Friday, May 30, 2008

Happy Hollows Photos: The Echo 5/28/08

Ben Hoste took a few photos of the Happy Hollows at the Echo the other night. He's got a few more on his Flickr account.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Squirrel Bait's "Kid Dynamite"

Image from Ultra Magazine (via the Southern Records website)

Here’s my weekly reminder to tune in to Sinking with Sylvia and Todd on Little Radio Friday from Noon – 2:00 PM PST. Tomorrow they won’t have a musical guest, but funnyman Matt Dwyer will be joining them in the studio.

Each week on the show, they feature an official You Set the Scene pick, which I eventually write about here. On May 8th, my pick was Squirrel Bait’s “Kid Dynamite.” I picked Squirrel Bait that day as a tie-in to their musical guest, Bobb Bruno. Bruno spent time in bands in Louisville, KY (including the For Carnation) and you can trace a lot of those great Louisville bands back to Squirrel Bait.

If you went to college in the early to mid 1990s and got really into indie rock, then you probably, at some point, traced your favorite bands back to Squirrel Bait. They’re one of those bands whose influence extends far beyond their initial record sales. They only released one EP and one LP in the mid-80s, but the members (Peter Searcy, David Grubbs, Brian McMahan, Clark Johnson and Ben Daughtrey) went on to play with: Slint, Bitch Magnet, Bastro, Gastr del Sol, the Lemonheads, the For Carnation, King Kong, Palace Brothers and many more.

The music’s impressive given that the guys were in high school when the band formed. It’s fast, melodic, post-hardcore (Husker Du), pre-indie rock. “Kid Dynamite” is probably their best song but most were good. I never liked them as much as Slint, but I still pull out the albums every once in a while.

Stream “Kid Dynamite” on their Myspace page

Recently Announced LA Area Shows

Recently Announced Shows:

Secret Machines @ Viper Room on 6/18/08 (on sale now through the Viper Room)

Ratatat @ Echoplex on 7/12/08 (ticket sale TBD)

Jimmy Eat World @ Avalon on 7/19/08 (on sale today at 4:00 PM)

Download Festival: Brand New / Atmosphere / Brother Ali / Ghostland Observatory / Mute Math / Mates of State / RJD2 / Tapes ‘N’ Tapes / Datarock / The Duke Spirit @ Gibson Amphitheatre on 7/20/08 (KROQ presale starts Friday at 10:00 AM, regular onsale date is Saturday at 1:00 PM)

Dizzee Rascal @ Echoplex on 7/24/08 (on sale now at Ticketweb)

Lee “Scratch” Perry @ El Rey on 9/6/08 (tickets on sale now)

Built to Spill (performing Perfect From Now On) / Quasi @ Trouabour on 9/11/08 – 9/12/08 (tickets on sale Friday)

The Black Crowes / G. Love & Special Sauce / Howlin’ Rain @ Greek Theatre on 9/17/08 (pre-sale going on now, regular sale starts Saturday at 10:00 AM)

Vampire Weekend @ Wiltern on 9/17/08 (on sale today at 4:00 PM)

Hot Chip @ Wiltern on 9/21/08 – 9/22/08 (tickets on sale now)

CSS @ Mayan on 9/22/08 – 9/23/08 (tickets on sale now)

Stereolab / Monade @ the Fonda on 10/23/08 (tickets on sale now)

Madonna @ Dodger Stadium on 11/6/08 (presale for Citi Card holders / fan club members / Dodgers season ticket holders on now, regular sale starts Sunday at 10:00 AM)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tequila Review: 1800 Select Silver

Call me a sellout if you must, but somebody sent me a bottle of this tequila, so I'm going to write about it....

Like a lot of you, I enjoy a drink from time to time. Generally when I'm out at a rock 'n' roll show I'll start out with a bourbon and then switch to beer. When I'm at home, I'll drink a Scotch. When I'm with my lady, I'll drink red wine. When I'm at a Mexican restaurant, I always drink a margarita. And when somebody wants to do a shot, I typically choose tequila. So I know a thing or two about the taste of tequila.

The most important thing to remember when you look for a tequila is to get 100% agave. All 100% agave tequila is produced in Mexico (it's the law). 100% agave tequila is smoother and easier for your body to break down. The next thing to think about is whether you want white or silver tequila (unaged) / a gold tequila (unaged with a touch of aged and food coloring) / reposado tequila (aged for less than a year) / or anejo (aged between one and three years). In theory, the longer a tequila is aged, the smoother it will taste. However, tequila is aged in oak barrels, so as it smooths out it starts to take on oak-y flavors.

In the past few years, you've probably noticed that a lot more people are drinking tequila at bars. I see people ordering tequila cocktails and drinking it on the rocks. It's a fast growing segment of the beverage industry. As a result, liquor companies are introducing new products...

Which brings us to 1800 Select Silver Tequila. 1800 is an ultra premium brand owned by Jose Cuervo. The 1800 Select Silver is a new product that's 100 proof (most standard tequila is 80 proof). It's blended with a touch of aged tequila (for smoothness) but they haven't added any caramel coloring. The process makes it an ideal mixing tequila for those new premium cocktails. (A lot of the anejo tequilas are great for sipping, but the oak-y flavor can overwhelm the other ingredients in the cocktail.)

I've been sipping the Select Silver on the rocks and it holds up well. It's really smooth for a Silver Tequila and the extra alcohol content means it packs a wallop. It's great for shots too.

MSRP is about $30 for a 750 ml bottle.

New Music Releases: 5/28/08

Albums Released on 5/27/08:
Records I've Heard:
Butcher the Bar: Sleep at Your Own Speed (Morr) – Singer-songwriter out of Manchester. His voice sounds a lot like a combination of the lead singer the Boy Least Likely To and Elliott Smith. The vocals are breathy and double-tracked like Smith, but the lyrics aren’t as compelling. It’s a good listen though if you’re into this type of thing.

Julie Ocean: Long Gone and Nearly There (Transit of Venus Records) – Pulling their name from an Undertones’ song, Julie Ocean is a new band featuring Jim Spellman of Velocity Girl. Clocking in at 25 minutes, this should appeal to fans of well played power pop. Download “Number One Song

Spiritualized: Songs in A&E (Fontana) – I don’t have a lot of patience for most of the druggy, spacey music that’s out there. Bands trying to emulate Jason Pierce’s bands (Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized), My Bloody Valentine and Jesus & Mary Chain are largely to blame. I can’t hold it against Pierce, who, despite occasional bouts of self-indulgence, is an original. Spiritualized’s first three albums are so good; I happily purchase each new release. After a near fatal illness, Pierce is back with the first Spiritualized record in five years (sixth overall in 16 years). Creatively, it’s a return to form. His voice sounds even more fragile and (a bit) damaged this time around. After the acoustic tour and fresh inspiration from a 1929 Gibson guitar, the songs are devoid of studio gimmicks and the space rock clichés, he helped create. Recommended
At the Hollywood Bowl on 9/17/08.

Local Interest:
I See Hawks in LA: Hallowed Ground (Big Book Records) – I See Hawks in LA should be given a lot of credit for helping spearhead the country music revival in LA. They’ve been at it for almost a decade and this is their fourth album. Nice three part harmonies with special guests on pedal steel and fiddle. See them tonight at 7:00 PM (Wednesday 5/28/08) at Amoeba or on 6/8/08 for their record release party at the Grane Ole Echo

Other Noteworthy Releases:
Ellen Allien [Avalon 9/6/08], Eliza Gilkyson, Al Green [Greek 9/20/08], John Hiatt, I Love Math [Crash Mansion 6/19/08], James Pants (mp3) [El Rey 5/29/08], Cyndi Lauper [Greek 6/28/08], Malcolm Middleton, Midnight Juggernauts, Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump compilation, Jenny Scheinman, Walter Meego

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ticket Giveaway: White Rabbits / The Happy Hollows @ the Echo

The Happy Hollows (photo by Sterling Andrews)

I have two pairs of tickets to give away for the White Rabbits show this Wednesday at the Echo. Local favorites The Happy Hollows open the show. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson is also on the bill (members of Grizzly Bear and TV on the Radio appear on his record).
To win a pair of tickets email me [dukeufo at hotmail] with the name of your favorite band from Brooklyn. The contest closes Wednesday at Noon.
Download White Rabbits' "Kid on My Shoulders" and "The Plot"

Friday, May 23, 2008

LA Live Music Options 5/26/08 - 6/1/08

Swervedriver Play the Fonda on Saturday

Last week I made it out for Eli "Paperboy" Reed at Spaceland - great voice on that guy. Le Switch at the Echo (lots of fun). The Parson Red Heads and The Radar Bros. at the Knitting Factory - both sounded great, and I found some free parking behind the Roosevelt. Another week with tons of shows.....

