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Ears Wide Open: Golden Coast

by Kevin Bronson on May 4, 2015

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Like a lot of would-be “songs of the summer,” Golden Coast’s synth-spiked ditties have the staying power of a Sno-Cone. (Note to self: Try to recall 2014’s “songs of the summer.”) But damned if they aren’t catchy — full of mood-elevating hooks and falsetto that are completely of the moment, as long your moment lasts 3 1/2 minutes. The songs are the work of Denny White and Steven Mudd; the former released a solo EP “Colors” (a collaboration with OneRepublic’s Brent Kutzel) in 2013 and has co-written tunes with several artists. Five singles in, Golden Coast has proven they can churn out agile, buoyant pop songs with the best of ’em.

||| Stream: “Take You Away,” “Who We Are” and “Break My Fall”

||| Live: Golden Coast kicks off a residency tonight at the Bootleg HiFi, supported by Act As If and Armors.

||| Also: Watch the video for “Dream and an MPC,” directed an animated by Pixel Park:

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Splash House has announced its pool party-appropriate lineup of electronic musicians and DJs for its poolside parties this summer in Palm Springs. Cashmere Cat, Thomas Jack, Bakermat and RAC are among the attractions for the June 13-14 event, while Tokimonsta, Klingande, Star Slinger and Trippy Turtle will plug in the weekend of Aug. 8-9.

The parties rotate between three venues — the Saguaro Hotel, Hacienda Beach Club and Palm Springs Hilton — with shuttle buses in between. Tickets are sold either as part of travel packages or as general admission.

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Stream: Monarch, ‘Snow White’

by Kevin Bronson on May 4, 2015

MONARCH GROUP PHOTO

L.A.-based quartet Monarch debuted in January with the bursting-with-bombast single “Stay.” The second volley from the band — singer Brennan Strawn, guitarist Taylor Johnson, keyboardist Brian Willett and drummer Joel Plotnik — is “Snow White,” a down-tempo meditation articulating a heart full of regrets. It’s produced by Brent Kutzle (the OneRepublic bassist) and appears on the foursome’s forthcoming EP “Apollo.” Theirs is the sound of the ’80s inflated by sumptuous yet meticulous production, which, we suspect, is coming to a large theater near you.

||| Stream: “Snow White”

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Video: Infantree, ‘Changing Hands’

by Kevin Bronson on May 4, 2015

Roots-rockers Infantree are making their new album … in the most literal sense. The Valley-bred quartet, now independent after releasing a couple of full-lengths on Neil Young’s Vapor Records, recorded their new album “Return to Zero” themselves. And now the band — Alex Vojdani, Donald Fisher, Matt Kronish and Jordan Avesar — are hand-cutting their own vinyl, including the new 7-inch “Changing Hands” (b/w “For My Lady”). On their website, the band explains that last year they visited Ulrich Sourisseau in Germany, in the process acquiring a device that cuts vinyl. “A vinyl record is long lasting, warm, and something to be cared for … it is the only physical format worth worrying about,” the band writes. “This being said, we have put all our attention and resources into making sure we can always produce vinyls. Now, after a whole lot of time and love and very precise measurements, we are ready to begin production. … Each record is a master cut, done in real-time, with great care. Meaning, if the album takes 45 minutes to listen to, it took us at least 45 minutes to cut.” “Return to Zero” is already available digitally; it was recorded in DIY fashion at Avesar’s house and finds the quartet channeling ’70s blues-rock with typically fine harmonies.

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“People aren’t getting picked off by bears in the very very back?” Colin Meloy asked the capacity crowd at the Greek Theatre on Saturday night.

It was typical good humor from the Decemberists frontman, who emerged on stage dressed in a sharp gray suit, holding a glass of wine, as one by one the remaining six members of the Portland band joined him onstage before opening their set with “Cavalry Captain” from “What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World,” their seventh album, released this year.

||| Photos by Michelle Shiers

The stage backdrop matched the album artwork and was lit bright enough for patrons at the back to catch each time Meloy held his guitar up high. While there wasn’t a huge amount of interaction between the musicians, it was obvious that every member of the Decemberists were well in tune with one another as they performed seamlessly through older tracks “Calamity Song” and “Billy Liar.”

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Los Angeles duo The Bad Years, the project of Sami Akbari and Aaron Mort, put out their debut double A-side single in the fall, and are back with the eclectic but cohesive four-track “Beautiful Liar” EP, which is a departure from their previous material insofar as expanding their sonic palette and switching up their tempo. A reverby guitar melody kicks off the title track, a bluesy pop number with lovely she-he harmonies about someone lying to everyone including themselves to avoiding admitting they need to change, and with the lyrics, “Giving up feels so good / When your lover holds you like they should / Oh my god, yes you are a beautiful liar.” “Pieces” is a mellow ditty with a retro sheen about depending on someone else to pull yourself together, with Akbari’s harmonizing over Mort’s hypnotic late-’60s-esque riffs providing one of the sweetest moments in the collection. “Giving Up” unfolds as “a conversation between two lovers figuring out what it would take and what would be given up in order to be happy being together,” with the two exchanging sentiments against a Fleetwood Mac-like lush and moody backdrop of strings both classical and rock ’n’ roll as her voice ends up dualing with his guitar. The closer “After Me,” on the other hand, is a catchy affair about not wanting to get out of bed that sounds like a Lykke Li / Ryan Adams collaboration backed by the Gorillaz. The band is working on more material with the hope of releasing further singles, remixes and at least another EP before the year’s end, but until then, the “Beautiful Liar” EP is out May 12.

