Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Crushing Low

I was contacted by The Crushing Low to review their recently released debut EP, All Orbits are Free. This is a description of their style of music taken from the band's bio:

"Combining decades of influences from both sides of the Atlantic, The Crushing Low has created their own unique brand of sonic bombast. Holding the band's DNA under the microscope reveals strands of Interpol, My Bloody Valentine, The Cure, Catherine Wheel, Swervedriver, U2, Drive, Doves, Sonic Youth, and Radiohead chaining together with a variety of more far flung influences to form a sound that is at once familiar and distinctly their own."

There are many great influences listed in the above blurb and I can hear some of them in their songs. The vocals do remind me of a bit of My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth, which honestly, I'm not a huge fan of; however, I think fans of those bands will appreciate this band because they stay true to that singing style. In that case, the music stands out more than the vocals, which can be pretty catchy. I do like that not all the songs sound exactly the same. Some of the standout tracks are Skies Divided and Dead Man's Hands.

More about the band:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Near Death Photography Club @ Tribal Cafe

Photo from ReverbNation

Tribal Cafe is an artsy little cafe that serves healthy organic food. It's small and gets especially stuffy when it's filled with people. I like that they have a place for live performances, but I feel like such a small venue is better suited for acoustic sets. Although, it is cool that they support the local music scene.

Near Death Photography Club is made up of some members of Crimespree in Candyland and other bands. I was all the way in the back and didn't really get a good view of the band. It was so stuffy in there, I almost couldn't pay attention to the music. I did like their black and white dressy attire. I always love seeing guys in ties and things. They wore some face makeup to appear as if they were puppets. I'm not sure if they just did that for Halloween or if that will be the case for all future shows. The music was more indie rock compared to Crimespree in Candyland. I liked the music. It was catchy. Although, sometimes Xander's singing was a bit distracting. Not that he's a bad singer, it's just the style of singing he does, which fits better with his more punk rock band Siberian Summercamp. I felt that the music NDPC was playing would have sounded better if the singing was slower and lower, similar to Echo and the Bunnymen or The Cure.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Sounds, Shiny Toy Guns @ Wiltern

Shiny Toy Guns
We arrived at The Wiltern just in time to catch them playing Ricochet!, which sounded great live. I also enjoyed Rainy Monday and Don't Cry Out. Honestly, I haven't really heard too many of their songs, but I like their style. The male vocals, Chad Petree, sounded great, just like on their albums. The only downside to their performance was Sisely Treasure. She didn't seem to understand voice control. Don't get me wrong, she was great on stage, dancing around all over the place. However, all that frenetic movement seemed to make her sound very out of breath on the mic and she just sounded like she was yelling all the time instead of actually singing. Turns out she's actually the third in the line of changing female vocalists. She's been with the band since last year. Maybe she still hasn't had enough practice coordinating her singing and dancing on stage?

The Sounds
were great live, especially compared to the only other time I've seen them, at The Palladium, which was kind of a craphole. I really hate that venue, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt because it just reopened after being shut down for renovation. The place did look nicer, but they seemed to have upgraded everything BUT the awful sound system. I even passed up a $10 Franz Ferdinand show (even thought I've been wanting to see them since forever) because it was at The Palladium. Also, I got stuck all the way in the back and couldn't really see anything. I know their performance was probably great and I enjoyed it because I like the music and the people I was with, but certain circumstances didn't make it their best show.

I know people might think I'm mean for the comment I made about Treasure's singing above, but honestly, Maja Iversson was dancing, doing high kicks, climbing on things and her voice still sounded fantastic live.

I loved everything they played off their first two albums. I honestly hadn't heard anything off their latest album, Crossing the Rubicon, except for what they previewed at The Palladium show. I have to say that I did like some of their new stuff, a lot. Note to self: get new album, put it on repeat.

I knew Maja was very sexual in The Sounds' music videos, but I didn't know that was part of her stage show, since I couldn't really see them at The Palladium. I was a bit shocked, but I think she pulled it off well. She has the right look for it. She was wearing this leather body suit that looked like it was painted on her and very high heels. I'm surprised she was able to do all that dancing and climbing without tipping over!

