Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

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Eight tracks into Patience’s debut synth-pop LP, Dizzy Spells, singer/producer Roxanne Clifford is suddenly joined by a second voice, one that complements her airy choruses and misty-eyed melodies with cloudy French phrases. Fans of Clifford’s former band, Veronica Falls, may recognize the guest’s name if they take a look at the liner notes: Marion Herbain, who was the former Veronica Falls bassist. While the band essentially ceased to exist in 2014—when their social media accounts went silent—the two stayed in touch and are still very close friends.

“She has a great voice,” says Clifford. “I intend to persuade her to sing more songs with me, and hope she’ll join me on tour in the U.K. this June.”

There’s a reason for this. Unlike other projects that start in a home studio and get lost in translation onstage, Patience’s shows aren’t limited to a laptop and a mic stand. They’re an ever-evolving affair, involving a reel-to-reel player, live synths, and clean guitar chords, and often rounded out by guests who can help bring Clifford’s layered harmonies and head-circling hooks to life. Smoke machines, proper lighting, and a decent sound system certainly don’t hurt, either.

“Having a couple friends sing backup with me is wonderful,” says Clifford. “It adds to the energy of the show, sounds great, and I have people to dance with.”

Therein lies the contradiction with Patience. Though it’s her face and hers alone on the album cover, Clifford isn’t looking to hide out solo in a bedroom, surrounded by drum machines, keyboards, and samplers. She misses “the gang mentality of being in a band and the confidence that brings,” as well as the immediacy of being able to just pick up a guitar and play.

“I long for the magical organic excitement that comes from playing in a fully live band,” she admits. “When it comes together, it’s a feeling I can’t really get any other way. But I also don’t feel ready to recruit band members or start hauling a backline around with me just yet.”

As for how she went from writing guitar-centric goth songs with Veronica Falls (“Beachy “Found Love in a Graveyard,” “Beachy Head”) to embracing the dancing-while-crying electronics of Patience, Clifford credits a simple Korg Micro Preset synth from the late ’70s. A key element in some of her favorite songs—including ones by OMD and the cult Belgian act Bernthøler—it provided the foundation for her early solo experiments, along with a Roland TR-505 drum machine. While it took her some time to create a compelling and cohesive vision with such “time-consuming and infuriating” equipment, Clifford found the creative process surrounding her new sonic palette liberating. Doubly so, given the time that passed between Veronica Falls’ last album (2013’s Waiting For Something to Happen) and Patience’s early singles (2016’s “The Church,” “The Pressure,” and 2017’s “White of an Eye”). Pursuing a new sound removed the weight of expectations from the equation. The trickiest part of putting Dizzy Spells together was technical obstacles—hangups indie rock acts don’t really have to deal with.

“It doesn’t feel hugely rewarding for me to get wrapped up in the nuances of an oscillator,” says Clifford. “Or to figure out how to program a sequencer properly; I’m too impatient. I usually have a very clear [idea] of how I want something to sound, yet getting to that point can be a different story.

She continues, “I’m learning more as I go, and it’s been important to have people help me with that side of things where possible. I’m also trying to embrace a more experimental approach to songwriting; letting happy accidents lead me somewhere new has felt freeing…. One element alone can be the tiny piece to make everything fit together in a pleasing way.”

And that’s what Dizzy Spells is: an avant-pop and Italo disco-inspired puzzle that fits together perfectly, despite being developed over several years and countless recording sessions. Clifford also worked with such welcome collaborators as U.K. garage icon Todd Edwards (see also: several Daft Punk singles), Free Love co-founder Lewis Cook, and engineer Misha Hering (Virginia Wing), although the end result is distinctly hers

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“I chose the title Dizzy Spells because it suggests these disparate events acting as a whole,” she explains, “telling the story so far and mapping the ebbs and flows. There’s something special about that in and of itself, but I wanted the listening experience to feel immersive, the way an album should.”

