Thursday, May 31, 2007

Save the Date - Sea Level Records Going Away Party 6/22

Unfortunately, the rumours that Sea Level Records in Echo Park is going out of business at the end of June are true. For more than five years, Todd and Sea Level have served a valuable niche and been huge supporters of the local music scene. I've been turned on to a lot of great bands through the store, met a lot of great friends (including my girlfriend) and wasted countless hours browsing the shelves. Sea Level will be sorely missed.
Sea Level and You Set the Scene already had plans to co-present a show at Safari Sam's on June 22nd (it was never meant to be the going away party). Big thanks to Sea Level Sylvia for organizing the whole thing. She got a couple of great local bands that are part of the Sea Level community (Aaron from the Switch and Seb from Division Day have even spent time working there). Sylvia and Todd will be DJ'ing along with Nikki from Silversun Pickups, Kevin Bronson from LA Times/Buzz Bands and Magic Marcos from the Movies. So come out on Friday June 22nd and buy Todd a drink (he likes Jameson) and wish him well on future endeavors. Hopefully the mood will be festive. Enjoy some cool bands, dance to some cool DJs and have fun.
Thanks to Tony Cervone for designing the poster. When he designed it, we didn't know it was Sea Level's going away party. It's an homage to Love's great song, "Orange Skies."

Thursday Night Music Options 5/31/07

The Hold Steady Play the El Rey Tonight
Tonight's Pick:
The Hold Steady / Illinois / Blitzen Trapper @ El Rey (Sold Out) - In the past, I’ve expressed my confusion over the popularity of the Hold Steady. So I decided I’d give their much praised live show a chance. Are they this decade’s Grifters (a talented bar band that music snobs rally around to show that they’re not really music snobs, but then has their CDs relegated to the dollar bin two years later) or are they a band that people will still remember ten years from now? After tonight I hope to have the answer. Download “Your Little Hoodrat Friend
Also Appearing:
The Black Pine / Xu Xu Fang / The Pity Party @ the Echo (Free) – It’s a solid local lineup and it’s free. Can’t go wrong with that.
Electrelane / Tender Forever @ Troubadour ($15) – I missed Electrelane at the Greek. I heard they weren’t bad.
Women and Children @ Silverlake Lounge ($8)
East West Quintet / Ninja Academy / PB&J….and G / Super Robot @ Land (in Little Toyko)
HR of Bad Brains @ Viper Room ($15) – I still remember when he got thrown in the tank in Lawrence, KS for a while.
Petra Covich @ Spaceland – For the KCRW/Aimee Mann fans. Download “Summer Trees” and “Telephone

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wednesday Night Music Options 5/30/07

BrakesBrakesBrakes Play Spaceland Tonight
The Arcade Fire put on a great show last night at the Greek. I strongly encourage you to see them. They played a lot of off their new album, but really got the strongest response from the stuff off Funeral. I like to poke a bit of fun at Win Butler but only because he's such an earnest Canadian. They sounded great, and have an amazing ability to connect with their audience (whether it's at Spaceland, the Troubadour, Coachella or the Greek). It was the kind of show that makes up for seeing so many mediocre bands and reinvigorates you to see a lot of live music again.
Tonight's Pick (if you're not going to Arcade Fire of course):
Club NME: Brakesbrakesbrakes / Pela / Electric Soft Parade @ Spaceland ($10) – Brakes are an indie band from Brighton, England. They’ve got British attitude and have covered Johnny Cash and Jesus & Mary Chain. Electric Soft Parade is also from Brighton. They’re a bit more straight ahead Brit-pop. Pela is an indie rock band from Brooklyn. I just searched my email and I’ve gotten 56 emails from publicists that mention Pela, 21 emails that mention Brakesbrakesbrakes and 13 emails that mention Electric Soft Parade. I get a lot of emails, but that’s still kind of a lot. Download Pela’s “Lost to the Lonesome” and Download Electric Soft Parade’s “If That’s the Case, Then I Don’t Know
Also Appearing:
Arcade Fire / Electrelane @ Greek Theatre (Sold Out) – Tickets from scalpers probably aren't too expensive. The show sold out pretty late.
Loney, Dear / Great Northern @ Troubadour ($12) – Loney, Dear’s a Swedish singer-songwriter on the Sub Pop label. He comes off a bit too twee for me, but his US debut is good enough that I’ll keep my eye out for future releases. LA’s own Great Northern are working the West Coast with Loney, Dear. They’ve got a new album out on Eenie Meenie and rave reviews from Little Radio, Radio Free Silver Lake and Rock Insider. High praise indeed.
Low End Theory Club: Pigeon John / Lymbyc System / Unreleased Beat Invitational #2 @ Airliner ($5) – Last week got canceled, next week they’re moving it to Little Temple on Tuesday nights.
Mary Timony @ the Echo ($10) – Former lead singer of Helium. She’s got a new album on Kill Rock Stars.
Matt & Kim @ the Smell ($5) – Ultra-manic, cutesy indie couple. They’re fun live if you’re into that sorta thing.
Bed @ the Derby

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

10th Anniversary of Jeff Buckley's Death

Since I'm an admirer more than a fan, I figured I'd have a guest review the new Jeff Buckley compilation. As you'll see, Sylvia wasn't too happy with it. Buckley's label is no different than the others. I've seen the same thing done with Tupac (perhaps most blatantly), the Sex Pistols and so many others. At least these releases bring awareness and generate discourse for artists that deserve your attention. So many vocalists today are compared to Buckley, but very few have the range. With such a powerful voice, it's all the more tragic he wasn't able to leave behind a broader legacy. Some of the arrangements on his recordings feel very much like the product of the time they were released. I would have loved to hear some more timeless arrangements.

Sylvia's Reveiw:

Today is the 10 year anniversary of Jeff Buckley’s passing.

Today is also the day Mary Guibert and his record label decided to release So Real, a “greatest hits” collection from the late singer. Actually Jeff Buckley had no hits and just a handful of recordings he himself released. Still, that has not stopped mom and label from releasing several efforts in the last 10 years. One could argue that Jeff Buckley was not entirely happy with many of the recordings that have been released after his death, and would have preferred that they never be released (see Sketches For My Sweetheart the Drunk). One could also argue that many of the tracks released since his untimely death merely detract from his legacy. So Real is no exception, giving us alternate and live recordings of tracks that would be more fun to own if your best friend found them on the internet and burned a disc for you. For true Buckley fans, finding a Smiths cover on a fan site is far more rewarding than having to buy a CD with the same Grace and Sin-e songs yet again.

As a pretty serious Jeff Buckley fan, it is hard for me not to recommend anything associated with him; but as a collector, this record is waste of time and money. In fact, I feel a bit insulted that the label is trying to pawn off this useless product on unsuspecting fans who deserve much better. If you don’t own Grace, Live at Sin-e, Mystery White Boy, Sketches (For My Sweetheart the Drunk), Maximum Jeff Buckley, Live From The Bataclan and so on and so on, then this record is not right for you. If you do own any those records, you will be pretty disappointed. Shame on the label for placing a man unable to defend himself in this no win situation.

If you find yourself headed to the record store and gravitating toward the Jeff Buckley bin card, look for and buy Grace or Mystery White Boy. I assure you that this is all the Jeff Buckley you will ever need and it will keep you happy for a lifetime.

Gram Parsons Petition

You all know I'm a huge Gram Parsons fan. I just got this petition to induct him in the Country Music Hall of Fame. It's a nice gesture.....

Tonight's Music Options - Arcade Fire or Voxtrot?

