L.A.’s dark electro duo MYPET may have a familiar face. Comprised of singer-songwriter Amy Kuney and producer Ray Brady, MYPET is on the complete opposite end of the musical spectrum for Kuney, whose songs (especially the notable 2008 album “Bird’s Eye View”) have been rooted in mostly folk-pop. Not unlike Meg Myers’ musical transformation after she teamed up with producer Dr. Rosen Rosen, MYPET’s kaleidoscopically throbbing beats and warped vocals are glazed with a sinister layer making songs like the experimental “Bodysnatcher” not only catchy but hypnotic. Their other single “Pays to Know” swings with more of a pop feel, but it sounds just as ominous. The accompanying videos for each track follow suit with the former illustrated with acid-hued colors and the latter with creepy crawlies in the forest. “My pet” may still be a phrase used for endearment, but MYPET turns the phrase inside and out with an eerily intoxicating soundscape. An EP from MYPET is in the works.
There’s Amanda Jo Williams’ voice — a playful, birdlike instrument, flitting around her country-fried arrangements like an intrepid hummingbird. And then there’s what she’s saying; she delivers her lickety-split vignettes and stream-of-consciousness observations as if she expects you to be on the same page, immediately. If you missed her first three albums, it’s worth getting there. Last year’s “The Bear Eats Me” solidified Williams as an artist playing by her own rules, deservedly championed by L.A. piebald folk scene. Her fourth album, “You’re the Father of My Songs” (out this week on Neurotic Yell Records), offers yet another thrill ride through her active imagination, and it features contributions from John Frusciante (playing piano and organ), Fool’s Gold’s Brad Caulkins and Laena Geronimo. We’ve heard Williams bristles at the term “freak-folk,” so we’ll just think of this one as fun-house folk. By the most interesting Amanda in our music library.
||| Stream: “2000Hell” and “Holster, the Gun It Hangs in There”
||| Live: Amanda Jo Williams performs at El Cid tonight along with Dorian Wood, Tommy Santee Klaws, Insects Vs. Robots.
||| Also: After the jump, watch the fun video for “2000Hell” (directed by Chris Carlone, filmed at the Echo Country Outpost and featuring Donald Ian Black as Williams: [click to continue…]
Think of today’s Buzz Bands LA Show as a warm-up for the long weekend. Join me at 11 a.m. on Moheak Radio for two hours of SoCal music, including new tunes from You Me & Us, Ocha La Rocha, SISU, the Knitts, Chris Schlarb, MK Ultra and Night Riots. And if many of those folks sound new to you, what better way to make their acquaintance? We’ll also hear from a slew of artists playing shows in the next week, including Cold War Kids, United Ghosts, Tijuana Panthers, Cillie Barnes, Victory and Seven Saturdays. Join me at 11, won’t you? After the jump, the playlist and a downloadable stream … y’know, in case you want to take the show with you to your favorite barbecue: [click to continue…]
When we first discovered You Me & Us early last year, Carlee Hendrix and Ignacio Caniza had just released their “Paperweights” EP, a charming blast of fuzz-rock. They didn’t have a song over 2 minutes and 30 seconds then and their latest song “Swim or Sink” off of their forthcoming Bobb Bruno-produced “Stay Inside” EP still clocks in at only 2 minutes and 21 seconds, but who’s really counting? Since then, Hendrix and Caniza have recruited Alyssa Midcalf — and oh, they also landed a slot at Coachella last month. Everything the Palm Springs-based power-pop and shoegaze trio packs in less than 3 minutes is sunny, crunchy and just a little off-kilter enough to make you hit play again in fear of missing out on something else you could have liked in that track. Everything from the unusual lyrics to the sweet vocals to the raucousness simply exhibits You Me & Us’ ability to sonically unite the good stuff.
► Cold War Kids [that's Nathan Willett from their February show at the Bootleg Theater, above] headline the Fonda Theatre behind their new album “Dear Miss Lonelyhearts,” with Superhumanoids opening.
► Shout Out Louds and Haerts do a second night the El Rey Theatre
► Indie-pop trio Sir Sly — just signed to Cherrytree/Interscope Records and with their first EP “Gold” just out this week — headlines the Troubadour.
► Mikal Cronin [see the video "Change"] visits the Echo behind his recent release “MCII,” with Pangea and Gap Dream opening.
► Amanda Jo Williams celebrates the release of her fourth album “You’re the Father of My Songs” with a show at El Cid, where she’s joined by Dorian Wood and Tommy Santee Klaws.
► It’s a night of Swedish metal at the Roxy, where Opeth and Katatonia rattle the rafters.
► And Japanese experimentalists Boris rock the Echoplex, supported by Deafheaven and Ides of Gemini.
Soulful indie-rockers Nightmare & the Cat, the Los Angeles-based quintet masterminded by British brothers Django and Sam Stewart, will headline the LA Weekly Local Music Stage at the kickoff to 2013’s Chinatown Summer Nights on Saturday, June 15.
The evening’s festivities will celebrate Chinatown’s 75th Anniversary — and, in a special nod to the area’s rock ’n’ roll legacy, will feature a performance by the re-formed rock quintet The Furys, who played the first rock show at the historic Madame Wong’s in October 1978. Rainbow Jackson, Jutty Ranx, Sister Rogers and Cobalt Cranes round out lineup on opening night.