Patience’s next round of material is poised to further their narrative, taking her “Gemini tendencies” to new heights without having to wait for the approval of other parties—especially since she now has her own label called Winona Records. Impromptu collabs may emerge on the imprint in the near future, but a Veronica Falls reunion is off the table after the passing of drummer Patrick Doyle last year. Forming another group with Herbain and former Veronica Falls guitarist James Hoare isn’t likely either, despite the creative spark they all share.

Patrick’s death hit us all very hard,” says Clifford. “It’s something that I am still coming to terms with. It’s impossible not to have a spiral of regrets in moments like this. But we’ve all tried to focus on the brilliant times we had together and how cherished they feel in retrospect…. Sharing the memory of someone helps to come to terms with the immense loss that you feel.”

Dizzy Spells will be available in the U.S.A. from Winona Records,

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The Dream Syndicate Release Mind-Bending New Album 'These Times'

Los Angeles’s the Dream Syndicate is thrilled to release these times today, their second album of new music since their 2012 reunion nearly thirty years after they first influenced California’s paisely underground scene. if 2017’s how did I find myself here was a 10 pm record, all swagger and cathartic explosion, then these times is the 2 am sibling, moodier and more mercurial with the band acting as djs of their own overnight radio station as the listener drifts off into dreams and wonders the next morning if any of it was real.“when i was writing the songs for the new album I was pretty obsessed with donuts by J-Dilla,” lead singer and songwriter Steve Wynn explained. “I loved the way that he approached record making as a dj, a crate-digger, a music fan wanting to lay out all of his favorite music, twist and turn the results until he made them into his own. i was messing around with step sequencers, drum machines, loops—anything to take me out of my usual way of writing and try to feel as though i was working on a compilation rather than ‘more of the same’. you might not automatically put the Dream Syndicate and j-dilla in the same sentence, but I hear that album when I hear our new one.”.

The Dream Syndicate recorded these times once again at Montrose studios in richmond, virginia. co-produced by John Agnello (Phosphorescent, Waxahatchee, Hold Steady, Dinosaur jr.), Wynn wrote all of the song’s lyrics in the studio after the band finished tracking, so that the words would be dictated by the sound rather than the other way around. this process contributed to the urgency of the album’s title.“not content to deliver ‘the days of wine and roses 2019’ [the Dream Syndicate] have emerged with a vibrant collection of songs that ranks among the best the veteran group has recorded,” popmatters said of these times. “this is not a band competing with its past but instead carving out a bold new future.”

The Dream Syndicate has a long and storied history. but where are they right now? they’re here. right here. in these times.

The Dream Syndicate from the album ‘These Times,’ available now


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It’s easy to get caught up in an undertow, pulled down into the water, weightless and directionless. The current stirs and you lose your way. But eventually, if you’re lucky and patient, you can float back up to the surface and take a breath. This is my first new music in a while – my gulp of air. Many talented friends joined me, the basic tracks were recorded live together for the first time in my recording career. This felt good. Jason Quever recorded it in Los Angeles, December of 2018. Thanks for listening.
Releases May 10th, 2019

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Written By Mikal Cronin

Performed By:
Mikal Cronin – Vocals, Guitar, Bouzouki, Saxophones, William Tyler – Guitar , Shannon Lay – Vocals, Ryan Weinstein – Bass, Heidi Alexander – Vocals, Marc Riordan – Drums, Jordan Katz – Trumpet, David Ralicke – Trombone

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After hinting at a new album L7 confirmed recently confirmed their first LP in two decades, “Scatter the Rats”. Due out on May 3rd, the forthcoming collection is being previewed with a new track, “Stadium West”.

Following up lead single “Burn Baby”, the new release finds the grunge veterans in proper form, offering up a high-octane composition that falls in line with the best of L7’s ’90s heyday. In your face and unabashedly catchy, the song is highlighted by its delightful lyrical turns-of-phrase, rapid-fire riffs, and energetic backing howls and growls.