Arcade Fire Play the Greek Tonight & Tomorrow
Tonight's Pick:
Arcade Fire / Electrelane @ Greek Theatre (Sold Out) – Lyrically, the new Arcade Fire album is very much the product/work of someone in their mid-twenties. At its worse, it’s the musical equivalent of Zach Braff’s Garden State (albeit far less self-absorbed). That said, I still think its one of the best albums of the year. Win Butler’s ambitious and interesting even for somebody no longer in their mid-twenties. The fact that he’s got a great band that puts on a high energy show means I’ll be there singing along (to myself of course). Also appearing tomorrow.
Also Recommended:
Voxtrot / Au Revoir Simone / Sound Team @ El Rey ($15) – The new Voxtrot album’s better than you’ve read. In fact I’m enjoying it as I write this. If I wasn’t going to Arcade Fire, I’d be there. Download “Kid Gloves” and “The Start of Something
The Amateurs / The Parson Red Heads / Merle Jagger / Light FM @ the Scene – Solid local lineup. This is the Amateurs CD release party. Does a week go by without a Parson Red Heads show?
I Know less about these:
Tribute to Jeff Buckley @ Room 5 [143 North La Brea] ($10)
Sam’s Birthday: HDR / The Binges @ Safari Sam’s (Free) – The owner’s birthday celebration.
Lay Low @ Silverlake Lounge ($8) – They came all the way from Iceland.
Holly Ramos @ Hotel Cafe - The LA Weekly Recommends.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

New Release Tuesday 5/22/07

Wilco sold about 75,000 records last week for their highest debut ever (#4 on the charts). Pretty amazing given that the album leaked super early and most everybody I know had a pirated copy well. I bought the double gatefold vinyl version.

Top Five Most Interesting Releases:

Battles: Mirrored (Warp) – After reading all the praise for this album, I slapped it on the turntable expecting to love it. I was a big math rock fan in college (Battles features a member of Don Cabellero and Helmet), and tend to like guitar music with weird time changes. In my after work chillout mode, I found this album to be headache inducing and annoying. I've heard it works a little better on late night road trips. Go to their Myspace page to stream the album in its entirety. Live at the Troubadour on 6/30. It’s got an 88 at Metacritic. My Letter Grade: C+

The Beach Boys: The Warmth of the Sun (Capitol) - Themes of summer, surfing and the beach will always be associated with the Beach Boys. This release follows in the 33 year old history of compilations that attempt to capitalize on the commercial benefits of associating their music with those themes. While many of the earlier compilations focused solely on the earlier, good time tunes, this release digs deeper into the catalog. The first half of the album contains the good time early Mike Love/Brian Wilson songs: "All Summer Long" and "409" to name a couple. By the late 1960s, society had changed and the guys had all gone through a lot. The songs weren't nearly as carefree as those early Wilson/Love compositions. The ocean came to represent something entirely different to Brian. Songs like "Feel Flows," "'Til I Die," and "Surf's Up" convey that change in outlook. Dennis's excellent "Forever" is another highlight on the disc. Interestingly, the compilation completely ignores Pet Sounds, which is best listened to on its own anyway. In the age of CD burners and iTunes, artist compilations aren't the commercial sellers they once were. This one does a good job of exploring the Beach Boys entire career. It serves as a great introduction and overview of their career. Most of the early choices haven't been exploited too much, and they cherry picked a lot of the great later tracks. Some of these tracks are presented in stereo instead of the original mono.

Hot Chip: DJ Kicks (K7) – Genre jumping mix CD features a few things we all know and like (Joe Jackson, Tom Ze, New Order) and stuff only readers of Wire magazine know. See them live at the Fonda on 6/13.

The National: Boxer (Beggars) – Indie music bloggers can’t get enough of these guys. They love the lead singer’s mumbled lyrics and deep voice (kind of like a cross between Mark Kozelek and Leonard Cohen with a touch of Ian Curtis). The lyrics are emotional but not twee. A few standout tracks. You can stream the entire album at AOL. See them live at the Fonda on 6/26. They’ve got an 86 at Metacritic. Letter Grade: B

Voxtrot: Voxtrot (Beggars/PlayLouder) – Voxtrot’s an Austin, Texas band heavily inspired by the Smiths, Sarah Records bands and Cherry Red bands. I love their EPs and singles, so I've been eagerly anticipating their debut album. With my expectations sky high, this album’s a bit disappointing. I honestly didn't think this guy was capable of writing a song that was just OK, but there are a few on this record. It's still worth picking up for fans of their influences. Download “Kid Gloves” See them at El Rey on 5/29. They’re quite good live and have a great connection with their audience. Letter Grade: B

Other Releases:
Tim Armstrong: A Poet’s Life (Hellcat) - Solo record from the lead singer of Rancid. I suppose I could make a joke about the title, but why bother.
Meg Baird: Dear Companion (Drag City) - For the freak folk fans. The lead singer of Espers first solo record.
Ben + Vesper: All This Could Kill You (Sound Familyre) - Sufjan Stevens appears on this one as well (he's also on the National's record). Download "Honest Bluff"
The Bravery: The Sun and the Moon (Island) - Not getting such good reviews.
Jeff Buckley: So Real – Songs of Jeff Buckley (Columbia) – An introduction with some album cuts, some alt versions and some live versions including a cover of the Smiths’ “I Know It’s Over.” Hopefully I'll have a guest review later this week.
Handsome Furs: Plague Park (Sub Pop) - Melancholy duo featuring Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade. Download "What We Had" See them at the Echo on 6/17.
Ozzy Osbourne: Black Rain (Epic) - There are a lot of pictures of me from elementary school wearing Ozzy shirts.
Parts & Labor: Mapmaker (Jagjaguwar) - For fans of more experimental, noise-rock. Download "Fractured Skies"
Ulrich Schnauss: Quicksand Memory EP (Domino) - Ambient electronic.
Shapes and Sizes: Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner (Asthmatic Kitty) - Bridging the gap between noise rock and indie pop. Download "Alone/Alive" and "Head Movin'"
Stars: Do You Trust Your Friends? (Arts and Crafts) – I'm not a big fan of the remix album.
Astrid Swan: Poverina (Minty Fresh) - Follow this link to download "Good Girl"
Various Artists: Zealous Records Presents Soul Sides Vol. 2, The Covers (Velour) - Volume 1 is very good, but I haven't heard this one yet.
Wheat: Everyday I Made a Prayer for Kathy and Made a One Inch Square (Empyrean)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Weekend Music Listings

Saturday 5/26/07
Pravda: Cut Chemist / Peanut Butter Wolf / Amon Tobin @ Walt Disney Concert Hall ($30-50) - Starts late at 10:00PM. Also a 10 piece theremin orchestra. Digesting the sounds of Stalinist-era Soviet Union.
Crystal Castles @ the EchoPlex ($15) - For the indie dance crowd. Franki Chan's Check Yo Ponytail moves to the EchoPlex every other Saturday night.
Faun Fables @ Troubadour ($15)
Bedtime for Toys @ the Scene ($7)
Topanga Days – Country Fair. From 11-6PM. Gwendolyn, Merle Jagger, Spindrift, Veruca Salt perform.

