Posts Tagged ‘California’


Having conquered a variety of genre albums in recent years, the genre this time around is that there isn’t a genre—just a dedication to the sanctity of the music and music alone.

Ty Segall has only tweeted once since 2014. He averages about one Facebook post per three months—and even then, it’s almost exclusively advertising a show. Every “Ty Segall” Instagram account is a fan-made page with a couple dozen photos or fewer. He’s not on Snapchat. His website is updated with only bare-bones contact info, a couple videos, and a simple discography. Even his current label, Drag City Records, doesn’t post its catalog to Spotify or Apple Music or Tidal, thereby making it impossible to hear the majority of Segall’s studio albums via any streaming service. Ty Segall indeed embraces an old-school rock and roll sensibility, from a firm belief in the sanctity of the full-length record to his fuzz-heavy analog aesthetic. But, more accurately put, he merely holds one specific thing in much higher regard than the influence of changing business models or technological advances: personal freedom.

Freedom’s Goblin is the latest among many Ty Segall albums: 19 tracks strong, filling four sides of vinyl nonstop, with an unrestricted sense of coming together to make an album. It wants you to get your head straight — but first, the process will make your head spin! Back in the Twins days, we talked about the schizophrenia of Ty’s outlook; today, it’s super-dual, with loads of realities all folding back on each other. On any given side, we’re tracking five or six full-blown personalities, unconcerned with convention or continuity.

This is Freedom’s Goblin — one track engendering, the next one oppressing, violence up in the mix — a look at everything around that Ty used to make the songs.  The songs came in the flow of the year: days of vomit and days of ecstasy and escape too, and days between. The rulebook may have been tossed, but Freedom’s Goblin is thick with deep songwriting resources, be it stomper, weeper, ballad, screamer, banger or funker-upper, all diverted into new Tydentities — each one marking a different style. Freedom’s Goblin wears a twisted production coat: tracks were cut all around, from L.A. to Chicago to Memphis, whether chilling at home or touring with the Freedom Band. Five studios were required to get all the sounds down, engineered by Steve Albini, F. Bermudez, Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell and of course, Ty himself.

The goal was getting free, embracing any approach necessary to communicate new heights and depths, new places for the fuzz to land among octaving harmonies, dancefloor grooves, synths, saxes and horns, jams, post-Nicky-Hopkins r’n’b electric piano vibes, children-of-the-corn psycho-rebellions, old country waltzes and down-by-the-river shuffles. Basically, the free-est pop songs Ty’s ever put on tape. And one about his dog, too! .

We all want our Freedom. The freedom to love or to be alone; to be pretty or pretty ugly; the freedom to turn the other cheek or to turn up the volume. And of course, the freedom to make just about any kind of song you think will free people when they hear it. But there’s that goblin of freedom too — and once you let it out of the bottle, it can fuck with you, so . . . take it or leave it. Go away or go all the way in. Live free and die! BUT be careful what you wish for .  .

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1 Fanny Dog
2 Rain
3 Every 1’s A Winner
4 Despoiler Of Cadaver
5 When Mommy Kills You
6 My Lady’s On Fire
7 Alta
8 Meaning
9 Cry Cry Cry
10 Shoot You Up
11 You Say All The Nice Things
12 The Last Waltz
13 She
14 Prison
15 Talkin’ 3
16 The Main Pretender
17 I’m Free
18 5 Ft. Tall
19 And, Goodnight


Pretty much all you need to know about Death Valley Girls can be summed up by the line from the 1975 sexploitation film Switchblade Sisters that became the band’s unofficial slogan: “Everybody’s gotta be in a gang.” All those images of leather-clad, grime-covered, rebellious fun that such a phrase evokes are just what the Los Angeles quartet personifies. It’s slightly crazy, completely sexy, and just frightening enough that you want nothing more than to be inducted into the club.

Luckily, Death Valley Girls are sending an open invitation with their sophomore record, Glow in the Dark. On Burger Records, the follow-up to 2014’s Street Venom plays like a beacon from space sent to incite a cultural mutiny. Tracks like “Love Spell” and “Disco” beckon the listener to shed the chains of repressive modesty in favor of letting loose in the neon light of the night. “Horror Movie” and “I’m a Man Too” strike out at the definitions laid down by a society enslaved to consumerism and clearly delineated classifications. All of it bursts out in surfy proto-punk layered with sugary shrill harmonies that cut through the garage door like so many steel studs.


If the message of the album isn’t clear enough, this band delivers  “Join the experience that will cosmically unite the living and turn on the dead. The battle is now, Be part of the revolution. Glow in the dark.