L7 has also released a new music video to complement “Stadium West”. Directed by Rob Sheridan, the visual throws it back, crafting a lo-fi, technicolor romp through the band’s home of Los Angeles. “Stadium West” is the second single from the band’s first album in 20 years, to be released on Joan Jett’s Blackhearts Records on May 3rd. Following the album’s lead single “Burn Baby,” “Stadium West” is propelled by winding, distorted guitars that have a certain surf-rock flair. Behind the drum kit, Dee Plakas powers it all with an unbeatable tempo that imbues this ride-along with high stakes and verve

Chock full of the unconscious bravado of a bygone punk era, the clip pairs this energy with old-school production featuring gritty low-resolution frames, inverted and primary color palettes, and, of course, choppy editing.

L7 will support Scatter the Rats on a summer tour. In addition to sets like a “very special intimate show” at Brooklyn’s Elsewhere, they’ll join Rancid’s The Bash Music & Craft Beer touring festival. prep for the experience by picking up L7’s past releases on vinyl. Two of L7’s albums were recently included on Rolling Stone‘s 50 Greatest Grunge Albums list: Smell the Magic (No. 37) and Bricks Are Heavy (No. 15).

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On Ramonda Hammer’s searing debut LP I Never Wanted Company”, front-woman Devin Davis takes a hard look at her struggle between despairing loneliness and embracing independence. The Los Angeles quartet’s blistering guitars and Davis’s paint-peeling vocals – recalling past greats like Hole and likeminded contemporaries like Mannequin Pussy – form the support for lyrics that grapple with two years of emotional upheaval for Davis.
Since the band released their 2017 EP Destroyers, a release that cemented Ramonda Hammer as a tentpole act in LA’s surging community of woman- and queer-fronted bands, Davis struggled to come to terms with her codependency, fought against her own overwhelming over-analysis, and got into her first queer relationship.
The result is an album that’s bruising, cathartic, searching, and ultimately therapeutic. Featuring production by Alex Newport ( At The Drive In, Bloc Party), I Never Wanted Company is a powerful and triumphant return for the quartet – including Justin Geter on guitar, Andy Hengl on bass, and Mark Edwards on drums.
“No one is coming! No one!” Davis wails at the end of lead single “Hoax”. On its face, it’s a bleak and almost nihilistic statement – but for her, it’s a call to independence. Davis hopes the album will help people who want to take better control over their own lives and emotions. “I’m an anxious person,” she says. “It helps me to play loud rock music with gritty sounds and brash lyrics. Sometimes you to scream to wake people up.”

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releases June 14th, 2019

All songs written and performed by Ramonda Hammer 

Los-Angeles based rockers Bleached are back with their stripped-down new single “Shitty Ballet.” This is the duo’s first new music since their rough-edged and rollicking 2017 EP Can You Deal?, which inspired a feminist zine of the same name featuring artists like Kate Nash, Julien Baker, Lizzo and numerous others.

“Shitty Ballet” represents a definite change in sound for sisters Jessica and Jennifer Clavin, as the track is mostly filled with acoustic guitar until their backing band joins in for a heavy ending. The song was written in mere hours “in a deluge of heartbreak,” according to a press release, which partially accounts for their more pared-back instrumentation.

Jennifer said of “Shitty Ballet” in a statement:

Bleached has always been a pretty loud rock band so we felt it was time to explore a more stripped-down style of playing. With the vulnerability of the lyrics we decided to carry that into the instruments as well for the first time recording with just an acoustic guitar and vocals. Sonic change is important to us right now. More of that coming soon.

The track is accompanied by a one-shot video of the sisters singing alongside ballerinas, The video’s soft, rosy lighting reflects the single’s gentler sound.

Bleached – “Shitty Ballet” single out now on Dead Oceans Records

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Silversun Pickups  have announced their first new album in four years, “Widow’s Weeds”. The Better Nature follow-up, out everywhere June 7th via the band’s own New Machine Recordings, will also feature production by rock-mixing legend Butch Vig (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth).

“This was the first album where we were open. We were exposed,” lead singer Brian Aubert explains of Widow’s Weeds. “This album feels the most naked out of all of them.”

