Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’


Formed in 1977, X quickly established themselves as one of the best bands in the first wave of LA’s flourishing punk scene; becoming legendary leaders of a punk generation. In 2020 – they released their first new album in 35 years, “Alphabetland”. X’s 1983 release “More Fun in the New World“, their fourth and last record produced by Ray Manzerak.

It was their last LP that would stay true to their punk roots. Their previous three releases (1980’s “Los Angeles1981’s “Wild Gift” and 1982’s “Under the Big Black Sun“) gave us tales of a darker side of Los Angeles that was more Tom Waits and less Hollywood.

Along with The Germs, Black Flag and The Circle Jerks, X stood out amongst a sea of Southern California punk bands who had to constantly play gigs to get their music heard. Except for college radio and KROQ, punk had no home on the airwaves. This did not deter X from improving with each album release.

The anthemic album opener “The New World” is still powerful years later, as is the absolutely beautiful ballad “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts,” which perfectly captures the paranoid feeling of Reagan’s America in the ’80s.

More Fun in the New World” incorporates a rockabilly sound mixed in with insightful sociopolitical commentary to give X the best album in their catalogue. The album starts off with the folky, brilliant and still relevant “The New World,” a razor-sharp rebuke of Ronald Reagan’s presidency without even mentioning his name. Writer Michael H. Little once called the song “a savage spit in the eye of false promises—the only promises politicians make—and one of punk’s great protest songs.” If you’ve read a newspaper or watched the news at any point in the last couple of years, then you know how important and applicable this song is to today’s America.

It was better before, before they voted for What’s-His-Name / This was supposed to be the new world / It was better before, before they voted for What’s-His-Name / This was supposed to be the new world.

Like “The New World,” “We’re Having Much More Fun” features Exene Cervenka and bassist John Doe sharing lead vocals with excellent guitar work from Billy Zoom. It’s a tale of the seedier side of Los Angeles as only X could tell it. Their delivery is so compelling, you could imagine yourself sweating and boozing it up very late into the evening on a hot summer night.

In the hallways upstairs / Everyone hangs out the doors / And the silhouettes act obscene / Across from where we stay / We’re having much more fun / You don’t know where we’ve gone

X achieved new rough and rocking heights with the vicious “Devil Doll,” “Painting the Town Blue,” and “Make the Music Go Bang,” while returning once again to their retro ’50s roots with “Poor Girl”.


“True Love” and “Poor Little Girl” are tales of the not-so-sweet-and-tender sides of love and romance. Cervenka and Doe, who were married at the time, took turns singing lead, with Cervenka taking on the former. She describes true love as the “the devil’s crowbar,” leading us to believe that she might have been better off not knowing what true love really is.

“Poor Little Girl” is Doe’s take on a relationship in which he can’t seem to do anything right and can’t figure out the source of his partner’s sadness. The guitar work of Zoom and drumming of D.J. Bonebrake is reminiscent of a sound you’d hear in a Bo Diddley song.

“Make the Music Go Bang” and “Breathless” are welcome returns to X’s uptempo sounds, with the latter standing out as one of the album’s highlights. With its cranked-up tempo and spot-on vocals by Cervenka, X’s cover of Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Breathless” is hands down the best version of the song. The song begs to be played as loud as possible.

“I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts” is a personal favourite of mine and maybe the only song I know of that addresses America’s sketchy foreign policy and lack of airplay for punk bands on the radio. Somehow, Doe and Cervenka make it work.

“Devil Doll,” ”Painting the Town Blue,” and “Hot House” bring the album back to a style more reminiscent of their previous releases and show off the underrated songwriting of Cervenka and Doe. Each of these songs is vastly different from each other but convey a sense of pathos without losing their edge. It’s great storytelling without the sappiness of a classic country music song. “Drunk in My Past,” if sung by any other classic rock outfit, would be just another song. The vocal style of Doe and Cervenka makes this song work so well.

“I See Red” is a fun and manic blast of punk rock at its best. It speeds along at a breakneck pace, not quite out of control. As you’re listening, you constantly wonder how it’s going to end and then suddenly you hear the sound of what might be hubcaps falling off of a car.

The LP ends with “True Love (Part 2),” a track that sounds nothing like anything else X had done until this point. It’s a fun, stream of consciousness track that does not take itself too seriously, and neither should you.

Released April 12th, 2019

KILLS BIRDS – ” Married “

Posted: November 18, 2021 in MUSIC
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kills birds band

“How could I let you?” asks Kills Birds frontwoman Nina Ljeti of herself on ‘Rabbit’, the opening track on the Los Angeles rock band’s new album, ‘Married’. She whispers the lyric, as if barely daring to speak it. The trio – completed by guitarist Jacob Loeb and bassist Fielder Thomas, plus studio drummer Bosh Rothman – then roar into life and Ljeti’s full voice returns, tearing alongside the fierce instrumental.

