Posts Tagged ‘California’

Alice Bag’s Blueprint album is a lesson in archetypes. In the 1970s, the Chicana L.A. punk pioneer of The Bags proclaimed herself a “Violence Girl”: a woman who, like certain chrome alloys, becomes only more unbreakable when tempered with fire. On Blueprint, Bag paints complex portraits of nameless (brown by default) individuals with characteristic pith and violence-girl riffs. On “Invisible,” a man who drinks too much holds himself together for his daughter and craves invisibility, a state many immigrants inhabit to survive, only to remain invisible to the American public eye. On “The Sparkling Path,” Bag alludes to escape by suicide, urging a message of survival beyond the kind of Maslow-diagnosed magical thinking for the oppressed who seek fulfillment beyond a lack of food, water and, most pressing of all, shelter. And on “77,” she enlists the help of Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill) and Alison Wolfe (Bratmobile) to inhabit the working women of 9 to 5 and tie up their male boss.

In other songs, Bag is herself again, defending her blue hair against chismosas on “Se Cree Joven” or delivering the starkest gut punch against self-loathing in “Etched Deep”: “All that rubbing at the pages / Won’t make them white,” she says to us and to our history. There’s no performative Twitter-shock at the plight of brown people on this album. There’s only the solemn self-vindication of a woman too long kept in the dark by ostensibly radical punk. “White justice,” after all, “just isn’t just.” 

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Righteous, angry, punky, inspiring songs that evidence both vitality and deep wisdom & experience. Protest music in the best possible sense.

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With Joy, Ty Segall & White Fence’s new collaborative set of songs accelerate wildly from where we last found them, sharing one debaucherous mind. Their hits are like mementos buried in the ground, crawling up from the earth with attractive deformity – an auditory return to Salem’s Lot with fresh, mutated sounds bubbling from beneath the surface!
The new album drops July 20th and whatta Joy it is! Patience is a virtue, good things come to those who wait blah, blah, blah— all that’s totally overrated, and it’s why the Presley/Segall hive-mind is dropping “Body Behavior” today, no waiting required! “Body Behavior” absolutely rips, a shock-and-aaahh-hell-yeah clocking in at just over two minutes! It’s damn catchy, some of the purest post-punk-pop imaginable that only two of the most prolific living musicians can offer! Activating the undeniable chemistry you’ve come to love from Ty and Tim, “Body Behavior” roughs up the edges with jagged results that hurt Too good – but we know you can handle it!

Listen to “Body Behavior” now and hang on for the release of Joy, coming July 20th

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A couple months ago, LA psych rock marauders Frankie and the Witch Fingers released “Tea,” the thrashy b-side to a brand new 7″ that drops this Friday. Now they’ve released the record’s other single “Drip” as well as its freaky, claymation-infused music video.

“Drip” begins with up-tempo, stabbing guitar riffs that build into a sonic explosion of punk-infused garage rock. In addition, the track features a brief but powerful midpoint breakdown of piercing lo-fi noise, before charging along into wonky, heady psych soundscapes. The Josh Bruce-directed video doubles down on the song’s wackiness, plunging us headfirst into a trippy fantasy world of stop-motion clay monsters, kaleidoscopic Star Trek backdrops, and shape-shifting castles. Also, snakes, witches, ghouls and even weed-smoking goblins pop up in this clip that blends zany animation with gothic imagery. Overall, it’s a perfect combination of Frankie vibes.

Frankie and the Witch Fingers are about to embark on a massive European tour, followed by a few U.S. dates, which you can view below. The Drip/Tea 7″ came out on May 18th via Let’s Pretend Records. However, there’s only 300 total copies, so be sure shop it quickly, watch the mind-melting video for “Drip”

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The Band

Guitar + Vox + Tambo: Dylan Sizemore // Guitar + Vox: Josh Menashe // Bass: Alex Bulli // Drums: Glenn Brigman // Cackles + Screams: Alexandra James, Zachary James, Alex Bulli, Josh Menashe, Dylan Sizmore

Valley Queen have been described as Neil Young meets Florence Welch. That’s fairly apt description as lead singer Natalie Carol has a powerful and beguiling voice. But as I’ve always said, having a great voice is one thing; lots of people have great voices. But give me a great writing and a ripping band as well, and then you’ll have my attention.

And that’s what we have here now. “Supergiant” came together as the band fractured at a point with two members being replaced. As the band grew, Carol attempted to persuade bassist Shawn Morones and drummer Gerry Doot to join her and Neil Wogensen to record the album. She wanted that chemistry back and while Morones came back, Mike DeLuccia grabbed the seat behind the kit.

