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Stream: Nightmare and the Cat, ‘Desert Heir’

by Kevin Bronson on July 22, 2014

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The most remarkable quality about “Simple,” the debut album out today from Los Angeles quintet Nightmare and the Cat, is how the colliding sensibilities of brothers Django and Sam Stewart find some sort of sonic detente. When the sons of Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) and Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama) relinquished their respective solo projects and got together over three years ago, it didn’t seem like a match made in heaven — with older brother Sam embracing Britpop-inspired guitar rock and young Django playing lothario-in-training as a bad-boy crooner. With bandmates Claire Ace, Scott Henson and Spike Phillips, though, the Stewarts have made a never-boring album that roars with bombast as often as it caresses with intimacy. “Simple” the rare major-label (Capitol) debut in which the bosses seemed not to insist that their charges just do one thing. So you have the arena-ready title track next to the lush, cascading “Goodbye So Many Times” next to scratchy, vaguely retro “Desert Heir.” Never lacking in sticky choruses or prickly romance, “Simple” is simply so much fun.

||| Stream: “Desert Heir”

||| Live: Nightmare and the Cat celebrate their album release Wednesday night with a headlining show at the Roxy.

||| Previously: “Undercover,” “Simple,” live in Chinatown, live at Gary Baseman’s House Party, “The Missing Year”

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Ears Wide Open: Strangeheart

by Kevin Bronson on July 22, 2014

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Twice through “Common Theme,” the debut album by Strangeheart, you don’t want to curse the L.A. quartet for adding to the vast ocean of formulaic synth-pop dominating the indie marketplace so much as you just want to curse the formula. To their credit, the foursome of Jeff Thompson, Brandon Queen, James Longstreet and Michael Carlito has fashioned perfectly serviceable, hummable pop ditties in the vein of so many doing the same. If only there were something “strange” about them. This is the sound of water being treaded.

||| Stream: “Twice the Man” and “How to Feel Right”

||| Live: Strangeheart plays tonight at the Echo along with Cymbals, Wunder Wunder and Roses.

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What’s up on a terrific Tuesday:

► With “Hungry Ghosts” — their first new album in four years — on the way in October, OK Go headlines the Troubadour. DJ Myles Hendrik sets the stage.
Man or Astro-Man, who have a new album titled “Defcon 5…4…3…2…1″ on the way, play the Roxy Theatre, supported by Sallie Ford and WRAY.
► By now you have probably seen Hawaiian singer-songwriter Kawehi’s loop-tastic cover of “Heart Shaped Box.” [And if you haven't, see above.] This month she released her EP “Robot Heart,”, and tonight she brings her skills to the Bootleg HiFi, where’s she’s joined by Ray & Remora and Chase Cohl.
Goo Goo Dolls head up the lineup at the Greek Theatre, along with Daughtry and Plain White T’s.
► U.K. quartet Cymbals, on their first U.S. tour, visit the Echo, supported by Wunder Wunder, Strangeheart and Roses.

Also:
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Stream: GRMLN, ‘Jaded’

by Kevin Bronson on July 21, 2014

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Yoodoo Park has graduated from mischief to mayhem, at least sonically. The singer-guitarist, working under the name GRMLN, emerged in 2012 with an EP of retro-pop that, compared to his forthcoming sophomore album “Soon Away” (due Sept. 16 on Carpark Records), sounds like a batch of demos. In between was last year’s full-length “Empire,” an eruption of edgy power-pop as if Park were channeling the guitar-pop forefathers of the late 1970s and ’80s. GRMLN’s sound has made it to the pop-punk ’90s now — at least, the guitars are bigger and more aggro — although the Japan-born, southern California-bred songwriter professes to have been inspired by the teaching of Krishna in making this album. “Jaded” speaks to that in a roundabout way, in its own angst-y way; we’ll interpret the chorus to be instructive, anyway. And probably be tempted to shout along with it.

||| Stream: “Jaded”

||| Live: GRMLN plays Saturday at Los Globos.

