Sunday, August 17, 2014

Echo Park Rising...A Weekend In Review

Echo Park Rising roundup......so I saw a total of 5 bands. some were great, some were good and 1 was bad. Oh yeah, and I skipped Sunday...I had some shit to do in between writing this.
First, let's get the bad out of the way. Plague Vendor. I love their new album, I just wrote a review of it here http://www.speedglueandmusic.blogspot.com/2014/08/plague-vendor-free-to-eat2014.html There really wasn't a problem with their sound or their style of music necessarily but the entire show was ruined by the cocky asshole attitude of the lead singer. He had horrible Jaggerisms, was doin the whole "throw water on the crowd and then throw the water bottle at the crowd" thing. Just way too much arrogance to handle. Also, they only played 1 song off their new(and only) album and it was the worst one on the album. So after 5 songs we walked away.
Gothic Tropic were pretty rad, the musicianship was pretty damn incredible and overall a super solid set, wouldn't mind seeing them again sometime.
Feels were also pretty awesome, caught a couple of songs in the sweatbox known as the Echo and even though I was dying I was won over by the intensity of their set and the power in their vocals...shit was tight.
Morgan Delt killed it. His set at the Echo was almost the best thing I saw all weekend. They filled the room with his murky odes to 60s psych rock. The short songs were very Kinks and Who-like and the longer ones were a nice mix of psyche rock and Krautrock very much in the vein of Can. I loved how tripped out his set was and was very happy to be able to catch him live.
Now the best act of the entire festival was easily MR.K Now I have to confess. She is a friend of mine. I had never seen her perform but was familiar with her music. I was blown away. Both musically and visually. The performance art aspect of the set was incredibly done. The juxtaposition of the red worn by Madison and the white worn by her friend Mary Helen was perfect for the music being produced...which by the way was an excellent mix of Dream Pop, experimental loop based vocal music and at times even had tinges of industrial elements in the beats propelling the music forward. Her music called to mind some of the greats...including but not limited to Kate Bush and the Cocteau Twins with a little Danielle Dax thrown in there for good measure. In terms of her contemporaries she stands shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Julianna Barwick, Julia Holter, Geneva Jacuzzi and something like Jenny Hval as well. I will close this by saying I suggest all of you check out one of her sets as she is bringing art to the Los Angeles music community in an amazing way and it should be celebrated and recognized as something great.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Plague Vendor - Free To Eat(2014)

So I used to listen to a lot of music in high school that happened to be on the label these guys are on, Epitaph. This label is owned by the guitarist of Bad Religion, they released all the Bad Religion stuff, Rancid, The Offspring....you know these bands were their 90s bread and butter. I grew in and out of most of these bands and for the most part Epitaph and I completely fell out with each other. They liked pop-punk, I liked Indie Rock. Then they continued liking garbage and I kept getting into weirder and weirder things. A funny thing happened the other day though. I read a review of a band that looked very promising. A group of young dudes from Whittier making a lot of racket in the underground. They had a kick ass name, the cover of the album looked awesome. I found it for cheap at Amoeba a few days later and then to my surprise I looked at the lower back right corner and saw my old friend "Epitaph" written right there. I thought "Oh Noooooo what am I getting myself into?" So I popped it on and immediately I am greeted with a blast of fast driving basically Garage Rock. Yeah it has a little bit of pop punkiness to it, mostly in attitude, but as a whole it moreso resembled The Blood Brothers fronting a kick ass modern Garage band, like something you would hear on Burger or Castle face but with a little more polish in the recording and a little more immediacy in the songwriting to help distinguish themselves. Another band that comes to mind slightly is the oft-forgotten kick ass band Skull Kontrol. They have the same psuedo rockabilly licks going at hyper speed. The makeup of this album also kind of reminds me of Mclusky or at least the feeling I got when I got into "Do Dallas". This album is loud, this album is fast, this album is sharp and it wants to kick your ass. It lasts about 20 minutes but it doesn't feel like an EP, it feels like a fully formed full length statement. I recommend these guys to anyone in the mood for something kick ass to drive to or hell, run down the street to. Who knew after almost 15 years Epitaph would get off their asses and release something for the musical world to give a shit about. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Also don't forget to catch them for free at Echo Park Rising on August 15th/16th/17th not sure what venue they are gonna be at or what time they are playing but they will be there and so will I.

