Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top Ten favorite albums of 2011

So this a favorite albums of 2011 list I do not claim these as the end all be all of music that came out this year cause I don't claim to be an expert and am not trying to make that list just sharing my opinion on what my favorite albums I heard this year are...

10. Ha Ha Tonka - Death of a Decade

This album is just plain fun brand of rock n roll with an americana flair, that use some of the best harmonies in rock today. Plus everything just comes together on Death of a Decade, their third release, to make what is their strongest record to date from start to finish.

9. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

Does it really matter that their sophomore release was just more of the same from their debut album not when your harmonizing and songwriting is this strong you don't. Plus with that added extra layer of polish that comes from knowing what you are doing better the second time around puts Helplessness Blues as one of the year's best.

8. O'Death - Outside

It was great getting a new O'Death record this year and while not being what I expected it is every bit as good if not better than their older stuff. What is missing in aggression and pure strangeness is given a layer of melody and sophistication that I didn't know O'Death was capable of. But don't expect straight forward fair from this americana/punk/indie/country/altrock hybrid of a band that music defies single or simple categorization.

7. Judson McKinney - Drink the Wine

I don't know what I should say that I didn't put in my glowing review less than a month ago. But just to repeat this is some amazing folk songwriting that draws from the greats from the 60s/70s folk sound while clearly showcasing his own unique voice.

6. One Trick Pony - Try Not to Worry So Much

Wow this album blew me away that music this good and of a polished sound could come from a self-released indie band from the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles. Great hooks and catchy upbeat songs throughout make this a showcase of talented musicianship that I cannot get enough of.

5. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

I don't think their is much needed to say about Foo Fighters but I don't think their is a better band in the last decade and half at consistently putting out a great hard rock stadium anthem album that includes at least one classic tune on every release. Wasting Light does not fail to capture their same magic and really has more energy in the recording then usual which could be that this record was recorded to tape in Dave Grohl's garage giving this long-polished act a good raw quality in their sound.

4. Chuck Ragan - Covering Ground

This is longer just Chuck Ragan and his acoustic guitar doing his folk songs with his aggressive punk rock nature and energy infused in but this now a full band doing indie folk rock sure there is some of his punkrock roots still in this album but there is so much more on covering ground and just has an outstanding use of melodies in his great songwrinting.

3. Thrice - Major/Minor

While not the grand opus that was the experimental four E.P. Alchemy Index this latest offering from Thrice is probably the best regular album release from this band. Major/Minor takes all the elements that Thrice have been building towards throughout their career into a perfect showcase of who and what they are as a band highlighted by the track Anthology which reflects this directly.

2. Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver

What can I say other than say that Justin Vernon outdid himself with his second album and with the added level of production and instrumentation to his second effort showed that he didn't want to just lean on his laurels and repeat what brought him success from his first album but to grow as a musician and make this album it's own unique experience.

1. Manhattan Murder Mystery - Manhattan Murder Mystery

If you follow my blog it should be of no surprise that I think highly of their music. No album dug into my psyche and stayed there like the debut from this explosive band from Los Angeles. If I have one complaint about this album is that coming in at nine tracks and just under 35 minutes that it runs a little short but I forgive them for this and make up for it by listening to it usually at least twice in a row in a sitting.

Honorable mentions in no particular order (all worth checking out in my opinion): Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones, Auditorium - Be Brave, Bright Eyes - The People's Key, Kevin Devine - Between the Concrete and Clouds, Maria Taylor - Overlook, Radiohead - King of Limbs, St. Vincent - Strange Mercy, Ryan Harvey - Ordinary Heroes, Tom Waits - Bad As Me, Tyler the Creator - Goblin, Into it. Over It - Proper, Kaustic - Kaustic, Adele - 21

Did not realize how difficult it would be to come up with my top 10, I left some great stuff off the list. Making this list I realize how arbitrary the order really is as I think I could have put any one of those ten in my top 3 albums of the year. I would love to know what any readers of mine think of my top ten favorite records this year, what did I completely miss on or just missing in general and even more important what did I have that you completely agree with. Also if this led you to any new music you hadn't heard yet I would love to hear wether you liked it or not...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday Dec. 19th 2011 - Manhattan Murder Mystery vs the Satellite

So I finally was able to make it out of the County of Orange to see some live music being played in LA again. It was the third night of Manhattan Murder Mystery's Decemeber residency at the Spaceland Satellite whcih I will get to but first to Judson McKinney who kicked off the night right with a solid set mainly consisting of songs off his new stellar album 'Drink the Wine' which I reviewed here. Judson musical stylings are definitely in the folk genre but don't let that fool you into thinking that he doesn't know how to rock the fuck out because that was exactly what Judson and the band did last night none more so than when they performed Tomorrow Blues that caused Johnny Seasons on bass to break a string. The highlight of the night for Judson was the older track, William Jennings Bryan, they pulled out to end their set highlighted by an extended rockout jam session in the middle of the song.

Next artist took me by surprise, Jonny Corndawg. Mainly because you don't get too many country artists out in these parts and this was a true to the bone country singer. This performance was only the Corndawg on an acoustic guitar and a friend on guitar who I can't for the life of me recall his name. With only the two of them up on stage performing it allowed Jonny Corndawg's voice strong singing voice really take center stage though throughout being upstaged by some really brilliant guitar playing by the other member of the outfit. The guitar parts just had a very jovial tone or quality to them which is quite refreshing and put a smile on myu face while listening. The other thing about Jonny Corndawg that really came through was the humor in his lyrics which shouldn't be surprise with a stagename like Corndawg. The last thing to take away from a live Corndawg performance is what a natural showman he is, you could just tell that performing on stage is where this man should be and I would gladly take in another show put on by The Corndawg.