High Note: Great view of stage and great friends to enjoy the show with.
Also, seeing this ridiculously drunk / high (?) girl with her boyfriend who was merely there to prop her up. Extremely glad she was propped up across the aisle from us because she looked like she was going to throw up any minute. She was so hilarious, some of us watched her more than we watched The Sounds.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Moon Soundtrack Out

New Moon Soundtrack: Track List
1. Death Cab for Cutie—“Meet Me On the Equinox”
2. Band of Skulls—“Friends”

3. Thom Yorke—“Hearing Damage”
4. Lykke Li—“Possibility”
5. The Killers—“A White Demon Love Song”

6. Anya Marina—“Satellite Heart”
7. Muse—“I Belong To You (New Moon Remix)”
8. Bon Iver & St. Vincent—“Roslyn”

9. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club—“Done All Wrong”

10. Hurricane Bells—“Monsters”
11. Sea Wolf—“The Violet Hour”

12. OK Go—“Shooting the Moon”

13. Grizzly Bear (with Victoria Legrand)—“Slow Life”

14. Editors—“No Sound But the Wind”
15. Alexandre Desplat—“New Moon (The Meadow)”

Looks surprisingly decent. I know, I'm lame, but I just watched Twilight the other night out of boredom and it was kind of bad, but some of it was funny because of sheer ridiculousness. Embarrassingly enough, I'm a bit eager to see New Moon because that wolf boy is pretty hot (He's like a young Mario Lopez) and Edward is going to try to commit suicide.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thom Yorke @ The Orpheum

I don't know why there are "?????" when every Radiohead fan, or fan of good music, already knew who was playing there. I have to admit that being in the know was sort of cool.

Since my friend, W (aka Cymbalista of Crime Spree in Candyland fame), is a MUCH bigger Thom Yorke / Radiohead fan, and sat MUCH closer to the stage than I did (she was in second row orchestra, practically in front of Yorke's piano), I decided that she'd be the better person to write this review. So, here are her thoughts:

Being a huge Radiohead fan I was ecstatic when I heard Thom Yorke was going to have a couple of solo shows in Los Angeles. The only other time I've heard him perform solo was when he played "Cymbal Rush" as part of Radiohead's encore at Hollywood Bowl last year. Although it was amazing, I didn't want to have too many expectation for the Orpheum gig, especially after I learned that Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers (a band that I don't particularly like) was going to be part of his "supergroup". Turned out that I was worried for nothing. It was Thom Yorke, after all, and he wasn't about to put on any mediocre shows.

Aside from Thom Yorke on vocals / guitar and Flea on bass, the band consisted of Nigel Godrich on synth, Joey Waronker on drums, and Mauro Refosco on percussion. Unfortunately, Ticketmaster only allowed two tickets for purchase at a time, so I was only able to get two B-row seats, and one separate Mezzinine seat, which HeyHeyScenester kindly took (thanks again for being such a good sport!). We were surprised to find out how close B-row was...it was literally right in front of the stage! Due to our slightly delayed dinner at The Must, we missed the opening act, Lucky Dragons; but that only meant we got to see Thom Yorke & co. that much sooner.

The performance, in a nutshell, was mind blowing. They played mostly songs from Thom Yorke's solo album, The Eraser. It was exciting to see how an album that relied so much on electronic beats would translate to a live, more rockish setting. The rhythm section was especially amazing. Joey Waronker was flawless on the drums; he made it seem almost too easy to bang out beats that were originally programmed on a COMPUTER. Flea did not become a distraction the way many people were afraid he would. In fact, his manic headbanging worked well alongside Thom Yorke's spastic dance moves. Yorke, alternating between guitar and piano, was perhaps even more alive here, with his constant dancing and jumping around, than when he played at the Bowl last year. He really did look like he was having a lot of fun. The fact that we were so close to the stage made it even better. We could even see the waistband of his underwear (ahem, black, Calvin Klein, in case you're wondering...).

My favorites of the night are "The Clock", "Black Swan", and a new song called "Judge, Jury, & Executioner". The setlist is below:

01 "The Eraser"
02 "Analyze"
03 "The Clock
04 "Black Swan"
05 "Skip Divided"
06 "Atoms For Peace"
07 "And It Rained All Night"
08 "Harrowdown Hill"
09 "Cymbal Rush"
(Thom solo)
10 "Lotus Flower" [New alternate title: "Moon Upon A Stick"]
11 "Open The Floodgates"
12 "Supercollider"
13 "Paperbag Writer"
14 "Judge, Jury, & Executioner"
15 "The Hollow Earth"
16 "Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses"

Last random note: it was surreal to see Flea play the melodica (a musical instrument I played often when I was little) during "Skip Divided". Who knew melodicas would become trendy? (I did, of course!)

In case you want more:
Awesome photos from Stereogum
Another review from Caroline on Crack
Setlist from Echoplex show

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Elixir of Love @ Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

It was my first opera and my first time in Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. I had been invited by HC to attend the night before the opera. Sitting in row 19 orchestra gave me a pretty good first experience. HC said that was the first time he didn't have to climb stairs for an opera performance. I read up a bit on The Elixir of Love just in case it was in another language, which it was (Italian). I was relieved to find out that there were supertitles above the stage, so that I'd be able to understand the story. I hate to admit that I did get a bit sleepy during the first half of the opera, but that could have been due to the fact that I work extra early on Fridays or that the head of the woman sitting in front of me blocked part of the stage. I really wish theaters had stadium seating because my seat was even worse when I went to see Phantom of the Opera. Anyways, the opera was more humorous than I thought it would be and the singing was amazing. I was shocked that the human voice could reach such a variety of ranges. It was mesmerizing. The second half of the opera was much more exciting and I loved the ending. I guess I got lucky that my first opera was more simplistic, I'm told. So, it was more entertaining than I thought it would be. I think I would definitely like to attend another opera.