Friday, January 3, 2014

the best albums of 2013

So for my roundup summary of the 2013 music year is one of confusion. Consistently all year I have been confused by reviews and hype. It seems like everyday was opposite day this year in terms of music criticism. Artists that seem to have very little to no artistic aspirations were being hailed as artistic "geniuses". Artists that would have been laughed off the respectable artistic community landscape were now being heralded as kings and queens. For arguments sake I am going to take a look at Pitchfork's top 10 list for albums of the year. Let me start by saying that there are 3 albums on my list that are also in the top 10 of Pitchfork's. They are Savages, Majical Cloudz, and Danny Brown(all who's artistic merit is explained below). So let's see what we have left, Arcade fire(released their version of early 80s Talking Heads and was boring), Daft Punk(I have said enough on the subject of that album), Deafheaven(one of the lamest examples of metal to come by in a long time), The new My Bloody Valentine(extremely not noteworthy and they should have just ended it at the reissues), Disclosure's debut(easily one of the worst albums I have ever heard, who needs a thirds rate Basement Jaxx, when Basement Jaxx was already a second rate Daft Punk...I cannot stress enough how shitty I think this album is) Kanye West's new one(Death Grips rip off with really dumb lyrics), and Vampire Weekend(was home to the worst single of the year with "Ya Hey"). Not too mention people still love Drake(for some odd reason), The Odd Future camp was pretty limp dick this year, all of the overhyped yet done a million times indie shit(wataxhachee, speedy ortiz, julia holter, the national(really dont get it), deerhunter, blood orange. A lot of the hip hop was crap this year...i'm looking at you ASAP MOB, chance the rapper, run the jewels. Also a lot of electro pop shit sucked too, chvurches, jon hopkins, dj koze, autre nu veut, forest swords, boards of cananda. Last and defintely the least, HAIM-Days Are Gone....yes you are right HAIM, the days of actual good music getting the exposure it deserves are gone, long live the days of mediocrity, thanks to spoiled little rich kids from Studio City, with any hope and justice the Haim album that came out this year will litter the dollar bin in the, hopefully, near future. I hope you enjoy the albums that were ACTUALLY good from this year....lord knows, thanks to the media, you havent heard em yet.
Arca-&&&&& One track that just pummels you and pummels you with one good idea after another. This is meant to soundtrack a weird druggy night out or at least i think so. These are future sounds. RIYL: Trippy electronic music that is influenced by hip hop.
Atom TM-HD Cold, dancy, and he wrote one of the best attacks on the major label music industry that i have heard in a while. get down with the robot sound. RIYL: Cold electronic stuff with a dance beat, Prince, Kraftwerk.
Danny Brown-Old I hated this at first, the first half had no nasal Danny Brown and I was pissed, then I listened to it again and again and started to realize the fact that he didn't rap in that voice all the time made him even that much more versatile. It then blew my mind and my second favorite Hip Hop song of the year was Lonely, who knew Danny Brown and Paul White would invent Tropical Hip Hop tm. RIYL: Cypress Hill, good hip hop.
Death Grips-Government Plates Super loud, super aggressive, the greatest thing that Death Grips has done yet, and this is due to the fact that they started using MC Ride as a musical tool and not as an MC. This thing is all vocal cut ups, nasty phrases and very little flows and it's all the better for it, not to mention the music is ramped up 10 fold. RIYL: Hella, Food For Animals.
Emptyset-Recur Sounds like a fucked up factory collapsing around you in perfect coordination. RIYL: The Haxan Cloak, Dubstep, dark ambient.
Foxygen-We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic This album sounds like every good 60s album all rolled into one that occasionally touches some of the weirdness the 70s had to offer, this album is straight up incredible and filled with ideas that could sustain a lesser band for at least 3 records. Oh and it is all a good time! RIYL: The Velvet Underground, Kinks, The Who, indie rock the way it was from 1991-2003.
