Tag: Los Angeles CA

Comprised of Kyle McCammon and Stephen Johnson, the Los Angeles, CA-based pop duo Lean can trace their origins to when McCammon relocated from New York to Los Angeles and met Johnson. And as the story goes, the duo bonded over a shared love of 90s hip-hop and indie rock and quickly found a formula that combined those influences.  “With Stephen’s ear for hooks it came together effortlessly” McCammon said of the band’s conception.

The band made their live debut last March and within their first year together, McCammon and Johnson released five singles that received critical praise from the likes of NYLON, Indie Shuffle, IMPOSE, Buzz Bands LA, and that lead to several high-profile Spotify and Apple Music Playlists, as well as the attention of renowned electronic music label Kitsune. Building upon a growing profile, the duo will be releasing their full-length debut Years on May 25, 2018, and the album’s latest single “On The Fence” is centered around a motorik-like groove, thumping beats, a slick hook and a decidedly soulful and sultry R&B vibe while reminding me quite a bit of The Helio Sequence and others.

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Over the past year or so, I’ve written about the Los Angeles, CA-based post-punk trio and JOVM mainstays Second Still, and as you may recall the trio, comprised of founding members Ryan Walker (guitar) and Alex Hartman (bass) along with Suki San (vocals) released their critically applauded 2017 self-titled, full-length debut, and from singles  “Walls,” “Recover,” “You Two So Alike,” and “Strangers,” the album’s material thematically focused on decidedly post-modern subjects: depression, frustration, anxiety and alienation among a throbbing, seething mass of humanity, with a visceral and urgent emotionality, while sonically seeming to draw from Sixousie and the Banshees and the early catalog of renowned indie label 4AD Records.

Equals, the Los Angeles-based post punk trio’s much-anticipated follow-up EP finds the band expanding upon their sound and songwriting approach, pushing it towards new directions — but while retaining major elements of the sound that first caught the attention of the this site and the rest of the blogosphere. You’ll still hear the chorus and delay pedal effects-based guitar, bass driven grooves and explosive, industrial rock drum machine beats, paired with ethereal and aching vocals and razor sharp hooks; however, the members of the band have begun employing the use of a couple of analog synthesizers, which adds an atmospheric and moody element to the proceedings. Interestingly, as the band explains in press notes, half the EP’s material (the A side) reportedly finds the band leaning towards a decidedly pop-leaning direction and overall lighter sound, while the second half (the B-side) finds the band hewing towards their gloomy, goth-like roots. EP single “Opening” was a melancholy post-punk track that I think will further their growing reputation for crafting 80s-inspired post-punk with slick, contemporary production values; the EP’s second single “Automata” continued on a similar vein, bearing an uncanny resemblance Sixousie and the Banshees’ “Israel,” and “Happy House.”

“In Order,” Equals third and latest single, is centered around arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line, shimmering guitar work, San’s Siouxie Sioux-like vocals and their uncanny ability to write a slick and infectious hook; but interestingly enough, the signal finds the band expanding upon their sound, as it’s arguably one of the most propulsive, club ready songs they’ve ever released.

 

With her parents Laurie Lynn and Richard Stark being the owners of the high end silvery jewelry brand, Chrome Hearts, which has expanded into gold, diamond accessories, leather, clothing, furniture, incense and eyewear, the 24 year-old, Los Angeles, CA-born and-based singer/songwriter Jesse Jo Stark grew up in an environment that fostered creative expression; in fact, she was initially known as a model, who was photographed as a young teen by Gilles Bensimon for Elle Magazine before venturing into design, creating the Pete Punk collection, which was largely inspired by the punk era. The collection was critically applauded by fashion editors and was a commercial success — and as a result, it lead to a collaboration with Vans.  

Of course, music and fashion go hand-in-hand, and Jesse Jo Starks felt the pull to express herself musically — and under the guidance and collaboration of The Sex Pistols‘ Steve Jones, Guns ‘N’ RosesDuff McKagan and others, Starks began writing and recording her own original material, material that drew a variety of sources from country, punk and rock.

The up-and-coming, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter has been busy balancing the busy schedule of her fashion work with writing and recording her debut effort, but she has released a handful of singles over the past year, including her latest “Fire of Love,” a sultry and cinematic track that possesses a dusty, Western Gothic vibe reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Betty Black and Bambara.