If you have been to a Manhattan Murder Mystery show before you know the bring a raucous energy level that is magnetic and tonight's show topped it all. Bursting at the seems with friends adding to the bands lineup, a total of ten members to this use to be three piece now now actually four piece with the seemingly staple of Todd McLaughlin on guitar. They were a total of 6 people playing guitar for MMM tonight including Joey and Andy Siara from The Henry Clay People. This was a bigger and more blown out performance than I thought was possible, if your average Manhattan Murder Mystery live show takes it to eleven then this show was at least a twenty. And through it all clearly the center of this mayhem and the reason for all this chaotic love for music was Matthew Teardrop who had this ever growing gaggle of MMM zeolots moshing and crooning along with every song like nothing else in the world mattered than what was happening in the Satellite that night. The uninitiated in a Manhattan Murder Mystery show wouldn't think that the insane energy level could go up another notch, but like clockwork with the closing song Parking Lot does just so. Setting the stage for this new higher level of insanity is that the crowd is pulled onstage to join in with the show ending in a state of chaos that can only be witnessed to truly understand what happens when Manhattan Murder Mystery closes for the night.

Then I made my way over a few blocks to catch the College Kids with the nightcap at the Silverlake Lounge and they were as infectiously adorable in their performance as always even though I only made it for their last three songs. A good night was had and I can't wait for a repeat performance next week which is the last night of Manhattan Murder Mystery residency that also happens to include George Glass and One Trick Pony in the lineup so sounds like a special night to be had.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dylan Trees - Three Times A Day music video

Check out the new music video from the band Dylan Trees for their super fun song "Three Times A Day" which I cannot get enough of the the super adorable poppy and catchy chorus. The single will be released all over the internet and beyond 12/20 so look out for it...

Dylan Trees - Three Times Of The Day (official music video) from the Indie Workforce on Vimeo.

If you liked the video you can check out more from the people who made it at their website or on The Indie Workforce's Facebook page

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Judson McKinney - "Drink the Wine" review

Well Judson Mckinney's debut full length album has been up on his bandcamp for quite sometime to listen to and buy digitally. Though tonight at the Bootleg is his record release show presented by The 704 blog that if you can make it out to you can see one of the best singer/songwriters making music in the LA area right now. Listening to his album is like a trip back in time to the heyday of folk music of the 60's and wouldn't feel out of place with any record from that time. Though just because I keep throwing out the singer/songwriter term doesn't mean this album doesn't stop from getting Judson his wife and the rest of his band from getting their rock groove on like on the bluesy rock stomper "Tomorrow Blues". Also all the songs have big beautiful full arrangements that are driven by some very talented work on the guitar. Throughout the album are clever honest lyrics like the first few lines from the opening track, "Celia", song over piano:
The demons on the eastside are out marching, angels in the clouds all by the door. Standing in a local night of lightning and waiting at the gate hoping for more. Bums along the street are all out begging, blocking every point on the avenue. Tell me what you need I am pressed for something, well he tells me I've always been in love with you.
that set the table nicely for a record of songs of love, self-discovery and musings of a traveling man. "Drink the Wine" by Judson McKinney is a very strong debut effort that showcases a young artist that pays homage to the folk movement of the 60's while still having a distinct voice all his own. If he keeps making music this good that showcases his amazing talent as a singer and songwriter I wouldn't be surprised for much bigger things in his future and would love the privilege to listening to his music for years to come. I am going to leave you my favorite track on the album which also happens to be the title track, "Drink the Wine", as a little taste that I hope gets you to check out more of his work...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Manhattan Murder Mystery - "Women House" review

Well as I listen to Manhattan Murder Mystery's new release, Women House. I find a much more honed and mature sound to these six songs then what they put out on their last record, which might have to do with the addition of Todd McLaughlin's lead guitar and Matthew Teardrop adding in some harmonica to give a fuller sound to the band. What continues through all Manhattan songs is the earnestness and pure emotion that is invoked through their playing and especially in Matthew Teardrop's lyrics. Plus I don't think any band continually instills more emotion into their oohs and ahhs that they sing in songs which continues on this release on tracks like 'Women House' or 'Alington Cemetary'. The latter of which is a song that shows their is more to this band than their raucous and infectious live shows full of sweat, booze, love and rock n' roll with an emotionally bare arrangement that is all about Teardrop with just his guitar and the best story he has yet to convey in a song and I don't think I could convey my thoughts any better than Lord Growing over on his blog The 704 while writing his review for the album with an emphasis on that track in particular. You really should go read his work. Though that isn't to say this EP to didn't forget to let all out because the garage-punk stomper 'I've Got A Hole In My Head' is ready to get you jumping and acting the fool at their next live show which by the way is every monday in December at The Spaceland Satellite for free and it would be a crime not to make it out to see them play. I am going to leave you with a taste off the EP with the opening track 'Stadium Way' that showcases all the talent Manhattan Murder Mystery has in songwriting with a catchy as hell chorus and guitar hook on top the honest crooning of Mr. Teardrop that will have you yearning for more...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Quick thoughts on Manhattan Murder Mystery

Well if you read my blog or just talk to me about music you know I am obsessive over the local band Manhattan Murder Mystery and they have some news I would like to share with you. Well they are going to be rocking a residency on Monday nights at the Spaceland Satellite this December and as you should know it's free to get in on Monday nights so if you can get there you should. Plus they have a new EP coming out that they are releasing with the first night of their residency. Listen to this new song off the EP and fall in love with what might be Matt's catchiest guitar hook yet... City Hall by Manhattan Murder Mystery

Oh and plus the boys over at Thrillhouse Productions are coming out with music video for MMM's Owen Hart and here is a sneak peak preview of said video.

