Whenever Lisa Germano is on stage you can pretty much guarantee we will be in the room. It's been a rare occurrence the last few years since the release of her album Lullaby for Liquid Pig, which made it even more of a priority for us to attend her April Spaceland residency. Thank gosh for Gira for getting this new album (In the Maybe World) on Young God and for convincing her to do this weekly. The new songs (including "Wire", "In the Maybe World", and our current favorite "Golden Cities") are classic Germano, little antique lullabies that waltz in your head and swell with dizzying melancholy.
Also some shout-outs to her residency picks in Jon Langford and Sally Timms (holy amazing) and Trespassers William who recently both celebrated new releases.
Lisa Germano - "If I Think of Love" (MP3)
from Lullaby for Liquid Pig (2003)
Lisa Germano - "Too Much Space" (MP3)
from the forthcoming In the Maybe World (2006)
The Exfriends are our favorite SD band. So when the boys and girl came up for their CD release at Mr. T's Bowl for their first LA show in a few years, we thought it necessary to run a few red lights to get there in time. The band recently released their new album Exercise Music for the Lonely, where Matt Curreri returns with his wonderful knack of combining pop with psychedelic folk in less than three minutes (only two songs go over that industry standard). Curreri was born in Los Angeles, raised in Virginia, schooled in the Midwest, and now a resident of beautiful SD. We'd like him to return to LA more often.
Our favorite track is "Carrie's Freckles." It has all the sweetness of a grade school crush and if you loved "Willow Tree" from their previous record How to Play the Songs of Matt Curreri (and you should), then get ready for the long sighs on this one. And "My Mom Was A Lamppost" is about as perfect as you can get with 90 seconds.
Produced by Christopher Hoffee of another SD favorite The Truckee Brothers, the CD also contains some enhanced material including a video of their great sing-a-long "Paul On My Side" as well as MP3s of Paul Curreri and wife Devon Sproule doing Exfriends covers.
The Exfriends - "Carrie's Freckles" (MP3)
The Exfriends - "Wife" (MP3)
The Exfriends - "Willow Tree" (MP3)
The Exfriends - "Paul on My Side" (MOV)
The Exfriends on MySpace.
Not nearly enough has been said about Maria Taylor. She only put out one of the best records last year and posseses one of the prettiest voices on earth. She was in town at the Echo recently where this time around had a few new songs to help lengthen her set that were slightly on the heavier side of her lilting melodic rock. Effing gorgeous. And, yeah, Bright Teeth did come out to pound on the keyboard and scream on "Song Beneath the Song", but it still sounded good. She finishes up this tour in Omaha where she'll probably hole up for awhile to record for the new album.
Maria Taylor - "Song Beneath the Song" (MP3)
We've been hesitant to really post anything about The Shys since their residency at Moscow late last year. They needed lots of work but I had faith the kids at Leftwing and Sire would fix things. Caught them last night at the Troob and what a difference a few months make. Such a difference that apparently Rolling Stone was all up in their biznass after their SXSW showcase so I guess it's time to jot down a few notes. We didn't like their original demo. It got reworked and the new album (Astoria, due 6/6 on Sire) is actually kinda good. They sound like a lot of bands that you probably have illegal mp3s of so you'll probably want to scan for blogs posting tracks like "Never Gonna Die", "Easy On The Eyes", "Call In the Calvary", and "Madly in Action". NGD is probably the best song on the album although Calvary will probably get the most action. It's a toss-up...
The Shys - "Never Gonna Die" (MP3)
It's impossible to say anything bad about Becky Stark simply because whatever she does is inexplicably mesmerizing. So it was on Saturday that the Princess of World Peace debuted her new whimsical musical "The Most Beautiful Show That Ever Lived" in front of an over-capacity crowd at the Steve Allen Theatre.
Basically done in the form of little one-scene skits in between one-song interludes, Stark and her cast (including Miranda July and dancers Eleni Mandell and Paloma Parfrey) played along with perfect elementary school articulation. We're not nearly smart enough to describe what exactly we saw and by the perplexed look of others they didn't really know either. All we know is that we left in a strangely good mood. We also know that magic is kind of like balancing.
