Thursday, December 28, 2006

New Year's Eve Options

Autolux Play the Little Radio Warehouse
Tons of party options. Is New Year's Eve the ultimate amateur night? or a good time? I can guarantee I wouldn't get my money's worth at some of these events.
New Year's Eve Pick:
Dead Meadow / Autolux @ Little Radio Warehouse ($50) – Tickets are almost sold out for this one. Admission gets you drinks, so it’s not as expensive as it looks.
Also Appearing:
Chavez @ Spaceland ($20) – Celebrated indie guitar band fronted by Matt Sweeney. Matador released a career retrospective this year.
The Flaming Lips / Gnarls Barkley / Cat Power @ USC Galen Center ($55) – The Flaming Lips would be at the top of my most disappointing albums and concerts list for 2006. Hopefully you’re less cynical than I and you can still enjoy them.
The Killers @ Gridlock LA at Paramount Studios ($125) – This sounds like my worst nightmare. I don’t even hate the Killers, but this just sounds like a nightmare.
The Ringers / Valient Thorr @ Viper Room ($30) – Rock’n’roll fans.
Mickey Avalon @ the Roxy ($30) – Great place to pick up underage girls.
Very Be Careful @ Safari Sam’s ($15)
Erykah Badu @ House of Blues ($125) – Believe it or not, I saw Badu once back in 1997.
8-Bit / Bodies of Water / The Mormons @ Mr. T’s ($5) – Cheap entertainment for the Highland Park crowd.
Pop Levi @ the Echo ($5)
Breakestra @ Zanzibar ($40) – For the Stones Throw crowd.
The Sounds @ Hollywood Roosevelt ($80)

Music Picks - Thursday Through Saturday

That C86 cover band last night at Spaceland was great fun. They went a bit beyond 1986 and pulled off some My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and Mary Chain covers that aren't easy to do. If they ever decide to play again, I recommend checking them out.
Thursday’s Pick (12/28/06):
Hell Ya Night w/ Blackmarket / Princeton / Pop Noir / Blvd @ the Echo (free over 21 / $5 under)

Friday’s Pick (12/29/06):
Mike Stinson @ Cinema Bar (Free) – My favorite local country performer. The Cinema Bar’s a cool, tiny dive bar in Culver City.

Also Appearing Friday:
Blackalicious / Pigeon John @ El Rey ($20) – For the hip-hop fans.
The Good Listeners / WonderGround @ Spaceland (?) – Most likely I won’t feel like driving to Culver City on my day off, so I’ll end up here. Plus I’ve heard good things about the Good Listeners, but I haven’t had a chance to see them yet.
The Oohlas @ the Echo ($5)
The Knitters @ Safari Sam’s ($25) - John Doe, Exene Cervenka and Dave Alvin

Saturday’s Pick (12/30/06):
Mystic Chords of Memory / The Minor Canon / Dntel (Jimmy Tamberello) @ Spaceland ($8) – If that dong who wrote that Silver Lake piece for the LA Weekly happens to read this, he’ll hate me for sure (and probably call me a nerd). Once upon a time in the mid-90s there was a band called Strictly Ballroom. It was one of a number of LA bands that grew out of friendships formed at LA’s real college radio station, KXLU. The band was made up of Chris Gunst, Paul Larson, Jimmy Tamberello, Jimi Hey and another guy who drummed. They released one pretty mellow rock album called Hide Here Forever that you can find in used vinyl and CD bins around town. The band split up (not sure why?) and Chris Gunst moved on to form the Beachwood Sparks along with Brent Rademaker, Farmer Dave Scher, Aaron Sperkse and Josh Schwartz (there might have been one other dude in the beginning too?). Josh Schwartz and Brent Rademaker had previously played together in the indie band Further (one of the only American bands signed to Creation Records) along with Rademaker’s brother Darren (and Jimmy Tamberello and Chris Gunst for a bit too). The Beachwood Sparks put out a couple of really good Notorious Byrd Brothers/Burritos-inspired records on Sub Pop in the early part of this century. Around this time Brent Rademaker, Chris Gunst (on drums) and Farmer Dave started playing (along with Anne Do and Ben Knight) in Darren Rademaker’s new Felt-inspired (maybe if Felt were surfers) band, the Tyde. The Tyde quickly signed to Rough Trade in the US. Meanwhile, Jimmy Tamberello started experimenting more with electronic sounds and playing music as Dntel, James Figurine, Figurine and being an important part of the Plug Research crowd. In 2002 The Beachwood Sparks put out their final EP for Sub Pop with help from Jimmy Tamberello, Jimi Hey (Sperske left the band) and I think Paul Larson might have snuck on there too. Jimmy Tamberello started a new band with Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie called Postal Service. They released an enormous indie electronica record on Sub Pop in 2003. The record featured backing vocals by Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley) and sold well over 500,000 copies. Chris Gunst moved to Northern California and formed Mystic Chords of Memory with Jen Cohen who had played in a Northern California band called the Aislers Set. They also signed to Rough Trade in the US. Farmer Dave started singing and formed a band with Jimi Hey called All Night Radio. They quickly got signed to Sub Pop and put out a good psychedelic record. The Tyde had some lineup changes as Farmer Dave quit playing with them and Gunst was replaced by Ric Menck. Meanwhile Brent Rademaker started a new band called Frausdots that quickly got signed by Sub Pop. So what happened with all these guys in 2006? Paul Larson started playing tons shows around town with a new band called the Minor Canon. Jimmy Tamberello (Dntel) put out a record on Plug Research as James Figurine. The Tyde released their third record on Rough Trade (brother Brent has since moved away from Southern California). Farmer Dave toured the world with Jenny Lewis’ fantastic band. Chris Gunst’s band Mystic Chords of Memory collaborated with Nobody (who’s also part of that Plug Research crowd) on a new album for Rough Trade. I think Jimi Hey’s playing with Indian Jewelry. Anyway, it should be a cool reunion of some huge contributors to the local LA music scene.

Also Appearing Saturday:
The Knitters @ Safari Sam’s ($25) – John Doe, Exene Cervenka and Dave Alvin
Mikey Dread @ the Joint ($18) – Reggae, dub crowd.
Blondie @ the Key Club ($55)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Club NME Tonight - Wednesday 12/27/06

Airborne Toxic Event was named to Rolling Stone's top 25 bands on Myspace. You can read it HERE. They're a new local band that seems to have potential for massive success. They're all really good musicians and when you see them live the songs are even bigger.

Tonight's Pick:
Club NME: C86 All Star Band @ Spaceland ($5) - Does it feel like you've been out of civilization for a few days? I plan on getting out of the house tonight to see this..... "For one night only Club NME presents YOUNG AND STUPID! A celebration of 20 years of C86 Twee pop!! Performing LIVE are The C86 Allstars!!! featuring Dave Newton of The Mighty Lemon Drops, and members of Aberdeen (ex-Sarah records) and Ale Cohen (Languis) playing all your favorite twee covers!" For those of you who don't know about C86, it's probably best if you read the Wikipedia entry. This is the 20th anniversary of famous compilation with the bands that inspired Belle & Sebastian, Voxtrot and so many others. My friend Tita will be DJ'ing all vinyl from her massive indie pop collection. Resident DJ Dia will be spinning as well. See you there.

Also Appearing:
Low End Theory Club: Prefuse 73 @ Airliner ($5)
Bank Holiday @ the Scene
Dub Club @ the Echo ($5)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Local Scene Update

Reminder: The Cold War Kids will be on Letterman Thursday 12/21/06

Recently Announced Shows:
Brian Wilson with Al Jardine @ Long Beach Theatre on 1/27/07 ($38-$67)
Jackson Browne / Willie Nelson @ Gibson on 2/22/07 ($64)
TV on the Radio @ the Henry Fonda on 3/30/07 & 3/31/07 ($18)
Sebadoh @ Troubadour on 3/9/07 ($15) – tickets on sale 1/2/07
El-P @ Troubadour on 3/26/07($15) – tickets on sale 12/22/06
Snow Patrol / Silversun Pickups / OK Go @ Gibson on 3/2/07
Earlimart @ the Getty on 3/9/07

Get your tickets for these high demand shows:
Stephen Malkmus @ El Rey on 1/6/07 ($19)
My Morning Jacket @ Wiltern on 1/6/07 ($27)
Subtle @ Troubadour on 1/19/07 ($15)
Deerhoof / Hella @ El Rey on 1/24/07 ($14)
M. Ward @ El Rey on 2/2/07 ($19)
ZZ Top @ House of Blues on 2/11/07 ($100)
Albert Hammond Jr. @ Troubadour on 2/14/07 ($15)
Rob Crow of Pinback @ Troubadour on 2/15/07 ($12)
Camera Obscura / Portatastic @ El Rey on 2/17/07 ($17)
Grizzly Bear @ Troubadour on 2/21/07 ($12)
Styx @ House of Blues on 2/23/07 ($60)
Josh Ritter / Will Sheff of Okkervil River @ El Rey on 3/1/07 ($20)
The Mountain Goats @ El Rey on 3/11/07 ($16)
Badly Drawn Boy @ El Rey on 3/22/07 ($24)
Sunset Rubdown / Xiu Xiu @ Troubadour on 4/24/07 ($12)

Local bands going on tour:
Division Day & Great Northern are going on a mini West Coast (Long Beach, San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, Visalia) tour during the last week of January.