Manhattan Murder Mystery - Owen Hart Teaser from Thrillhouse Productions on Vimeo.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Death to Anders - Don't Give Up EP

Well out of the new music that has been released in the past month what I have been listening to the most is the new EP by Death to Anders released on October 25th, 2011 entitled Don't Give Up which you can pick up on their bandcamp page.

What continues to impress me with their music is the impressive guitar playing and the standout track to me, "Grizzy", comes out with a rollicking guitar riff that has a bigger sound than you get from a lot of local acts and reminds me of how a Queens of a Stone Age or Foo Fighters might open up their rock anthem single off of their latest release.

So the rest of this five track release doesn't fail to impress either. You cannot listen to anything by Death to Anders without noticing lead vocalist Rob Danson's unique and amazing voice. He hits so many interesting notes both musical and emotional while singing that can only be done by him. Even when slowing it down on the title track of the EP "Don't Give Up" the strong songwriting and unique sound that Death to Anders have carved themselves in the Silver Lake indie rock scene showcases their talent and songwriting is at an all time high on this latest release. I for one cannot wait for what comes next from Death to Anders because if 'Don't Give Up' is any indication of what lies ahead for this new lineup much and more great music is to come. So if you have the chance pick this up and go see them live for a great show as well.

I hope this embedding of my favorite track grizzy works for your listening pleasure.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thrice House of Blues Anaheim 10/9/11

Wow so it has been much too long since I updated this, do to outside circumstances it is going to continue to be difficult to get out and review shows. Although I do want to continue to write about music and the Silverlake/Echo Park music scene in general and they are quite a bit of new music out there that I want to talk about and will start posting up soon.

Now onto a show I have been looking forward to for a while I think I bought my ticket to this show the morning it went on sale 6 months ago. Well the first opening band was O'Brother and were my least favorite of the three openers. They had hard atmospheric rock sound to the band and I liked some of their heavy moody guitar and bass lines but drumming really wasn't doing it for and seemed to simplistic and just not quite what I wanted. So that really pulled me out of the band in general.

The second band, Moving Mountains was my favorite of three opening bands. They had a sound that harkened back to older Thursday and 'Artist in the Ambulance' era Thrice with a good mix of melody and hard riffs. They were just a solid band and the vocalist really impressed with very strong screaming vocals that he was able to transition back to his melodic singing without any problems. Definitely will be picking up at least their newest release to dig a little deeper into their sound.

The third band up, La Dispute the first couple songs sounded exactly like I was listening to At The Drive In. It was really uncanny how the lead singer of La Dispute sounded like Cedric Bixler-Zavala in both sound and style of singing. Later in the set their songs had an even heavier quality then At The Drive In ever did and it was kind of nice hearing that particular style of post-hardcore music again. Their energy onstage while playing was fantastic, particularly the lead singers, which helped win me over into liking their music. I am definitely interested in checking out more of their music.

And then Thrice came out and probably never sounded better than they have on this tour, though I think I believe that statement is true every new time I go and see them. They opened up with Yellow Bellow, the opener off their latest album and the wicked hard baritone guitar riff that opens the song rocked the house and got the pit going strong, fast and hard early. Then they really kept it rocking hard with the next three songs 'Promises', 'All The World Is Mad'(which guitar riff sounded even more sinister in mood this tour than last), and 'The Weight'. Their next song 'In Exile' was a nice break from all the hard rocking of the opening of the set and my body and vocal chords thanked them for the nice little break. Next up was one of my favorite new songs 'Call it in the Air' which soaring chorus sounded like it was meant to be played for a big live show. Then the floor went crazy as soon as the super heavy opening riffs for 'Silhouette' started and continued through tto the next song Cold Cash and Colder Hearts which had thrashing and screaming my lungs out along with the some older tunes. After that was time again to slow it down again and get into more atmospheric rock they have been doing since their album Vheissu. First with 'Circles' where the ending guitar solo was just perfect and just penetrates you even more listening live than what you can experience at home. After that came two new tracks 'Treading Paper' and 'Words in the Water' which I hope 'Treading Paper' because a live staple for years to come as it hearing it live really took another level. Well it took it to the same level as what 'Of Dust and Nations' is as in a live setting and when it gets to Teppie guitar solo at the end of the song it just mind-blowing how in awe of their musicianship and everything really about Thrice that I am in love with. 'Firebreather' was just explosive and putting it as kickstarter for the epilogue of their set to only go into "The Earth Will Shake" and it's epicness is just insane. I really enjoyed the extra touch of having the some of the guys from the opening bands come out and add to percussion during the "chain gang" part of 'The Earth Will Shake'. Their set ended was 'Anthology' of the new album which is a great way to end it as it a song in sound that really sums up everything that is the Thrice sound, being melodic yet hard and showcasing great musicianship.

The encore rocked my life. Then went old school with playing one song off of each of the first two albums. And they weren't songs they have played in quite some time. I was so happy that they played 'Phoenix Ignition' it is easily my favorite song off of their first two albums and one I have never heard live as I didn't make it to one of their shows until the Vheissu tour. And this being in front of the hometown crowd Dustin and Ed Breckenridge just had the biggest grins on their faces as the whole building was singing the opening to 'Phoenix Ignition' and went it kicked into the guitar riff the floor went the craziest it had been the whole night and continued the utter insanity all the way through the next and final song of the night, 'To Awake And Avenge The Dead'.