Mission was accomplished. This album is where the whole is greater that the sum of its parts. Everybody knows their role and the band weaves Carol’s Americana-inspired vocals with some crunching, fuzzy indie influences. The band is constantly setting Carol up and her voice is almost chameleon-like throughout; always hitting the right note. She’s got a bit of Neko in her in that regard. The title track, Chasing The Muse and and the closing track Highway Pearls are among the highlights.

I was a fan of their EP but they have really upped their game here.

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Band Members
Natalie Carol – Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Neil Wogensen – Bass/Vocals
Shawn Morones – Guitar/Vocals
Mike DeLuccia – Drums

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Solitude is not always lonely, nor always so sweet as splendid isolation. More often it hovers between, ambivalent yet beautifully apprehended by Hana Vu on her debut EP How Many Times Have You Driven By. Written and produced by Hana herself, the EP masters the defining balance of bedroom pop: it’s warm, sparse, and whisper-intimate yet at the same time wholly radio-ready. The opening “Crying on the Subway”, set on the purgatorial Metro Red Line between downtown and the valley, is saturated with a mood of L.A. noir, with Hana singing to her reflection: “In my dreams I’m in that grey room. In my chest I’m feeling dark blue. Take the Red Line into downtown. I’m trying to escape you.” It was this song— or rather its accompanying video— that first tripped the sensors of Chris and Graham of Luminelle Recordings, a recent offshoot of Fat Possum. The precocious Vu, at only seventeen, had already written music for five years, self-released an album on Soundcloud featuring a collab with Willow Smith, and polished up enough new songs for a gem of an EP, which they eagerly signed, pressed, and called in Clay Jones (Modest Mouse, Sunflower Bean) to master.

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Clamoring for creative outlets from an early age, she formed musical projects and played shows, though without fully clicking with her teen peers in the local D.I.Y. brat-pack. “I wouldn’t call myself a curmudgeon, but I found it hard to be friends with other young people. Instead, I found two or three key homies, then just did my own thing— socially and in my music”— partly explaining the ambition and ambiance of How Many Times Have You Driven By. On “Cool”, for instance, Hana drapes a lower-key, soulful melody over beats borrowed from her friend Satchy, who also chimes in for a verse as they tarry with life’s misfortunes. She follows this with “Shallow”, in which her calm twists into agitation and a more recognizably rock instrumentation, all played and recorded by Hana in her bedroom. The EP returns to peace with the dreamy “426”— the address of a summer residence in which Hana discovered a sense of place or belonging— though fleetingly, as her friends disbanded at the season’s end. But, c’est la vie. Solitude, for all its occasional pangs, is for Hana Vu as much a condition of her independence, a little breathing room from the throng to forge her own certain future in music. As she’ll tell you, with poise and fairly pleased with things so far,“I spend most of my time alone.”

How Many Times Have You Driven By EP out June 29th on Luminelle Recordings

For their sophomore LP as Drinks, Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley (a.k.a. White Fence) absconded to the South of France, holed up in an old stone house, and spent their days sleeping through the heat and recording come nightfall. Without distractions like Wi-Fi and civilization, the pair lived in their own little Shangri-La, and Hippo Lite, the album born of it, conveys the intimacy of two artists free to make whatever sounds they please. The insular nature of the recording process lends an honesty to the album, like children playing away from the watchful eyes of adults. And Hippo Lite is playful; “Real Outside” pairs household object percussion with tangy blurts of guitar, and “Greasing Up” sounds like a campfire lullaby. More than anything, Hippo Lite is a document of intimate creativity, of what happens when you can build a fort with someone you trust and live in shared merriment.

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With soft gorgeous pop sensibilities that know how to turn up the overdrive. these tracks are meticulous–the textures, the way the songs build, just gorgeous. fourth track had me impulse buying, second to last track had my jaw physically dropping

You might expect something akin to goofy surf rock from an LA-based project called Illuminati Hotties. And while Sarah Tudzin can certainly play to that note, it’s far from the only one she’s well-versed in. On her debut LP Kiss Yr Frenemies, Tudzin draws from a wide ranging palette — encompassing acoustic balladry, bouncy surf rock, and simmering noise pop — from which she doodles detailed scenes and stories of young adulthood. Also in her toolbox: keen self-awareness, vulnerability, poignant wit, nuanced social observations, and a sense of optimism that recognizes the beauty that can grow out of growing pains. Tudzin is both personal and personable; her anecdotes are relatable without sufficing the intimate specificity of her experience. Lighthearted odes to past flings with lame dudes carry the same weight as heart-wrenching letters that begin with sleeping in her car on her 24th birthday. Kiss Yr Frenemies is the fruitful aftermath of emotional labor and hindsight.

