If you’re a fan of spastic, glitzy, glitchy psychedelic indie pop music, Mountain Dew, and taxidermic animals on display in museums (and who isn’t into all three??), then your one-stop shop for good times is the latest installment of the First Fridays concert series at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. The museum has been hosting multimedia events that consist of concerts, lectures, and drinks on the first Friday of every month all year. Some of the past performers include Atlas Sound, tUnE-yArDs, and The Tallest Man on Earth.
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The Middle East are currently opening for Mumford & Sons across the country, but tonight (June 5) they headline a show at the wonderful Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa, California. FYM will not recommend too many trips to Orange County, but when we do, Detroit Bar will usually be the destination. It’s oddly located in the corner of a strip mall between a Mexican grocery store and a donut shop, but once you enter, you’ll think you’re right in the middle of Silver Lake or San Francisco. Its top notch slick atmosphere supports the excellent quality of bands that are often booked at the venue.
Before going on tour with Mumford & Sons, headliners The Middle East opened several shows for Pavement. They perform hushed yet exquisitely vibrant folk rock that sounds so very American, you’ll be convinced the members of the band never left their hometown somewhere in small town Kentucky or Ohio or Tennessee before touring, and then you’ll be shocked to find out they are actually from Queensland, Australia. For fans of Bon Iver and Arcade Fire.
Call them Australian Americana, if you will.
Here’s the video for “Blood”, one of the highlights of their album, The Recordings of the Middle East:
Tickets are $8 advance or $10 at the door.
HEALTH spent the better part of the past year or two opening for Nine Inch Nails, collaborating with Crystal Castles, and touring with Dan Deacon, among many other things. Their second album of remixes, DISCO2, hits stores June 22. If Best Coast captures the sound of fun Los Angeles days, then HEALTH definitely is the soundtrack of the dark alleyways you don’t want to get stuck in if you’ve wandered too far from Echo Park.
Check out their NSFW video for one of their more melodic and seemingly hip hop backing track-inspired song “USA Boys”:
Best Coast, lead by frontwoman Bethany Cosentino, has their debut full length album, Crazy For You, dropping on July 27. Best Coast is today’s premiere lo-fi indie band, highlighted by Cosentino’s majestically fuzzed-out vocals and 60’s girl group throwback melodies, all sounding like Phil Spector managed to secretly record her from jail. The songs perfectly capture the mood of hot and lazy Los Angeles weekend afternoon trips from downtown to the beach.
Here’s the video of Best Coast’s “When I’m With You”, which is also a loving tribute to not only Los Angeles, but also one of Los Angeles’ finest eating institutions:
The amazing cover art for Crazy For You:
Indian Jewelry and Gold Panda round out the solid lineup.
Tickets are $14.
On Saturday June 19th, the Make Music Pasadena festival returns to the streets of beautiful Pasadena, California. Pasadena is definitely one of the best parts of Los Angeles, and even though it is technically a little bit out of the beaten path of the more popular areas of LA, the city still manages to put on quite a rad music festival every June.
2008’s festival was highlighted with performances by The Raveonettes and LA greats Autolux. Last year featured appearances by Mirah, The Whispertown 2000, and Pasadena’s own singer-songwriter Daniel Brummel (most notably of Ozma).
This year Make Music Pasadena is headlined by three very contrasting, yet very much acclaimed, bands in Matt & Kim, The Antlers, and Warpaint.
Matt & Kim make erratic and catchy indie pop and like to strut about in the nude in Times Square in their music videos (video probably NSFW, even though it’s blurred):
The Antlers, on the other hand, released one of the finest albums of 2009 with Hopstice, which is a concept album about the singer’s experience working in a New York hospital and falling in love with a schizophrenic and terminally ill young female patient. A number of gorgeous epic songs reflect the very morose plot of the album. Here’s the video for the excellent “Two”:
LA locals Warpaint also hit the festival with their breezing, ethereal art pop music. Check the video for Warpaint’s “Elephants”:
The festival is FREE and is located throughout central Pasadena on June 19. Click here for more info.
