Friday, April 29, 2011

Fab Friday Music

In an age when sexy boy/girl band duos are the norm, it takes something pretty good to get a bit of buzz swarming around a twosome.  Cue in Big Deal...a sexy boy/girl band duo from the UK who has that something which means they haven't left my "listen to on the ridiculously long bus ride you have to take because west-side apartments are so GD expensive" playlist.

To quote the pair: "We don’t know how to put this but we’re kind of a big deal."  Weirdly, I'm sort of into the arrogance.  Enjoy.

MP3Big Deal – Locked Up

Talk by Big Deal

Homework by Big Deal

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Golden Age of Girl Rock - Coachella '11

"VV" of the Kills at Coachella
With memories of Coachella '11 already blowing away on the trailing edge of the Santa Ana winds, I have got to get this post out before it's irrelevant.  So, let's get to it...Coachella this year was in one word: amazing.

And, all about the ladies!  Or at least the female-led bands.  Robyn and Alice Glass (aka 1/2 of Crystal Castles) stole the show Friday.  Arcade Fire was awesome Saturday, but it wasn't until after Régine Chassagne took the lead for Sprawl II that I lost it.  And don't even get me started on Sunday - Alison Mosshart from the Kills reminded all you dudes that she can rock harder than you, the Strokes had nothing on Phantogram's dance-friendly, trip-hoppy, dirty beats, and wow, PJ Harvey...the real closing headliner of Coachella...I've never had my mind blown so hard.

Call it progress, social evolution, whatever. Thank Patti Smith, Kim Gordan, Joan Jett, whoever. The point is when I think back to who made the biggest impact for me this year, and which act I still can't get out of my head, it's obvious Coachella '11 will go down in history as the Year of Girl Rock.

Okay, festival highlights:


Warpaint  I've touted the Silver Lake quartet on this blog before, so it shouldn't surprise you that I was front and center for the spacey, psych alt rock.  And the group definitely delivered, in all it's dark, transfixing glory.  For a weekend in which more than a few bands where plagued during sound checks, the tone was set from time zero, when the group sound checked for like .1 seconds and jumped right into it.

Ms. Lauryn Hill  Doo-wop, Fu-Gee-La, Ready or Not, Ex-Factor...a pretty good/nostalgic reminder of how awesome she was.  Please, a moment of silence for the Fugees.  May they rest in peace.

Interpol  Remember that part in Gladiator, when Russell Crowe just won a fight and the emperor comes out and puts his fist out, thumbs up, you live, thumbs down, donezo?  Yeah, this wannabe Roman emperor writer is deeming Interpol thumbs down, not good, so over it.  Okay, the light show was pretty cool though.

Cut Copy  Always a good time, synth-pop, dance friendly rock from Australian's.

Crystal Castles  Noise rock meets disco.  I'm in love.  Made all the better by how weird and feral front-woman Alice Glass is.  Um, yeah, she was writhing on stage, crawling around, and making those noises...I'm totally freaked out in such a good way.  It was a no brainer passing up Kings of Leon.

Robyn  Dance-pop Swedish princess.  Acts like this keep you going for another full year until the next festival swings around.  The set was full of catchy, unabashed techno pop.  I still have With Every Heartbeat bouncing around in my head.


Gogol Bordello  Watch Everything is Illuminated and you'll love everything Eugene Hutz does too, no matter how brazen and arrogant he probably is.  The group has added a bit a Rasta/Latin vibe since I've last seen them, and honestly I prefer the Gypsy punk Gogol Bordello, but how can you be disappointed with anything coming from the Ukrainian, especially after he removes his shirt and demands you Start Wearing Purple?

Glasser  Another of the women who ruled Coachella this year.  The show was out there, but listen to the band and you know their music is out there...twinges of the Knife, or a little like the weirder side of Goldfrapp.  The feel of the music was made all the more complete, when front-woman Cameron Mesirow came out in a full body bridal veil.

Bright Eyes  A healthy mix of classics and songs from their most recent album, made for an overall crowd pleasing set from Bright Eyes, and reminded me why I liked the whiny ballads in the first place.  I think it's time to bust those old albums out from the indie attic for another listen.

the Kills  Ah, where to begin??  I was floored.  Garage rock, lead by a girl, head banging and thrashing around, getting grimey, all under a full moon lit sky.  In my top 5 acts of the weekend.

Empire of the Sun  More Australians, even crazier the rest!  The electro rock music is only half the reason to see these guys.  The real treat is the stage show, it was like Rocky Horror Picture Show meets Star Trek.  The show featured some pretty intense visual aspects: sequined Hammer-pants, space mermaid costumes, swordfish horse costumes, some sort of strange commercial sex workers from space, feathers, rhinestones, square head-pieces...suffice it to say it was a head trip.  An alien circus dance troupe, all played out to the bands songs.

