banner to the Sick") . They probably own some Promise Ring too. Kodiak sounds a little too Jimmy Eat World for my tastes.
Download the Milemarker's "The Banner to the Sick"
Download the Milemarker's "Cryogenic Sleep"

Monday, November 21, 2005

Tonight's Music Picks (sorry so late)

For a holiday week there's a decent amount of stuff to do tonight (this is way too late, so I'm rushing through it)....

Neko Case @ Barnsdall Gallery Theatre - I prefer her work with the New Pornographers, but her country stuff is nice too.

Depeche Mode @ Staples Center - I saw them front row center stage about 10 years ago. I think this would be anti-climactic.

Broadcast @ the Troubadour - I've got the new album but haven't listened yet.

Mike Stinson @ the Echo [FREE] - Gram Parsons spirit lives on.

Live Review: Arctic Monkeys

I couldn't resist the hype and went to the Arctic Monkeys show on Friday at Spaceland. There was definitely electricity in the air. Lots of kids lined up in front of the club trying to get in and every music industry weasel in L.A. (and some from NYC) inside. Army Navy opened the show. Their music wasn't bad at all but they didn't have much stage presence. Pretty much straight forward rock that seemed to be influenced by mid-80s college rock. The venue was only about half full during their set. It started to get a little more crowded for the Tyde. Several of the members of the Tyde have been in bands for over 20 years and countered the fact that most of the crowd probably didn't want to see them by playing a mostly upbeat set. They sprinkled in a few songs from their upcoming album with old songs about surfing, smoking pot and being in bands. The crowd was mostly respectful but not overly excited.

Excitement grew and the crowd jockeyed for position after the Tyde finished. The sold out crowd was finally evident and attention turned to the stage. I knew very little about the Arctic Monkeys and was immediately shocked by how young they looked. My first impression was: this looks like the captain of my high school soccer team grabbed three guys from the team, bought some Libertines' records (they didn't exist at the time) and started a band. I couldn't hate them and it made their inane lyrics passable. Of course they sing about stupid stuff because they're just kids. But then I remembered Jackson Browne was the same age, 19, when he wrote "These Days" and "Somewhere There's a Feather." Well, Jackson Browne they're not, but they're definitely better than the Vines. It was very appropriate that they made their L.A. debut the same day that Harry Potter opened because the lead singer bears a resemblance. They actually have some potential but the British press is mental. Advice to major labels: if there's a bidding war sit this one out. Advice to band: enjoy the hype and take as much money as you can off the labels. Maybe one day you'll be doing blow with Kate Moss.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Weekend Live Music Picks

Loads of stuff going on this weekend.....

Arctic Monkeys / The Tyde @ Spaceland [SOLD OUT] - For the A&R executives. Arctic Monkeys are probably the most hyped band on the planet right now. They're blowing up in the UK and on the cover of NME. Tickets were going for $60-$100 a pop on Ebay. Their performance on KCRW should be archived soon. Will they live up to the hype? Probably not....

Art Brut @ The Echo [$12] - For the early adopters. They played a sold out show at Spaceland last night, but last I checked (noon today) there are still tickets for the Echo. Another band with huge hype that doesn't even have an album out domestically.

The Old 97's @ The El Rey [$22.50] - For Texans. They played last night too. Can they fill the El Rey for two nights at these ticket prices with this competition?

Dandy Warhols @ Avalon [SOLD OUT] - For poseurs (just kidding). I actually liked a few of the Dandys' songs before I saw DIG! But now I never wanna hear them again.

Subtle @ Knitting Factory [$15] - For the Anticon/backpack rap/intelligent stoner crowd. The Knitting Factory seems to have a lock on this sorta entertainment.

Shout Out Louds / The Sun / The Rosebuds @ Troubadour [SOLD OUT] - For the regular folks. I've seen the Shout Out Louds a few times already. Pretty good stuff. The Rosebuds are on Merge Records. The Sun did some gimmicky thing and released their album on DVD only? What if you don't have a DVD rom on your computer? Does it work? I guess they must want you to go on P2P networks and get the audio files for free?
Download the Rosebuds' "Boxcar"
Download the Rosebuds' "Blue Bird"

dios (malos) @ the El Rey [$13.50] - For the indie rockers with an affinity for rock history. As I've said before, I really like these local guys. They know how to write a good song.
Download "Feels Good Being Somebody"
Download their Beck cover "Asshole"

The New Amsterdams @ Spaceland [$10] - For the melodic emo fan. The Get Up Kids are probably better known, but this is the same dude. From my college town. Go Jayhawks.

Space Mtn @ Sea Level Records @ 4:00 PM [FREE] - For local music supporters. Very connected local band with pretty female vocals. What little I've heard sounds like it's right in the middle of Juliana Hatfield and Cat Power. While you're there pick up a vinyl copy of the Sufjan Stevens (it's finally out).

Black Heart Procession / Marjorie Fair @ Spaceland [$15] - BHP make lush and moody music for the David Lynch fan (I'm just ripping off their old press releases for that).

Hella / Dillinger Escape Plan @ the El Rey [$18.50] - For fans of experimental noise rock that you don't have to be ashamed of liking. Total in your face NOISE.
Download Hella's "We Was Just Boys, Living in a Dead Ass German Shepard"
Downlaod Hella's "Madonna Approaches R&B Blonde Wreckages"

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Live Music Options

Another action-packed night in L.A.

@Spaceland: Art Brut [$11] - For the trendy folks (maybe the same people who saw Moving Units last night?) . Heavy buzz band and Pitchfork darlings. Smart ass lyrics.

@ Knitting Factory: The Album Leaf [$12] - For the intellectual stoners. On the Sub Pop label.

