Once in awhile we'll post about an out-of-town band, but only if they meet certain criteria: They they need to play in L.A. at some point and they have to be damn great. And so we've decided to make this a regular thing maybe just to keep things interesting, beginning with a band from Philly, The PoPo.
We've been tracking the group for a bit and were glad they decided to do a little L.A. stint to promo their upcoming album on Buddyhead (due 10/31). Dancy political post-punk is a common formula with the kids these days, but add the double attacking vocals and a touch of Middle Eastern flair and there's something to this. What suffers somewhat live is the lack of bass, compensated slightly with low-end guitar and keyboards. The songs still come through though. "O.K. U.S.A." has all the rhythmic and political punch of a "Hell No, We Won't Go" protest chant. Call it Dishdash punk. Call it post(9/11)-punk. Call it your favorite new band of 2006.
The PoPo on MySpace.
The PoPo - "Funtimes on the Frontlines" (MP3)
The PoPo - "All or Nothing" (MP3)
It's been a few years since we've given Gran Ronde a close look (i.e. having time to catch an entire set) so we thought we'd make time for their headliner debut at the Troubadour awhile back. Really thought they'd be on covers of magazines by now, but apparently certain A&R seem reluctant to close the deal with the market so flooded with bands that sound like The Strokes. How unfortunate since the songs are still solid and the overall feel of the band is above and beyond most everything else kids are buying these days. Stage presence has needed work since day one, although they sound better live than anything they have ever recorded. And is it just us, or does it look like they have a new band member each time they play? If that's indeed the trend, synth seems like the next obvious addition. In any case, "Say Say Say" and "Fist Fight" alone are worth putting this band back on the radar and should be at the top of every Mod rockers' Shuffle playlists (MP3s available on their site).
Gran Ronde perform at the Silverlake Lounge on 9/6.
Gran Ronde on Myspace
Free MP3s here.
Gran Ronde - "Sound & Silence" (UK release) (MP3)
Gran Ronde on Myspace
Ready for another round of weekend-long festival madness? No? Well, too bad because Sunset Junction is back with another impressive lineup of local awesomeness. Highlights include Redd Kross, eels, and Lavender Diamond on day one and Hank III, The Cramps, and Dave Alvin on day dos. It will be hot and sticky and filled with no-shirt wearing hot and sticky people. Fabulous... Another must-go is tonight's yearly songwriter tribute at the Will Geer Theatricum. This summer's series finale will be in honor of the great Woody Guthrie and will feature performances from Van Dyke Parks, Eleni Mandell, Mike Andrews, Tom Brosseau, Becky Stark, Bryony Atkinson, and of course hostess Inara George (just to name a few). Tickets are still available and worth every cent... Also tonight BRMC has a last-minute show at the Echo in prep for tomorrow's heat and The Killers are playing the Troubadour... But if you're staying in tonight, why not check out Mellowdrone make their national television debut on the Late Late show?... As for next week, sure there are some several monsters of rock dates coming through (RHCP, Foo Fighters, and the speed metal of Dave Matthews Band), but why not take a chance on Mia Doi Todd at the Little Temple (8/29), Eskimohunter at Spaceland (8/29), or Languis at the Knitting Factory (8/30). Your ears will be much happier, we promise.
Mellowdrone - "Oh My" (MP3)
Redd Kross - "Follow the Leader" (MP3)
Redd Kross - "Hit It!: Redd Kross Live in Canada" (Podcast)
Mia Doi Todd - "Planting" (New Version) (MP3)
Van Dyke Parks - "Black Gold" (MP3)
We thank the dude upstairs everyday that Anavan moved from the warm, sunny climate of Alaska to the glacial tundra of Los Angeles. In a short time, they've become one of the best bands in town, largely due to their infectious disco rock and happy hardcore live shows. They recently finished up a quick tour of nearby states with a show at Zamakibo! for one of Carnage's nights and we could hardly believe it ourselves when we started, ahem, dancing. "Eel Air Camera" and "Mingle" will do that to you.
Anavan perform 9/10 at the Smell and 9/15 at the Echo. Their new self-titled album is out now on GSL.
Anavan on Myspace.
Anavan - "Eel Air Camera" (MP3)
Anavan - "Mingle" (MP3)
So F* Yeah is here. Long lines. Overcrowded rooms. Chaotic scheduling of bands. Good music. This is what encompasses this hooplatic festival so should we go? F* yeah... Silver Mt. Zion and Carla Bozulich have been moved to the Vanguard. The Vanguard used to be Q-topia until it went through a 2 million dollar renovation, a good hunk of that dough going into its state-of-the-art sound system. So it should be feast for our ears to hear SMZ and Ms. Evangelista grace that room... Oh No! Oh My! visit from Austin this next week. Indie-pop puncuation bands are nothing new and the record isn't all that terrific. However, Let's Go Sailing is playing with them on 8/24 and Whispertown 2000 opens on 8/25 so that's worth the ocho. On a related note, shushtown 2k is headed out on a Midwest tour in the coming weeks. So if you live in a flyover state you better hurry up and Myspace them some good venues... Jon Brion returns to his regular duties at Largo on Friday after a few months taking care of the nitis in his tendons.
