This morning I was casually listening to a live internet chat with two of the members from Scottish alt rock band, Twin Atlantic. Sam (vocals) and Ross (bass) spend some time answering random questions from fans and then played a couple of tunes from their record, Free. One of the songs played was “Make a Beast of Myself” which, incidentally, is one of my favorites from the album and their newest single. The band just released a video for this song. What’s more is that if you watch this video and can find and click on the hidden link, you’re entered into a contest to win a guitar that was used by Sam in the “Time For You To Stand Up” music video.
I think this idea for a contest is genius! Even if you don’t win the guitar, you can still get a free song download.
Here’s the video. The hint for the contest is that Sam likes to paint…
Even more exciting than the potential to win a guitar, is the guarantee to see these gents live during their upcoming US tour with AWOLNATION (another band that made my SXSW ’11 mix). They come to LA in a little over a month! November 3rd at The Music Box.
Tony Lucca has been one of my favorite singer-songwriters for many years now. I had no idea he had a new CD in the works until yesterday…I feel a bit shamed. Since Mr. Lucca has moved out of LA, I don’t see him play as often, so I’m not even sure I’ve heard any of these new songs! Obviously, I will be obtaining the CD as soon as possible. Tony Lucca is one third of the TFDI triad (Tony Lucca, Matt Duke, Jay Nash). He is taking a bit of a break from the TFDI tour, but will be back out on the road with the boys in October for the Pittsburgh show. Don’t miss out on this tour. It is magical.
I first saw Mariah McManus when she was fronting the rock band Glare of Rockets. I was blown away by her voice, especially at such a young age. I was very excited when I heard Mariah was embarking on a solo project and releasing new material. I’ve been listening to her tracks off of her facebook page for weeks and I’m a bit obsessed. Mariah is going to take the music world by storm using her unique and enchanting voice to win over anyone who listens. This is a must get album for me. Take a listen at the free stream from aol music. Download her first single “Say It Again” on her website. Come to her CD release party tonight (9/27) at The Hotel Cafe.
Jake Newton is a singer-songwriter currently living in Los Angeles…mostly at The Hotel Cafe. Jake is part of the next wave of Hotel Cafe artists following in the footsteps of artists like Cary Brothers, Sara Bareilles, Greg Laswell, etc. After what I would call a highly successful Pledge Music campaign, Jake Newton is finally ready to release his full length album, Kill The Past. I pledged to his campaign a while ago and have been keeping up with the whole process of this record so I am particularly excited to finally have it available. Come join me Friday night as Jake has his record release party at The Hotel Cafe. Also playing that evening is Keaton Simons so it will be a good one!
Switchfoot has had an impact on my life ever since I got a hold of The Beautiful Letdown which I still believe is one of the greatest CDs in my collection. Then a couple of years ago, I was again impacted by a live performance of Switchfoot’s “Hello Hurricane”. I am looking forward to hear what new tunes this San Diego based group has put forth in their new album, Vice Verses. Then I would highly recommend checking them out on their co-headlining tour with Anberlin (another great live band). They are in LA October 11th at The Wiltern.
It is a VERY exciting day for new music. I spent just about my entire month’s CD budget on music today. Hugh Laurie has a CD coming out today. Yeah, that guy from House can sing! He’s playing a show at The Mint September 30th. Lindsey Buckingham also has new music and who doesn’t love this Fleetwood Mac troubadour?!? Also, True Blood and music fans alike should rejoice in the release of the TV show’s soundtrack: volume 3.
However, I will be filling my shopping basket with some of my favorite, perhaps lesser known artists who have discs coming out today…so while you’re busy music shopping, I have a few recommendations. Check them out!
Joe Firstman has been one of my favorites for years now. He has a new album out today…this is cause for celebration! Upon quick listen, Swear It Was a Dream seems to reflect Joe’s more country roots…slide guitars, mandolins, and violins are plentiful. So far tracks I’m lovin’ include the more piano-driven opener, “Take the Rain,” “Who’s Turnin’ Your Light Out,” and “Standin’ on the Porch.”
But as all Joe fans know, where the man really shines is in his live performance. Joe is once again on the road, but he’s touring with a new group, The Cordovas. I had the extreme pleasure of seeing The Cordovas this past Saturday at The Hotel Cafe and I was blown away. Joe rockin’ out on the guitar and singing harmoniously alongside Jaron Lowenstein (remember Evan and Jaron?). They do a killer version of Joe’s “Standing on The Porch” a breathtaking song in acapella, and a closing song so much fun, I’d dare you not to smile.
I fell in love with Aunt Martha at Bonnaroo this past June. I am a big fan of their EP, Bloodshot, and am very excited about this full length effort. You can download this album for FREE at their website.
Do you remember the band, Until June? No? Well, they were one of my favorite bands in Los Angeles for a while. They aren’t really playing any more, but a couple of their members have a new group called Moderne Man. I keep meaning to get out to one of their shows, but it hasn’t happened. However, their self-titled debut album comes out today and I fully intend on checking it out.
I have been a fan of Jon McLaughlin since Indiana found my ears sometime in 2007. I was excited to see he had a new CD coming out, his first since 2008’s Ok Now. If Forever If Ever is anything like its predecessors, I know I’m going to like it. If you’re a fan of singer-songwriters who enjoy rocking it up a bit on the piano, I’m sure you’ll like it too!