Sunday 5/27/07
Part Time Punks: Tussle / Yacht @ the Echo ($5) - Strong lineup. Tussle plays non-cheesy dance rock. Yacht has gotten a lot of Pitchfork love lately.
Kip Boardman @ Tangier
Topanga Days – Mike Stinson, John Doe, Sin City All Stars, Miss Pamela Des Barres

Monday 5/28/07
Gliss @ Spaceland (Free)
Bodies of Water @ the Echo (Free)
High Society @ Silverlake Lounge (Free)
Topanga Days
The Ringers / Gray Kid / Nico Vega @ Viper Room ($10 or free with RSVP)

Friday Night Music Options 5/25/07

Bobby Conn / Hello Menno (acoustic) / Restaurant @ the Smell ($5) – Veteran Thrill Jockey recording artist. Watch Bobby Conn’s videos for "Vanitas" and "When The Money's Gone" on Myspace

Marc Ford Band @ Knitting Factory ($12) – The former guitarist in the Black Crowes.
Nous Non Plus / Pity Party @ Safari Sam’s – Faux Frenchies.
LoveLikeFire @ El Cid ($8)
Mike Stinson @ the Scene
The Mae Shi / Abe Vigoda / Anchors for Architects @ Pehr Space ($5)
The Autumns / Sugarplastic @ Spaceland ($10)
Look Daggers (featuring Ikey Owens of Mars Volta) / Todd C. Y Los Bible Boyz (Todd C. and dios) @ Troubadour ($10)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thursday Night Music Options 5/24/07

Tonight's Pick:
Division Day / The Western States Motel / The Mae Shi @ Spaceland ($8) – This is where I’ll be. Division Day play high energy, indie rock. Download “Tigers” and “Tap-Tap, Click-Click

Also Appearing:
The Clientele / Beach House @ Knitting Factory ($14) – Do you like to be rocked to sleep? If so, this is your kind of party. The Clientele make pretty albums and play really mellow shows. Last time I saw them I hit my breaking point and had to leave. Beach House got a lot of blog attention last year, drawing frequent comparisons to Mazzy Star.
Club Tribute Presents the music of the Doors @ Safari Sam’s
The Valley Arena / Wallpaper @ Silverlake Lounge ($7) – This show’s presented by the Rock Insider. Go there for some MP3s and more information.
Russian Chanson featuring DeVotchKa @ Walt Disney Concert Hall ($30-38)
The Murdocks @ Knitting Factory Front Stage
Under the Influence of Giants / Young Love @ El Rey ($15)
Hell Ya! Night @ the Echo

Sunset Junction 2007

What: Sunset Juction Street Festival
Where: Sunset Junction area of Silver Lake
When: August 18th and 19th
Why: Where else are you going to see leather boys in chaps and Mexican families commingling in the hot sun.
Who: Blonde Redhead! and lots of local bands - Autolux, Broken West, Division Day, The Movies, Parson Red Heads, Sea Wolf, Pity Party, Airborne Toxic Event, Eskimohunter

A lot of holes still, but a lot more bands listed HERE.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wednesday Night Music Options 5/23/07

Great Northern Play the Bordello Tonight
Tivo Alert: : Dr. Dog on Letterman; Albert Hammond Jr. on Craig Ferguson
Tonight's Pick:
Great Northern / Sara Lov @ Bordello ($8) – According to the Fold, this will be a "stripped down set." Here’s another chance to see Great Northern. They played a packed record release party last week at the Echo (see what Jax had to say HERE). They’ve broken locally and they’re taking their songs on the road through mid-June. It’s dreamier and more ethereal, but along the lines of Earlimart. If you want to see them play a full pedaled set, you can catch them at the Troubadour next Wednesday. Download “Home
Also Appearing:
Brother Ali @ Troubadour ($15) – Blind, albino rapper from the Midwest. Jeff Weiss has some MP3s (and a very positive review). I couldn’t quite make it through two songs.
The Monolators / 8-Bit / Castledoor / Summer Darling @ the Echo ($7)
The Watson Twins @ Largo ($25) – Benefit show.
Low End Theory: Unreleased Beat Invitational @ Airliner ($8)
The Murdocks @ Relax Bar
Club NME: Castaneda / Fiction Plane / Dead Trees @ Spaceland

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tuesday Night Music Options 5/22/07

I heard that Bolero was great last night at the Silverlake Lounge. Keep your eye out for them.

Tonight's Pick:
Let’s Independent: The Switch / Rademacher / Kind Hearts & Coronets @ Boardner’s (Free) – I’m a big fan of the Switch, and I like what I’ve heard from the other two bands. You can’t really go wrong with Joe’s (Radio Free Silver Lake) Let’s Independent nights. Boardner’s patio is also a great change of scenery from the usual east side clubs. Go HERE for videos and more information.

Also Appearing:
Mando Diao / Pop Levi @ Troubadour ($15) – As the All Music Guide says, Mando Diao is a Swedish band that mixes Brit-pop and garage rock. Pop Levi is a local singer-songwriter with a bit of a T. Rex fascination.
The Amateurs @ the Scene
Devlin and Darko (from Spank Rock) @ the Echo ($10) – For the indie dance crowd. Frankie Chan is moving his Check Yo Ponytail night to the Echo (every other Saturday night). Here’s a Tuesday night version at the Echo. Seems like somebody from Spank Rock DJs in LA every night.
Acute / Emma Burgess @ Bordello

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monday Night Music Options 5/21/07

The High Society Plays the Silverlake Lounge Tonight
Tonight's Pick:
The High Society / Bolero @ Silverlake Lounge (Free) – I picked up the High Society’s demos last week, partially because they’re on vinyl. I love when bands go to the trouble of putting their demos on vinyl. Bolero is Josh Schwartz’s new band, which has me intrigued.
Also worth checking out:
El-P @ El Rey – I like his new album of hard hitting, literate hip-hop.
Henry Clay People / You Me and Iowa @ Safari Sam’s ($7 / $3 with flyer)
Gliss / Meho Plaza / The Flesh @ Spaceland (Free)
Bodies of Water / The Parson Red Heads / Muso @ the Echo (Free)
Lo-Fi Sugar / Twilight Sleep @ Viper Room ($10)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Weekend Music Options 5/18/07- 5/20/07

Veteran Jazz-Rockers, The Sea and Cake
Once again, no time for a real post. The Sea and Cake, Mike Stinson, Pit Er Pat and Radars to the Sky and Syd Barrett tribute all look good to me.
Friday 5/18/07
Tivo Alert: Blonde Redhead on Conan; Elvis Costello on Letterman; Peter Bjorn and John on Leno
Melt Banana / Mike Watt @ Troubadour ($15) – Japanese noise rockers.
The Germs @ Safari Sam’s ($17) – The three living original members with the guy who plays Darby Crash in the film. They’re a, you had to be there, band for me.
LoveLikeFire / Eskimohunter / Mezzanine Owls @ El Cid ($8) – Solid lineup.
The Autumns / The Sugarplastic @ Spaceland ($10)
The Section Quartet / The Submarines @ the Echo ($10) – For the Morning Becomes Eclectic crowd.
The Flash Express @ the Smell ($5)

Saturday 5/19/07
The Sea and Cake / Robbers on High Street / The Zincs @ Troubadour ($15 adv / $18 dos) – The new Sea and Cake album is quite enjoyable. I picked it up on high grade vinyl and it’s great to listen to while I unpack and organize my CDs and LPs. They’re all super talented musicians and a band I’ve been listening to off and on for 13 years.
Pit er Pat / Priestbird @ the Smell ($5) – Good lineup at the Smell. Pit Er Pat is a Thrill Jockey band from Chicago (produced by the Sea and Cake’s John McEntire). Too bad they’re playing the same night as Sea and Cake all the way across town. Priestbird’s a Kemadao band that you might have known as Tarantula AD.
VH-1 Tribute to ZZ Top, Genesis, Ozzy Osbourne & Heart: The Binges @ Spaceland
Bedtime for Toys @ the Scene

Sunday 5/20/07
XBXRX @ the Smell ($6)
Mike Stinson @ the Echo (Free) – Early 5:00PM show. My favorite local country performer.
The Sea and Cake / Robbers on High Street / The Zincs @ Troubadour ($15 adv / $18 dos) – See Saturday.
Radars to the Sky / Death to Anders / Wake Up Incinerate @ the Cocaine [Little Jazz in Little Tokyo] – This is a solid lineup of local bands at club I haven’t been to yet.
Tribute to Syd Barrett @ Spaceland – With members of the Wondermints, Petra Haden. I missed the other recent tribute, but this one could be interesting. Those Wondermints guys and Petra Haden are both very talented.
Part Time Punks: Glass Candy @ the Echo ($5)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thursday Night Music Options 5/17/07

I got stuck at jury duty today. There's some good stuff going on tonight if you're inclined to go out.

