Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Universal Sighhhhhhhhhhh

Yours truly spent 3 hours waiting in line on Tuesday to get Radiohead's self-published periodical, The Universal Sigh. Unlike those lucky Brits, Thom didn't show up to pass them out himself here in LA...but hey it was 75 degrees and sunny instead grey and rainy like it always is in London.  That's something.  Anyway, it's pretty cool, and so is the King of Limbs (the album that was released on the same day).  Basically the paper is 12 pages of artwork, short stories and poems - true Radiohead form.  Not to worry if you didn't grab a copy but you'd like one, it's in PDF form all over the internet.
In case you haven't seen thom yorke dancing in a hat to a song off the new album, enjoy:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I cannot get enough of this song: Magic Was Ruler, by Bullion.  Makes me want to wander around the city street dancing.

BULLION / Magic Was Ruler by Young Turks

Monday, March 28, 2011

Keep Shelly in Athens

Not feeling super great today, oncoming cold or just a case of the Mondays? I don't know, but the downtempo duo Keep Shelly in Athens is definitely helping.

They're from Greece, they're kind of old-school 90's era mellow electro, and they're perfect when you feel like crap and are stuck on public transportation.

The first and last song below, Running Out Of You and Fokionos Negri Street, are from their 6 tack EP In Love With Dusk.  The second song, Hauntin' Me is a newer single.  And they're all amazing.

They're releasing a super limited cassette sometime pretty soon, only 150 copies to be sold.  I almost pre-ordered it...then I realized I don't even own anything to play a cassette on.  Even so, I think these guys are so great that I still want it.

Okay, now I'm turning the lights off, turning Hauntin' Me up, and lamenting the fact that I didn't get a flu shot.

Keep Shelly in Athens - Running Out Of You by Keep Shelly in Athens

Keep Shelly in Athens - Hauntin' Me by Keep Shelly in Athens

Fokionos Negri Street by Keep Shelly in Athens

LA: Then and Now

Alright, here it is: I'm pretty much a huge, unashamed postcard collector.

I have a few vintage Los Angeles postcards, and this plan to find the locations and try to get as close to the same shot as I can, for a sort of now version.  Today I tracked down these two on Hollywood Boulevard:

In the postcards, you can see the electric rail tracks on the road.  LA used to have this pretty expansive electric railway set-up, but there was I guess a big corruption/scandal and by 1963 all the tracks were torn up, and buses/cars replaced the trolleys!  It's all part of the Great American Streetcar Scandal, where car, tire and oil companies teamed up and ran the railroads out business to increased car sales.  Who Framed Roger Rabbit? alluded to the situation, when the big wigs were attempting to sell toontown in order to make room for a freeway.

Anyway, Thanks GM for my 45 minute, 8 mile bus ride...I wish I took a streetcar to work.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Little Dragon, Blood Diamonds and Marissa Nadler

Little Dragon, my third favorite Swedish band (after the Knife and the Sounds), has new music! Specifically, a new album, Ritual Union, coming out this summer.  This song Nightlight is a bit of a sneak peak. How cool is that band picture too?

I've been listening to this one by Canada's Blood Diamonds, called Lasting Love, a bunch too.

Lasting Love by Blood Diamonds by The Pop Manifesto

Alright finally, I'm kind of strangely really into this song, Baby, I Will Leave You in the Morning, by Marissa Nadler, she has this Nancy Sinatra, Leonard Cohen-y feel.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

JR Downtown

JR, this really great French street artist, has some new art work up in LA.  Basically he's been wheat-pasting the world like crazy, and LA's his most recent stop.  I hadn't heard until he did a show in Long Beach and postered up half the walls in town, but JR won a TED grant and has been spending it pasting up HUGE pictures of people on buildings/windows/billboards/etc for the past month.  It's really cool.  The "show" is called "Wrinkles of the City" and LA's only the most recent stop.  Before that was Shanghai and Cartagena.  I heard there are going to be 20 of them put up all over the area.

Monday, March 21, 2011

LA Graffiti

Cold and rainy here, but Spring, woohoo!  Anyway, on my commute everyday I pass through this sort of warehousey/factory/train yard area of LA and there's always really crazy, bright, cool graffiti around.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


So back when I first started this blog, I googled the name and found this band EXITMUSIC.  I really liked them.  Kind of darkly melodic synth work, a little like another of my favorites Portishead.  Plus they were based in LA back when I first started listening, so I got to check them out lucky New Yorkers should definitely see a show, they're based out of Brooklyn now.  Anyway, they've released a new demo and you can download it free!  So seriously, check out THIS link to listen and download their new songs, or just click the download link on the player below.