@ The Wiltern: Spoon [$23.50] - For the indie rocker. Haven't we all already seen Spoon three times on this tour? They just keep coming back to bigger and bigger venues.

@ The Echo: Limbeck / Satisfaction [$8] - For sunny, alt-country fans. If you like pop and you liked Ryan Adams before he sucked, then this is your pick. That is, if you're not going to the El Rey.

@ the El Rey: The Old 97s [$19] - For the rest of the sunny, alt-country fans. I've just seen them too many times to get excited about it anymore. I'm sorry

@ House of Blues: Stryper [$25] - For Christian metalheads from the 1980s. To hell with the devil!

4th Quarter

Guess what? It's 4th quarter, so that means all the record labels are trotting out greatest hits, live albums and box sets. How predictable. Even the indie labels do it. I'm surprised people keep buying these greatest hits packages. It's just as easy to make your own (or download the best tracks from ITunes). There's a new Beastie Boys greatest hits package (the last one came out six years ago in - wait for it - 4th quarter). Unfortunately the Beastie Boys haven't put out much good music in the last six years. Capitol also put out a new John Lennon greatest hits package. The Beatles are always a gold mine, so they also reissued George Harrison's CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH. Major labels are such an easy target....

Wilco's KICKING TELEVISION: LIVE IN CHICAGO - I was interested in buying this when I thought it had a DVD with it (even though most live DVDs tend to be incredibly boring). Instead it's just a double CD. Live albums very rarely capture the excitement of being there (get it? Being There?), with a few exceptions (the Who LIVE AT LEEDS, Descendents LIVEAGE! and HALLRAKER!, etc.). Anyway, this thing retails for $24.98. No thanks. I'll save my money for concert tickets the next time they're in town.

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy SUMMER IN THE SOUTHEAST - This is the rare exception to the live disc thing; it's actually much better than seeing Will Oldham in concert. Why? Reason 1: Because he's backed up by a live band. Reason 2: His voice doesn't totally give out about half way through the show (because it's a bunch of highlights of different performances). Reason 3: He actually sounds like he's having fun (even howls like a wolf at one point and makes a joke about having clown in his eye). I still can't condone the $17.98 sticker price, but if you're a fan I'd pick it up on sale.

What's your favorite example of a record label milking the fans of their A-list talent during the holiday season? Green Day? Dave Matthews Band? Eminem?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Enterainment Options: Wednesday

Here's a rundown of some live music happenings tonight in L.A.

@Spaceland: The Shore / The Fictions [$8] - For the regular folks. Comparing The Shore's first album to the Verve is probably fair. The Fictions sound really poppy/hooky.

@Troubadour: Ben Lee [$14] - For the aging indie rocker. Never very exciting live, but I did like that BREATHING TORNADOES album that came out on Grand Royal in 1999. And Noise Addict wasn't bad for a 13 year-old kid.

@ Avalon: Moving Units [$20] - For the dancey/energy drink crowd.

@ Fonda: Jello Biafra w/ the Melvins [$15] - For aging poli-punks. I was a huge Dead Kennedys fan in Junior High, but I haven't heard any of his new stuff in a very long time. I do know they cover Alice Cooper on the new record.

@ the El Rey: Cut Chemist /Breakestra / People Under the Stairs [$21.50] - For the backpack/white hip-hop kids. A friend recently gave me a bunch of his hip-hop mixtape albums. Pretty good stuff.

@ House of Blues: James Brown [$68] - For people with a lot of disposable income.

@ Silverlake Lounge: Peter Walker / Fly Better Broken [$5] - Peter Walker's album is out on Dangerbird Records (local label and home of Silversun Pickups and Sabrosa Purr). He's got Justin and Joey (Beck's old rhythm section) and Wilco-outcast Jay Bennett as guests. What I've heard sounds like a raspy voiced singer-songwriter.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Live Entertainment Options

Tonight's Live Entertainment Picks:

Rhett Miller / Janeane Garofalo @ Largo - Unfortunately this is part of the Greg Proops Chat Show. I'm not a big fan of Greg Proops. I do like Rhett pretty well and Janeane quite a bit. I think dinner reservations are all booked, so you've gotta get there early and stand at the bar.

The 88 @ Amoeba 7:00 PM [Free] - Another chance to see the hardest working band in L.A. for free before their Troubadour show on 12/2.

Great Lake Swimmers @ Spaceland - Mellow, moody stuff but it sounds pretty good if you're into that sorta thing.
Download "Various Stages"
Download "Bodies and Minds"

Kansas @ House of Blues [$35] - Just kidding.

Live Music Review: Brendan Benson

I made it out to the Brendan Benson show at Spaceland on Sunday night. I'm not that familiar with his recorded music but I enjoyed his live show. Nothing spectacular - just solid power pop. He's got a pretty crowd.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday Night Picks

It's Monday in Los Angeles and there's some cool stuff to check out.....

David Cross / Patton Oswalt @ Largo [$5] - I'm sure David Cross will be ranting about Fox television. Ask him if Arrested Development is cancelled for good this time. Patton Oswalt is very funny too and has a new show on Comedy Central ("Comedians of Comedy").

Urge Overkill @ Viper Room [$20] - It's an acoustic set and it's at the Viper Room, but if somebody picked me up, drove me over there and bought me a ticket (and maybe a couple of drinks) I would definitely go.

Kennedy / Diamond Nights @ Troubadour [$10] - Lots of faux glam and falsettos.

Also free shows at Spaceland, the Echo and Silverlake Lounge....

Friday, November 11, 2005

Weekend Live Music Picks

I know this is the laziest blog ever. But I gotta go pick up some barbeque.