Another review by LA Times.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Get Up Kids @ Avalon

Sadly, no one I knew seemed to know who The Get Up Kids were (I also used to be a huge fan of one of their side projects, Reggie and the Full Effect), so I ended up attending solo for the first time. It was interesting. It's true what my friend says about how certain people in the audience can really ruin a show for you. I purposely stood farther back, at the edge of the steps, to get a good view and because people would be less likely to mosh. Unfortunately, no one told the rowdy, drunken bunch next to me, who, by the end of the show, had forced me a foot from where I was originally standing. I've never seen people get that drunk at a show. Full drinks kept showing up in front of them until the show was over. They were constantly screaming like they were at a Mexican soccer game with their hands constantly jabbing the air much too far into my visual range. Don't get me wrong, I understand they were just expressing their love for the music, but it seemed really unnecessary for them to get their sweaty arms near me and constantly bump into me. And really? Screaming inappropriately during an acoustic performance? That kind of took me out of the emo moment. Other than that, I enjoyed the nostalgia of the music I used to listen and relate to. I loved everything off of Something to Write Home About. I barely started listening to some of the newer stuff the week of the show and I have to say to the haters of the more recent albums that it wasn't half bad. There was a lot of catchy music on On a Wire.

High Note: Hearing Beer for Breakfast live
Low Note: Obnoxious wannabe futbol fans

Wei Never Sleeps

More reviews
Campus Circle

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Dead Weather, Tyvek @ Wiltern

I enjoyed the humorous explanations behind each punk-by-hipsters song more than the music itself. My friend thought the guitar was interesting, but the voice wasn't all that great (at some points it was high and scratchy).

The Dead Weather
I've always been an admirer of Jack White, so I was intrigued by his latest side project with The Dead Weather. Honestly, I spent about a week or two listening to the debut album Horehound. It sounded really experimental (my fav song was So Far from Your Weapon, which reminded me of White's duet with Alicia Keys, Another Way to Die, but better. Although Another Way to Die probably would have been better with Alison Mosshart). Alison Mosshart has a good voice, but I found it to be so similar to Jack White's that sometimes they became indistinguishable from one another. I did enjoy the hard rocking, bluesy tunes, but was starting to get worried about how it would sound live because I wasn't enjoying the album as much as I thought I would. Up until the show, Band of Skulls was what I wished The Dead Weather sounded like. Once I heard The Dead Weather live, I was blown away. They sound SO much better live than on CD. I loved the grittiness of the sound. Everything sounded more blues rock than the clean studio sound of their album. Mosshart's voice sounded fantastic live with her seductive growling and definitely distinct from White's, who actually sounded much more gravelly live, but I still enjoyed his singing. Just seeing White play guitar during Will There Be Enough Water was worth the admission alone.

I was blown away by his deft playing. I went to the concert a Jack White fan and left an Alison Mosshart fan.

High Note: The Dead Weather sounded great live
Low Note: I'm not sure if it was because we were sitting in the balcony, but the stage lights were blinding and seizure inducing. It made it extremely difficult to watch the show because I was getting blinded every few minutes. Sometimes I even had to look away because I was starting to get a headache. I was SO glad that there wasn't flashing lights during Jack White's guitar playing.

Other Dead Weather reviews:
Rock is a Girl's Best Friend
LA Weekly

Dead Weather flickr pics

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

(500) Days of Summer

I have to say this is my favorite movie of this year. What can I say? I’m a sucker for movies about weird people finding love, albeit short-lived. First, I absolutely adored the wardrobe of the two main characters: Tom (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel). Tom’s style was Old Man Chic.

His wardrobe was the stuff of every indie girl's dreams of what they would love their boyfriends to wear. I loved every outfit. In fact, I would love to know where he shopped because I'd like to go there myself to make a future investment... Deschanel must have either chosen her own wardrobe or had her own stylist do it because it was spot-on for her look. I loved the accents (butterflies, ribbons, pins), all the ruffles, and the secretary outfits. Only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of were the high-waisted pants, but maybe because I can’t really pull them off (darn my short torso!).

It was nice to see LA being used as a beautiful landscape instead of the typical representations of grit, poverty, and crime. I feel like so often (of the movies I've seen so far) LA is seen as a dirty battleground. I'd like to visit all the places where Tom and Summer went on dates. I felt like I was a bit alone in my excitement over seeing Tom get past the first floor of the Bradbury Building (as seen in Blade Runner

and Pushing Daisies).