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Released May 11th, 2018

I don’t know for sure if this Los Angeles DIY four-piece purposefully chose to release Gentle Leader on the weekend that is traditionally considered the gateway to summer. But either way, it is a match made in heaven, as Peach Kelli Pop’s vibrant tracks are perfect for warm weather and bright days. It’s the first record that the band has released as a collaborative effort, which only benefits the music’s urgency.

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co-released by Mint Records and Bachelor Records
Released May 25th, 2018

Interdependence Day comes late this year – it won’t be until July 20th that it comes down, and we’re celebrating with a new Ty Segall & White Fence album! Ever since 2012, we’ve been asked when there might be another one from this duo – that was how compelling their Hair album was (and is). If you loved Hair, you’ll definitely be jumping for Joy in late July. Given that Tim Presley aka Mr. White Fence‘s – collaboration with Cate Le BonDrinks’ 
Hippo Lite, is still cooling on the sill, this is pure bonus, and we dig it for that, just as we feel great for scoring bonus Ty too – but when we do this, we’re really missing the point. Having made one record together already, Ty and Tim know what it’s like to bring themselves into a project like this. In fact, they’re transcended it. This time, they came to collaboration expecting to find themselves there. And darn if they didn’t – in shared space, as one entity. It’s interesting to see them mingled amoebically, and as a result, Joy has a whole new thing about it that takes it far beyond any “Hair 2”. Come July, you’ll know what we mean by this. For now, just get “Good Boy” on repeat – before you know it, Joy will have arrived!

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The Lord Huron song “The Night We Met” found its way into the massively popular, albeit oft-maudlin, series, 13 Reasons Why with a new take on their hit song featuring the noir-ish indie songstress Phoebe Bridgers. 

“The Night We Met” is a track from Lord Huron’s 2015 release, the spacey indie-folk travel log “Strange Trails”. Bridgers’ vocal contribution expands the song’s already-haunting melody to encompass a deeper sense of melancholia, something she also comfortably emits on her critically adored 2017 LP Stranger in the AlpsLord Huron’s Ben Schneider and Bridgers are likely collaborators, too: Each have traversed the spectrum of indie-folk sounds, though Bridgers says she isn’t yet committed to a confined style.

Lyrically, her gorgeous 2017 debut album Stranger in the Alps – which she recorded independently before being signed to the Dead Oceans label – grapples a lot with death. The late Lemmy from Motörhead and David Bowie are both referred to, while the song Funeral was inspired by a boy Bridgers knew who died of a heroin overdose. “Jesus Christ, I’m so blue all the time and that’s just how I feel, always have and always will,” she sings, the mournful mood recalling the late American miserabilist Elliott Smith.  Yet, in person, Bridgers could hardly be sunnier. “I didn’t realise there was such a heavy theme on the record until I started recording the album.

The standout single from Stranger in the Alps, was “Motion Sickness” it has amassed more than half-a-million views on YouTube and is an exquisite evisceration of a former lover. “I faked it every time,” she sings, before landing another blow to the solar plexus: “And why do you sing with an English accent?/ I guess it’s too late to change it now.”

The song, she tells me, is about the Grammy-nominated singer- songwriter Ryan Adams, whom she met in 2015. “A mutual friend in LA was like, ‘Ryan would like you’. He really was just trying to get me recording and trying to get Ryan to hear me, but Ryan was like, ‘Let me see a picture of her’.” Bridgers says that she and Adams “ended up hanging out all night and recording a song together called Killer. Then, a couple of weeks later, he was suddenly trying to hook up with me. I was super-down and had just broken up with my high-school boyfriend. We slept together on his 40th birthday and I’d just turned 20.”

She wrote Motion Sickness after they broke up. What did he think of it? “We were back on good terms by then but after I sent him the song he didn’t talk to me for 24 hours. Then he sent me a sweet text saying ‘it’s a great song’,” she says. “Yes, interesting character…”

Bridgers wrote “Smoke Signals” in a cabin outside Ketchum, Idaho, last spring. It finds her somberly emoting against a backdrop of guitar chords and orchestral swells. Sometimes her words are poetic: “I wanna live at a Holiday Inn where somebody else makes the bed/ We’ll watch TV while the lights on the street put all the stars to death.” Other times she’s more straightforward but just as powerful: “All of our problems, I’m gonna solve them/ With you riding shotgun, speeding ’cause fuck the cops.” References to Bowie, the Smiths, and Motörhead might capture your attention, but the recurring image of trash burning on the beach is what will linger with you.

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“Smoke Signals” is out digitally and available as a 7″ backed by “Motion Sickness (Demo)” at Bridgers’ upcoming shows.

Phoebe Bridgers