Tonight's Options:
Fujiya and Miyagi @ the Echo ($15) - For the Pitchfork reading, buzz band loving crowd. These guys got great reviews the last time they played LA.

King Kong @ Spaceland - For the sophisticated (read: aging) indie rocker. I haven't heard their new album, but King Kong's old albums are a lot of fun.

The Hectors / Stevenson Ranch Davidians @ Knitting Factory ($7) -

Ben Gibbard @ Rocye Hall (Sold Out) - The Death Cab for Cutie lead singer performs a solo acoustic show.

Hearts of Palm UK @ Silverlake Lounge ($7)

Stagecoach Review May 5th

Rhett Miller of the Old 97's

For a lot more photos check out my Flickr Account ( I didn't have a photo pass, so I took all these with a standard digital camera (no detachable lens).
As you may remember, I decided at the last minute to go to the first Stagecoach festival. The country/roots music festival took place May 5th and 6th on the Polo fields in Indio (which hosted Coachella the previous weekend). Coachella’s gotten a little overblown for me. Given the crowds and frustrations I’ve had with Coachella, I went into Stagecoach a bit apprehensive.

My girlfriend and I left the Eagle Rock area around 10:20 AM Saturday (about 20 minutes later than planned). Our goal was to see the Old 97’s at 1:45 PM. We experienced absolutely zero traffic. Eerily fast. We arrived in Indio around 12:20 PM and stopped for a restroom break and small snack. As we drove towards the Polo field, we kept expecting traffic jams. Finally, when we got to the part with one lane, we hit some LA type traffic. By the time we parked and arrived at the Will Call window it was about 1:15. After some minor snafus with our tickets, we finally got in and made our way to the Palomino Stage (if there were corporate sponsors, this would be the No Depression stage).

As we approached the stage, we noticed that most of the people in the crowd were sitting in lawn chairs. We walked straight to the front and stood against the barricade. One woman complained that we were blocking her view, but since when can you set up a lawn chair at a music festival and expect to have an unobstructed view? Give me a break. When you can get front row at a big festival you’ve got to take it. There were some hardcore fans next to us who pumped their fists throughout the entire show. I was disappointed that they didn’t play anything off of Fight Songs, but they still sounded really good. Rhett had his arm swinging wildly and looked like Evan Dando with his shirt unbuttoned below his man boobs. We also had fun watching the guitar tech who had to contend with a bad cable and a broken strings. All in all, it was a nice way to start the fest.

Next up (conveniently on the same, No Depression stage) was Chris Hillman and Herb Pederson. As a founding member of the Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers, I obviously have a huge amount of respect for Hillman. He didn’t disappoint. The set was mellow and heavy on traditional songs (Hillman got his start playing the mandolin in bluegrass bands). It was great to hear “Sin City” and see Pamela Des Barres dancing in front of the stage. Thinking about Hillman and Gram Parsons sitting around writing songs made me very happy. The day was getting better. We stayed put and watched as Richie Furay took the stage. Instead of having Hillman and Pederson as his backup band (as billed), Furay had his family. Since I was never a big Poco fan, we were hoping for some Buffalo Springfield. After a few songs we headed for some shade, snacks and a drink. At Stagecoach you can walk the grounds with drinks in hand. I don’t remember being able to do that at Coachella.

We ended up running into friends, walking over to the other stages and getting some barbeque. We totally missed Raul Malo. Observations? Stagecoach is family friendly and has stages and activities specifically geared to kids. At Stagecoach, hipsters stand out like your Grandma at Cinespace on a Tuesday night. The Mane Stage should be renamed the NASCAR Stage. Some of the new country singers have songs that could easily be South Park spoofs (“I went down to the monster truck show.”) Female artists have a much larger presence at Stagecoach than KROQ’s Dong Roast. There are a lot of brown gals, but not so many brown dudes. They had a museum area with some classic Nudie suits and Manuel shirts. And to paraphrase David Yow (Scratch Acid, Jesus Lizard, Qui): there’s nothing sexier than a girl in cowboy boots.

Lucinda Williams went on the No Depression stage at 6:00PM. The weather was pleasant all day, so the Coachella fatigue had not set in. Lucinda’s a rock star, and you get the feeling that her day probably usually begins around 6:00PM. In spite of that, she sounded great. From the front row, you could tell she references her lyric book fairly regularly. It didn’t bother me because her voice is so soulful and her band is so good. Doug Pettibone could play guitar with anybody. She sang one new song about her man spraying honey all over her tummy and in her hair. She’s got so much more punk rock attitude than you.

The only real hiccup (for me) in the festival came next. Willie Nelson followed Lucinda on the No Depression stage. Obviously he’s Willie and probably should have played the main (Mane) stage. It started to get really packed…much more than at any other time during the day. I wanted to snap some photos, so I pushed up a little. I ended up behind some douchebag with some big friends. This guy was a little old and a little drunk. But he had some big friends. As Willie was up there singing “Whiskey River” and “Crazy” this guy was trying to start shit with everybody. He finally got one military looking guy to take the bait. The old dude pushed the young military dude and the military dude couldn’t believe. “I just want to watch Willie, are you serious?” “F--- Yeah I’m serious.” And then the old dudes’ friends swept in. I didn’t stick around to see what happened next. I’d seen Willie last year at the Bowl and kinda knew what I was in for. Willie’s a legend, but he tends to sleepwalk through his sets. This audience didn’t seem to respect the laid back party vibe, so I headed for the relative comforts of the VIP area.

When I lived in Austin I heard a lot about Robert Earl Keen. He’s a legend in the Texas music world. Being completely ignorant, I always wrongly assumed that he was a bit of a backwards redneck. Stagecoach set me straight. He’s the kind of guy that can write/sing a really sensitive tune and then follow it up with a barroom anthem. After witnessing his phenomenal connection with his fans, I finally see why he’s so popular. And judging by his willingness to pose for photos after his set (see the Flick photos) he seems like a super nice guy. Shame on me for writing him off before I knew more.

The final performer of the night (but not the headliner, Willie was the headliner) on the No Deprssion stage was Neko Case. I love her singing on the New Pornographers records, but I don’t have any of her studio albums. Unfortunately her bass player was absent, due to a car accident on the way to the show. I stood on stage for Neko’s performance (which is never the best place to hear, but it is a good place to see). While it wasn’t as noticeable in the audience, the sound from George Straight on the Mane stage really bled over when you’re standing the No Depression stage. It was a little distracting for Case. She joked about her Grandma wanting to get with Straight, and was in a good mood in spite of the surroundings. There were probably only about 150 people watching her, but her voice sounded great. I’ll definitely make an effort to see her next time she comes to town.

Stay tuned for a review of the second day of the fest. On paper the first day looked like the winner, the second day ended up being even better.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

New Release Tuesday 5/15/07

The Five Most Interesting New Releases:

Dungen: Tio Bitar (Kemado) – Dungen’s definitely not for everybody, but they’ve got a hardcore set of fans who don't understand why they're not huge. This album is even more drugged out and psychedelic than their last. Once again, the lyrics are all in Swedish and the jams are acid rock. There aren't melodic riffs and melodies like Sabbath (or Wolfmother) but there is some great musicianship. It’s not the kind of thing I wake up and want to listen to every day, but there's definitely a time and place for it. I'm sure a lot of dudes in Echo Park wish they could figure out how he gets those amazing retro sounds. The vinyl was delayed two weeks. For a longer review, check out Jeff Weiss’ Stylus review HERE. Letter Grade: B+
Great Northern: Trading Twilight for Daylight (Eenie Meenie) - They're a local band, on a local label. They've been playing their asses off for the past couple of years. I heard their record release party at the Echo last night was packed. They sound a little bit like a dreamier version of Earlimart. Scott at Little Radio wrote a much better review. Read it HERE. See them on May 30th at the Troubadour. Eenie Meenie released this one on vinyl, which is very cool. Download "The Middle"
Guided By Voices: Live From Austin, Texas (New West) – New West does a great job with these Austin City Limits releases. You never knew what material you were going to get when you saw GBV live (usually a lot of shit you’d never even heard, unless you were a Pollard completist), but you already know the track list for this show. It was always a lot of fun to watch Pollard do his leg kicks and drink his beer. These 30 tracks are a pretty good overview of his career. There's also a 97 minute DVD version. I have a bunch of the other ACL discs and DVDs, and the quality is always great.
Wilco: Sky Blue Sky (Nonesuch) - The music snobs want you to hate it. They're throwing around terms like "dad rock." Guess what? It sounds like Wilco. If you like Wilco, and you're open to the idea of them making a mellow, confessional, rocky relationship record then you'll like it. Since they leaked it, I've been listening to it a lot and I still haven't gotten sick of it. The vinyl version came out yesterday and it's a double LP, gatefold. If AM was their Gram Parsons record, Being There was their Rolling Stones record, Summerteeth was their Beach Boys record, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was their transition record and A Ghost Is Boring was their krautrock record, I guess this is their Neil Young record. And I'm very cool with that. My only complaint (and it's minor) is that some of the Nels Cline solos seem like a little too much for such understated songs. Letter Grade: A-
Yacht: I Believe In You. Your Magic Is Real (Marriage Records) - Long time readers probably know that with my traditional taste, this isn't my thing. This is eccentric, laptop pop for the hipster-types. The perfect soundtrack for your big shopping outting at American Apparel. Disposable music that isn't timeless in any sort of way. He's also one half of the Blow. See him at the Echo on 5/27. Download "See a Penny (Pick It Up)"

Other Noteworthy Releases:
The Exies: A Modern Way of Dealing with the Truth (Eleven Seven Music) - Local heavy band. See them at the Roxy on 6/3.
The High Strung: Get the Guests (Park the Van) - Detroit indie rockers. See them at Spaceland on 6/2.
Jeff London: The Bane of Progress (Hush) - Sad singer-songwriter.
Plants: Photosynthesis (Strange Attractors) - Portland band that lists "Colin Blundstone" as one of their influences. I'm sure it's just a typo, but you know I'll pick that shit apart. By the way, it's Elliott Smith, not Elliot Smith.
Rufus Wainwright: Release the Stars (Geffen) - His talent is pretty much undeniable, but he's just a little too melodramatic for me. I don't like showtunes either. See him at the Hollywood Bowl on 9/23. It's got a high score (78) on Metacritic.
Velella Velella: The Bay of Biscay (Hush) - Seattle band that lists Stereolab, Beck, David Axelrod and Gary Wilson as influences. Based on these Myspace songs, they don't sound too bad.

Wednesday Night Music Options 5/16/07

Patrick Wolf Appears at the Troubadour Tonight (that's a skinny dude)
Tivo Alert: Silversun Pickups on Conan; Modest Mouse on Craig Ferguson
Tonight's Pick:
Patrick Wolf / Pity Party @ Troubadour (Sold Out) – This is where all the music snobs and Pitchfork readers will be. He's an ambitious singer-songwriter from the UK who studied composition at the Trinity College Music Conservatoire.
Also Appearing:
MSTRKRFT / DJ Steve Aoki @ the Roxy (RSVP HERE) - This one's for the indie dance crowd.
Kiss or Kill: Steel @ Safari Sam’s ($5 / $3 before 10PM)
Club NME: IO Echo @ Spaceland
The Mae Shi @ the Smell ($5)
Hazelden @ the Derby ($8)
Bugs in the Dark @ Silverlake Lounge ($8)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tuesday Night Music Options 5/15/07

Great Northern's Record Release Party is Tonight at the Echo

Tivo Alert: Wilco on Letterman; Feist on Kimmel
Tonight's Pick:
Great Northern / The Movies / Twilight Sleep @ the Echo (Free) – Here’s the best bang for your buck tonight. The Silver Lake music scene will be present en masse. Great Northern’s debut full-length is out today on Eenie Meenie records. Scott at Little Radio has a good review of it HERE. Download Great Northern’s “The Middle” The Movies are one of my favorite local live bands, and always good fun. If you like interesting and unique female voices, you will really like Tracy from Twilight Sleep.
Also Worthy:
Lily Allen @ Wiltern (Sold Out)
Qui / Amateurs / Bleach03 (Japan) @ the Scene – A good chance to see Qui, if you still haven’t seen them with David Yow. Amateurs have a new record out and they’re playing every Tuesday in May.
In Waves @ Spaceland
Meat Puppets @ Troubadour ($20)
The Shakes @ Safari Sam’s (Free) – All beer is half price all night.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday Night Music Options 5/14/07

Augie March Play Spaceland Tonight
Tonight's Free Options:
The High Society / Dave Gleason @ Silverlake Lounge (Free) – The High Society’s the closest thing Echo Park ahs to a great Southern rock, boogie, bar band. You’ll recognize the members from a bunch of other bands. Dave Gleason’s a quality singer-songwriter from San Francisco.
Gliss / Augie March / @ Spaceland (Free) – Gliss continues its Monday night residency. Breathy, emotional lyrics and pretty rocking beats. Augie March is an Australian band. Pitchfork had this to say about them: “…they make literate, studied music richly adorned with unexpected turns of phrase, both lyrical and musical. That the Australian quintet has barely secured reliable distribution in North America is a minor crime-- with bands like the Decemberists and Belle & Sebastian in the ascendant, they're a natural fit.”
Bodies of Water / Kind Hearts & Coronets / Listing Ship / Frankel @ the Echo (Free) - Solid lineup of local bands .
Also Appearing:
Daedelus @ Temple Bar ($7)
RJD2 / Pigeon John @ Fonda ($20) – On his latest album, RJD2 tried to reinvent himself from an underground hip-hop dude to a more sunshiney indie pop dude. The results were not so good.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Weekend Music Options 5/12-5/13

Dinosaur Jr. Play All Weekend at the Troubadour
Saturday's Pick:
Dinosaur Jr. / Awesome Color @ Troubadour (Sold Out) – See Friday. Make sure you get there in time for Awesome Color.
Also Recommended:
Dave Gleason @ Cinema Bar in Culver City (Free) – 3:00-6:00 PM – Gleason’s playing all weekend. I’ll probably see him Monday at the Silverlake Lounge.
I don't know much about these:
Rock & Roll Adventure Kids @ Mr. T’s in Highland Park – The LA Weekly recommends
Charley Horse @ Safari Sam’s ($12 adv / $15 dos) – The LA Weekly Recommends
Bedtime for Toys / Von Iva @ the Scene

Sunday's Pick:
Dinosaur Jr. / Awesome Color @ Troubadour ($25) – This show’s not sold out. Hooray.
Also worthy:
Modest Mouse / Man Man / Love as Laughter @ Gibson Amphitheatre ($35) – This show was moved to the Gibson too. Modest Mouse featuring Johnny Marr on guitar.
Dave Gleason / Randy Weeks / The Dukes of Sunset @ the Echo (Free) – Early show 5:00 PM – The weekly country show at the Echo.
Dios (Malos) @ Alex’s Bar in Long Beach ($5) – Lucky people in Long Beach
Fairport Convention @ McCabe’s (Sold Out) – No Richard Thompson, Iain Mathews or Sandy Denny. You do get Simon Nicol and Dave Pegg.
Part Time Punks: Ariel Pink / Softboiled Eggies @ the Echo ($5) - Second Anniversary Show. The club still gets packed almost every week.