This was an absolute magical night to remember. And really their is no experience that compares to shared communal joy of seeing a band you love with hundreds of other people that love the band just as much. So as I finish this up I am envious of all those that are enjoying their second night at the House of Blues Anaheim tonight and already cannot wait until the next time their next tour.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thrice - "Major/Minor" review

Well I am going to try writing my first album review, I thought about doing it for any of the three great albums that came out last week which I might post some quick thoughts on later still. But before I get sidetracked, what I am really here to ramble on about for this post is the seventh studio album by Orange County rockers Thrice called 'Major/Minor'. Now if you didn't know Thrice has been in the ring as my favorite band since their fourth experimental post-hardcore rock record 'Vheissu'. While I enjoyed their early efforts as an OC hardcore band it wasn't until they left that familiar sound of shredding and screaming and experimented into a more atmospheric genre defying rock band that my fandom really took hold. And they really proved that with their next release 'The Alchemy Index' which is four separate EP's that just blew my mind with how great their were. They followed that up with an album that was a much more straightforward album, 'Beggars' that could fit in with any indie-rockers record collection. That brings us to the current record which has keeps the vibe of the last record but also feels much bigger and rocks way harder then their last few efforts from start to finish. As I listen to it for already probably the 20th odd time since coming out last Tuesday I think I have enough of a handle on this album to talk about it.

It opens up with 'Yellow Belly' that brought back the baritone guitar from the Fire EP with a dirtier sound then used on those songs, really just a hard, dirty, grimy tune all around that setups up the harder tone of this record well. I don't want to talk about every song so I am going to move on to 'Blur' just because it kicks off with such a blast from the past with such a high tempo if not the all-out shredding of their first three albums that it is great to hear them kick it up a notch like that again. Lastly on a single song basis I have to talk about 'Anthology' by far my favorite track on the album. It is a great representation of what Thrice's sound is. Their is a great beautiful melody to the track all the while having a heavy vibe to it. And the riffs by Teppei Teranishi on guitar are a soaring and beautiful star of the track.

So Riley Breckenridge on the drums puts in a superb effort that really stuck out to me while listening. He really is a driving force to this album on drums and it is his best work behind the kit on any of their albums in my opinion. As always Dustin Kensrue as a singer and lyricist continue to shine. I love how his voice have matured over the years in this band and he really gets after it in this album. Their is a real passionate weight and grittyness to his singing and he really howls with rage throughout the album. Couple that with his wonderful lyrics like this from the opening track.
You were built for blessing but you only make them bleed, but you don’t care, you don’t care.
And bruises are but shadows of the blackness that you breathe but you don’t care, you don’t care.
The light that's left inside their eyes is darkened day by day but you don’t care, you don’t care.
The presence pulls the color from the world til all is grey
but you don’t care, you don’t, you don’t, you don’t.
Those along with the rest of the lyrics throughout the record give for a much darker tone in their sound on this effort. Another element that drives home the darker feel is the overall strong songwriting and instrumentation throughout 'Major/Minor. Their songs have a great atmosphere to them that really know how to let a song breathe when needed or at other times have a dense hard rocking sound that never feels cluttered. Their really isn't an element of this band that I do not enjoy, which brought about another stellar effort with this release. The three tracks that are highlights in particular for me are 'Yellow Belly', 'Call It In The Air', and 'Anthology'. The third of which I have embedded from soundcloud. Let me know what you think...

Thrice - Anthology by Vagrant Records

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wed. 9/14/11 - Jeremiah Red & The Silent Comedy

Went to a show within 15 minutes of where I live, what a novel concept. Though I still couldn't make it to the Continental Room on time to be able to see Kopecky Family Band which I heard some friends say were quite good. And I feel bad because they came all the way from Nashville so not like I will easily get the chance to easily see them again. Well onto what I did see. So the first band I was there to see perform was Jeremiah Red and they unleashed an explosive set of southern style rock that I could really get behind. This was some serious no bullshit rock n roll that was exactly what I wanted and actually had the majority of the Orange County bar scene engaged in the show. The lead guitarist had some very impressive guitar parts that really drove the songs. I also loved the passion and soul that came through the band while they were singing. I am definitely looking forward to checking them out again and again.

The other band I saw that night was The Silent Comedy who are a band from San Diego and also are in the Southern Rock genre or style or whatever. A little less rock and a little more melody then Jeremiah Red but still a damn good show was put on. And when they needed to rock out they did it full out and really ended on a high note with the lead singer/bass guitarist out in the crowd that really pushed their set over the top and you couldn't help but want to stomp or clap or do whatever along with the song, just be a part of the this special moment that they created while playing the hell out of a great a song. Along with the lead in the crowd they had their banjo(who was also on the mandolin or guitar for certain songs) player standing on the divide that separated the crowd from the stage towering over us and making it seem larger than life and just adding to the overall atmosphere of rocking balls to the wall out. Though I can't believe I got this far and haven't mentioned the keyboardist, who was excellent, and whose parts were the main driving force of most of the songs and gave them a really fun vibe that made you want to move your feet. I am a little mad at myself that I walked out of their without grabbing one of their records but my friends that I was with were ready to head home so off we went. I highly recommend if you see The Silent Comedy playing somewhere you should check them out.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Saturday, September 3rd 2011

A little late getting this post up about the first showcase by the blog Feed Your Head at Lot 1 Cafe and for once I wasn't late for the first performer of the night. Which was Omar Velasco and he really blew me away with the great melody of his singing. On top of that the songwriting was very interesting and impressive being that he was alone on stage with just his guitar sometimes acoustic sometimes electric but always splendid. More people should made it out early because you missed a real treat and I look forward to hear more from Omar Velasco in the future.

The second band was Dirt Bird and while the two girls in the band are very impressive singers and had a an interesting minimalist gothic sound to them just wasn't for me. Though I seemed to be in the minority in this opinion for those attending so I am just going to move forward to the reason I made the trip to Lot 1 tonight.

