Monday, November 24, 2014

Oi! It's Christmastime!

It's nearly Thanksgiving, which means...time for Christmas! Hard Left are something of a novelty super-ish group based in Oakland, featuring a few onetime members of the bands that founded Slumberland Records, and they've got a little California mini-tour scheduled for mid-December:

Dec 11 – San Francisco, CA – Knockout w/Terry Malts
Dec 12 – Sacramento, CA – Cafe Colonial w/West Lords
Dec 13 – Long Beach, CA – The Prospector w/Fartbarf & Feral Kizzy
Dec 14 – Los Angeles, CA – Cafe Nela w/Terry Malts & Spokenest
Dec 15 – Oakland, CA – 1-2-3-4-Go! w/Quaaludes

Admittedly, they're a pretty decent imitation of British oi!

Comin' from Atlantis

Israel-born, Berlin-based, awfully young band Soda Fabric will release their debut LP, Atlantis, next spring, as a follow up to 2013's Tears on the Beach EP. In celebration, let's revisit some of their videos!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Don't mess with Jesus

In May of this year, just prior to Danish music festival 13 Torches for a Burn, intended to celebrate Posh Isolation, a Copenhagen-based label co-owned by a now-21-year old, Highland Park venue Church on York was shut down due to having been deemed an illegal venue. The festival got moved to Los Globos in Silverlake at last minute, and now there's a short documentary on the unfortunately timed weekend. Happily features a good bit of Iceage footage.

View it here.

Old favorites, new projects

First, John Reis has a new project! Swami John Reis and the Blind Shake is putting out Modern Surf Classics, a tribute to surf music and films of the '60s and '70s, on Jan. 27, (obviously) on Swami Records. The Blind Shake is a trio sans bass that once served as Michael Yonkers' backing band, lucky bastards.

There'll also be a tour this spring!

2/12 -- San Francisco, CA -- Bottom of the Hill
2/13 -- Los Angeles, CA -- The Satellite
2/14 -- Long Beach, CA -- Alex's Bar
2/15 -- San Diego, CA -- Casbah
2/19 -- Minneapolis, MN -- Turf Club
2/20 -- Milwaukee, WI -- Shank Hall
2/21 -- Chicago, IL -- Empty Bottle
2/25 -- Brooklyn, NY -- St. Vitus
2/26 -- New York, NY -- Mercury Lounge
2/27 -- Washington, DC -- Rock & Roll Hotel
2/28 -- Philadelphia, PA -- Underground Arts: Black Box

Pitchfork just released a short documentary today on Brian Chippendale and Greg Saunier, two of the most brilliant living drummers, respectively of Lightning Bolt and Deerhoof. Saunier in particular is a fantastic interview subject, nervous tick, terrible laugh and all. And what Saunier says of Lightning Bolt?

"The first time that I heard Lightning Bolt, that I most loved about them, was that, finally, I was hearing a band that wasn't appropriating an older style. it sounded like it was invented from absolute scratch [...] they were gonna build it up, cavemen-style, from a stone and two twigs or something."

Totally worth your twenty minutes, and goes hand-in-hand with a limited-edition vinyl release of an album the two created together, recorded in 2013 at the almost-defunct Death by Audio.

Dirt Dress, local to Los Angeles, once sounded like every other band in the greater Silverlake area that was just learning how to handle instruments and attempting to become a proper band. Have a listen to 2007's Theme Songs as proof. Today, they were featured on KXLU's Part Time Punks and cited as a post-punk band that've been around for a long time. As of this week, they've got a new EP providing a point of contrast from what they once were. It also just so happens that they'll be at the Echo in Los Angeles this Sunday (Nov. 23) for their record release show.

Better yet, revisit their demos from 2010 to see how the evolution has been bridged:

Samples from both hemispheres

Several years ago, I'd mourned the assumed end of Skywave and wondered what had become of them, only to discover that the end of Skywave meant the start of A Place to Bury Strangers. Already, 2015 will mark the fourth album by A Place to Bury Strangers, Transfixiation, due Feb. 16 on Dead Oceans. Here's the lead single from the album, further proof that the band can essentially do no wrong. (Also! They'll be at the Echo in Los Angeles on Mar. 15.)

Kim Deal is predictably fabulous at 53 and has an EP coming out! The video for "Biker Gone" boasts a rather original plot and is the only video to come to mind that features a buffet.

Thee Gold Blooms, while not original in concept, are part of that fabulous rock movement in Australia mentioned on previous occasions, and would fit beautifully on the roster of Orange County's Burger Records, what with their breezy, lo-fi surf-rock sway and grainy vocals. They hail from Perth, and "Katie-Sue" will be released Dec. 5 on Pavement Records, an LP to follow in January 2015.

And, finally -- remember the Eversons? That wickedly funny band out of Wellington, New Zealand whose every song seems to be about their frontman pitted against the rest of the group? Everson Mark Turner has got a new band, The Emilys, and though this isn't necessarily the strongest first release possible, speaking musically, it's a collaborative project among visual artists and looks to be promising in the video arena.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Two new videos outta Australia!