Death Cab For Cutie / Stars @ Wiltern [sold out] - I've seen DCFC a bunch of times and really have no need to see them again, but maybe you do? I like the latest stars album pretty well. Odd that they're touring together since Stars sounds so similar to Postal Service (the lead singer of DCFC's other band).

The Clientele / Radar Bros. @ Knitting Factory [$12] - The Clientele is one of the most boring live bands ever. It's soft rock. I really do like the Radar Bros. I met my lady friend at a Radar Bros. in-store. Hooray for me.

DCFC / Stars @ Wiltern [sold out] - You and Seth Cohen have fun.

Brendan Benson / Silversun Pickups @ Spaceland [$15] - I need to hear more Brendan Benson. I hear he's doing an album with Jack White from the White Stripes. The Silversun Pickups are one of LA's biggest little bands right now. This should be a good gig for them.

Why? / Aqueduct @ Knitting Factory [$12] - I don't know anything about this, but I know a lot of people will be there. Part of that Anticon thing.

Brendan Benson @ Spaceland [$15] - see above

David Allan Coe @ Key Club [$23] - I like outlaw country but he scares me. Some of his old stuff is great.

Styrofoam / Dntel (DJ set) @ Knitting Factory [$10] - Don't know anything about Styrofoam but it's part of that Morr music thing. Dntel is making a truckload of money right now selling his Postal Service songs to commercials.

Live Music Review: My Morning Jacket

Last night was the My Morning Jacket concert at the Henry Fonda Theatre. I've seen them a couple of times before (Avalon and Austin City Limits festival). I've also seen Jim James perform with M. Ward (good) and Conor Oberst (terrible) and I saw him take part in the Gram Parsons tribute show at Universal. The crowd last night was definitely the frattiest. Lots of button up shirts - kind of what I imagine a Dave Matthews concert must look like. As my friend TTTMNS pointed out, I didn't even know that fanbase existed in Los Angeles.

They started off strongly with two songs from the new album. Jim's voice sounded great. He was a little hoarse on KCRW in the morning, but got it together for the show. I was really enjoying myself except for one problem - a total gaylord frat boy dancing and bumping into me. This guy was dancing in the exaggerated way that black comedians in the 1980s danced to make fun of the way white people dance. Completely ridiculous. Luckily he moved out of my range after a few songs.

They made it through pretty much all of the new album and played a bunch of their better older songs ("Run Thru," "Dancefloors," "Golden," "One Big Holiday"). During the hard rockin' songs the drummer and bassist tossed their hair around like Metallica. I think Jim had his shoes on the whole time. There were some too-slow moments, but overall they sounded great and made good choices. If you can tolerate their audience I recommend seeing them in your town.

Live Review: Early Man & Fu Manchu

I ended up going to the Early Man/Fu Manchu show at Spaceland on Wednesday night. I was really curious about Early Man and I don't go out to see metal very often so it seemed like a good opportunity. Early Man was pretty good. Their website states they're a duo, but they're touring with an extra guitar player and a bass player. The lead singer couldn't quite reach the Rob Halford notes that he hits on the record, but he was complaining about being sick "I think I have AIDS or something." I probably won't rush out to see them again, but I enjoyed myself. If they play a small venue with a small cover charge I recommend seeing them.

I've never listened to any Fu Manchu but kinda knew what to expect. Their style is not something I regularly listen to, but I can't deny their powerful live show. They are extremely tight and rock very hard. They've been playing quite a few local shows lately, but still brought out a good crowd. There was actually a mini-pit during one of the songs (and their fans aren't kids) - not something you see at Spaceland very often.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My Morning Jacket

Tune into KCRW - 89.9 FM in the L.A. area or - for a live set from My Morning Jacket today at 11:20AM. Also go see them tonight at The Fonda [$20.50]. The new album is so much more focused and easier to listen to than earlier albums. They've always put on a great live show (if you catch them on the right night). It'll be my second night in a row seeing the power of the Flying V guitar (after Early Man last night).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Live Music Pick: Early Man

Early Man / Fu Manchu @ Spaceland [$12] - If you're into Ozzy-era Black Sabbath and early Judas Priest then you might like Early Man. They might be full of shit or they might not be, but it's played in an irony-free way. The bullshit detector goes off because they're signed to Matador Records and their demo was recorded by Matt Sweeney and Russell Simmins of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Also one of the dudes is named Mike Conte. Either way it's a hard rockin' duo.

Listen to some songs on Myspace

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene will be playing live on Morning Becomes Eclectic today at 11:15 AM. Tune in at 89.9 FM in the L.A. area or online at

They're also playing live tonight at the Henry Fonda Theatre (tickets are over $30 with all the evil ticketmaster fees). Buy tickets. I've seen them live a few times (the first time at tiny Silverlake Lounge and the most recent time at the huge Austin City Limits festival). They're worth checking out.

The new album has five really good songs, seven good songs and two decent songs. They just tend to get a little indulgent in the studio.

Monday, November 07, 2005

November Residencies

I'm not too excited about any of these but maybe I'm wrong. They're all on Mondays and they're all free. That's one of the Chapin Sisters putting on her boots in the picture. Check it:

@ SPACELAND (don't forget about the $2 PBRs)
Circus Minor - I've never seen this band but I just listened to some clips on myspace. Their press release mentions Joy Division, Black Heart Procession and Joy Division. I guess I hear a little bit of that. Tonight they're playing with Most Serene Rebublic who are on Broken Social Scene's label and have gotten some pretty good reviews.
Download Clouds
Download Picture in My Head

@ The Echo
It's a dual residency: I See Hawks in L.A. and The Chapin Sisters
I See Hawks in L.A. is a local alt-country band. I've seen them at Taix Lounge a coupla times. Not really my cup of tea (and I'm a big Gram Parsons fan). The Chapin Sisters did a Sunday night residency at Spaceland a few months ago. They're three girls with pretty voices and minimal acoustic guitar. They got some KCRW airplay with a cover of Britney Spears' "Toxic."