The band have also shared the first single from their forthcoming album, an urgent, string-heavy track titled “It Doesn’t Matter Why,” complete with an unsettling music video to match .

Despite the underlying sense of anxiety and nihilism coursing through “It Doesn’t Matter Why,” fans can expect an overall thematic outlook of rebirth and renewal from Widow’s Weeds. Silversun Pickups (a name borrowed from a dingy liquor store in the band’s birthplace of Silverlake, Calif.) began work on the album just in time for life to happen; written amidst loss, confrontations of mental health and learning how to practice self-care, Widow’s Weeds provided an outlet for the band members to process pain.

“The record does have a mourning vibe, but it’s not sad,” Aubert clarifies. “It’s change. It’s growing up and moving on and letting go of things.” Consider it a conduit for healing; an ode to prioritizing self-love.

Band Members
Brian Aubert: guitar, vocals
Nikki Monninger: bass, vocals
Joe Lester: sounds, keyboards
Christopher Guanlao: drums

New album Widow’s Weeds out June 7th.

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Los Angeles hard-working heavy-metalloids Hooveriii might have more in common with Simply Saucer than Sabbath, but that just means they really know how to make a riff into a revelation—especially if they’re using their synthesizer. Last year’s self-titled album was as much space exploration as space rock, and now they’re making contact again with the cheerfully cosmic new “Fathom” single.

B-side “I Dream Of Mark Lee” is like one of those heartwarming Michael Rother autobahn instrumentals with an injection of Pink Fairies/Hawkwind/Larry Wallis guitar nitro. Or, says Hooveriii mainmind Bert Hoover, it’s like “instrumental Peter Green meets Neu!-like chugging jam filled with soaring guitar. A dancing number for the good times! Dedicated to our good friend, Eel Kram, who is warm in our hearts.”

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Hooveriii are about to split for a tour of western Europe in April.

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Following up their excellent album of space-sliced psych from last year, L.A.’s Hoover III return with a new single on French enclave Six Tonnes De Chair. Starting with a riff that scratches the ol’ runes of Sabbath in the sand, the band proceeds to drive the track in a lighter direction, welding the heavy guitar chug to echo-dripped harmonies. The track doesn’t just troll for grooves, though. As they arc into the second half the band stomp boxes the warp drive and takes “Fathom” through a few layers of cosmos. Hoover III have been working a particularly potent strain of Space Rock in their first couple of releases, and if this new single is an indicator of where they’re headed, then the next LP threatens to be one to watch out for. In the meantime, this is a good reminder to shake the earthly tether once in a while.

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“…like one of those heartwarming Michael Rother autobahn instrumentals with an injection of Pink Fairies/Hawkwind/Larry Wallis guitar nitro.”

The Band:

Bert Hoover : Vocals / Guitar
Gabe Flores : Vocals / Guitar
Kaz Mirblouk : Bass
James Novick : Synth
Shaughnessy Starr : Drums / Percussions

The Los Angeles singer/songwriter Christian Lee Hutson has shared a new single, “Northsiders,” taken from his forthcoming, currently untitled album. The LP was produced by none other than Phoebe Bridgers, a frequent collaborator of Hutson’s. “Northsiders” features Hutson’s kindhearted vocal melodies, light acoustic guitar plucks and rousing strings that linger in the background. In his lyrics, Hutson masterfully mixes witty, dark humor with observational sentimentality.  Hutson began his musical career as a member of The Driftwood Singers, he is a current member of Jenny Lewis’s Band.

Lyrical highlights include “We were so pretentious then / Didn’t trust the government / Said that we were communists / And thought that we invented it,” “Tried cocaine at my cousin’s house / I’m probably addicted now” and “Morrissey apologists / Amateur psychologists / Serial monogamists / We went to different colleges.” Underlying all the droll comedy is a sobering reality—the kind of realization that makes you pull over your car to shed a few tears before pulling yourself back together (“Nothing’s going to change it now”). Hutson is the kind of songwriter that you’ll want to root for—painfully relatable lyrics, comforting melodies and a sharp-witted personality that money can’t buy