Perhaps we've been holding out a bit on Holly Palmer, an obsession for the last few months although really dating back to her 1996 debut album. It's not that we're ashamed to be posting about an artist not typical of our usual "underground" fair (whatever that is). In truth, Holly Palmer is one of the most talented and accomplished (yet so underappreciated)) singer-songwriters Los Angeles has to offer, which makes it more of a necessity that she be embraced by our two readers (down one from last quarter).
Actually, it's been a bit of a task trying to keep tabs on Ms. Palmer over the years. One minute, she's touring with David Bowie, the next she suddenly releases two fantastic yet hardly-promoted solo albums (I Confess and Tender Hooks both released in 2004). And then we got word she was singing with Gnarls, which we almost didn't believe until we saw her (and our friends The Sonus Quartet) on Letterman. And so the whirlwind career of Holly Palmer (can't wait for the memoires) has her back in Los Angeles to work on her own music for a change in the form of a new album Songs for Tuesday.
Tuesday is standard, brilliant Holly Palmer but this one might be our favorite yet. Her trademark themes of love and sex are in tact but this time around the honesty and intimacy of it all is felt just a bit more, no doubt benefited from the live recording production with co-producers Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Ima Robot, Macy Gray) and Joey Waronker (eels, Priscilla Ahn). The songs with the most minimal instrumentation, usually with Holly just playing a few chords on a Rhodes, are by far the most affecting. "That's Why They Call It Rome" is a clever and sophisticated yet soulful and bittersweet love song that could very well be the dark horse single of the album. "Girl in Lust" is just plain beautiful, a touching and sensual serenade if we ever did hear one. And, off the record, if you ever happen to see some fools driving around Los Angeles inexplicably weeping at the wheel, it's probably us listening to "I Want You" -- that repeated coda kills us. Seriously, that's off the record.
Holly Palmer performs 4/27 at the Hotel Cafe. New album "Songs for Tuesday" will be released soon on her own Bombshell Records.
Holly Palmer on MySpace.
Holly Palmer - "That's Why They Call It Rome" (MP3)
Holly Palmer - "I Want You" (MP3) Limited Time Download
Several major car accidents on the streets of Los Angeles this morning. Impatient and quick-tempered people from the Westside to the Eastside in the afternoon all while temperatures begin to rise to their normal melting points. This can only mean one thing.
It's Coachella weekend.
Seems Los Angeles is a little more anxious than usual for this weekend's festivites. Perhaps the addition of a Friday from its usual 2-day affair has made things a little more hectic but we're taking this one in stride... First, hit up up the Hotel Cafe for an early set from the one-and-only Holly Palmer (see later posting), then head out on to Pomona to catch what we can of Mr. Finn and the boys, then settle in at the polo grounds to see her royal highness sing to the desert moon. After we've had our fill of 115 degree sun and since we can't stand the fact that Goldenvoice couldn't pick a better local band than Jack's Mannequin (talk about a "you scratch my back, I scratch your back" booking), we'll be back for Mono at the Troubadour on Saturday... Those not interested in sunburns and dehydration, can still see Coachella acts The Walkmen (4/28), Arctic Monkeys (4/29), Travis (4/29), Rufus Wainwright (5/1), Teddybears (5/2), among others in much more mild conditions...
April residencies end with a flurry next week with crazy good lineups that you should not miss. And if you must miss, head to the basement of the Echo for Justice and Busy P's post-Coachella soire. By the way, this basement (aka The Echoplex, fka EX_PLX) is a massive 600-capacity room that not even that gigantic line that stretched to the Brite Spot last week for Klaxons could not fill. Best of all, it sounds pretty decent in there. Certain mid-sized venues (you know who you are) should be worried right about now. As for Klaxons, we were fairly impressed, but apparently not to the level of the hundreds that piled on each other for them last week. They are a good band on record and if you like the idea of Chemical Bros. doing remixes of The Clash then you've found your pot of gold, but we can pretty much guarantee if they were from Reseda instead of London everyone would have left after The Deadly Syndrome who clearly write better songs without the Brit pretense and the hour and a half changeover. In any case, we were back at the Echoplex for its official launch last night where four of L.A.'s finest played to an impressively filled room. But before heading down, by chance, we heard the unmistakable voice of a certain lady we once loved before through the doors of The Echo and sure enough Emma Burgess was doing a last-minute spot for Ms. Heather and Ms. Ashley's "Hell Ya" night. She's got a new band, some recent buzz, and thankfully an actual album to sell at shows, which we quickly snatched up in bulk... Good to see friends of The Ship (Let's Go Sailing, Castledoor) out to support their brethren at Echoplex downstairs. Castledoor and The Parson Red Heads played a free show the night before at the Three of Clubs. If those two are not the most feel-good bands of Los Angeles we don't know who are. And talk about feeling good, how about that show at Kevin's Pants/Tuesday night down at the Prospector with Amy Cooper and Frank Lenz? And dear Happy Hollows, you were too good on Monday. We are officially sweet on you.