||| Previously: “Teenage Rhythm” video, “Teenage Rhythm,” “Coral”

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Stream: Dive Index, ‘Counting Umbrellas’

by Kevin Bronson on July 21, 2014

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And now for a departure from all those frisky indie-pop “songs of the summer” from the past couple of months: Dive Index is the work of composer/producer Will Thomas, whose previous albums have featured collaborations with Joseph Arthur, Mark Gardener of Ride, Ian Masters of Pale Saints and Natalie Walker, among others. Dive Index’s new “Lost in the Pressure” (due Sept. 30 via Neutral Music) offers minimalist, deceptively fragile compositions of guitar, cello, keyboards, samples, percussion and voice, perfect for solitary moments and rainy-day meditations. The albums features collaborations with two co-writers, L.A. singer-songwriter Simone White, herself the author of three serenely lovely albums, and NYC cellist/vocalist Isaiah Gage. White’s plaintive vocals in “Counting Umbrellas” capture what it’s like to feel alone, in a crowd.

||| Stream: “Counting Umbrellas” and “Rewind Your Patience”

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Stream: Weezer, ‘Back to the Shack’

by Kevin Bronson on July 21, 2014

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“I didn’t realize I needed you so much,” Rivers Cuomo sings in the new Weezer single, “Back to the Shack,” almost apologizing to fans for sounding like Weezer in an era when sounding like Weezer might get you three minutes on the Flashback Noon Hour show. It’s the first taste of the quartet’s new album “Everything Will Be Alright In The End” (due Sept. 30), its first release in four years. With producer Ric Ocasek (the Cars) back at the helm, Weezer ostensibly returns to its “Blue Album” days — ”rocking out like it’s ’94,” Cuomo says in the single, with bandmates Brian Bell, Scott Shriner and Patrick Wilson conspiring to make the crunch that made the band FM favorites. All well and good, but there’s a fine line here between offering a rallying cry for getting back to basics and simply crying “Get off my lawn!” Maybe it’s just having heard so much falsetto ’n’ synth, but we’ll take it. “Let’s turn up the radio / Turn off those stupid singing shows,” pleads Cuomo, maybe too busy having “settled down with my girl” to know that it’s often six of one, half dozen of another.

||| Stream: “Back to the Shack” after the jump

||| Live: Weezer plays Aug. 31 at the Made in America Festival in downtown L.A.

Photo by Emily Shur

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Monday’s show lineup is kind of like an action movie:

Mötley Crüe visits the Hollywood Bowl on “The Final Tour – All Bad Things Must Come to an End” (their words, not ours). Alice Cooper opens.
► Scottish rockers Twin Atlantic play the Troubadour as they build toward the release of their third album, “Great Divide,” on Aug. 18. Kiven and Badflower open. That’s Twin Atlantic’s video for “Herat and Soul,” above.
Nico Vega rocks the Roxy, supported by Queen Caveat and Dark Waves.
► Singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright, with some special guests, visits the Hotel Café on night that also features Nobel and Violet Sion.
► Swedish pop singer Erik Hassle and U.K. rockers the Crookes are joined by Bootstraps and James Byous at It’s a School Night at Bardot.
► And it’s another Monday of roaring residencies: LA Font at the Satellite (supported by So Many Wizards, Heathers and Girlpool); Hi Ho Silver Oh at the Bootleg HiFi (with Wistappear, Irontom and Iska Dhaaf); Corners at the Echo (supported by Jeffertitti’s Nile, Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel and Levitation Room); and Island Apollo at the Silverlake Lounge (with City City and Tolan Shaw).

