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While most pop singers go for over-the-top sex appeal, flashy sets and costume changes, 30-year-old British singer Jessie Ware opts for a fashionable, loose black pant suit and a simple pony tail. Ware, who just released her sophomore effort “Tough Love” on Island Records, has never been one for excess, and her intimate, lottery ticket-only show Thursday night at the historic Tower Theater in downtown Los Angeles was yet another way the rising queen of quiet storm kept things classy. At the 800-capacity venue, playing her third show in the City of Angels, the soul chanteuse (whom some have begun to call the “cool Adele”) laid bare all her emotions, dispensing one love song after another in her smoky voice.

With just the first drum bang of “Running” — the song that catapulted Ware’s career — a sea of cell phones shot up hoping to capture the singer in an outfit that would put “Scandal” star Kerry Washington to shame. Other songs from Ware’s debut “Devotion” (“If You’re Never Gonna Move,” formerly known as “110%,” “Sweet Talk,” “Wildest Moments”) popped up in the setlist, but there was a purpose to night. Before going into the title track of the new record, Ware — who at times was barely audible because of the constant, hysterical cheering and screams of “I love you, Jessie!” — shared, “This is a live listening party for the new album. I hope you enjoy it!”

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Photos: Tom Vek at the Echo

by Kevin Bronson on October 25, 2014

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U.K. art-rocker Tom Vek brought his angst-y tuenes to the Echo on Thursday night as part of a tour behind the June release of his third album “Luck.” Between the celestial display of visuals and his synth-spiked, unpredictable songs, it made for quite a night. L.A.’s Figs Vision opened. Vek brings his brand of sonic agitation to the KCRW Masquerade at the Park Plaza Hotel tonight.

Photos by Carl Pocket, courtesy of the Echo

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Video: Tennis, ‘I’m Callin”

by Kevin Bronson on October 25, 2014

Tennis’ lightweight indie-pop has grown up big and strong (well, bigger and stronger) with “Ritual in Repeat,” the third album from husband-and-wife duo of Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, aided by drummer James Barone. The band collaborated with three well-known producers on the record, Jim Eno of Spoon, Patrick Carney of the Black Keys and Richard Swift (Black Keys, the Shins, et al). Whether on ’80s disco-lite tracks like “I’m Callin’” (which Carney produced) or the beautifully sad-sack “Wounded Heart,” the Denver duo’s sharp sense of melody lets Moore get the most out of her voice. Director Keith Musil’s new video for “I’m Callin’” is just plain dark, though — ”Twin Peaks” much?

||| Live: Tennis plays tonight at the Troubadour, supported by Pure Bathing Culture and Devon Williams.

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The Afghan Whigs

It’s doesn’t get any more super than this Saturday:

