Friday, July 31, 2009

Gaaaaahhhhh.

Well, shit. Polvo, the most delicious '90s rock band featuring a deliciously lispy frontman (this side of the Make-Up, anyway) is touring in the fall. Exclamation point!

August 1 - Baltimore MD - Ottobar

September 4 - Newport KY - Southgate House
September 5 - Chicago IL - Bottom Lounge
September 6 - Detroit MI - Magic Stick w/ Titus Andronicus
September 24 - Brooklyn NY - The Bell House
September 25 - Northampton MA - Iron Horse Music Hall
September 26 - Washington DC - The Black Cat

October 6 - Seattle WA - Crocodile Cafe
October 7 - Portland OR - Berbati's Pan
October 9 - San Francisco CA - Slim's
October 10 - Los Angeles CA - Spaceland


Polvo - Thermal Treasure
Polvo - Tilebreaker

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Georgia Anne Muldrow - Umsindo

The proper follow-up to 2006's Olesi comes just in time, right after the light tease that cultivated in Muldrow's spring compilation, Ms. One. Having released said compilation, a portfolio of sorts that demonstrated her ability as a producer and only showcased her voice and musicianship to a limited degree, Muldrow's Umsindo finds her in fine form, as boldly political as she was three years ago, though now more comfortable thanks to her recent role as mother.

Muldrow is a modern-day earth child, as peaceful as they come – look to “Roses” for evidence (a Mos Def-less original, though you may have heard the half-assed addition of his voice on The Ecstatic last June). Her record in full is highly Afrocentric, and though the Zulu tributes can be a bit isolating, the majority of themes here are universally significant.

She spent some words on President Bush last May (see “Mr. President” on Ms. One), and now she's playing skeptic toward the current administration on “Caracas”: “Nuclear bombs don't just belong to Osama/they'll soon belong to Obama...I'm not a part of this country/I ain't a part of this policy.” But then, she's got a tribute to Jah in “De Wiz” and to the daughter of her beau (and Umsindo's executive producer) Dudley Perkins in “E.S.P.” And sweet Jesus, her music's thick – the fuzzy feedback of bass on “Seminole Unity Chant,” the lazy melody and complementary live drums of “Okra,” the loose guitar of “So Far.” Never mind the maturity that shows through her lyrics; it's her music, raw and pure, that makes her an essential.


Georgia Anne Muldrow - Kids
Georgia Anne Muldrow - Okra
Purchase Umsindo

Saturday, July 25, 2009

She claims there will be cookies. I'm just a middle man, what do I know?

1519 Sunset Blvd. Echo Park, CA 90026

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lhasa - Lhasa

On a typical day, give me guitars. Give me the the urgency of 1977, or the slacker attitude of 1993. Give me bummed-out men. But let me make exception for a singer-songwriter like Lhasa de Sela, who produces her own work, records to tape – oh, how lovely, that tape – and performs “Is Anything Wrong” like Jolie Holland minus the accentuated accent. She's got “Rising,” a beautiful number carried by a graceful 3-4-5-6-5-4 finger-picking pattern, and “The Lonely Spider,” a tastefully whimsical metaphor for the woman desperate to pull back the man she's lost. What a sad fucking song.

Lhasa's aging gracefully; her voice is painted somewhat like Leslie Feist's these days, but hers is smoother and more effortless, and her music so much more sensual and elegant. The sloppy angst that came with her first (Spanish-language) record, 1997's La Llorona, is gone, and she's not going the multilingual route, as she did on her significantly better follow-up.

Instead, she's now got a complete album tracing the loss that follows love. “I'm Going In” epitomizes Lhasa, such frailty in her voice, surely untrained, instinctual and suited to the mood created by her cautious fingertips on piano. The story of neverending, unrequited love that occupies “Love Came Here” would be better suited to the dreamy drone of “Bells” than the sultry stomp that will likely make it a college radio single, but then, were that the case, it would turn into a duplicate of “Fool's Gold,” which is sort of a perfect ballad of heartbreak.


