Tuesday, June 30, 2009

July in Advance

What you should know in advance about July:

Other Shows
  • Fol Chen plays at Pershing Square on July 15. It's going to be annoying to travel downtown on a Wednesday evening, but I don't know if I can keep missing Fol Chen shows.
  • So Many Dynamos are at Spaceland on July 18
  • Cut Chemist and We Are the World (who need to be seen to be believed) play at the Getty's Saturdays Off the 405 on July 25
  • Future of the Left, who impressed me at SXSW, are at Spaceland on July 31.
(Oh, and Local Natives have the August Spaceland residency)

Monday, June 29, 2009

What 2 Go 2: June 29 - July 5

This week starts off with three highly recommended shows and then seems to completely fizzle out.

: The opener for the Oliver Future residency at the Echo is . . . Casxio. Make sure you're there by 10, and stay for Oliver. Wish I hadn't missed Oliver Future this month.

Tuesday: Leslie & The Badgers CD Release Show at Spaceland. Olin & The Moon opens.

Wednesday: Fitz & The Tantrums bring their old school soul to Spaceland. Here's a sample:

Fitz & The Tantrums Performing LIVE! that's right LIVE!!! "Breakin' the Chains of Love" from Fitz&theTantrums on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Datarock, Casxio, Wallpaper @ Key Club (6/13/2009)

I walked in during the second half of Wallpaper's set, as they were covering Bel Biv DeVoe's (That Girl is) Poison. It seemed fun, and they had autotune going. Wallpaper's gotten a bunch of hype from their remix of "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell,"(download) and, more recently, for their response to Jay-Z's new single "Death of Autotune," which features the line "I've got 99 problems but my pitch ain't one." After Poison, though, I wasn't particularly impressed with their set. They've got a great sense of humor but there's nothing particularly noteworthy about them live.

Casxio was up next. A couple minutes before Casxio started I made my way towards the front of the Key Club, and then right as they took the stage a tall guy with a girl walk stand right in front of me. Usually that would not be ok, but this tall guy was Joshua Jackson, so I let it slide. (But I did take a picture of the top of his head with Casxio, included below.)

As you'd expect, I thoroughly enjoyed Casxio's set, although I not as much as their Spaceland show. This was mostly due to the layout of the Key Club, which puts the stage pretty high above the floor, so there's simply more distance between the band and the crowd.

Datarock headlined. I was relatively excited to see them, but I couldn't make it through their set. It felt very oppressive: the music was very loud, there was almost too much energy, and I don't know who thought flashing bright white lights at the crowd was a good idea, but there were bright white lights consistently flashing the crowd. It was unpleasant, but plenty of people seemed very pleased. I left about 20 minutes in.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Nyle on MTV!

Back on May 4th I posted Nyle Emerson's video for "Let The Beat Build," which was just starting to catch fire. Brief summary: the audio was recorded live along with the video, which was filmed in just one take. All done for $2,000. Here's the video:

Since then Nyle's continued to gain attention, and he was on MTV's "It's On with Alexa Chung" on Monday. Here's a link to the the full 5 minute segment. It begins with a short interview and then Nyle performs at around 3:00. His new song references Saved By the Bell, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and Boy Meets World, all in less than a minute. And then he freestyles about the host at the end. Great stuff.

Here's just the performance (since you can't embed Facebook video):

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What 2 Go 2: June 23 - 28

I'm out of town again beginning on Thursday, but I'll be scheduling posts to go up while I'm out. This looks like a high quality week.

Tuesday: Cryptacize at Echo Curio.
Wednesday: The Watson Twins at Largo.

Thursday: Amanda Palmer at the Troubadour. She's mesmerizing.

Friday: Fol Chen at the PDG Warehouse downtown. Supposedly a Lakers celebration. I'm going to miss Fol Chen again. Arrgs.
  • Alternate: Telekinesis at Echoplex
  • Alternate 2: Line and Circle (who sound great on their Myspace) at Spaceland. They're not headlining, and I'm not familiar with the other bands playing, so might not be worth it.
Saturday: Probably can't go wrong with Halloween Jack at Spaceland. I never made it to any of their shows.

Guilty Pleasure: Cobra Starship's New Single "Good Girls Go Bad"

Cobra Starship has been a guilty pleasure of mine for a while. Being from the great state of New Jersey (and going to the same high school as frontman Gabe Saporta), I had been a Midtown fan (Gabe's previous band) since early 2000 when I first heard their debut album, "Save the World, Lose the Girl." And while it was sad to see them effectively disband back in 2005, it was plain to see that Midtown wasn't going to break out like it seemed they would in 2001.

Cobra Starship, on the other hand, is finally making Gabe the star he always wanted to be. The single just hit #40 on the Top 40 radio chart, and their Myspace page has over 15 million hits.