Look at all those words we wrote. It must be Coachella fever.
Mono - "The Remains of the Day" (MP3)
Rufus Wainwright - "Not Ready to Love" (MP3)
Justice - "D.A.N.C.E" (Radio Edit) (MP3)
Bjork - "Earth Intruders" (watch it before it gets pulled)
Was our eyes deceiving us or was that water coming from the sky earlier today? Nice of you to join us, April showers. But, really, we probably do need to get our eyes checked because we thought we actually saw in the Weekly that Jewel would be playing Spaceland on Saturday. How absurd is that? What next, Silversun Pickups at the Silverlake Lounge?
The big show of the evening is The Autumns and Miss Derringer at the Roxy. Yes, there is a good chance that we will brave the wet roads and the wet t-shirt contests of West Sunset for two of L.A.'s most beloved bands. $20 parking here we come... The 600(!?)-capacity Echoplex officially opens its doors this coming week with a few great lineups. Klaxons and The Deadly Syndrome arrive 4/21 and on 4/26 the best lineup of the week with Earlimart, Sea Wolf, The Watson Twins, and The Parson Red Heads... Congratulations to The Pity Party this past week for making it through four shows in three nights. They get a whole week of rest before playing 4/30 at the Echo with The Black Pine... Rosie Thomas pays L.A. another visit on 4/23 at the Hotel Cafe promoting her Sufjan-ized new album These Friends of Mine... Giant Drag has a couple of shows with The Icarus Line, both opening for The Lemonheads (4/25) and The Jesus and Mary Chain (4/26)... Lastly, hearts will be all a-flutter with the return of Xiu Xiu on 4/24 at the Troubadour.
Klaxons - "Atlantis To Interzone" (MP3)
Rosie Thomas - "Much Farther To Go" (MP3)
Xiu Xiu - "Bishop, CA" (Kid 606 remix) (MP3)
Giant Drag - "This Isn't It"
Scott Sterling, the man behind the fermata, celebrated a quietly announced anniversary show last night at the Silverlake Lounge. While The Pity Party and Castledoor were enough of a bargain for the $20 door cover, the tease on The Fold's site did mention some other "special guests" that had played there more times than any other band, which we knew pretty much narrowed it down to Inara George and Silversun Pickups. While surprises are nice, the purpose of the evening was really to thank The Fold... for the opportunities it has given bands (and us), the difference it has made in the music scene, and for all those great memories underneath that "Salvation" sign...
One of Rufus Wainwright's first L.A. shows. Ditto for Bright Eyes, Mates of State, Mirah, Trail of Dead, and countless others... Petra Haden's first show back after the accident (still one of the best shows we've ever seen)... The first time we saw BRMC... The last time we saw The Bicycle Thief... Our third and last interview with Elliott Smith after one of his unbilled and unattended shows (the most heartbreaking performance we've ever seen)... Irving in June 2000 (one of our all-time favorite residencies)... The Like Young's last show... to name a few.
The night was great. The bands were great. SSPU came in straight from their Kimmel taping with a little bit of swagger. Not so much the 'we've played in front of millions of people, shook hands with Letterman and have 50,000 MySpace friends' kind of swagger but more like the 'we own this shit' kind. Which they do. SSPU have played the little neighborhood bar across from the Silversun Liquor store more times than we can possibly count. And seeing them there (maybe for the last time) was a nice reminder of all the bands The Fold has broken. The crowd was great -- although it looked like more than half of the attendees were probably in pre-school ten years ago, which made us feel old, but that's what ten year anniversaries are supposed to do. Still, even after a decade we always get carded suspiciously there like we're 12, which we love. Other celebrity celebrators around the room included members of Great Northern, K-Brons, Joaquin Phoenix, Eagle and Talon, Twilight Sleep, Snow Patrol's Paul Wilson (who played on "Lazy Eye"), the Hunter Crowley, the Sea Level Todd, the Aaron Espinoza and other members of The Ship crew.