The Clean Prophets are doing a nationwide tour in February (Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Boise, Provo, Denver, Minneapolis, New York City, Atlanta)

Silversun Pickups are doing a massive tour with Snow Patrol from the end of February to the beginning of April

Local bands in the studio:
Dios (Malos) is currently in the studio recording their third album. Go to Myspace to check out some demos of the new songs.

Thursday Through Monday Live Music Picks

Thursday 12/21/06
TiVo Alert – Cold War Kids on David Letterman -

Thursday’s Pick:
Polar Goldie Cats / Nels Cline @ the Echo ($10 adv / $12 dos) – You never know what you’re going to get with Nels do you? No arguing that he’s an incredible guitarist (currently with Wilco) but sometimes it’s a little too experimental for me.

Also Appearing:
Sky “Sunlight” Saxon & the Seeds @ Knitting Factory Main ($15) – “Pushin’ Too Hard” is a great song and everybody should download it from iTunes right now if they don’t already have it. I saw Sky Saxon a few years ago at the Big Foot Lodge (remember when they did shows there?) and it was just too much. He, Brian Wilson and Ozzy Osbourne should make an anti-drug movie; it would terrify children and scare anybody off of drugs. Is Saxon still obsessed with dogs?
Stevenson Ranch Davidians / LSD & the Search for God @ Knitting Factory Front ($7)
Chapin Sisters / Quarter After / Miranda Lee Richards / Winter Flowers @ Knitting Factory Alternate Lounge ($5 / Bring a toy and get in free)
The Cave Singers @ Spaceland (?)
Ozomatli @ House of Blues ($20)
The Little Ones @ Orange County Museum of Art

12/22/06: Friday’s Pick:
Jon Brion @ Largo – Better get there early, he doesn’t perform there often enough these days.
Also Appearing:
The Blank Tapes @ Spaceland – Download his cover of the Beatles “Christmas Time Is Here Again
Jeremy Enigk / Imaad Wasif @ Troubadour ($15) – Enigk is the emo pioneer from Sunny Day Real Estate.
Hot for Chocolate @ Safari Sam’s ($10)
El Vez @ Knitting Factory ($15)
Ozomatli @ House of Blues ($20)
Very Be Careful @ the Echo ($7)
The Escovedo Family Orchestra's Latin Holiday Celebration @ Walt Disney Hall ($27-66)

12/23/06: Saturday's Pick:
Gliss / Oohlas / Pop Levi @ Knitting Factory ($5 adv / $7 dos)

Also Appearing:
Scissors for Lefty @ Spaceland – Download “Christmas Intentions
Hot For Chocolate @ Mr. T’s
The Vandals @ House of Blues ($16)
Blind Boys of Alabama @ Walt Disney Concert Hall (Sold Out)
Slick Rick @ Vine Street Lounge

12/24/06 & 12/25/06
Most venues are closed. Hang out with your family and friends.

Wednesday Night Music Options: 12/20/06

Tonight's Pick:
Ghostface Killah / Redman with Raekwon @ House of Blues ($35.50) – Ghostface put out my favorite hip-hop album of the year. I’m pretty surprised this isn’t sold out.

Also Appearing:
NME Night with: Shapes and Sizes @ Spaceland –Being averse to actually driving over the House of Blues (and spending $35 during the holidays), I’ll be at Spaceland tonight. Here’s what the All Music Guide said about these guys: “Their self-titled debut for Asthmatic Kitty is a veritable factory of sound that pulls its fangs from the Pixies, its' head from the Decemberists and its' heart from Elephant Six bands like Elf Power and the Apples in Stereo without forsaking any of their own vision.” Download “Islands Gone Bad” and “Wilderness
Gliss / Starlight Desperation @ Safari Sam’s ($8) – This is a benefit for the Midnight Mission homeless shelter. The description of Gliss’ website when you type it into Google is: “incest porn incest stories 3d incest incest sex brother sister incest incest art brother sister incest.” What do you suppose the 3d part means?
Occidental @ Zen Sushi ($5) – Good guys making spacey, layered instrumental guitar music. Download “Look Up” (myspace hosted)
Nico Stai @ Hotel Cafe

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Top 10 Hipster/Music Snob Records that Didn't Resonate With Me in the Year 2006

Here’s my list of 10 hipster cred albums that didn’t move me in 2006. These were loved by bloggers and tastemakers, but not by me. You say you love these albums? Well good for you. I’m sure you think my top 10 list is conventional and boring. I can live with that.

1) Joanna Newsom: Ys (Drag City) – This is a great album for pre-school children. Her voice is so precious; it reminds me of a bratty five-year old. Further proof? I love Van Dyke Parks’ work on Pet Sounds, but these days he mostly scores pre-school shows. Accolades? #5 best reviewed album of the year on Metacritic. Other Music’s best of. 9.4/10 on Pitchfork and #3 album of the year.

2) The Knife: Silent Shout (Mute) – If this is your album of the year, what kind of gay dance party’s going on over at your crib? I keed. I like guitar music; electro music feels so soulless to me. Other Music’s best of list. Urb’s top 10. 8.6/10 from Pitchfork and best album of the year.

3) Beach House: Beach House (Carpark) – The same people who love Grizzly Bear also seem to love Beach House. To me they’re pretty much polar opposites (other than a heavy dependence on Pro Tools). Grizzly Bear’s so busy it gives me a headache and Beach House is so empty it puts me to sleep. I like being rocked to sleep as much as the next guy, but this is ridiculous. Wake me when it’s over. Accolades: 8.1/10 on Pitchfork and #16 album of the year. Download “Apple Orchard” (courtesy of P-fork)

4) CSS: Cansei de Ser Sexy (Sub Pop) – If corporations are dumb enough to pay you $10,000 to play your IPod for a bunch of coked up, Sparks drinking, models, C-list celebs and advertising executives, then you’re excused for listening to this. Otherwise I just don’t get it. Accolades: NME’s #6. Download “Alala” (courtesy of Sub Pop)

5) Tapes ‘n’ Tapes: The Loon (Ibid) – This is a perfectly decent debut album from a perfectly fine regional band. One of your top albums of the year? You must have more of a stake in them than I do. I deleted most of the tracks off my MP3 player a long time ago. I can think of about a dozen local bands that sound similar and I like better. In a year with a lot of bands ripping off the Pixies, “Cowbell” is one of the best. Publications like Pitchfork will tear bands apart for being derivative, but then give certain insanely derivative bands a free pass. What’s up with that? Accolades: Other Music’s best of list. 8.3/10 from Pitchfork and #40th best album. Download “Insistor” and “Cowbell

6) Lily Allen: Alright, Still (EMI Int’l) – Of course the hyperbolic British press loves her, but US tastemakers do too? Honestly I don’t think this is that bad, but I only listen to it when my girlfriend makes me. It’s like the music equivalent of Fun Dip. Accolades: Other Music’s best of list. 8.3/10 on Pitchfork and #29th best album of the year.