Stark will be opening for Sunflower Bean throughout the band’s June, Southwestern and West Coast dates. Check out the tour dates below.
TOUR DATES

6/8       Houston, TX                White Oak Music Hall Upstairs
6/10     Dallas, TX                   Club Dada
6/12     Phoenix, AZ                Valley Bar
6/13     San Diego, CA            Che Café
6/14     Santa Ana, CA            Constellation Room
6/15     Los Angeles, CA         Teragram Ballroom.

 

 

 

New Audio: Here Lies Man Returns with a Hallucinogenic New Single

Founded by Marcos Garcia and Geoff Mann, both of whom have been members of renowned Afrobeat act Antibalas, the Los Angeles, CA-based act Here Lies Man received attention here and elsewhere for a song that seamlessly bridges classic Fela Kuti-era funky Afrobeat grooves with classic, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin-era power chord-based rock.

Building upon a growing profile, the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore effort You Will Know Nothing is slated for a June 15, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records and the band’s sophomore effort finds the band refining and expanding upon their sound, and as the band’s co-founder Marcos Garcia explains in press notes “We’re very conscious of how the rhythms service the riffs. Tony Iommi’s (Black Sabbath) innovation was to make the riff the organizing principle of a song. We are talking the same approach but employing a different organizing principle: For Iommi, it was the blues, for us to comes directly from Africa.” Along with that, the album reportedly finds the band writing catchier, more anthemic material with a slicker, crisper production — while lyrically, the band focuses on a more conceptualized effort, focusing on states of being and consciousness.  As Garcia continues “We wanted to go deeper with the sonic experience. Even though it sounds more hi-fi than the first record, it was important that it didn’t sound too polished.” 

Interestingly, while continuing to focus on the gritty grooves and power chords that first captured the attention of the blogosphere but while being centered around some conceptual mathematics. “There are interludes between each song that are 2/3 to 3/4 of the tempo of the previous song,” Garcia says. “The reason it breaks down to 2 over 3 or 3 over 4 is that everything in the music rhythmically corresponds to a set of mathematical algorithms known as the clave. The clave is an ancient organizing rhythmic principle developed in Africa.” As the band’s Geoff Mann says “We dove deep into the texture of the music, beyond the groove and the riff. Although something might sound like one instrument, there are subtle layers shifting through. It’s definitely a headphone album.”

However, much like the previous album, the duo of Garcia and Mann recorded You Will Know Nothing a their Los Angeles studio on a Tascam 388 8-track recorder. Congas later recorded by percussionists Richard Panta and Reinaldo DeJesus. Then Garcia traveled to New York to record the interludes with former Antibalas keyboardist Victor Axelrod. Mixing took the most time of the entire process, as they had to found the proper sonic space of each layer of musical detail with their first album engineer Jermey Page mixing the drum parts and the band tackling the remainder while balancing a busy touring schedule. 

You Will Know Nothing’s latest single is the  hallucinogenic yet anthemic “Fighting” which is centered around a blistering guitar psych rock meets Black Sabbath riff, a shout with your beer aloft in the air hook, and a bridge led by propulsive African percussion — and much like the album’s overall theme, the song evokes the sensation of a lingering, half-remembered, anxious nightmare. 

 

Arieh Berl is an Oakland, CA-born and raised singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, producer and creative mastermind behind psych pop act Pink Skies. Interestingly, Berl has a lengthy history playing in a number of Bay Area-based punk and indie rock bands and while writing for one of those bands, it became clear to him that the material he had been writing were meant for a completely different project, as he began writing songs that drew from psych rock, pop, R&B, 70s AM rock and chillwave — or as Berl describes his sound in press notes, “Escapism Pop.” Although he initially didn’t intend on releasing his personal, home recordings made in Oakland, Boston and Los Angeles, Berl decided to release the material after attending a creative retreat in the Berkley Hills.

Last year was a big year for Berl as he released his first Pink Skies single “Start.End,” played guitar on BOSCO‘s b and released a re-interpreation of 6LACK‘s “Gettin’ Old.” Adding to a growing profile. Berl signed to Huh What & Where Recordings, the label home of KAYTRANADA, Fwdslxsh, Pomo and others. Building upon his big 2017, Berl’s latest Pink Skies single is the decidedly Tame Impala-like “Just To Get By,” a song that Berl recall was written “when I had been in Silver Lake for a little bit, and was feeling pretty lost. I was kind of in a zone where every time I tried to take a step forward, I fell two steps back. I was feeling like an outsider, being in a new place with no real direction to go.  I just eventually holed away in my room for a couple months, and really isolated myself unintentionally. This song really consumed me in an obsessive and passionate way. Sometimes the pain comes from life, and music is the place to exercise that out of your body. That’s what I did with this song.”