The Marquis de Sade once assembled a perfect line of text, “the sequel of this sentiment is madness,” and there's no more flawless phrase with which to describe Lhasa's third. Anyone who's dumped his other should be grateful to have such a beautiful album assigned to him.

Lhasa - Fool's Gold
Lhasa - I'm Going In
Purchase Lhasa.
Read album lyrics here, then weep a little for your exes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bombadil - Tarpits and Canyonlands

This second Bombadil record picks up where the first left off, this time having captured Stuart Robinson just prior to his departure. It's mostly quite pleasant, in every sense of the word, and this is, as with the band's earlier material, a very safe, intelligent sort of folk-pop, though there's a touch less of the Bolivian influence that marked A Buzz, A Buzz.

“Oto the Bear” is this record's “Julian of Norwich” – this kind of whimsy is what landed Arcade Fire onto the list of Stuff White People Like, and I hate whimsy, but then again, you might not. The way each word is drawn out – “OT-to the BAY-ah” – isn't so hot. But again, perhaps you like whimsy. Are you drawn to couplets like “Oto the bear played by the thicket/Oto the bear just couldn't kick it?”

On the other hand, there are songs like “Reasons,” a beautiful ballad and reminder that it's better to love in frustration than to have never known love at all, and there's a mind on marriage throughout the record. See the hesitant piano ballad “Marriage” (“what would you say to marriage/after the 200th time I told the same joke/and then I broke your favorite watch with my heel”), or downer love story “Cold Runway.” Between these and the tribute to a successfully suicidal roommate, "Matthew," it should be the highly literate, genuine lyrics that make Bombadil stand out among an array of those safe folk-pop bands.

On a side note, the band's Daniel Michalak has tendinitis, which will keep them off the road for a while. Ergo, you can support Bombadil by buying this record.


Additionally, a more thorough introduction to Bombadil can be found on this lovely site.

Bombadil - Cold Runway
Bombadil - So Many Ways to Die

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Yessssss.

The Twilight Sad are touring!

09/13 - Morrison, CO - Monolith Festival
09/14 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
09/15 - Boise, ID - Neurolux
09/16 - Seattle, WA - Neumo's
09/17 - Portland, OR - Dante's (MusicFest NW)
09/18 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent
09/20 - Los Angeles, CA - Knitting Factory
09/22 - Tucson, AZ - Plush
09/24 - Austin, TX - The Mohawk
09/26 - Birmingham, AL - Bottletree
09/27 - Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade
09/28 - Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder
09/29 - Orlando, FL - The Social
(dates stolen from cmj.com)

Patrick Carney from the Black Keys now has a side project. Dan Auerbach went out on his solo tour, see, so Pat was all, "Hey, me too, me too." It's called Drummer.

In promotion of Jessica Hopper's book, The Girls' Guide to Rocking (a surprisingly not lame handbook on how to start and maintain a band, complete with a rundown of instrument anatomy and show booking methods), the Santa Monica Library will be hosting Hopper and a free show with Mika Miko, 2pm on July 15. Click click click for a flyer.

Holy crap. Built to Spill and the goddamned Sonics are playing Sunset Junction this year.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Crap to do on a Thursday.

The Also I Like to Rock concert series is returning to the Hammer Museum for the summer!

...and...

Yes, technically the above is available in full on You Tube, but watching movies in ten minute segments just isn't any fun. As an alternate option, tomorrow (July 2), Libros Revolucion/Revolution Books in downtown L.A. is showing this, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, a 1981 BBC interview with physicist Richard Feynman. It's a bit dry for the impatient, but he's a jolly one-way chat, and gives a good lesson on human perspective and education. This should be a worthwhile viewing, and will be followed with a discussion led by optical physicist Taylor Trowbridge.

In preparation: Check out Feynman's Nobel lecture from 1965.

312 W. 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014
July 2 at 7:30pm