7) Grizzly Bear: Yellow House (Warp) – I know it’s completely unfair to penalize a band for what is being written about them; however I really resent the comparisons to the Beach Boys. I guess the Beach Boys represent great harmonizers? Grizzly Bear’s more of a Pro Tools band. The layer on top of claustrophobic layer makes me feel like my head’s going to explode. And what’s up with that interview in Out Magazine? I really don’t care what he thinks are the best and worst countries to “slut around in” (for the record France is his favorite, while England is his least favorite). That said, I see why people like the record. If I spent a little more time with it I might come around. Accolades: Other Music’s best of list. 8.7/10 on Pitchfork and #8 album of the year

8) Beirut: The Gulag Orkestar (Bada Bing) – How am I going to rip a 19 year-old kid from Albuquerque who listened to a bunch of Balkan gypsy music and made an interesting record? Well, I’m not. I gave this one many listens (bought it on CD and vinyl) and tried to force myself to like it. Unfortunately it still leaves me a little cold. There are some really nice moments, but I usually forget about it about three minutes after I put it on. He’s got a bright future ahead of him and I’m curious to see what he does next. Accolades: 7.7/10 on Pitchfork. Download “Postcards from Italy

9) Hold Steady: Boys and Girls in America (Vagrant) – Once again, I’ve got nothing against these guys, I’m just a little surprised by the praise. I probably like classic rock more than you, but the praise makes me think of the Grifters (bar band that music snobs universally embrace). Remember the Grifters? Didn’t think so. Accolades: #13 best reviewed album of the year on Metacritic. Other Music’s best of list. The Onion’s #1 album. 9.4/10 on Pitchfork and 3rd best album of the year. Download “Stuck Between Stations” (courtesy of P-fork)

10) Man Man: Six Demon Bag (Ace Fu) – Honestly I’m too lazy to even download one of their tracks. Do you ever discriminate against a band just because of their picture? Accolades: Pitchfork’s 20th best album of the year.

Christmas Gift

If anybody's still trying to decide what to get me for Christmas, I'd like this Pet Sounds tour jacket. A great gift at $892. Buy HERE.

Wolfgang's Vault

Do you guys already know about Wolfgang's Vault? I read some articles in the Wall Street Journal about it, and even looked at some of the merch, but now I'm digging into the streaming concerts. Legendary concert promoter Bill Graham recorded, photographed and filmed a lot of the great shows he promoted. We're talking soundboard recordings of a lot of the greatest artists of the past 40 years. An entrepreneur paid about $5 million for the archives a few years ago and he's currently streaming a lot of the performances. Of course they're getting their asses sued. Go listen while you still can. I'm listening to a Beach Boys performance from 1971 as I type this and they just did an Elton John cover.

You more technologically savvy readers probably also know how to record streaming audio off of the internet. Some bands you might be interested in: Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Traffic, Miles Davis, The Who, The Band, Eddie Money (anybody?), Springsteen, Marley, the Dead, CSN&Y, Merle Haggard, Sabbath, The Clash, The Cure, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Costello, The Byrds, The Cars, Cheap Trick, Devo, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Flamin' Groovies, Hall & Oates, Heart, Moby Grape, Motley Crue, Motorhead, Ozzy Osbourne, Pink Floyd, Terry Reid, Stevie Wonder. Where to start?

Thanks to my buddy Jack for the tip.

Tuesday Night Music Options - 12/19/06

Too Short @ Knitting Factory ($30 / $25 with toy) – Benefit for Toys for Tots. Ice-T tries to take all the credit, but Too Short was one of the original West Coast pimp rappers. Tonight’s show is a benefit for Toys for Tots.
OK Go / Rocket @ Safari Sam’s ($5 with RSVP) – MTV hasn’t shown videos for a very long time, but OK Go showed the music industry that bands can still break based on a clever video. Expect a big crowd.
Ileen Goldsmith @ Spaceland (?) – Country-tinged female singer-songwriter.
Guns N’ Roses / Helmet / Sebastian Bach @ Gibson ($75) – Metal memories.
Lemon Sun @ the Echo ($5)
Under the Influence of Giants @ Cinespace ($5)
Wild Nights Holiday Bash @ El Cid ($10) – 25 local singer-songwriters perform one original holiday song each. Benefit for cystic fibrosis.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Rest In Peace - Joe Barbera

He lived a long, full life and with his creative/business partner Bill Hanna, left an unbelievable legacy. His passing is a huge loss, especially to those of us who grew up watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons. The Hanna-Barbera library continues to bring joy throughout the world. Today my favorites are the Flintstones, Tom & Jerry and The Jetsons, but as kid I loved Scooby-Doo, Super Friends, the Smurfs, Wacky Races and Yogi Bear just as much. Many of you would probably put Top Cat, Magilla Gorilla, Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, Herculoids, Quick Draw McGraw, The Banana Splits, Josie and the Pussycats, and any of about 50 others in the top category. He continues to be an inspiration to artists and I doubt if hip-hop artists ever stop writing songs about his shows. He will be missed.....

Go See the Parson Red Heads Tonight - 12/18/06

Tonight's Pick:
The Parson Red Heads / The Stevenson Ranch Davidians / The Kris Special @ the Echo (Free) – Everybody I talk to has been raving about the Parson Red Heads showcase at the Echo. Due to the impending holidays, this is the last night of it. They’re a retro-obsessed local band with jangly guitars, great harmonies and a lot more energy than you’d expect if all you’ve heard is their recorded material. During this residency they’ve supplemented their sound by having about 12 people on stage. I highly recommend checking them out. The Stevenson Ranch Davidians are retro-obsessed as well. They’ve got more of a Jonestown/Warlocks sound. I don’t know much about the Kris Special, but they appeared on a Wilco tribute album. Download the Kris Special’s version of Wilco’s “(Was I) In Your Dreams?”
Also Appearing:
The Spores / Year Long Disaster @ Viper Room ($10) – Year Long Disaster is Dave Davies son’s band. The Spores are a multi-media band with puppet show, etc.
The Delta Spirit / Army Navy @ Spaceland (Free) – The Delta Spirit’s Monday residency continues.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Saturday and Sunday Music Picks - 12/16-12/17

Saturday's Pick:
Drakkar Sauna @ Sea Level 4:00PM (Free) – I’m checking it out. See what I wrote about them on Thursday’s listing.
Silversun Pickups / Midnight Movies @ Troubadour (Sold Out) – Local heroes play two sold out nights at the Troubadour. Nice.
Dressy Bessy / Blue Eyed Son / 8MM @ Spaceland ($8) – If you miss Dressy Bessy on Friday.
Cold War Kids @ Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa (Sold Out) – They’ll be on Letterman next Friday.
DeVotcka / Eric Bachmann @ Avalon ($18)

Sunday's Pick:
Silversun Pickups / Irving / Tigers Can Bite You @ the Troubadour (Sold Out) – Two sold out nights at the Troubadour. Pretty impressive.

Friday Night Music Options

Tonight's Pick:
The Deadly Syndrome @ Unknown Theatre – 1100 Seward Street LA, CA 90038 (Free) – I’m a big fan of these guys and recently put them on my list of three bands to watch in 2007. Rock Insider, Radio Free Silver Lake and Rewritable Content have also written really nice things about them. They go on at 11:45PM and it’s absolutely free. It’s upbeat, indie music that leans towards the more eccentric side with accordions, keyboards and guitars. They’d be great a double bill with Oh No! Oh My!
Also Appearing:
Eskimohunter / Sky Parade @ Spaceland ($8) - Here's what the Aquarium Drunkard (he generally has very good taste in music) had to say about Eskimohunter: "The album is shoegaze rock in all its epic glory. The project stresses simple layered sound to create its blissful drone. Throw in a dash of pop harmonies, A strong multimedia presence, and you have a truly 71 brand of music."
The Blood Arm / The Ettes @ the Echo ($8) – Local kids The Blood Arm are just back from a pretty massive European tour. NME said: “They're essentially James Brown fronting Talking Heads and singing Fall songs, but they're more than that too."
Dan the Automator @ El Rey ($20) Dan The Automator’s from Gorillaz, Handsome Boy Modeling School, and Dr. Octagon. He’s with a with a live band featuring Charli 2Na of Jurassic 5 and Casual of Hieroglyphics.
Goldenboy / Fishtank Ensemble / Dressy Bessy @ El Cid ($10) – From their bio: “Fishtank Ensemble is a band that offers a unique blend of Gypsy, Balkan, Flamenco, Klezmer and original tunes.” Here’s what Filter Magazine had to say about Dressy Bessy: "It's retro-pop in the way that makes roller-skating suddenly less ironic and just plain fun."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thursday Night Music - The Movies - 12/14/06

Download a rather haunting version of “Silent Night” from Brandon Curtis of the Secret Machines

Tonight's Pick:
The Movies / Happy Hollows @ the Mountain Bar ($8) – I’m not the biggest fan of hanging in Chinatown, but The Movies might make me reconsider. They’re one of the best local bands and Timothy James always puts on a performance. I gave a friend some advice the other day, “You need to put the rock in the slingshot.” It pretty much works in any context. Download “Rock in the Slingshot” and “Timothy James” I respect any non-rapper who writes an anthem about himself. A lot of your favorite local musicians are really into Happy Hollows right now, but I still haven’t seen them.