We love you, Fold.
More photos here.
The Pity Party - "The War Between 8 & 4" (MP3)
Castledoor - "Remember When" (MP3)
Silversun Pickups - "Lazy Eye" (Jimmy Kimmel Live 4/17/07)
Was anyone else blown across Sunset Blvd. sidewalks yesterday? Or have their eyes burned out by the dust and ash clouds of the Hills? Or see buildings bend backwards along mid-Wilshire? Those winds were strong but not as strong as our love for you.
We haven't done a news blurb thing in awhile so here you go... Mr. Bolles continues to receive the most press of his entire career with one of the more obvious cases of profiling in recent memory. No word if this will change The Germs' scheduled 5/18 show at Safari Sam's but we fully expect Bolles to be vindicated and then promptly launch a talk show tour, beginning with Tavis Smiley... Live Nation recently acquired the Palladium, joining the 2 million other venues under its stronghold. It plans to renovate the historic venue and start booking local bands. That second part was a joke and a bad one.
Two anniversaries this week. The Fold celebrates 10 years on 4/17 at the Silverlake Lounge. And Safari Sam's celebrates their first year at the new location tonight with Los Straitjackets. Sam's has probably gone through more ups and downs in one year than most venues' lifespans but tonight we toast to the ups... Also tonight, we're gonna be pulled through a ringer getting to all these shows but it'll be worth it. Sara Lov at Tangier, Mia Doi Todd at El Cid, Hella at The Echo, Castledoor at Rudolpho's, The Sweet Hurt at The Scene, and Rock Insider put together a last-minute mindblower over at pehrspace. If anyone can get the whole L.A. blogosphere to post about a last-minute show, it's Ms. Ashley. She must know we've been to like every Monolators show since 1968... Saturday could be just as challenging, but should be a no-brainer for those who take locals over touring bands (cough... Spaceland)... Finally, next week everyone go check out to The Scene on 4/19 when L.A.'s best music blogs (aka not us) showcases their favorite bands for a night. It's always good to put a face to a blogger and then together dance to the likes of The Pity Party, The Clean Prophets, The Valley Arena, and The Western States Motel. Hopefully, there's slow dancing.
We love you.
Mia Doi Todd - "Autumn" (Nobody Remix) (MP3)
The Sweet Hurt - "Ms. Misery" (MP3)
The Pity Party - "The War Between 8 & 4" (MP3)
When we were asked to cover the LA music scene all those years ago, The Autumns were one of the first bands we ever wrote about. The band's headlining show at the Troubadour in 1999 is still one of the best nights we've ever witnessed -- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Splashdown, and The Arrogants opened. We were so obsessed with their dream pop grandeur that we rarely missed them, especially their nights at Fais Do Do with The Arrogants, Majestic, and The Lassie Foundation (back when Fais Do Do was one of the hipster locales in town). While our obsession with them has somewhat subsided, our love continues to grow with each passing day of their 15-year career. The band's been playing regularly in recent months in prep for their upcoming new album and so after a long time apart (that Troubadour show was the last time we saw them -- they were getting too popular for us), we caught a recent show at The Echo. The music is still beautifully epic, Kelly is still enigmatic as ever, and "Boy With the Aluminum Stilts" is still one of the most heartbursting modrock songs we've ever heard.
The Autumns perform at The Roxy on 4/20 with Miss Derringer. A new album is expected for a Fall release. Listen to them live on KXLU's "Demolisten" on Friday (4/13) at 7pm.
The Autumns on MySpace.
More photos here.
The Autumns - "Boy With the Aluminum Stilts" (MP3)
The Autumns - "Suicide at Strell Park" (MP3)
The Autumns - "Boy With Aluminum Stilts"
more Autumns videos here
His discography speaks for itself: Stetsasonic, De La Soul, and Handsome Boy Modeling School, to name a few. But beyond his legendary work, Prince Paul is the ultimate distinguished gentleman, a prince among thieves if you will. Years ago, after one interview, we found him to be one of the most kindhearted, soulful people we've ever met. And so we had to again pay respect during his recent visit to Los Angeles (in conjunction with a De La Soul reunion tour) for a headliner DJ spot for Low End Theory. Spinning all the old school jams that we old school fogeys love to hear, Paul had us waving'em like we just didn't care for a magnificent 2-hour set (partly interrupted with technical difficulties). There was a considerable amount of love in the air at this show. A love of unity. A love of hip-hop. And a love of Prince Paul.