The Afghan Whigs [pictured] rock the Fonda Theatre behind their new album “Do the Beast,” their first in 16 years, and the deluxe reissue “Gentlemen at 21″ (out next week on Rhino), a value-added re-release of their acclaimed 1993 album. Joseph Arthur opens.
► L.A. indie-rockers Francisco the Man celebrate the release of their debut full-length “Loose Ends” with a show at the Bootleg HiFi, supported by Hands and Dustin Lovelis (of the Fling).
► Saharan psych-folk ensemble Tinariwen visits the Luckman Fine Arts Complex at Cal State L.A.
Tenacious D’s Festival Supreme brings music and laughs to the Shrine Expo Hall and Grounds.
Tennis headlines the Troubadour behind their new album “Ritual in Repeat.” Opening are Pure Bathing Culture and Devon Williams.
► His new album “Blacc Hollywood” recently landing, Wiz Khalifa holds forth at the House of Blues Sunset Strip.
St. Lucia and Robert DeLong team up for a night at the Belasco Theatre.
► It’s the second of three nights with Bob Dylan at the Dolby Theatre.
► It’s the second of two nights with Erasure and Superhumanoids at the Hollywood Palladium.
► It’s the second of two nights with Broken Bells and Austra at the Orpheum Theatre.
► The annual KCRW Masquerade goes off at the Park Plaza Hotel, with Tokimonsta, Tom Vek, Hollie Cook, Chris Malinchak, Bonobo (DJ set) and Les Sins and more.
► And the sold-out Beach Goth 3 goes off at the Observatory (three stages), featuring the Growlers, the Drums, DIIV, Joyce Manor, Foxygen, The Sweet & Tender Hooligans, Atlas Sound, Alice Glass of Crystal Castles, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Chelsea Wolfe, Bleached, The Garden, Cherry Glazerr, Tijuana Panthers, Shannon & The Clams plays Metallica, Com Truise, The Spits, La Femme, Mariachi El Bronx, the Dickies, Mystic Braves, The Aquadolls, Cosmonauts, Mr Elevator & The Brain Hotel, Corners, The Abigails, Vacationer, White Arrows, Empress Of, Hindu Pirates, Gap Dream, Blake Miller, Broncho, LA Witch, Cat Signs, Cheryll, Emily’s Army, Walter TV, Prism Tats, Avalon and Neo Globs. [Set times here]

Also:
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Beach Goth 3 announces set times for Saturday

by Kevin Bronson on October 24, 2014

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The Growlers’ third annual Beach Goth party, Saturday at the Observatory in Orange County, is officially sold out, it was announced tonight. Set times have been announced for the three-stage affair (an outdoor stage, plus the Observatory and Constellation Room), which features the Drums, DIIV, Joyce Manor, Atlas Sound, Mariachi El Bronx, GZA, White Arrows and Vacationer, along with the hosts and about 40 more bands besides that. Those set times are below:

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Download: StaG, ‘It Worked for Him’

by Kevin Bronson on October 24, 2014

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Indie-rock quintet StaG clawed its way into L.A.’s consciousness this spring with the release of their ambitious, cinematic full-length “Difference.” Since then, the band — singer-keyboardist Matt McGuire, singer-guitarist Will Walden, guitarist Matt Hamper, bassist Anton Krueger and drummer Casey Baird — have proved they back it up live and embarked on working on new music. There’s a Local Natives vibe to the new single “It Worked for Him,” which the fivesome has released as a free download. No firm plans for a future release yet, but stay tuned.

||| Download: “It Worked for Him”

||| Previously: “I Think I’ll Shout”

Photo from June’s Chinatown Summer Nights by Jeff Koga

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Stream: Repeater, ‘Lonely’

by Kevin Bronson on October 24, 2014

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Long Beach’s Steve Krolikowski has been making music as Repeater for almost a decade, embracing the mostly Anglophile strains of post-punk, new wave and alt-rock. Last year Repeater released an EP of older recordings that Krolikowski said represented a turning of the page, and now Repeater is back, sounding invigorated, with a new lineup and a new album. The self-titled “Repeater” is out Nov. 18, and the first single “Lonely” is a darkly romantic slice of shoegazing that would have been as engaging in the ’90s as it is today. Singer-guitarist Krolikowski is joined in Repeater’s new incarnation by singer-keyboardist Tess Shapiro, who gives the album plenty of boy/girl vocal charm, guitarist Alex Forsythe, bassist Christopher Fudurich and drummer Charlie Woodburn. Fudurich is an ace producer with a deep resumé, and deftly balances “Repeater’s” atmospheric conditions. This one’s for anybody who revisits their old Britpop playlists, and is interested in hearing a band move the dial forward.

||| Stream: “Lonely”