Monday 5/26/08
(Recommended) Le Switch / The Minor Canon / Vanessa Micale / The World Record @ the Echo (Free) - The last night of Le Switch's residency. I made it out again last week and had a really good time. Check out their Myspace page for something I wrote for their new album. The Minor Canon put out one of my favorite local releases last year. The World Record features a couple of the Parson Red Heads.
(Recommended) Mezzanine Owls / The Quarter After / Exitmusic / The Asteroid #4 @ Spaceland (Free) - The last night of their residency. I like the Quarter After's new record.
(Recommended) Foreign Born / Restavrant / Willoughby / Ride on Rides @ Viper Room ($10 or free w/ RSVP to Viper Room) - Foreign Born's record got some great press from other musicians.
Porterville / The Fizzies / Rose's Pawn Shop / Sugar Panda @ Silverlake Lounge (Free)
Anavan @ Pehrspace

Tuesday 5/27/08
The Flying Tourbillon Orchestra / Vaudeville / Sarah Woods / Jake Blanton @ Silverlake Lounge ($7) - Rock Insider and Web in Front present this show.
Foxboro Hot Tubs /Girls with Guns @ The Roxy ($20) - Green Day's new band. You can start lining up at 8:00 AM for the show. Doors open at 7:00 PM.
Gran Ronde / Castaneda / Evan Slamka / Electromagnetic @ Spaceland ($10 / free with RSVP to Gran Ronde)
Jaguar Love / XBXRX @ the Echo ($14) - Jaguar Love is a new Matador signee that features two of the Blood Brothers and one guy from Pretty Girls Make Graves. It's pretty abrasive.
The Police / Elvis Costello & the Imposters @ Hollywood Bowl ($54 - $305)
Babasonicos @ El Rey ($33) – Argentinean rock band. When I traveled a little in South America I was struck by how much other South Americans seemed to root against Argentina.
Everybody Else @ Troubadour ($5)
Manhattan Murder Mystery / The Monolators @ Mr. T's Bowl

Wednesday 5/28/08
Club NME: The Swayback / The Billionaires @ Spaceland ($8)
(Recommended) White Rabbits / The Happy Hollows @ the Echo ($12) - I've got some tickets to give away for this show.
The Police / Elvis Costello & the Imposters @ Hollywood Bowl ($54 - $305)
Mates of State / Biirdie @ Henry Fonda ($18.50)
Kenny Chesney / LeAnn Rimes @ Staples ($50-$80)
Superdrag @ Troubadour ($20)
Windy City Gentleman @ Silverlake Lounge ($8)
Colorforms @ Tangier ($7)
Ride on Rides / Saint Motel / Voxhaul Broadcast @ Viper Room
Abe Vigoda / Parenthetical Girls / Au @ The Smell ($5)

Thursday 5/29/08
Pela / Neva Dinova / Ladyhawk @ Spaceland ($12) - Solid indie rock lineup. Neva Dinova are on Saddle Creek and Ladyhawk are on Jagjaguwar.
Ariel Pink @ the Echo ($10)
(Recommended) Ladytron / Datarock @ the Fonda ($24) – I've always liked Ladytron. Download “Black Cat
R.E.M. / Modest Mouse / The National @ Hollywood Bowl ($30 - $75) - R.E.M. was my favorite band in early high school. Good tickets remain.
Superdrag @ Troubadour ($20)
Jamie Lidell / James Pants @ El Rey ($24) - Blue eyed soul. James Pants has a new record on Stones Throw.
Hecuba / Warpaint @ Silverlake Lounge ($7)
Thrice / Circa Survive / Pelican @ Avalon ($20)
The High Wires / Bigbang @ Viper Room ($10)
Camp Freddy @ the Roxy ($20)
The Hard to Get / Black Kites / The Modlins / Hot TV @ the Scene ($5) - This is a benefit for the ALC scholarship for the Miguel Contreras High School
Ladytron / Datarock Afterparty @ All Star Lanes in Eagle Rock - the bands will be DJ'ing.

Friday 5/30/08
The Fiery Furnaces / Grand Ole Party @ Spaceland ($15)
Beirut / Brunettes / Devon Williams @ Wiltern ($25)
Subtle / Facing New York / Clue to Kalo @ Knitting Factory ($14)
(Recommended) Ladytron / Datarock @ the Fonda - Download “Black Cat
(Recommended) Flight of the Conchords / Aziz Ansari @ Orpheum Theatre (Sold Out)
Thrice / Circa Survive / Pelican @ Avalon ($20)
Bullets and Octane @ Viper Room ($20)
Die Rockers Die @ Pehrspace
Hot Challenge @ the Echo ($5)
Dead Meadow / Entrance / Winter Flowers @ Little Radio ($13) - Recording a new live record that will be released on Matador. Buy tickets HERE.

Saturday 5/31/08
(Recommended) Swervedriver / Film School / Xu Xu Fang @ The Fonda ($20) - Early 90s shoegaze legends.
The Fiery Furnaces / Grand Ole Party @ Spaceland ($15)
The Cure / 65 Days of Static @ Hollywood Bowl ($35-55)
The Adolescents / The Briggs / The Crowd @ Knitting Factory ($17)
Captain Ahab @ The Smell ($5)
Smog Sessions @ the Echo ($7 - $15)
Club Suicide @ Echoplex ($12) - A new monthly Suicide Girls night
Uh Huh Her @ the Roxy – A couple of nice looking women. Leisha Hailey (from the L Word) and Camila Grey. Their debut album comes out on Nettwerk in August.
Cinematic Sunrise @ Troubadour ($15)
Abe Vigoda / Crystal Antlers / The Muslims @ Pehrspace
Nike Party: No Age / Cool Kids @ ???? - Punk rock and corporate parties.

Sunday 6/1/08
Neil Hamburger @ Spaceland ($8) - Doing his country thing with a full band.
(Recommended) Flight of the Conchords / Aziz Ansari @ Orpheum Theatre (Sold Out)
(Recommended) Grand Ole Echo: Mike Stinson / David Serby @ the Echo (Free) - Early show from 5:00 - 9:00 PM.
(Recommended) The Minor Canon / The Henry Clay People / The Physics of Meaning @ 6th Street Warehouse ($5) - The flyer for this show has a familiar looking character on it.
Hatebreed / Type O Negative / 3 Inches of Blood / My Ruin @Avalon
Russell Brand @ the Roxy ($20)
The Cool Kids @ Key Club
Shiloe / Rocking Horse People / Tigers Can Bite You / Death to Anders @ All Star Lanes in Eagle Rock

New Music Releases: 5/20/08

Lots of veteran indie bands have new records out this week. Other than that, some people seem to be excited about the new Islands record.
Albums Released on 5/20/08:

Records I’ve Heard:

Scarlett Johansson: Anywhere I Lay My Head (Atco) – I first got a mini-crush on Johansson back in 2002 when she appeared in Ghost World. It’s the easiest thing in the world to hate on actors who decide to put out records (especially when they get engaged to other dudes). All that aside, the surprising thing about this record is just how blah her singing is. The phrasing in a lot of Tom Waits’ songs can’t be easy, but she chose the songs. While the arrangements from Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio) are interesting, the monotone is too much to overcome. The record’s not a disaster, but not something I’ll be re-visiting down the road.

The Explorers Club: Freedom Wind (Dead Oceans) – The Explorers Club nail the pre-Pet Sounds Beach Boys sound. From the Brian Wilson-esque falsetto and harmonies, to the summer / beach / school lyrical themes, to the arrangements, it sounds like the lost album between Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) and Pet Sounds. This seems to annoy a few Beach Boys fans that I’ve talked to, but they do it so well, I think it’s a whole lot of fun. The press release mentions Emitt Rhodes, ELO and McCartney, but if you don’t like the Beach Boys, there’s no point in picking this up (but maybe download “Freedom Wind”). Recommended. See them at the Troubadour on 6/21/08
Download “Do You Love Me?”

On the Shopping List:

Bonnie “Prince” Billy: Lie Down in the Light (Drag City) – The more I think about Will Oldham as a person (from what I’ve read secondhand in interviews), the less I like his music. That said, I still buy most of his full lengths.