Also Appearing:
Peter and the Wolf @ the Echo ($5) – For people who like to get rocked to sleep. Pitchfork and that Gorilla vs. Bear blog are huge supporters of this guy. The Rock Insider ranked it #13 on her top 25 list. The song “Lightness” is apparently homage to one of my favorite novels, Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being. These tracks sound pretty good, but a bit depressing? No? Download “Safe Travels” and “Lightness” If you can’t make it out tonight, see them at the Silverlake Lounge on January 10th.
The Submarines / Great Northern @ Pershing Square (Free but you have to pay to skate) – It’s a very cool idea, go ice skating downtown and listen to some quality local music.
The Bronx / Riverboat Gamblers @ the Key Club (Sold Out) – Quality loud punk-ish rock ‘n’ roll.
Drakkar Suana @ Silverlake Lounge ($8) – They’re from my college town of Lawrence, KS but I first encountered them out here. They played my friend Travis Millard’s art opening at the Jeff Electric Gallery in Silver Lake. The Pitch (Kansas City’s weekly) called them Seals & Croft on airplane glue. I can just read their song titles and start laughing. I think my favorite is, “There’s Not Enough Tits on a Wolf.” Download “There Is No Boon For Which We Do Not Render Service” and “Very Much Alone, Pt. 4 – O, Fuck, I’m Fucked. Fuck” If you can’t see them tonight, join me at Sea Level in Echo Park at 4:00PM on Saturday.
Bodies of Water / Kind Hearts & Coronets @ Spaceland

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Top 10 Records for 2006 (Non-LA Bands)

Here’s my top 10 list of non-LA artists for the year. I skipped over most of the tastemaker favorites. If I get some time I’ll do a top 10 list of hipster-cred artists that don’t move me. Only two of these artists are new, but two others are new to me. As you can see, I’m really biased towards male, indie guitar music.

1) Kelley Stoltz Below the Branches (Sub Pop) – Some critics knock San Francisco’s Kelley Stoltz for not being original. Obviously Stoltz has listened to a lot of mid-period Kinks and late period Beatles (and Wings and solo Lennon) but his music isn’t limited to those influences. There are really personal moments in these songs. This record will sneak up on you. I haven’t stopped listening to this since it came out last February. He did about 16 dates with the Raconteurs but it didn’t seem to help his name recognition factor. Even though he sounds great live, he’s not what I’d call a crowd pleaser. Download "Memory Collector" and “The Sun Comes Through
2) Aloha Some Echoes (Polyvinyl) – They’ve still got the vibraphone, but the music’s not all cluttered and claustrophobic like their earlier stuff. The lyrics convey emotion and largely avoid cliché, which isn't an easy thing to accomplish. If you like slightly maudlin and very personal songs, give this one a spin with your headphones on. Download "Your Eyes"
3) Belle & Sebastian The Life Pursuit (Matador) – A lot of their fans keep waiting for them to make another If You’re Feeling Sinister or Tigermilk. (I’ve been guilty at times). So even though they’re one of my favorite bands, I was kind of indifferent to the record until I saw their tour in support of it. The Wiltern show was good, but the Hollywood Bowl show was completely captivating. The upbeat nature of many of these songs translates extremely well in the live setting. Download "Another Sunny Day"
4) Voxtrot Mothers, Sisters, Daughters and Wives EP and Your Biggest Fan EP (Cult Hero) – He’s just straight up a damn fine songwriter. I’ve been really skeptical of this dude since he hasn’t put out a full length record. I kept thinking to myself, “Does he only have a few songs in him?” But he put out two more EPs this year and there’s not a bad song on either one. If you like the Smiths, Belle & Sebastian and C86 stuff and you haven’t listened, stop what you’re doing and download these songs. When I finally saw them live, I was impressed that they’ve already got one of those powerful connections with their audience (we’re talking Morrissey, Elliott Smith, Stuart Murdoch-style bonds). Download "Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives" and “Trouble
5) Sparklehorse: Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain (Astralwerks) – Sparklehorse is one of those totally overlooked bands that deserves a much bigger audience. It seems like their only fans are other musicians. The new record has a few tracks with Dangermouse, a few tracks with Steven Drozd of the Flaming Lips, a few tracks with Dave Fridmann and a track with Tom Waits. It’s haunting but pretty music. Mark Linkous is one of those tragic guys you wish was less tormented so he could put out more amazing music.
6) Grandaddy Just Like the Fambly Cat (V2) – Unfortunately Grandaddy is no more, but at least they left us with this. The record has everything you expect from Grandaddy: Jason Lytle’s delicate voice, fuzzy guitars, crappy keyboards and lyrics that any aging kid from the suburbs should love.
7) Band of Horses Everything All the Time (Sub Pop) – Almost everybody compares them to the Shins and My Morning Jacket (me included). I think my new year’s resolution should be to not compare any more bands to the Shins. Every time I put it on I think I’m not going to like it anymore, but I’m always pleasantly surprised and get caught up in it all over again. Put “The Funeral” in 2007’s updated version of Singles and they’ll sell 600,000 records. Download "The Funeral" and “The Great Salt Lake
8) The Pernice Brothers: Live a Little (Ashmont) – Last year’s record was on my top 10 list and this year’s record crept on. I wish all my favorite bands put out records every year. I love Joe Pernice’s songwriting. I’d love to hear what kind of chamber pop album he could make with a giant, Sean Lennon sized recording budget.
9) The Decemberists: The Crane Wife (Capitol) – I’ve always considered myself a Decemberists fan, but I usually only like three or four tracks on each record. Their major label debut is much more consistent. Colin Meloy has a voice that will probably limit him from giant record sales, but this record’s at the top of a lot of top 10 lists. The songs are loosely based on a Japanese folk tale. This album is the 16th best reviewed album of the year on Metacritic.
10) Built to Spill You In Reverse (Warner Bros.) – We had to wait five years for this. Pretty much vintage Built to Spill. Not their best effort, but not a disappointment either.

Honorable Mention: Ghostface Killah Fishscale, Serena Maneesh Serena Maneesh, TV on the Radio Return to Cookie Mountain, Sufjan Stevens Songs for Christmas, The Sword Age of Winters, Awesome Color Awesome Color, My Morning Jacket Okonokos, all the LA bands in my top 10 list of LA bands

New Release Tuesday 12/12/06

I wasn't going to bother with this until I realized there were a couple of worthwhile releases.

Ghostface Killah: More Fish (Def Jam) - He already released Fishscale, my favorite hip hop record of the year. This one is more than just b-sides and rarities. Jeff Weiss, who listens to a lot more hip-hop than I do, just put this at #2 on his 10 best hip-hop records of the year - right after Fishscale.

Lovely Feathers: My Best Friend Daniel (Equator) – Reissue of their demos. I'd probably start with their Hind Hind Legs record instead. It's pretty good if you like eccentric indie pop.

Sonic Youth: The Destroyed Room – B-Sides and Rarities (Geffen) - This year's Rather Ripped was their best album in a very long time. From their web site: "...songs from throughout the band's career with Geffen Records, focusing on tracks previously available only on vinyl, limited-release compilations, or as b-sides to international singles. The tracks were hand picked by the band and also include material that has never before been released."

Taylor Hicks: S/T (Arista) - The perfect record for your office party gift exchange? Looks like he wrote two of the songs. The All Music Guide acknowledges his talent, compares him to the Doobie Brothers and says it's yacht rock for the new millennium.

Young Jeezy: The Inspiration (Def Jam) - Timbaland, Ludacris, T.I. and Three 6 Mafia make appearances. The New York Times didn't like it, but Pitchfork did. I haven't heard it.