It’s a track on which Ljeti explores the abuse she has suffered at the hands of a “powerful person”. “This is how you talk about me: you made me who I am today,” she sings. “I could have tanked you, ended you / But I’m not like the other girls.” The latter line is a sardonic take on a phrase that is so often used to groom and manipulate women, and a nod to the isolation of abuse. By turning these feelings of shame into powerful catharsis Ljeti tears down those walls, inviting anyone who relates to her lyrics to join Kills Birds on this platform.

She further explores these themes of pain and loneliness on ‘Glisten’, where she asks “Why don’t you want me?”, and ‘Offside’, where manipulation leaves her feeling trapped inside a burning house. The singer then grapples with the broader manifestations of a patriarchal society: on ‘Good Planning’, there’s a sense of dread to the sludgy instrumental as Ljeti depicts the pressure that accompanies others’ expectations to bear children. On ‘PTL’, meanwhile, she satirises religious arrogance by singing: “Give to me, and God will shine on only me.”

Kills Birds’ arrangements are heavy and sharp throughout, swirling together elements of grunge, punk, garage and noise-rock into a murky pool of sound. Volatility is always at the core of this band, and these songs often feel as though they could explode at any second. Take ‘Glisten’, where the riffs veer between gentle murmurs and jagged blasts of noise. Sonically, it’s a potent representation of the turbulence of trauma.

The acoustic heartbreak of the title track provides the record’s only soft moment. “I’m married” are the ballad’s — and the album’s — ambiguous last words, with Ljeti repeating the phrase quieter each time. Yet while she may sound momentarily defeated in the song, Ljeti is in fact rallied by the strong, marital-like bond she shares with her bandmates across ‘Married’. To speak it is to make it true, and now there’s no fear in that.

Released on Royal Mountain Records & KRO Records. “Married” out November 12th, 2021.

kills birds married album

Los Angeles singer-songwriter Christian Lee Hutson has shared his first new music of the year with a new track called “Strawberry Lemonade” with a lovely Waley Wang–directed video that takes place in Washington Square Park in NYC. The track was produced with Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst, featuring vocals from the latter and Sharon Silva. Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy also added electric guitar, and Bright Eyes’ Nate Walcott plays some piano and trumpet. It’s quite a nice family affair!

One of Hutson’s most brilliant tracks to date, the single follows his 2020 album “Beginners”. It starts with him detailing a dream. “A series of vignettes about memory, letting go and holding on,” he explained in a press release. “I remember talking to a friend, around the time that I wrote it, about the relentless repackaging of 1960s culture; so some of that ended up in there. The laugh at the beginning of the song is my friend Harry who plays bass on the song.” After all the compelling imagery, Hutson slips in unforgettable sage words. My favourite: “Pain is a way you can move through time / And visit people who are gone in your mind.”

“I want people to feel like it’s okay: we’re all here fucking up all the time; we’re all just learning and living, and it’s going to be all right,” Hutson added. “I don’t even know if I fully believe that, but it’s the voice I always wished I had in my life.”

On his major label debut, Hutson is anything but a beginner. His intricate guitar work, evocative sense of melody and harmony, along with production by Phoebe Bridgers brings about a first record that exceeds expectations.  Three traces have led me here. First, Nathaniel Walcott, who wrote the awesome string arrangements for five of the tracks. He is the keyboardist in the band “Bright Eyes”, led by Conor Oberst. Second, the backing vocals sung by Phoebe Bridgers, who is co-founder of a duo named “Better Oblivion Community Center” – with Conor Oberst. Third, who contributed the harmonica? Well, Conor Oberst. So on the bottom line.

All songs written by Christian Lee Hutson except “Single For The Summer” written by Christian Lee Hutson and Sharon Silva.

LE PAIN – ” Obvious To You “

Posted: October 26, 2021 in MUSIC
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Los Angeles band Le Pain, which includes onetime Beverly and Public Practice member Scott Rosenthal, are back with their second single, a frothy, Frenchy confection titled “Obvious to You.”

