Monday, June 18, 2012

"Round Up The Unusual Suspects": FYF posts lineup!

Labor Day Weekend in Los Angeles has been notable the last few years for the FYF Fest, but this could be the year that cements that notoriety nationwide.  Once again it will be held at the L.A. State Historic Park in Downtown L.A., and aside from the music, will hopefully help cast a shadow on the plight facing our State Parks.  Tickets start at an eminently reasonable $77 for the weekend pass.
The lineup was announced today on KCRW, and has been burning a hole in the internet ever since:
Amazing...and it really takes the sting out of missing Coachella this year. It looks like the placement right before MusicfestNW is very fortuitous-some nice fall out from there.
Oh where to begin: Refused, M83, and Beirut headlining...
Quicksand, Dinosaur Jr, and Black Mountain should take care of what's left of the eardrums...
Cloud Nothings, Wild Flag, and my beloved Vaselines are must sees...
The Desaparecidos reunion, Atlas Sound, Liars, and Father John Misty definitely on the hit list...
Warpaint, Papa, and White Arrows hold down the local front...
King Khan and the Shrines, Fucked Up, and Turbonegro are guaranteed entertainment...
Look forward to making the acquaintance of Ceremony, Moonface, Soft Pack, and Chairlift
Major beats on tap from Dam Funk and Aesop Rock...
just WOW!
Tickets go on sale this Friday, June 22 at 5pm via Ticketfly

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Return Of The Mac

12 JUNE, 2012
For me, if it's a road trip or a long haul late night drive, odds are good Superchunk is involved.
They've seen the hard times and taken the lumps and soldiered through, bloodied but unbowed, carving a nice little niche for themselves, and a mini-indie empire in the form of Merge Records.  It's a band I reach for by default when the going gets rough.
Last we heard from the the band was 2010's aptly named Majesty Shredding, until now. Tuesday saw the release of a new Superchunk 45, "This Summer", b/w an ace cover of Bananarama's "Cruel Summer".  Limited to a release of 1300 copies, it's probably best to strike quick if you want this one.
 To commemorate the event, or fortuitous luck, Mac McCaughan played a solo instore at Origami Vinyl in Echo Park, packed to the gills with 40-50 very happy campers. He walked the margins of the Superchunk/Portastatic catalogues, favoring lightly heard tunes, stripping down the classics and even debuting a new song, "Trees Of Barcelona".  The hard rocking "Digging For Something" really benefitted from acoustic treatment, highlighting the bittersweet lyrics.  "Detroit Has A Skyline", which has been performed in seemingly every configuration sans polka, was the inevitable showstopper.
An amazing night in the company of an indie legend, and a nice stopgap until the full bands return.

Courtesy of @Superchunk, here's the setlist in their typical shorthand fashion:
Origami solo set: RopeLight/Cool/ThisSummer/HomeAtDawn/ SongforaClock/Spys/Barcelona/Throwing/Digging/Noisy/Detroit/SanAndreas
Fun bonus outtake (below), what I've come to know and love as the "Abraham Lincoln" shot:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hospitality: Round Two

02 JUNE 2012
Tiny, funky Velvet Jones deep in downtown SB was the setting for round two of Hospitality Saturday night.  When the band came onstage, only eight people lined the perimeter of the pit. They didnt bother with formalities, just picked up and blasted.  There is a lesson here for young bands about what to do when faced with adversity.
Where last night  in LA they hit the marks with precision, tonight wad all about kicking up a squall of defiance.  Mix overall was a bit clearer, and many listens down, it's still hard not to be impressed with Amber Papini's observational acuity.  The harmonies from guitarist Nathan Michel and bass player Brian Betancourt were much more evident, and Betancourt's fluid bass runs on "Liberal Arts" and "Sleepover" are unsung elements of both songs.  Set list wise, it was much the same as the previous night, but intensity wise, it was delivered with extra teeth.
If you are in the Greater L.A. area, Hospitality will be returning for a free gig in the loft, upstairs at Origami Vinyl in Echo Park, Sunday the 3rd, at 7pm.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Lesson In Hospitality

01 JUNE, 2012
 Hospitality played their first headlining gig in Los Angeles at the Satellite, (formerly Spaceland), and captivated a standing room only crowd.  The big question going in was: How would it translate live? And the answer was: Just fine, thank you.  The background being: Their debut LP, released in January on Merge Records is one of the sleeper records of the year, packed with great songs, and a wonderful production that balances a surprising array of things in the mix, and does the job of enhancing the wistfulness of the songs.  It's a huge step forward from their demos, and I was curious to see how it worked out on the stage.
It turns out the tightness from touring shed the production gloss to reveal the muscles underneath. The songs churned with a restless energy, and grew in performance.  Amber Papini was stage center, directing the action with sideways looks.  The mix was perfect for her vocals, giving them shelter without drowning the lyrics.  Her voice is a quirky vessel, but perfect for conveying the ruminations of the lyrics.
They have a clutch of smart, catchy songs in their bag, and they basically threw the bag at the audience, giving them the album, plus a new song called "The Drift" for good measure.  High point of the set was a sublime reading of "Sleepover", (seen below).
"Friends Of Friends" got the most audience response, which makes sense since the charming video has served as the band's calling card.  "Betty Wang" got a nice, fevered workout and got the crowd moving later in the set.
For an encore, the very first cover they've learned as a band, an interesting take on Steely Dan's 'Rikki Don't Lose That Number'. Given a Motorik underpinning, the song fit the band perfectly. It was put together for The Onion's 'AV Club', and has since assumed place of pride as set closer.

Opening the show was Junior High, an energetic trio that ground out angular, observational, and sometimes danceable numbers, powered by an absolute beast of a drummer.  "Life Coach" was the highlight of the set.

Willoughby held down the middle slot, sprawling indie rock in the vein of Races or Other Lives. They were joined by none other than Priscilla Ahn for a handful of songs.  Lots of promise in this tightly-knit group, one to keep an eye on, for sure.