Future of the Left-How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident This album hates the music industry and for good reason, it fucking sucks. if drake and chris brown can have a career than albums like this MUST exist! RIYL: Mclusky.
J-Zone-Peter Pan Syndrome He returns in fine form back to make fun of you and everything you do and everything you hold dear in life. RIYL: Really good old school influenced hip hop
The Knife-Shaking the Habitual All I can say is that this album was the artistic album that Daft Punk should have and wished they could make at this stage in their career. This is equal parts electro jams meets pure crushing art. RIYL: Bjork, MU.
Majical Cloudz-Impersonator What this guy does with a few piano melodies and his buddy Otto on electronics is nothing short of awesome, the fact that he slams his baritone voice all over it and makes an album that is both upliftingly depressing and depressingly comfortable is nothing short of astounding. RIYL: Scott Walker, Daughn Gibson.
Melt Yourself Down-Self Titled Take a pretentious Jazz band, then suck all the snobby air out of them and have them get a lunatic Spanish vocalist to make a shitload of weird noises and phrases all over it. Now have these guys throw the craziest funk dance party of all time and you have something close to the muscular adrenaline rush that is the first Melt Yourself Down album, here's hoping they top this one in the future. RIYL: Antibalas, The Budos Band, Boredoms.
Parquet Courts-Light Up Gold Smart as fuck indie rockers shine a light on the stale indie rock scene by going back to all of our roots and playing like the real musicians who will always matter. riyl: The Modern Lovers, The Minutemen, The Meat Puppets.
Derek Piotr-Raj Takes the human voice and fucks it up in 1000s of different ways to utterly confuse you! RIYL: Cut up vocal samples you can kind of maybe but maybe not dance to.
Pissed Jeans-Honeys These guys hate all the dumb things you do, and I can't blame them, there is a lot of mundane and truly unbelievably crappy things going on in this world right now and these brave musical warriors are not afraid to hold a mirror up to your face to make you see what you have been doing, and then they will make fun of your stick figure family decal, and your meaningless job, and all the shit we think we need to make life work. Go ahead, if you don't like what i wrote, pretend i wrote something nice and romanticize me! RIYL: Hating things, Black Flag, Jesus Lizard.
Pretty & Nice-Golden Rules for Golden People Very Dorky, spastic, happy, all over the place, everything but the kitchen sink, or wait maybe that fucker's in there too. This will annoy people who are annoyed easily, for those of us who love a little shot of gonzo in our rock these nerds are for you! RIYL: Dismemberment Plan, Of Montreal.
Saint Pepsi-Hit Vibes Vaperwave artist does way better for himself by ditching the Vaporwave cliches and gets down with it. riyl: The Avalanches, old Daft Punk.
Savages-Silence Yourself They ban cell phones at their concerts because they don't like your stupid selfies. They also make better music than most indie bands going these days. So you should put down your phone for 2 seconds, silence yourself and pay the fuck attention! RIYL: Siouxsie and the Banshees with more bite, post punk.
The Stranger-Watching Dead Empires In Decay Leyland Kirby returns to envelop you in a blanket of darkness and it's better than a warm Tiger-striped onesy. RIYL: The Caretaker, Demdike Stare, Dark Ambient
Syclops-A Blink of A Eye Can't say much more than funked up weirdness from the wonderful Dr. who brought us MU. RIYL: Fucked up jazz fusion and funk, MU.
John Wizards-Self Titled This guy took all the tropical African inspired crap did it one better, added some electronics, actually is from Africa and bested all the little turds that think that White culture appropriation is...well...you know...appropriate. RIYL: S.E. Rogie, African music, Max Tundra.
Young Dreams-Between Places Sunshine, kaleidoscopic, rays of sunshine blasting in your headphones, this is nostalgia music, nostalgic for lost summers, for collecting bugs, for just being in a happier stress free place. This is pure escapism in music, let it embrace you. RIYL: XTC, The Beach Boys, Animal Collective.