||| Stream: The “Beautiful Liar” EP

||| Previously: Ears Wide Open

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Ain’t gonna make no joke at May 4 here, no I absolutely will not:

Cillie Barnes [see “Symmetry” kicks off a residency at the Satellite, supported by Sun Drug, Draemings and the Grand Southern.
► Alt-rockers The Moth & the Flame and indie-pop outfit Freedom Fry are sharing this month’s residency at the Echo. On opening night, Mount Saint opens.
► Jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington stages a performance of his new album “The Epic” at the Regent Theater backed by a 10-piece, a string section and a choir. Miguel Atwood-Ferguson conduct the latter and Low End Theory’s Daddy Kev DJs.
► Indie-pop duo Golden Coast has the residency at the Bootleg HiFi, with Act As If and Armors supporting.
► At the Silverlake Lounge, it’s singer-songwriter Mesmi, joined by Maxie Dean and Vylet at the Silverlake Lounge
► And electro-pop quartet Mansions on the Moon heads up the lineup at It’s a School Night at Bardot, joined by the Golden Hippie, Walker Lukens and Julie Mintz. Above, MOTM’s video for “Somewhere Else Tonight.”

Also:

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The Week Ahead: May 4-10

by Anna Acosta on May 4, 2015

Incoming: Wango Tango, Cillie Barnes, The Moth & the Flame, Freedom Fry, Golden Coast, Mesmi, Los Lobos, Kodaline, the Moody Blues, MS MR, Thee Oh Sees, Reggie Watts, Gold Star, Other Lives, Mika, Max & the Moon, Gal Pals, Gaby Moreno, Puro Instinct, Steve Poltz, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Shlohmo, Esperanza Spalding, Local H, Ty Segall, Cartel, Coheed & Cambria, the Acid, Purity Ring, Stephin Merritt, Dan Bern, the Mowgli’s, Rat Fist, Bear on Fire, Alexa Melo, Jessie Baylin, London Richards, Van Dyke Parks, the Sonics, New Kids on the Block, Joan Armatrading, Destructo, the California Honeydrops, Monophonics, Yellowcard, No Parents, Grant-Lee Phillips, Giraffage, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars

Above: The video for Jessie Baylin’s “Creepers (Young Love),” which appears on her new album “Dark Place,” which was recorded with producer Richard Swift and came out in April. Baylin plays the Troubadour on Friday night.

Our six-pack of shows for your week:

Other Lives’ new album “Rituals” is a masterpiece on par with 2011’s “Tamer Animals.” They play the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Wednesday and Club Bahia on Thursday.
► Best Cinco de Mayo outing is the benefit concert for public radio station KLCS at the Regent Theater with a lineup of legends — Los Lobos along with Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin With the Guilty Ones.
► Electro wizard Shlohmo is doing full-band shows in support of his shadowy new album “Dark Red,” and he headlines the Fonda Theatre on Thursday.
Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields is doing two nights (Friday and Saturday) at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever. Joined by bandmate Sam Davol, he will perform an acoustic set of selected songs — exactly 26 songs with each song title starting with a different letter of the alphabet and running in alphabetical order.
► Not a concert at all, but … The Regent Theater hosts a screening Thursday night of “Heaven Adores You – About the Life & Music of Elliott Smith,” which is followed by a Chris Douridas-moderated Q&A with the film’s director and producers.
► And the up-and-comer of the week: Gold Star, the nom de tune of Marlon Rabenreither, whose debut album of vintage Americana, “Dark Days,” comes out in June. Gold Star kicks off a free residency Tuesday at Harvard & Stone.

Below, the week ahead:

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Spring has sprung, and that means it’s time for the semiannual KCSN Pledge Drive. For this week’s drive, we’re keeping the chatter to a minimum so we can keep the music at a maximum — on tonight’s L.A. Buzz Bands Show, which kicks off at 9 p.m., I’ll be telling you briefly about all the benefits of becoming a contributing member (including scoring a copy of the KCSN Sampler Vol. VIII). But I’ll still pack a lot of music into the hour, including new songs from Cayucas, the Moth & the Flame, Gold Star, Billy Harvey, Irontom, Alexa Melo and Fool’s Gold. Oh, and I have a fantastic “Flashback Track” as well. If over the past four years, the L.A. Buzz Bands has touched you in some way, it’d be great to hear from you during this pledge drive. Click the link to donate online, or call 1-800-795-KCSN.

Below, tonight’s playlist, which will be updated during the show:

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Not every band will allow time in their show for the audience to take selfies with the members on stage. But electro-pop group Big Data are conscious of such social trends and obsessions with technology.

Powered by NYC’s Alan Wilkis who plays, produces, and mixes everything on the recorded tracks, Big Data performed live as a quintet on Friday night at the Troubadour. Three of the members were in white suits while Wilkis and vocalist Liz Ryan were in black.

||| Photos by Michelle Shiers

The opened their set with “The Business Of Emotion,” which featured White Sea (aka Morgan Kibby of M83), then moved into “Bombs Over Brooklyn: from their debut EP “1.0.” Wilkis moved forward and backward on the stage swiftly as Liz Ryan crouched in front of the first row lifting her sunglasses to see the audience.

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