You can listen to clips of the new songs on Jon’s website, but here is the first single off Forever If Ever:
Listen to the track, “Behold the Hurricane” on The Horrible Crowes’ website and you might think it sounds a tad familiar. That would be the voice of Brian Fallon, better known as the frontman of Gaslight Anthem. Fallon has teamed up with his Gaslight Anthem guitar tech Ian Perkins for this new side project and their CD, Elise, comes out today! Seeing that they already have over 10,000 facebook likes and a European Tour booked before their CD is even released, I’d go ahead and say it is probably worth checking out. You can listen to the CD in its entirety on the Rolling Stone website: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-album-stream-horrible-crowes-cinematic-debut-elsie-20110901
Check them out in LA next Weds (Sept. 14th) at The Troubadour or if you’re in New York City they play Bowery Ballroom this Thursday (Sept. 8th).
I love to do lists! Here are a few items I would highly recommend adding to your list of things to do today:
WATCH Dead Sara’s new video for “Weatherman”: Dead Sara is my newest favorite band. Get to know them as they have the talent to take over the world.
DOWNLOAD Ten out of Tenn’s new CD, Volume 4, at Noisetrade.com. This is a fantastic collection of songs from an amazing collection of Nashville-based artists. You can download it for FREE or leave a tip of your choosing. I’ve had this CD for a couple weeks now and I LOVE it!
PLEDGE to High Voltage Magazine’s campaign to raise funds to release new print issues! $10 gets you an awesome music compilation full of b-sides and rarities from the likes of Hurricane Bells (featuring Justin of Blue October), Shawn Christensen (Stellastarr) and Kevin McAdams (Elephante), Robbers On High Street and more to be announced. You can also pledge to receive a signed and framed poster from Neon Trees, tickets to a show of your choice in select cities, and more!
WATCHThe Silent Comedy’s live performance at SofarSounds in Los Angeles. They play stripped down versions of “The Prince” and “Footnotes”
DOWNLOAD this week’s Daytrotter Sessions featuring the likes of Kina Grannis, William Elliot Whitmore, and The Dandy Warhols.
this just in! DOWNLOAD a live version of Scars on 45‘s song, “Heart on Fire” that will be featured on the next Grey’s Anatomy Soundtrack.
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!
In anticipation of their album coming out this fall, LA rock quartet Dead Sara have released their first single, one of my favorite DS tunes, “Weatherman”. Dead Sara is one of the best bands coming out of LA right now (in my opinion). Go download their song and see for yourself. Blast it through the speakers and I dare you to resist the urge to rock out.
Finally, since your interest has been piqued, go see them LIVE as they open for Bush on a portion of their fall tour. If you’re in LA, Dead Sara has several upcoming gigs, including playing the SSMF on the 19th at The Roxy with Buckcherry.
Enjoying a lovely Sunday afternoon catching up with friends via email or phone and listening to George Stanford from the comfort of my home. Maybe this live stream thing isn’t such a bad thing after all. Join George next Sunday 3pm PST (http://www.livestream.com/georgestanford) and listen to him sing (yes he takes requests) and ramble on about…anything. It’s cool because there are people from all over the country gathering together listening to music…I wish we could do this kind of thing more often.
But for those of you in Los Angeles, so many live shows you can go to this week. Here are my suggestion:
Monday: It’s a school night at Bardot featuring Cary Brothers and The Damnwells (10pm)…FREE with RSVP (http://www.itsaschoolnight.com/)
ALSO: The Belle Brigade at The Grammy Museum (7:30)
ALSO: The Californian at The Viper Room (11pm)
ALSO: Taylor Locke and Robert Francis FREE at Bootleg Bar (9,11)
ALSO: Songwriters in the Round at Room 5 (9pm)
Tuesday: Justin Jones, Raining Jane, Bushwalla at The Hotel Cafe (7,9,10)…Raining Jane record release
ALSO: Toy FREE at Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood (9pm)
ALSO: Youngblood Hawke at The Satellite (10pm)
ALSO: Stop Motion Poetry at The Viper Room (11pm)
ALSO: The Naked & Famous at The Music Box
Weds: The Alternate Routes at The Satellite (9pm)
ALSO: Anna Nalick at The Hotel Cafe (10pm)
ALSO: Moderne Man at The Viper Room (10:50)
Thursday: Brian Wright at The Foundry on Melrose (9pm)
ALSO: Terra Naomi at The Hotel Cafe as part of YouTube Songwriters in the Round (8pm)
Friday: Keaton Simons at The Hotel Cafe (10pm)…beginning of the Keaton residency
ALSO: Abandoned Pools at The Viper Room (10:45)
ALSO: Harris Grade at Amplyfi (10:15)
Saturday: The Janks at The Hotel Cafe (10pm)
ALSO: Fat City Reprise at O’Briens (10pm)
ALSO: Brian Wright at Saint Rocke (9pm)
Sunday: something always comes up by Sunday…
To Keep in Mind:
August 10th: Sia at The Wiltern
August 11th: Toy and Lifehouse at Ventura County Fair
August 11th: Ellie Goulding at The Wiltern
August 12-14th: Outside Lands in San Francisco
August 12th: Andrew Belle at The Mint
August 13th: Milk Carton Kids CD Release at McCabe’s
August 13th: Nico Vega at Saint Rocke
August 16th: Mutemath at The Troubadour
August 18th: Nico Vega at The Roxy
August 18th and 25th: The Veronicas at The Viper Room
August 18th: TDIF at The Hotel Cafe
August 19th: Buckcherry at The Roxy
August 18-20th: SSMF
August 22nd: Ben Rector at The Hotel Cafe
August 27-28th: Sunset Junction
September 3rd: FYF
September 22-24: Hotel Carolina (South Carolina)
September 22nd: Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights at The Viper Room
September 24th: William Elliot Whitmore at Bootleg Theater
September 25th: The Lonely Forest at The Wiltern
October 14th: Butterfly Boucher at Bootleg Theater
March 13-18th: SXSW (Austin, TX)