 

Comprised of founding member and primary songwriter  Jason Nott (vocals, guitar), Drew Smith (bass), Bryan King (drums), and Yan Clermont (guitar), the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock act Beachwood Coyotes can trace their origins to when its founder’s first band, a band he had played and toured in since he was 16 had broken up. And for the first time in his life he had faced a rather uncertain future. One night, he’s tripping on acid for the first time, while maneuvering a vortex of geometric shapes and wild colors on the streets of Hollywood at 2:00am. Suddenly, Nott decides that he must go on a night hike up the Beachwood Canyon trail to the iconic Hollywood sign. And as the story goes, as he approached the trailhead, Nott spotted a group of coyotes heading down towards him. Terrified, the band’s founder retreated back to his apartment, where he wallowed in disappointment at another lost opportunity to do something cool.

The next morning, Nott discovered that three decapitated bodies were discovered on the same trail he was on, the victims of an apparent gang hit.  It was also revealed that the time of death was around the same time he encountered the coyotes. And in some way, Nott has credited those coyotes for saving his life.

Inspired by that experience and the years of relentless touring, Nott began writing songs about the loneliness of the touring life, and his hometown’s seedy underbelly — and then he recruits Smith, King and Clermont to flesh his ideas out. After writing a batch of songs, they design a DIY light show and develop a reputation for energetic live shows that feature stage diving and in-crowd performing — and with the release of their 2017 debut EP, Scrubby the members of Beachwood Coyotes received attention and airplay from KROQ, as well as several placements on MTV.

Building on a growing profile, the Los Angeles-based indie rock quartet went into the studio with producer Austen Moret, to record what the band feels is some of their most ambitious material to date, as Moret helped to push the band’s sound in different directions; in fact, Moret seamlessly blended samples and electronic elements into their arrangements and helped incorporate some broader influences including hip-hop, hard rock, jazz, funk and some barbershop quartet. Interestingly, the band’s latest single “Discipline” finds the band employing the use of shimmering synths, unusual yet driving syncopation, jangling guitars, and a rousingly, arena rock friendly hook. But underneath the swaggering the song is focuses on the reality of getting older, learning how to accept it gracefully and grow with it — and you know, as I gradually inch towards my 40s, the song reverberates in a familiar way. I’m getting older and shit, I better get used to it.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays No Joy with Sonic Boom Release Surreal and Experimental Visuals for Their Most Unusual Song To Date

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you would have seen that I’ve written quite a bit about Montreal, Quebec, Canada-based shogeaze duo No Joy, and as you may recall, the duo, which is comprised of primary songwriter Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd can trace their origins to when White-Gluz, who was then living in Los Angeles began collaborating with the Montreal-based Lloyd via email — and their collaboration eventually lead to White-Gluz returning to Montreal, so that they could play their first show, with Husker Du’s Grant Hart. As the story goes, after that show, White and Gluz continued collaborating, playing a number of shows locally, including with Best Coast, whose frontwoman Bethany Cosentino became an early champion of the act. 

Building upon the growing buzz surround the Montreal-based duo, White-Gluz and Lloyd signed to renowned indie label Mexican Summer, who released their debut 7 inch single “No Summer”/”No Joy,” an effort that allowed them to book their own national headlining tour with Katy Goodman’s, La Sera. The 7 inch quickly sold out, and by November 2010, the duo released their full-length debut Ghost Blonde to critical praise from the likes of Pitchfork, AllMusic.com, The New York Times, Brooklyn Vegan, The Guardian and others. No Joy followed that with the British release of the “Hawaii” 7 in, a release that featured a remix of “Indigo Child,” by Stereolab‘s Tim Gane, which they supported with a UK tour with  Surfer Blood, an opening spot in London for Wire, and an appearance at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound Festival.

The  members of No Joy spent the better part of 2011 touring across North America — and it included a busy SXSW schedule, a tour with Vivian Girls, and a co-headling tour with Marnie Stern with whom they released a split single, which featured No Joy’s cover of the Shangri-La’s “He Cried.” Since then, the band has released 2012’s Negaverse EP and Wait to Pleasure, 2013’s Pastel and Pass Out EP, 2015’s More Faithful, 2016’s Drool Sucker, the first of a planned series of EPs and last year’s Creep, which was released through the band’s new label Grey Market Records.

