Tag Archives: Brooklyn

1 night. 4 venues. 7 bands: A Tale of a Music Enthusiast

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On any given night in Los Angeles there will be a great band playing somewhere. I will go, enjoy the music, chat with friends and call it an evening. Sometimes, the gods of music seem to get angry with me and book too many amazing musical events on the same evening, thus forcing me to make somewhat agonizing decisions that, more often than I care to admit, leave me so paralyzed I don’t venture out at all. Monday night I choose to defy those gods as I successfully completed the near impossible feat: Hit up 4 venues in one evening. Here is my story.

It all started with one of my favorite hometown bands, Scarlet Grey. Even since I helped out on their music video for “The Sky & I,” seeing this band has been a bit like a family reunion. The boys of Scarlet Grey are taking off for London for a while and booked their last LA show for Monday August 22nd at The Troubadour.  In my calendar it went with indelible black ink.

Soon after, I was incredibly pleased to see that one of my favorite Nashville-based artists, Ben Rector, had booked a gig at my favorite LA venue, The Hotel Cafe. Ben doesn’t come to LA that often, so this was not something I wanted to miss. I went to ink it in the calendar and was dismayed when I saw the date already filled. Fortunately Ben played at 8pm and Scarlet Grey at 9:45 so I could catch both.. Excellent! A full and exciting evening planned with two great acts.

Things started to get a wee bit complicated when I met Bay, a musician in the band Some Hear Explosions, outside The Viper Room after The Veronicas show.  Bay handed me a CD sampler and spoke of this magical Some Hear Explosions show taking place at The Viper Room. He painted such an enticing picture, I was excited…until I asked him when said show was to occur. Monday August 22nd. Why Monday is often the most convoluted day of the week show-wise is beyond me. It’s MONDAY! Anyway, after listening to said sampler and cursing the goodness of it, I penciled in the 11:15 SHE set thinking that The Viper usually runs late anyway, so it was entirely possible to make it after The Troubadour…the venues are fairly close together.

Finally, during SSMF, a friend of mine pointed out two additional bands also playing on Monday. Chappo, a Brooklyn-based band I had heard good things about, was playing a set at The Satellite and The Constellations were going to be at The Bootleg. I really wanted to see Chappo because I juuuust missed them at SSMF, but their Satellite set fell right in the middle of my already inked in events, so I cast that thought aside. The Constellations, however, were playing at midnight. The Constellations are a band from Atlanta, Georgia. They make infrequent appearances in Los Angeles and I had been craving a live set since their CD came out last year.  I didn’t care about the excess driving, the time crunch, or the fact that I would be too tired to function the next day. I needed to be at that show! I penciled it in right after Some Hear Explosions.

Come Monday night, every little thing just seemed to be working out. Traffic was shockingly light and I arrived at The Hotel Cafe early. I immediately found street parking (something that doesn’t often happen for me) and I went into the venue to find the 7pm act, Korey Dane, still playing. I only caught 2.5 tunes, but I was impressed. Just as I was thinking, “I really need to see this guy again,” someone hands me a flier for BuskerFest, an event taking place this Saturday in Long  Beach at which Korey Dane is playing along with Everest , Jay Buchanan, and more.

Ben Rector took the stage shortly after 8pm and for the next 30min or so I was lost in his world. He played many of my favorites (“When a Heart Breaks,” “The Beat,” even “Hank”!) going back and forth from the guitar to the piano. It was only Ben’s second time playing in Los Angeles, but fans were out in full force, singing along, clapping unprovoked(!), and listening attentively to Ben’s stories.  There was Frisbee throwing, “Loving You Is Easy” got an improvised verse about grilled cheese, and throughout the whole set I could not stop smiling. My only complaint was that he didn’t play “Moving Backwards,” the song that first introduced me to Ben a couple of years ago. I still haven’t heard it performed live…and this bothers me greatly.