A Los Angeles /Santiago, Chile-based quartet lead by two sweet-singing girls who manage to combine the noisy darkness of shoegaze with “scream-in-your-face” punk rock and ethereal-sounding pop – in a very original way.

We are Slowkiss – a 4-piece band – 2 girls and 2 dudes. We make alternative punk rock music, and we do our best to ‘bring it’ for our audience at every show we play and on every song we record.
ULTRAVIOLET is our brand new EP – five explosive songs that will surprise you in the best of ways. Big drums, a wall of guitars, growling bass and aggressive-yet-sweet vocals that will melt your ears. The EP artwork was done on canvas by the great Chilean painter Juan Vade, and it turned out so beautiful and eye-catching that we feel it was meant to be printed.

Slowkiss has a series of tour dates in Southern California throughout October 2017!


Club Night are less a supergroup and more a logical coming together; the band consist of members of various Oakland DIY-bands, who went to each other’s shows, supported one another’s project and then almost inevitably formed a band. Members of various musical backgrounds and styles, thrown together by band-leader Josh Bertram, Club Night quietly produced something cohesive and intriguing, their debut EP, Hell Ya.

The band have recently shared the video to their latest single, “Shear”. The track is a frenetic blast of angst and energy, combining the impassioned yell of Wolf Parade with the expansive ambition of Broken Social Scene. Add a claymation video with ominous nods to the illuminati and Shear becomes an exciting triumph and a fitting send off to what has been an excellent year for Club Night.

Band Members
Josh Bertram, Rebecca Lukens, Ian Tatum, Josiah Majetich, Devin Trainer

Hell Ya is out now via Tiny Engines.

Two never-before-released songs recorded during the same sessions as Jay Som’s breakout debut “Everybody Works”, which landed on Best of 2017 lists from nearly everyone this year including Pitchfork, NPR, Stereogum, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard, and a slew of others.

Musically, these tracks would have been equally at home on that record, as they highlight how Melina Duterte has “perfected that tricky balance between polished ambition and lo-fi charm.”

“Both of these tracks were made during the spring of 2016 – the first demo stages for Everybody Works. They were fun to write and record but felt out of place on the track​ ​list during the finalization of the album. These tracks remain close to my heart and I’m really grateful they’re finally out in the world.” – Melina Duterte


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A step beyond the cookie-cutter garage-rock or proto-punk bands populating the scene, the teenage trio of Isabelle Fields, Eva Chambers and Anastasia Sanchez released their four-song debut on Innovative Leisure in April. The have one hand in the past. The other they use to playfully thumb their nose at you. Sort of reminds me of Plumtree, another all-female indie rock band. I don’t know anything about Pinky Pinky, this EP appeared on my feed and now on my collections because it simply sounds great.

This sound pulls directly from the raw, nitty-gritty nature of 60’s psychedelic rock, a musical era that had its heyday nearly four decades before the girls were even born. However, this, along with their fully-realized aesthetic, may be precisely why Pinky Pinky could be the ones to put rock back at the forefront of cool.


Debut EP from Pinky Pinky, a 3-piece Proto-Prog inspired rock band out of Los Angeles featuring teenagers Isabelle Fields (17, Guitar), Eva Chambers (17, Bass) and Anastasia Sanchez (19, Vocals/Drums).

Introducing – for the very first time – The Love-Birds from San Francisco  on Empty Cellar Records!

I’m out to catch The Love-Birds, they being San Francisco’s best new guitar band. They have been performing in many a fine venues for about a year now and they always have the edge. They’re Of and Raised in SF and they’re youngish. All of them jam their instruments with technique and style, in accordance with the Old Ways. They have a budget Scott Gorham riff inside a jangly scorcher called “Filled With Hate,” which is about leaving Los Angeles for San Francisco.

You can go pretty far nowadays on the idea of a Band, but The Love-Birds don’t have time for that shit. Whether you wear denim, leather, or tie-dye it’s only worth about an El Rio drink ticket if you don’t know how to write the tunes and The Love-Birds wear a cloak of many colors. The guitars weave together beautifully, leads, hooks and riffs arranged like an American cheese platter. The rhythm section takes the cheese and deftly makes a deli sandwich, playing with smarts and panache. This is the kind of band that you can smoke weed with the drummer outside the bar and talk in-depth about the annexation of Hawaii and then walk inside, look the guitarist straight in the eye and say, “R.E.M is better than Teenage Fanclub” and he’ll still drive your fool ass home. They’ve even got a dude in the band who says funny shit on stage. You can take one look at them and know they learn things from books and write songs with instruments (no, seriously). 