I've been there and it's gorgeous. I would love to go on the other floors. Guess the only way is to get an interview there. Tom also mentioned when he's in downtown LA (Pershing Square, it looks like) he knows people look at the first floors of the buildings and think they're ugly, but there is so much beauty when you look up into the sky at their architectural elements. I've always had the same exact thoughts every time I've gotten stuck in traffic in that area. Sometimes when I walk around there I get distracted because I'm always looking up to the tops of these beautiful old buildings. I loved the individuality of the apartments Tom and Summer lived in. Tom's chalkboard, albeit messy, is so fantastic. I wish I had one, except maybe in the form of something neater like a glass over a wall? or whiteboard? Somehow those just don't seem as aesthetically pleasing. I loved how Summer's apartment looked like a little French flat. The flowery wallpaper could have easily come off as creepy, but her decor made everything look cute and perfect. Having seen a loft downtown in an older building, I believe these two apartments could actually exist there.

I thought it was so creative how the movie jumped back and forth through time, showing the audience glimpses of the good and bad and the causes. I know the movie was sad, but I also found it to be a bit optimistic. He had all these high ideals of love and it eventually infected the girl he once thought was the one and in the end, he was still the idealistic romantic that he started out as.

Loved all the music. Everything fit in with the scenes really well. And I liked recognizing a lot of the songs.

Track List

1. A Story of Boy Meets Girl – Mychael Danna and Rob Simonsen
2. Us – Regina Spektor
3. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out – The Smiths
4. Bad Kids – Black Lips
5. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want – The Smiths
6. There Goes The Fear – Doves
7. You Make My Dreams – Hall & Oates
8. Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap
9. Quelqu’un M’a Dit – Carla Bruni
10. Mushaboom – Feist
11. Hero – Regina Spektor
12. Bookends – Simon & Garfunkel
13. Vagabond – Wolfmother
14. She’s Got You High – Mumm-Ra
15. Here Comes Your Man – Meaghan Smith
16. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want – She & Him

iTunes Bonus Tracks

17. Here Comes Your Man - Joseph Gordon-Levitt
18. Sugar Town - Zooey Deschanel
19. At Last - Kevin Michael

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ken Oaks Band

Recently two people were shocked that I could write a music blog without knowing who Ken Oaks was.
  1. I'm not religious, so I had no inkling of his worship leader past. Judging by his looks, I wouldn't be surprised if he had a large female following.
  2. It turned out I actually DID know who he was (point for me and my blog). I actually saw him at a small venue a long time ago because two of my friends thought he was hot after watching him perform on 3rd St, Santa Monica. Honestly, I didn't remember him at first because he really wasn't worth remembering besides the fact that he played cello. I thought his music was alright, but the lyrics were awfully trite and predictable. He sounded like a high schooler writing love songs.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Time Traveler's Wife Credits

I know Time Traveler's Wife will probably play a sappy love song during the credits, but how awesome would it be to have Black Sabbath's Lonely is the Word instead?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Who Knew These Rockers Had Such High IQs?

OK, some of them are really obvious, but still... link

Good Music AND Good Food

Yes, I'm jealous that Lollapolooza people get to eat Graham Elliot Bowles tasty snacks! Link

Sublime to have a new singer?

I'm probably the last person to hear about this, but here are some cover songs by the new singer, Rome:

His myspace

I don't think it'll ever be the same Sublime, but if they had to find a new singer, I think Rome would do a great job.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Musical Tweets

Where the Wild Things are

Arcade Fire's Wake Up was PERFECT for the Where the Wild Things are trailer

I haven't seen a trailer that compatible with an Arcade Fire song since they placed My Body is a Cage in Benjamin Button.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Telekinesis @ Echoplex

Had another foodventure that night. I'm wondering if I should have an actual format for these food posts since they may become a common occurrence as long as music is involved. :P I noticed I didn't really have any sort of organization for my Anvil post because I had written it in a flurry of excitement.

Tigeorge's Chicken, Los Angeles
It was a bit difficult to find because it wasn't that noticeable. The exterior was stark. I almost thought it was a liquor store. I didn't know what to expect after passing by the barred windows on the way to the entrance. The interior looked nothing like the outside. It was bright and colorful; everyone looked like they were relaxed and having a good time. There was a couple dancing to live salsa music. We were fortunate enough to eat on a day when they typically have live music (every Saturday evening); although, it made conversation somewhat difficult. The salsa band appeared to be paid in donations and restaurant food. The atmosphere was what I imagined island life to be like. It was the perfect environment for drinking, which was what most people were doing, so we were disappointed when we found out they didn't serve alcohol. I wish I had known that it was BYOB/W. Beer or wine would have gone really well with our meal. Seeing as we were all virgins to Haitian food, we all ordered the Island Combo - A Haitian Experience: ¼ Chicken, Rice with Beans, Salad, PlataƱos Fritos, Acra with Pikliz and Ti Malis Sauce.


