Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

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

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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

L.A. musician Sarah Tudzin makes fizzy, self-deprecating power pop under the moniker Illuminati Hotties. “Paying Off The Happiness,” like a few other unlikely rallying cries before it, plays off the very real, very troubling issue of financial insolvency among the millennial set with with a joyful sigh and shrug.

Despite the pluralized nom de guerre, illuminati hotties is the creative outlet of Sarah Tudzin – a producer and engineer hailing from the sprawl of Los Angeles. illuminati hotties has been lighting up stages across SoCal since Fall 2016 with playfully interweaving guitar lines, relentless rhythmic momentum, and strikingly self-aware vocals.  At first listen, illuminati hotties is a sun-drenched, irreverent volley with the onset of adulthood, but as the listener dives deeper, they will find an earnest consideration of musical phrasing and deliberately crafted wordplay regarding the complexity of love, loss, and skateboarding. Lauded as local “tenderpunk pioneers,” illuminati hotties has perfected the blend of sweetness and ferocity, of celebration and despondency, in their debut album, Kiss Yr Frenemies.

With its chorus that swells before spilling over, “Patience” is a plea and an appreciation that demonstrates the dichotomy of virtue. It also highlights the duality of Illuminati Hotties, a playful project that balances heart-on-sleeve sentiments with levity and wit.

Sarah Tudzin is the project’s mastermind…She has a malleable writing style that feels ripe with potential, and she seems comfortable doing just about anything. The album’s lead single, “(You’re Better) Than Ever,” is a surf-pop shredder by way of Courtney Barnett, but its follow-up “Cuff” is a masterful blend of heavy-soft dynamics that shows off the many sides to this project. Tudzin’s songs vacillate between humorous and cutting with ferocity.

illuminati hotties “Kiss Yr Frenemies” out May 11, 2018 on Tiny Engines Records

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Massage is five friends who live in Los Angeles. Massage is a band that meets up on Monday nights to bash out songs that crudely approximate their heroes, past and present. Massage is guitarist Alex Naidus, formerly of Pains of Being Pure at Heart, who moved to L.A. in the winter of 2013; furniture designer Michael Felix, who got Alex singing and writing songs when he said he wanted to learn the drums (they didn’t know any covers so they needed something to play together); their friend Andrew Romano, a journalist, who invited himself to their second practice (and now shares singing, songwriting and guitar duties); bassist David Rager, a designer and childhood friend of Michael’s, who tagged along that night, too; and visual artist Gabrielle Ferrer, Andrew’s sister-in-law, who was soon playing keyboards and singing harmonies.

These are two separate singles, but I fell so in love with both them, and I could not just mention one here. Massage could be your next favourite finds this year. They mention several fine influences, – The Go-Betweens, The Feelies, The Lemonheads, Twerps, bands from Sarah Records and Flying Nun Records. Instead of going too deep into their influences, like many indiepop bands sadly do, Massage do their own thing. They sound fresh, and although their inspiration is in the 80s and 90s, they sound very much 2018. Their guitarist Alex Naidus was once a member of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

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The second single from Massage’s debut LP Oh Boy, coming July 2018

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Part of what inspired us to start Massage was this new generation of Australian bands like Twerps and Boomgates and Dick Diver, who are ostensibly doing a very retrograde thing – I mean, they’re mostly white guys playing guitar rock – but somehow finding a sweet spot that Americans, who tend toward the muscular and melodramatic, always seem to miss: messier and more casual, but also catchier somehow. ‘Oh Boy’ is our California version of that ramshackle vibe. When I wrote it, I was listening to a lot of ’16 Lovers Lane”’-era Go-Betweens – ground zero for today’s Aussie scene – and I think their influence may have come through in all the droning chords and the domestic imagery. The last lines of the song were dummy lyrics that stuck. I realized what they were about – how honest they were about things I hadn’t even realized I was feeling; about family and fatherhood and settling down and ambition – and the rest of the words were written in response. Sometimes a song tells you what it wants to be.

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Los Angeles band Kid Bloom drop their new video, directed by Joseph B. Carlin, for electronic pop jam ‘Parents House’. 
Following debut EP ‘A Different State of Mind’, the quartet have racked up millions of streams for first single, ‘I Kissed a Girl and She Kissed Me’, and had their song ‘Electric U’ featured in the film Independence Day Resurgence.  Fusing a retro 70’s groove and grungy guitars with contemporary pop sensibilities, the track is a taste of the band’s forthcoming EP, ‘Lemonhead’, coming out later this year.

Kid Bloom is an American funky, pop, rock band from Studio City, California. The group formed in 2015 and is composed of lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Lennon Kloser, along with Blake Morell on bass, Clayton Sewelson on drums, and Zach Tabori on guitar and vocals.

