Los Angelenos know we are spoiled. Because of our year-long drought-driven sunny weather, our festival season never ends. But what about smaller cities with shorter outdoor concert seasons? You know those fans in the comments section of band postings asking "When are you coming to ____?" and we just laugh because we rarely need to ask those questions. And even when we do get big bands in LA, we leave early to beat the traffic. That's part of the reason why we visited Raleigh, North Carolina recently to celebrate Hopscotch Festival's 5th year -- to see what music appreciation looks like again.
For Angelenos unfamiliar with Raleigh or failed geography like us, it's the capital of North Carolina and one-third of The Triangle betwixt Durham and Chapel Hill, each about 30 minutes apart. So it's no backwoods town. It's full of hip shops, restaurants, clubs, late-night eats, museums, and the usual cultural milieu fit for the state's fastest growing city. Still, it feels small, perhaps like downtown Santa Monica with everything easily within walking distance to each other, which makes Hopscotch Festival very accessible to even those LA peeps who need to drive from The Echo to the Echoplex because they're too far apart.
Festival highlights included getting our feet wet (literally; it poured rain nearly all night) on Day 1 running around to see Deniro Farrar (the man is a damn genius),Yvette (pretty incredible), and Deep Sleeper (who soundtracks the video we put together below). On Day 2, we thoroughly enjoyed the company of some LA friends Clipping. and Open Mike Eagle at Pour House Music Hall, not to mention excellent sets from Priests, Winston Facials, and Potty Mouth. For the final day, we were absolutely entranced by Witch Mountain (who played a few weeks earlier on their tour at the Viper Room) and were front and center for White Lung, Eternal Summers and Sun Araw to finish the fest.
We very much enjoyed our stay in Raleigh. For Angelenos thinking about heading out next year, we recommend hitting up local sites like NCMH, NCMNS, and Pullen Park (pictured above and it's even prettier than that in person), all of which were pretty cool and free. Hopefully, we'll be back next year.
We arrived a few days prior to the Interactive portion of the festival to hang with friends, relax, and just prepare for the biggest week of the year for music, film, and tech. A few us were scheduled to do some hack and photoshop battles on Thursday night so we spent much of that day sitting poolside at the Hyatt prepping for 12 straight hours of screenburn. Tech highlights included Adobe's CJ Gammon and their free buffet at the Raddison, Funny or Die's Super Serious Show (feat. Jerrod Carmichael, T.J. Miller, and others), and most importantly Neil DeGrasse Tyson's quite moving keynote conversation prior to the premiere of Cosmos on Fox. Film highlight (we only got into one) was Boyhood, which was Oscar-caliber incredible -- although we have to admit we helped a bit on it. We also interviewed the lovely Lily Baldwin and Nicole Disson for their short film Sleepover LA but our camera bag containing most of the footage was stolen outside of Red Eyed Fly. We're hoping to put something together with what we have but for now watch this. As for music, we sadly didn't find a lot of new bands that blew us away. Those that we did love were mostly the same bands we've seen in the past at the festival or back in Los Angeles. Still, J.C. Satàn, Russian Red, Wolf Alice, and Inner Oceans lived up to the hype. L.A. bands did well too. Banks, Moses Sumney, and Youth Code were three of the most talked-about bands on the airplane home, which not only shows how good our scene is right now but also how diverse.
See you next year, Austin.
The above photo is ATX airport waiting for our luggage trying to sneak a photo of the entire staff of Jimmy Kimmel Live who were in town shooting the festival.
K Á R Y Y N but give it a second (or just look at those big brown eyes above) and a familiar name will come to mind. K Á R Y Y N (pronounced kah-reeen) is the new project from Kárin Tatoyan who only a few years ago we, ourselves, proclaimed could outlash Natasaha Khan herself. Don't bother trying to YouTube her -- nothing on there does her justice. Her performances were a revelation, a fiery bravado that was as moving as it was breathtaking. With audiences buzzing and blogs, um, blogging soon labels came calling.
And then she just left.
Without knowing all the back story of her departure, we do know she moved first to New York and then to Berlin where she now lives. She's been working on music, both for herself and for others, including an upcoming film with Oscar winning director Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth) and Oscar winning composer A. R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire). She's also currently working on an EP with German house gods Âme and in January she'll head to Iceland to finally record the music she performed four years ago in Los Angeles. After which she's hoping to get back on a stage where her music is obviously best heard and where, we believe, she's most at home. And, hopefully, that home is Los Angeles.
We love K Á R Y Y N.