Wednesday Night Music Options - 12/13/06

Anybody go to the KROQ Acoustic Christmas (I turned down free tix on Saturday, but nobody offered on Sunday), Beck at the Echo (too busy with other stuff) or Jet at Spaceland (not a fan of their music, but I heard Slash & Chris Robinson played before them and then jammed with them). I missed it all......
Tonight's Pick:
Benefit for The Tunahaki Foundation with Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs @ the Roxy ($18) – Not sure if Matthew and Susanna Hoffs are doing the covers thing or if they’re doing their other material? Either way, they’re both talented and worth seeing. The Bangles were one of those bands that had radio hits with some of their least interesting songs. I dare you to go back and listen to their first major label album if you doubt me. They even covered Merry-Go-Round on it (and Big Star on the next record). Pick up Matthew Sweet’s greatest hits the next time you’re at the used record store. You won’t regret it.
Also Appearing:
Free Moral Agents / Ammoncontact /Nobody (resident DJ) @ Airliner 2419 N. Broadway ($5) – For the underground, jazz and funk influenced hip-hop crowd.
Mike Andrews / Chapin Sisters @ Tangier ($10) – Andrews does a lot of soundtrack work: Donnie Darko, Me You and Everyone We Know and Freaks & Geeks (get that on Netflix immediately if you haven’t seen it).
Club NME w/ Freeform Five (DJ set) @ Spaceland ($10)
Dub Club w/ Triston Palma @ the Echo ($12)
Comedians of Comedy @ Troubadour (Sold Out) - Many of my favorite standup comedians....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tuesday Music Picks - 12/12/06

Tonight's Pick:
Spank Rock @ Safari Sam’s ($15) – Vulgar party music for the indie dance crowd. Their new song poses this question to Lindsay Lohan, “Why you showing them coochie lips when you get up outta your car?” or something like that. As Borat would say, “like a gypsy’s sleeve.”
Also Appearing:
Wolfmother / Pink Mountaintops @ the Palladium (Sold Out) – There were a lot of bands in 2006 doing the Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC 1970’s arena rock thing. Wolfmother was probably the most commercial sounding and commercially successful.
Stevenson Ranch Davidians / Sparrow’s Gate @ Silverlake Lounge ($7) – The Stevenson Ranch Davidians are one of the local bands that I have every intention of seeing, but I just haven’t done it yet. Kinda of a spacey Verve-y, Spacemen 3 sound. Download “Let It All Go” If you can’t see them tonight, they’re opening for the Parson Red Heads at the Echo next Monday. I don’t know much about Sparrow’s Gate, but the Rock Insider is a big fan and she’s organizing a carpool from their first show tonight to their second show tonight (at the Scene).
Lemon Sun / Low vs. Diamond / Satisfaction @ the Echo ($5)
Comedians of Comedy @ Troubadour (Sold Out) - Several of my favorite standup comics working today. Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Zach Galifianakis, Brian Posehn, Maria Bamford, H. Jon Benjamin, Eugene Mirman, Bob Odenkirk, Doug Benson, Morgan Murphy, Blaine Capatch, & special guests.
Sparrow’s Gate / Nik Freitas @ the Scene ($5)
The Now People @ Spaceland (?) – Here’s one for the record collector crowd. A couple of these guys play with Brian Wilson’s band.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Night Picks - Parson Red Heads

Tonight's Pick:
The Parson Redheads / The Airborne Toxic Event @ the Echo (Free) – I’m like a broken record with my praise for the Parson Red Heads. They’re one of my favorite new local bands (one of my bands to watch in 2007). I didn’t make it out to last week’s show, but I talked to a bunch of people who went and they all loved it. Apparently they had about a dozen people up onstage with them and won over a lot of new fans. Their live set is much more energetic than their EP. The Airborne Toxic Event is another interesting new local band. They rock much harder than their Myspace songs would make you think.
Other Options:
Jay Bennett @ Silverlake Lounge ($10) – He was all over my favorite Wilco record (Summerteeth) and his new solo record got some pretty good reviews. I wasn’t that into that new record, but you can’t deny his talent.
The Nightwatchman (Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine) @ Safari Sam’s ($10)
Delta Spirit / In Waves @ Spaceland (Free) – I know the Rock Insider loves these guys. Check out her blog for more info. Autopia recommends that you check out In Waves.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Top 10 List of Records from LA Bands in 2006

Feel free to chime in if you feel like I overlooked something. I’m sure I did. For one thing, I totally overlooked hip-hop and punk rock. Believe it or not, there are tons of releases I still haven't heard (Mika Miko, Year Future, J Dilla, Ferraby Lionheart, etc.)

1) The Little Ones: Sing Song EP (self-released; later reissued on Astralwerks) – One of my concert highlights of the year was the first time I saw these guys. I’m not one of the most hyperbolic bloggers around, but I was immediately smitten. I’ve been hyping these guys ever since. How about this for a year…. they recorded an incredibly fun EP in the studio with David Newton of the Mighty Lemon Drops; they played a few shows that were widely praised; they self released their EP; the played Sunset Junction; they did a Spaceland residency; they got signed to Astralwerks in the US and Heavenly in the UK; they did their first big US tour with Small Sins. What’s in store for 2007? A UK tour in support of Boy Least Likely To, followed by a headlining UK tour with Tilly & the Wall. You can catch them on Saturday night at the Echo. Fans of indie pop and new indie bands like the Fruit Bats and Spinto Band should dig it.
Download “Lovers Who Uncover” and “Cha Cha Cha” and “High On a Hill
2) Silversun Pickups: Carnavas (Dangerbird) – It was also a huge year for the Silversun Pickups. They released their debut LP on Dangerbird records. They performed on Letterman. They Impressed audiences at CMJ and SXSW. They toured with Wolfmother. They appeared as guests on MTV2’s Subterranean. What’s in store for 2007? They’re going out on a massive tour (29 dates) with Snow Patrol. The tour includes a stop at the Gibson Amphitheatre and New York dates at the theatre at Madison Square Garden. Tonight they’re doing the Live 105 radio show in San Francisco with the Shins, Raconteurs, Modest Mouse and the Killers. Then on Saturday they’re in San Diego for the FM 94/9 show with Modest Mouse and the Shins. Local folks can also catch them next Saturday (sold out) and Sunday at the Troubadour. What’s the music sound like? They’ve got fuzzy guitars, loud/quiet dynamics, big hooks, emotional choruses and are influenced by some of the best popular alternative bands of the nineties. Sure they’ve got their haters (most popular bands do), but they’re a genuine band, playing the kind of music they love and they’re playing it to an international audience. There just aren’t a lot of bands writing these kinds of anthems today as well as they do.
Download “Well Thought Out Twinkles
3) The Clean Prophets: Praise is Poison (self-released) – You probably haven’t seen these guys yet or heard much about them if you don’t live on the west coast, but I keep returning to their debut album. Several of these songs get under your skin. They’ve drawn praise from the LA Times and Amoeba Music (who featured them as one of their homegrown picks). The trio’s influences are wide, but I usually compare them to 1980’s British guitar bands like Echo & the Bunnymen and the Chameleons. The lead singer has a distinctive, evocative voice that conveys emotion well.
Download “Praise is Poison” and “Tambourine Crown” and “Crime
4) Languis: Other Desert Cities EP (Pehr) – I kept hearing great things about Languis, so I borrowed their album, The Four Walls, and listened to it. It left me a bit cold. Then I saw them live. They had great stage setup and the kinds of songs that make you want to put on headphones, close your eyes and space out for a while. I was happy when they released this EP, because it finally captured their impressive live sound. They toured a bit and scheduled an Echo residency. Right before that first show one of the founding members left. I haven’t seen them since then, so I’m not sure how it affected them.
Download “In the Fields of (Lonely Fences)”
5) Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins: Rabbit Fur Coat (Team Love) – I never considered myself a Rilo Kiley fan, but I’ve quickly become a big fan of her solo career. When I heard this record I listened to it once and threw it on the bottom of the pile. Then I saw her live and everything changed. She’s so charming and professional and so darned cute. She’s got a great band and their performance is like a throwback to the heyday of the Grand Old Opry. They look so comfortable together and it feels like a family. The family vibe makes sense – the band consists of a set of twins, two couples and Farmer Dave (who gets along with almost everybody). It put a huge smile on my face when I saw them. Their recent performance on Jimmy Kimmel further solidified my geeky fandom.
6) Let’s Go Sailing: The Chaos In Order (self-released) – Shana Levy won over a ton of new fans at her recent Spaceland residency. If you like piano-driven music from female vocalists, you’re going to love this. But even if you don’t normally like “chick music” I urge you to give this one a listen. Standout tracks are “All I Want from You Is Love” and “Icicles.” In 2007 I predict she’ll have national distribution and probably as many TV/film licenses as she cares to accept.
7) The Tyde: Three’s Co. (Rough Trade) – These seasoned veterans of the Echo Park scene released their third album this year. It’s unfortunate that the British press shows them a lot more love than the American press. I’ve heard local musicians joke that when you arrive in LA, Darren Rademaker is the guy that meets you at the bus station. To me, that’s a testament of his support of the local scene. The music’s the easy, breezy soundtrack to your beer drinking, joint smoking day at the beach.
8) Division Day: Beartrap Island (self-released) – Super nice guys and maybe the youngest band on this list? They’re passionate and work their asses off on the road which makes them exactly the kind of band that labels should be dying to work with. They’ve drawn heaps of praise from the blog world and have also been singled out by the LA Times and Amoeba as a local band worthy of your attention. The vocals make me think of Old 97’s era Rhett Miller, but I might be the only person in the world who thinks that. They’re already slotted to do the Monday night residency at Spaceland in February.
Download “Tigers” and “Tap-Tap, Click-Click” and “Colorguard” and “Hurricane”
9) Cold War Kids: Robbers and Cowards (Downtown) – The Cold War Kids are another band that had a huge breakout year. Their self-released EPs and energetic stage show impressed audiences across the country. They toured extensively and impressed audiences at SXSW and CMJ which lead to a major label deal and a growing fanbase. What’s in store for 2007? A European tour with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Elvis Perkins. They’ve gotten their share of hate, but I tend to root for bands that have a great connection with their audience. I honestly haven’t spent a lot of time with this record, but it’s one of those things that grows on me the more I hear it.
10) Watson Twins: Southern Manners (self-released) – What’s not to like? Their voices are so pretty and they sing such nice harmonies. It’s a great mellow soundtrack for your drive through Topanga Canyon. It’s great how supportive Jenny Lewis has been.

