If ever there were a show worthy of exclamation points, it was Wildcat! Wildcat!’s homecoming gig Tuesday night at the El Rey Theatre. The band had done a slew of touring since the August release of their debut full-length “No Moon At All,” and with longer road trips on the horizon, the trio of Jesse Taylor, Michael Wilson and Jesse Carmichael were clearly buoyed to be playing their first major L.A. show since Feburary. Following a charimastic, loop-filled set from White Hinterland (the solo guise of Casey Dienel), Wildcat! Wildcat! played an hour-plus of psychedelic electro-pop, including the early songs that put them on the map, “Mr. Quiche” and “The Chief,” along their current single “Hero” and covers of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” and Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” They finished with “Marfas” and its big chorus, “You don’t have to be alone,” with the crowd’s bodies swaying and arms waving.
Let’s call the new single from L.A. trio Mini Mansions insurrectionist new wave — “Death Is a Girl” treats the ’80s as the distant memory they are rather than the here and now. A little bit dark, a little bit psychedelic and plenty propulsive, the song is the first taste of Mini Mansions’ much-anticipated sophomore album “The Great Pretenders,” due in the new year on T Bone Burnett’s Capitol Records-affiliated Electromagnectic Recordings. The band, of course, is helmed by Queens of the Stone Age bassist Michael Shuman, along with Zach Dawes and Tyler Parkford. They formed in 2009 and released their self-titled debut the following year. And if “Death Is a Girl” — out as a single this week b/w a cover of Sparks’ “Sherlock Holmes” — isn’t enough of a tease, there’s the news that both Brian Wilson and Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys guest on the full-length. Bring it on.
||| Stream: “Death Is a Girl”
||| Live: Mini Mansions play Jan. 28 at the Troubadour.
Two and a half years since their first Los Angeles show at Bardot, U.K. rockers Alt-J took the stage on Monday night at the Greek Theatre — now with a second album and a Mercury Prize under their belt. Although the band lost original bassist Gwil Sainsbury earlier in the year, they performed just has magnetically with touring bassist Cameron Knight in tow.
Backlit in a red and white lights, Alt-J opened the night with “Hunger Of The Pine” from the new album “This Is All Yours,” which was released last month, and “Fitzpleasure” from 2012′s “An Awesome Wave.” Their new material flowed well with the old and the band showed off more of their signature multi-textured sound [click to continue…]
► British singer Jessie Ware plays the Tower Theatre behind her new album “Tough Love,” out this week. [Check out "Say You Love Me"]
► Matisyahu visits Club Nokia behind his new album “Akeda,” with Cisco Adler and Radical Something supporting.
► TV On the Radio does a second night at the Mayan Theater, with Natsha Kmeto supporting.
► The Melvins and Le Butcherettes rock the Troubadour.
► And Kimbra plays the Roxy Theatre behind her album “Golden Echo,” with Empress Of supporting.
One-man show Mystery Skulls, aka Luis Dubuc, will release his debut album “Forever” on Oct. 27 via Warner, and there are several reasons to check it out. Following up his collaboration with Gavin Turek on the electro-disco gem “Pride,” Dubuc has revealed another pop number which features R&B singer Brandy and, naturally, the renowned Nile Rodgers of Chic. Whereas the headstrong EDM foundation of “Hellbent” (featuring Snowblood) may be too rave-worthy for some, “Number 1″ is an uplifting duet between Dubuc and Brandy that sparkles with spacey synths but grooves with old-school funk vibes reminiscent of the Jackson 5. With a sticky chorus and sweet message, it’s a sure thing on the dance floor. “Magic” from the forthcoming album will also feature Brandy and Rodgers.
||| Stream: “Number 1″ feat. Brandy and Nile Rodgers
||| Also: “Hellbent” feat. Snowblood
||| Live: Mystery Skulls continues his residency Thursday and Oct. 30 at Dirty Laundry in Hollywood.
