If you like your electro-pop with a bit of goth, then L.A.-based duo Vow may be your next fix. The duo of Julia Blake and Andrew Thomas extract the pulses from the dance floor only to blanket them with dark wave and post-punk textures. Their latest single “Planks” boasts a gauzy take on ’80s and ’90s dream-pop, with Blake’s booming vocals draped over Thomas’ echoing beats. It’s not difficult to hear their Cocteau Twins influences, but they emerge here as a hazy reverb venture through an analog filter. “Planks” is from Vow’s forthcoming sophomore EP “Make Me Yours” (out Aug. 12 via The Native Sound) with Touché Amoré’s Nick Steinhardt returning on guitar. (Steinhardt also plays in ambient guitar duo Wife with Thomas.) Vow may be another band to add to your long list of L.A. electro duos, but at least these guys can soundtrack one of the moodier mixtapes.
||| Stream: “Planks”
Cloud Nothings, the Cardigans’ Nina Persson and Quantic are among the first batch of artists announced to play Oct. 16-18 at the fifth annual Culture Collide, the first of the internationally flavored series that will go off without the imprimatur of Filter magazine.
Filter announced last month that it is folding, with the company’s partners Alan Miller and Alan Sartirana each launching his own music/lifestyle brand. Miller’s is Culture Collide, and it is under those auspices that bands from all over the globe will converge on Echo Park in October. Culture Collide has also announced an expansion to include festivals in San Francisco and New York City.
Wristbands for the weekend are $30 and available here.
With shows staged at venues such as the Echo, Echoplex, Taix and the Echo Park United Methodist Church, among others, Culture Collide in the past has offered a reliable vehicle, and relatively affordable, vehicle for music discovery. After the jump, the full list of artists, with more to be announced:
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Great local shows and more on the menu for Wednesday:
► New York lo-fi folk singer Juan Wauters visits Los Globos behind his album “N.A.P. North American Poetry,” released on Captured Tracks earlier this year. Get there early for Guy Blakeslee. Puro Instinct also plays. Above, Juan Wauters’ video for “Water.”
► Singer-songwriter Aaron Embry will showcase some new songs at the Echo, where he’s hoined by Phoebe Bridgers and Tenlons Fort’s Jack Gibson.
► New L.A. trio Roses [see our post] headline the Satellite, with RA Rosenborg and White Dove supporting.
► Charlie Wadhams plays the Silverlake Lounge behind his recent album “Out at the Bar” on a night that marks the return to the stage of Leslie Stevens.
► It’s a second helping of Cloud Nothings and Metz at the Roxy Theatre.
► And the Mowgli’s do a second night at the Troubadour, supported by Waters, Max & the Moon and the Lucky Lonely.
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When Buddy refers to his music as “wimpycore,” we think he’s talking in the past tense. Maybe his long-ago EP of sparse singer-songwriter fare qualifies, or “Alterations & Repairs,” the 2007 release that saw Buddy become a band. But certainly not “Last Call for the Quiet Life,” the long-awaited, long-fretted-over follow-up. Conceived and recorded with buddy Will Golden, “Last Call” (due Aug. 16) is a fully realized orchestral pop record, lush and evocative, recalling at times the work of Cardinal’s Eric Matthews. To hear Buddy (the singer) explain it, “Last Call” arrived after a healthy amount of soul-searching; he scrapped the initial follow-up to “Alterations” (releasing some of the songs on a 2012 EP) before his collaboration with Golden started to bear fruit. The album, which includes guest turns from Michelle Branch, Cary Brothers and Holly Conlan, got a final mix from Phil Ek in Seattle. It has that certain glow — if this is what constitutes wimpy, then to hell with being strong.
||| Stream: “Weak Currents”
Photo by Graham Kurzner
A Sunny Day In Glasgow‘s sophomore release “Ashes Grammar” has been noted by both fans and critics for its wonderful amalgamation of shoegaze, dream-pop and synth-pop. The album was followed up with “Autumn, Again” in 2010 but we haven’t heard much from the sextet since. Their latest release “Sea When Absent” returns with some more sweet moments with tracks like “Crushin’,” but it’s also a record where A Sunny Day In Glasgow pushes the boundaries of that wall of sound for fierce textures. Biting yet enveloping, songs like the extremely layered “In Love With Useless (The Timeless Geometry in the Tradition of Passing)” and “Bye Bye Big Ocean (The End)” have vocals by Annie Fredrickson and Jen Goma that seem to only bob up to the surface of those tenacious melodic waves at times. Then there are times those dulcet tones command the raw guitars and synth lines to float underneath. With Jeff Zeigler (The War On Drugs, Kurt Vile) lending a hand as the band’s first outside producer, the new record is fizzing, dizzying and remarkably bold. It may have taken a few more lineup changes and four years the out of the limelight, but A Sunny Day In Glasgow’s latest release gives the band more reasons to keep on shining. “Sea When Absent” it out now via Lefse.
||| Stream: “Crushin’” and “Bye Bye Big Ocean”
||| Live: A Sunny Day in Glasgow perform July 16 at the Bootleg.