The first comes from Melbourne-based favorite Total Control, a video for "Flesh War" off this year's fantastic electro-post-punk album Typical System.

The second comes from Ilias, an Australian/Algerian Sydney-based solo artist making good use of IMAX footage who claims an influence in Ennio Morricone, and who will surely appeal to fans of John Frusciante. The following comes from this year's All the Way Up.

In addition, the artist known as Ilias has kindly written the following:

Before the curtain is pulled, I decided to donate ALL PROCEEDS from future sales of my music towards helping the refugee & humanitarian crisis in Syria. With winter coming, 7 million displaced & 3.5 million refugees scattered overseas, this is one of the worst human tragedy in decades & they certainly need the money more than I do. 

You can help by buying one of my albums directly on my site: 

Music for you = help for them. ALL MY SALES until the end of the year will be donated to the UNHCR relief effort. You can also learn more on the situation & donate directly by visiting the UNHCR site


Powder Blue, reminding you to remember Saskatoon

Nice new offering here from Powder Blue, an (almost) all-lady band out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan -- this lovely blend of dark shoegaze, grunge and ethereal harmonies might bring to mind Azure Ray, Is/Is, or Psychic Love, and could easily have been recorded in any of the last three decades. They're in the midst of touring Europe and have a new EP, II, set for release on Dec. 8.

Here are a couple of older samples with which to get familiar.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Meet Bully!

Bully is a perfectly retro-sounding alternative rock act from Nashville that brings to mind Juliana Hatfield and former tourmates Superchunk. The Bully EP just got released on Oct. 21 and it's a rehashing of the best parts of the early '90s, playfully flirty without being overtly sexual, guitar rock that isn't overwhelmingly so. Would love to see them join members of the Exploding in Sound roster for a tour one day, though they don't appear to be leaving the middle of the country any time soon:

1/19/15 - Louisville, KY - Zanzabar *
1/20/15 - Champaign, IL - Highdive *
1/21/15 - Indianapolis, IN - The HI-FI *

* w/ Strand of Oaks

Howls, chants, glocks: Johanna Glaza

London-based multi-instrumentalist Johanna Glaza is not for everyone, as her mildly new age method is well aligned with Joanna Newsom and the albums of Kate Bush that aren't The Dreaming or Hounds of Love. But this single is quite stunning, two wintery and gentle ballads that make use of the piano's upper register and demonstrate a dreamy, wide vocal range. The "Paper Widow" single gets released on Nov. 30 and is a beautiful follow-up to this summer's Letter to New York, from which the following came:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Wombats, they're arriving!

Was just wondering what the Wombats had been up to when news of a warm-up tour came out, including word of a stop in Los Angeles, to prep for a third record.

And because animated videos are nice:

Burger, reppin' Fullerton

In which we learn that Chad from Meatbodies is Ariel Pink's doppelgänger.

Jumping across the seas, retrieving music along the way

A lot of good, poppy rock has been coming from Australia as of late; the newest bit to arrive comes from Brisbane-based Born Joy Dead, who remind of all the wonderful indie rock things we listened to during college (assuming college was ten or twelve years ago), big, powerful drumming and harmonized vocals worthy of a drunken sing-along.

Speaking of bands from way out yonder, Laverge (ah, creative name, yes) hail from Valencia, Spain, and they sound like a decent imitation of Queens of the Stone Age.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tour begins tonight!

Buzzcocks - The Way

Admittedly, Buzzcocks were never necessarily a band with an urgent message; they weren't political, they didn't address complex feelings or concepts in a way that felt terribly gripping; they mostly offered simply put songs about unrequited love or hopelessness over basic pop punk chords (except, perhaps, the Steve Diggle-sung "Love is Lies," though even this is more or less of a similar formula). And as an older, former coworker once explained about their live shows, "there were always tons of girls at Buzzcocks shows."

If there's any common trait among punk bands that've either reunited or stayed together over a span of thirty or forty years, it's that they often wind up sounding like a cover band mimicking themselves, comprised of very competent session musicians. This could be the result of changing lineups so often. In the case of Buzzcocks, Steve Diggle and Pete Shelley remain, their most recent members having arrived only upon the most recent album or two, after a string of changes long enough to fill a baseball team.

The newest Buzzcocks record was produced to sound just like their live set plays out at a large venue -- big, booming drums that echo and battle against treble-heavy guitars -- and rightly so, because The Way very much resembles the sort of thing a band records after thirty-eight years of keeping up a punk image. Excellent material for a lively show, but little urgency or substance to compete with their reason for beginning as a band years before. The Way is entirely upbeat, little distinction to be made among tracks, and this follows along with the delight Diggle takes in playing rock star, though Shelley's voice has (understandably) lost its flamboyance and giddiness to match Diggle's enthusiasm. It'd be a wonderful surprise to see the band try something new, if only to show that there's real purpose in staying together and creating after two generations' time, and Shelley did experiment while branching out on his own for a bit, but the band is astute in their awareness of what people expect of them, and songs like "It's Not You" quite literally maintain the "I'm on my own now/what am I living for" content of the stuff that got them going in the first place. The newest is a bit tired, but it's a predictable delight.