And that reason was to see Rob Danson and his band Death to Anders play and they did not disappoint. Lead singer/guitarist Rob Danson has such a great and unique sound to his voice and the way he plays guitar that I can listen to him play all the time and not get bored. They debuted a few new songs and are just as solid if not better than any of their older stuff that I am really excited to hear the finished product from their time in the studio.

And to finish the night was the wonderful Judson McKinney. Who has the great 60's folk quality to his songwriting that harkens back to great songwriting of a time passed. Though with more rock and roll influence in the final product than just straight folk music, but he is just as good when he played a song without any backing band so it had just him and his guitar. My favorite part of Judson McKinney's music was the use of a violin as the lead instrument for most of the songs and what a great unique stamp it gave to the bands sound. This was my first time seeing them play and I know it won't be my last as I greatly enjoyed their music.

I want to say for Brad's first show he put together he got a lot of great music and was a good time had by all that made it. I know I plan on making it to his show next month cause word on the street is George Glass is playing and that is something you don't want to miss....

Friday, September 2, 2011

George Glass Music Video

My friend's in the band George Glass just put out their first music video and it is a lot of fun, so check it out and tell them how awesome it is and how great the song Welcome Home is as well....

oh that is the lovely Sarah Negahdari from the Happy Hollows playing an old-timey flapper girl so how can you not love this video....

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sunset Dysfunction or SXSL or Echo Park Rising....

Whatever you want to call this past weekend that came from the ashes of the cancelled Sunset Junction it was a lot more fun than I would have had this weekend if the regularly scheduled festival went on. The consensus from all the bands I talked to this weekend was that this was better than Sunset Junction should have been. So onto my review or reliving of what I preferably liked to call SXSL (South By Silver Lake)....

So I am finally able to make it out to Sliver Lake area after working in the morning and resting through the early afternoon it is just after six p.m. when I roll up to what I believe is the house where the house party on Edgecliff just off of Sunset that I was going to see some live music. I know this is it as I immediately run into people I know like Lord Growing from The 704 and Brad from Feed Your Head and many friends from bands I go see too often. Also going on while I walked up to this shindig was a man dressed up at first what I thought to as a brown bear but the costume had floppy ears so he was some bear/bunny hybrid and rapping. As far it goes it wasn't half bad but I didn't give it much thought as it seemed more gimmicky than something real.

Next up was one of the bands that made me want to come to this party, One Trick Pony. This is only my second time seeing them and liked what I heard the first time to buy their debut album at their record release show at Casey's a while ago, but this performance blew that one out of the water. The sound was great and it was easy to get into the groove of their music. One Trick Pony is a folk indie rock band that is top notch in their songwriting. That was just unbelievably great performance from a band that more people need to take notice and go see if you have the chance.

The next band on the night is The Damselles & TC4 who put on a really fun show that had the crowd dancing. While their music wasn't exactly my thing, they definitely know how to put on a show and their version of the 70's era R&B girl group sound translates well to a live performance.

And then came the headliner's of the first and hopefully not last Edgecliff Hog Roast Manhattan Murder Mystery who came in and nailed it in a way that is hard to describe. Their is something absolutely magical about the chaos of a MMM show. On top of the band their is the ever-growing cult-like fandom that is following them around that knows the songs just as well as the band and are singing their hearts out for every song. The band and the crowd melt into one throughout the show as Matthew Teardrop, the frontman, will leave the confines of the stage to join the crowd mid song. On 'Honda Prius' he found me and we sang the whole 3rd verse of the song with the mike between us while embracing each other with our arms around the others neck. If anyone has pictures of this I would love to have photographic evidence of this. But nothing tops the best show closer I think I have ever heard, 'Parking Lot'. Everyone knows it's coming and knows it means this bit of magic is coming to an end which gets the crowd ever more hyped and the pit really gets going. And during the chorus the crowd is shouting "In the Parking Lot, she pulled out her gun" so load and in unison you could swear they are playing to a sold out crowd at a big venue. And the end of the song devolves into complete and utter madness highlighted by the fact that their are about 3 times the amount of people playing in the band tonight than usual and more joining in never wanting this feeling to stop. What to do after this one might ask well why not follow Manhattan Murder Mystery to a warehouse just outside of downtown LA.

There were some other bands that played one that I recall was called The Outerlys who had a really polished alternative rock sound with very nice work on guitar and bass. But really I came here along with many others from the party on Edgecliff for one thing only and that was to keep it going with Manhattan Murder Mystery. And right away it was back to the same sort of chaos and magic that is a Manhattan Murder Mystery show. It didn't matter that the sets were very similar and they played most of the same songs only hours before this night was truly something special that I will never forget for the rest of my life. This time for 'Parking Lot' closing it out everyone was pulled up onto the raised stage they had to fill it to the brim as crowd and band become one to end the best night of music I can think of.

So onto night two of SXSL which again because of other obligations was not able to make it out til late. Which is another reason why this worked out so much better than the actual Sunset Junction festival would have for me this year as I would have missed all the bands I wanted to see as they were playing in the day. So about 10 o'clock I roll up to Silverlake Lounge with perfect timing because Davis Fetter was just starting and I was really blown away by the power and passion in his voice. His original songs were catchy and filled with emotion. I would like to hear these songs live with his full band instead of just him and his guitar which was nice but his voice demands for more to go with it.

Next came an absolutely adorable performance by Sadie & The Blue Eyed Devils. They were a sweet fun time that had you moving and clapping along to their brand of folk music. Just a sweet performance with fun songs that I could see again no problem.