@ Silverlake Lounge
Fielding - I've never seen them. The LA Times compared them to Travis and the Get Up Kids - I guess that's not unreasonable.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Weekend Live Music Picks

Worth checking out?

John Vanderslice and the Wrens' Charles Bissel @ Knitting Factory [$12]

I haven't listened to JV all that much, but a lot of my friends are huge fans. It's interesting stuff and he's a good producer too.
Download Exodus Damage
Download Trance Manual - Sufjan Stevens fans should like this

The Wrens' last album was really solid, seeing the lead singer solo should be good. If you miss tonight's show, the Wrens will be back at the Troubadour on December 3rd.
Download Everyone Chooses Sides

Yes Me to Death and Johnette Napolitano @ the Ramada Inn [$5] - Yes Me to Death are some cool local girls (currently in search of a new bass player and drummer). Johnette Napolitano was the lead singer of Concrete Blonde.

The Lovetones and The Clean Prophets @ 1269 Gallery [Free] - The Lovetones are friends with Brian Jonestown Massacre and want you to know it.

Japanese Girl Night @ King King [$8] - Always a lot of fun. TsuShiMaMiRe, Amppez and Red Bacteria Vacuum

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Top 10 Albums of the 1990s

Here's the top 10 albums of the 1990s in reverse order....

10) My Bloody Valentine LOVELESS - This may be the #1 album for making out of all time. The lyrics don't get distracting, the music is lush. It all melts together so I'm not going to pick a track. You should also own ISN'T ANYTHING (it may even be a little better - but it came out in the 80s).

9) Spiritualized LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WE ARE FLOATING IN SPACE - Total gospel drug album. One of the best tracks is "Electricity." You should also pick up PURE PHASE and LASER GUIDED MELODIES.

8) Wilco SUMMERTEETH - Early Wilco stuff set off my bullshit detector (like a lot of alt-country). It sounded like a guy singing with an affected southern twang. But my old roommate forced this down my throat and made me forget about AM. This is the only Wilco I like all the way through. My favorite track is "I'm Always in Love." You should probably also pick up BEING THERE and YANKEE HOTEL FOXTROT has its moments.

7) Belle and Sebastian IF YOU'RE FEELING SINISTER - So wimpy but so good. This album has the best Stuart Murdoch songs, so it's my favorite. The best song is "Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying." Other albums to own: TIGERMILK, PUSH BARMAN TO OPEN OLD WOUNDS, THE BOY WITH THE ARAB STRAP and DEAR CATASTROPHE WAITRESS (in that order).

6) Elliott Smith EITHER/OR - He was really the first singer/songwriter I ever got into. I went to a little record store in LA called No Life records (early 1997?) to see Pete Krebs and Elliott opened the show. I was hooked and saw him pretty much every time he played LA over the next three years (and then in Austin a coupla times). My favorite track was (I'm a little sick of it now) "Say Yes." Other albums to pick-up (in order): XO, ELLIOT SMITH, FROM A BASEMENT ON THE HILL and FIGURE 8.

5) Luna BEWITCHED - This ranking might be a little high but I used to listen to Luna a lot. I've always been a sucker for Dean Wareham's monotone voice and his sense of humor. "California (All the Way)" has shown up on the most compilations over the years. You should also own PENTHOUSE and LUNAPARK.

4) Beck ODELAY - This is the highest ranking record that I never listen to at all anymore. It had its day. The best track is probably "Devil's Haircut." I also like MELLOW GOLD and SEA CHANGE.

3) The Flaming Lips THE SOFT BULLETIN - Some people like the early stuff better, but this is the peak for me. The best song might be "Race for the Prize." I also like CLOUDS TASTE METALLIC, HIT TO DEATH IN THE FUTURE HEAD, TRANSMISSIONS FROM THE SATELLITE HEART and YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS.

2) Teenage Fanclub BANDWAGONESQUE - Great power pop. I really like "What You Do To Me." I would also buy: SONGS FROM NORTHERN BRITAIN, 13 SONGS, GRAND PRIX and even HOWDY!.

1) Pavement CROOKED RAIN, CROOKED RAIN - Kinda defines indie rock. "Range Life" is a great song. SLANTED & ENCHANTED is pretty perfect too. But you should go ahead and get WOWEE ZOWEE and BRIGHTEN THE CORNERS too.

So there you have it. Don't even think about arguing with that list.....

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Top 20 Albums of the 1990s

In response to some complaints that my top 10 list looked artificially critic-friendly, I'm going to post my top 20 albums of the 1990s. Again, I only picked one album by each artist. Here they are in reverse order.....

20) Slint SPIDERLAND - Very influential album in certain circles (post/math/indie rock). They toured fairly recently and it reminded me how great this album is. My favorite track is "Good Morning Captain."

19) Fugazi 13 SONGS - Fugazi meant a lot to me in college (probably the band I listened to most/traveled farthest to see live). I don't listen to them much anymore, but every once in awhile it still hits the spot. My favorite tracks are Ian MacKaye's. The best one is "Waiting Room." Other albums to pick up from Fugazi are REPEATER and STEADY DIET OF NOTHING. And don't forget about Minor Threat's COMPLETE DISCOGRAPHY.

18) Neutral Milk Hotel IN THE AEROPLANE OVER THE SEA - This is one of those albums that's probably a little bit overrated but I still really like it. You've got to listen to it non-stop for about two weeks to get into it. Hard to pick a key track since they all flow together but maybe, "Two-Headed Boy"?