The chicken was so tender I didn't even need to use a knife. The only issue I found with the place was the unusually long wait after we were served appetizers of what I THINK was Acra:
Deep Fried Taro Root and Herring Fish (it came with this amazing garlicy, spicy sauce that was addictive. I wanted to put that sauce on everything!). It seemed like they were cooking each individual meal from scratch. I loved the black beans and rice and how they were a consistent mixture. I prefer that over just piling on some beans on top of white rice.

City Sip, Los Angeles
Because our dinner took longer than we anticipated, we arrived at City Sip after 7pm, but they were nice enough to allow us participate in the wine tasting anyway. They have wine tastings every Saturday from 5-7pm for $12: a flight of 3 types of wine with complimentary cheese pairings. They also have a great happy hour and other deals going on throughout the week.

We got there at about 9pm. We had a bit too much to drink at City Sip and hoped to miss the opening act. Echoplex looked much more spacious compared to the only other time I was there, which was for the first LA Craft Beer Fest. I knew the band wasn't that well-known, but I still felt bad when I only saw about 20-30 people in attendance and everyone was able to get a good view of the band on stage. The band was entertaining live. Their banter was kind of nerdy, but amusing nonetheless. They played well live. I was surprised to see that the lead singer was also the drummer. I would recommend you catch them if you can. They're music is fun to dance to.

Gold Room, Los Angeles
We left the Echoplex to hunt down Gold Room's famous free tacos and cheap beers that my sister and her bf are always raving about. Her bf mentioned how divey it was, but it wasn't as bad as I thought. Maybe he meant the crowd? The tacos were very tasty for being free. My sis and her bf claim that they're just as delicious sober.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Remembering Michael Jackson...

I got inspired by Filter Magazine's article and decided to write down my memories. One of my earliest memories of Michael Jackson was seeing his Thriller video (the extended version) on MTV (I'm too young to have seen it when it FIRST came out on MTV) and getting so sucked into the mini movie that I just sat there and couldn't pull my eyes away from the screen until it was over.

Every time I go to Disneyland, I'm reminded of my previous tradition of watching Captain EO every time I went. It was unheard of for me to leave the park without watching it. Captain EO will always be better than Honey I Shrunk the Audience (Sorry, Rick Moranis). I remember the premiere of Black or White and the controversy that surrounded the last four minutes of the video.

Even though he had more downs than ups near the end of his life, he played a huge part in influencing music and the making of music videos. He was and always will be the King of Pop.
R.I.P. Michael.

I remember the premiere of Black or White and the controversy that surrounded the last four minutes of the video.

Even though he had more downs than ups near the end of his life, he played a huge part in influencing music and the making of music videos. He was and always will be the King of Pop.

R.I.P. Michael.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Musical Tweets

I first heard the news about Michael's death through Twitter. Here are my tweets:
  • RT @jeffcannata: Poor Farrah... completely overshadowed. ~by Michael Jackson. I was thinking the exact same thing
  • http://digg.com/u17FeE #MichaelJackson - Rock With You ~song off one of my fav albums of his: Off the Wall
  • Hearing Michael Jackson tributes all over radio and tv. He made so much great music


Somehow I got mentioned on LA Times Blogs even though I don't really write about food...

Richard Marx (!) attacks RIAA after $1.92M Thomas verdict

I respect Richard Marx a little more after reading this. Link to article

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Had an unexpected foodventure last night. Well, we were expecting to try Umami Burger for the first time, but unexpectedly discovered that they served Cake Monkey desserts, and then unexpectly ended the night at the Kogi truck after unexpectedly enjoying the documentary about Anvil.

So, my friend and I both ordered the Umami Burger and shared an order of Malt Liquor Tempura onion rings. They were definitely the best onion rings I've ever had. They were perfectly cooked and surprisingly unoily.

The burger was unlike anything I've ever had before: fluffy bun, high quality meat that melted in my mouth, grilled mushrooms, and a parmesan wafer that perfectly complimented the burger. Then I got a Cake Monkey raspberry red velvet cake to go

(for eating dessert in the theater. :) So good. Excellent raspberry jam. My friend chose the PB & marshmallow cake, which she said was really good). They also serve ice cream sandwiches from Milk, which I've been meaning to try, but I couldn't resist trying a new Cake Monkey dessert since I am currently in love with them. The waiter was very friendly, but we would've enjoyed our meal a bit more if it weren't for the somewhat snarky manager (? I'm not sure who he was, but he was sitting in the backroom with us on his laptop) who kept interjecting into our conversation and making comments like "What? It's your first time here? You 2 must be the last people in LA to try our burgers," and later on bragging about the number of people who eat at his establishment. Sorry we're so late in the game and haven't had a chance to make it out there. No need to be rude and btw, your restaurant wasn't even completely full the night we were there. The back room was still empty when we left. And parking on La Brea kind of sucks before 7pm. I kept getting confused about what to do there because the restaurant was a mix of countertop burger place and fancy restaurant.