Follow K Á R Y Y N on Facebook/Twitter/Soundcloud
Black Friday is an odd day to present a show. The day before, we're all thankful for our family and friends with a day-long feast of food and football. The next day we're grasping for game consoles and computer tablets with one hand and pepper spraying faces with the other. If you've survived the day, by the time Friday night comes along you just want to decompress. And decompression is partly why we thought of this show. The other reason, obviously, is that having Tom Brosseau, Kate Earl, and Lia Rose together on one lineup is utter perfection. Not only are they three of our most favorite artists of all time but they are also three of our most favorite people -- on the planet. We've known each of them musically and personally going on ten years and we couldn't think of a better trio to serenade us out of 2013.
Tom Brosseau recently returned home from a short tour of the other half of the U.S. with Sean Watkins. We know these little treks to-and-fro he's been doing for the last decade have given him a well-rounded view of the world and are at the root of his often clever and charming songwriting style. While not necessarily having to be travel songs or road hymns, the thoughtfully vivid details in his lyrics are the kind perhaps only imagined on long drives from city to city. And it is this unique perspective that has filled six wonderful albums worth of music with a seventh, entitled Grass Punks, coming 1/21 on Crossbill Records. Produced by Watkins, the album again showcases Tom's delicate prose and even more delicate natural falsetto, but it's at his shows that these songs really come to life. And, on Friday, we have the honor of seeing one of the best pure singer-songwriters of our time share some songs of his life travels.
We all probably know the story. Almost exactly ten years go, Kate Earl moved to Los Angeles from Chugiak. The stage-shy, pretty Alaskan girl with the big, soulful voice captivated us and every major label in town. A lot has happened since then. Even knowing Kate all these years we needn't have to pry too much into all those happenings. We just need to listen to her latest album Stronger, see the running theme of song titles like "I Don't Want to be Alone," "Is There Anyone Out There," and "Not the End of the World" to understand the amount of emotional difficulties she's had. But the songs don't wallow in self-pity. Rather, they're actually quite uplifting 70's-inspired folk rock tunes. She plays her first show back in town on Friday after recently finishing a huge summer tour with Matchbox 20 and Goo Goo Dolls, playing new songs in likely a much more stripped-down way than the massive venues she's starting to get used to. She'll also be donating all of her earnings to her family in the Philippines. Mahal namin si Kate Earl.
This is our third Lia Rose show we've presented in the last eight months. 'Obsessed much' might be the understatement of the year. But this girl is just that good, Bricks & Bones is just that fantastic, and Los Angeles is just that oblivious that we will put on as many shows as it damn well takes to get this lady heard. Of related importance, her performance of "Myself for to Blame" at our last show with her created such a perfect formation of tears in our eyes that the watery lenses temporarily gave us 20/20 vision. Do you understand what we are telling you? Her music heals people and stuff. A few more shows and these bum knees of ours will be good as new. She opens the show on Friday and will likely be playing a few songs off her new album Heart of Winter to get us in the holiday spirit so get there early for a good cry sesh.
November 29, 2013
Los Angeles Loves...
420 West Ave 33, Unit 10
Los Angeles, CA 90031
All Ages/8pm/$5-10 donation (all money goes to artists)
STREET PARKING ONLY
Bring blankets, pillows, and stuff to sit on..
In one of our final shows of the year, we have chosen Lot 1 Cafe as our locale to host a trio of ladies we are honored to have on one lineup. We have had our eye on Daena Jay, Nettie Rose, and Pluto Fury for some time now so it is quite fitting that we will be closing out 2013 with all three of them together at last.
Given the amount of television usages of her music it's a bit of a surprise that not many locals have heard of Daena Jay. Her live appearances admittedly aren't too frequent but when she does grace a stage her talent is straight to the point. The lady can flat-out write songs that hit nerves, specifically the nerves that trigger teardrops flooding from one's eyeballs. And if you doubt this then haven't listened to "Lead Us Home" as much as we have. After a bit of a well-deserved break (she recently got married), look for a new EP in the coming months out on CatBeach Music (home to our friends Fielding and Moxi) and hopefully more shows as well.
When we first discovered Nettie Rose, she was just a teenager humbly singing her twangy Country tunes at open mic nights around Santa Monica. Five years later, the young lady (now 21 years old) is celebrating the release of her debut album People I Know. Her charming storytelling style of songwriting recalls the golden era of Country music the likes of Gene Autry, Patsy Montana, and Hank Williams, outpouring through a perfectly unrefined voice suited for long rides down dusty trails. "Ride Ride Ride" remains to be her signature song, a remarkable piece of songcraft to be released by a girl in her early 20s, no doubt, but even more astonishing in that she wrote it when she was sixteen and yet it still holds up against some of the best Country songs we've heard in the last decade. Do buy her new album (available now on iTunes) and please help her celebrate it tonight at Lot 1.