17) Guided By Voices BEE THOUSAND - I'm far from the biggest GBV fan on the planet but I've listened to them and seen them live my share of times. This is their most consistent record. My favorite track is "I Am a Scientist." Other albums worth owning by them: ALIEN LANES and UNDER THE BUSHES UNDER THE STARS.

16) Sebadoh BAKESALE - I'm a huge Lou Barlow fan. I don't know what his legacy will be? Will he be remembered forever or just by guys who went to college in the mid-90s? My problem with most Sebadoh albums is that I'm not a huge Jason Lowenstein fan, but on this record I even like his songs. My favorite track is "Rebound." Other Sebadoh albums to check out are: III, BUBBLE AND SCRAPE and HARMACY.

15) Yo La Tengo PAINFUL - I had a roommate in college who drilled this shit in my head non-stop. Headphone music. My favorite track is the second version of "Big Day Coming." Other YLT albums to check out are: ELECTR-O-PURA, MAY I SING WITH ME, FAKEBOOK and I CAN HEAR THE HEART BEATING AS ONE.

14) Built to Spill THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH LOVE - This one has a lot of great love songs. "Car" is a song I like to listen to all the time. Other albums to check out: PERFECT FROM NOW ON and KEEP IT LIKE A SECRET.

13) Sugar COPPER BLUE - Very underrated band. I listened to this album all the time in college. My roommate brought them to play at school and I got a chance to meet Bob Mould (he was very nervous before going on stage). I actually prefer this Sugar stuff to the Husker Du albums because I wasn't a huge Grant Hart fan. My favorite track is "If I Can't Change Your Mind." Also pick up FILE UNDER: EASY LISTENING and BEASTER.

12) Dinosaur Jr. GREEN MIND - I'm a bigger fan of the post-Lou Barlow Dinosaur Jr. J Mascis' cracked drawl may not be everybody but I've always loved it. My favorite track is "The Wagon." Also pick up WHERE YOU BEEN and download "Freak Scene."

11) Radiohead THE BENDS - Great guitar rock before they got experimental. Solid all the way through. My favorite track is probably "Fake Plastic Trees." Also get your hands on OK COMPUTER.

Stay tuned for my top ten albums of the 1990s.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Live Music Pick: American Analog Set

American Analog Set @ the Knitting Factory [$12] -

I've been a casual American Analog Set fan for the past decade or so. I really like their first couple of albums but haven't listened to them much lately. Apparently this is their last full-fledged tour (but they insist they're not breaking up). If you're not familiar with their music, it's really mellow, headphone stuff (drone-pop?). If you're a Galaxie 500 and Stereolab fan it might be of interest to you.

Download Immaculate Heart i [from the new album on Arts & Crafts]
Download JR (demo) [demo from the new album

There are a couple of other shows tonight:

The Magic Numbers @ Troubadour [$15 - the early show is sold out, but looks like tix are available for the late show] - I'm very unimpressed with the songs I've heard. I don't like his voice at all. Go at your own risk. They did a set on KCRW this morning and the best part of it was the Beyonce cover (but David Byrne already did it a lot better).

Kennedy @ Largo - Good, silly fun.

Watch Your Mama video
Download Mama Made Me a Pimp

Monday, October 31, 2005

Live Music Pick: 400 Blows/Qui

I'm planning to stay at home tonight and hand out Halloween candy. But if you're dying to get out of the house and you're not going to the parade in West Hollywood here's my pick:

400 Blows and Qui @ King King [$10] - 400 Blows (named after one of my favorite Truffaut films) is a hardcore three-piece band from LA. Definitely in your face, sonic assault-type stuff. I mostly listen to softer music these days, but every once in a while it's still nice to hear music that punches you in the face. They're heading to Europe soon to play the Mars Volta curated All Tomorrow's Parties. Tonight and November 18th at the Scene in Glendale will be your last chance to see them for a while. Qui is loud too. They don't seem to have a real website.

Here are some 400 Blows downloads:
The Root of Our Nature
The Ugly are So Beautiful

Top 10 Albums Ever?

A while back I tried to come up with my top 50 albums of all time. One rule was that I couldn't pick more than one album by any band. Here are my top 10 albums from that list. I'll add comments later.

1) The Kinks THE VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY - Ray Davies is my favorite lyricist and this is my favorite Kinks' album. Almost every song is outstanding. My favorite track is "Big Sky." Davies perfectly conveys the sense that he's out of step with contemporary times (something many of us can relate to). Other essential Kinks' albums are: ARTHUR, SOMETHING ELSE, FACE TO FACE and MUSWELL HILLBILLIES.

2) The Beach Boys PET SOUNDS - Brian Wilson's masterpiece. My favorite track is "God Only Knows" - but I've heard it seven million times. According to my girlfriend it's a cursed wedding song (so be careful). Other essential Beach Boys' albums (get the two-fers on CD) are: SUNFLOWER/SURF'S UP, SMILEY SMILE/WILD HONEY, TODAY!/SUMMER DAYS (AND SUMMER NIGHTS!), FRIENDS/20/20.

3) The Beatles REVOLVER - I love the mid-period Beatles stuff the most. On this album you get George experimenting with Indian music, Lennon getting a little weirder, Ringo being goofy and super solid Paul. Impossible to pick a favorite track (anything but "Yellow Submarine"). Ranking my other favorite Beatles' albums would look something like this: RUBBER SOUL, ABBEY ROAD, HELP!, WHITE ALBUM, SGT. PEPPERS, etc....

4) Neil Young AFTER THE GOLD RUSH - I love Neil's singer/songwriter albums more than his rockin' Crazy Horse stuff. There's so many good love songs on this one - "Birds" is one of the best breakup songs ever. Other key Neil Young albums are: COMES A TIME, ZUMA, HARVEST, TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT, ON THE BEACH, etc....