Local Interest:
Jeremy Jay: A Place Where We Could Go (K) – He’s getting a lot of really good press mentions. See the All Music 4/5 star review HERE. Stream it HERE. At the Echoplex on 6/20/08

The Parson Red Heads: Owl and Timber EP (Parson Farm Records) – Another solid set of songs from the local 60’s influenced band. I enjoyed their set at the Knitting Factory last night. “Crowds” and “Got It All” are my two favorites. See them at Boardner’s on June 17th.

Other Noteworthy Releases:
Annihilation Time, Douglas Armour, Ateleia and Benjamin Curtis vinyl, Blackstrap, Bun B, Castanets DVD, Dresden Dolls [Wiltern 5/21/08], El Madmo (mp3), Felix da Housecat, The Foxboro Hot Tubs – aka Green Day [Roxy 5/27/08], Free Kitten (mp3), French Kicks (mp3) [Echo 5/22/08], Indian Jewelry, Islands [Fonda 6/17/08], Joan of Arc (mp3) [Knitting Factory 6/6/08], Mason Jennings, Mates of State (mp3) [Fonda 5/28/08], Mudhoney (mp3), Mudhoney reissue (mp3), The National documentary and EP [Hollywood Bowl 5/29/08], Okay (mp3 and mp3), Orchestra Baobab, Stove Bredsky, Sybris [Knitting Factory 5/30/08], The Ting Tings [Troubadour 6/13/08], Trees, The VSS, Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet, The Wedding Present, Windsor for the Derby (mp3 and mp3)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sinking Radio Reminder / Uncle Tupelo's "Gun"

Uncle Tupelo (look how young Tweedy is)
Here’s my weekly reminder to tune in to Little Radio for Sinking with Sylvia (and Sometimes Todd) from Noon – 2:00 PM on Friday. This week their guests will be the Parson Red Heads, who will be playing on air and guest DJ’ing.

Each week, the show features an official You Set the Scene pick which I eventually write about here. On May 1st the show had an all 7” theme and my pick was Uncle Tupelo’s cover of the Soft Boys’ “I Wanna Destroy You.” Other than really liking the song, I picked it because it was a recent purchase from Freakbeat Records in Sherman Oaks. For the first time, I had enough time to scour their used 7” section and had some good finds (I also picked up a Teenage Fanclub 7” from their Matador days and an old Lou Barlow 7”).

Growing up in the Midwest, I became aware of Uncle Tupelo from an older cousin who was in college at the University of Kansas in the early 1990s. Uncle Tupelo was an incredibly influential band and is credited with spawning the alt-country genre. No Depression magazine was named after Uncle Tupelo’s first record, which itself is named after a Carter Family song. Even though I was exposed to the band during their heyday, I didn’t really become a fan until after they’d broken up and Jeff Tweedy had moved on to Wilco and Jay Farrar had moved on to Son Volt.

“I Wanna Destroy You” is the B-side to “Gun,” the first single from Uncle Tupelo’s second record. As I mentioned it’s a cover of the Soft Boys’ classic, written by Robyn Hitchcock. The song is a classic fuck the establishment song with simple, pissed off lyrics. “They fill your mind with boredom / And they lead you off to war” and “If you’re gonna fight / Then you’re just dying to get killed.” The song worked in 1980 when Hitchock wrote it and it worked in 1991 during the Gulf War when Uncle Tupelo recorded it and it still works today.

If you’re wondering where to start with the Uncle Tupelo catalog, the 89:93 Anthology is a good place. I tend to prefer March 16-20, 1992, which is their acoustic country album (produced by Peter Buck) but the anthology gives you a better idea of what they were as a band. Occasionally the guys lay on heavy, faux twang and their songs grate, but it’s a minor criticism.

Stream some tracks at the unofficial Myspace page
See a live performance of Uncle Tupelo doing “Gun” (via Youtube)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Music Releases: 5/13/08

I'm still a week behind, but hopefully I'll get caught up this week.

Albums Released on 5/13/08:

Things I’ve Heard:

Kassin + 2: Futurismo (Luaka Bop) – This is the domestic release (on David Byrne’s label) of Brazilian Alexandre Kassin’s 2006 record. The plus two in the group are Moreno Veloso (Caetano’s son) and Domenico Lancelotti. The record’s an easy breezy combination of samba, bossa nova and (occasionally) more psychedelic sounds. Americans Sean O’Hagan (High Llamas) and John McEntire (Tortoise) make guest appearances on the three bonus tracks from the Luaka Bop version. This music makes a lot more sense when you spend some time around the beaches in Brazil with a Brahma in your hand. Download “Ya Ya Ya” (features O’Hagan and McEntire).

Old 97’s: Blame It On Gravity (New West) – I wonder if all Old 97’s fans have the same sort of love-hate relationship with them that I do. Not being from Dallas, I wasn’t there from the beginning. I only got into them after they signed with a major label. Initially attracted to their poppier material, I later went back and discovered some of their twangier stuff. Around 2003, a friend of mine with a major man crush on Rhett Miller moved to LA from Texas. Fortunately for him, Rhett was working hard on his solo career and playing a ton of shows at Largo. I got dragged to all of them.

And that’s when the hate part of the relationship started to spring up. Watching Rhett swing his arm like a pendulum while he strummed the acoustic guitar with his blow dryed hair and a shirt unbuttoned to his bellybutton was just too much. Rhett moved away from LA. My friend moved back to Texas. And I stopped thinking about Rhett and the Old 97’s (with the exception of catching them at Stagecoach last year). So it was with apprehension that I put this one in the CD player. But guess what? It’s a damn fun record and complete return to form (recorded back in Dallas at Salim Nourallah’s studio).

The record starts with two songs that immediately call to mind classic Old 97’s tunes. As the record progresses you get some of Rhett’s (occasionally) corny love songs, but you also get Murry’s heart (and lead vocals on a couple of tunes) and Ken’s excellent guitar work. If you’d almost given up on Rhett and the band, you should reconsider. This one’s well worth picking up. See them at the Crash Mansion on 6/19/08

Local Interest:

The Submarines: Honeysuckle Weeks (Nettwerk) – The Submarines’ last record was all about the breakup of the couple that fronts the band (Blake Hazard and John Dragonetti). There were a number of call and response songs with the couple trading lead vocal duties. This time around it’s immediately obvious that they’re back together and couldn’t be happier about it. It’s a likeable, easy record to listen to – the kind of thing you’d be happy to hear coming from the speakers at your local coffee shop. “Xavia” sounds like a lost track from the Rentals’ Return of the Rentals. At the Echo on 6/13/08.

Other Noteworthy New Releases:
Acid Mother’s Temple, The Bellrays, The Black Angels [Troubadour 6/5/08], The Botticellis (mp3 and mp3), Bruno Pronsato, T Bone Burnett, The Daysleepers, Death Cab For Cutie [Nokia 6/23/08], Dosh (mp3) [Spaceland on 6/15/08], Duffy, Ecstatic Sunshine, Dan Friel, Tobias Froberg, Ghost of the Russian Empire, Girlyman, Daniel Givens, Group Doueh, The Instruments (mp3 and mp3), Lau Nau, Local H [Troubadour 6/6/08], Modey Lemon [Echo 7/2/08], Pendulum, Pomegranates, The Presets [El Rey 5/20/08], Royal Bangs, Skybombers, Teitur (mp3) [Roxy 5/23/08], We Are Scientists, Young and Sexy (mp3)