Carla Bozulich - "Evangelista I" (MP3)
Whispertown 2000 - "Goodbye Baby" (MP3)
Stopped by the ballpark the other night. Let's face it, baseball is only interesting unless the Dodgers or Angels are in the penant race (or the Yankees are not). And if it weren't for Vin Scully being the greatest sports announcer ever it'd be completely unwatchable. So now we're winning and we got the Greg Maddux, one of our favorite players of all-time?. Damn... House party tonight. You know where to be... Hello Stranger celebrates the long(est)-awaited release of an album this decade at Safari Sam's on Saturday. One of the hardest working and most talented bands in town should see a packed house tomorrow, especially with the amazing Los Super Elegantes hitting the stage. It's been too long since we've seen this hot twosome (actually, like ten years), but apparently time has only made them even hotter. ¡Muy fantastico!... Not sure why everyone's raving about The Little Ones, but if you're going to see them the night to do it is this Monday with The Bird and the Bee and The Watson Twins. We may stop by for the twins and perhaps a bit of the bee, but something else is on the radar that night... Also on Monday, Devics wrap up their woozy love affair with The Black Heart Procession and The Castanets at the Knitting Factory -- emphasis on woozy... Something else of interest is Bic Runga's return to Largo. The New Zealander has had several month-long residencies at the club dating back to her debut album in 1998. This time around she's out promoting her recent release Birds, a bit of a change stylistically but a fine album nevertheless. No telling if her usual cohorts Neil & Tim Finn or Dave Dobbyn will be dropping in, but the shows have been booked up for weeks. Runga plays 8/14 and 8/15 at Largo... The two shows of the week are at the Troubadour. The 88, Gram Rabbit, and Les Shelleys perform 8/16 and the Silversun Pickups CD release show is 8/17 with Darker My Love and Great Northern. Two back-to-back top-to-bottom L.A. lineups don't happen at the grandaddy very often so let's make it count (although both shows are probably already sold out)... And as for next week, inhale in for F* Yeah Fest III. And hold 9/26 on your calendars.
Los Super Elegantes - "Je Suis Bien" (MP3)
Bic Runga - "Birds" (MP3)
We've been busy. Busier than busy. We're in the process of launching our 23rd commercial site in less than a month, continuing to work on the L.A. music site of the century, and gearing up for Photoshop World in Vegas in September where you might see us do a little guest paneling. We also maybe, possibly partake in our first team blog thing. Honestly, we didn't even know what team blogging meant (who has time to actually read blogs, anyway?). So this blog has been the furthest from our mind and if it weren't for the lineups we can't pass up or bands that are nice enough ask us to come to shows this thing would be a goner.
Great shows all around town these past few weeks. Don't have time to post about them all (see first sentence of first paragraph) but did get to see our old friends Exfriends, Eskimohunter, and David Pajo. Exfriends, still our favorite SD band, returns September 1st at Mr. T's Bowl. Still can't convince them to move to L.A., but we're working on it. We haven't seen Eskimohunter since The Couch showcases at Lava Lounge a ways back. To say they've gotten even better would be an understatement. Good lord. And Mr. Pajo played one of the most beautiful sets of music we think we've ever seen him do. We wish he didn't hate Los Angeles so much that he visits like once every decade, but we forgive him. So enchanted with songs like "Icicles" and "Insomnia Song" and his sparing use of instrumentation (the footbells were too lovely for words), that we almost forgot we had to be at Mika Miko's CD release show that night (too fun). His new album, 1968, is in stores 8/22. You will need to buy this album. With urgency. Caught some other things, a few of which we'll post media or something to show our appreciation. Thank you, cool sounding bands.
David Pajo - "High Loansome Moan" (Quicktime Video)
David Pajo - "Foolish King" (MP3)
Eskimohunter - "Surfing at 32F" (MP3)
Dusty Rhodes and the River Band - "Fire in the Sky" (MP3)
Amy Cooper - "Tonight We Fly" (MP3)
The Monolators return to T's tonight after their recent journey down the coast (if you haven't read Eli's tour blog, you should), bringing with them another onslaught of personnel with them to the stage -- we're talking 9-piece garage rock orchestra mayhem. E>K>U>K> also just got added to the lineup and for you all you crack addicts, Monos' new friends from tour, Guns That Shoot Drugs, will be making the trek from Vegas to rock you silly and of course shoot drugs from guns. Free show. Free fun. Free drugs from guns. No excuses... August residencies include Kind Hearts and Coronets, Benji Hughes, Dios (Malos), The Little Ones, and The Kris Special... Mew's long-awaited headlining performance at the Troubadour is Monday. It is rightfully sold out but if you perk your ears toward West Hollywood you'll still should be able to hear the grandeur that is Mew... IPO finishes up its month-long musical festival with some of its best lineups in the coming weeks including the one-and-only Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. on Tuesday at Spaceland with a stellar supporting cast of Kristian Hoffman, Let's Go Sailing, Carolyn Edwards, and others. Over at Sam's on Wednesday, Satisfaction, Fielding, The Waking Hours, and Teaneck lead another impressive lineup. IPO is one of L.A.'s great music institutions and part of the reason why we rule the power pop universe.
Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. - "Sandman" (MP3)
Benji Hughes - "I Went With Some Friends To See The Flaming Lips" (MP3)
E>K>U>K> - "KeMo Thera-P" (MP3)