When do we ever go to the Roxy? Never. Ever... Well, okay, it did have its one glory year in 1999. That year, Prieboy's "White Trash Wins Lotto" managed to get us over there on consecutive occasions, but hey, it's Andy Prieboy. And sure that little-known UK band called Muse played there in front us and five record label execs. But we haven't been there since and had all intentions of keeping the streak alive before Damone decided to go and book some recent shows in WeHo (they also recently showcased at the Viper Room).
We've been in love with Damone since Noelle's 2001 self-release "This Summer", tracking the band through the years, from their RCA demise to their more recent Island signing. Can't really call them a guilty pleasure since we're actually quite proud of our fandom of them. And although we refrained from throwing our panties up on stage we did get a headbang or two in during their new single "Out Here All Night" until we remembered we're no longer 14-years-old.
First of all, we've never been so surrounded by kids in Hot Top couture in our lives. Second, who the heck lit a fire under Noelle's ass? This girl is pure rock star. If you saw the band in the early days, you'd be quick to notice the transformation as well. Perhaps a few tough years on the road, a bad record label relationship, and a kick in the butt by LA Reid changed some things, but Noelle now possesses a new look, a grittier attitude, and most importantly a voice destined for arenas.
The new album Out Here All Night hits stores on 5/23 but you can buy it now for a measely $6.99 at iTunes.
Damone - "Out Here All Night" video (MOV)
Damone on MySpace
It's been a couple of years since we last met San Francisco's Citizens Here and Abroad. They're even better than we last heard them. If genre humping is your thing, then there aren't many bands that define melodic indie-rock better than CHAA. They played at Spaceland with a few new songs in their repertoire; new songs that need to be on record like quick. "Appearances" and "Enter the Elevator" still sound as good as ever. They also played at Sea Level, promoting a record that came out two years ago. Anyway, they really need to play down here more often or move down here permanently.
Citizens Here and Abroad - "Appearances" (MP3)
Citizens Here and Abroad - "Enter the Elevator" (MP3)
Citizens Here and Abroad on MySpace
Some say Monster will soon be everyone's favorite L.A. band. It's not that we're skeptical (our best of 2005 lists perhaps justify that), it's just that we maybe not ready to give them away just yet. The band recently did an acoustic set at T's that further proved we need to hold on to them a bit longer. Yeah, their shows are a bit awkward and clumsy, but when Johnstone opens that mouth of hers it's over. "Charlatan" and "Sincere Blues" are great tunes that you'll need get into your portables asap. And be sure to watch the wonderful video for "Sincere Blues," directed by Cameron Mell.
Monster - "Sincere Blues" (MP3)
Monster - "Sincere Blues" video (MOV)
Monster - "Charlatan" (MP3)
The Hadens are a Los Angeles treasure. One day, there will be music institutions and city concert halls named in their honor. In the meantime, it's just a pleasure being in the same room as their voices, as it was the other night at Jensen Rec. The Sellouts' revamped lineup still sound great led by Petra's sweet mezzo and even sweeter goofy charm. Tanya was obviously absent. Actually, I have to admit being slightly heartbroken to hear of Tanya's nuptials, but at least she broke the news to us gently long before all the hoopla. In any case, seeing Rachel on stage again with sis was fun. Let's hope for more of that. Sadly, the girls didn't do my favorite "Silas Stingy". There's always next time...
Petra Haden & the Sellouts perform at the Troubadour on 5/25. Click here to purchase tickets.
Visit Petra Haden on MySpace.
Devon Sproule's first show ever in Los Angeles was a thing of beauty. This Virginia folkie was introduced to us by Matt Curreri (her brother-in-law) not too long ago and has since been on constant rewind on our MySpace standalone music player. Not sure why. Perhaps because "Plea for a Good Night's Rest" (off her 2003 gem Upstate Songs) makes us a little teary-eyed or the fact that any songbird that even remotely sounds like Nanci Griffith or Julie Miller and can go to and fro through genres is something quiet exciting to us. Either way, she sounded great and was charming as all heck -- not to mention an honest to goodness sweet gal. Her new album, Keep Your Silver Shined, is due sometime this summer but we were lucky to be able to snag a copy. The title track is prettier than the ol' Piankatank if I do say so myself.
MP3s from Devon's first recordings can be found here and here. New recordings can be found on her MySpace.