Here's a part of an interview with the band from Anthem magazine, I love that polaroid, and then two videos for some older songs:


HOMETOWN: Brooklyn, New York

DESCRIBE YOUR SOUND IN TWO SENTENCES: Lately, our sound has been pulling in a lot of different elements—the heavy bass of hip hop, drum sounds from old techno, distressed guitars, FM synths, samples of wild animal calls, sounds from outer space, and really big and beautiful vocal melodies. It tells a story of how humanity has displaced itself from the natural world and is now finding itself alone and in trouble.






MOST MEMORABLE SHOW YOU’VE PLAYED: Our farewell show at The Smell with Warpaint and VOICEsVOICEs before leaving Los Angeles (where we lived for awhile). It was a beautiful show.

CHOICE VICE: Paranoia. No drugs required.

YOUR NERDIEST EQUIPMENT FETISH: We don’t really nerd out on equipment too much, but we try to make good use of what we find lying around the house or in secondhand stores. Aleksa plays an old Yamaha DX-7 synth and a cool-looking black Hondo Professional guitar, which, according to the guy at the store, used to belong to Luscious Jackson. Devon sometimes plays guitar with a violin bow or a screwdriver.

BEST RECENT PURCHASE: A Roland SP-404 SX sampler. I guess we’re kind of nerdy after all…

SOMETHING THAT’S ALWAYS IN YOUR POCKET/PURSE/WALLET: Lint, receipts, guitar picks, toothpicks, fingernails and this Polaroid.

LAST THREE MOVIES YOU’VE SEEN COLLECTIVELY: We just went to the premieres of two films last week: Happythankyoumoreplease, which our friend Todd DiCiurcio did all the artwork for, and Potiche, a French film starring our new friend Judith Godreche. This is a TV show, but we’ve been watching The Wire pretty obsessively.


ONE BRAND YOU WOULDN’T MIND SELLING A SONG TO: This is hard. It’s always an ambiguous question because musicians have to make a living somehow. It’s one thing if a song gets placed in a movie or something else creative, but another if it’s just being used to push destructive consumerism. We’re really not interested in using music for advertising.

YOUR FLAT IS BURNING DOWN, WHAT ARE YOU GRABBING? I would grab our three cats and the hard drive that has our new album on it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Berlin Currywurst

There's a new German joint slinging sausages in Silverlake!  What's the word: Es ist gut!

We tried out the new eatery yesterday, and I'm sold.  The German ex-pat owners, Lena
and Hardeep were super nice and ridiculously cool.  Plus they were pretty keen on chattin' it up with my dad, swapping stories about Germany (his line of the family lives back in the Father land).  And the currywurst is real deal.  It's really good.  Go if you're in the area...and try the fritten if you go...with onions.
Photos above from here.

LA Noir: Pete the Drug Dealer and A Naked Guy

Happenings on the LA Buses

So I was sitting on the subway the other night, chatting with Diego, who works at Universal Studios.  Diego got off at 7th Street and another kid sat down.  I glanced over and he started motioning for me to lean over, like he wanted to whisper something.  Umm...okay no.  I don't know you.  But he leaned forward anyway, "hey, I got some kush for sale."  Oh haha.  No, I'm good.  Then the best part happened.  See this guy was totally spaced and his pupils were HUGE!  He leaned back and sat a little awkwardly...and the rest went something like this:

Drug Dealer: "So what are you doing Friday night?"
Me: ...pause..."Oh, well, you know, I have finals next week, so I should probably study."
DD: "Oh yeah. So, uh, you go to that school down on Alameda?"
Me: "No, I'm at UCLA."
DD: "Oh, that one down on Alameda?"
Me: "Uh, no it's out by Santa Monica."
DD: "Oh yeah I think I heard of that."
Me: ...

Then the DD jumps up as his stop approaches.  And stares at me, deer caught in the headlights style with his huge pupils.  And he yells:

DD: "Hey you didn't take my number" - and he told me his number so slowly and deliberately, like I didn't speak English well and he was struggling with coherent thought -
        "it's 3 - 2 - 3 - 6 - 8 - 5 - xxxx.  And my names Pete!"