Friday Night Music Options 5/11/07

Awesome Color Play the Troubadour Tonight (But Sound Nothing Like This Looks)

Free Early Evening Entertainment:
Lavender Diamond @ Amoeba 7:00 PM (Free) – They’re a local band that’s gotten a lot of great national press lately. Matador released their debut full-length this past Tuesday.
Jimmy Tamborello DJ Set @ Amoeba 8:00 PM (Free) – You might know him better as James Figurine, Dntel or the man behind the Postal Service beats.
Dinosaur Jr. / Awesome Color @ Troubadour (Sold Out) – The new Dinosaur Jr. with the celebrated (by others) original lineup just released a new album. Thankfully it’s more like later Dinosaur Jr. and less like early Dinosaur Jr. It features lots of overdubbed guitar solos from J and a couple of good Lou Barlow songs. Last year, Awesome Color put out a terribly overlooked album. Very Sabbath meets the Stooges. Wolfmother got all the press, but these guys are a lot more interesting.
Darker My Love @ 6th Street Warehouse – You know the warehouse. Really powerful local live act.
Lovelikefire / Thailand / Buffalo Roam @ El Cid ($8) - The LA Weekly had some great things to say about San Francisco's LoveLikeFire. They say they sound like the Cranberries. They're playing El Cid every Friday in May.
Also Appearing:
Anjani @ Hotel Café – Leonard Cohen presents this singer-songwriter. Advance tix sold out, but a few will be released at the door.
Keane / Rocco DeLuca @ Gibson – Due to the fires, this show has been moved from the Greek. You must exchange your tickets at the box office at the Gibson. My friend Tony and I always say, if Coldplay rocks you a little too hard, maybe you should try Keane.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday Night Music Options 5/10/07

John Vanderslice Plays Largo Tonight

Tonight's Pick:
John Vanderslice / St. Vincent @ Largo – This should be a great show at a great venue. For Largo shows, you generally need to make a dinner reservation to get in. Tonight the dinner reservations are booked up, but you can go down and stand in line and hope to get a seat (or stand) at the bar. It’s worth a shot tonight. Download JV’s “Exodus Damage” and “Trance Manual” St. Vincent is Annie Clark who was a member of Polyphonic Spree. Gorilla vs. Bear is a huge fan. Check out the LAist’s interviews with Vanderslice and Annie Clark. Email interviews aren’t that easy to make interesting, but Tony did a good job with them.
Also Appearing:
Peachfuzz / The Rolling Blackouts / Thee Makeout Party @ the Echo ($8 / $5 with flyer) – It’s a Jim Freek / Teenacide extravaganza with the record release party for Peachfuzz.
The Shys / The Prix @ the Roxy (Free)
The Starlight Desperation @ Spaceland
photo credit: Autumn de Wilde

Top 25 Hip-Hop Albums EVER (or at least on the day I turned in the list)

Innovators or Copycats?

I’m not a hip-hop blogger, but I have spent my share of time listening to it. Jeff Weiss and Straight Bangin’ asked me to contribute my top 25 hip-hop albums for a list they compiled (you can see the results HERE). My list is honest. It has way too much Beastie Boys and absolutely no Nas, Tupac or Biggie. I didn’t vote for three of the top four and my favorite album didn’t even make the top 25. My list reflects the tastes of one guy who grew up in the 1980s in a Midwestern suburb. The number in brackets at the end each description is where the selection placed in the overall standings. I’ll be checking out some of the stuff on the list I missed out on the first time around. Out of the top 50, I’ll admit I haven’t heard the Raekwon, Organized Konfusion, Cannibal Ox or Black Moon. Shame on me.

25) beastie boys: check your head - this album was a bit bloated with filler, but there's still six or seven really good tracks. [#102 out of 383]
24) the roots: illadelph halflife - all the sampling and lack of originality made me lose interest in rap for most of the mid to late 90s. the roots musicality and live instrumentation caught my ear again. [#37]
23) dj quik: quik is the name – i’ve always been partial to west coast gangsta rap. admittedly this album is the weakest on my list and probably has no place on it. but that’s the nature of making lists. “born and raised in compton” is a great track. next time around i’d probably put biggie on here. [#283]
22) ll cool j: radio – dude was only 17 when this came out. “i can’t live without my radio” [#128]
21) slick rick: the great adventures of slick rick – i listened to the shit out of this in the late 1980s. “treat her like a prostitute” and “the ruler’s back” plus so many more. a bit misogynistic of course, but i just found it amusing. [#28]
20) eric b & rakim: paid in full - another one i got into at a very young age. Rakim is a very influential rapper. [#9]
19) ice-t: original gangster - he's not all that respected in the genre anymore, but i took him seriously back in the day. i bumped “new jack hustler” and “straight up nigga” in the celica more than I probably should have. [#173]
18) ghostface killah: fishscale – i couldn’t put all old skool shit on the list. [#56]
17) kool keith: sex style – this album is fucking hilarious. beck turned me onto it. he was pretty obsessed with it when he made midnight vultures. [#233]
16) snoop doggy dogg: doggystyle – when he’s on, snoop can be amazing. And dre’s production is fantastic. unfortunately this is the only snoop album you really need to own. “gin and juice” was a party anthem for a very long time. Anybody remember sissy bar’s version? [#17]
15) run-d.m.c: raising hell – this album (actually their third), along with licensed to ill (and maybe “rapture” by blondie) was when a lot of white, midwesterners became aware of rap. “it’s tricky” and “walk this way” are probably the key tracks. [#19]
14) a tribe called quest: midnight marauders – at first, it felt a little disappointing after low end theory. but then you end up putting it at #14 on the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. “award tour” and “sucka nigga” were a couple of favorites. [#7]
13) outkast: aquemini - this is when i first became aware of them. “rosa parks” was the big hit. that lawsuit got them a shitload of free publicity. [#11]
12) jay-z: the blueprint - yeah it's commercial, but it's still a great album. (somehow this got tabulated wrong in the poll and they say I voted for vol. 3). [#25]
11) public enemy: it takes a nation of millions to hold us back - i didn't know anything about anti-semitism when i got into this. i responded to the anger and fuck you attitude. [#6]
10) wu-tang clan: enter the wu-tang (36 chambers) – such an incredibly talented group of guys. [#2]
9) beastie boys: licensed to ill - my friend zeke brought this cassette on our road trip to south padre island in 7th grade. i resisted it at first, but eventually couldn't get enough of it. feels like a frat boy party record now, but when you're 12 this shit rules (and still does to a certain extent). [#69]
8) eazy-e: eazy-duz-it – one of my best friends moved back to kansas from LA and brought this with him. while the merits of it are arguable, we loved the braggadocio. [#125]
7) n.w.a.: straight outta compton - the same friend brought this cassette back with him. it blew our 15 year-old minds. LA seemed like a world away from Kansas, but what 15-year old can’t relate to “fuck tha police?” [#13]
6) de la soul: 3 feet high and rising – this album sounded so fresh and innovative. it’s got a lot more consistency and depth of quality than most hip-hop albums. You had to be there for a lot of the records on this list, but not this one. [#20]
5) dr. dre: the chronic - great stuff all the way through. some of snoop’s best work is on here too. [#5]
4) outkast: stankonia - this record ranked low on the overall list compared to other outkast, but while their earlier records are interesting, I prefer the amazing singles. [#51]
3) dj shadow: endtroducing - i'm not even sure if this is hip-hop but i listened to the shit out of this. crate digging madness. [#45]
2) a tribe called quest: the low end theory - what middle class college kid didn't like this? i still pull this one and it takes me back to that place and time. [#8]
1) beastie boys: paul's boutique - it still sounds fresh today. Eighteen years after its release, and i still regularly listen to it. this summer they’re doing a bunch of instrumental shows. i’d rather see them try to pull this off on stage (maybe for the 20th anniversary?). [#41]

Austin City Limits Lineup Announced

The Austin City Limits Festival just announced its lineup and it's really, really good. Great that they've invited two of my favorite LA bands, The Little Ones and The Broken West. This is only a partial lineup, for the full thing go HERE.