As soon as Ben Rector’s set was over, I left The Hotel Cafe to head to show number 2: Scarlet Grey at The Troubadour. On the way back to my car I passed by The Piano Bar. There was good tune-age coming from within, so I ducked in for a song. Turns out it was Waylon Payne, the guy who played Jerry Lee Lewis in the movie Walk the Line. It would have probably been a great night of music just hanging out at The Piano Bar (I spotted piano extraordinaire Brother Sal in the corner), but I couldn’t stay.

Heading to The Troubadour I was again amazed to find traffic to be light and free parking to be a piece of cake. I walked into the venue in time to hear my favorite Dead Country song, “Euro Thrash” and find where all my friends were hiding before the quickest set change ever occurred and suddenly Scarlet Grey were on the stage rocking out to “No Boys in the Ballroom” and “Fancy Blood.” The band played quite a few new songs that gave me the impression that they are aiming to up the rock factor, adding longer musical interludes and shifting the audience dance from jumping up and down to head banging. The set was over way too quickly but the boys came back out to do an encore which included “The Sky & I” so I was quite pleased.

I was even more pleased to realize I had some time after the set to hang out with The Grey Family for a few minutes before taking off to show number 3. The Viper was easy to get to and for the third time that evening, I made it in time to catch a few songs from the previous band (in this case, The Mulhollands).  I was excited to see the cat walk had been brought out and I spent the time in between sets saying hello to some familiar faces in the room and recollecting my last Viper/cat walk experience (Semi Precious Weapons).

Some Hear Explosions started around 11:30. Bay wasn’t kidding when he said a lot of effort was going in to that night’s performance. Lights, video, sound effects in addition to the runway upped the level of intensity for the already energetic band. Some Hear Explosions played a couple songs I knew from the sampler with such panache, it was impossible not to get into it. It was difficult to disengage 20 minutes into the set, but the call of The Constellations was strong.

I arrived at The Bootleg just as Robert Francis was ending (thankfully things were running late). I found my peeps and we recounted stories of our evening’s adventures thus far. Between the three of us, we had gone to 6 different shows before convening at The Bootleg. I was starting to fade but then the set began and before I knew it, the music had taken over and I was a dancing machine! The Constellations proved to be as good if not better than I had anticipated. I love bands that really fill the stage (there are six of them…and only 1 guitarist) and lead singer, Elijah Jones, has a unique voice that sits somewhere between groovy rock and growling spoken word and can hit the most perfect maniacal laugh with impressive ease.  New Band Love!!

The Constellations played all the songs I wanted to hear (“Felicia,” “Setback,” “Step Right Up”) and the set had put me in such a good mood, I found myself lingering at the venue for some time after the music had ended. I just wanted to retain as much of that magical energy for as long as possible. I don’t think I want to tell you want time I finally got home that evening/morning. At the end of it all, I had seen two of my favorite acts, discovered a great new artist, added a new band to my local must see list, and fallen in love.  For a music enthusiast such as myself, this was not a bad way to spend an evening. 7 Bands. 4 Venues. 1 night. Not bad…not bad at all!

 

 

~ Kristen

 

 

New Music Tuesday! 8/23/11: Gabe Dixon, The Muppets, We Are Augustines

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Here are the albums I’m going to check out this week.  If you’re looking for some new tunes, read onward!

 

Gabe DixonOne Spark   

Last week I downloaded Ten Out of Tenn’s Volume 4. One of my favorite tracks of the album is the contribution from Gabe Dixon. I immediately did some research into this Nashville based artist and discovered that he had his own CD, One Spark, coming out today! If the rest of the album is anything like “On a Day Just Like Today,” it will be well worth adding to your collection. You can listen to the entire album on Gabe’s website and buy the album there, on ITunes, or Amazon. Gabe has a couple Nashville dates (8/24 FREE at Grimeys, 9/4 at 3rd and Lindsley) before hitting the road with Ten Out of Tenn.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/one-spark/id455907522

http://www.amazon.com/One-Spark-Gabe-Dixon/dp/B004YAS9NW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1314125034&sr=8-2