Listen to Prince Paul on XM Radio's "Ill Out Show". Pick up Prince Paul's latest release "Hip Hop Gold Dust", a collection of unreleased material dating back nearly twenty years.
More photos here.
Prince Paul - "The Men in Blue" (MP3) from the album A Prince Among Thieves
Handsome Boy Modeling School - "Rock and Roll (Could Never Hip Hop Like This) Part 2" (MP3)
We had a whole April Fool's post ready last week that we completely forgot to publish due to our commitments to other things, among them the future launch of two new blogs (even though we can barely manage the ones we have now) and the redesign of this one in honor of our ten year anniversary in virtual obscurity. We're planning a small show for it on 6/6. It's going to be so good that we might even show up for it... April Fool's.
The month of March was very good to Los Angeles, but April might just be a little too good. This month sees residencies on full blast with Xu Xu Fang, The Black Pine, Wires on Fire, Anavan, The Minor Canon, and The Nightwatchman; long-awaited CD release shows from Silver Daggers and Jessica Fichot; The Fold's 10th anniversary show with some of LA's best; and then of course the almighty Coachella.
However, let's not forget about tonight... First an early stop by El Cid for the Le Chemin CD release show for the lovely Jessica Fichot (playing with the wonderful Cat Hair Ensemble), then over to The Smell to swoon over hearthrobs Jeremy Jay and Devon Williams then race over to Mr. T's Bowl for a lineup so good we'd pay for if it wasn't free with Castledoor, Wait Think Fast, The Monolators, and Ema & the Ghosts then finish off the night with a shhhecret show at Sixth St. Gallery put together by the fine folks who got The Melvins to open their issue release show (ahem, that would be LA Record whose cover this week is the unconceivable, unbelievable Anavan). And no long night would be complete without stopping by the Pantry for the Steak & Eggs breakfast and a tall glass of milk. Los Angeles, we love you.
The Black Pine - "Some Will Come With Flowers" (MP3)
Jessica Fichot - "Le Grenier" (MP3)
Anavan - "You're Taking Me Out" (MP3)
Wires On Fire - "Million Dollar Maybes"
When we first witnessed Die Princess Die awhile back it scarred us for life. Quite literally, we were sliced by shards of broken beer bottle glass and various other sharp objects lying around not to mention left with a severe shin bruise from a crash cymbal that was thrown (overhand) at us. With cuts now healed and our bad limp now gone, we made it to the Three of Clubs last night (nicely remodeled from their previously cavernous, poorly arranged staging) just waiting to be torn open again.
If one hears traces of Black Flag, Ministry, KMFDM, Killing Joke, Gang of Four, and any other music that could potentially leave you scarred for life, your ears wouldn't be deceiving you. DPD are all this and more with a stage presence that is as volatile as it is breathtaking. What's even more amazing is that even through the wreckage and disarray of their set, bad sound, and an unruly (but loving) audience the music is seductive enough to have us wanting more -- which we did, but of course every instrument was broken by the middle of the show.
Die Princess Die go on two-month long tour of Europe in support of their overseas release of "Lions Eat Lions".
Die Princess Die on MySpace.
More photos here. Check out videos of DPD on YouTube.
Die Princess Die - "The Racer" (MP3)
Die Princess Die - "Lights Of The Night" (MP3)
Go to their shows and buy this album. It's one of the best of 2006.
On many levels, we have been particularly uninspired as of late. Luckily for us, the recent return of Bay Area artist Tycho aka ISO50 aka Scott Hansen was the perfect remedy for our creative woes.
Already known to most as one of the premiere graphic designers in all the land, Hansen fandom has reached epic proportions with his foray into the music world and the release of his debut album Past is Prologue. It shouldn't surprise anyone that each artistic expression seems to embody the other in a rather stunning saturation of sun-drenched color and rhythmic effusion. Multiple projections lit the room with a warm kaleidoscopic mélange of clouds, birds, and everything else happiness imagined while Hansen made heads bounce and hearts sway with a few touches of his Powerbook.
Needless to say, there was a lot of cuddling afterward.
Tycho continues one-off dates in support of his new album "Past Is Prologue". Look for a return to L.A. in the coming months.
Tycho on MySpace.
More photos here.
Tycho - "PBS" (MP3)