Also:
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The Week Ahead: July 21-27

by Anna Acosta on July 21, 2014

Incoming: Erik Hassle, Mötley Crüe, Lady Gaga, Martha Wainwright, Twin Atlantic, Nico Vega, Goo Goo Dolls, Kawehi, Cymbals, Triple Dippers, Honey County, Gold Star, OK Go, Man or Astro-Man, Nightmare and the Cat, Tori Amos, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Kaneholler, Hot Karate, The Crookes, White Lung, the Frights, A Place to Be, A Million Billon Dying Suns, the Gallery, Brian Whelan and the Cardinal Sinners, Fuzz, Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, Say Anything, John Mayall, the Neighbourhood, Soulja Boy, the Dirty Nil, Wages, White Fence, The Sound of Tomorrow, Matt Pryor, Draag, Fred Page, Kevin Gates, Wolfmother, Zig Zags, RL Grime, Zomboy, LeAnn Rimes, Joyce Manor, Cayucas, Dierks Bentley, Gloria Estefan, Luluc, Ishi, Municipal Waste, ACIDIC, Jon Brion, Kitten, Jchacha, Donavon Frankenreiter, Rocky Dawuni, Don McClean, the Go-Go’s, the Internet, Lucent Dossier Experience, Foreigner, Styx, Gloria Estefan, Ramon Ayala, Obits, the Sloths, Jon Hopkins, the Clientele, GRMLN, Kiven, Hollows, Decker, Au Revoir Simone, The White Buffalo, The Doobie Brothers, the Cult, Babymetal, Paglicacci & Cavalleria Rusticana, Cotton Jones, Agastock, Magik Markers, Flaamingos, PJ Morton, Emilys Army, the Milky Way, International Pop Overthrow

Above: That’s Babymetal‘s music video for “Megitsune” ((メギツネ; “Female Fox”). The Japanese vocal and dance trio, whose music is a fusion of metal and idol, plays their first ever headlining show in L.A. Babymetal stops by the Fonda on Sunday in support of their self-titled debut.

Our staff picks of the week:

@KRBronson recommends: Celebrate the release of Nightmare and the Cat’s debut album “Simple” as the Stewart brothers, Django and Sam, and gang headline the Roxy Theatre on Wednesday night with a supporting lineup of Max and the Moon and the Peach Kings.

@Seraphina_L recommends: It’ll be a fun night at the Greek Theatre as the Neighbourhood takes the stage with Danny Brown and White Arrows in tow on Thursday. If you need a little more rock and perhaps a bit of dream-pop then White Fence and Dream Boys at the Echo might be more of an appropriate fix.

After the jump, the week ahead:
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L.A. Buzz Bands Show, tonight at 9 on KCSN

by Kevin Bronson on July 20, 2014

KCSNnew-large copyPut a cherry on top of your delectable weekend by joining me at 9 tonight on KCSN (88.5 FM, streaming at KCSN.org) for this week’s L.A. Buzz Bands Show. I’ll have new tunes from Francisco the Man, John Gold, Rocco DeLuca, the Bots and Dorothy, along with even newer music from Popheart, Paper Pilots and Seasons. And in case I don’t say this often enough, thanks for getting behind listener-supported FM radio — without those pesky commercials, I’m able to pack more songs into the L.A. Buzz Bands hour than any other show of its kind. After the jump, the playlist:

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Your Sunday show options:

► The second day of Viva Pomona goes off at the Glass House with a great lineup highlighted by the Thee Oh Sees, Crystal Antlers [pictured], Fuzz, the Vim Dicta, the Dead Ships, Chicano Batman, the Lovely Bad Things and GRMLN, along with Terry Malts, Summer Vacation, Sea Lions and more.
Jimmy Cliff and Shaggy hold forth on what promises to be a special night at the Hollywood Bowl.
► Honey-voiced singer Leslie Stevens, back from a hiatus, does a solo turn at Grand Ole Ecvho at the Echo, which kicks off at 3 p.m. and features the Sunset Drifters, Hearthache Sisters and Kyle McNeill.
► Veteran songwriter Peter Himmelman plays at Sunday brunch show at the Federal Bar in North Hollywood, with Eric D. Johnson also performing.
► And Pennywise does the second of two nights at the House of Blues Sunset Strip behind their new album “Yesterdays.”

Also:
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