Monday, May 19, 2008

LA Live Music Listings: 5/19/08 - 5/25/08

Mezzanine Owls Continue Their Spaceland Residency Tonight
Another busy week. Tonight alone you've got Destroyer, Eli "Paperboy" Reed, The Kooks, Cut Copy, El Perro del Mar and Lykke Li (along with the great local bands at the Echo and Spaceland).
Monday 5/19/08
[Recommended] Le Switch / Adeline and the Philistines / I Make This Sound / Nap Tunes @ the Echo (Free) – Le Switch are currently on a West Coast tour with the Radar Bros. Tonight they’ll be playing half acoustic with special guests. I Make This Sound are a whole lotta fun live. NapTunes is Joe from Le Switch’s band. Adeline’s band includes two of the Movies, Aaron from Le Switch and some of the I Make This Sound folks. So Aaron’s playing in three bands on the off night in the middle of a tour with another band.
[Recommended] Mezzanine Owls / LoveLikeFire / The Henry Clay People / Eli “Paperboy” Reed @ Spaceland (Free) – Eli “Paperboy” Reed is a white dude from Boston who manages to sing like Sam Cooke. He’s gotten rave reviews from the likes of Mojo, The New York Times, No Depression and Nick Lowe. He goes on at 9:00 PM sharp. Mezzanine Owls are getting a lot of nice attention from some of the bigger national blogs. The Henry Clay People are one of the most fun local bands to see live.
El Perro Del Mar / Lykke Li @ El Rey ($20) – A couple of beloved Swedish bands.
Destroyer / Devon Williams @ Troubadour ($15) - I saw Destroyer at SXSW. If you love Dan Bejar, then you should definitely go.
The Kooks / The Morning Benders @ Wiltern (Sold Out) – I managed to miss the Morning Benders’ record release show, but I know Bronson’s a big fan.
Cut Copy @ Echoplex ($18) – Advance tickets sold out, so get there early to get in.
Porterville / Silver Needle / Bang Sugar Bang / Brandon Mayer & the Hidden Powers @ Silverlake Lounge (Free)
Bryan Adams @ the Roxy ($25)
New Found Glory @ Safari Sam’s ($15)
Jean Paul Yamamoto / Rainbow Arabia / Pinched Nerve @ Pehrspace

Tuesday 5/20/08
Eli “Paperboy” Reed @ Amoeba (Free)
[Recommended] Let’s Independent: The Soft Hands / The Savages / The Karabal Nightlife @ Boardner’s (Free) - Radio Free Silver Lake’s monthly night. I’m not familiar with these bands, but it’s always a good time.
[Recommended] Pocahaunted / Bobb Bruno / Magic Lantern / David Scott Stone @ the Echo ($7)
M83 / Berg Sans Nipple @ Echoplex ($19) – Indie electronica from France.
Clinic / Shearwater @ Troubadour ($20) – Odd bill. Jonathan from Shearwater recently left Okkervil River to focus on Shearwater full time.
Gran Ronde / Bloodcat Love @ Spaceland ($10 / Free w/ RSVP to Gran Ronde)
The Presets @ El Rey (Sold Out) – Aussie, indie dance band.
My Brightest Diamond / Pedestrian @ Hotel Café ($10)
The Pacific @ Silverlake Lounge ($8)

Wednesday 5/21/08
Adam Green / Tim Fite @ Troubadour ($15) – The Ex-Moldy Peach.
The Kills / The Child Ballads @ El Rey (Sold Out)
Anavan / Ariel Pink @ Family Bookstore
Adele @ the Roxy ($18) – Huge buzz around this Brit.
The Cave Singers / Moonrats @ The Echo ($10)
Foxy Shazam @ Knitting Factory
The Dresden Dolls / Smoosh / Lavender Diamond @ Wiltern ($25)
Club NME: The Hard Lessons / Children Collide @ Spaceland ($8)
Miss Derringer @ Silverlake Lounge ($10)
My Brightest Diamond / Pedestrian @ Hotel Café ($10)

Thursday 5/22/08
[Recommended] The Radar Bros. / The Parson Red Heads / Greater California / Ed Vallance @ Knitting Factory ($10) – Nice lineup. You already know I’m a big Radar Bros. fan.
[Recommended] Les Blanks / Amateurs / The Monolators / Correatown @ Spaceland ($8) – A record release party for Les Blanks. I haven’t heard them, but I like all the other bands.
[Recommended] El-P / Dizzee Rascal / Busdriver @ El Rey ($22.50) – Here’s a hip-hop lineup that I can get behind.
The Stand Uppity Comedy Tour: Andy Kindler / Eugene Mirman / Marc Maron @ the Echoplex ($18)
Hall and Oates @ Troubadour ($200) – No, that $200 figure is not a typo. And no, it’s not a benefit that I’m aware of.
French Kicks / The Weather Underground @ the Echo ($15)
Greasy Beats @ Silverlake Lounge ($10)
Sweet & Tender Hooligans @ House of Blues ($15)
Camp Freddy @ the Roxy ($20)
Bad Dudes @ the Smell

Friday 5/23/08
The Von Bondies / Die! Die! Die! / The Shys / Io Echo @ Safari Sam’s ($10) – Jack White’s punching bag. Download Die! Die! Die!’s “Sideways, Here We Come
Pizza! @ Pehrspace
Graham MacRae / Xander Singh / The Lynx Technique @ Unknown Theatre – CD Release show for Graham.
Oliver Future / Radars to the Sky @ Echoplex ($12)
Hall and Oates @ Troubadour ($200)
Casiotone for the Painfully Lonely / Foot Foot @ the Echo ($8)
Illegal Substance / Hockey / The Growlers @ Spaceland
The Idyllists @ El Cid ($5)
Mandy Moore @ Hotel Café ($10)
The Germs @ the Scene ($15)
Teitur / Jesca Hoop @ the Roxy ($15)
Pocahaunted @ the Smell

Saturday 5/24/08
[Recommended] Japanther / The Pharmacy / Bad Dudes / Bipolar Bear @ the Smell – I like what I’ve heard from The Pharmacy. Pretty lo-fi. Download some tracks: MP3 and MP3 and MP3
Foals / Maps & Atlases @ Troubadour (Sold Out)
You Me & Iowa / The New Trust / Calamity Magnet / The Voyeurs @ Spaceland ($8) - This is a record release party for You Me & Iowa. Download "Dress the Stage"

Sunday 5/25/08
[Recommended] Sarah Negahdari / The Physics of Meaning / One Trick Pony / Malcolm Sosa @ Pehrspace ($5) – Sarah’s the lead singer of the Happy Hollows. Malcolm Sosa is the lead singer of Rademacher. Daniel Hart from the Physics of Meaning plays in St. Vincent and John Vanderslice’s band.
BigBang @ Spaceland (Free)
A Tribute to Charles Gocher & Sun City Girls @ Echoplex ($14)
Wisely / Alex and Sam / Ben Pringle @ Tangier ($10)
Russell Brand @ the Roxy ($25)

Friday, May 16, 2008

New Record Releases: 5/6/08

"I can't keep up/ I can't keep up/ Out of step with the world." That's how I feel trying to keep up with all the record releases. This updates almost two weeks old, but there were a lof of important local releases.....
Records Released on 5/6/08:

Records I’ve Heard:
Elvis Costello: Momofuku (Lost Highway) – Elvis Costello has had a long and varied career. I’m one of the fans that isn’t along for the ride on everything. My favorites are: My Aim is True, This Year’s Model and Armed Forces. While the next few have their definite moments, I honestly haven’t paid that much attention for the last 20 years. This one’s recommended for old school Elvis Costello fans. The record was recorded and mixed very quickly and has a sense of urgency and sloppiness that I admire on those early records. I give it bonus points for Jenny Lewis, Johnathan Rice and Farmer Dave Scher appearing on the record. At the Hollywood Bowl on 5/27/08

Earles & Jensen Present: Just Farr a Laugh Vols. 1 & 2 (Matador) – You’re probably not surprised that my sense of humor is extremely juvenile. These are all ridiculously silly prank phone calls, most of which made me laugh out loud. Get a buttload of free MP3s (and ringtones) at Matador’s website. Download “Christopher Fucking Cross

Matmos: Supreme Balloon (Matador) – All synthesizers, no microphones. Pretty light album getting mostly good reviews. At the Echoplex on 7/13/08. Download “Rainbow Flag

Morning State: You Know People I Know People – Indie pop-punk band (but not in a cheesy way) out of Atlanta. Spin compares them to Nada Surf. It’s a pretty fun record. Download “Spectacular

((sounder)): Good Things Come and Go Like Bad Things (Volcom) – This is a musical project from the visual artist, Mike Aho and photographer Steve Stratton. Local artists Mel Kadel and Travis Millard contribute backing vocals and will appear in one of the videos. Matt from the Cold War Kids mixed it. Solid indie rock.