I know this entry was starting to sound like a food blog (I'm attempting to attack LA Magazine's list of 101 Cheap Eats in LA), but finally I'm getting to the meat (har har) of this post. The whole purpose of this night was to watch Anvil! The Story of Anvil at a fairly small theater, Regency Fairfax. We started out in the wrong theater. Not my fault, I thought my friend new where she was going! We thought it was really odd that there were so many old folks watching a documentary about a heavy metal band. We sat through all the previews and as soon as we realized they were actually there to watch a documentary based on 12 hours of footage about A Chorus Line (BORING!), we ran to the correct theater that actually had more people our age and apparently more previews geared towards Anvil's audience (a more racy trailer of Easy Virtue and commercial features such as the Transformers sequel and Pelham 123). Anvil was funny, endearing, and optimistic. Full synopsis here. The movie introduced the band by showing one of their wild performances during the 80s and continued with their 30 year struggle to try to make it. I was really impressed by Lips, the lead singer, and his unwavering optimism. He and Rob ( the 2 original members) were in their 50s and Lips still kept encouraging the band to go on tours, play shows, and make albums (at the time of the film, they made their 13th album). Lips was so quirky and such a fanboy when he ran into other metal bands and it was interesting to hear all these other big bands talk about how amazing and inspiring Anvil was. They also interviewed someone who used to manage Anvil and 2 other famous metal bands (Poison? White Snake?). I can't understand how that manager could make the 2 other bands famous and not Anvil. It just seemed so strange that they never made it big. I feel like they just needed to be managed in America. Once they succeeded here, they could succeed anywhere. That always seems to be the case with a lot of musicians. They always become infinitely more successful once they gain popularity in America. I feel like the world doesn't know who you are unless America knows who you are. It's not like other popular American metal bands didn't know who Anvil were. I feel like if they really admired and liked Anvil, they should have referred management to them. During Anvil's ineptly managed European tour, it was so heartbreaking to see them perform at venues where there would be less than 5 people. I almost cried when Lips' older sister gave him the over $10,000 he needed to go to England and have CT professionally produce their 13th album. It was so sweet that she just wanted to help her little brother pursue his lifelong dream. I loved the ending when they finally got to play in front of a huge stadium after worrying about whether anyone would even show up. That looked like the biggest crowd they had ever played in front of during the entire documentary. The movie made me really want to see Anvil succeed. I hope they get a portion of whatever the film and book earns. And if they ever play in LA I will definitely go see the them. Currently they're touring Europe. When they get to the US next month, they'll be playing at Rocklahoma and opening for AC/DC in Massachusetts.

I knew the Kogi truck was going to be on the way back home, so we drove by to see how many people were in line. Fortunately, it was 10 before 10pm, so they weren't open yet and the line was fairly short. I introduced my friend to Korean tacos and she loved them. I was looking forward to the pork belly special, but they ran out and replaced my disappointment with cinnamon cookies and Kogi sliders, which had the taco stuffings in between bread instead of in between a tortilla. I think the sliders would've been better had there been spam in between the buns. The short rib was still very tasty though.

Last.fm founders quit music streaming site

Don't know what this means for Last.fm users... link to article

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Siberian Summer Camp, Courtney Greene, 19AD, Magnuson @ Foundation Room in HOB, Hollywood

I didn't even know this lounge existed. This was the first time I had been there. They seemed like they were trying for a tacky mix of Asian and Rococo for the interior, but who knows. I've always thought everything in House of Blues was a bit tacky, but on purpose, I hope. On the up side there were couches to sit on.

Courtney Greene was up first. She had a scratchy punkish voice, but sang mostly pop songs.

19AD sounded a bit 80s, a bit Alkaline Trio, a bit Joy Division (my friend says).

Siberian Summer Camp The lead singer also plays drums and does vocals for Crime Spree in Candyland (what's with all these long band names? They're not easy to remember). When I saw Crime Spree in Candyland I mentioned that I didn't really get his singing style, but after hearing the stylings of SSC I finally get it. They're more punk rock (or what my friend describes as loud), so his voice fit perfectly with that type of music. The guitars were great and the sound, by the way, was impressive in that lounge. Everything was very crisp. For one song, they brought out this little piece of equipment that looked like a small robot that distorted the guitar as it approached the robot. I have no idea what it was, but it made an awesome distorted sound.