Their new single ("Good Girls Go Bad") features Leighton Meester of Gossip Girl. I've never watched Gossip Girl and I didn't know who Meester was before hearing that she'd be recording a track with CS. She sings a verse and her voice fits in perfectly with the tone and topic of the song.

Stream it here and feel guilty with me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Castledoor AND Local Natives at Spaceland TONIGHT

Two CER favorites on the bill tonight at Spaceland for the perfect price of FREE. A CER dream show? Signs point to yes.

Local Natives open up for Castledoor's fourth residency show tonight. Local Natives should be on at 10 with Castledoor at 11. Don't miss it.

More info if you need it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Weekend Update: 6/19

Some additional shows to help you have a great weekend:

Saturday: Chairlift (you know their song Bruises from an iPod commercial) is playing at the Getty Museum on Saturday evening. It's the first edition of the Getty's Saturdays Off the 405. The show is from 6pm - 9, so they'll be playing somewhere in between.

Sunday: Starfucker is playing at The Smell.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

U.K. Artist to Watch: Fanfarlo

Fanfarlo: excellent chamber indie pop from the U.K. You can definitely hear some Princeton in their music, along with Arcade Fire and Beirut. I challenge you to not like them.

Even more noteworthy is that you can download their debut LP "Reservoir" (plus four bonus tracks) from their website for just $1 through July 4. Yes, one dollar. Don't miss out.

Here's a video of the band playing "Harold T. Wilkins" in a shed:

And here's an embedded player with some more songs and videos:

No US dates on the horizon yet.

Reminder: download the album. You have until July 4.

(Thanks to Zach and Craig for the heads up on Fanfarlo.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Video Encounter: Castledoor's cover of "It's a Man's Man's Man's World"

Can't wait to finally make it to their residency next week.

What 2 Go 2: June 16 to 21

Quickly, since I need to get back to work and it's not a huge week for shows.

Tuesday - Thursday: Art Brut at Spaceland. Nico Stai opens on Wednesday and Rumspringa (sorry, got them confused with Vanaprasta) opens on Thursday. I'll be in attendance on Thursday.

Friday: Art Brut at the Echo.

Saturday: Seasons and I Make This Sound at Mr. T's Bowl. I Make This Sound features the rhythm section of The Henry Clay People. Speaking of The Henry Clay People, they really need to play an LA show soon.
  • Halloween Jack also plays Spaceland, if travelling out to Highland Park isn't in the cards.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Red Cortez, Robert Francis, Kenan Bell @ Spaceland (6/12/2009)

This was my first LA show in two weeks and my first time at Spaceland in almost a month. And I thought I was getting tired of Spaceland. It was great to be back, and the night seriously calmed the "maybe I should move back to New York" thoughts that began after my East Coast trip earlier this month.

It's easy to call this show one of the more unusual ones I've attended. First, it was a benefit show for Taco Zone, a taco truck that parks outside of the Vons on Alvarado and Montana, and a taco truck that I had not yet patronized (although I did go after the show). Second, the bands didn't start playing until 10:30; instead, there were DJ sets beginning at 9. Finally, I had never seen any local hip hop in Silverlake/Echo Park, and Kenan Bell filled that role, playing to an unusual Spaceland crowd.

I got to Spaceland at 10. Small turnout. Noticing that the back room was almost empty, I thought it would be a good opportunity to spend some time there before all the smokers invaded.

Red Cortez started the live music portion of the evening at 10:30 with their rootsy post-punk. I don't know what this band did since the last time I saw them, but wow; they were significantly better than their January show at the Echo, when I left disappointed. Excellent and energetic set from this very promising (and now CER Endorsed) band.

Robert Francis was up next. I was expecting a solo singer-songwriter performance. Instead, I was greeted with a three-piece band. The first song wasn't particularly noteworthy, and I mostly tuned out the remainder of their set. The last two songs sounded pretty good, though.

After Robert Francis there must have been almost 100% crowd turnover, because when Kenan Bell took the stage I didn't recognize anyone at Spaceland. Give me hip hop with a live band any day. And Kenan Bell delivered: electric guitar and bass, acoustic guitar, drums, keyboards, and Mr. Bell on the mic. A great set that brought a party atmosphere to Spaceland. I know little about Kenan Bell, and I don't know where or how often they typically play or how they've assembled a fanbase, but the crowd was loving it. You can add me to that fanbase. CER Endorsed as well.

Red Cortez:
Kenan Bell:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Passion Pit, Harlem Shakes @ Echoplex (5/29/2009)

For my more detailed review of this tour at the Troubaour, go here.

Another excellent night.

Harlem Shakes: Loved their set again, and the sound was better this time -- Lexy's vocals were finally loud enough. They started off quiet as usual but the sound guy turned them up about a minute into their second song. There were more people who seemed interested in The Shakes than at the Troubadour, but that could simply be because the Echoplex is triple the size. And again, another loud round of applause as they finished their set.