Local Interest:

Everest: Ghost Notes (Vapor) – The All Music Guide says “if you distilled Dark Side of the Moon, Pet Sounds and Revolver into a glass and poured it over the California surf, it would probably sound like this.” That’s about the highest praise you could give a band like Everest. I’ve written about these guys a ton already and this record doesn’t disappoint (it’s an early candidate for my end of the year top 10 list). I’m still patiently waiting for the vinyl. Highly recommended. See them at Spaceland on 6/16/08

Nik Freitas: Sun Down (Team Love) – Haven’t heard the record yet, but I enjoyed his recent set at Spaceland. He’s currently out on the road opening for Rilo Kiley. Download “All the Way Down” and “Sundown

Meho Plaza: Meho Plaza (Better Looking Records) – Noisy local band that’s (starting) to get some love on Pitchfork. At the Smell on 5/31/08. Download “I Sold My Organs” and “The Beach

No Age: Nouns (Sub Pop) – Noisy Crass loving local vegan band that’s gotten a whole lotta love from Pitchfork. Download “Eraser

Nobody Presents Blank Blue: Western Water Music Vol. 2 (Ubiquity) – Producer Nobody along with singer Niki Randa.

Things I’ll Hunt Down:
Cheap Time: Cheap Time (In the Red) – The Other Music record store in NYC gave this huge props. Nashville kids influenced by early Sparks (not the shitty drink) and the Runaways. At the Echo on 7/30/08.
Van Duren: Are You Serious? (Water) – I’m a sucker for these lost classics. Other Music says: “It's a perfect mix of Todd Rundgren, Emitt Rhodes, Badfinger, Raspberries, and Big Star.”

Other Noteworthy Releases:
Animal Collective EP, Ersi Arvizu, Neil Diamond [Hollywood Bowl 10/1 – 10/2], Tim Fite [Troubadour 5/21], Four Tet EP, Gossip live, IAMX, Simon Joyner reissue, Kayo Dot, The Last Shadow Puppets, Lykke Li EP (mp3) [El Rey on 5/19], Jade McNelis, The Morning Benders (mp3) [Wiltern on 5/19], Nortec Collective [Hollywood Bowl on 9/21], Pattern Is Movement, The Republic Tigers (mp3), Russian Circles [Troubadour on 6/15], Shy Child (mp3), Spoon: A Series of Sneaks, Girls Can Tell on vinyl [Hollywood Bowl on 9/20]

Sunset Junction Lineup Partially Announced

Beachwood Sparks - The Classic Sub Pop Lineup (Rademaker, Scher, Gunst, Sperske)

Kevin Bronson of the LA Times is reporting that the reunited Beachwood Sparks will be appearing at this year's Sunset Junction. The Beachwood Sparks previously announced a show at Sub Pop's 20th Anniversary in Seattle in July. I probably saw the Beachwood Sparks around 10 times back in the day (1997-1999) - from their early days a six piece with Josh Schwartz to their later days post-Sperske. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like Farmer Dave will be a part of the reunion.

The lineup is shaping up well with Broken Social Scene, The Black Keys, Cold War Kids, Isaac Hayes, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra and Kinky already announced.

The festival takes place August 23 and 24th in the Sunset Junction area of Silver Lake.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Recently Announced Live Shows in LA

The Raconteurs / Imaad Wasif with Two Part Beast @ The Fonda on 5/18/08 (tickets on sale Friday at Noon)

My Morning Jacket @ the Greek on 9/21/08 (presale already started, public on sale Saturday at 10:00 AM)

The Hold Steady @ Avalon on 7/30/08 (on sale Tuesday at 4:00 PM)

The Gutter Twins @ the Roxy on 7/10/08 (on sale now)

Rancid @ the Fonda from 9/30/08 – 10/5/08 (presale with password starts Friday at 10:00 AM, otherwise Saturday at 10:00 AM)

Dwight Yoakam @ the Greek on 7/27/08 (presale now, public on sale Saturday at 10:00 AM)

The Faint @ the Fonda on 8/7/08 – 8/8/08 (on sale Saturday at 10:00 AM)

Stars @ John Anson Ford on 8/25/08 (on sale Saturday at 10:00 AM)

Boris / Torche @ the Echoplex on 8/3/08 (on sale now at Ticketweb)

The Dodo's "Fools"

Here’s my weekly reminder to tune-in to Sinking with Sylvia (and Sometimes Todd) tomorrow from Noon – 2:00 PM PST on Little Radio. On tomorrow’s show, funnyman Matt Dwyer will be filling in for Todd (who is currently out on the road with the Radar Bros.). Sylvia and Matt will be joined in the studio by I Make This Sound.

Each week on the show, they play an official You Set the Scene song of the day, and then I (eventually) write about it here. On April 24th, my pick was the Dodo’s “Fools.” The Dodos are a San Francisco indie folk duo that I got turned on to a bit later than a lot of people. By now, most of you have probably recognized that, unlike a lot of my blog brethren, I’m pretty careful before recommending new bands. Anyway, they’re one of a handful of new bands that I can happily recommend. (I really like 12 of the 14 songs on the record).

The press for the record has been solid (they’ve got an 81 on Metacritic). A quote on their website from the San Francisco Bay Guardian says: “Elliot (sic) Smith meets Iron & Wine.” I like both of those artists, but don’t think of either one when I listen to Visiter. People also compare them to Animal Collective, which seems to make Animal Collective fans mad (but what doesn’t?). The only real similarity is that they’ve got an experimental spirit (mostly in terms of tempos) and play within an acoustic music context. The drummer has a lot to do with that.

Download these tracks and decide for yourself - “Fools” and “Jodi
Watch the video for “Fools” on Youtube

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ticket Giveaway: Adam Green @ Troubadour 5/21/08

Adam Green (ex-Moldy Peaches) is currently touring in support of his most recent solo record, Sixes and Sevens. Next Wednesday (5/21/08) the tour stops locally at the Troubadour in West Hollywood.
I have one pair of tickets to give away to the show. Email me [dukeufo at hotmail] and tell me what you thought of Juno. The contest closes Friday at 5:00 PM.
Here are the rest of his dates:
20 San Francisco - Rickshaw Stop
21 Los Angeles - Troubador
03 Washington, DC Black Cat (w/Lightspeed Champion)
04 Philadelphia, PA First Church (w/Lightspeed Champion)
05 Boston, MA Great Scott
06 Montreal, QUE Tulipe
07 Toronto, ONT Horseshoe Tavern
09 Detroit, MI Magic Stick
10 Chicago, IL Lake Shore Theatre

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Photos/Review: Dr. Dog @ Hotel Cafe

I just got back from the Dr. Dog show at the Hotel Cafe. Before they'd even played a note, Tables (the bass player) asked the crowd if we all felt like we were crazy, because that's how he feels when he's in LA. Somebody responded that it's something in the water and he said "I guess that's why I'm not thirsty." I wasn't sure how I felt about that, but luckily it didn't matter after they started playing...

We All Belong was in my top 10 list last year, and I still love it when I hear it. Dr. Dog's not on a full scale tour right now, so I assume this was a showcase of some sort. If you haven't been to the Hotel Cafe, let me start by saying that it's at Hollywood and Cahuenga (home of Cinespace, Beauty Bar, Star Shoes and other lots restaurants celebs invest in). Let me follow that by saying, that the Hotel Cafe had a second show of the night starting at 9:00 PM (so a one hour set was the absolute best case scenario). And let me follow that by saying that although the venue is tiny, stage right of the venue is cluttered with tables. Not the best environment for a Dr. Dog show. Not surprisingly, the band felt a bit stiff at first (also note that I've been fighting a cold and stayed in last night to try to preserve my health).

After a few lower energy songs, it was the Dr. Dog that their fans know and love. Great, melodic rock 'n' roll. The band toys with the classics (Beach Boys and Beatles) but bring a fresh and fun perspective. The handful of new songs from their forthcoming record, Fate (out on July 22nd), sounded like a natural progression beyond We All Belong. The familiar tracks from We All Belong still sounded fresh and fantastic. About 8:50 the sound guy informed them that they only had time for one more. Bummer. They finished on a high note to huge applause. They made us all anxious for the album release on July 22nd (and the show at El Rey on August 8th).

All photographs were taken by Sylvia
For more of her photos check out my Flickr set

New Music Releases From 4/29/08

Old news now, but in the interest of being complete, here are the new releases from two weeks ago. Probably the most buzzed about release was the new Portishead, but I saw quite a lot of noise about Santogold, Robyn and Jamie Lidell too. Personally, I'm most excited about the new Awesome Color. Now if I could just find the time to go down to Amoeba to get it....

Albums Released on 4/29/08

Things I’ve Heard:
Langhorne Slim: Langhorne Slim (Kemado) – The askew folk singer’s new one. See him at the Troubadour on 5/14/08. Download “Rebel Side of Heaven
Steve Winwood: Nine Lives (Sony) – I should have a guest review of this one soon. See him at the Hollywood Bowl on 6/25/08.