Kid Bloom’s newest single, Parents House gives you just a taste of their upcoming EP, Lemonhead, that is set to release this fall.
Band Members
Lennon, Zach, Blake, Clayton

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The full-length debut from Los Angeles-based band Valley Queen, “Supergiant” takes its title from the most massive and luminous yet fastest-burning stars in the universe. “The song ‘Supergiant’ is about how we’re all made up of the same stuff as stars, and I liked the idea of tying the whole album together with that metaphor,” says Carol. “It takes all the drama you hear on the record—the aggressive, chaotic moments, and the more beautiful or quieter moments—and puts it all into a more galactic perspective.”

With the album finished and ready to be released into the world, it’s now easier for Carol to take a step back and be philosophical but there were moments when it almost seemed like Supergiant would never come to light.

The first iteration of Valley Queen formed not long after Carol moved to L.A. and crossed paths with Neil Wogensen through the local music scene. With Shawn Morones and drummer Gerry Doot later joining the lineup, the band named themselves Valley Queen in a nod to the region where ancient Egyptians buried their deceased matriarchs. They released the singles “In My Place” and “High Expectations,” as well as 2017 EP Destroyer to widespread critical acclaim. The band also supported artists including Laura Marling and Thao & the Get Down Stay Down on tour. Musically and creatively, they were in a place they never dreamed of.

As the band’s profile grew, so did days on the road and time spent away from home. Any touring band will testify to the intensity of togetherness, tight finances, being away from significant others, physical exhaustion, unhealthy diets and habits, etc., but they were doing what they loved and it was resonating with people. The band had found their own magical pocket musically but, ultimately, the strain was too much for Morones and Doot who left the band after years on the road. They were replaced with session musicians and the band continued to win fans and play bigger rooms, but the chemistry that Carol had come to depend on was gone.

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The growing success earned them a record deal—a dream finally coming to fruition—but Carol was unable to find the creative cohesiveness she knew she needed to make the record. “I wondered how to record the record. I believed in myself but I had also believed in the people around me. I write these songs in solitude but Valley Queen is not my solo project. I thrived in the collaboration. I came back from these new tours feeling creatively depleted, like something important was missing.”

Carol knew ultimately what needed to happen. Like a parent knowing what’s best for their child, she understood that Valley Queen was more than lyrics and sessions musicians. It was about people, chemistry and the relationships that created such a powerful musical force to begin with.

“I knew nobody else could record this record with me but our original line up. They had grown into the arrangements, had a personal understanding of what the songs were about.” Doot couldn’t rejoin—the strain touring had put on his newborn baby and wife was too much for him to reconsider—and Mike DeLuccia came forward, which was a godsend. Then Carol called Morones. The time on the road had strained their relationship significantly and there was healing that needed to happen. After long discussions and sharing, they all decided it would be worth the risk to try to create this album and tell the story of what had happened. Two months later, Valley Queen was in the studio.

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Carol reflects, “Recording the album was a transformative experience for the band. It certainly trod the ground of the past, the difficulty and disappointment we had faced. But moving through and completing the project brought with it a sensation that the chapter was over. All of us will always be in process, we will always be learning how to better work with each other and ourselves. But a power was created in actively choosing to meet with that process.”

The result is Supergiant, produced by Lewis Pesacov (Best Coast, Fool’s Gold, Nikki Lane, FIDLAR). Not surprisingly, the album emerges with raw production and relentless intensity. It’s a record that could not have been made any other way, each member bringing their own creative force and energy to every song. It’s about self-exploration, not just as an individual, but also as a collective whole.

“It can be really painful and isolating to go through something that doesn’t really look like anybody else’s experience but your own,” Carol says in reflecting on Supergiant’s intensity. “But ultimately that’s part of the beautiful orchestration of being alive—instead of trying to go around that experience, you need to go fully into it. I think that’s the only way to get a deeper understanding of who we really are.”

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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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“Stock Image” is wholehearted pop song, co-produced by Folick, Yves Rothman, and Justin Raisen (Sky Ferreira’s Night Time, My Time, Angel Olsen’s My Woman). Opening with lilting chimes and vocal coos, it quickly floors the gas to reveal an exuberant 1980s pop heart and a bassline with the same propulsive thrill of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own.” Briefly, Folick dwells on sticky feelings of malaise—“Bathe myself in the afternoon/Won’t get out until the water’s cold and I am blue”—but she makes the decision to shake them off and “open up the door.” As drums boom, the song ramps into a driving synth chorus, with a swirling constellation of zippy electronic sounds, and Folick’s piercing voice scales giddy heights. In an excellent accompanying video, Folick dances through New York streets, showing familiar locales like Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge with an infectious, bright-eyed wonder, “Stock Image” is an alluring, catchy as hell invitation to join Folick in her heady worldview, and a reminder that everything can look better when seen through fresh eyes. It might even make you want to dance in the streets, too.

Stock Image is the conversation you have with yourself when you’re feeling lost and your color has faded. When you’re too focused on inhabiting a certain image and then suddenly you realize your insides are empty! I wrote it from a place of feeling shallow and gray and wanting to feel Full! Vibrant! I hope it makes you feel lush and colored in

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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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