Three bands not listed above to keep your eye on in 2007:
1) The Parson Red Heads – Currently tearing it up at the Echo on Mondays in December. Their EPs don’t yet capture their live energy.
2) The Broken West – An album on Merge and a Spacleand residency
3) The Deadly Syndrome – Another band with demos that don’t capture their live energy.

Sunday Night Music Options - 12/10/06

Sunday's Pick:
400 Blows / Die Princess Die / The Pope @ the Scene (Free) – For the punk rock fans. 400 Blows and Die Princess Die are two of the GSL label’s finest.

Also Appearing:
KROQ Acoustic Christmas: Beck / Raconteurs / Gnarls Barkley / Snow Patrol / The Killers / Foo Fighters @ Gibson Amphitheatre (Sold Out) – I’d love to see the Raconteurs again. Not so crazy about seeing the rest of the bands any time soon.
Starsailor (acoustic) / Peter Walker @ Hotel Café ($15) – Singer-songwriter
Mika Miko / Some Girls @ Knitting Factory ($10) – Some Girls is a punk band on Epitaph. Mika Miko’s a local all girl punk band on Kill Rock Stars.
Public Enemy @ House of Blues ($30)
Jet @ Spaceland (Sold Out)

Saturday Night Music Options - 12/9/06

Tonight's loaded with solid lineups.

Tonight's Pick:
The Little Ones / Small Sins @ the Echo ($10) – For the indie pop fans. Later today I plan to release my top 10 list for local bands. The Little Ones are very high on that list. I wrote a lot more about them there. This is their homecoming show and the last night of their tour with Small Sins.

Also Appearing:
Beck @ the Echo - As the comments indicate - this was just announced. Looks like a pre-Little Ones show.
The Morlocks / The Superbees @ Safari Sam’s ($10) – For the garage rock / Detroit rock ‘n’ roll fans. Johnny Sleeper plays drums for the Clean Prophets now, but the Superbees is his old band. He’s back with them tonight.
Dead Meadow / Tsk Tsk / Spindrift @ Troubadour ($15) – From the Matador website: “Dead Meadow play an unusual blend of flawless Hendrix/Sabbath riffage, dreamy psych, heavy undulating rhythms, dirty blues-rock, and environmental jams, with eerie high-pitched vocals.” Download “At Her Open Doors
Pink Mountaintops / Menomena / 31 Knots @ Spaceland ($10) – This is a solid indie rock lineup. Pink Mountaintops is Stephen McBean from Black Mountain. This is his more trippy, Skip Spence type of material. Download “New Drug Queens” Menomena have a new album coming out in January on Barsuk. Bloggers are giving them some love. Download “Wet and Rusting” 31 Knots just put out a record on Polyvinyl. Download “Chain Reaction
Matt & Kim @ 1269 E. 6th Street ($3 donation) – Looks like DJ Franki Chan (formerly of Cinespace Tuesdays, currently of Safari Sam’s Tuesdays) has started a record label. This is his first signee.
Damien Rice @ Orpheum (Sold Out)
Aimee Mann @ Avalon ($35)
Sandy West Memorial @ Knitting Factory ($15) – With a Runaways set.
Mere Mortals @ Sea Level 4:00 PM (Free) - Brit pop inspired local band.

Tonight's Live Music Options - Friday 12/8/06

Tonight's Pick:
Akron/Family @ the Echo ($12) – For the freak folk fans. Here’s what Michael Gira of the Swans said: “the music veered from gentle American country folk to unabashed electronic noise to gathering and erupting crescendos, to extended skronk improvisations that then suddenly cut to an LSD version of a backwoods barbershop quartet or a Louvin Brothers spiritual – sometimes all within the course of one ridiculously long “song” Download “Gone Beyond
Other Options:
The Aquabats @ El Rey (Sold Out)– Pop ska band for people who embrace their nerdiness.
Hot One / Feather @ Spaceland – Hot One features Nathan Larson who was the backup singer and one of the songwriters in Shudder to Think. Feather is Jonny Polonsky’s new band.
Jana Hunter @ Hotel Café – Slightly less freaky folk.
HDR @ Safari Sam’s ($5) – Heavy rock ‘n’ roll.
Damien Rice @ Orpheum (Sold Out) – Sensitive singer-songwriter

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Annuals Review - Thursday Night Music Options

There’s a fairly lengthy article about Silver Lake in the LA Weekly this week. The writer can’t seem to help himself, and gets really condescending at times. We get it; you’ve seen it all before. Plus it’s set in the distant past…so much has happened since August. Did it really take four months to put that article together?

Sorry folks. They’re not all winners. I took my own advice and went to Spaceland last night for the Annuals/Jim Noir/Tralala show. Let me start by saying that I still had a really good time at the show. When I arrived there was a nice line around the corner, because the Annuals were going on first. How’d people know? I assumed they’d go on later. Anyway, as I watched them I experienced the same feeling I got when I listened to the record. I got a little into it, then thought it was pretty average and then I just got sick of it. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a jaded music fan (I’ve seen it all before). I’ve seen thousands of bands live and owned thousands of records (I’ve seen it all before). I’ve probably heard at least 200-300 records that came out this year alone (I’ve seen it all before). Anyway, they’re just young kids who seem to be weaned on equal parts emo, Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene. I don’t want to discount them completely, but for a jaded music fan there’s just not a whole lot there. And the newest indie rock cliché is for multiple members of the band to grab drumsticks and play percussion to the last song. The Arcade Fire might be the ones to blame for this one, but in the past few months I’ve seen many bands do it (the Little Ones, Birdmonster and Annuals come to mind, but I’m sure there have been more). Jim Noir was next. The downstairs was still packed with a smattering of record collector types towards the front. He takes the stage and….has absolutely no stage presence. He strikes me as an introverted guy that writes nice songs, but is probably scared to be in the public eye. He finally warmed up a little for the last few songs, but it was a little too little too late. Last up was Tralala. I knew very little about them with the exception of what I’d read in the Other Music update. By the time they came on, most of the crowd had vacated. And? They were OK. They’re a male band with three female singers who don’t play instruments. The women kind of stood around and looked awkwardly at each other. You could probably form your own version of Tralala. First, buy that Phil Spector box set, then hire a drummer, guitarist and bass player and finally go down to the Cha Cha or Little Joy and recruit three hip girls without any real singing experience. I’m sure if I knew the three girls I’d like the band and go see them when they played. But as a touring band on a night when there are a bunch of other options, I wouldn’t pay to see them again.