  Of the Britpop bands reuniting this year, Suede was not the band I wanted to see gracing the Coachella bill (ahem...Pulp...ahem).  But Suede it was, and a deep love for the 90's genre brought me into the Mojave tent to see these guys, the force that arguably launched the entire Britpop genre.  Wow, do I feel ridiculous for every hoping for something else.  Suede completely delivered.  A full hour of hip swivels, raw sexual energy, and glamorous androgynes.  It was definitely a highlight.  If you at all are into the genre, check this group out.

Arcade Fire  The Saturday headliner, with a killer new album.  They played hits, synchronized with the Creator's Projects' visually stunning additions to screens.  Pretty much just as great as you would imagine.  About two hours in, a massive black box opened above the audience releasing huge balloonish orbs that lit up and changed colors corresponding with the music.  It was pretty gd amazing.  And like I said, Régine Chassagne blew it away when she took the lead for Sprawl II, with the screen going nuts with an abstract visual to the already super amped up situation.  It. Was. Great.


Health  Noise rock at Coachella!  Woohoo!  Read a few posts on this blog and you know I'm one of those people, you know, one who consumes My Bloody Valentine or Sonic Youth like it's manna from heaven.  The LA based band Health offered a respectable amount of dissonance intertwined with its Coachella requisite electro.  Just the way I like it.

Phantogram  Warning: biased review ahead.  I love this group.  Bringing in influences from all over (trip-hop, acid jazz, Detroit hip-hop, and of course electronic), these guys had the Gobi tent moving.  It's hard to believe they've only got one album under their belt.  The show was great.  I can't wait to see what this group comes up with next.

PJ Harvey  The highlight of the entire festival.  The only performer I insisted on showing up early for and getting as close to the stage as possible (which meant we were pretty amazingly close).  The woman has a truly impressive stage presence, I was completely blown away - brought right back to my little 15 year old wide-eyed self unable to articulate just how I felt when I first heard her music.  She stood up there, a sort of a pagan princess, in a floor length white dress and feather headdress, bemused, probably mischievous.  It was pretty much agreed upon by all those who turned up for the show, which overlapped with Kanye West, that PJ Harvey was the real Coachella closing headliner - and when the cameras focused in on a fan-held sign saying exactly that, that total agreement was vocalized by thousands of booming cheers.  Mother Gaia seemed to feel the same, with the winds getting stronger and stronger as the show progressed, carrying the music across the field and keeping Kanye's blaring at bay.  Songs came from all throughout the singer's prolific twenty year career.  Great music from a great musician. And thanks to AudioPerv, we can all watch the show again and again.

Photo above from the LA Times

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Top 5 Coachella 2011

Line-ups out, set times are up, festival starts Friday!  So where will you find me among the masses on the polo field?  Well, here's a list of 5 bands I can't wait to see...each day.

COLD CAVE    listen: love comes close
WARPAINT   listen: beetles
ARIEL PINK'S HAUNTED GRAFFITI   listen: round and round
ROBYN    listen: cobrastyle
CRYSTAL CASTLES    listen: crimewave

SUEDE    listen: saturday night
BRIGHT EYES    listen: lua
the KILLS    listen: last day of magic
ARCADE FIRE    listen: ready to start
GOGOL BORDELLA / the RADIO DEPT.   listen: start wearing purple / listen: pulling our weight

PJ HARVEY    listen: to bring you my love
SHE WANTS REVENGE   listen: tear you apart
PHANTOGRAM    listen: mouthful of diamonds
the PRESETS    listen: talk like that
DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 / FOSTER THE PEOPLE / BEST COAST    listen: romantic rights / listen: pumped up kicks / listen: when i'm with you

...maybe I had a hard time with '5' per day.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Los Angeles Arts District

I was talking to a friend at UCLA the other day.   She's been in LA for 5 years or so, and lived on the West side for all of it.  Anyway, she told me that the entire time she's lived here, she's only been downtown a handful of times...mainly because she's afraid to leave the west side!  What?!?!?  That's crazy to me.  I love downtown.  And there's SO much to do.  There's bars, restaurants, artists/galleries, and newer things to do that pile on the already huge list of cool things in the downtown area.  Anyway, the Arts District is downtown.  This place is cool.  There's basically a bunch of old industrial buildings now inhabited by artists, mixed in with a bunch of still functioning warehouses/factories, hip eateries, music venues, and galleries.  And of course, being that thousands of artists live there, the place is visually awesome.

There's a bunch of pictures in the gallery below:

PS I started adding these gallery things to put up more pictures in less space, but the trade off is definitely having to use flash.  Let me know if they load too slow and I'll find another solution.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Thurston Moore: Benediction

Considering how much you all know I love Sonic Youth, Thurston's newest solo is a no brainer.  The single Benediction is the first song released off Demolished Thoughts; it's way more subdued than SY, and honestly a beautiful song.  Listen and download below.  The album, Demolished Thoughts (which was produced by Beck) and comes out late May.  Can't. Wait.

MP3: Thurston Moore :: Benediction