Once upon a time there were two great California bands, one from the north (Modesto) called Grandaddy, and one from the south (Los Angeles) called Earlimart. Earlimart has released a slew of solid albums, a personal favorite being Everyone Down Here, which includes the excellent track “Dreaming Of” (click HERE for a video on a crazy Chinese website). Grandaddy was one of the absolute best (and criminally overlooked) indie rock bands of the past two decades. It has been said before, but it’s still very true: their 2000 album The Sophtware Slump was essentially a West Coast USA Kid A (check at the bottom for the video for “The Crystal Lake”).
Eventually, Grandaddy went the way of the buffalo (almost quite literally, as singer Jayson Lytle relocated to Montana and released a hidden gem of a solo album last year called Yours Truly, the Commuter). Earlimart is still active, though they’ve been relatively silent for about two years. Now, a few members of each band have united to form Admiral Radley, a band which expertly captures the musical essence of both Grandaddy and Earlimart. Their debut album I Heart California is now available on iTunes for $7.99, unless you have some spare change and want to get the limited edition $100 deluxe package. The album is released everywhere else on July 13.
Continuing the increasing (and very welcome) trend of bands playing museums, Admiral Radley (and opener The Happy Hollows) plays The Hammer Museum on the west side of Los Angeles tonight. The show is FREE and the museum itself is nothing short of cutting-edge. Admiral Radley has two free Los Angeles-area shows over the next week. Tonight at The Hammer Museum, and Tuesday at 7:00pm at Amoeba Records in Hollywood.
The band continues its “I Heart California… and the West Coast” Tour with stops in cities like: Visalia, Merced, San Louis Obispo, Seattle, San Francisco (Bottom of the Hill on 7/23), and tiny little Escalon, California (playing a barn show there on 7/24).
Click right HERE for more details on tonight’s show.
Check out the Karaoke-style music video for the excellent single “I Heart California”:
The video for Grandaddy’s “The Crystal Lake” off of their classic, The Sophtware Slump:
Spacehog continued to fuel their resurgence with a show at Sunset Strip locale The Key Club on Tuesday night. The band looked and sounded refreshed and energetic (with confidence firmly captured behind the rock star sunglasses that seemed permanently attached to singer Royston Langdon’s face) as they tore through a set that included songs new and old, hard-rocking and spaced-out.
Check out a video of their smash 1996 single “In the Meantime” at last night’s show, shot front-and-center by FYM:
Even though the group are natives of England and actually formed in New York City, they are no stranger to the Hollywood lifestyle, as singer and bassist Langdon is the ex-husband and father of the child of Liv Tyler. (And you’re pretty much guaranteed to become famous with a name like Royston Langdon). They paid homage to this fact by performing a song titled “Sunset Blvd” that is a shoe-in for appearing on their forthcoming fourth studio album, and first since 2001’s The Hogyssey.
Highlights of Spacehog’s set included the Langdon solo rarity “Cool Water”, with it’s rhythm perpetually building up until its refrain of “When I dream, I dream of you” offers release, and also the band’s own eponymously titled theme song, “Spacehog”, a glam punk song from their debut Resident Alien album that wouldn’t sound too out of place on a Nuggets collection.
Spacehog will continue to work on their new album, and their next scheduled live dates aren’t until September, with a show at Altar Bar in Pittsburgh on September 23 and another at The Basement in Columbus, Ohio on September 26. Be sure to follow them on Twitter HERE and at their official site HERE.
Please click on all of the pictures in this article to see larger versions:
(All photos by Will Sellers)
(Nathan Williams of Wavves)
Last night at the Glass House in Pomona, California, FYF, who are mere weeks away from hosting their big bash in downtown Los Angeles, hosted their FYF Summer Night. It was a bit of a preview of the large FYF Fest on September 4, as a few of the bands who played at The Glass House are playing both shows (Wavves, Abe Vigoda, The Growlers).