Passion Pit: Another great set with a fun crowd. I had some issues with the couple who barreled in front of me after the first song (the main issue being their odor), but once I moved over it dissipated. The encounter threw me off a bit, and I got slightly bored/tired halfway through their set, so I moved over to the left some more and started dancing, jumping, etc. along with everyone to my left and had a great time.

Which show was better? I'd say it's a tossup, and I keep going back and forth. The Troubadour was smaller and came first, and I think Passion Pit played better, but the sound for The Shakes was superior at the Echoplex and the venue was a lot darker than the Troubadour, which made Passion Pit's set feel like more of a party (looking back The Troubadour was quite bright). Either way, both shows are at the top of my list for the best of 2009. It was a privilege to be able to see this tour twice.

Here's a video of The Shakes finishing up Radio Orlando (my video of this song from the Troubadour show stopped before the end).

And pictures:

Related Posts:
Review of Passion Pit and Harlem Shakes @ The Troubadour

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Thermals @ The Troubadour (5/27/2009)

My first of two consecutive nights at the Troubadour. I got to The Troubadour at 9:55, thinking I would see the end of Shaky Hands' set. When I got there no one was playing; rather, a band was setting up. Since Shaky Hands were supposed to be on at 9:30, I guessed that the show was late. But then saw the kick drum, which had a picture of The Thermals new album. So they're early?

Kind of. The set up and sound check were complete by 10:15, and the lights went down. I was sitting in the balcony and walked downstairs when the room darkened. But The Thermals waited to go on until 1030. It was hot, I was tired, and I thought about leaving. That would have been a mistake.

The Thermals put on a great show. They're a big ball of energy and fun. The bass player was consistently bouncing, the drummer would stand up at the beginning of songs and rile up the crowd, etc. I was particularly pleased to see a three piece band; they're just aren't enough of them out there. The band played for an hour with a one song encore. After the show the bass player and drummer went out to the edge of the stage for high fives. They played like they loved it, and they finished by showing their fans their appreciation. Got to love that.

This is the "punk-rock" the kids should be listening to. Anyone who's ever considered going to the Warped Tour should be listening to this band. I highly recommend their new album.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

News & Notes: Band Signings Edition

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What 2 Go 2: June 9 - 14

Over a week since my last post and over a week since my last LA show. Strange. This week makes up for it with two stellar, absolutely must-see shows at the end of the week.

[UPDATE: The Mae Shi dropped off the Taco Zone benefit. New lineup has Red Cortez instead]

Tuesday: The Lemonheads at Spaceland. These guys were a bit before my time, but it should be interesting to see them.

Thursday: Handsome Furs play the Echoplex. The Monolators open at 8:30pm. I'm not too impressed with the Furs, but I keep on missing The Monolators, and that needs to stop.
  • There's a discount list for this show (either $7 or $8). Email mail@themonolators.com by Thursday at Noon with your name.
Friday: Red Cortez, Kenan Bell, Robert Francis, and Special Guests at Spaceland. This is a special benefit show for Taco Zone, the Echo Park taco truck that was set on fire on Friday. This show has something for everyone.

Saturday: Datarock, Casxio, and Wallpaper at The Key Club. CER Show of the Week.
  • One listen to Wallpaper's "Combination Pizza Hut Taco Bell" lets you know that you should be at The Roxy when this show starts. Pitchfork review (with track) here.
  • And Datarock is Datarock. They released their new album today, and it sounds good on Myspace (a lot better than their previous album, which seemed hit or miss).
Sunday: If I have any energy left, I'll be expending it seeing Anavan at The Smell. Math The Band (best band name ever?) open with their hyperactive and ridiculously fun moog-rock.

Monday, June 1, 2009

What 2 Go 2 (W2G2): June 1 - June 7

It would be hard to beat last week, so I'm skipping town. That reasoning isn't accurate, but I won't be in LA from Tuesday to Sunday, and my flight tomorrow is too early for me to reasonably attend the Castledoor residency show at Spaceland. So no LA shows for me this week, and the blog will be a little slow as well.

But if I were in LA it would be a good week, and a week where I could see a bunch of local bands I have not yet seen.

Monday: Castledoor residency at Spaceland. The Monolators, who I have not seen but very much want to, open. Oh well #1.

Tuesday: Tough call.
  • But if I were in town, I'd probably be at The Bordello seeing The Movies play their first show in many moons. Seasons opens. Haven't seen Seasons yet, and have only seen The Movies once. Oh well #2.
Thursday: Fol Chen at the Echo. Haven't seen them yet either, and it's their last show before they go to London. Double oh well.

Friday: I'll be in New York, and hopefully seeing Kittens Ablaze as the sun sets at Hillstock's Rooftop Kickoff Party in Brooklyn. I'm very much looking forward to this.

That's all I got. Enjoy the week.