5) The Rolling Stones BEGGARS BANQUET - Back to their Blues roots. The key song for me is still, "Sympathy for the Devil." Other key Stones' albums: EXILE ON MAIN STREET, STICKY FINGERS, LET IT BLEED, BETWEEN THE BUTTONS, SOME GIRLS, etc.....

6) Love FOREVER CHANGES - This blog is named after the last song on this record. Each time I listen to it new things stand out. It's is a middle finger to San Francisco's tie-dyed hippies and the summer of love. "Alone Again Or" is my favorite track. Wes Anderson used it quite well in BOTTLE ROCKET. Also get your hands on the albums: DA CAPO and LOVE.

7) Big Star #1 RECORD/RADIO CITY - This is actually two albums, but since i've only owned the CD two-fer I've always thought of them together. #1 RECORD is the first 12 tracks and features songwriter Chris Bell. The last 12 tracks are RADIO CITY and don't feature Bell as a songwriter. This is the first album on this list with a few lesser tracks, but the standouts are so stellar that it still made it. Great power pop and nice acoustic ballads. The best track might be "Thirteen" or it might be "Septembur Girls."

8) The Zombies ODESSEY & ORACLE - This album always puts a smile on my face. I like all the tracks but usually skip over the most famous, "Time of the Season" (feels dated and there's just too much baggage with it). "This Will Be Our Year" is a standout. Also pick up one of their singles compilations like SINGLES A'S AND B'S.

9) The Byrds SWEETHEART OF THE RODEO - This album is kind of a cheat because it gave me the chance to put both the Byrds and Gram Parsons on the list. More covers than any of the other albums on this list. My favorite track is "Hickory Wind." Other great Byrds' albums are: YOUNGER THAN YESTERDAY, THE NOTORIOUS BYRD BROTHERS and the Gene Clark tracks on the first two albums. Other Gram Parsons-related records to pick up are the Flying Burrito Brothers two-fer GILDED PALACE OF SIN/BURRITO DELUXE and the Gram Parsons two-fer G.P./Grievous Angel.

10) Nick Drake PINK MOON - Beautiful singer-songwriter album. Solid all the way through, but if I had to choose I'd say "Which Will" is my favorite track. I'd buy this album first then FIVE LEAVES LEFT then BRYTER LAYTER and if you want even more TIME OF NO REPLY.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Weekend Live Music Picks

It's only Thursday, but here are my picks for Halloween weekend. That's Rosemary's Billygoat on the left.


Jens Lekman / Nedelle / Richard Swift @ Spaceland [$8] - This is a great chance to see three interesting singer-songwriters on a cheap bill at a small club.

Jens Lekman is a Sweedish pop star with a voice similar to Jonathan Richman but with much fuller arrangements (at least on record). Secretly Canadian is putting out a compilation of a bunch of his stuff on 11/22/05.
Download You Are the Light
Download Maple Leaves

Nedelle is a singer-songwriter from Oakland. She's on the Kill Rock Stars label.
Download Begin to Breathe
Download The Natural Night

Richard Swift is a singer-songwriter also on Secretly Canadian.
Download Lady Day
Download As I Go

Dengue Fever @ the Echo [$8] - If you missed them at Sea Level (see previous post) check them out on Friday.


The 88 @ Sea Level Records @ 3:00 PM [Free] - Catch them for free (and buy the new Rogue Wave and Earlies albums while you're there). Check out my album review for more information.
MC Chris @ Knitting Factory [$12] - If you're an Adult Swim nerd then this is for you. His website has a ton of free downloads.

Lucero @ Troubadour [$12] - If you're an alt-country nerd then this is the show for you.


Rosemary's Billygoat @ Spaceland [Free] - Not my kind of music, but it looks like a great theatrical (GWAR-style) pre-Halloween event. Cool costumes, silly lyrics and no cover charge.

Mt. Egypt & Goldspot @ Tangier [$10] - I've pitched Mt. Egypt every week and I still haven't seen him. Goldspot has a lyric about being Paxil addicted. Bound to be a lot more mellow than the Spaceland show.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Album Review: These Were the Earlies by The Earlies

Today's the day that These Were the Earlies by the Earlies finally gets a domestic release (courtesy of Secretly Canadian). I heard so much about this record that I picked it up months ago as an import. Initially I listened to it a lot. I'm a sucker for indie-psych music like the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev (fans of those bands and even Manitoba might like this record). Musically it's very interesting, but the lyrics are a bit trite. For my money the Flaming Lips' Soft Bulletin is the pinnacle in the genre (Yoshimi is also very good, but a little too similar). Mercury Rev's Deserter's Songs is well worth owning, All Is Dream has a few good moments and The Secret Migration was very disappointing. These Were the Earlies falls somewhere below Deserter's Songs. It's a great headphones record and/or something to turn up loud and zone out to.

Download "Morning Wonder"

Download "The Devil's Country"

See them live at the Echo on 12/2/05 ($10) [buy tickets or save service charges and get them at Sea Level]

Monday, October 24, 2005

Album Review: Rogue Wave's Descended Like Vultures

I've been digesting an advance of the new Rogue Wave album, Descended Like Vultures for a few weeks now. Let me begin by saying that I'm a much bigger Rogue Wave fan than anybody I know. I really enjoyed their first album, Out of the Shadow (my favorite song was "Every Moment"). The lead singer's voice is a little precious at times, but I'm a sucker for that. The new album is the same kind of indie-pop.

It's a very solid album all the way through (two outstanding tracks, seven very good tracks and two good tracks). Highlights are tracks: "10:1," "Love's Lost Guarantee," "Publish My Love," "Bird On a Wire," and "Catform." The last two tracks get a little too slow and weighed down, which tends to make me forget how much I like the beginning of the record. If you're a fan of Lou Barlow/Sebadoh, Built to Spill, the Shins, etc. I recommend buying this.