Purchase The Way.

Monday, November 10, 2014

All that and Angelyne, too! (for Los Angeles only)

Ariel Pink's Tantalising Tinsel-Town Take Over

Delicious Donuts and Delectable Ditties (Nov 11)
Eat pink donuts from Donut Friend while enjoying a full playback of pom pom
El Prado Bar [1804 W Sunset Blvd] 7-9pm

Get Groovy at Gimme Gimme (Nov 13)
Listen to a DJ set by the one and only Ariel Pink
Gimme Gimme Records [4268 York Blvd] 6-7pm

Pretty in Pink. Permanently (Nov 14)
Get your nails done, only in pink, by LA's top manicure artists
Permanent Records [5116 York Blvd] 5-7pm

Luxuriously 'LA' Limo Listening Luau (Nov 15)
Ride in style in our pink stretch job and enjoy LA's finest sites with pom pom on the system
Origami Records [1816 Sunset Blvd] 12 noon
RSVP required but doesn't guarantee entrance.

Ariel Pink's Pom-pom-igami (Nov 17)
Free Two Boots pizza, a special appearance by Angelyne and other guests, music, drinks + more
Origami Records [1816 Sunset Blvd] 5-8pm

Sunday, November 9, 2014

L.A. missed out.

Friday afternoon, prior to joining We Were Promised Jetpacks at the Fonda Theatre, the Twilight Sad performed an acoustic set at Origami Vinyl in Echo Park, and no more than ten or twelve people were there to hear it. The whole set was brilliant, and this was part of it. Forgive the terrible video quality and have a thorough listen. These acoustic sets are a testament to how genuine of a singer and storyteller James Graham is and will be in the long term, and it's a crime that more people weren't present here to witness him singing firsthand. What he delivers and what this band creates together are nothing short of magic.

As an aside, Graham did a meaty interview as well as a fantastic photo feature on greater Kilsyth for Drowned in Sound a bit over a week ago.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lemuria: still keeping the alternative genre alive

Here's a new something special from '90s-ass alt-rock band Lemuria! "Foggy Smoke" is the B-side of an upcoming 7-inch that will be packaged with Turnstile Comix #3, "a 40 page comic book about Lemuria's harrowing 2001 tour through Russia, based on true events and illustrated by Mitch Clem and Nation Of Amanda."

Only 2,000 pressings of the record will be initially available! Pre-orders available here. Officially released Dec. 16.

They're touring, too!

Every advance ticket purchased for these dates comes with an exclusive Lemuria 7-inch.

11/21 - McAllen, TX @ Cine El Rey #
11/22 - Corpus Christi, TX @ The NASA #
11/23 - Houston, TX @ Fitzferalds (Upstairs) #
11/26 - San Antonio, TX @ 1011 #
11/28 - Austin, TX @ Red 7 (Inside) #
11/29 - Albuquerque, NM @ Gasworks #
11/30 - Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room #
12/1 - San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar #
12/2 - Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room #
12/3 - Fresno, CA @ Stummers #
12/4 - Oakland, CA @ New Parish #
12/5 - Portland, OR @ Slabtown #
12/6 - Seattle, WA @ Corazon #
12/7 - Boise, ID @ The Crux #
12/8 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court #
12/9 - Denver, CO @ Hi Dive #
12/10 - Lincoln, NE @ VEGA #
12/11 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry $
12/12 - Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen $
12/13 - St. Louis, MO @ Demo $
12/14 - Indianapolis, IN @ Hoosier Dome $
12/15 - Cleveland, OH @ Mahalls 20 Lanes $
12/16 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Smiling Moose $
12/17 - Toronto, ON @ Adelaide Hall $
12/18 - Rochester, NY @ The Bug Jar $
12/20 - New York, NY @ Brooklyn Night Bazaar $
12/21 - Philadelphia, PA @ Boot and Saddle $
12/22 - Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter $
12/23 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat Backstage $

# - w/ Into It. Over It.
$ - w/ Prince (no, not THAT Prince)

The newest Ariel Pink -- inspired by...Madonna?

Monday, November 3, 2014

New stufffff

This is brand new, a good and true cover, and the Coathangers have come a decent way since "Nestle in My Boobies." It's also going to be the A-side of a 7-inch split with These Arms Are Snakes!

New Cherry Glazerrrrrrr...available here (this is where we keep talking 7-inch releases).

Suicide Squeeze is on a roll this year -- Atlanta-based Dasher also has a 7-inch available through the label, and though singer/drummer/brainchild Kylee Kimbrough allegedly first found inspiration in Patti Smith (the whole package, not necessarily the music), this is a really solid hybrid of post-punk and hardcore, and what makes Dasher really spectacular is that Kimbrough is a woman who'd easily pass for a male vocalist. It's refreshing to hear a female vocalist who not only doesn't sing "cute," "pretty," or "quirky," but who can beat men at their own game. This is a hell of a find.

Also, watch Kimbrough wear her influences on her sleeve:

Finally! Here's a trailer for what will be the very last Dirty Beaches record, an instrumental called Stateless that gets released tomorrow.