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
QunQ (members of Summer Darling/Missing Teen/Vicious Scully) and Tape Deck Mountain. The two bands are on a run up the West Coast with their second stop at Ham & Eggs Tavern. QunQ has been been making mouths drop the last year with their unyielding, guttural post-hardcore caterwaul. It's taut and tense. And brilliant. Get everything on their Bandcamp. Meanwhile, we haven't seen much of TDM since their move East but the buzz their making on the other coast has been duly noted. While we all wait for the release of their upcoming album Sway (out 10/1, pre-order available here), tonight's show will be a much-anticipated preview of the new songs, their new Brooklyn swagger, and the noise they'll be making from here to the Pacific Northwest.
Go see this show.
September 14, 2013
Los Angeles Loves..
TAPE DECK MOUNTAIN
Ham & Eggs Tavern
433 W. 8th
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tape Deck Mountain/QunQ West Coast Tour
9/13 - Soda Bar/San Diego, CA
9/14 - Ham & Eggs Tavern/Los Angeles, CA
9/15 - Homeish/Oakland, CA
9/19 - The Black Lodge/Seattle, WA
9/20 - Record Room/Portland, OR
9/21 - El Rio/San Francisco, CA
We've already introduced you to one of our latest obsessions, Ms. Eleanor Penfold. We highly advise getting to pehr early to see her along with our old friend Jack Gibson, aka Tenlons Fort, who will be opening the show. The last we saw of ol' Jack he was outside of Lot 1 Cafe passing out glow bracelets and yelling out his latest catchphrase "Bronco" (in honor of his favorite Norteño group) prior to his performance. But as ridiculous and fun-loving as he is off the stage, it's almost inexplicable how good he is on it, particularly how he's able to craft and shape familiar and often-simple chord structures into complex and utterly beautiful songs (seriously, listen to "Your Hand is a Song"). Everyone who knows Tenlons knows he might be one of the most overlooked singer-songwriters of the last 20 years. Get to know him on Saturday where he'll have copies of his new self-titled record in hand prior to its official release date 10/19.... Getting Emby Alexander for this show was far too easy given the band is far too good to be playing a show far too far from their hometown of Phoenix, but we'll take it. When Michael B. Alexander (M. B., get it?) started the band shortly after putting an end to one of the best bands in the state of Arizona, Boys and Frogs, we were quick to take notice. A year and a handful of self-released recordings later, the band is in full launch mode, playing shows all over the greater Southwest and releasing great videos like the one for their latest super-catchy single "Dressed Undressing." They'll be traversing across the great Sonoran Desert just to play music for us so please give them your love, Los Angeles... Finally, we have a lady who probably doesn't need to be playing shows this small, but she is. Even if you don't frequently browse the pages of Nylon, Elle, and Interview Magazine or haven't seen the num-er-ous shout-outs in your Twitter feed about her or weren't at her "Indigo Summer" release show at the Viper Room with Nas in the house, you still might be somewhat aware that NyLo is one the most-talked about new artists of the year. Out of all the places the native Chicagoan could have gone to take her music to the next level she chose Los Angeles and her sensual chic R&B is just what this town needed. Turn on "Fool Me Once" and that horrid 405 drive doesn't hurt so bad. Hit play on "Someone Like You" and this late summer heat won't sting as much. She's sophisticated and soulful. And she's playing the 50-capacity pehrspace on Saturday. Get excited.
If that weren't enough, we also might have a special guest solo acoustic performer on at 9pm super sharp so get there early to see her. We'll announce as soon as it's confirmed. Thank you for reading and we hope you can make it.
September 7, 2013
Los Angeles Loves...
NYLO (LA via CHI)
ELEANOR PENFOLD (UK)
EMBY ALEXANDER (PHX)
TENLONS FORT (PDX)
325 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
We've all heard the news. We all know it's happening. The wave upon wave of U.K. female artists hitting U.S. shores isn't just the normal tide coming in; it's a bloody monsoon. Even those who think they're oblivious to this occurrence probably could check their social feed and realize their likely following Florence Welch, Natasha Khan, Laura Marling, Ellie Goulding, Rita Ora, Jessie J., Birdy, Jessie Ware, Marina Diamandis, Charli XCX, Nina Nesbitt, Emeli Sandé, Pixie Lott, Foxes, Chlöe Howl, Gabrielle Aplin, Dragonette, Ella Henderson, or of course the lady who probably started this all, Adele (via Amy Winehouse). And if anyone thinks this is just a passing trend, you should know that this just the beginning. And perhaps the beginning continues with Eleanor Penfold.
Eleanor came to our attention after two nights at Molly Malone's last summer. The shows weren't really promoted and therefore only a handful of people were on hand for one of the most vulnerable, raw, and beautiful performances we've ever witnessed. She was joined by the legendary Justin Clayton and lovely Vanessa Freebairn-Smith (Sonus Quartet) and we were quick to acknowledge that this wasn't just a random stage collaboration. Clayton was producing this girl.
Because if you know Clayton or his shockingly under-appreciated 1999 album, Limb, this was the exact crushing, agitated, tortured-soul pairing Penfold needed. We wanted to scream about it or in today's modern world, tweet, and of course we did, albeit in our own cryptic way.
A year and another cryptic tweet later, Eleanor is back in Los Angeles working on new music and performing a show at pehrspace on 9/7. Before this, though, we decided to have a quick chat with her (our first interview in over a decade) and get the scoop on her music and how she's liking Los Angeles.
LAU: So, first of all, we love you. But enough about us. How are you today?