When: September 14-16
Where: Austin, TX
How Much: Three-day Passes = $145
Who: See Below

Bands I really like: Bob Dylan, Bjork, The White Stripes, Wilco, Arcade Fire, Muse (live anyway), My Morning Jacket, Bloc Party, Lucinda Williams, Spoon, The Decemberists, Peter Bjorn & John, Yo La Tengo, Blonde Redhead, The Little Ones, The Broken West

Bands I don't mind : Arctic Monkeys, Crowded House, , M.I.A., Ben Kweller, Amy Winehouse, Joseph Arthur, Steve Earle, Midlake

Bands I'm curious about: Andrew Bird, LCD Soundsystem, Devotchka, Ghostland Observatory, Del McCoury, The National , Asleep at the Wheel

Bands I'm not that into, but maybe you are: The Killers, Queens of the Stone Age, CYHSY, Regina Spektor, Damine Rice, Joss Stone, Kaiser Chiefs, Indigo Girls, Gotan Project, Rodrigo y Gabriela

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wednesday Night Music Options 5/9/07

Ben Weaver Performs at the Hotel Cafe Tonight
Tonight's Options:
Sage Francis @ Amoeba 7:00 PM (Free) – Celebrating the release of his new record that came out yesterday.
Low End Theory Club: Sage Francis @ Airliner – For the underground hip-hop fans. He’s one of those literate, but hardcore rappers.
Ben Weaver / Travel By Sea @ Hotel Café – Presented by the Aquarium Drunkard. He’s got some MP3s for you to download too. Weaver’s a gruff voiced singer-songwriter and in one song mentions Count Basie, John Fante and Surrealism. If you like guys like Steve Earle and Richard Buckner you’ll want to have a listen.
Autolux / Midnight Movies @ UCLA – This would be the pick, but I think it's for students only.
Joseph Arthur / Stars of Track & Field @ the Roxy ($20) – The Rock Insider presents this. The second of two nights at the Roxy.
Club NME: Mother Mother @ Spaceland – Perez Hilton’s a fan. They play manic rock (which Hilton compares to the B-52s).
Thee More Shallows @ the Echo ($7 / $5 with flyer) – An Anticon Records band from San Francisco. Download “Night at the Knight School

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals @ Troubadour ($12) – A little bit of a jam band, with a lead singer influenced by Bonnie Raitt.
Kiss or Kill: She’s Your Sister @ Safari Sam’s ($5 / $3 before 10)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

New Release Tuesday 5/8/07

Another good day for music lovers....
Five Most Interesting Releases:
Bjork: Volta (One Little Indian/Atlantic) – I tend to be more fascinated with her, than I am with listening to her recorded material. Pitchfork kinda panned it and Stylus kinda loved it. Most everybody else is in between. KCRW and Indie 103 are playing the single non-stop, but I haven’t heard the rest of the album.
Lavender Diamond: Imagine Our Love (Matador) – This is the eagerly anticipated debut full-length from LA’s Lavender Diamond. They’ve gotten a ton of great press in the past year, with their music frequently getting compared to Linda Rondstadt. Most people’s love (or hate) usually hinges on their feeling about lead singer Becky Stark’s voice and her childlike attitude. Pitchfork loved their EP, but finally realized that they’re an LA band and docked them the requisite 1.5 points. The first single sounds good to me. See them at Amoeba on 5/11 or the Troubadour on 6/16.
The Sea and Cake: Everybody (Thrill Jockey) – First album in four years from the veteran Chicago jazz-rockers. Sam Prekop, John McEntire, Archer Prewitt and Eric Claridge are back, but this time they brought in Brian Paulson to produce it. Evidently there were fewer overdubs, but it’s still pretty easy breezy. I really dig their first three albums, so I will pick up the limited edition vinyl. See them at the Troubadour on 5/19 or 5/20.
Sea Wolf: Get to the River Before it Runs Too Low (Dangerbird) – This is the debut EP from Alex Church’s Sea Wolf. You’ve seen Church around town playing bass for Irving. You can watch a video for “You’re a Wolf” over on the Dangerbird site. A couple of those Silversun Pickups dudes make an appearance in the video too.
Elliott Smith: New Moon (Kill Rock Stars) – Smith is one of the best songwriters of the past 15 years. This is a double album featuring unreleased tracks from 1994-1997. If you’re new to Smith for whatever reason, don’t start with this one; pick up Either/Or or XO. I’ve heard most of this stuff in one form or another, but I still can’t wait to get it. It’s still sad not seeing that guy around town anymore. Download “High Times
Other Noteworthy New Releases:
Keren Ann: Keren Ann (Blue Note) – See her at the Troubadour on 6/17.
The Clientele: God Save the Clientele (Merge) – On paper, I should absolutely love the Clientele. I do like them, but they can be a little precious at times. They frequently get compared to Felt and Galaxie 500. See them at the Knitting Factory 5/24
Deerhunter: Fluorescent Grey EP (Kranky)
Fields: Everything Last Winter (Black Lab/Atlantic) – I've heard good things, I do want to hear this one. Download “If You Fail, We all Fail
Great Lake Swimmers: Ongiara (Nettwerk) – See them at the Hotel Café on 6/20
Maximo Park: Our Earthly Pleasures (Warp) – Very middle of the road reviews. I didn’t like the first one, so I’ll skip this one.
Mice Parade: Mice Parade (Fat Cat)
Mystery Jets: Zoo Time (Dim Mak) – The latest from local label, Dim Mak. Download “Diamonds in the Dark” and “The Boy Who Ran Away” See them at Spaceland on 6/13 or the Troubadour on 6/14.
Page France: … and the Family Telephone (Suicide Squeeze) – Download “Hat and Rabbit
Sage Francis: Human the Death Dance (Anti-) – See him at Amoeba on 5/9 or the Airliner later that night or the Fonda on 6/15.
Mary Timony: The Shapes We Make (Kill Rock Stars) – See her at the Echo on 5/30. Download “Sharpshooter
Travis: The Boy with No Name (Sony) – Recently saw these guys at the KCRW concert. I have to admit I find them a bit boring.
Shannon Wright: Let in the Light (Quarterstick) – Download “St. Pete” and “Everybody’s Got Their Own Part to Play

Tuesday Night Music Options 5/8/07

BRMC Plays the Wiltern Tonight

Oakley Hall put on a good show at Spaceland last night. I particularly like when they rock the extended jams. Gliss was tight. If you like moody, British inspired rock 'n' roll you need to check them out during their residency.
Tonight's Pick:
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club / The Black Angels @ the Wiltern ($25) – I’ve been enjoying BRMC’s new record. They’re back to playing rock ‘n’ roll. The Black Angels were added after the Fratellis dropped off.
Also Appearing:
Midnight Movies @ Amoeba 7:00 PM (Free) – Their new record came out last week. Good chance to see them for free.
Joseph Arthur / Stars of Track & Field @ The Roxy ($20) – His new record’s a bit of a disappointment, but his catalog’s good.
Head Like a Kite @ Cinespace – Going to Cinespace on a Tuesday to actually see the band can be a bit of a headache.
Shiloe / The Monolators / Amateurs / Repeater @ the Scene ($5)
Pleaseeasaur / Abe Lincoln Story / Quazar and the Bamboozled @ Spacleand – Quazar was in the 88, but he’s been playing with the Bamboozled since long before that. This is the Abe Lincoln Story’s record release party.
Aqualung @ Fonda ($17.50)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Monday Night Residencies 5/7/07

Oakley Hall Play Spaceland Tonight
I had a great time at Stagecoach this weekend. No time for that now. I'll post a review and a bunch of photos later this week.
Tonight's Pick:
Gliss / Oakley Hall / McCarthy Trenching @ Spaceland (Free) – Gliss is doing the Monday night residency this month at Spaceland. They play dreamy, electro-y pop. I haven’t seen them in a long time, so I’m looking forward to seeing them again. Tonight they’re joined by two of the bands that have been on the road supporting Bright Eyes. Oakley Hall are a powerful, retro live band. Kind of what you wish a lot of the Echo Park hippie bands sounded like. They just signed to Merge. I don’t feel like their albums have done them justice yet. Download “Lazy Susan” and “Living in Sin in the USA” McCarthy Trenching are on Americana band from Omaha on Team Love (the label that put out Jenny Lewis’ album).
Also worth checking out:
Bodies of Water / Western States Motel @ the Echo (Free) – Bodies of Water are the local band doing this month’s Echo residency. They’re hyperactive indie rock.
The High Society @ Silverlake Lounge (Free) – All the bands doing eastside residencies this month have a different crowd, but I'll make it out to at least one of each of their shows. The High Society is Jason Moore’s jammy band. They’re a talented group of musicians who play rootsy, R&B style rock ‘n’ roll and have the ability to get people off their asses and dancing.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Local Scene Update

Associated Press has a story about kooky Becky Stark and Lavender Diamond. Their debut full length comes out May 8th on Matador. Spinner’s hosting Lavender Diamond’s new video for “Open Your Heart” That looks more like Angelino Heights than suburban LA, but it’s a pretty good video.