Next came The Lexingtons who I made the trip to Lot 1 for. This was my second time seeing them after loving them close out the night last Monday at Silverlake Lounge and that first performance was no fluke I absolutely love seeing this band. The Lexingtons have such style and panache to their music and their performance that is so uniquely them and they make that sound so much fun that you can't help but want to dance and groove with the music. No one of their band more so than front-man Finn whose voice and energy make you want to pay attention. I don't really know what else I can add to this other than really go check out this band.

Lovers Drugs, the last band of the night was a rocking good time. They were up on stage playing their asses off and just having a grand ol' time that rubbed off on the crowd. Lovers Drugs play pretty straightforward brand of rock music that is lead by terrific play on the guitar, bass and drums. The song that stole my heart on the night was the improvised punk rock "I Wanna Be Joseph".

This weekend was better than I imagined it could be and I want to thank all the bands that I saw play over the weekend for making and sharing amazing music with me and everyone else that still made it out despite all the shenanigans that had to with Sunset Junction and I hope next year something else this natural and DIY of music gathering can happen again.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thursday Aug. 25, 2011

This show review coming from a taco stand in Los Feliz....

So up first was The Family Bones who played a solid set of mellow pop fair consisting of a guitarist and a piano player for this date. There was something about the songs that when he got to the chorus it felt automatically familiar. The Family Bones were a great way to start the night as I was not sure what I was in for and was pleasantly surprised with some expert guitar work and some catchy little tunes.

Next up Coyote, which I did not know that Jessi Williams from The Lonely Wild had her own project that she was heading before now and man am I glad that I went to Best Fish Taco because of the invite of an old friend from high school. Coyote had a definite country influence too it and if you have heard The Lonely Wild you know that Jessi has an amazingly beautiful singing voice.

The last act of the night are The Dylan Trees and from the first song they had me hooked. Through their whole set and up until I started writing this I have been trying to identify their sound and just cannot do it. The cop out is to call it indie rock and leave at that, but I want to say their is more to it than that I just can't properly put it into to words. Their were lots of things to love about Dylan Trees music but I think what stands out foremost is just how much fun it is and you can tell the band is having fun while playing. Also their is a great dynamic between the singing voices of Jeremy and Monica that really compliment each other and their music. This was a great way to end the night and I am looking forward to seeing Dylan Trees again.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A little video of The Lexingtons

This is courtesy of craiggordonhasaniphone's blog so go over and give him some love for capturing this from their show at the Silverlake Lounge this past Tuesday performing their song "The Last Ones"....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday Aug. 23 2011

There was no getting around it, I needed to be at the Bootleg Tuesday night because College Kids were playing but there will be plenty to come on them later first a ton of love spread about the rest of the bands playing that night.

I come strolling in late as usual and the bands playing first keep making me want to be more punctual. Well this time was the singer/songwriter Kevin Earnest who made some beautiful music but the stage presence was lacking. I think it came along with how they setup, because everybody on stage was there clearly as a compliment to his piano playing and wonderful voice and yet they were all clearly visible while he was tucked away back in the corner on the piano. What was lacking in stage presence was more then compensated in a strong vocal performance and seriously talented songwriting with just the right amount of pop and folk and blended together.

Next came Auditorium who were minus a drummer but after listening to them not sure there was anything missing. It took a couple of songs for them to really get into a comfort of playing without that steady presence behind them, but once they got going the songs were engrossing and I could listen to the lead vocalist sing all night long. His voice has such a great tone that compliments the songs in a way that makes you want to get lost in The Auditorium's music and never get out again. It is such simple indie/pop/rock guitar lead music nirvana.

Next came The Sanglorians which after a night of pop fun came in rocked the place out while being lead by a vocalist and guitarist who could really tear up the guitar with inspiring work on his fretboard. To go along with his playing they were also two pretty girls singing backup and rocking out expertly on violin and keyboards. The rest of the sound was filled out with a rhythm guitar, bass and drummer and while their was a lot of elements going on stage it never felt cluttered or muddled each instrument complimented the songs and created a sound all their own while rocking out never lost the melody that ties the sound together. Two songs in particular stuck out to me in the middle of their set "Selfremember" and "The Lightspeed of Love" (I could be wrong in the exact title of these songs) and highly recommend checking them out.

And with the most adorable nightcap came College Kids who are made up of Kim on piano and Mike on acoustic guitar with both of them sharing vocal duties. The songs are so endearing and lovely that you can't help but have a smile on your lips while listening to them sing their tales of the fresno police or whatever else their want to sing about. It is such simple fun light pop fare that is completely sold on the Mike and Kim's harmonies and catchy songwriting. They ended the night on "Let's Always Be Friends" which perfectly encaptures everything I love about College Kids with it's personal story that you can immediately connect to that is carried throughout by their hauntingly beautiful vocal harmonies and Kim's lovely piano. My only problem with College Kids is that their is not enough of their music to get enveloped in.

Monday Aug. 22 2011

So after getting started late and venue change to down the street and left The Satellite to make my way over to the Silverlake Lounge on the advice of a friend I found myself into a night of music that I really enjoyed. Unfortunately I missed the only band I have already seen Rumspringa and came in for the last for songs of The Breakups. From what I heard of The Breakups they play a very enjoyable brand of guitar driven indierock/pop.

Next came the residency headliner's The Ross Sea Party who had the place grooving the whole time. You couldn't help but want to move your feet and dance while listening to them play. They was nothing too fancy about most of their songs just great rhythms on the guitar that stick with you. Plus what too really take away from Ross Sea Party is that energy and fun of their music never stops. I might make it back for the last week of their residency just so I can sing along to a couple of songs I might manage to learn between now and then.