Headliners Wavves, featuring singer-guitarist Nathan Williams and Jay Reatard’s former backing band, played a set that equally favored both new album King of the Beach and 2009’s Wavvves. The Pomona youth was no match for the Glass House’s security team, as many kids (as well as Wavves’ own backstage guests) hit the stage and dove into the crowd from early in the set during the pop punk “King of the Beach” all the way through noise punk closer “No Hope Kids”.
The Bill Murray-approved group The Growlers can be described as a Western-influenced surfpunkabilly band featuring a genuine frontman in Brooks Nielsen, who looks and sounds like the kind of guy Nelson Muntz from The Simpsons would be if he grew up to be a gloriously sleazy 70’s lounge singer. The crowed seemed most interested in The Growlers than any other band the entire evening and for reason as The Growlers are now rapidly increasing in national prominence as they have been in local LA prominence over the last few years.
Abe Vigoda is a true Los Angeles local band as they basically play about 8 shows in the southland per week. Their forthcoming album Crush should solidify them as an elite indie band as the addition of electronic percussion and icy synths to the sound of many of the new material they performed at The Glass House could open them up to a wider audience.
FYM had kind of a non-run-in with Abe Vigoda guitarist and Microkorg maestro Juan Velasquez at The Oinkster in Eagle Rock and on Twitter the other day, and then briefly met him face-to-face at The Glass House show. Nice guy!
One-time FYM Jam of the Day and Crush track “Throwing Shade” was a highlight of their set and we captured it on video:
(The Lovely Bad Things)
La Mirada’s The Lovely Bad Things seemed about as young as most of the crowd there and they definitely fed off of each other’s energy. Besides the energetic quality of their music, their constant swapping of instruments kept things interesting throughout their set and the crowd felt it too, as they seemed to want to hear more after they finished.
As previously mentioned, Wavves, The Growlers, and Abe Vigoda all will be playing FYF Fest on September near downtown LA along with a ton of other excellent bands. Don’t miss out:
We here at FYM love and appreciate very dearly the hardworking publicists and managers of bands that allow us to get ‘on the list’ of many of their client’s concerts, but sometimes it also helps to just have some personal connections of your own apart from that. Working at the Hollywood Bowl for three years right out of high school will do just that, especially if you still know several people who still are employed at the legendary venue. So, FYM was on the list for The Chemical Brothers, Chromeo, and YACHT on Sunday night, but in a slightly different manner than usual. This time it involved bringing to the venue a Thank You basket of goodies for the person who got us in.
Anyway, every Sunday throughout the summer the Hollywood Bowl hosts 89.9 KCRW’s World Festival: a series of concerts featuring music from prime artists all over the world (this year featured such acts as Jamaica’s Jimmy Cliff and Cuba’s Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club). The show is popular with people of all ages and backgrounds, which includes many middle-upper class retirees or close-to-retirees. So, every year when KCRW hosts its electronica night of the World Festival, it’s always intriguing to see how these old folks react to their immediate environment suddenly becoming a rave. The reaction is usually “get me out of this God-forsaken place” but with a lineup that also included the very friendly to the eyes and ears Chromeo and YACHT, perhaps things would be different this time.
Portland, Oregon’s best dance crew YACHT kicked off the show right at 7:00pm, when the sun was still out. YACHT always brings a ton of energy to the stage and to the crowd. The fact that YACHT brought ANY energy to the Hollywood Bowl at all is a sort of miracle, as the group had just come off back to back to back nights of performances. Doesn’t really sound all that tough for a touring band, right? Well, it sounds extremely tough when you realize those previous shows took place on consecutive nights in Copenhagen, Malmo, and Stockholm, Sweden. Defying the laws of jet lag, YACHT pounded the stage made it their own dance party for anyone who showed up early enough to see them. Frontman extraordinaire Jona Bechtolt was very thankful to be playing such an historic venue, rallied the crowed during sing-a-longs several times, and paid tribute to the end of summer before breaking into “Summer Song” from YACHT’s 2009 album See Mystery Lights. Upon completion of set-closing “Psychic City (Voodoo City)”, YACHT headed back home to Portland with promises of recording a new album for DFA Records.
