Posted in Music

Queens of the Stone Age commercial with Fred Armisen

If you haven’t listened to the new Queens of the Stone Age record …Like Clockwork, please check it out ASAP.  As a QOTSA fan, I can say that it’s some of Josh Homme’s best work.  This is one of those records that you have to take time out of your day to listen to it in its entirety.  You’re doing a disservice to yourself and this album by listening to it any differently.

But if my words aren’t swaying you, maybe Fred Armisen (Ricky Chism) can help.  Check out this commercial:

Posted in Live Shows

Cool Shows in LA 7/8 – 7/14

Monday 7/8

Deep Time, Roses, & Charlyne Yi at the Pehrspace ($5)

Tuesday 7/9

Rumspringa at Harvard & Stone (free, 21+)

Wed 7/10

Heloise and the Savoir Faire with DJ Jamie Starr at Amoeba Music (free!)

Thurs 7/11

Ximena Sariñana at the Hammer Museum (free!)

Surfer Blood at the Santa Monica Pier (free!)

Fri 7/12

Hunter Hunted at the Skirball Cultural Center ($15)

Portugal. The Man & Avi Buffalo at the Wiltern ($31.50-$39.50)

Palms & CRYPTS at the Troubadour (Sold Out)

Sat 7/13

Dirt Dress at the Smell ($5)

Sun 7/14

J Mascis at Amoeba Music (free!)

Rodrigo y Gabriela, Devotchka, & Lord Huron at the Hollywood Bowl ($17-$151.50)

Posted in Live Shows

Upcoming Festivals in LA

There are 2 festivals I look forward to each year: Culture Collide and FYF Fest. Both festivals have their separate histories but bring great acts to Los Angeles

FYF Fest

FYF Fest 2009
FYF Fest 2009

FYF started as Fuck Yeah Fest and eventually just turned into FYF Fest.  Just wanted to clarify that.  The first year I went to Fuck Yeah Fest was in 2008 with bands like Mika Miko, The Mae Shi, No Age, Matt & Kim, and Abe Vigoda on the bill.  That year took place at a bunch of different venues in Echo Park and was a perfect location.  The festival won me over and I knew that I was definitely coming back.  Unfortunately, the super convenient Echo Park setup wouldn’t last because they were at capacity in ’08.  I still followed FYF and continued to look forward to the local “FYF Presents” shows as well as the annual festival.  The festival has grown and grown each year and has continuously given me the chance to a variety of bands who put on incredible live shows, such as Glass Candy, Man Man, !!!, Refused, Father John Misty, Warpaint, and Future Islands.  This year’s lineup is also exceptional, my favorites include Beach House, Chelsea Wolfe, TV on the Radio, My Bloody Valentine, and the Breeders.  Every year, Coachella gets all the attention for bringing the next best bands to town, but FYF Fest does it way better.  Not to mention, the comedy tent is always a blast.  The best comedy performance I ever saw was Josh Fadem in 2010.  This tweet sums up his performance.  Check out the lineup here.

Culture Collide

Land of Talk, Culture Collide 2010
Land of Talk, Culture Collide 2010

Filter Magazine’s Culture Collide festival goes under the radar each year.  It’s a newer festival and I’ve gone every year since its inception in 2010.  Unlike many festivals where you have a plan in mind on who you’re going to check out each day, it’s best to try and check out all the bands playing.  Many of them won’t have another chance to play in LA for a while, since they’re lesser-known bands traveling from different countries.  Each year, it’s held at a variety of venues in Echo Park, so everything is within walking distance (it’s pretty much the same setup as FYF in 2008).  Some bands that have played in the past include Monotonix (Israel), Fran Healy (UK), Descartes a Kant (Mexico), and Mr Little Jeans (Norway).  Culture Collide never disappoints with great prices for the 4-day fest and happy hour for early birds.  It’s a great opportunity to expose yourself to good music from distant (and not so distant) places.  Check out this year’s fest

Posted in Music

Tame Impala- “Elephant”

This song came out a while ago, but it’s just now that it’s beginning to get commercial radio play in the United States (or at least Southern California).  It’s been used on TV, in at least one commercial, and it’s just such a good song.