These songs have tons of moves and nobody puts moves in their songs anymore besides The Cacamen, and that was only one move, once. Moves are great, they’re like skate tricks you can put in your songs. The Love-Birds are punk, but in the classical sense, not the ebay sense. They dare to believe that R.E.M is better than Big Star. Just kidding, they’re not there yet. But this is an excellent start.

The Band 

Charlie Ertola – Bass
Eli Groshelle – Drums
Thomas Rubenstein – Guitar & Vocals
Eli Wald – Guitar & Vocals

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On first hearing the Gracie And Rachel song “Only a Child,” I was struck by the tension and the mystery, both musically and lyrically: “I’m moving my mouth but I don’t say a word/My ears are open but nothing is heard/I’m only a child, only a child.”

Gracie Coates, the primary singer and keyboard player, wrote and told me, “It was this notion of going in circles, trying to move forward but constantly feeling like I was right back where I’d started.” Along with Rachel Ruggles on a violin processed through various pedals, the two Berkeley California high school friends – now New York loft-mates – have made one of my favorite albums of 2017. Together with percussionist Richard Watts, a huge bass drum, and electronic drum pads, the group mixes classical training with pop hooks, and curiosity with uncertainty.

Gracie and Rachel are two high school friends from Berkeley, Calif. now making music as roommates in New York City. There’s a mix of classical and pop in their music, with Rachel Ruggles on her sonically-treated violin and Gracie Coates doing much of the lead singing and pop-leaning melodies on keyboards. And it’s that tension between styles that makes the songs on this album stand out.

The complex tunes they beautifully reproduced in this thrilling Tiny Desk performance are from the group’s debut, self-titled album released back in June of this year.

Set List

  • “Only A Child”
  • “Go”
  • “Don’t Know”


Gracie Coates; Rachel Ruggles; Ricky Watts,

On one hand, Phoebe Bridgers’ debut album features desperately downcast lyrics like “Jesus Christ, I’m so blue all the time / And that’s just how I feel / Always have and always will.” On the other, the singer-songwriter’s website resides at, and the title of Stranger In The Alps is a nod to the ludicrously edited-for-TV version of The Big Lebowski. Maybe these glimpses of humor are just Bridges trying to let the world know that she’s actually okay. Because listening to this mortally sad, yet frequently magical debut, you might be led to believe she’s irretrievably despondent.

But Bridgers’ melancholy is her truest artistic friend, and she taps that deep well for some incredibly strong songs that are presented gracefully whether she’s keeping things austere or adding orchestral color. Stranger starts with an unstoppable pair of singles in the swirling “Smoke Signals” and the album’s most upbeat moment, “Motion Sickness.” The former indicates an album that could’ve gone a much different way: Two clicks slicker and a bit of a dance beat, and it might be a mainstream hit ballad for someone like Ellie Goulding. But Bridgers keeps it intimate, complete with references to dead heroes—Bowie, Lemmy—and songs about loneliness (specifically The Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now”). “Motion Sickness,” meanwhile, offers the album’s only real hopping pulse and singalong chorus.

After that, it’s on to a trio of songs that will receive inevitable, justified, and flattering comparisons to another sad L.A. troubadour, Elliott Smith. “Funeral,” “Demi Moore,” and “Scott Street” are all clearly indebted to Smith—particularly that last one, which begins with a line that’s almost a direct tribute: “Walking Scott Street feeling like a stranger / with an open heart, open container.” Even though it’s close, it’s not slavish, and Bridgers pulls off the rare trick of emulating someone so singular and delicate without losing the emotion. “Killer” might even be more brutally beautiful than some of Smith’s best; on it, Bridgers is joined by X frontman John Doe, whom she asks to “kiss my rotten head and pull the plug.”


If this all sounds like a depressing slog, it’s actually quite the opposite: Like the best sad-bastard music, Stranger In The Alps alchemizes sorrow into redemptive beauty. It’s never about wallowing, but about slowly moving through it. That difference, played out over some incredible, wise-beyond-her-years songwriting, makes it one of the best albums of the year.

“Freedom’s Goblin” flies us around the soundworld of Ty Segall in nineteen tracks, allowing him to do a bit everything for the free and the goblins of Freedom alike! Deep impact rock of all shapes and sizes and some of the most violent, passionate, funny and free pop songs of 2018. Freedom’s Goblin is the new Ty Segall album: 19 tracks strong, filling four sides of vinyl nonstop, with an unrestricted sense of coming together to make an album


releases January 26th, 2018