By the time Chromeo hit the stage, the sun was long set and the duo’s trademark glowing lady legs keyboard stands were illuminated on the stage. From the nosebleed seats they probably looked like a pair of little lights on the stage, but the unsuspecting old folks closer to the stage got a nice hint of what was to come. This FYM writer has only seen Chromeo live before at festivals and always during the daytime, so it was nice to see them at night for once, their natural habitat.
Chromeo tore through what felt like a “greatest hits” setlist, which is really saying something seeing how their third album isn’t even out yet (September 14!). New songs “Night By Night” and “Don’t Turn the Lights On” fit in with their classic material seamlessly and everything works extremely well live. They were appropriately flanked by a few alluring female backup singers on most of their songs and their stage banter between songs won over any doubters of all ages (especially when Dave1 wished Michael Jackson a Happy Birthday). Twitter activity after the show in Los Angeles showed that many people had a new favorite band after Sunday night, which is very understandable seeing how they absolutely killed it.
The Chemical Brothers
The intense, rave-friendly electronica of The Chemical Brothers seemed, at first, to be an odd pairing after Chromeo and YACHT, especially when their set got off to an awkwardly slow start with a subdued version of their 2005 single “Galvanize”, but eventually the crowd was thrown into a frenzy when they paired up extremely lively singles like “Believe” and “Out of Control” with some breathtaking visuals on the massive screen behind the duo’s UFO-like equipment setup. Toward the end of the set, the crowd was transfixed by an animation of a never-ending army of vintage robots marching to the screen:
Of course, the visuals on the huge screen wasn’t the only eye candy of the set: no British electronica duo can go anywhere without their lasers. Throughout the set lasers danced synchronized to the music. With the crowd transfixed on the visual feast in front of them, most people probably didn’t noticed how the lasers looks behind them when they hit the trees of the Hollywood Hills directly above the Bowl:
Not too many people noticed them because not too many people were heading up the aisles heading home early; not even the old folks, many of which managed to make it to the end of what they will probably tell their grandkids was a great “rave”.
How about a little blast from the past? It wasn’t on their Hollywood Bowl setlist, but The Chemical Brothers’ single “Let Forever Be”, which took permanent residence in everyone’s heads in 1999, also had an equally classic music video directed by music video genius Michel Gondry, remember?:
Chemical Brothers - Let Forever Be
Space-age shoegaze superheroes Autolux took the stage at Pomona’s The Glass House in a homecoming (if you count Pomona being in Los Angeles because it’s in L.A. county) performance that highlighted many of the band’s best tracks from new album Transit Transit and 2004’s Future Perfect. Six years passed between the release of the band’s first two albums, and even though they did tour and perform one-off concerts fairly regularly between albums, the concert did have a refreshing return-to-form/comeback feel to it since it was the first time an L.A. crowd was able to see the band after having enough time to take in the newly released album.
Aside from some heckler annoyances here and there, the evening was pretty majestic. Highlights of the show included Greg Edwards’ Transit Transit haunted piano ballad “Spots”, the glitchy and mesmerizing “High Chair”, which sounds like a great Hail to the Thief-era Radiohead track (and contains the inexplicably intriguing lyric of “No more passing out in banks” which is some great imagery), and Future Perfect’s under two minute bulldozer “Robots in the Garden”, which has the power to snap out anybody caught in a trance by the band’s beautiful ballads.
The band certainly knows how magical all of their songs sound, especially a couple of their new ones off of Transit Transit that incorporate piano, electronics, and slow, expansive musical landscapes that all come together to create something beautiful. The band had adorned many of their amps, and stands, and other gear with glowing lights but kept them off until they played Transit Transit highlight “The Bouncing Wall”. The lights suddenly flashed on for the first time in their set right when drummer-vocalist Carla Azar started singing at the beginning of the song. It was a small but significant chills-inducing moment that many people probably would not appreciate, but it’s always good when bands playing on a small-scale stage can artfully incorporate that kind of lighting into a performance. Check out the performance of “The Bouncing Wall” here:
FYM gave Autolux’s new album Transit Transit a well-deserved glowing review back in early August (which you can read by clicking HERE). In a nutshell, Transit Transit is one of the finest releases of 2010, expertly taking the best aspects of Future Perfect while building on them and expanding their sound with the welcome addition of piano and processed electronic percussion to give an a band that already sounds futuristic an even more cutting-edge feel.