Things on My Shopping List:
Awesome Color: Electric Aborigines (Ecstatic Peace) – Their first album was really good garage punk in the spirit of those great Detroit bands.

Other Noteworthy Releases:
Bearsuit, Bobby & Blumm (mp3), Cloudland Canyon, The Constantines [Troubadour on 7/3], David Karsten Daniels, Dizzee Rascal (mp3) [El Rey on 5/22], Robert Forster, Heloise and the Savoir Faire, Joy Division best of, Ladytron digital EP, Jamie Lidell [El Rey on 5/29], Les Savy Fav live (mp3), Madonna [Dodger Stadium on 11/6], Eric Mathews, MC5 anthology, Sarah McLachlan b-sides, Mudcrutch, Portishead, Eli “Paperboy” Reed [Spaceland on 5/19], Robyn [Wiltern on 5/17], The Roots [Greek on 6/12], Santogold, South [Echo on 5/15], Wallpaper digital EP

They Don't Call It a Sausage Fest For Nothing

Tickets for KROQ's Weenie Roast go on sale Wednesday at 5:00 PM. The show takes place this Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.

Main Stage: Metallica, The Offspring, The Raconteurs, Rise Against, Bad Religion, Pennywise, Scars on Broadway, Seether, Flogging Molly, Atreyu

Stage Dos: The Bravery, MGMT, Flobots, Ludo

Tickets are between $55 and $65 and benefit some good causes. You might need the password, which you should really sign up with KROQ to get.

Monday, May 12, 2008

LA Live Music Options 5/12/08 - 5/18/08

Everest Play the Viper Room on Monday and Conan O'Brien on Friday
Monday 5/12/08
[Recommended] Everest / Film School / The Savages / Castaneda @ Viper Room ($10 or free w/ RSVP to Viper Room’s Myspace) – Here’s a great night of free music. Don’t forget that Everest’s new record came out last week. I’m patiently waiting for the vinyl. Be sure to catch them Friday on Conan O’Brien. Film School’s well worth catching too. Joe at Radio Free Silver Lake is a big supporter of the Savages.
[Recommended] Le Switch / Division Day / Henry Clay People / Princeton @ the Echo (Free) – I caught Le Switch’s show last week and now that I’ve absorbed the new record, it’s great to hear the songs live. Last week they did a rousing cover of McCartney’s “Monkberry Moon Delight.” This week is their “Covers Night” so they’ll do a song by each of the support bands and each support band will do a cover of Le Switch. Get there early and stay all night because The Henry Clay People go on first and are followed by Division Day.
[Recommended] Mezzanine Owls / We Barbarians / Eagle and Talon / Black Kites @ Spaceland (Free) – Night two of the Mezzanine Owls residency.
Porterville / Anchors Aaweigh / Daniel Ahearn @ Silverlake Lounge (Free)
Nikki and Aaron Embry / Lukas Haas @ Hotel Café – I finally saw Amnion last week at Le Switch’s residency. Aaron Embry’s an extremely talented musician. The first half of the set had a total mid-70s Stevie Wonder vibe and they got a bit more experimental in the second half. Tonight they’re playing acoustic.
Poi Dog Pondering @ Troubadour ($20)

Tuesday 5/13/08
Radio Alert: The Submarines on Morning Becomes Eclectic at 11:15 AM.
[Recommended] Dr. Dog @ Hotel Café (Sold Out) – Early show at 8:00 PM. One of my favorite bands. This is a great chance to see them in a small venue before they come back in August to the El Rey.
Gran Ronde / Sleepercar / Aushua / The Republic Tigers @ Spaceland ($8 / Free with RSVP to Gran Ronde on Myspace) – Sleepercar is Jim Ward from At the Drive-In’s new band. The record’s good. Gran Ronde is doing a Tuesday night residency. They’re getting some good press – a lot of people compare the lead singer to Robert Smith (but the music’s more upbeat than most Cure).
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin / Port O’Brien / The Black Watch @ the Echo ($10)
Joe Jackson @ Orpheum Theatre ($35-45) – His new record’s good. I saw him in Austin a few years ago and had a lot of fun.
The VLA / This Century @ Knitting Factory
I Make This Sound / The Breakups / Avi Buffalo @ Silverlake Lounge ($8) – I Make This Sound are a lot of fun to see live.
Willoughby / The Billionaires / Western States Motel @ Hotel Café – Later show.
Brett Dennen / Missy Higgins / Mason Jennings @ Barnum Hall in Santa Monica ($25)
Tokio Hotel @ Avalon
Modified By Man @ Viper Room

Wednesday 5/14/08
Radio Alert: Matt Costa on Morning Becomes Eclectic at 11:15 AM.
Club NME: Efterklang / Slaraffenland / Karin Tatoyan @ Spaceland ($8) – Efterklang are a talented post-rock band from Denmark. Their two albums have gotten 7.4 and 7.9 from Pitchfork. Slaraffenland is Danish too and got a 7.9 from Pitchfork.
Langhorne Slim / Ferraby Lionheart @ Troubadour ($12) – Slightly askew folk troubadours
Cloud Cult @ Knitting Factory ($10) – There was a big feature on these guys in the Wall Street Journal last week. Their performance includes an artist who paints a picture which is then auctioned off at the end of the night.
The Last Goodnight @ the Roxy
Kate Nash / Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players @ The Fonda ($20)
Yoshida Brothers @ El Rey (Sold Out)
Brett Dennen / Missy Higgins / Mason Jennings @ Barnum Hall in Santa Monica ($25)
The Spider Problem / Queen Kwong @ Silverlake Lounge ($8)
Metallica @ the Wiltern ($203.50) – It’s a benefit, but I doubt that Ticketmaster is donating the $22/ticket convenience charge to the Silverlake Conservatory of Music. I’d probably pay it if I was a big fan.
Saint Motel / The Ringers / Satisfaction @ Viper Room ($10)
[Eraser] Five Year Anniversary Reunion @ Airliner

Thursday 5/15/08
Radio Alert: Mia Doi Todd on Morning Becomes Eclectic at 11:15 AM.
[Recommended] The Little Ones / Ra Ra Riot / Army Navy @ Troubadour ($12) – The Little Ones put out some of my favorite indie pop songs in 2006 and recently put out a new EP. They’re always a ton of fun to see live.
The Time of the Assassins @ The Roxy
Hearts of Palm UK / Lady Tigra @ Silverlake Lounge ($8)
Eisley @ El Rey ($19)
Blowfly / Antiseen @ Knitting Factory ($15)
South / Silver State @ the Echo ($15)
Miss Derringer @ Bordello ($10)
Tina Deco / AM @ Hotel Café ($12)
Brant Bjork & the Bros / Chuck Dukowski Sextet @ Viper Room ($12)
Camp Freddy @ the Roxy ($20) – Tons of high profile guests.

Friday 5/16/08
Tivo Alert: Everest on Late Night w/ Conan O’Brien
KCRW Alert: Salt & Samovar at 11:15 AM on Morning Becomes Eclectic
[Recommended] Big Business / 400 Blows / Qui / Triclops! / Crystal Antlers @ The Scene ($8) – Originally scheduled for Charlie O’s, the show has been moved to the Scene. It’s a great lineup with some of the best heavy music (not just local, but anywhere). Nice to see that Matt Cronk from Qui is playing shows again.
American Music Club / Gordon Gano & the Ryan Brothers @ the Echo ($12) – A couple of alt rock legends. Download AMC’s “All the Lost Souls Welcome You to San Francisco
Crowded House @ Orpheum Theatre ($42 - $52)
Jesca Hoop / Salt & Samovar / Let’s Go Sailing @ Hotel Café ($10)
The Proclaimers @ El Rey ($25)
Ozma @ Knitting Factory ($15)
Kathleen Edwards @ Troubadour ($18)
D.I.M. / Thomas Von Party @ the Echoplex ($17)
Radio 4 @ Spaceland ($12)
Year Long Disaster @ Viper Room ($15)
Kate Walsh / Brandi Shearer / Joe Purdy @ the Roxy ($13)
Shwayze / Cisco Adler @ Crash Mansion ($15)
Mia Doi Todd / Mariee Sioux @ McCabe’s ($15)
Shiloe / Repeater / The Hundred Days @ Bordello