Then he literally ran off the train.  Thanks Pete.  Thanks, you just made my night a bit better.


Just a few days later I had a pretty early final.  Walking through Westwood, the streets were mostly deserted.  I got up near campus and was stopped waiting to cross a street; a motorcycle cop was driving by.  And there was this man on the other side of the street, he looked a bit down-and-out.  As the cop drove past him, the man started banging his chest with his fists and yelling at him.  In like 3 seconds flat, the cop had his bike parked and his night stick whipped out.  The man's response was even faster, in 2 seconds he had taken off all his clothes, spread his arms and legs and leaned face forward against the brick wall.  And there I was just watching this entire sequence play out.  No one else was there, just me, the cop and the now naked guy.

Friday, March 11, 2011


The sun's shining again, and you know what that means...Coachella.  Oh, you were thinking cuba libres by the pool, road trips, and the fact that you have to mow your lawn again?  Yeah, well, I guess it means that my dreams.  Hey, but on that side-note, I'm really trying to work out a lifeplan that involves "summer" beginning in Arpil and ending in October, sort of a 1 part school/work/responsibility/blah to 1 part obligationless/meandering/vacation thing.  I haven't figured it out yet, but I'll keep you apprised.  Annyway, the music festival is just over a month away.  And in terms of Coachella prep, I've got some reeesearch left to do.

Doot deet doot deet doot deet.  By the way, I heard President Palmer's going to Coachella.
Now, I've got finals next week, so naturally I've decided to start my Coachoosing right now.  There's a billionish bands playing over the three days, so this prep may take a while.  But here's what my pre-festi groundwork is telling me so far:

Don't Miss Glasser

Background: A Los Angelino who makes music on GarageBand - or at least did 'til her newest album.  Oh, and her dad's in the Blue Man Group.
Sound: Electro-pop.  NME dubbed her the electro Join Mitchell.

Seriously Don't Miss Cold Cave

Background: A dude who used to make hardcore gets some band mates and metamorphoses into 80's British synth pop legends - or at least they would have been with this stuff in 80's Britain.
Sound: Dark synth-pop a la early Depeche Mode.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Long live shoegazers!

Photo from here

Really really liking 2:54 right now.  Kind of obsessed.

Like genre predecessors gone before, it's darkish and abrasive guitar counterbalanced by entrancing vocals. Expertly done.  They're UK based, but I really hope they plan to play some US shows in the near future.

If you haven't been convinced by other music on this site already, these guys will be the ones to catalyze your dark and twisted descent into noise rock.

You can listen below if you want, it's really good.

2:54 - On A Wire

LA Noir: Did I just get roofied?

Happenings on the LA Buses

No seriously.  For about 8 minutes, I really wondered.  I even came up with a plan...if I felt my legs go tingly, I would turn to the little old mexican lady sitting next to me, tell her "I've just eaten roofie ridden gum.  Please help." And pray she spoke english. 

Okay, here it is.  I'm not exactly sure why, but a few times since I've started riding the bus, some men have given me little packets of unopened chiclets.  Usually it goes something like this, a man sitting or standing near, leans over, smiles and hands me a pack of chiclets. "For you."  I love gum.  So yeah, I'm gonna smile, take the gum, open it and we'll each have a piece.  Sometimes, there's a little talking after, which no joke first question has on 3 different occasions been "You're Russian?"  "uh, haha, no, why do people think that?"  Usually, there's a bit of a language barrier, and that's about all to the story.  Time on the bus passes a little faster talking to someone, and I end up with a pack of chiclets, win win.  Except last week, I took some gum from this guy, and it was definitely an opened package.  I had this fleeting thought as I popped it in my mouth, remembering those horror stories elementary teachers tell around halloween to never take open candy from strangers when you're trick-or-treating, or ever.  I thought, oh wow, this gum was already opened, what did I just do.  No for real, I think I feel weird.  Oh no. Enter ridiculous, overanalyzed, neurotic stream of conscious here.  Short story long, the guy was in fact just being nice.  He gave me a piece of gum, that's it.  And, also, the little old mexican lady did speak english.

UPDATE: it's been hypothesized that maybe these dudes think I'm a Russian prostitute able to be bought with chiclets.  Fat chance.  I expect at least Mint Mojito Orbit before we can even talk.

More stories from the "underside" later.