Magnuson My friend thought they sounded quite good, much like Perfect Circle. For me, it wasn't bad, I'm just getting a bit tired of that period's rock music. I feel like it's a bit outdated and not very innovative.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Squirrel Nut Zippers, Fishtank Ensemble @ El Rey

Fishtank Ensemble
is definitely a strange name for a band, but I guess you should never judge a band by their name. At first I thought they were just influenced by Serbian music, but they were all actually from Serbia. Each member was very skilled in the art of their instrument. The singer had an almost operatic voice. The upright bass player was amazingly fast on his instrument (as was the accordian player) and would twirl it around in the air, which must be extremely difficult. I loved their mix of Serbian folk, gypsy swing music. I wasn't expecting much from Fishtank Ensemble because I had been disappointed so much by opening acts lately, but I was pleasantly surprised. This was one of the rare times when the opening act was just as good as the headliner.

Squirrel Nut Zippers
I was waiting outside for my friend who was about half an hour late. I got to see a ton of people dressed for the swing music. More Betty Page's than I could count, lots of 30s dresses, super high heels. I've never seen so many girls in heels at a show before. Then I saw a guy with crazy feathers in his hat chatting up this bum who was asking people for tickets. A girl asked if she could take a picture of him because she liked his hat. Little did she know she had just gotten an up close shot of one of the lead vocals of Squirrel Nut Zippers, Jimbo Mathis.

Here's another review that described the happenings of SNZ's performance.

Low Note: I wish I had dressed up for the show, but it was on a work day and I didn't have time to go home and change. :(

High Note
: people were really nice at this event (it was a slightly older crowd. Not many high schoolers there) and someone let me stand in front of them so I had a great view of the stage. Also, getting to see the video performance of Ghost of Stephen Foster cartoon (made by people who worked on The Simpsons).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Travis, The Republic Tigers@ The Wiltern

This was a night of unexpected events:
1. Taking the bus
2. Having Kogi Korean tacos
3. Travis having insane guitar solos
4. Bus being packed at midnight

I was originally planning on taking the Metro to The Wiltern to save some money on parking (public parking prices can be outrageous!). However, my friend decided she was in the mood for Korean tacos that night. Fortunately, the Kogi taco truck (http://kogibbq.com/) happened to be parked on Wilshire and Cloverdale that night, so we both ended up taking the bus there. I haven't taken a bus in forever, so it was kind of new to me and she had never taken the bus in LA, so it was completely new to her. The bus got us there within 15 minutes. Kogi hadn't even opened yet and there was already a line. I think over half the people in line were twittering and calling their friends to meet up with them at the truck. Kogi's following is pretty impressive. By the time we got our food (short rib, chicken, spicy pork taco; kimchi quesadilla; Kogi dog. All amazingly good btw) the line was already a block long. We took our food to a Coffee Bean across the street from The Wiltern, bought some tea, and began eating there. Halfway through, we got kicked out because "the establishment is kosher." Coffee Bean is Jewish?? We finished up and went into The Wiltern to get beers and a seat. The beer would've gone perfectly with the tacos. Wish we had them with our food instead of the crappy daily tea at Coffee Bean. I guess there's a reason why those teas are the cheapest drinks on the menu.

The Republic Tigers
were so bland and boring that I started thinking about things I had to do the next day. They were all over the place with their genre of music. It was like they couldn't decide what genre they wanted to be in, so they just decided to try everything unoriginal. On their songs they sounded like they were trying to emulate Joy Division, Alkaline Trio, shoe gaze, 80s music without the catchiness. They did quite a bit of echoing and high pitched singing, which sounded so synthetic. I really disliked it. Then as a last resort, they tried to pull in the crowd by unsuccessfully covering Blondie's Heart of Glass. The lead singer tried to imitate Blondie with a really bad high pitched voice. It was horrendous. I have no idea why he insisted on using it for so many songs because he was really bad at it. Also, why cover a song and make it sound almost exactly the same, but slower and worse?? Why not choose a cover band that shows off the lead singers deep voice? I feel like Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, or The Cure would've been a better choice. It's not that the singer had a bad voice, I just think he didn't utilize it very well. Maybe he wanted to show that he had more of a range: from baritone to squeaky high. Sometimes the music sounded catchy and then got ruined by singing that wasn't going with the same beat or more high echoing voices during the chorus. At one point, I could tell my friend was starting to nod off.

I was expecting them to be pretty mellow because of what their music typically sounds like. That's why we decided to sit this show out. I didn't even realize they used so much electric guitar! They had a fantastic set list that contained all the best songs from their new album (J Smith, Chinese Blues) and all the oldies but goodies (Driftwood, Side, Sing, Why Does it Always Rain on Me). I liked that it wasn't just a list of fan favs, but their favs as well and it was in an order that was related or transitioned extremely well. Also, LOVED the songs where they mixed two songs in one.

