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Tonight in L.A.: Christmas Eve

by Kevin Bronson on December 24, 2014

Its Christmas Eve, and the concert calendar is empty (except for Low End Theory at the Airliner and the annual Jewish singles dance party MatzoBall at Avalon Hollywood). So we thought we’d share this video from vocal quintet Pentatonix’s “That’s Christmas to Me” album — a cover of Fleet Foxes’ White Winter Hymnal.

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Ears Wide Open: Dutch Party

by Kevin Bronson on December 23, 2014

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Veteran bar-hoppers might recognize Ken Franklin as a doorman, but hearing the first two songs from his band Dutch Party will make you wish you chatted him up some more. The quintet’s sprightly piano-based indie-pop is the soundtrack to a good mood, especially “Echo Girl,” an homage to the female denizens of Echo Park. Franklin had been working on his songs for a couple of years before teaming up with Silverfern Studios’ Matt Moore to begin recording an album — which, in turn, caught the interest of Ransom Music Group, the new venture from television personality Matte Babel. Dutch Party’s lineup now features singer-guitarist Franklin, guitarist Luke Paquin (Tashaki Miyaki, Hot Hot Heat), keyboardist Xander Burmer (The Real You), bassist Ben Eisen (Lovers & Poets/Shannon Hurley) and drummer Moore. The video for “Echo Girl,” meanwhile, is liable to make you bust out your dance moves even if you don’t have any — it features Vine personality Sione Maraschino (from Meghan Trainor’s video for the annoying “All About That Bass”) as a janitor who isn’t getting much work done. Infectious hardly gets more infectious.

||| Stream: “Echo Girl” and “Paper Moon”

||| Also: Watch the video for “Echo Girl” below:
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L.A. electro alchemist Robert DeLong will be joined by London indie-rocker Tom Vek and SoCal Afro-Latin rockers Quita Penas at the 2015 opener of the Natural History Museum’s First Fridays series. Next year, the series will skip January and kick off on Feb. 6.

The monthly series runs March 6, April 10, May 1 and June 5, bringing music to the museum’s North American Mammal Hall in conjunction with NHM’s other special events, including lectures and tours.

Tickets are $18 and go on sale on Dec. 29. (Ticketing is being done differently this year, so if you are a regular at First Fridays, see the updated information.)

||| Also: See our galleries from past First Fridays events.

Photo of Robert DeLong from 2014′s El Rey Theatre by Kelsey Heng

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Photos: Girlpool, Johnthan Rice and more at the Echo

by Kevin Bronson on December 23, 2014

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The finale of Girlpool’s residency Monday night at the Echo was a bittersweet affair — the guitar-and bass duo of Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad have announced they are moving to Philadelphia in the new year. They closed out their run of Mondays with a raw set of tunes from their self-titled EP, which was picked up by Wichita Recordings and released in November. Johnathan Rice supported with a set of tunes from his great 2013 album “Good Graces,” as well as older material, with girlfriend/collaborator Jenny Lewis, red wine in hand, guesting. Boston’s IAN and O.C.’s Media Jeweler also joined in the fun.

Photos by Carl Pocket, courtesy of the Echo

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The music community came out in force Monday night in support of Josh Schwartz, the former member of Further and Beachwood Sparks who is undergoing treatment for ALS. The benefit concert at the Echoplex was capped by a set from a reconstituted Beachwood Sparks lineup that demonstrated the lasting beauty of their twangy psychedelic rock, as did an earlier set from the Tyde. Leading into Beachwood Sparks, Allah-Las meted out a set of Golden State jangle-pop, and the night also featured a short turn from ’90s psych-poppers Summer Hits, with Ariel Pink on keyboards. Earlier, Miranda Lee Richards led her sextet through a set beautifully hazy Americana, and John C. Reilly and Friends played a typically engaging early set.