Tonight's Pick:
The Faint / Ladytron / Ratatat @ Hollywood Palladium (Sold Out) – This show should appeal to the post-whatever, dancey-indie crowd. As such, one of the local tastemakers in that scene, Steve Aoki will be DJ’ing. I haven’t been there in a while; does the Palladium still have the worst sound in town? The Faint were a little ahead of the curve on that scene and they’re from Nebraska. Ladytron makes yet another local appearance. They’ve been hear a lot lately. Ratatat are the newcomers.
Also Appearing:
Lily Allen @ Avalon (Sold Out) - In the past I said that she's overrated. But my lady put her in the proper context when she said the Lily Allen record reminded her of Sporty Spice's first solo record.
Amy Millan (of Stars) @ Troubadour ($14) – Indie fans. She’s part of that Arts & Crafts scene from Canada (Broken Social Scene’s label).
Brant Bjork @ Safari Sam's ($12) - Rock 'n' Roll fans. He was in Kyuss and Fu Manchu.
Very Be Careful / Restaurant @ Pershing Square – 532 South Olive Street (Free) – Do some ice skating.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Local Scene Update

Apparently Micah Calabrese left Giant Drag. That leaves just Annie in the band.

Cold War Kids are crisscrossing the country by themselves and then touring Europe with Elvis Perkins and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

12-10 Seattle, WA – Neumo’s KEXP Benefit (w/ Ted Leo and Junior Boys)
12-16 Costa Mesa, CA – The Detroit Bar
01-10 New York, NY – Piano’s
01-12 Silver Lake, CA – Silverlake Lounge
01-17 New York, NY – Union Hall
01-19 Silver Lake, CA – Silverlake Lounge
01-24 New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
01-26 Silver Lake, CA - Spaceland
02-02 Manchester, England - Academy 02-03 Glasgow, Scotland - Barrowlands 02-04 Birmingham, England - Academy 02-06 Cologne, Germany - Gebaeude 9 02-07 Brussels, Belgium - AB Club 02-08 Amsterdam, the Netherlands - Paradiso 02-09 Berlin, Germany - Postbanhof 02-11 Hamburg, Germany - Knust 02-12 Paris, France - La Cigalle 02-13 London, England - Shepherds Bush Empire

The Little Ones have a blog (HERE). They’re going on tour in Europe too.

12-07 San Diego, CA - House of Blues (w/ Small Sins) 12-09 Los Angeles, CA - Echo (w/ Small Sins) 12-21 Newport Beach, CA - Orange Country Museum of Art 01-15 Norwich, England - Arts Centre (w/ Boy Least Likely To) 01-16 Brighton, England - Komedia (w/ Boy Least Likely To)01-17 Bristol, England - Academy 2 (w/ Boy Least Likely To) 01-18 Nottingham, England - Rescue Rooms (w/ Boy Least Likely To) 01-19 Glasgow, Scotland - Oran Mor (w/ Boy Least Likely To) 01-20 Aberdeen, Scotland - Moshulu (w/ Boy Least Likely To) 01-21 Newcastle, England - Academy 2 (w/ Boy Least Likely To) 01-22 Manchester, England - Academy 3 (w/ Boy Least Likely To) 01-23 Birmingham, England - Barfly (w/ Boy Least Likely To) 01-24 Portsmouth, England - Wedgewood Rooms (w/ Boy Least Likely To) 01-25 London, England - Scala (w/ Boy Least Likely To)

And there are a bunch of headlining tour dates in the UK HERE.

Earlimart started a blog. Check it out HERE.

Merge Records has a blog. They've got a picture of Senon's new baby (Radar Bros., Dengue Fever).

Sunset Rubdown and Xiu Xiu announced a show at the Troubadour (4/24). Low announced two shows at the Troubadour (6/22 & 6/23).

The Submarines are doing the Monday night residency at the Echo in January. Pity Party are doing the Monday night residency at the Silverlake Lounge in January. As I previously announced, The Broken West are doing the Monday night residency at Spaceland in January.

Go See Annuals Tonight - Wednesday 12/6/06

Annuals Perform at Spaceland Tonight

Tonight's Pick:
Annuals / Jim Noir / Tralala @ Spaceland ($8) – Annuals are a group of kids in their early 20s from North Carolina. Their new album had a ton of hype before it even hit the streets. Does it live up to the hype? Like most records – yes and no. When you hear the first song you might think about Arcade Fire. Then you might start thinking about Broken Social Scene. Then you might start thinking, where’d that metal guitar lick come from? Then you might start thinking that it’s all just a little too emo for you. Either way, they’ve written a handful of good songs and the clips I’ve seen on Youtube of their live performances show that they’re energetic. I’m curious enough, so I’ll definitely be there. Download Annuals’ “Brother” Jim Noir’s a talented young singer-songwriter who recently released a record on Barsuk. Parts of the record have the great 1970’s pop singer-songwriter sound that I love. One of his songs was featured prominently in an Adidas ad during the World Cup (which made me hate him before I had a chance to hear his other material). I don’t love everything on his record, but again, I’m intrigued enough by the songs I do like to want to see him live. Download “Key of C” Don’t know too much about Tralala except they apparently work at Other Music in New York. Here’s what the Other Music newsletter had to say about them: “….Tralala's infectious, punky, '60s girl-pop influenced sound, however, their sophomore album finds the seven-piece turning the energy up a couple of notches.” Listen to a clip from “We’re Coming Out

Also Performing:
Monsters Are Waiting / Low vs. Diamond / The Deadly Syndrome @ Safari Sam’s ($10 dos) – I’ve seen all three of these bands recently. The Deadly Syndrome are a young band with a lot of promise. I really liked their recent set at Spaceland. They’re along the same lines at Tapes ’n’ Tapes or Oh No! Oh My! but better. Low vs. Diamond are getting some good buzz too. They opened for Voxtrot at the Troubadour. Monsters Are Waiting recently did the Monday night residency at Spaceland.
Mike Stinson / I See Hawks in LA @ the Scene ($5) – For the honky tonk fans. Stinson’s my favorite local country singer.
Daedelus / Flying Lotus / Resident DJ: Nobody @ Airliner 2419 N. Broadway ($5) - For the underground hip-hop fans.
Softlightes / New Young Pony Club @ Stone Bar – 5221 Hollywood Blvd. ($8) – I’ve driven by the Stone Bar at least 500 times and always wondered what it was like inside. This is a Modular records party. I got the Softlighes new EP in the mail and it’s not too bad. Almost danceable indie pop.
The Colour / Delta Spirit @ Troubadour ($10) – The Colour will be doing a Thursday night residency at Spaceland in January and Delta Spirit is currently doing the Monday night residency.
Primus / Gogol Bordello @ the Palladium ($35) – Who are the people willing to pay $35 to see Primus in the year 2006? A lot of people love Gogol Bordello’s crazy gypsy music.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New Release Tuesday - 12/5/06 (and Sufjan and Neil)

Not one of the most inspiring weeks in recent memory. I did finally pick up a couple of recent releases that are worth checking out.

Sufjan Stevens: Songs for Christmas (Asthmatic Kitty) – I gotta hand it to the guy. In a day and age when so many people download (both legally and illegally) their music, and even major labels recognize that the CD is a dying format, Stevens made a CD package that is well worth owning. The packaging for this thing is great - five individually sleeved CDs with stickers, singalong books and great artwork all for $20. I’d still rather have this thing on vinyl, but since that’s not an option I’m happy with the purchase. Of course if the music wasn’t so much fun the packaging wouldn’t matter. He does covers (both jovial and serious, novelty and spiritual), instrumentals and originals. You won’t want to hear a lot of this stuff after January 1st, but you’ll definitely return to it next December. Believe it or not, you’ll return to some of the original songs throughout the year (I’m thinking about the new songs that use Christmas as a setting or state of mind). Download “That Was the Worst Christmas Ever” (a fun one) and “Sister Winter” (an emotional one) Letter Grade: A

Neil Young: Live at the Fillmore East (Reprise) – This one’s a bit disappointing based on value. Six songs, a running time of 42 minutes and an MSRP of $18.98. Come on Reprise. That’s outrageous. All of these performances are well worth having, but that price makes it hard to justify. Fans definitely need to hear this version of “Wonderin’” (it wasn’t released, and in a much different form, until his 1983 rockabilly record). Another big highlight is the late Danny Whitten’s performance of, “Come on Baby Let’s go Downtown.” The live version of “Winterlong” is good too (the Pixies love to cover that one). There are also two extended, classic Crazy Horse jams: “Down By the River” and “Cowgirl in the Sand.” For people who don’t mind downloading bootlegs, the Aquarium Drunkard has some classic Young performances available for download. Letter Grade: B (it would probably be an A- if it wasn’t $19)

Top Five New Releases

Artichoke: Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols (self-released) – The local band does their non-punk tribute to the Sex Pistols only studio record. Stream samples HERE
Eminem: Eminem Presents the Re-Up (Shady Records) – Eminem wants to turn you on to a bunch of artists and then sell you their albums.
I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness: S/T EP (Secretly Canadian) – The Austin band’s debut EP is re-issued. Britt Daniel of Spoon produced it. Todd from Sea Level highly recommends it. Download “When You Go Out
Gwen Stefani: The Sweet Escape (Interscope) – Her last one sold 3.8M units.
Various Artists: The OC Mix 6 – Covering Our Tracks (Warner Bros.) – Pitchfork panned this thing today. I like a few of the bands doing the songs and a few being covered but it still seems like a bad idea. The ones I feel I should hear are: Rogue Wave doing the Pixies, Pinback doing Black Flag and Band of Horses doing the New Year.

