Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Sigur Ros Video!

 Sometimes words do not suffice...if you've yet to see the new Sigur Ros video, this would be a good a time as any.  Just when you think they can't go any further, "Ekki Mukk" boots abstract expressionism into the video age...

Sigur Rós - Ekki múkk from Sigur Rós on Vimeo.

Their new album Valtari will be out 29 May here in the U.S.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Off To The Races...

Yet another notable Los Angeles band bubbling under the surface, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Races.  Fresh off of playing many showcases at SXSW, here's a chance to get a leg up on their new LP, "Year Of The Witch": it's being streamed now in its entirety until its release on the band's Soundcloud page.  It's out next week on Frenchkiss records, and can be preordered through them, Insound, or ITunes, amongst others.
Below is the video for the lead track: "Big Broom"

You can also grab the track "Lies"...


If you find yourself in the greater Los Angeles area on 30 March, head on over to the Echo to help them celebrate the album's release.  Should be a great night!  After that, they'll embark on a West Coast jaunt with another promising LA band: NO.
Races made it up to Santa Barbara last year, opening for Joy Formidable at Soho, and it was a memorable evening all the way around.  It's great to hear that all the promise evidenced that night has been delivered upon with their debut.  I suspect you won't be seeing them open shows for much longer...

Friday, March 23, 2012

From Here To Eternity...X (live)

Ventura Theater
December, 2010
As the missing link in reappropriating American ownership of the punk phenomenon after the mid 70's English uprising, X sprung from Los Angeles, spearheading the scene before hardcore took over in the '80's.
 As has been the trend, classic LP nostalgia, (in this case their debut: 'Los Angeles'), is the instigation for a Xmas west coast swing. Using their own movie "The Unheard Music" as an opening act proved to be the perfect table setting...serving in this theater as a punk happy hour, witnessing numerous reunions of the faithful. At it's core, (for me), family, no matter how dysfunctional, was always the message of X.
The original group: John Doe, Exene Cervanka, Billy Zoom, and D.J. Bonebrake still keep the flame fully lit, picking up right where we last left off, at the 2009 Coachella Festival. Then, they performed a set elected by ballot on their webpage that tilted heavily to material from the first four records.
Here, the scope was pulled back to Los Angeles, before a second set played hit and run with the rest of their canon. Despite a recent diagnosis of MS, Exene Cervanka anchored the lead with John Doe, and interestingly, the band played longer than they did in the 'good old days'...No small feat considering the advancing age (of all of us), and the intensity of the songs. All in all, a nice homecoming for one of America's long.standing punk treasures.
  (Ed. Note: Amazing what you discover in the draft file...Would have sworn it got published.  At any rate, enjoy this 'vintage' blast...)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

new Beach House!

 Just about 1AM (EST) last night, out of nowhere, Baltimore duo Beach House randomly sent out a Tweet that simply said: "Hello again", with a link to a new song, "Myth".  Enjoy!
Their new album Bloom is tentatively scheduled for May on Sub Pop.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Festival Fallout...

Having established that I am not (wahh!) going to Coachella this year, it's time to take stock of the consolation prize, that embarrassment of riches we shall call 'Festival Fallout'.  Proximity to festivals is definitely having an impact on my life-the recent Veronica Falls/Bleached show in LA came worked around their appearance at the Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco, not to mention upcoming shows like Cults, whose west coast run is tacked on after SXSW.

Weep not for me indeed, as even without attending Coachella, I won't have many breaths to spare.  Given the two weekend setup this year, there is a lot of loose time around, and nature abhors a vacuum.  The Santa Barbara County Bowl is opening its season with Radiohead, Florence & The Machine, and Bon Iver, all courtesy of Coachella.

Goldenvoice, who brings you Coachella, has put up their own schedule filling every nook and cranny of offtime with shows...absolutely insane.

While I am looking forward to getting back on the road to festivals, in the meantime, let's call it the next best thing to being there!

Monday, March 5, 2012

"But I logged on right at 10AM..."

More than ever, it seems, getting tickets to a hot show is problematic.  Good old supply and demand.  With certain high profile dates this year, especially at smaller venues, it has been impossible even for seasoned people consistently refreshing to break the ice and get through.  In some cases it's the size of the venue versus demand, but a pattern is emerging that suggests that that is not the only obstacle facing the modern ticket buyer.  For soon afterwards, the show that sold out so quickly suddenly has many tickets available online at sometimes exorbitant prices.

Courtesy of Shocklee, what follows is a U.K. documentary "Dispatches: The Great Ticket Scandal" done by Morland Sanders for Channel Four, that goes undercover into the secondary sales sites with some fascinating results.  This is the U.K, but considering the source, it certainly gives one pause...