Mitchell Frank of Spaceland Productions was named a tastemaker to watch by LA Times West. The LA Times reports “And Seven Grand, Cedd Moses' new downtown bar, has hired Spaceland's Mitchell Frank to do its live music bookings. Guests at its private May 10 opening party will be able to sample from the bar's 125 varieties of whiskey” And here’s a lengthy piece on Steve Aoki where his old partner, Franki Chan (Check Yo Ponytail) calls him a sellout.

Silversun Pickups are playing the KROQ Weenie Roast on May 19th at the Verizon Amphitheatre. Other acts on the bill are: Linkin Park, Social Distortion, 30 Seconds to Mars, The Bravery, Peter Bjorn and John, The Killers, Interpol, Bad Religion, Tiger Army, Korn, Queens of the Stone Age, Rise Against, Tim Armstrong and Plain White T’s. Tickets go on sale on Saturday.
Cold War Kids are opening for Muse at Madison Square Garden, right after playing Lollapalooza. Silversun Pickups, Elvis Perkins and Dios and Mickey Avalon are also on that Lollapalooza lineup. Lollapalooza is August 3-5 in Chicago.

Cold War Kids, The Little Ones and Elvis Perkins will be playing the Bonnaroo Festival from June 14-17 in Manchester, Tennessee.

Silversun Pickups and Cold War Kids will be playing the Live 105 show on June 9th up in the Bay Area.

Silversun Pickups and Cold War Kids will be playing the KJEE Seaside Beach show on June 8th up in Ventura.

The Broken West is heading out on the road from late May to late June for shows with the Comas, Fountains of Wayne, The Stills and the National.

Recent Show Announcements:
The Fonda: Kaiser Chiefs / Airborne Toxic Event on 6/7; CSS / Bonde do Role on 6/10; Hot Chip on 6/13

El Rey: LCD Soundsystem on 6/10 and 6/11; The National / The Broken West on 6/26

Troubadour: Let’s Go Sailing on 6/7; The Airborne Toxic Event on 6/9; Lavender Diamond on 6/16; Subtle on 8/4; Low (rescheduled) 9/28 & 9/29

Natural History Museum: Deerhoof / Autolux on 6/1

The Echo: Shearwater on 6/19; Marnie Stern on 8/2

Spaceland: Division Day on 5/24; Unsane on 6/7; The Rosebuds on 6/16; The New Year on 6/20; The Rentals will be playing every Saturday in July; Eskimohunter will be doing the Monday night residency in July

The Roxy: Mstrkrft on 5/16; Louis XIV on 6/2; Si Se on 8/4

The Wiltern: Feist / Grizzly Bear on 6/29

Walt Disney Concert Hall: Neko Case on 11/16; Gal Costa on 11/17

Weekend Music Options 5/5/07-5/6/07

Dios Play the Jensen Rec Center in Echo Park on Saturday

Looks like I'm officially going to Stagecoach this weekend. I skipped Coachella and now this...I'm really looking forward to it. I'll try to take a bunch of pics for once, since I doubt most of you will be in attendance.
Saturday's Pick:
Stagecoach Festival: Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, Old 97’s, Chris Hillman / Herb Pederson, Richie Furay, Neko Case @ Polo Fields, Coachella ($167 for 2 day pass)
If you're not going to Stagecoach:
Dios (Malos) @ Rec Center Studios ($10 adv / $12 dos) – Spend Cinco de Mayo with your favorite local Latino indie rockers. I really like them. Download “Feels Good Being Somebody
Also Noteworthy:
Minus the Bear / Chin Up Chin Up @ EchoPlex ($16 adv / $18 dos) Download Minus the Bear’s “Pachuca Sunrise” Download Chin Up Chin Up’s “This Harness Can’t Ride Anything
Frog Eyes / Alex Delivery @ Spaceland ($8) – Music critics and indie snobs like Pitchfork and Other Music love Frog Eyes. Carey Mercer of Frog Eyes is in Swan Lake with Spencer Krug and Dan Bejar. Alex Delivery just put out an album on Jagjaguwar. Download Frog Eyes’ “Bushels” and Alex Delivery’s “Komad
Bedtime for Toys @ the Scene – They’re playing the Scene every Friday in May.

Sunday's Pick:
Stagecoach Festival: Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, Drive-By Truckers, Alejandro Escovedo, John Doe, Junior Brown, Garrison Keillor, Ricky Scaggs @ Polo Fields, Coachella ($167 for 2 day pass)
Also Noteworthy:
Ariel Pink / The Mae Shi / Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities @ El Cid ($10)
Bright Eyes / Gillian Welch / Oakley Hall @ Walt Disney Concert Hall (Sold Out) – Beautiful hall where you don’t get to see much indie rock. I’d love to see Oakley Hall there, but I guess I’ll wait for their free show at Spaceland on Monday.
Part Time Punks: Smiths/Morrissey cover night with The Prayers / Kind Hearts & Coronets ($5)

Friday Night Music Options 5/4/07

Dengue Fever Play the EchoPlex Tonight

Tivo Alert: Tom Waits on Conan
Tonight's Pick:
Silver Lake Film Fest: The Little Ones / Dengue Fever / Sea Wolf / The Bird and the Bee @ EchoPlex – You need to go check out a movie and flash your stub to get in. You can also buy day passes for $15. Very solid local lineup. The Little Ones put out my favorite local disc last year. They just got off a tour with Kaiser Chiefs and the Walkmen. They’re playing some of the monster festivals this summer (Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits) and they’ve been remixed by Stereolab and CSS. Impressive. Dengue Fever are one of the most unique local bands. They play Cambodian psych music. Tonight corresponds with the screening of “Sleepwalking Through the Mekong” in the Silver Lake Film Fest. The film chronicles their visit to Cambodia. Based on this trailer (HERE) it looks very cool. You can see it at 9:45 PM Saturday at the Los Feliz 3. Sea Wolf (ex-Irving bass player, Alex Church) have a new EP out Tuesday on Dangerbird. Go over to their Myspace and listen to “You’re a Wolf.”
Where I'll Probably Actually Be:
Tandemoro @ the Echo ($5) – An Echo Park dance party with Ryan from Division Day. I haven’t seen Tandemoro yet, but I’ve heard great things.
Also Appearing:
Cloud Cult / Anchors for Architects / Divisadero @ Knitting Factory ($8) - Cloud Cult's new album got a respectable 6.9/10 from Pitchfork and was favorably compared to Danielson and Arcade Fire.
Kinky @ El Rey (Sold Out) – Mexican dance rock
Lovelikefire / Lemon Sun @ El Cid ($8)
8-Bit @ the Scene – Crazy Highland Park party band.
The Autumns / The Sugarplastic @ Spaceland ($10) – They’re playing every Friday in May.