Obvious to You“, which is the new single from Los Angeles based Le Pain, is a jangling indie pop affair that not only has its paws in the 1980s influences pot but also greedily feeds off the sound of 1960s girl bands too. I am sure you would agree that it’s a fine mix and the song’s charms belie the feeling of angst expressed in the song. Sisters Madeline and Olivia Black linked with producer/multi-instrumentalist Scott Rosenthal and bassist Alan Everhart to craft a sunny melange of art pop, dream pop, and ‘60s psych. They debuted earlier this year with their first single, “Troisième Groupe” and today they’re back with this effort,

As the band describes, “‘Obvious to You’ is a jangly 80’s homage about struggling to keep it together through a frustrating episode, while a smug onlooker offers unhelpful criticism. It’s a celebration of Johnny Marr guitar riffs and danceable UK dream pop bands like Strawberry Switchblade. Synths start out bright and optimistic, but morph into a sinister flock of psychedelic dive-bombing seagulls.”

The band consist of sisters Madeline and Olivia Black, Scott Rosenthal and Alan Everhart. Members have previously been in Public Practice and Yucky Duster. A new single titled “Grump” , dating from 2017, has also appeared on the latter’s Bandcamp page in the past week.

‘Obvious to You’ is out now on Lucky Buckeye Records. Independent record label based in the LA (CA), Oxford (MS), and Oslo (NO). Releasing charmed music since 2021

With their 3rd album “Under The Big Black Sun”, Los Angeles punk pioneers X had created an album that was every bit as good as their landmark debut. Not an easy feat for any band who started their career which such seminal albums as “Los Angeles” and “Wild Gift”. But where “Wild Gift” largely repeated the winning formula of their debut, the musical growth and emotional depth of “Under The Big Black Sun” was undeniable.

“X’s first album issued on a major label, 1982’s “Under the Big Black Sun”, is arguably their finest record. All 11 songs are exceptional, from both a performance and compositional point of view. The Doors Ray Manzerek’s production is more akin to hard rock bands than their earlier punk works, but the songs still pack quite a punch. Before the recording of the album, singer Exene Cervenka’s sister was killed by a drunk driver, and the band decided to work out their grief in the music, as evidenced by two of the album’s best tracks: the melodic “Riding With Mary” and the vintage ’50s sound of “Come Back to Me.” The highlights don’t stop there, however; also included are the Led Zepplin’esque “The Hungry Wolf” (an early video favorite of MTV), the accelerating “Motel Room in My Bed,” the rocker “Blue Spark,” the spacious title track, and the album closer “The Have Nots.” Again, Cervenka and John Doe supply some great vocal harmonies (perhaps the only punk band to ever do so), while Billy Zoom shows off great rockabilly chops throughout. “Under The Big Black Sun” is one of the quintessential rock records from the ’80s.”


Formed in 1977, X quickly established themselves as one of the best bands in the first wave of LA’s flourishing punk scene; becoming legendary leaders of a punk generation. In 2020 – they released their first new album in 35 years, “ALPHABETLAND”.

Released April 12th 2019.

The kind of music Massage makes sunny, bittersweet, tender is less a proper genre than a minor zip code nested within guitar pop. Take a little “There She Goes” by the La’s, some “If You Need Someone” by the Field Mice; the honey-drizzled guitars from The Cure’s “Friday I’m In Love”, a Jesus & Mary Chain backbeat, and you’re almost all the way there. Indie pop, jangle pop, power pop—whatever you call it, pushing too hard scares the spirit right out of this sweet, diffident music, and Massage have a touch so light the songs seem to form spontaneously, like wry smiles.

Still Life was more deliberate. Romano, Naidus, and Ferrer split their song writing duties, sending each other demos by email, an arrangement that grew permanent when quarantine hit. The songs brought out competition, even if Romano teases Naidus for denying it. “I own it. I love it,” he says. “When Alex sent me ‘Made of Moods,’ I was blown away. I thought it was the best thing he’d ever written. I got jealous, so I immediately wrote ‘In Gray & Blue.’”

The band recorded Still Life with Lewis Pesacov (Fool’s Gold, Foreign Born, Peel’d), testing and teasing out new sounds at his intimate backyard studio in Echo Park. Calling it “warm and tender guitar pop,” some of “the shoegazey sparkle and endearing moody charm of institutional indie pop spirits like Jesus and Mary Chain, Echo & the Bunnymen and early R.E.M.” We hope you like what you hear, too.

Alex Naidus: Vocals, guitar
Andrew Romano: Vocals, guitar
Gabrielle Ferrer: Vocals, keyboards
David Rager: Bass
Natalie de Almeida: Drums

This is a co-release between Mt. St. Mtn., Tear Jerk and Bobo Integral Records.

Releases July 2nd, 2021

Los Angeles’s La Luz have released a new Numero Group 7″ single where they cover “Tale of My Lost Love” which was originally written and performed in 1966 by Female Species. The flip side features the original song and it’s out to promote the new Female Species compilation the label just released.