Photo by Zoe Jet Ellis
Broncho burst out of Oklahoma a couple of years ago doing everything right — playing with abandon and releasing an album full of concise garage-pop songs that recalled the mercurial early days of punk rock. Their label, though, apparently did everything wrong, tanking while the band built around the talents of Ryan Lindsey, Nathan Price and Ben King was on the road. Undeterred (or, well, maybe slightly mussed), Broncho has retooled to make its sophomore album “Just Hip Enough to Be Woman,” due Sept. 16 on Dine Alone Records. Included is the song “It’s On,” which, owing to its use in the third season of “GIRLS,” introduced Broncho to many fans. The album in sum offers deliciously fuzzed-out power-pop — although not as garage-y as Broncho’s first turn — with some choruses you won’t believe haven’t been written before. At 3 1/2 minutes, “Class Historian” almost qualifies as an epic for these guys, yet it seems to end too soon.
||| Stream: “Class Historian”
||| Live: Broncho plays Aug. 26 at the Constellation Room and Aug. 27 at the Echo.
As opposed to the brisk first single “Just One of the Guys,” the title track to Jenny Lewis’ forthcoming album “The Voyager” is a string-soaked paean to self-realization with a NASA theme. “The Voyager’s in every boy and girl / If you wanna get to heaven, get out of this world,” Lewis sings, perfectly and pleadingly. “The Voyager,” Lewis’ first solo album since 2008, is out July 29.
||| Stream: “The Voyager”
||| Live: Jenny Lewis performs Aug. 9 at the Wiltern.
||| Previously: “Just One of the Guys,” live at the Roxy
In his solo guise as Gold Star, Marlon Rabenreither’s woozy, melancholic songs have the feel of instant classics, reminiscent of any number of writers who had dicey relationships with their Muse. The former art-schooler and frontman of the Sister Ruby Band seems to operate from the premise that the best way to achieve clarity is to find the bottom and look up. And so it is with the new “Get Down My Devil,” from Gold Star’s forthcoming album “Dark Days,” realized here in the straightforward video by Moni Haworth. You’ve had nights like this, on the way home, alone, except for your regrets.
||| Live: Gold Star plays tonight as part of a Tuesday night residency at Harvard & Stone.
||| Previously: “Sadie”, “Heaven Can’t Wait”
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► KISS and Def Leppard rock you back at the Forum.
► Cleveland rockers Cloud Nothings play the Roxy theatre behind their new album “Here and Nowhere Else” (that’s their new video for “Psychic Trauma,” above), with Metz opening.
► The Mowgli’s start a two-night stand at the Troubadour. Get there early tonight for Waters, Night Riots and the Janks at the Troubadour
► Post-punk quintet Night Nail celebrate the release of their self-titled EP with a show at the Echoplex that also features Magic Wands, Tennis System and Prayers.
► And Gold Star continues a residency at Harvard & Stone, supported by Slow White.
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The good, the bad, the ugly … and the pixelated? That’s the bizarre filter through which the cinematic Old West is filtered in the video for EFG’s new slab of psych-rock “Singing Bridges.” The video is the work of artst, photographer and filmmaker Sam Falls of San Diego, who let his digital demons take over old footage from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “How the West Was Won” and “Hang ‘Em High.” It’s something akin to your TV going haywire at 3 a.m. while you’re watching Encore Westerns — or maybe it hasn’t gone haywire at all, and the 1s and 0s have just taken over your brain. The song itself is the first single from the pedigreed trio of Imaad Wasif, Josh Garza and Tom Biller, who in previous incarnations were known as Electric Flower Group. Like much of their album in progress, “Singing Bridges” is next-level — a rager of a psych-rock song featuring Garza’s thunder, Wasif’s lightning and Biller in full gallop. And Charles Bronson is pretty cool too.