KCRW DJs Anthony Valadez and Liza Richardson will spin in Chinatown’s Central Plaza, where a statue of Bruce Lee will be unveiled and dedicated.
Chinatown Summer Nights will continue July 20 and Aug. 17. Full lineups will be [click to continue…]
Johnny la Rocha knows his classic rock — whatever fertile soil he’s overturning. He does business as Ocha la Rocha, and “Ocha Scores,” his forthcoming album on JAXART Records, demonstrates the he would be equally comfy jamming with the Marshall Tucker Band, the Flying Burrito Brothers or any number of cowboy country guitar-slingers. The album was made with assists from the likes of producer Kristofer Sampson, J.T. Hall (Ponderosa), Chandler Rentz (Snowden), Milton Chapman (Barreracudas) and Lee Harraway on pedal steel.** Fans of L.A. stalwarts like Beachwood Sparks, Spindrift and I See Hawks in L.A. will want to lend an ear; over the course of the album (out Aug. 6), la Rocha doesn’t wear the same hat too often, and everything he tries on fits.
||| Stream: “Sing the People’s Song” and “Tunnels and Lines”
||| Live: Ocha la Rocha plays May 29 at the Redwood Bar and July 14 at Grand Ole Echo at the Echo.
** An earlier version of this post had an incorrect list of contributors to the album.
New York City-based quartet the Dig made plenty of friends in Los Angeles last July, when they summered here and pulled a residency at the Silverlake Lounge. The fact that the foursome of David Baldwin, Emile Mosseri, Erick Eiser and Mark Demiglio brought with them an armload of propulsive, dreamy rock ’n’ roll didn’t hurt, either. The material on their 2012 album “Midnight Flowers” drew from the best ’90s alt-rock influences and moved the dial into this decade. Baldwin, Mosseri and gang are at it again — their new EP “Tired Hearts,” produced by Bryce Goggin (Pavement, The Apples In Stereo, Swans, Antony & The Johnsons), comes out June 4. Chugging over a wobby synth line, “Without Your Love” turns a little bit of heartsick shoegazing into hurts-so-good.
||| Stream: “Without your Love”:
||| Also: Stream “Angeline”
||| Live: The Dig plays the Bootleg Bar on June 20.
In a broad view, the music of Seven Saturdays is all about Los Angeles — the emotional and geographical sprawl, the grandeur and the grit, the language the city speaks if you hold still long enough to listen. Native Angeleno and composer Jonathan Haskell embraces it all on “Seven Saturdays” (out next week), a collection of broadly cinematic electronic rock that represents a big step forward from his early excursions in ambient instrumental music. (See 2011′s “The Snowflakes That Hit Us Became Our Stars” for more headphones-worthy tripping.) To realize his new vision, Haskell brought in a staggering list of collaborators and voices, among them: Daniel Farris (St. Vincent), Colin Stetson (Tom Waits, Arcade Fire), Rain Phoenix (Papercranes), Rachel Stolte (Great Northern), Dan Schwartz (Sheryl Crow, Jon Hassell), Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates), Jim Evens (Helen Stellar), Vanessa Fernandez (Octover), Alex Lilly (Touché), Matt Rollings (Lyle Lovett, Billy Joel), Genevieve Artadi (Pollyn), Jacqueline Santillan (Wait.Think.Fast) and Mike Garson (David Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins). Some of the album’s themes — fear of isolation, the need for human connection, the struggle for identity — get a gripping treatment from director Chad Michael Ward in the video for “One in 3″ (featuring Evens on vocals), which stars Daniel Cox and Andrea Margaret.
||| Live: Seven Saturdays play the Silverlake Lounge on May 30.
Coming off their first major local headlining show Wednesday at the Avalon, Youngblood Hawke has been added to the lineup for Make Music Pasadena, a free day of live music throughout Pasadena on Saturday, June 1.
The L.A. electro-pop quintet, which in April released their debut album “Wake Up,” join a formidable list of headliners including YACHT, We Are Scientists, Robert DeLong and Tanlines. The multiple-venue festival also features the likes of Taken by Trees, Superhumanoids, Las Cafeteras, Hunter Hunted, the Peach Kings, the New Limb, Radar Bros., Torreblanca, High Places, Letting Up Despite Great Faults, the Dustbowl Revival, the Record Company, Draemings, Freedom Fry, Haunted Summer, Tashaki Miyaki, Yellow Red Sparks, Eagle Rock Gospel Singers, A House for Lions and Salt Petal, among many others.
Join me at 7 p.m. every Sunday night for the L.A. Buzz Bands Show on all-music, listener-supported KCSN (88.5 FM). It's an hour of music by SoCal artists, and it's streamable at KCSN.org.
EVERY FRIDAY: Tune into the Buzz Bands LA Show every Friday at 11 a.m. Pacific Time on Moheak Radio. It's two hours of mostly local, always-fresh music. The show is rebroadcast at 6 p.m. Tuesdays.
"Much popular music is hollow professionalism – musicians and record producers recycling ideas and styles most likely to sell records. The memorable artists redefine the boundaries, either through blinding originality or by looking with unbending honesty at their deepest fears and grandest dreams."