Interestingly, this year finds No Joy’s White-Gluz collaborating with Spacemen 3‘s and E.A.R.’s Sonic Boom (a.k.a. Peter Kember), and although the collaborators can’t accurately remember how they met or when they met, what they do clearly remember is that the idea of collaborating together was brought up in an email exchange back in 2015. At the time, No Joy had finishing touring to support their third album More Faithful, an album that the duo has considered one of their most difficult and demanding efforts they’ve worked on together, and White-Gluz was eager to try new ideas and do something different. “No Joy functioned as a four-piece ‘rock band’ for so long,” White-Gluz explains in press notes. “I wanted to pursue something solo where I collaborated with someone else who could help me approach my songs from a completely different angle. Pete is a legend and someone I’ve admired for a long time. Being able to work with him on this was incredible.”

Initially, the collaboration began as a bit of exploration between two friends, who admired each other’s work with each one passing songs back and and forth with White-Gluz writing and producing songs in her hometown of Montreal and Kember writing, arranging, and producing in Portugal. The end result was their collaborative EP together — four tracks that reportedly walk the tightrope between electronica, trip hop and experimental noise.  As White-Gluz says in press notes, “I wrote some songs that were intended for a full band and handed them off to Pete, who helped transform them. I barely knew how to use MIDI so I was just throwing him these experiments I was working on and he fine-tuned my ideas. There are barely any guitars on this album, because I was focused on trying to find new ways to create sounds.”

The EP’s latest single “Triangle Probably,” continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor “Slorb,” as it features a minimalist production featuring swirling wobbling electronics, twinkling and droning synths and industrial clang and clatter paired with  Gluz-White’s ethereal crooning, which make the song one of the most experimental songs not the EP, as it finds the duo nodding at Amnesiac and Kid A-era Radiohead — but with murky feel. 

Created by Jacob Cooper and Ride or Cry, the recently released video for “Triangle Probably,” features live screen grabs from independent, open source and free Unity/3D simulators and the hodgepodge nature further emphasizes the experimental tone and vibe of the song.

New Audio: Tancred Releases an Anthemic Yet Intimate New Single

Starting her career as a member of renowned indie act Now, Now, the Maine-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Jess Abbott is the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed recording project Tancred, which she’s released three critically applauded albums — 2011’s Capes, 2013’s self-titled sophomore album and 2016’s Out of the Garden. Adding to a growing profile, Abbot has toured with Foxing, Julien Baker, Weaves, Jessica Hernandez and The Deltas, and she’s played at Riot Fest.
Abbott’s fourth album, the Lewis Pesacov-produced Nightstand is slated for a June 1, 2018 release through Polyvinyl Records, and as Abbott explains in press notes, the album was born out of a rather unexpected revelation she experienced after becoming much more confident with the release of 2016’s Out of the Garden.  “After I became comfortable in this new skin, in truly being myself, I was immediately hit with loneliness,” Abbott recalled in press notes. “I realized that human connection is really important to me.” And as a result, Abbott began a journey of personal exploration that involved connecting with others, as much as connecting with herself. “I was reading a lot of books, learning a lot of new hobbies, meeting so many new people — just taking in as much information as possible to try and figure out what it really meant to me to be alive,” she recalled.  Interestingly, as Abbott told NPR Music, the new album “takes a step back form the energy of my last album to bring in a little more vulnerability.”

Interestingly, the creative process for Nightstand began in a way that its predecessors began with Abbott alone in a her room with a guitar, strumming chords and singing words until songs gradually coalesced; however, unlike its predecessors, Abbott made a concerted effort to devote three days a week for an entire year to only playing and writing music. When the recording process began at Lewis Pesacov’s Los Angeles-based home studio, the focus was less on finishing songs and more on perfecting them — and along with that, Pesacov offered new approaches and gear that afforded Abbott new avenues of exploration that were incorporated into the production and tone on every song of the album. “My favorite part of each day was sitting down to decide which guitar we needed to use for the song we were recording,” Abbott recalls of the recording process. “It sounds so simple and I know most records are made this way, but it was my first time actually being able to do that and I loved it.” But while being an expansion of her sound, the album thematically and lyrically will further her reputation for songs centered around her own experience as a queer woman — which in our current sociopolitical moment can be dizzying, alienating, and isolating. But as Abbott emphasizes in press notes, there can be comfort in such times: “Ultimately, we are all feeling these things together, and that can be enough to feel less alone. There’s a hopefulness in the loneliness.”