Tuesday's Live Pick = Gob Iron

Jay Farrar Plays the Troubadour Tonight

Another good night for all types of music.....
Tonight's Pick:
Gob Iron (Jay Farrar & Anders Parker) @ Troubadour ($17) – For the twang fans. Believe it or not, I was never a huge alt-country fan. I like some Uncle Tupelo and Wilco’s AM (their only real alt-country album) is pretty good. Over the years I’ve grown to appreciate the genre a bit more. Jay Farrar was in Uncle Tupelo with Jeff Tweedy and later went on to form Son Volt. Gob Iron is his collaboration with Anders Parker of Varnaline. I owned the first Varnaline album because when I moved to LA in 1996 you couldn’t dig through a dollar CD bin without seeing it. Anyway, this Gob Iron collaboration is pretty good. As the All Music Guide points out in its review, the album is reminiscent of (but not quite as good as) Uncle Tupelo’s March 16-20 album. Traditional folk (think Harry Smith, not Joni Mitchell) songs with the two singers trading off lead vocal duties. I wouldn’t quite put Anders Parker in the same company as Tweedy, but he does an admirable job. The Farrar songs are well worth seeking out if you’re a fan. There are only 10 fully fleshed out tunes, with nine instrumental interludes. Tonight, my understanding is that each of these guys will do a solo set and then they’ll get together and perform the Gob Iron material.
Also Appearing:
The Cops / Dead Ponies @ the Scene ($5) – For the rock ‘n’ roll fans. Download the Cops’ “Negative Cutting” I heard the Dead Ponies put on a great show at Spaceland a couple of weeks ago.
Jim Noir / Tralala / What Made Milwaukee Famous @ Safari Sam’s ($5 with RSVP) – A solid night of music for the indie fans. I’d recommend this if I wasn’t planning to see Jim Noir and Tralala on Wednesday at Spaceland along with Annuals. Download Jim Noir’s “Key of C” Download What Made Milwaukee Famous’ “Idecide” Download Tralala’s “Motorcycle Man
The High Violets @ Silverlake Lounge ($7) – For the shoegazer fans. Download “Love Is Blinding
Death Cab for Cutie / Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins @ Bren Events Center (Sold Out)
Roger O’Donnell (of the Cure) / DJ Jimmy Tamborello @ Spaceland ($8) – O’Donnell joined the Cure around Disintegration and now has a solo career.
Lemon Sun @ the Echo ($5) – They’re performing at the Echo every Tuesday in December.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Monday Night Music Options 12/4/06

The Parson Red Heads Have the Monday Night Residency This Month at the Echo

You guys catch the Silversun Pickups on Letterman? You can watch it here (until it gets taken down). Maybe a little nervous at first, but they warmed up and ultimately gave a strong performance. In the wrap up after their performance Paul and Dave lavished them with praise. Paul said something like "I haven't heard anything like that in a while. I'd love to hear what else they can do. They were terrific." And Dave said something complimentary for Dave like, "How 'bout that huh? That's all you can hope for really."

Tonight's Pick:

The Parson Red Heads / Black Pine / The Faraway Places / Nico Stai @ the Echo (Free) – As I’ve said many times, The Parson Red Heads are one of my favorite new local bands. They’re influenced by bands like the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young without being hokey about it. Nice harmonies and janglely guitars. Read Jeff Weiss’ top five reasons to like the Parson Red Heads.

Also Appearing:

The Delta Spirit / What Made Milwaukee Famous @ Spaceland (Free) – The Delta Spirit is a San Diego band. They’re doing the Monday night residency at Spaceland in December and also playing the Troubadour on Wednesday. I hear a little slide guitar, but don’t know much about them. What Made Milwaukee Famous is an Austin indie-pop band that records for Barsuk (Death Cab for Cutie’s old label). Download “Sweet Lady
Death Cab For Cutie / Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins @ Terrace Theatre in Long Beach ($32) – Tickets available if you want to drive down to the LB. Did you guys catch Jenny Lewis on the Jimmy Kimmel show? The band looked and sounded great. Jenny Lewis is so professional. She’s definitely from the Dolly Parton / Loretta Lynn school of charm. And it’s always good to see Farmer Dave on national television. You can watch it HERE (until it gets taken down).
Pearls and Brass @ the Scene – Heavy, sludge rock from Philly. Download “No Stone
Pit Er Pat @ the Smell ($5) – I just saw these guys at Spaceland on the 21st. They’ve got a little bit of a Blonde Redhead, mixed with Chicago post-rock vibe. Download “Solstice
Fishtank Ensemble @ Knitting Factory ($7) – Gypsy music.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Make it an Echo Park Sunday

Go See:
Artichoke @ Sea Level 4:00PM (Free) – These guys are a fun band that don’t necessarily fit in with a lot of other LA bands. Their last album was an alphabetical tribute to scientists. But on Sunday they’re celebrating the release of their new album, a tribute to Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. You can stream a couple of songs at their site.
then get some food at Masa or Rodeo, maybe a drink at Little Joy or Short Stop
Smiths/Morrissey Night @ the Echo (free before 11PM / $5 after) – The Tyde, Lavender Diamond, Winter Flowers do Morrissey and Smiths covers. Make sure you congratulate Lavender Diamond on signing with Matador in the U.S. and Rough Trade throughout the rest of the world. Impressive….yet another LA band poised to breakout on the national level.

Saturday Music Picks 12/1/06

Saturday's Pick:
Jonathan Richman @ Safari Sam’s ($15) – A cult legend. Eccentric and entertaining - every once in a while I get a strong urge to hear that first album.
Also appearing:
Sea Wolf / Patrick Park / Ferraby Lionheart / What Made Milwaukee Famous @ Troubadour ($10) – If you like to singer-songwriters, then you should check this out. Here are three of our best local singer-songwriters on one bill. Sea Wolf is Alex Church’s (bass player/sometimes singer from Irving) other band. He seems to keep his more serious songs for Sea Wolf. He’s usually got a really good backing band too. Download “You’re a Wolf” Patrick Park probably has a great album in him. His first album didn’t quite convey his talent like it could have. He’s a very good acoustic, finger picker and can belt out the tunes. Ferraby Lionheart’s getting a lot of rave reviews and turned some heads at CMJ this year. What Made Milwaukee Famous is beer? They’re playing a free show at Spaceland on Monday and a cheap show at Safari Sam’s on Tuesday.
Wanda Jackson @ the Mint ($25) – The first lady of rock’n’roll. She had a special relationship with Elvis and did some great early rockabilly stuff.
Goblin Cock / David Vandervelde @ Spaceland ($10) – I like Rob Crow from Pinback, but this ironic metal band is not my favorite project from him. Download “Stumped” David Vandervelde is a poppy singer-songwriter on Secretly Canadian. Download “Jacket
Sasquatch / Hot For Chocolate @ the Scene ($5) – For some real rock’n’roll.
Honeycut @ Knitting Factory ($10) – He’s on DJ Shadow’s label.
The Dears @ El Rey ($18) From All Music: “…band's dramatic Queen-meets-the-Smiths aesthetic…”
The Sounds / Shiny Toy Guns @ Wiltern ($20) – For the party crowd. They get compared to Missing Persons and I guess that’s fair. I never could make it all the way through the CD they sent me – not that it’s bad, just not my thing.