Saturday 5/17/08
[Recommended] Earlimart / Voxhaul Broadcast / Siggy / Light FM @ the Echoplex ($14) – Aaron Espinoza’s been actively recording a new album that will come out this summer. Hopefully he’ll preview some tracks tonight.
What Made Milwaukee Famous / The Dead Trees / The Whip Saws @ Spaceland ($8)
The Dirtbombs / Dan Sartain @ Troubadour ($15) – Fun live band.
Robyn / Mellowdrone @ Wiltern ($20) – Swedish pop singer finally seems to be breaking in the US.
Merlinmoon @ Crash Mansion ($20)
Crowded House @ Orpheum Theatre ($42 - $52)
Mac Curtis @ Safari Sam’s ($20) – Rockabilly
Matt Costa / Delta Spirit @ El Rey (Sold Out)
The Smithereens @ Crash Mansion ($20) – I saw them back in high school. Fun times.
Armin Van Buuren @ Vanguard

Sunday 5/18/08
Tally Hall / De Novo Dahl / Low vs. Diamond @ El Rey ($16) – A night of quirky indie pop. Low vs. Diamond’s album is coming out on Epic Records on 7/29.
Grande Ole Echo: Stonehoney / Leslie and the Badgers @ the Echo (Free) – Early show at 3:00 PM.
Rocco DeLuca @ Hotel Café ($12)
Blake/e/e/e / Tim Rutili (from Califone) @ Echo Curio
Eagle Rock Bowling and Drinking Prom: Fol Chen / Castledoor @ All Star Lanes in Eagle Rock (Free)
The Hectors / Kissing Cousins @ Spaceland
Matt Costa / Delta Spirit @ Glass House in Pomona ($20)
Murder By Death / dios (malos) @ Troubadour ($12)
Brunch Americana: The Last Americans @ Safari Sam’s (Free) – Noon – 6:00 PM.
The February Fifths / Leviathan Brothers @ Tangier ($8)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Stagecoach Day 3 Journal - Sunday

Stagecoach journal continued….

Getting up on Sunday was much easier than getting up on Saturday. A good night’s sleep is such a relief. We didn’t have anybody in particular we wanted to see until Charlie Louvin at 4:40, so we figured we’d relax and take advantage of the house rental. A couple of people invited friends over and we did some grilling. I took advantage of the pool a little, but it was overcast and cool out.

Around 4:25 we headed over to the festival grounds for day three. Charlie Louvin was already on stage. Most people don’t have the good fortune of being healthy enough to tour when they’re 80 years old, and I really enjoyed seeing him up there. He kicked it off with “Great Atomic Power” which was a Louvin Brothers’ song. I actually heard Uncle Tupelo’s cover before I ever heard the original. Between songs Louvin was cracking jokes and completely charming. His voice has aged, but it really suits his songs. Another highlight was “The Christian Life,” which he introduced by telling a Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris anecdote. I only wish more people had ventured into the tent to enjoy the performance. Instead, we were forced to hear the sound bleed from Trace Adkins on the Mane Stage. Great start to the day anyway. By the way, The Louvin Brothers’ album cover for Satan Is Real is one of the best of all time.

Before the festival I was really looking forward to seeing the Carolina Chocolate Drops and then quickly dismayed by the fact that they were on at the same time as Louvin. Fortunately the stages were close so we were able to wander in and catch the end of their set. The Drops are a relatively young African-American stringband who play traditional fiddle and banjo music. It sounded fantastic on paper. When we walked in, the crowd was very enthusiastic and engaged. Unfortunately it came off as a little shtick-y to me. They totally lost me when they did a cover of Blu Cantrell’s “Hit Em Up Style” and one of the dudes was beatboxing. I was in the minority, because when they finished their set, the crowd gave them a standing ovation.

We wandered back over to the Palomino Stage and Billy Joe Shaver was performing. Shaver’s an outlaw country performer in the vein of Waylon Jennings (who covered a lot of Shaver’s tunes). You youngins might be familiar with Shaver’s voice from the theme song to Squidbillies. Anyway, Shaver’s a tough son of a bitch. I thought he sounded damn good and enjoyed seeing him play, but we decided to mosey on down the road.

We peeked our heads back into the Mustang Stage tent for a little bit of Michael Martin Murphey. Murphey’s a well respected songwriter who once had a band with Mike Nesmith and wrote some tunes for the Monkees. He did time in Austin and was active in the outlaw country scene. He’s written songs for Kenny Rogers and tons of others. You’ve all probably heard his hit song “Wildfire” without even realizing it was him. It was just him and an acoustic. His voice sounded nice, but being rocked that gently wasn’t holding our interest so we mosied on.

After a drink and a snack, we made our way back to the Palomino Stage for Jack Ingram. Ingram’s made his name playing Texas bars in mid-90s. After touring with Brooks and Dunn, he’s gotten a lot more famous. He was a good entertainer, but not necessarily my thing.

Poking our head back into the Mustang tent, we sat down for some Jerry Douglas. Douglas is an absolutely stunning dobro player. According to Wikipedia he’s played on over 1600 records - and it shows. Backed by a full band, it was like watching an amazing jazz band. I just sat down and enjoyed seeing a master at his craft. It was mostly instrumental, but completely engaging. Douglas is also a part of Allison Krauss’ band.

The act I was most looking forward to all weekend was George Jones. If pressed, I’d have a pretty tough time deciding if Jones or Merle Haggard is my favorite country singer of all time. I saw Haggard a number of years ago, and he was fantastic. I’d been warned to set my expectations a bit lower for Jones. At 76, Jones is no spring chicken (although he is four years younger than Charlie Louvin) and he’s abused the shit out of himself. The set was still pretty good. He didn’t do all the songs I wanted to hear, and cuts some of his best songs short, but I was still happy to see him.

We ended up leaving a couple of songs early to peak our head in on Ralph Stanley. All in all, Stagecoach is a superbly run festival. Attendance figures were reported at around 120,000 for the three days and everything seemed extremely smooth. I just wish the schedulers wouldn’t have put so many legends against one another. The way I figure it, you’ve got people there to see the modern stuff and people there to see the legends and less commercial stuff. Don’t make the people there to see the legends make such tough decisions.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Nick Drake's "Northern Sky"

Here's my weekly reminder to tune in to Sinking with Sylvia (and Sometimes Todd) on Little Radio. The show can now be heard on Friday from Noon - 2:00 PM. Tomorrow their guest is Bobb Bruno. Bobb's played with a lot of bands over the years including: The For Carnation (with Brian McMahan from Slint), Polar Goldie Cats, Goliath Bird Eater and Imaad Wasif. He's also recorded a lot of your favorite Smell bands like: Silver Daggers, Abe Vigoda, Mika Miko and Nels Cline. He also plays solo shows around town in a bunny suit.

Each week, they play a track of my choosing and then I write about it here. I'm still way behind, so today I'm writing about my pick on April 17th, Nick Drake's "Northern Sky." Drake was on my mind after a weekend trip to Kansas (to help my Mom with her taxes). Drake and taxes don't really fit together, but I did take a copy of Trevor Dann's biography, Darker Than the Deepest Sea - The Search for Nick Drake to read on the plane.

Drake's one of those amazing, enigmatic cult artists who died way too young. He left behind three mostly fantastic albums (there are a few tracks on Bryter Layter that I can live without) that are essential for any serious acoustic/rock music fans. In 1999, I read Patrick Humphries' Nick Drake - The Biography, which posed more questions than it answered. So it was with reluctance that I picked up this new biography. To my surprise, Dann has written a much more conclusive portrait. Dann scored some great interviews with childhood friends, traveling companions, Linda Thompson and others who knew him. While some fans might view Dann's writing as conjecture, he seems thorough without being fawning. It makes for a very interesting read. Dann enhances the bio, with a fair amount of criticism of the music.

I picked "Northern Sky" because the book made me want to go back and re-visit Bryter Layter, which is my least favorite Drake record. The book goes into John Cale's (Velvet Underground) involvement with the record. "Northern Sky" is one of two tracks featuring Cale. The two tracks are superior to anything else on the record. There's been a lot of speculation about Drake's sexuality over the years. Dann's book explores all the possibilities. He was a good looking fella, and it's hard for most of us to imagine turning down Francoise Hardy or Linda Thompson. He seemed to become an asexual guy, but he was still able to write this stunning love song.

For newcomers, this is still the last of the studio albums to pick up. For Drake fans, the Dann biography is the first one you should pick up.