Nightstand’s first single, “Reviews” is a propulsive and chugging, PJ Harvey-like track centered around Abbott’s plaintive vocals which evoke a quiet, resiliency, vulnerability and an aching self-doubt, and a rousingly anthemic hook, and as a result the song manages to carefully walk a tightrope between an intimate, confessional nature and an arena rock friendliness.   

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Modern Time Machines Send Up Classic TV Shows in Video for Album Single “Freefall (Can’t Stop)”

Over the past couple of years of this site’s history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based shoegazer act Modern Time Machines, and as you may recall with the release of singles like Dweeb,” the band comprised of Ben Golomb, Justin Bond, Nadia Franks and Neil Johnson have received attention for a pairing dreamy boy/girl harmonizing with a sound that has drawn comparisons to  M83, Medicine, Sonic Youth and others. Adding to a growing profile, the band has received airplay on  KROQ 106.7FM, have appeared on Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show and will have some of their music featured in director Ashley York’s upcoming film So Help You God. 
The up-and-coming, Los Angeles-based shoegazers’ Josiah Mazzaschi-produced, sophomore effort MTM is slated for release next week, and the album features guest spots from Nightmare Air‘s Dave Dupuis, Bell Gardens’ Kenneth James Gibson, that dog.’s Kaitlin Wolfberg and a remix from electronic music production and artist duo De Lux. Earlier this year, I’ve written about the A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve “High Noon” and the  Dinosaur, Jr-like “Failsafe,” off the album — both of which further cemented their reputation for crafting 120 Minutes-era MTV-like indie rock. And much like its predecessors, MTM’s latest single “Freefall (Can’t Stop) continues in a similar vein as the band has a penchant for soaring hooks, feedback drenched guitars and dreamy boy/girl harmonizing, centered around earnest and plaintive lyrics. 

Directed by the band’s Ben Golomb and featuring a lengthy cast, the recently released video is a hilarious and ridiculous send up on a number of classic TV shows including Mary Tyler Moore, Small Wonder, Gilligan’s Island and others.  

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Oddnesse Release 1980s MTV-Inspired Visuals for Slow-Burning, Torch Song “I Used To”

Over the past year or so, I’ve written a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based indie pop project Oddnesse, and as you may recall, the project comprised of singer/songwriter Rebeca Arango and producer Grey Goon can trace its origins to when both members individually relocated from the East Coast to Los Angeles after being in several failed bands. As the story goes, Arango and Goon bonded over a shared vision of beautiful and infectious music with a dark, heavy groove, and initially the project began as two friends jamming and experimenting with ideas before they began to take it as a serious endeavor. 
Last year, I wrote about “Are You Down,” a sultry Mazzy Star -like single that paired Arango’s sultry, self-assured yet laid back crooning with a moody and sleek production featuring shimmering guitar chords, a sinuous and propulsive groove and a soaring hook — and a come hither vibe. The duo’s latest single “I Used To” is an atmospheric and meditative track featuring an ethereal arrangement consisting of twangy, guitar chords, gently droning synths with Arango’s crooning vocals ethereally gliding over the the surface and while nodding at 80s New Wave and pop, there’s a subtle alt-country leaning to a song that has a rather cinematic vibe. As the duo’s Rebeca Arango explains in press notes, the song comes from a rather personal experience: “I had driven alone from LA to Utah and back twice. I absolutely loved it, in the way I’ve always loved the independence of no one needing me, no one expecting me, no one to confer with about where I might stop, when I might leave, if I might come back. I was grateful on those trips (as one usually is) for the dissolution of a relationship I had been overly attached to.  I was grateful that my mind was clear and that I had the experience to myself. I was happy. I didn’t need to know what was next.” And as a result, the song buzzes with an anticipation over a new, unseen future.

Directed by Casey Feldman, the recently released video was shot in a furious three day period along with the video for “I Used To” that included one crew member and two different directors — but interestingly enough, while the new video is decidedly inspired by 1980s MTV, it subtly emphasizes the song’s emotional complexity in which loss can be equally punctuated with pride, acceptance and hope.