To what degree this situation exists stateside is up for argument, but certainly not out of the realm of possibility.  The battle lines are being drawn around secondary sales from a legislative standpoint with the advent of groups supporting them taking a stand that they're doing it for the consumer.  So when you encounter the doggerel in the future as this battle heats up, the only advice I would give in sorting it out is that fabled Watergate era chestnut, "Follow The Money..."

Endnote: One of the companies involved filed an injunction to prevent the airing of the show, see Channel Four's response here...
The injunction was unsuccessful.  The continuing saga can also be followed on Twitter with the hashtag #TicketScandal

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Night Of The Living Malkmus

27 FEBRUARY, 2012
On the second swing of touring for last year's Mirror Traffic, Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks ventured further afoot, landing in Santa Barbara for a return visit to the intimate Soho.  He was in rare form, loose and playful, perhaps given the presence of his sister at the show, whom he nearly outed both her address and phone.  He also made time to parry the obligatory 'Pavement' shout out by launching into a monologue about doing Whippets w/said person's mother.  Vintage Malkmus.
The setlist, pictured after video, was adhered to in spirit, rather than by the letter, and a high point was a rousing segue from the new album's "Asking Price" into "Stick Figures In Love" without missing a beat.  Not new anymore drummer Jake Morris seems much more in place with the band, seamlessly locking in with long standing bassist Joanna Bolme.
The encore was the Malkmus tradition of a jangled mix of covers, and this was no exception.  Starting out with Boston's "Peace Of Mind", it gave way to the Velvet Underground's "When She Comes", before straying through Joy Division, and finishing fittingly with The Doors' "The End".  I will update video of that in the future, for those interested morbidly or otherwise.  It was the perfect capper to the evening.
Portland trio Nurses filled the opening bill, winning the restless audience over.  Their tunes were ghostly psychadelic tinged animals that ran loose in a live setting.  Lead guitarist Aaron Chapman was sporting a beautiful 1964 national Barracuda.  Their last two LP's: Apple's Acre, from a few years back, and last year's Dracula, are both out on Dead Oceans.

Editor's Note: Previous blog post was a resurrected unpublished draft of a Malkmus/Jicks show from last fall, which, for consistency's sake, seemed to work best here...

Stephen Malkmus/Jicks live

Fonda Music Box
19 October, 2011
Energized from last years Pavement reunion, Stephen Malkmus is back to his own devices with The Jicks.  Nearing the end of a US tour to support new LP Mirror Traffic, the band has covered the loss of powerhouse Janet Weiss by adding a new drummer and scaling back on the jams.
The set was concise and fluid, weaving all around the Jicks albums, and then some, working in an ace cover of The Wipers.  Malkmus was his usual elliptical self, stage patter wise, managing to work in a dedication to the late GG Allin midset.
The encore was a generous helping of Blind Faith, dropping into "Eight Miles High", and finishing with Chicago's "Make Me Smile".  Their last LA appearance was an instore at Amoeba Records on Sunset, and the short set there was the perfect setup for the multi-course meal that was this evening's show.

Opener Ty Segall represented the Bay Area with pure garage rock heaven.  His band was high energy and razor sharp, following his every move, with Emily standing out on drums.  The set focused on the recent release Goodbye Bread, and "The Floor" was the highlight of the night.  A band I'd had on my list to see anyway, it was a treat to get them as an opener, and I'll certainly follow up with them on their own.
Come 2012, Segall is looking to release not one, but two new albums, one of which will be recorded with this touring unit.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Live: Veronica Falls/Bleached

25 FEBRUARY, 2012
Veronica Falls made a triumphant return to Los Angeles on Oscar Weekend, settling in at Echo Park's Bootleg Theater.  The theater was packed, even given the upgrade from the bar to the theater, and the crowd was in thrall from the first notes.
They delivered the songs from their self titled first album, (on Slumberland here, Wichita in the UK), with a heady assurance. The beautiful harmonies laced with fuzz offered an interesting juxtaposition to the dark lyrics, and the whole thing was reinforced by the swaying floor, literally moving underfoot. Their new songs glowed, and it is with great anticipation that I look forward to their next chapter.
Bleached, LA based purveyor of noisy goodness, held down the middle slot, coming home as conquering heroes to an audience packed with their friends.  They did a tight raucous set, brimming with energy, touching on all their singles so far, with choice covers (Ramones) thrown in for good measure.  Formed from the ashes of Mika Miko, they have established their own sound, and expect to see their debut LP this year.