We've gotten several DMs asking who Pluto Fury is and we really cannot say for sure. It could be a new animated prime time series on FOX or it could be someone we randomly saw a handful of times a few years ago stun a packed crowd at Room 5 then sing the national anthem at Dodger Stadium all before they turned the age of 15. Hypothetically, if it were the latter and they were now attending a prestigious arts school that has churned out some of the best new bands out of Los Angeles in the last few years, then it would behoove us to get them to play one of our little shows before they have handlers telling them not to consort with "music bloggers." So that's what we did. Hypothetically speaking. Get there early to see them. Factually speaking.
That's the show. And there is no cover charge. Why? We don't even know. At the very least, this should be a Typhoon Haiyan benefit concert or something but we believe you will spend your hard-earned money wisely tonight whether it be to victims of natural disasters, Lot 1's infamous Tuesday $5 all-you-can tacos, or a new Nettie Rose record. Just know that this show costs as much as a slow dance with us to a Daena Jay tune. Absolutely free.
November 19, 2013
Los Angeles Loves…
NETTIE ROSE record release
Lot 1 Cafe
1533 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
18+/9pm/Free but donations to the bands are encouraged
El Cid celebrated its 50 year anniversary back in July, an incredible achievement in a town known for replacing the old with the new. It's also remarkable because in all those 50 years we've never presented a show there. Until now.
Tonight, we are proud to present Mars Argo, DA + The Jones, and Eleanor Penfold with an additional performance by Flowerglass (who El Cid booked to replace the sadly canceled Black Bear & The Cheyenne Autumn Band). Flipping through the pages of this relic of a so-called "music blog" you will find a number of accolades directed towards these artists. Instead of inundating you with superfluous declarations yet again, we invite you to just play the songs and videos below and make the simple decision on where you should be tonight.
October 23, 2013
Los Angeles Loves...
MARS ARGO (acoustic)
DA + THE JONES
4212 W Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90029
If we could dream up a night to spend with a handful of our most favorite singer-songwriters of the last few years it would look very much like the show we have for you this evening at Pieter. If you know the music of Buster, Lia Rose, and Ranger then you already know what we're in for tonight. If not, read on and get acquainted with the cream of the crop.
Buster features Phoebe Bridgers, Jackson White, and Harrison Whitford. You can Google search in your own time where the lineage of talent with these young prodigies may have come from, but let's just say it's in there blood to perform. Whether it be a Bridgers original or an Everly Brothers cover, their harmonies are tried-and-true as they share verses and choruses with one another like seasoned Grand Ole Opry groups. The result feels both nostalgic and contemporary. But mostly, simply wonderful.
We already provided a bit of a story on Lia Rose but long story short, she's just lovely. This is technically the L.A. record release show of her new album Bricks & Bones so you'll want to bring a few hundred pesos to purchase one.
Ranger released her beautiful, new record Songs For Leaving/Songs For Other Things this week and we do believe she'll have them available at the show for the first time -- in effect, perhaps making this a record release party for her as well. And it's well worth buying in bulk. NOTE (10/18/13): Ranger is sick and can't play tonight you should still buy her record then go to her Facebook and wish her well because she's awesome.
This show is a dream come true. God bless Americana.
Listen to all the artists on Soundcloud here.
October 18, 2013
Los Angeles Loves...
LIA ROSE record release
Pieter Performance Space
420 West Avenue 33, Unit 10
Los Angeles, CA 90031
All Ages/$5 donation (all money goes to the artists)/9pm
STREET PARKING ONLY
Bring blankets, pillows, and stuff to sit on
From her time in the indie pop band Minipop, to her band Built For the Sea, and to the indie folk group Or, The Whale, we've been enormous fans of Lia Rose's musical endeavors. A decade of Internet back-and-forths recently led to an offline meetup in San Francisco where we asked her to show us her hometown just so we could capture it all on video and set the soundtrack to one of our favorite songs of our lifetime "California." The song appears on her wonderful, new album Bricks & Bones, her finest effort to date and an album that could very well put her in the ranks of her contemporaries Alela Diane, Sylvie Lewis, and Catherine Feeny.
Originally from Long Beach, CA, Lia moved up to the Bay Area for college and never left. Given how much love she showed for the town, it's easy to see why. Never has that city been more appealing than the hour she spent with us showing off a few of her favorite shops on Valencia St. Take note, Tourist Bureau of San Francisco.
This week, Lia returns to town playing a few shows in the area including a show we're presenting on Friday at Pieter. You must see her.
10/17 - Pappy & Harriet's (7:30pm, free show)
10/18 - House Concert (6pm, RSVP)
10/18 - Pieter (9pm)
Follow Lia on Facebook/Twitter/Soundcloud/Bandcamp/WWW