Miami-bred, L.A.-based Rachel Goodrich has released two albums and an EP of retro-flavored pop bricolage, mining the guitar and piano licks of the ’60s and ’70s to make smart, stylish songs. She has now joined up with drummer Nabedi Osorio and bassist Eliana Athayde to form Rachel Goodrich & the Grrrls — a new album is in the works — and they star in the new video for “MonstA Mash,” a song from April’s “Baby, Now We’re Even” EP. And even if Halloween weren’t just around the corner, director Jack Henry Robbins’ video would qualify as bloody-good fun, if not a lost classic from the era of Big Hair. Filmed on VHS, it stars all three Grrrls, vampires, mummies and Frankenstein … and how about that hair?
||| Live: Rachel Goodrich & the Grrls wind up their October residency on Tuesday at Harvard & Stone. [click to continue…]
To call me [and this blog**] a fan of Kitchens Of Distinction would be a massive understatement. Infinitely deeper than the “shoegaze” and “dream-pop” mirages that led me their way, they remain at the very foundation of my musical influence. When songwriter and singer Patrick Fitzgerald recently opened the floor to a few questions regarding the archival release of a mysterious, long-shelved project with celestial singer-songwriter Heidi Berry, whom I had also crushed on during those awkward formative years, there was little hesitation.
Lost Girls materialized in 1997-98, after Fitzgerald left Kitchens of Distinction and Berry departed the 4AD label, for whom she recorded three albums after singing on the 1991 album “Blood” by This Mortal Coil. They worked on some songs, added Ashley Wood on guitar, Kim Smith on bass and Dave Morgan on drums and played some shows. A full album was recorded, and the single “Needle’s Eye” emerged in 1999. Then … nothing.
► Their album “Seeds” due out next month, TV on the Radio rocks the Fonda Theatre, with Natasha Kmeto opening.
► Banks does a second night at the Wiltern.
► Twenty years after the release of “Illmatic,” Nas is finishing up a tour that features a screening of the documentary “Nas: Time Is Illmatic,” along with a performance of the full album. Tongiht, he’s at the Orpheum Theatre.
► L.A. psych-rockers Fever the Ghost headline the Echo behind this year’s “Crab in Honey” EP, supported by Talk In Tongues and Deep Fields. Above, their video for “Source.”
► Packing an album’s worth of new songs, Eastern Conference Champions kick off a big night night rock at the Viper Room with an early set, followed by residents State to State, National Anthem and We Are Kings and Queens.
► And Matt Ellis celebrates the release of his new album “The Greatest Escape” with a show at Harvard & Stone, supported by Leggy Peggy.
Ryan Pollie is a modest man with a bold moniker. His self-titled debut “Los Angeles Police Department” (out now via Forged Artifacts and Chill Mega) was simple and unpretentious but warm and wonderfully emotional. The video for “Enough is Enough” and its hazy, lazy, sunny combination of Pollie peeking through some tree branches, picking some fruit and playing guitar all by his lonesome in the midst of green foliage conveys a similar tone. The track, which we heard last year along with “The Only One,” swirls a little more when paired with the sun-filtered clip and since LAPD songs are rarely over three minutes, it’s over almost as soon as it’s begun. It’s kind of like your first summer crush; those feelings may have been fleeting, but they sure felt good.
||| Live: Los Angeles Police Department plays Dec. 5 at the Echo with Avi Buffalo.
Our fever had hardly worn off from last fall’s debut “Call Yourself a Lover” when Pr0files released a follow-up single “Luxury” this summer. The duo of singer-keyboardist Lauren Pardini and producer-guitarist Danny Sternbaum keep the vibe dark and sexy with third outing “Forgive,” released today. The smoldering track sounds like a lost ’80s classic, boasting a ticklish rhythm and dark sheen. Live, the duo is all smoke machines and mystery, but here they find a clarity in absolution.
||| Stream: “Forgive”
||| Live: Pr0files does an in-store at Touch Vinyl on Friday.
Join Kevin Bronson every Sunday at 9 p.m. Pacific time for the L.A. Buzz Bands Show on KCSN (88.5 FM).
The long-running Buzz Bands LA Show — streaming weekly on the Internet since 2006 — has a new home on The Independent FM. Tune in at 11 a.m. Pacific time every Friday for two hours of SoCal-bred music.