Download 10:1 [this is a great song, but not the most representative song - it's more upbeat than the rest of the record]

Download Publish My Love [very representative track]

Unfortunately they don't have any local dates scheduled. What's up with having a Visalia date planned, but not a Los Angeles date?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Weekend Live Music Picks

Sons and Daughters & The Blood Arm @ Spaceland ($10) - I'm not digging Sons and Daughters, but critics seem to. The Blood Arm is a local band with a really slow website. Download this demo. It's not a stretch to say that it sounds a little like the Strokes.

Bedroom Walls @ El Cid ($7) - Local band that plays "romanticore."

Willy Mason @ Tangier ($8) - This singer-songwriter is touring with Bright Eyes. KCRW loves him. The only song I've heard caught my attention (but not in a good way).

Jon Brion @ Largo ($10) - So what do you think of the post-JB Fiona mixes?

Okkervil River & Band of Horses & Mt. Egypt @ the Echo ($10) - Good show, but who the hell wants to go to a show at 7pm on a Saturday night? Download my favorite Okkervil song, "For Real." Band of Horses and Mt. Egypt sound pretty good too.

The Tyde @ Spaceland ($8) - Free and discounted tix from Spaceland if you answer a question on Myspace (the answer is: Mickey Madden of Maroon 5 and Conor Deasy from The Thrills). I can't believe how excited they are that the bass player from Maroon 5 is on their album.

Daniel Lanois / Tortoise @ the Avalon ($23.50) - I was a huge Tortoise fan in college but I got bored with them years ago. I'm not really a fan of anything Lanois has touched (I did like The Joshua Tree in 9th grade). They're doing the co-headliner/collaborator thing like Iron & Wine/Calexico. You can win tickets from Sea Level Records.

Love as Laughter & Appleseed Cast & Sam Champion & Minus Story @ the Echo ($10) - Be there at 6pm because another show starts at 10pm. Solid night of indie rock. Love as Laughter is a good indie band on Sup Pop. The Appleseed Cast is an emo-y band from Lawrence, KS. Minus Story is a psych-indie band on Jagjaguwar records and also from Lawrence, KS (go Jayhawks). Sam Champion sounds a lot like Malkmus.

Heavy Trash @ the Knitting Factory ($12) - A rockabilly band featuring Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray (of Speedball Baby). Jon Spencer's a great performer, but I don't know about this one.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Live Music Options

There's so much going on tonight I can't decide what to do. Why do these bookers do this? I think I'm just going to stay in and watch BATMAN BEGINS.

Gang of Four @ the Avalon ($25) [They played a great set at Coachella this year & a pretty good one on KCRW this week]

The Go Team! & Smoosh @ the El Rey ($19) [The Go Team!'s record is a little boring, but I bet they're fun live. Smoosh is adorable; just look at that photo.]

Constantines & The Hold Steady @ the Knitting Factory ($15) [I'm actually not a big fan of either of these bands; can they justify the steep ticket price?]

Calla & Celebration @ the Echo ($10) [I saw Calla years ago and what I've read about Celebration makes me want to hear them, this show's probably the bargain of the bunch]

Album Review: The 88 OVER AND OVEr

It upsets me that I missed the 88 opening for the Flaming Lips on Monday at the Knitting Factory, but I'll still review their latest album. The 88 is a local band that has an incredibly admirable work ethic. I remember a period of about a year where you couldn't leave a big show in Los Angeles without having one of the members thrust a CD single into your hands. Eventually curiousity got the best of you and you put it on. What you heard was a very sunshiney, pop band. A couple of years have passed and they're still working their asses off (featured on the OC, playing on Morning Becomes Eclectic, prominent displays on Myspace, etc.) and writing catchy songs.

There's nothing groundbreaking or trendy about the 88 (critics frequently compare them to the Beatles, Kinks, Beach Boys, Jellyfish and Squeeze) but Over and Over is fun to listen to. My favorite tracks are: "All 'Cause of You," "Nobody Cares," and "Coming Home." Eight of the other tracks are good (the only track I usually skip over is "Jesus Is Good"). My only advice to the band is lose the suits. To paraphrase my friend Jerry, the reason you get into a band is so you don't have to wear a suit and tie. At least if you're going to wear suits on stage wear something cool, not regular business suits.

Download their first album here

See them for free @ Sea Level Records on Saturday 10/29/05

See them for $12 @ The Troubadour on Friday 12/02/05

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Live Review: Iron & Wine/Calexico

I'm very happy I ended up going to the Iron & Wine/Calexico show at the Wiltern last night. I was surprised at how crowded it was (maybe 1800 people there?). I didn't think either one of these bands was very commercial. Calexico took the stage first (at about 8:30pm?). As usual, the sound at the Wiltern wasn't as good as you'd expect. I've always found Calexico's music interesting, but criticized their lack of soul (the lyrics just don't seem very interesting and the singer has milquetoasty voice). Luckily Calexico was more compelling live than they are recorded. The six musicians on stage showed their skill by frequently changing instruments (I particularly like the pedal steel player). They did a passable version of Love's "Alone Again Or" (although I prefer The Damned and UFO's versions). The biggest reaction from the crowd came when they introduced Mike Watt to play bass on a song.

After a brief intermission, Sam Beam came on stage alone with an acoustic guitar. He performed a couple of songs that showcased his poetic lyrics, delicate voice and strong guitar skills. He was so compelling that the crowd was completely silent. Band members slowly joined him. First a female singer on one song, then they added a drummer and then members of Calexico trickled out. I like Beam's voice so much that I actually prefer hearing it unadorned, but it was a nice change of pace to see him with a large band. At one point he brought out Victoria Williams (I find her voice grating) for a duet of "Always on My Mind" (a song that's been done by Elvis, Willie, Englebert and the Pet Shop Boys). This elicited gagging noises from my girlfriend and another friend, but Beam's heartfelt rendition reminded me of Willie's version.