Photos by Carl Pocket, courtesy of the Echo 

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A light Tuesday schedule, owing to the holiday week:

► A big night for local artists at the Echo sees bands performing on both the indoor and outdoor stages, with Hobart W Fink, Wax Children [pictured above in 3D], Luna Is Honey, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Los Dharma Bums, Period Bomb, Vaya Futuro, Dead Panzies and Santa Youth.
Earl Sweatshirt and Vince Staples team up for a show at the Observatory.
► It’s a hip-hop night at the Mint, with Jackson Whalan, supported by FreeWill of Luminaries, Matre and Carmen Crow.

Also:
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EPs can be funny little beasts. They often serve as kind of a hi-how-ya-doin’ introduction rather than a broad artist’s statement — a handful of songs, a particular single, maybe a remix or three, a taste of what is to come. They vary so much in breadth they are difficult to review. So the Buzz Bands LA team has chosen 40 2014 EPs from Los Angeles artists that ought to be on your radar. Below, a playlist featuring one song from each of the EPs, along with a listing (in no particular order):

||| Also: Our favorite L.A. albums of the year.
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Ears Wide Open: Lieutenant

by Kevin Bronson on December 22, 2014

lieutenant-nateNate Mendel is currently best-known for playing bass in the Foo Fighters, but long-timers know him for being a founding member of the influential emo band Sunny Day Real Estate, as well as other activities, such as helping the Jealous Sound reboot in 2011. Now comes the news he is captaining his own ship — he’ll release a solo album as Lieutenant in March via Dine Alone Records. The new song “Rattled” abides the angular music and loud/soft dynamics of Mendel’s past; “Belle Epoque,” of course, translates to “the beautiful era,” and Mendel immerses himself in his, pretty chorus, backing vocals and all. The latter song appears on the gobsmacking Dine Alone Records Winter Sampler, available for free download (including tracks from Delta Spirit, the Dodos, Broncho, Field Report, Moah Gundersen, Sylvan Esso and more).

||| Stream: “Belle Epoque”

||| Live: Lieutenant plays Jan. 6 at the Constellation Room in O.C.

||| Also: Below, stream and trade your email for a download of the song “Rattled”:
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Stream: Milo Greene, ‘Parents’ House’

by Kevin Bronson on December 22, 2014

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Given the month-by-month song teases, the forthcoming second album by Los Angeles quintet Milo Greene could be anything — well, anything except their folky first album. Four songs have now been released from “Control” (out Jan. 27 via Elektra), revealing the band’s new electro-inspired direction. Three might be described as bedroom disco, propulsive nuggets that suggest you don’t have to leave home to run a Saturday night fever. Marlana Sheetz’s clarion voice shines amid the boy/girl vocals of recent arrival “On the Fence,” but it is the melancholy “Parents’ House” that stands out. The spare, percussion-driven tune features Andrew Heringer in full frontal melancholy; here, the production enables song’s emotions rather than obfuscates. (The lyric video is pretty cool too.) Milo Greene’s teaser songs are available for immediate download with a pre-order of the album.

||| Stream: “Parents’ House” and “On the Fence”

||| Live: Milo Greene plays Feb. 19 at the El Rey Theatre.

||| Previously: “White Lies” and “Lie to Me”

Photo from Milo Greene’s October show at the Wiltern by Michelle Shiers

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Free residencies and more for your Monday night:

“Make It Together,” a benefit for Josh Schwartz, goes off at the Echoplex with with Beachwood Sparks, Allah-Las, Ariel Pink, John C. Reilly, the Tyde, Tomorrows Tulips and more.
► The three-headed album tour featuring Say Anything [pictured], Saves the Day and Reggie & the Full Effect winds up at the House of Blues.
The Black and the White wind up their residency at the Bootleg HiFi on a night that also features Figs Vision, Mercies and Irontom.
► The final night of the Girlpool residency at the Echo is the band’s Christmas party, and Johnathan Rice supports, along with IAN and Media Jeweler.
Kissing Cousins do their fourth of five free Mondays at the Satellite, supported by the Bulls, Vs Color and Western Bells.
► And the Sunset Drifters have the fourth of their five nights at the Silverlake Lounge as well, with Buffalo Grass supporting.

Also:
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