I was driving around on Wednesday and heard this song on one of LA’s rock stations, KROQ.  I have to say, hearing the song took me by surprise, and I was so thrilled to hear it.  There are some songs that just transport you to another place.  However shitty your day may be, this song will take you out of your funk.  I had just finished work for the day and was winding down and hearing this song gave me energy and made me approach the rest of my day with such optimism.  Just hearing one song.  I can’t believe that music still has this effect on me, especially because I’ve heard this song a number of times.

But my first ever introduction to this song was through KCRW, one of LA’s NPR affiliates, and it was a remix done by Todd Rundgren.  It was so great that I heard this remix first because the remix is so glam.  I couldn’t believe that Todd Rundgren was doing remixes of current artists.  I’ve posted the remix below, listen:

Posted in Music

The little bands that could

Sometimes there’s a band that you see live that are just incredible.  Their music seems to have mainstream appeal, while still sounding great musically.  You wonder why they haven’t garnered more attention, buzz, success… everything.  Most of the time, they’ve paid their dues, and seem to be working their way up.

Here are a few bands, Los Angeles locals, that I believe are examples of this:

The Lonely Wild

The Lonely Wild clearly have a vision when it comes to their sound.  The band name says it all, there’s a heavy indie rock  influence (a certain loneliness), but their music also has a wild west type feel.  The Lonely Wild put on such energetic live shows and anytime I get an opportunity to see them, I go.  Every member of their band is on their game at live shows and they really make an effort to connect with their audience.  Unfortunately, their studio work does not exude the same energy from their live shows.  Their most recent album feels a bit over the top at times.  But hopefully, in the near future, they will work with a skilled producer who will help them expand their sound.

Their next show in LA is on August 18 at Echo Park Rising and it’s free!


Voxhaul Broadcast

It’s very sad that Voxhaul Broadcast are no more.  They were always on the cusp of becoming something bigger, but never quite made it through.  With the release of their last album, they got some radio play on LA radio stations KROQ (the Locals Only show) and on KCRW.  They had a Strokes-type feel, but they created such an unusual mixture of sounds with their music.  They really created a soundscape that transported the listener to a different place.  The first time I saw them was in a very small garage that was absolutely packed.  The sound system was crap, but it was clear that the band was talented.  I went on to see them many more times and they were one of the most solid rock bands I’ve ever seen.


Posted in Reviews

Review: Not That Kind of Girl (proposal)- Lena Dunham

Even though this is just a book proposal (I read it through before it was pulled), I feel it’s necessary to post a review of it.
Overall, Lena Dunham is a unique storyteller, but her proposal is a disappointing read, even as a draft, since she is renowned for her ability as a writer. The deal she signed was for an astronomical amount of money ($3.5 million). I have read stories that are far more deserving of just being published (not to mention, gaining this level of attention) .

[I should preface this review by saying that when I was younger, I dreamed of being a writer. Writing was always an area I never struggled in, in school. Then, I did an editorial internship for a music magazine where I wrote blogs and reviews constantly. I ran out of words to use to describe music on a regular basis. It was a constant stream of writing and I began to hate it.  But, I am fond of other people’s writing and absolutely love reading. ]

This proposal, of course reads like an episode of Girls (or in the vein of Tiny Furniture, both are pretty similar). It would have been nice to read something a bit different, to get some variety from her. Instead, we learn more about Dunham, how her life was shaped, experiences, adventures, etc.
Her honesty in her writing is commendable.  Many people rewrite their pasts in biographies, so they look better, but it’s clear that she is not rewriting her past. She is unabashed in her depiction of herself.
However, her proposal is like having a lengthy conversation with a spoiled rich kid. She’s not a bad person, but is completely self-absorbed. This book is supposed to be chock-full of situations other girls can learn from, but I walked away from this feeling like I learned nothing. It is very hard to relate with Lena Dunham, even though on the surface, our lives are similar (white-looking women, same age, college-educated with a dorm experience, have supportive artistic parents, raised in big cities, feminists).  This is not good considering I am her book’s prime demographic.
One of her major downfalls is that you cannot completely immerse yourself into her stories.  As a reader, it does not feel like you can visualize her situations. There are holes. She frequently references her friends and people she knows in a way that makes you feel like an outsider.  I never felt like she was including me the reader in her conversation.
Her stories definitely need to be more fleshed out and have a broader appeal. Hopefully since this is just a proposal, this will happen.
More than anything, Lena Dunham is a talented comedienne. She is able to write about herself, while being brutally truthful, and poke fun at how ridiculous her thought process is at times.