This video makes me even more excited about this album…so many fantastic artist collaborations (James Walsh/Starsailor, Iain Archer, Alison Krauss, and my very favorite songwriter Dan Wilson)

 

 

Various Artists – Muppets: The Green Album

I love the Muppets. I also love OK Go, Weezer, The Fray, Alkaline Trio, My Morning Jacket, Amy Lee, Sondre Lerche, The Airborne Toxic Event, Brandon Saller, Andrew Bird, Matt Nathanson, and Rachel Yamagata…ALL the artists covering classic Muppet songs  like “Rainbow Connection,” “Bein’ Green,”  and “The Muppet Theme Song.” What is not to love about this whole concept?!? Also, any project that can bring about video collaborations between OK Go and The Muppets deserves recognition and flattery.

Buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Muppets-Green-Album-Various-Artists/dp/B002YICN7O/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1314125456&sr=1-3

or here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/id452905746

stream it here: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/14/138984517/first-listen-muppets-the-green-album

And watch this…over and over again:

 

 

We Are Augustines- Rise Ye Sunken Ships

I saw a poster for We Are Augustines last night promoting their upcoming performance at The Bootleg in Silverlake. Some kid was quite enthusiastic about stealing said poster. Since there were a couple bands I enjoy at Bootleg last night, I figured this kid could be on to something so I went home and googled We Are Augustines. Seems like this was perfect timing as they have a CD coming out today! I listened to the tracks they have streaming on the page and my ears were pleased. You can download one of my favorite tracks (thus far), “Book of James” for free on their website and judge for yourselves.  This Brooklyn-based band starts touring at the end of August and will be in LA at The Bootleg September 13th.

http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Sunken-Ships-Are-Augustines/dp/B005BDZL2I/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1314131150&sr=1-1

 

 

Happy New Music Day!!

~ Kristen

Kristen’s SXSW ’11 Mix: Part 1

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This year’s SXSW experience was a little different than in years past (ie I actually got to GO instead of my usual just listening to all of the artists). Still, I wanted to maintain the spirit of my annual SXSW Mix being a list of artists that are mostly new to me that I somehow discovered or was inspired to write about due to my SXSW experience.  I am so excited about every one of these artists/groups. I can’t wait for them to come through LA and play!

I’ve broken the mix down into several parts which will be revealed over the next several days…enjoy!

 

  1. “Something In the Water” – Brooke Fraser

She may have been quite popular for several years, but only just before SXSW this year did Brooke Fraser hit my radar. This New Zealand native played several showcases in Austin including one sponsored by my favorite venue, The Hotel Cafe. Check out her third ablum, Flags, for this tune as well as my other favorite BF song, “Who Are We Fooling” featuring Aqualung.

 

2. “Coming Down That Road” – The Deaf

Came across this song while cruising the SXSW artist pages. Instantly it caught my attention, putting this band from the Netherlands on my need to see list.

 

3. “Run Back Home” – The Blue Pages

The Blue Pages was one of many acts that I discovered form the All Together Now Showcase. These Brooklyn boys put on a captivating show. If you’re in the NYC area, go check them out at Bowery Electric June 23rd!

 

4. “Sail” – AWOLNation

One of the best crowds I was in at SXSW this year was for AWOLNATION’s set at Rusty Spurs. They made my list of top SXSW sets…I really can’t wait to see these guys again. Come back to LA already!

 

more to come…

 

~ Kristen

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Hem- “The Part Where You Let Go”

This song came on my music player this morning…I was instantly at ease….I am compelled to share…

I don’t know much about the band, Hem, so I looked them up. They are from Brooklyn and this particular song comes from a beautiful EP they put out in 2007 called Home Again, Home Again. More recently they provided the soundtrack for a production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” that featured Anne Hathaway.  No tour dates at the moment, but I’ll be keeping my eyes open for them.