EP: I am not too bad. Currently getting to grips with designing my website which is a whole can of worms.
LAU: Ok, you're from the U.K., but you've been living in L.A. for a bit. What brings you to town?
EP: Well I am enrolled in some music business classes as an international student to try and figure out what I'm up against, and the guy I make music with lives here, so that's handy. And also it's sunny!
LAU: Justin Clayon, yes? He's a legend. We've been wondering what he's been up to these days. How has it been working with him?
EP: Yes indeed. He is a very talented chap. He's the first person I've worked with musically. As an experienced artist himself, he's helped me with so much in regards to figuring out what I want to be as an artist. He twiddles a lot of knobs, which he hates doing, but he'll be doing that until we can maybe one day afford to pay someone else to do that stuff. But he's a fantastic musician and an all round great guy.
LAU: When we saw you perform last year and saw him on stage with you (along with Vanessa), it just made perfect sense. It sounded amazing. Actually, you played your first shows at Molly Malone's, kind of an off-the-radar venue that we like to stop by from time to time to see new artists. Was it your intention to play your first shows away from the hustle and bustle of L.A.? Justin's been playing there for years.
EP: Yes. My first ever show! Thank you. I am really looking forward to doing a show with a rhythm section in the mix as well, as I haven't done that yet. And I think a show with drum and bass will give my songs the bite that they are intended to have. As for the Molly Malone's gig, the booker did us a favour because we had no draw, me being completely unknown. It wasn't that we were necessarily trying to play away from the hustle and bustle, just that we wanted to do a show, and that was the gig we got. Ha this is also my first interview!! I feel that may be a necessary disclaimer.
LAU: We personally like it when artists don't go straight to the more popular clubs, which is why we made it a point to see you there. So thank you for playing there. Is there a timetable to releasing anything or are you just in development mode for now?
EP: We're almost done with development mode. We've got about 20 songs. Next thing is to figure out how to get into a studio with a band and all that follows... We are getting rather sick of doing everything on a laptop in other people's living rooms. Although some of my songs are quite electronic, what's missing is human beings. And space. I love the sound of bands like the White Stripes, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, PJ Harvey, etc. And I just want it to be more organic. My sound that is, not theirs.
LAU: You mentioned that your songs are intended to have bite. "State Vector Collapse" is absolutely vicious. How did this song come about lyrically?
EP: Though it may sound like it, that song isn't actually about anyone specific. I guess it takes the form of a kind of breakup song, but it really it just started as a piece of music and became a way for me to vent some of my daily anger at the world. It was also really good to stretch myself vocally for that one. It's a quite a cathartic experience for me. Which is always useful... I have a lot more songs like that, which you won't have heard. And perhaps no one ever should...
LAU: When we you posted it a few months back, we tweeted that it was one of the best songs of the year, but because of the 140 character limit we abbreviated the title, which confused everyone. Regardless, we stand by that statement. It's brilliant.
EP: Well thank you very much! I never saw that (not very good with twitter). Actually I generally abbreviate it to SVC, unless I'm feeling particularly pedantic.
LAU: Is there a deeper meaning behind the title of it?
EP: I thought you'd never ask.... It's actually a quantum physics reference. I think now it's generally referred to as wave function collapse but it describes the moment whereby the act of observing reduces something to a single state. I am by no means a scientist. And I also may be wrong about that. But Justin had it in a list of potential song titles, and never got round to writing it. So I stole it and wrote it (with him.) I like it because it seems to suggest complete and utter implosion. So basically I got that bit of science from Justin. But it's meaning does indicate a moment in time when everything is focused, which I thought was appropriate to the song. Anyway as you can see I could expand on this all day... NB - SVC is a demo with fake strings and fake drums... but maybe if you tweet enough, someone will finance the real recording!
LAU: Doesn't matter if you may be wrong. It sounds cool and now we have to re-listen to the song for added contextual meaning. You mentioned the weather in Los Angeles. Laura Marling recently moved to L.A. and also mentioned the weather as a factor. We find it interesting that many L.A. musicians want to move to the U.K. because of course the music scene, but also the change in seasons. Isn't L.A.'s weather a bit too "cheery" for your writing?
EP: I guess I haven't been here long enough to miss the rain yet... Yes the music scene in the UK is fantastic, but I'm finding some pretty cool stuff here too. As for my writing - I pretty much carry a black cloud around with me all the time anyway, so the sun doesn't really make a difference
LAU: Haha. Have you seen any bands you might want to play a show with?
EP: By finding cool stuff, I generally mean cool stuff on the radio. I have been far too busy/poor to go to loads of gigs. Although, I did go to a CD release party for Lucy Schwartz the other night, and she's quite good. albeit a completely different vibe to what I do
LAU: Ah, her show at No Vacancy. We missed it. Last question... We're excited to finally present a show with you in September. Who will be playing with you and will there be any changes from the time we saw you last year?
EP: Well Justin and Vanessa will be playing with me again. And we are still on a frantic hunt for a rhythm section as all the guys we know are currently away on tour. The show last year comprised of the songs I had written at the time, and this time it'll be mostly new ones, I think (including SVC). But whatever the case, I'm really really looking forward to it! Thanks so much for the opportunity to play on one of your nights!
Eleanor Penfold performs 9/7 at pehrspace. Check out the live video for "Ruler of Waves" below and try to not let our shaky hands distract you from the song since we were much more focused on her performance than holding a camera steady.
Follow Eleanor on Facebook/Twitter/Soundcloud