And with night cap and stealing the show for me was The Lexingtons. There was a great showmanship that you don't get from most local bands. Plus never once did I think that The Lexingtons were more gimmick then great music which can happen. I love the simplicity to their music their drummer was rocking out with only I believe a floor tom, snare drum, a cymbal, and a hi-hat; they didn't have bassist sometimes had two guitars others only one and a keyboardist but it only added to the fact that you only heard what they wanted you to hear and really had rocked out while doing it. It was all about the lead singer whose voice had such a unique quality that I loved every note whether singing a light melody or crooning out a note. This was good old fashioned sourthern style rock and roll that makes you want to sing and dance along. I was thinking throughout their set this is just old-timey fun and that lead singer dance moves reminded you of what you would see out of a frontman on band being featured on the Ed Sullivan Show. If their was one thing I took out of tonight was I want more of The Lexingtons and you should too...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Friday Aug. 19th

Well I decided to make a short post for this night even though the level of intoxication went well beyond my ability to know what happened there the whole night so I will talk about what I was sober for. Well George Glass kicked the night off and I ended up being glad they opened the night on reflection as I don't remember the last two performances of the night. Well they were minus Nathan on drums so Nick and Pete pulled out a stellar acoustic set that really showcased how strong their songwriting is that even strippeddowned the songs were captivating. In an acoustic set let the beautiful melody of Nick's voice really carry day that can sometimes get lost in a normal set of them rocking out.

The only other band I remember playing was the Health Club and they fucking brought it. There is something great just about the energy a (garage)punk band can put into a venue and Pehrspace makes for an ideal venue for an intimate punk rock show. Their was a lot of talent coming through from the performance and I know I will see this band again and might have more coherent thoughts and ramblings on their music....

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thursday Aug. 18, 2011

So the night starts with a lonely drive up to Echo Park from Orange County but doesn't stay that way as I now meet what is a familiar sea of faces at these shows. The first band of the night is Gentle Hands which the most memorable aspect of the band was the 2 girls fronting the band playing lead and rhythm guitar and lead and backup vocals respectively. There was nothing wrong with their brand of rock that they were playing and maybe with a little more polish and work on their stage presence especially between songs could be a very enjoyable band to go see.

The next band playing is Dirt Dress and I was really digging the groove that the bassist and drummer had going but just could not get into the lead singer/guitarist. His lack of energy or stage presence didn't help his cause any either. Other than that they had some solid music but just like the band before them never had that one song in there that really grabbed you and made you want more.

Next came The Happy Hollows and what a long wait it has been since to see them play. They made a lineup change and it looked so strange not seeing Chris up on stage but the band really didn't miss a bit with Richy back there. You could really tell when Lieutenant was it's same amazing self and just everything you could want out of a Happy Hallows song. The new stuff, and there was a lot of it, was super fun and dance-able. The use of keys or some sort of background beats really add an extra texture of sound that has a reminiscent sound to the Brooklyn indie dance rock scene. But it still had Sarah being Sarah and finger-tapping and just destroying on the guitar in parts that simply amazing to witness. Sometimes you forget about the rest of the band because while performing live Sarah's personality and love just shines so bright that you can't help but be mesmerized by her in her hot rocker goddess stage presence. And charlie laid back presence fits as he will really fill the song with some skillful bass-lines. All in all just a fantastic show that never disappoints, if you can the next time they play I better see you there.

The last band of the night was Pek Pek and I don't know if it was them or the sound for this show but it was hard to differentiate out the distinct chords of everyone through all the feedback they had going. Sometimes it seemed to much of a solid cacophony of sound but there was more of a glimmer of something special that I would be willing to delve into a further listen then the first two bands, maybe it was just the fact that they had a mandolin player who was rocking it the whole time which was unique but definitely would like to hear more from Pek Pek maybe in a little bit of a better setting.

So that did it for the night, had good times with cool people listening to some local music, now for tonight I do have some choices I believe I will be going to Pehrspace to see the show The 704 is putting on and George Glass will be there so that is hard to resist. Or there is Le Switch last show ever at the Satellite which is tempting as they have a few tunes that I really love. Or going none local there is Bomb The Music Industry playing Five Stars Bar in downtown LA someplace let me know which one you think I should be at....

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Monday Aug. 8, 2011

Well only two days into this and it is going to look like I will be writing all the damn time, as a ventured out to the city of angels to go to the one and only Pehrspace. As I walked up, I immediately ran into people I know, like Lord Growing who runs a much more substantial and enjoyable blog over at The 704. So I made my greetings and listened to this dancey "Depoche Mode light" sounding band, Gnarbaby from outside the door and didn't here anything that piqued my interest so I decided to stay outside and be social for most of their set. I was able to wander in to see them perform there last song and was not terribly impressed. While their keybordist was making some fun beats that had a majority of the crowd dancing with them, I just did not care for the lead singers voice and was ready to move on.

And then came the reason for the trek out to LA, Manhattan Murder Mystery who you will undoubtedly here me talk about this band and their live shows ad nauseum if I continue to do this. Well for tonight's show we had the added pleasure of Todd McLaughlin joining the usual threepeice on guitar. I love trying to pick up what he wonderfully adds to these songs all the while having notes on the chord progressions of the MMM tracks they might play that night on the ground by his feet makes these flourishes all the more impressive. They started off with two songs that I didn't immediately recognize, and allowed me to really just let the music encompass me as I listened to it. But once they kicked into Ambulance the energy in the room was palpable and there was no turning back afterwords. It was time to move, dance and sing with the music and there was no stopping until the end of the set. Their is an explosiveness to a Manhattan Murder Mystery show that is unique and the whole thing is being propelled by an amazing rhythm section of Katya and Laura on bass and drums, respectively that just do not let the momentum of the show slow down. And through it all Matt is at the center putting everything he has of himself into that performance, so you can feel his pain and anguish and joy and everything else that he is putting out to the universe. The show just continues to build momentum and you don't want it to stop and as it reaches a crescendo Matt drops his guitar and exits stage left leaving a knowing finality to their set and a longing for more that you know can't come that night...

