Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Auditorium - Night's Worth Living EP

Auditorium put out a new EP today and if you don't know this band and especially Spencer Berger on vocals then you are missing out on the best vocalist in Los Angeles(hyperbole much? Mayhaps, but I doubt you can think of a better singer). Auditorium continues to produce infectious indie pop that will get stuck in your head. So far in love with some beautiful harmonies and songwriting and pick up this EP on their bandcamp for only 3 dollars(what is that like the cost of a pack of gum?). Well I already talked about the song The Sex Offenders I will leave you with the final song on the EP "Did Your Heart Shake Like This Song?" because it is a love song and their is not enough good old fashion love songs anymore, it's all about the heartbreak nowadays...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Vanaprasta - Slidebar 2/23/12

Well it is nice when a Silverlake bands like Vanaprastra makes it way out to the OC to play. And now I have been to the Slidbar twice in 8 days weird, since I hate that lace and most of the people who frequent it. Though being that I was able to confine myself to the venue in the back made it much better and it is like it's own seperate entity away from the ultra OC bro-bar that exists just outside the doors of the venue.

So the first band was Armada and it is hard to muster up much feelings for them either negative or positive. They played a fairly straight forward alt-rock sound that would fit right into KROQ's rotation alongside the likes of Foster the People and such bands. Yet their was nothing nearly as memorable and catchy enough about their music to elevate it to something special. They were best when rocking out and having some good foot stomping songs that bring to mind stuff by Queen of the Stone Age. While the singer had a very nice tone to his voice and the bassist and guitarist both had some fine chops the drumming just seemed lacking to me. He kept a good strong beat just most of the time it was too simple and none of his fills seemed all that interesting.

Next up was News of the Fire who really had me rocking out and digging them. I immediately knew I wanted to get to know this band better. I really liked how a lot of their songs had these very cool way they built up momentum instrumentally. Then they would crescendo into a full raucous rock out, which live seemed maybe a little muddled and sloppy sometimes during that time but their stage presence and energy made up for it. They have an EP that is available on their bandcamp page that is available for free, I highly suggest giving it a listen at least but really you should pick it up cause it won't cost you anything but a few megabytes of space.

And closing the night was Vanaprastra who really benefited from the great PA system at the venue. Though this might be colored by the only other time I saw them was at Pehrspace which has it's charms but high quality sound isn't really one of them. This night perfectly showcased their bigger than life atmospheric rock anthem sound. There is a level of musicianship and songwriting that on showcase when Vanaprasta play that is a step above your usual indie level rock band. And on-top of being phenomenal musicians they know how to put on a energetic live show with great stage presence which has been honed with lots of playing. This makes me mad that I wasn't able to make it out to their Spaceland Satellite residency last November. Be sure to check these out if you can live or go pick up their debut full length album Healthy Geometry.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cursive - I Am Gemini

'Wowwowwow" is the name of the 9th track and my initial impression of this ambitious 7th full length release by long time indie rockers Cursive. I continue to love everything Tim Kasher whether it be with this band, his first side-project The Good Life, or now his solo stuff he does not disappoint and "I Am Gemini" definitely does not. While instead of semi-autobiographical lyrics that spill his soul bare of tales of love lost and drinking this tells a much bigger story that doesn't quite hit the mark. I find the conceit of the album's story extremely compelling just didn't quite live up to my expectations. I have been struggling in deciding how I wanted to write this review being I like this album very much so, but I guess it is just not up there with the highlights of Tim's career. But really how many Domestica's, Ugly Organ's, Album of the Year's, or Game of Monogamy's can you expect out of someone. Those are some seriously hard highlights to match. But what is right there with everything is instrumentally and songwriting wise this album is as good as anything Tim Kasher has produced and has all the staples you have come to expect from Cursive's sound, being led by Tim's usual off kilter guitar riffs.

I think the problem is I couldn't connect with this album emotionally like I usually do with any of Tim's work and I think that comes with an over the top story that you can't follow completely without help from the lyric book which instead being traditionally done is setup like a playbill for an actual Greek style play. And I am glad I got the actual vinyl copy of I Am Gemini because with this version the lyric book looks exactly like a playbill you might get as you enter the theater, with an actual cast of characters and stage directions to help set the stage in your mind. I really should get around to telling you the concept of this concept record which is the
musical tale of Cassius and Pollock, twin brothers separated at birth. One good and one evil, their unexpected reunion in a house that is not a home ignites a classic struggle for the soul, played out with a cast of supporting characters that includes a chorus of angels and devils, and twin sisters conjoined at the head.
taken from the Saddle Creek Records store description for the album where you can buy it. The biggest problem is that these different characters are all voiced by Kasher in the same manner so without the playbill on you, you never know what character is speaking. Making the story difficult to follow along to as well as with
the stage directions involved means you are completely lost on this tale without the liner notes. The icing on the cake of my dislikes is that the themes aren't really clear and I am left lost and dissatisfied with what Tim was trying to do with this release.

Wow it looks as though I have spent a lot of time shitting on something that I like which is not what I set out to do here, so getting back on track I do love the fact that this went all in on the concept. This is meant to be listened to as an entire work and not doing so is doing I Am Gemini and the band a disservice. It is refreshing to see an album that completely defies the all singles all the time mentality that plagues today's music in my opinion. But with all that I am still going to embed my favorite track off the album for your listening pleasure. I Am Gemini is now in stores(came out yesterday). Cursive is playing Amoeba Records for free on Thursday, the Troubadour on Friday and the Glass House out in Pomona on Saturday which should all be tremendous shows.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Frank Turner at the Slidebar 2/16/12

Last night Frank Turner put on a musical experience that touched my soul. It was a seriously special night and amazing to see him playing such an intimate venue packed to overcapacity with zealous Turner fans who knew every song by heart. Except for the new song he debuted for us "Four Simple Words" that makes me ravenous for more new music.