~ Kristen

First Aid Kit at Bootleg Theater

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All I can say is FINALLY! First Aid Kit was the only group on my best of ’09 mix that I had not seen live. And to make my list as a band I’ve never seen…well that right there is saying something. But this duo from Sweden has what it takes to melt my heart; crystal clear voices ringing out in delicate harmonies. Their live set certainly did not disappoint, adding charming personalities to the list of things I love about these ladies, sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg. They did perform “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song,” their Fleet Foxes cover which lead to my discovery of them over a year ago. They also did a couple songs out in the audience sans microphones. Fortunately the acoustics of the room (an old bra factory) were more than adequate.

Their debut album, The Big Black and Blue, is certainly worth looking into. Also, they are not in the US that often, so if you can, check them out on their current tour (dates below) before they hop back over to the other side of the pond. Opening for them is the wonderful Samantha Crain, another artist who I’ve been meaning to see live since she made my best of SXSW ’09 mix.

Check out First Aid Kit:

Samantha Crain:

US (and some Canada) tour dates:

2 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Bottom of the Hill San Francisco, California, US  
4 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Mississippi Studios Portland, Oregon, US  
5 Jun 2010 8:00 P
The Vera Project Seattle, Washington, US  
6 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Media Club Vancouver, British Co, CA  
9 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Cedar Cultural Center Minneapolis, Minnesota , US  
10 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Schubas Tavern Chicago, Illinois , US  
11 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Grog Shop Cleveland, Ohio, US  
12 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Rivoli Cabaret Toronto, Ontario , CA  
13 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Le Belmont – NEW VENUE Montreal, Quebec, CANADA  
14 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Middle East Upstairs Cambridge, Massachuse, US  
15 Jun 2010 8:00 P
The Bell House Brooklyn, New York , US  
16 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Mercury Lounge New York, New York, US  

~ Kristen

Carney Day!

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Today is the day folks! Mr. Green Vol. I is officially out in stores, on ITunes, etc. Carney’s first full length CD has been on the precipice of release for sometime now it seems, but I’m pretty sure it’s actually happening this time. I would highly recommend everyone go out and get yourself a copy. Once again, for a taste, enjoy the video for the band’s first single, “Love Me, Chase Me” :

The release falls in the midst of a little tour…to get your taste of Carney live (trust me, you’ll love it), see if they’re coming to a town near you. And if you live in LA, I really hope you can come to The El Rey this Saturday to see the boys put on their last hometown show before heading of to NYC.

As for the rest of the dates (copied directly from Myspace):

10 May 2010 8:00 P
Casbah San Diego, California, US  
11 May 2010 8:00 P
Hotel Utah San Francisco, California, US  
13 May 2010 8:00 P
Detroit Bar Costa Mesa, US  
15 May 2010 8:00 P
El Rey Theatre Los Angeles, California, US Find Tickets
30 May 2010 8:00 P
Furthur Festival Angels Camp, US  
31 May 2010 8:00 P
Maxwells Hoboken, New Jersey, US  
1 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Bowery Ballroom New York, New York, US  
2 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub Cambridge, Massachuse, US  
3 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Johnny Brenda’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvan, US  
5 Jun 2010 8:00 P
The Bell House Brooklyn, New York, US  
6 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Jammin Java Music Club & Cafe Vienna, Virginia, US  
7 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Lee’s Palace Toronto, Ontario, CA  
9 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Double Door Chicago, US  
10 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Triple Rock Social Club Minneapolis, US  
12 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Bluebird Theater Denver, US  
14 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Crocodile Cafe Seattle, US  
15 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Venue Vancouver, CA  
16 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Mississippi Studios Portland, US  
22 Jun 2010 8:00 P
The Rhythm Room Phoenix, US  
24 Jun 2010 8:00 P
The Cambridge Room @ House of Blues Dallas, US  
25 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Stubbs Jr BBQ Austin, US  
26 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Walter’s on Washington Houston, US  
28 Jun 2010 8:00 P
WorkPlay Theatre Birmingham, US  
29 Jun 2010 8:00 P
Vinyl Atlanta, US

 

~ Kristen