FYM wasn’t around when Autolux released their debut full-length, Future Perfect, in 2004. The album sounded (and no doubt still does to this day) simultaneously modern and ahead of its time, despite finding some old-school 90’s shoegaze (Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine) in its DNA. Its ahead-of-the-curve qualities were even more emphasized by the resurgence of the shoegaze sound (The Big Pink, M83’s Saturdays = Youth) that seemed to be led by My Bloody Valentine’s monumental reunion tour that didn’t happen for another three years after its release. The longer that Autolux took to release Transit Transit, the more it became clear that Future Perfect was a modern classic and one of the finest albums of the last decade (and beyond).
Gold Panda started the night by playing some of his signature ambient electronica, a fine companion to Autolux’s sound.
(Gold Panda on stage at the Glass House)
Gold Panda seems to play the Los Angeles area so often that for Young Moderns just assumed he was originally from the area and was part of Los Angeles’ electronica scene (Flying Lotus and Gold Panda sound like musical cousins). We were surprised to find out that he’s actually from Glasgow, Scotland (an excellent city, by the way). So, way to go Scotland. GP has a great new album out, Lucky Shiner, and his remixes seem to pop up everywhere these days, including this soothing remix of Los Angeles’ HEALTH track “Before Tigers”:
Vampire Weekend, the greatest ever Californian band who are not from California, swept through Berkeley on Saturday night during what felt like a sort of victory lap of their giant Contra tour, and they brought along The Very Best and Beach House for the ride.
When the band first came through California back in April, they didn’t seem as loose and jubilant as they did in Berkeley on Saturday night. When the Brooklynites played Oakland’s Fox Theater on April 20th, Contra was still settling into people’s minds. This time around, Contra has become a clear hit and widely regarded as one of 2010’s best releases. They encouraged more crowd participation and even treated the crowd to their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m Going Down”. More changes: gone was the giant backdrop of Contra’s infamously embattled cover art, replaced with a mysterious circular design filled “White Sky” lyrics that looks like it could have been some sort of easter egg from Lost. As both Vampire Weekend albums are filler-free, so are their concerts.
The band didn’t play one disappointing song, though slower jams like “Taxi Cab” and “I Think Ur a Contra” were sometimes hindered by the annoying conversations by equally annoying Berkeley kids sitting nearby. The setlist didn’t change much from April’s shows, but you can never heard some of the crowd pleasers enough, it seems, as songs like “A-Punk”, “Cousins”, and “Giving Up the Gun” got the pit moving and the people sitting up on the Greek’s stones swaying.
Back in 2008 when Vampire Weekend brought along YACHT to tour with them, jokes were made about how this band made up of rich kids from Columbia University were touring with a band whose name was shared with something their parents likely owned. Well, on this tour it’s the same story again but with Beach House.
The Baltimore dream pop duo, flanked by a full live band, performed cuts off their previous two albums, this year’s Teen Dream and 2008’s Devotion. Blissed-out highlights included the gorgeous Teen Dream pieces “Walk in the Park” and “Take Care”, which, along with the remainder of their set, were visually underscored by a vibrant light show. The crowd was very into Beach House, which was more than I was expecting due to the contrast between Beach House’s dreamy, hazy sound compared to Vampire Weekend’s firecracker energy.
The Very Best’s 2009 album Warm Heart of Africa is a solid multicultural musical representation of what I imagine can be a fun night out in Malawi, London, or anywhere else the group touched base in to make the album. Featuring the aforementioned clash of electronics, pop, and organic percussion, Warm heart of Africa was one of the most unique releases of last year that really felt like the start of a new movement.