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Ears Wide Open: Springtime Carnivore

by Kevin Bronson on October 24, 2014

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Chicago native Greta Morgan was a touring musician at age 16, and by the time she was 20 her band the Hush Sound had released three-full-lengths. Born Greta Salpeter, she segued to Gold Motel after relocating to L.A., but now she has found a distinct voice as Springtime Carnivore. The album bearing that name, “Springtime Carnivore,” will be out Nov. 4 on Aquarium Drunkard’s Autumn Tone label, and it bears both the songwriter’s appetite for classic rock and its producer’s deft touch for the whimsical and subversive. That producer is Richard Swift, the singer-songwriter who has played with the Black Keys (currently), the Shins, and, back in the day, Starflyer 59, and who has produced the likes of the Shins, Damien Jurado, Foxygen, Jessie Baylin and Gardens & Villa. It was once wryly said about his solo output that Swift makes “carnival music,” and those impulses, articulated by Springtime Carnivore’s omnipresent fuzz, toy keyboards and buoyant vocals, run throughout the 45 never-boring minutes of the album. Now 26, Morgan, most recently spotted playing in La Sera, is just entering her springtime. Dig in.

||| Stream: “Sun Went Black” and “Name on a Matchbook”

||| Live: Springtime Carnivore plays Nov. 12 at the Troubadour along with Generationals.

Photo by Michael O’Keefe

||| Also: Check out videos for “Creature Feature” and “Two Scars” below:

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Video: Pond, ‘Elvis’ Flaming Star’

by Seraphina Lotkhamnga on October 24, 2014

Side projects are often just for fun, but Australia’s supergroup Pond — which includes members of Tame Impala, Mink Mussel Creek and Allbrook/Avery —  have churned out some excellent music during their time together. Not to be confused with the Pond from Portland, Ore., that released music on Sub Pop in the ’90s, the Perth, Australia-based Pond follows up 2013′s “Hobo Rocket” with “Man It Feels Like Space Again” on Jan. 27. The new record is everything from crazy glam-rock to a cloudy bliss of psychedelia. With its opening track “Waiting Around For Grace” clocking in just over five minutes, and wreaking havoc with its wonky wonders, and other tunes like “Elvis’ Flaming Star” fusing David Bowie and Billy Idol stylings, Pond has released another album that may have you feeling as if you were floating in space, too. Their self-directed video, which was shot with three iPhones and what they told Pitchfork , “(too) much dumb shit to count really,” is a perfect introduction to Pond if you haven’t been following them since 2009′s “Psychedelic Mango.” File next to the Flaming Lips, Todd Rundgren and Supergrass.

||| Stream: “Waiting Around For Grace”

||| Live: Pond plays Oct. 31 at the Echo with Doctopus and Peter Bibby.  [click to continue…]

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Premiere: Arrica Rose, ‘Love You Like That’

by Kevin Bronson on October 24, 2014

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Arrica Rose has the vocal gravitas to inhabit any number of personas — rocker grrrl, pop diva, folk storyteller, indie confessionalist. The L.A.-based singer-songwriter displays much of that range on the new Arrica Rose & the …’s album “Wavefunction” (out Nov. 4 via pOprOck Records). The album, the follow-up to 2013′s “Lucky” EP, exhibits a striking duality, not just in songwriting tone but in the way it was produced and manufactured. Written between stints in the Bay Area and southern California, “Wavefunction” is an exercise in extremes, designed specially for vinyl — A-side vs. B-side, upbeat songs vs. downtempo. One song, “Oh the Day, Then the Night,” appears on both sides in drastically different articulations. The album was even produced and mastered in two ways, courtesy of Daniel Garcia in his downtown L.A. Radio Hill Recorders studio. There is a compressed version for those listen to music digitally and “High Dynamic Range Audio” version, which, the producer explains, leaves intact the music’s “intended dynamics.” No matter how you listen to it, the single “Love You Like That” is a brisk, horn-infused rocker that showcases “Wavefunction’s” calling card, Rose’s dynamic voice.

||| Stream: “Love You Like That”

||| Live: Arrica Rose & the …’s celebrate their album release with a show Dec. 12 at the Silverlake Lounge.

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