But I have been getting ahead of myself so let me take it back to the beginning. Last night was a free show which did have the unofficial price of having to deal with the Slidebar downtown Fullerton crowd, which if you are like me was a hard price to pay. Frank Turner put together this gig last minute and there was another show going on that night as well which I snuck into to get glimpses of and quickly ducked back out to the patio to pass the time conversing with friends and acquaintances instead of the mediocre post-hardcore punk band Union 13 or the similarly mediocre speed metal band Dr. Know who reminded me why I never really got into indie metal scene, sure there is some talent there but nothing that gets me excited or makes them stand out like they should be getting more recognition then they deserve.

And of course that show ran late and it took a long time to setup for For Frank Turner and his opener Elvis Cortez of Left Alone, which saying of Left Alone doesn't mean anything to me but it might to someone. Now I don't want to disparage Elvis but I really just didn't care for his brand of acoustic folk punk. It was like the pop-punk version of the folk punk scene but not done as well as "Into it. Over It". And what I think was really missing was the ability translate his passion. And what I find to be the staple of that scene his the passion and vulnerability that comes out of the folk-punk music scene.

Now onto Frank Turner who is some English chap who used to be a punk rocker and then started an acoustic-based folk project in 2005 which has slowly grown to encompass a fuller band sound and more straight rock and roll vibe with each passing album. Which is not a bad thing and his show has certainly become a lot more explosive with energy and the chemistry he has with his touring band "The Sleeping Souls" is top notch. And one thing you can never take away from Frank Turner is the fact the man is passionate about music and sharing it. The other thing that has stayed steady throughout his career is his insightful and intelligent lyrics that can be truly punk-rock in nature. The second to last song he played, "The Ballad of me and my Friends", the closing song from his first album has so much more meaning to me now as it reminds me of exactly what it is to be a part if somewhat small part of a music scene and makes me never want to stop attending the shows of the likes of Manhattan Murder Mystery, George Glass and all those other bands that I have come to know and love. Well I will end this with what is hist staple to end the night and probably his best song, Photosynthesis embedded in Video Format below. So if you don't know Frank Turner give it a listen and if you don't love it then I don't know what is wrong with you...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mumford & Sons - Home

Sounds like Mumford & Sons next record is going to be as good as the first if this song is any indication. Seems like lots of good music is on the horizon for 2012. Check out the song and let me know what you think of it...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Matthew Teardrop - Drunk as Fuck EP

So Matthew Teardrop of Manhattan Murder Mystery fame(at least in the right circles) has released a solo folk album where he bares his soul to music and leaves it even more naked and raw than usual. Honestly it took more than a few listen-throughs to really wrap my head around this release. Maybe instrumentally the sound was a little too clean for me at first but now I really appreciate the musicianship shown throughout the album whether they be his sad strumming guitar chords, the jilting piano on the opening track or the heartfelt harmonica playing that I can feel in my bones. What came through from the beginning is all the raw emotion that Matt conveys while singing and in his personal lyrics. I hope you take the time and listen to this EP and let the words soak into your grey matter because these 5 songs have a truth and vulnerability to them that's truly special. I was thinking of going way more in depth on a track by track basis but I would rather just leave you with the opening track "Bury Me In The Salton Sea" and hope it hooks you because this sad ode to the sweet release of death sets the mood of the album with hauntingly depressed lyrics over guitar and piano that sounds like music made from a drunk living in the old west playing this song at his local saloon...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

DIY music scene...

So we are in some kind of newfangled era of music and one thing that is becoming more clear is this is a do it yourself era. But just because these artists are doing it on their own doesn't mean they don't need a little help. Putting out an album is an expensive endeavor and they are a couple of local LA bands that I am a fan of that are using indiegogo.com a really cool website that helps people raise money through crowd funding to get their music made.

The first band I want to direct your attention to is Torches (formally known as Torches in Trees) who are pictured above. They got 46 days left to reach their goal and you can help out for as little as 10 bucks so go on to their indiegogo page and give a helping hand to get their debut album 'Heads Full of Rust' made.

The other band I want to point out is one I have been meaing to write about for sometime, the absolutely wonderful Radermacher. Well I have mentioned Malcolm and Kim's side-project College Kids fondly but that is besides the point. To get back on track I will say they are putting out the third part of their Baby Hawk trilogy and are going to press it to vinyl. This will be the first time Rademacher has put anything out on vinyl so they can be in all the cool kids record collection finally. The first two parts of the Baby Hawk trilogy are fantastic and I will put out a post for each of the first two parts leading up to the release of their Baby Hawk part III. I love concept records and can't wait to see how this ends and to expound on what I think of the project as individual releases and as a whole. So head on over to their indiegogo page and give what you can. They have a ton of different donation packages to choose from, I plan on grabbing the 25 dollar one so I can get the new EP on vinyl plus digital downloads of the whole Baby Hawk trilogy. They also made a fun video to promote this project so check it out here or on their indiegogo page. And always remember to support local music and talented people in general...