Watch a clip from the Drake documentary, A Skin Too Few.
Go to Nick Drake's Myspace page and listen to "Northern Sky"

Recently Announced LA Shows

The good news is that My Bloody Valentine finally announced their LA shows. The bad news is that tickets are $50 + service charges (so I’m guessing a pair will be $130-ish) and that it’s in Santa Monica. Also, My Morning Jacket announced a show at the Greek.

Don’t forget that individual tickets for Hollywood Bowl events go on sale this weekend….

Widespread Panic @ Orpheum from 6/20/08 – 6/22/08 (on sale Saturday at 10:00 AM)

Grand Archives @ the Echo on 6/27/08 (on sale now at Ticketweb)

Fleet Foxes @ the Echo on 6/28/08 (on sale now at Ticketweb)

The 88 @ the Roxy on 6/28/08 (on sale Friday at 10:30 AM)

Chromeo @ the Fonda on 7/30/08 (on sale Saturday at 10:00 AM)

Lyle Lovett @ Orpheum on 8/3/08 (on sale Monday at 10:00 AM, presale on now)

Rock the Bells: A Tribe Called Quest / Nas / The Pharcyde / Mos Def / Q-Tip / Rakim / Redman / De La Soul / Raekwon / Ghostface / Immortal Technique / Spank Rock / Dead Prez / Murs / Kid Sister / Flosstradamus @ Glen Helen Pavillion on 8/9/08 (on sale Saturday at 10:00 AM, presale on now)

My Morning Jacket @ the Greek Theatre on 9/21/08 (on sale info TBD)

My Bloody Valentine @ Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on 10/1/08 and 10/2/08 (correction: tickets on sale Saturday at 10:00 AM - Goldenvoice's website is wrong)

The Swell Season / Iron & Wine @ the Greek on 10/4/08 (on sale Saturday at 10:00 AM, presale on now)

Ticket Giveaway - The Parson Red Heads

The Parson Red Heads have been playing a steady stream of LA shows for the past two years. I've been a fan since the first time I saw them in August 2006. On Friday they're celebrating the release of their new EP, Owl & Timber with a show at Spaceland. If the two tracks on Myspace are any indication, it sounds like another great evolution for the band.

Their live shows are always fun. They've got an infectious energy and you can't help but smile throughout. Opening for them is another one of my favorite local acts, The Movies. Pretty damn good way to spend a Friday night. Also appearing are My Pet Saddle and The Monahans.

I've got three pairs of tickets to give away for the show. Email me [dukeufo at hotmail] and tell me who your favorite local band is at the moment. Please put ticket giveaway in the subject line.... The contest closes tonight at 9:00 PM.

Download The Parson Red Heads' "Got It All"

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Stagecoach Journal - Day 2 (Saturday)

Stagecoach Journal Continued...

Waking up on Saturday wasn’t all that pretty. I think it was mostly dehydration and fatigue from working most of the day, driving several hours and then standing in a field watching the Eagles (staying up until 3:30AM and drinking might have had a little to do with it). There were eight of us staying in the house, and fortunately the bedrooms were spread out, so we didn’t wake each other up (tell that to Matt who was sleeping on the couch). Fortunately we had some bacon and eggs which helped me come around. I started feeling pretty good after a dip in the pool.

I was pressuring everybody to get moving because I wanted to see Ryan Bingham on the Palomino Stage at 3:30. Non-commercial, young performers were scarce on the lineup this year, and I’d been hearing good things about him. When we didn’t leave until 3:20, I was pretty nervous. My fears were unfounded. Our house was damn close to the festival grounds and we had a VIP parking pass. The drive took us about two minutes, we scored a great parking spot and a golf cart chauffeured us to the Palomino Stage. Effortless festival going does not suck….

Ryan Bingham’s a gravelly voiced singer from Austin. His debut album was produced by Marc Ford (former guitarist for the Black Crowes) and released on Lost Highway late last year. I haven’t heard the record yet, but the live performance made me add it to my list. His voice is rugged, the music’s fast and the songs make you want to drink bourbon. Ford joined him onstage for some ferocious guitar licks and slide guitar. He’s definitely an artist to keep your eye on. (I heard great things about Hayes Carll who played before him.)

After Bingham, we just started wandering the festival grounds. There are some major differences between Stagecoach and Coachella. For one thing, they have a barbeque contest. This year, Stagecoach only had three stages, so the barbeque contest was set up where the outdoor stage is at Coachella. You walk up, pay $10 for five tickets and then give your ticket to vendors who provide you with a pretty healthy sample of their barbeque. By the time we got there, a lot of the vendors were out of food, but we still got some good stuff.

Another big difference with Stagecoach and Coachella is that at Stagecoach, you can get hard liquor at any of the alcohol stations (you don’t need a VIP wristband) and you can walk the grounds with alcohol. I’ve been known to enjoy a bourbon and soda from time to time, so it’s a nice benefit to be able to watch a band and enjoy a real drink.

We ventured over to the VIP area to check that out. Packed like Coachella (wasn’t that bad in 2007). So then we went back to the artist relations area to see if there were any free drinks to be had. Heineken Light (came in a can and actually tasted better to me than Heineken).

We’d heard good things about Cherryholmes, so we wandered back over to the Mustang stage. We walked in right as they were talking about the Iraq war. Bummer. The young girl in the band sang some song about bringing her son home alive and it was pretty tough to take. We stuck around for one of the more traditional bluegrass songs, but it was tough to get back in the spirit of it. We stumbled over to the Palomino stage and caught a little bit of Cross Canadian Ragweed. They were dressed pretty ridiculously, so we wandered behind the stage so we wouldn’t have to watch them. Well played southern rock, but ultimately not that interesting.

The main attraction for us on Saturday was Dwight Yoakam. The guy’s a fantastic entertainer and wears tighter jeans than the OC kids at Cinespace on Tuesday nights. Anticipation started to build backstage as security cleared a huge path for him to get from his trailer to the stage. About six security guards/police surrounded him as he ran the 20 feet from his trailer to the stage. So ridiculous, but certainly amusing. Luckily he delivered. The guy has got a great band and a ton of stage presence. He threw in a ton of covers (as usual) but unfortunately didn’t do any Gram Parsons. Oh well.

We tentatively planned to stick around for Earl Scruggs at 9:35. We wandered back over to the VIP area for some free drinks. We caught a little bit of the Judds (why would anyone cover “I Wanna Know What Love Is”?) and then ran into our two friends that we rode over with. One of them was injured and one of them was hammered, so we decided to call it an early night. Rascal Flatts just wasn’t in the cards. We grabbed a golf cart and headed back to the car……

Sunday coverage is coming later…..

Monday, May 05, 2008

Live Review - Stagecoach Festival Day 1

I had a great time at Stagecoach last year. The vibe was mellow and I saw great sets from Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Chris Hillman and Herb Pederson, Doyle Lawson, Neko Case, The Railbenders and Old 97’s. This year the festival organizers expanded the festival to three days and cut way back on the alt-country. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go or not?

A few days before the festival began, some excellent passes and a cheap place to stay fell in my lap. At worst, I figured we’d have a nice vacation in the desert. We set off for Indio about 5:25PM on Friday. The goal was to get to the festival in time to see Glen Campbell at 8:20. Being a Friday night in LA, the traffic was pretty awful until we got past Pomona. We ended up reaching the festival grounds around 8:15 PM. After a long walk to gate and a small snafu with our passes, we didn’t get in to the festival until 8:55. We decided to grab a quick bite and a drink and skip Glen Campbell tonight.

The Eagles are one of the most hated bands by indie snobs and punks. Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 is the best selling album of all time in the US (shipped 29 million copies / 41 million worldwide). I don’t usually voluntarily listen to the Eagles, but I have $1 copies of most of their albums and grew up with an older sister who loved them and stoner friends in high school who played the shit out of them. So I was apprehensive, but curious to see them.

So how were they?

They exceeded my expectations. I can’t say I was totally blown away, but there was something cool about hearing some of the most famous songs of all time performed live. The Eagles always had amazing harmonies, and if easy breezy was a genre, they’d be the kings. The band sounded great, they all looked pretty good and the Joe Walsh licks were there. I can’t remember the exact set list, but I feel like I heard: “Take It Easy,” “Desperado,” “One of These Nights,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” “Take It to the Limit,” “Hotel California,” “Life in the Fast Lane,” “The Long Run,” “In the City,” “Heartache Tonight,” Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good” (which he got in the spirit for) and Henley’s “The Boys of Summer.” I know there were more, but until I see a set list online, that will have to suffice.

All in all it was a great low key start to the festival. Fans walked away very happy. More about Saturday and Sunday later…….