Side + Eyes Wide

I couldn't believe they actually played certain songs live. Humpty Dumpty Love Song, for instance, I had always thought might be too sappy to play live, but it was fantastically sweet. Also, the angry part of Slideshow was amazing to hear live!

And that guitarist...wow, I can't believe how well they hide him on their albums. He's like their secret weapon! It's as if they just let him loose during live shows. He was insanely good. I never imagined a band like Travis having a guitarist who played solos as if he were in a metal band. He was so rock and roll and just in his own world, which got a bit distracting at times, but he was so good I didn't mind. During their anthem, All I Want to Do is Rock, he climbed on top of a huge amp and started playing a solo with one hand, then behind his head, then jumped off the amp, and kept playing a riff with just one hand. On another song, he even played the guitar against a mic stand!

You would think a song as slow as Falling Down would be difficult to liven up, but Travis was able to do it by weaving through the crowd, serenading fans, and even slowdancing with them! At that moment, I really wished I hadn't decided to sit up in the balcony. I just had no idea a Travis show could be so exciting.

High Note: Travis puts on an electrifying show.
Low Note: Travis didn't play Flowers in the Window. I was really looking forward to hearing that live.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Crime Spree in Candyland @ Crane's Tavern

Made up of some of the former members from the now defunct Bombaster, Crime Spree in Candyland sounds like a darker, moodier, more experimental version of its former Pixies-like self. I think I actually like the new sound more. Bombaster was fun to listen to, but it did sound heavily influenced by The Pixies. CSC sounds much more original and even when they covered two of their Bombaster songs, it sounded like completely new songs. Carlyn's singing has gotten much stronger, probably because she is now more of a lead singer. The sound is cleaner and more professional. The only thing I wasn't a fan of was Xander's singing. It wasn't bad, I just think it fits a certain type of music, but I'm not sure if it's this type.

Crime Spree in Candyland myspace

Friday, March 20, 2009

Adele @ HOB, San Diego

Not as many people as I thought there would be. Bar seems to be in a very inconvenient place in there and I can't understand why they won't allow people to leave the bar / lounge room with drinks. They wouldn't even let me leave with a cup of ice. It was ridiculous. Sucked that I got stuck in the back because I'm so short. I saw the show pretty much in between these 2 tall people's shoulders. Sometimes I wish they would just set up an area near the front for short people and let all the taller people stand behind them. Not like we would be blocking anyone. :| Adele was fantastic live; she sounded as good as her CD. I was very impressed. And she was very cute on stage. Most likely she was still giddy from her Grammy wins. She was speaking so fast that I could hardly understand her.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Shabu Shabu Ya, Los Angeles

I was a bit scared of going here to having Shabu Shabu because it was a non-Asian area. Fortunately, the food was decently priced and didn't taste bad, but I felt like there should've been more of the non-beef stuff, but alas, that only occurs in Chinese hot pot. Service was as bad as I had read about on Yelp http://www.yelp.com/biz/shabu-shabu-ya-los-angeles. It took forever for the food to come out and the waitress didn't bring over water for the late arrivers. She also never brought out the edamame we ordered, but left it on the bill. The male Asian server was very nice though and even brought out an extra hot pot for a friend who was sharing with my sis. I did appreciate the indie soundtrack to our dining. So, if you're in that area and craving shabu shabu, no wait (which is a bit dismaying for a restaurant), and some good music, Shabu Shabu Ya would be the place to go to.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Tapes 'n Tapes, Wild Light @ El Rey

1st Band
We showed up late and this band barely came on stage. Unfortunately, we didn't arrive late enough because what we thought was the second opener was ONLY the first. They were just 2 kids: one on drums and the other on guitar. Kind of White Stripes-ish, but they sucked. I had to admire them for trying to bring punk back, but they were completely unoriginal and the lyrics were lacking. The only thing entertaining about their performance was them trying to quiet down the drunk girl at the front of the stage who was dancing erratically and yelling at them to take their shirts off.

Wild Light
was infinitely better, but maybe because the first band was so bad? No, these guys seemed really talented. There were actually 3 singers, who were all equally talented (although, I preferred the lanky guy's singing the most. Just seemed more unusual and indie), AND they could play several instruments. They switched off for each song. Some of the songs were catchy. I mostly liked the songs that the lanky guy sang.

Tapes 'n Tapes
It was kind of weird being there without knowing the music really really well. Admittedly I hadn't listened to their music enough to memorize the lyrics, only enough to recognize the songs. They were much better live than on CD. On CD, they had some catchy songs, but some of them sounded really similar after awhile. My fav song off their album Walk it Off is Hang Them All. That's pretty much the fastest song on their album. It was fantastic live and so were their other songs. They really know how to get an audience going and great guitar solos and songs just sounded a lot more bluesy and much faster live. On CD, they sound a bit mellow and sleepy. Great live though.