The Next band to play was The Seizure and after how much I have already said and rambled about on this post I want to try to keep this quicker and more on point. The Seizure played a really tight set with just topnotch musicianship especially some of the lines the bass player put out there just blew me away. Vocally I wasn't blown away but they are definitely a band I want to see again at least as to a time when I have some extra cash so I can pick up their record because I could invest some time into listening to their songs.

I don't really want to say much about the next band because they really just weren't for me. The Myonics are the only band I have seen featuring an electric autoharp and really just didn't get their brand of noise rock or Psychedelic Experimental Pop or whatever they want to call it...

The last band of the night was Fancy Space People and I am not going to lie I was not expecting to like this band anymore then the one before it just on looks alone. As I walked and saw the band in their glam rock get-ups and with this crazy intro going on my first thought was I am not on enough drugs to fully grasp what is happening onstage. Then the music started and their songs had these awesome chugging guitar chords that reminded me of my favorite old Marilyn Manson tunes back in day. And the singer had this hauntingly beautiful voice that sucked you in. I dug the fact that Fancy Space People went all in on their showmanship they were rock goddesses(some cross-dressing) from outer space. So by the third song there was no stopping and I had to join the crowd in dancing and just moving to the music. Fancy Space People put on a show that hooks you in, I might not want to listen to them regularly or seek them out for another show but I enjoyed the shit out what I saw and would welcome the experience again if happened upon another of their shows.

And thus ended a beautiful night of drinking and music in Echo Park at my favorite shitty little venue...

Chuck Ragan

So I am taking a break to sleep while writing my review for last night's show at Pehrspace, but let me regale you with a new tune by Chuck Ragan while you wait for my ramblings. Now this is in no way local music but I seriously love me some Chuck Ragan and has one of the best gritty voices in folk music...

Do yourself a favor and check this out like now...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Saturday Aug. 7th 2011

Last night was crazy fun, went to LA to see some bands at the Satellite.  First up was Torches in Trees who I only got to hear the last two songs which only made me sad and want to hear more of them because they were very fun.  Got a free EP from the band that I still need to listen to. Next up came The Lonely Wild who were marvelous.  Just completely had a sound that I could hear all over the radio. They had a nice use of full band vocal harmonies without overdoing it or trying to sound like Fleet Foxes or Local Natives or what not.  They are pretty straight forward rock band with a little catchy poppiness to them, but there is definitely a little bit of country to their sound more like Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band country than straightforward country. I could not leave without purchasing their debut EP and so far I am loving it just sad that I only have five of their songs to listen to because it leaves me wanting more.

And then came the band I went to see, the lovely Radars to the Sky. Whenever I see Radars play live it feels like such a treat, and they never disappoint. We got to hear three new songs and the one that sticks out the most of the three was the one that Andrew called their "Clash" song which really had a rollicking energy through the whole thing that you couldn't help but move to. Plus Kenny on drums was destroying on that one.  They also had some help from a trumpet player on a few songs that really added to the songs he played on and sounded like those songs were always meant to be played that way. But reflecting on their set it is really kind of bittersweet that the first show I am blogging about is the last show for two of their members, Rob and Kate. I wish both of them the best of luck in their future pursuits and hopefully this means more shows to be played by Rob's band Death to Anders.  Last night's show didn't feel like an ending though especially because of introducing us to new material made it known that Radars to the Sky will continue writing music and amazing local crowds with it. I can't wait to hear what Andrew, Pete and Kenny have in store for the future and anyone else they might decide to add into their group.

I did not stick around for the last band as Manhattan Murder Mystery were playing a house party not too far away and as of that moment had not yet gone on.  Unfortunately getting there was a little more difficult then I wanted and only was able to make it for the last 2 songs.  But those last 2 songs of the night were well worth the trouble. I do not know if there is a better setting to witness a MMM show then crammed into a tiny living room, I suppose that was what that room was.  As always their set ender of Parking Lot was about a 10 minute epicness that had the whole room into a fervor from start to finish with everyone singing, shouting or crooning the lyrics along with Matt or even without Matt when he ventures away from the mic while pushing his way into the crowd and going insane on his guitar. There really is no experience like going to a Manhattan Murder Mystery show in LA right now and they always seem to be playing one if not two or three nights a week. The rest of the night consisted of lively conversations with some new friends, and a longing to have been there the whole night as a live show at the F house seems like something not to be missed, but that could just be how I feel about every Manhattan Murder Mystery show is that it is something not to be missed....


So I suppose I will start off by saying why I am starting this. Well mainly it is just a way for me to ramble on about music and all the local LA shows that I have been going to, so if you want the opinion of a fan who loves music but has zero musical talent (if you have ever heard me sing karaoke then you have first hand knowledge of what I am talking about) then I am your source. I will mainly be sticking to the Silverlake/Echo Park LA music scene as that is where I try to go out to every week to see bands that I love such as George Glass, Radars to the Sky, The Happy Hollows, The Henry Clay People, and of course Manhattan Murder Mystery.  Plus their are so many more interesting and talented folks playing out in that area that I want to know more of.  So I will blog my exploits out into the nights of rock n roll and some feelings on new albums that I hear and just what I am listening to as a way to keep an active blog most likely. I will soon post my first show review from last night...