The combined bands did a nice job on the songs from IN THE REINS (with the exception of drawing out the last song). The first song of the encore ("Wild Horses") had my girlfriend once again seeking shelter in the lobby, but it could have been a lot worse (Mike Watt and Victoria Williams re-emerged).

My girlfriend loved Calexico, but couldn't stand watching Iron & Wine ("boring" and "suicide-inducing" was her assessment). Contrarily, the highlight for me was the Iron & Wine songs but I did enjoy seeing Calexico. Even if you have to pay high ticket prices (my tickets were free), I recommend seeing this tour. Who knows if Iron and Wine and Calexico will ever tour together again?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Iron and Wine/Calexico

I've had IN THE REINS, the Iron & Wine/Calexico collaboration for a few months now but haven't really given it a proper listen. I'm a big Iron & Wine fan but I've always found Calexico's music a little boring. In the days leading up to their live show (tonight at the Wiltern) I've given the EP another chance. Here's what I think:

He Lays in the Reins - I could really do without that Spanish opera interlude
Prison on Route 41 - nice pedal steel, but the song doesn't really grab me
A History of Lovers - this is my favorite song on the EP, combines the best of both bands
Red Dust - the worst song on the EP, bluesy and cliche
Sixteen, Maybe Less - my other favorite song on the EP, very pretty song
Burn That Broken Bed - Calexico ruins an otherwise good song with some jazzy horns
Dead Man's Will - another strong song worth hearing

I hear the format of tonight's show is for each band to do a full set and then play the EP together in its entirety. I still can't believe that tickets are $23.50 + ticketmaster fees and I still can't believe it's being held in a 2,200 seat venue. I hope Calexico is more compelling live than they are in the studio.

See them tonight at the Wiltern

Monday, October 17, 2005

Band Profile: Dengue Fever

I know local band Dengue Fever isn't for everybody, but I think everybody should see them at least once. The band members (guys who play/played with Radar Brothers, Dieselhed, Beck, Ozomatli, Brazzaville, et.) set out to form a 1960's Cambodian psychedelic band. Eventually they found a singer who could pull off the vocals (in her first language, Khmer). The LA Times said it in an interesting way, "... imagine a Cambodian beauty queen that shares the stage with Barry White, Allen Ginsberg, Michael Hutchence and Brian Wilson."

Free in-store @ Sea Level Records on Tuesday 10/18/05 at 7pm.

Live @ the Echo on Friday 10/28/05 ($8)

Listen to them on Myspace

Friday, October 14, 2005

Weekend Live Music Picks

Here are just a few things that caught my eye for this weekend.

Turbonegro & The (International) Noise Conspiracy @ Avalon ($20) - A night of Scandanavian hard rock. Golly, I hope Turbonegro plays "Wipe It 'Til It Bleeds."

Rex Aquarium @ El Cid ($7) - Local indie band's record release party.

Jon Brion @ Largo ($10) - I don't like Kanye West.

Bob Mould @ The El Rey ($20) - According to the reviews, he's playing music from throughout his career. I'd really love to hear the Husker Du and Sugar stuff.

Turbonegro & The (International) Noise Conspiracy @ The Fonda ($18) - See above

The Mae Shi & Make Believe @ The Echo [early show from 6:30pm - 10pm] ($10) - The Mae Shi are a local band that kind of reminds me of Shellac. What little I've heard of Make Believe sounds kind of like Polvo.

LCD Soundsystem & The Juan MacLean @ Avalon ($18) - This tour is sponsored by PlayStation, but I guess I'll still call them indie electronic music.

Rademacher @ Sea Level Records [3:00PM] (FREE) - Mellow indie rock.

Tussle and Gogogo Airheart @ The Echo ($5) - Tussle's another indie electronic band that I hear is better live than on record. San Diego's Gogogo Airheart has a new album coming out on the 25th. You should be able to dance to both of these bands.

Mt. Egypt @ Tangier ($5) - You probably can't dance to this singer-songwriter.

Architecture in Helsinki @ Troubadour ($12) - I saw these Aussies a few months ago and really wanted to like them but just didn't. Maybe you will? They seem like really nice kids and they've got a lot of enthusiasm.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


These days a lot of LA promoters strongly believe in residencies (the same band playing the same night of the week each week for a month). The theory goes that if a band is good, word-of-mouth will ensure that the crowd builds each week. Spaceland used to own free Monday nights; there was always a line after 10:30pm. A lot of bands got record deals as a result of their Monday night residency at Spaceland. But these days it's getting harder to keep track of all the residencies. I know it's already the 13th, but here's what the month of October has to offer:

Mondays - Colored Shadows (free) [LA band, tripped out - press on their page sounds like they wanna sound like Doves]
Wednesday - Bigbang [from Norway, sound a bit like the Black Crowes]
Thursday - Green and Yellow TV [email band to get on list - LA band - straightforward rock]

The Echo:
Monday - Lavender Diamond (free) [folk pop]
Tuesday - The Waking Hours [according to their myspace page they sound like Rooney and Phantom Planet]

The Fold:
Monday @ Silverlake Lounge - The Words (free)
Wednesday @Silverlake Lounge - Sabrosa Purr ($5) [listen for yourself]
Sunday @ Tangier - Mt. Egypt ($5) [sounds promising and indie, have a listen]

I've only spent about two minutes listening to each of these bands. A couple of them sound promising and a couple of them sound terrible. At least they're all out there doing it.....