Our Los Angeles friends La Luz just cut this cover of “Tale Of My Lost Love,” originally written and performed in 1966 by Female Species. The surf and undertow-inspired La Luz are one of the best in the business right now—check their three albums on Hardly Art if you don’t know. Their compelling version of “Tale” is the first fresh take on a Female Species original in many a moon. We suspect it will not be the last.

Behold the Female Species! A once-in-a-decade discovery of two sisters, married to music for life, always charging forward, indefatigable, indomitable, at last seen and heard. From their origins as the archetypal mid-’60s southern California girl group to their destiny as top-flight songwriters in the ’80s and ’90s Nashville country-industrial complex, Vicki and Ronni Gossett have never been much further than 20 feet from stardom. Fifty-five years into their remarkable story,Tale Of My Lost Love was the Gossetts‘ debut album – an ode to what could have been, and still might be.

Tale Of My Lost Love (Cover) · La Luz released through Numero Group on: 2021-04-16

May be an image of 2 people, hair and people standing

Bedroom pop rarely comes in as sardonic and incisive a flavor as Wallice’s “Hey Michael,” the kind of expertly delivered kiss-off of a song that takes the knowing tropes of a revenge anthem and reworks them to remind the listener that sometimes the person taking revenge isn’t exactly innocent. Over a burbling, slightly distorted beat, in which guitars and indie-rock riffs do battle with distant synths, the musician castigates the object of her scorn (“You don’t gotta say you like Pulp Fiction, I already know”), before revealing a less-than-ideal side to her narrator (“I think I wanna start a fight, which one is your girlfriend?”). It’s smart and slick in equal measure, and the unabashed nods to a more rock ’n’ roll spirit help the song rise among so many of its more laconic competitors.

Her debut EP is still forthcoming, but already the artist is an exciting new voice with a gift for more electric, intense pop, and a voice that exudes the quiet cool of a Soccer Mommy at the punk show.

Deep Vally has announced a forthcoming album to be titled, “American Cockroach”, due out June 18th via Cooking Vinyl. The four-track EP announced by the Los Angeles-based rock duo on Friday will follow their recent Digital Dream EP which arrived back in February, and is set to feature guest appearances from Jennie Vee (Eagles Of Death Metal) and Ayse Hassan (Savages).

The ballad hears Deap Vally ditch their trademark distortion and high-adrenaline sound in exchange for stripped-down instrumentation and heart-wrenching melodies courtesy of a vulnerable vocal performance from guitarist/singer Lindsey Troy.

The band said of their forthcoming album in a press statement, ‘American Cockroach’ is a collection of songs we’ve been working on for a while, including collaborations with Jennie Vee and Ayse Hassan, that run the gamut from deeply personal, to outright satire and everything in between. These are songs for the underdog, the outlaw, the defeated, for days when you feel like no one understands you or you can’t do anything right.

Troy also said of their new single, “[This] is a deeply personal song. It will always mark a very specific time in my life. Sonically, it’s adventurous territory for us, unlike anything else we’ve ever put out before. Produced by long time friend and engineer Josiah Mazzaschi, who recorded our very first demo back in 2012, the use of unusual instrumentation like the Optigan elevates the sense of melancholy and anguish this song is so heavy with, and we love it very much.”

Listen to “Give Me A Sign” .


Releases June 18th, 2021


May be art

Los Angeles-based quartet Milly have shared their second EP via Dangerbird Records, following their 2019 debut “Our First Four Songs”, whichwas hailed as one of that year’s best EPs. “Wish Goes On’s” five tracks include October 2020’s Star Thistle Blossom and February 2021’s “Denial.” Milly make gauzy slowcore that vacillates between guitar-rock crunch and emotive dream pop, and on Wish Goes On, they do with it a noticeable new cohesion, as principal songwriter and guitarist Brendan Dyer is now joined by Spencer Light on guitar, Yarden Erez on bass and Zach Capitti Fenton on drums. Their new songs reckon with change, assuming perspectives both collective (“Star Spangled Banner”) and individual (“Denial”), and changing themselves, shifting instrumental gears with newfound fluidity. Ultimately, Wish Goes On is about finding a flicker of hope to light the way, like when Dyer sings on the EP’s closer, “When her birds fly free / This life goes on / Could it be all you want?” 

Milly is a rock band from Los Angeles fronted by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brendan Dyer. Their sound melds together elements of classic shoegaze, slowcore, and lo-fi indie rock, coalescing into an intense, singular musical impression. Milly began as Dyer’s home recording project in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut before finally taking its current formation as a live band in Los Angeles.


1. Star Spangled Banner
2. Denial
3. Star Thistle Blossom
4. Teach Old Dogs New Tricks
5. Birds Fly Free