“I’m not a flag waver,” insisted Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson at the Wiltern on Saturday night as fans held out small Union Jack flags. Last year, England’s quintessential lad-rockers released their fifth studio album “Education, Education, Education & War,” but it’s still their first album “Employment” that packs the biggest live punch.
Vanessa Long calls the often-mystical, always-clever songs she makes as Cillie Barnes “gyp-hop” — sung and sung-spoken meditations that have the quality of diary entries. Her downtempo new single “Symmetry,” part of a small collection “The Friendly Witch” that she is releasing this week, feels like she’s letting you in on a secret. “I wrote ‘Symmetry’ as a sort of stream of consciousness … about this guy who I had a ‘Binder-Crush’ on for a while,” she says. “I call men like this guy ‘Binder-Crushes’ because they remind me of someone I probably would have had on my binder growing up: one-dimensional, protected by plastic, someone I could carry around and put all my stuff into for awhile, knowing full well there was no way whatsoever for us to exist as a real thing in real life.” The song was one of several she recorded at Omaha’s ARC studios with Bright Eyes members Nate Walcott and Mike Mogis, penned, she says, while imagining a “dude coming through in the hazy distance … made up of licorice and lapis lazulis and silk worms and flannels in the summer.” Fanciful to be sure, but we’d love to see the whole binder.
||| Stream: “Symmetry”
||| Live: Cillie Barnes has the Monday night residency at the Satellite in May, kicking off May 4 with Sun Drug, Draemings, the Grand Southern and a DJ set from Superhumanoids.
There’s nothing like some projectile vomiting to announce your long-awaited third album. That’s a disclaimer for the video above, “New Coke,” which is the first song to emerge from Echo Park’s experimental noise band HEALTH‘s new album, “Death Magic,” their first album since 2009′s “Get Color.” Since then, they recorded the soundtrack to the video game “Max Payne 3,” released a couple of stand-alone tracks in “Goth Star” and “USA Boys,” and played festivals across the globe, but it’s been six years since their last full-length. Having enlisted the help of Mars Volta engineer Lars Stalfors, Kanye West engineer Andrew Dawson and the British electronic artist The Haxan Cloak, “New Coke” shows their sound maturing with more electronic texture, but not deviating from their dark, signature soundscape of hypnotic melodies and intriguing noise bursts. In the video, drummer BJ runs shirtless through the night, while fellow band members Jake, John, and Jupiter party at The Lash until Jupiter makes a break for the bathroom and blows all types of chunks in slow-motion for a beautiful and unsettling 58 seconds with the majesty of a John Woo action sequence, followed by some more hurling and information about the album. The twelve-track “Death Magic” is due out Aug. 7 via Loma Vista. Let’s hope they start ripping up the Echo again really soon. It’s been too long.
Since they debuted over four years ago, L.A. duo the Young Romans have dispensed their bright, nimble indie-pop on a full-length and a couple of EPs, and seen their work used in a host of TV shows and films, including “Drop Dead Diva,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “the Fosters,” “The Lying Game” and “Salmon Fishing In The Yemen.” The latest single from singer-pianist Brad Hooks and Chilean singer-guitarist Sari Mellafe is the propulsive “Five Exit Town,” which gets a not-for-for-photosensitive video treatment from director Jesse Thomas. The song is from the duo’s new EP “Bells and Sirens,” which again showcases the Young Romans’ big, evocative choruses and atmospherics, which are appealing if you’re from the big city or even a one-exit town.
► Rapper-singer-poet-activist Saul Williams [pictured], whose new (Justin Warfield-produced) album “Martyr Loser King” comes out in July and who recently dropped a collaboration with Emily Kokal of Warpaint, headlines the Roxy Theatre. Sons of an Illustrious Father open.
► Crush_DLX, the new project from Pop Levi and (whatever she’s famous for) Bunny Holiday, plays at It’s a School Night at Bardot, which also features the U.S. debuts of London’s Nothing But Thieves and Canada’s Nuela Charles, along with L.A. trio James Davis.
► Big finales in store for this month’s residencies — Odessa, whose debut album comes out Tuesday, plays the Bootleg, joined Omar Velasco, Johnzo West & Wayward Souls and Among Savages; Dorothy at the Satellite, supported by Dekades and Wake Up Lucid; Winter at the Echo (with Sea Lions, Triptides and Black Sea); and Barrows at the Silverlake Lounge (joined by Sun Like Drugs, Qunq and Facial).
► And Zane Carney headlines the Troubadour, supported by the Never Ending and Taylor Locke.
Incoming: Desert Daze, Zane Carney, Saul Williams, Odessa, Dorothy, Winter, Barrows, Nothing But Thieves, Matt & Kim, Waxahatchee, Clockwise, From Indian Lakes, Robert Francis, Jose Gonzalez, Milo Greene, Magic Wands, the Orb, the Romany Rye, Mastodon, Distant Cousins, Buck 65, the Soft Moon, Sleater-Kinney, Keren Ann, Aluna George, Big Data, They Might Be Giants, Kinky, Nightwish, Mikal Cronin, Kodak to Graph, Dan Deacon, Tennis, East India Youth, Gardens & Villa, Manic Street Preachers, OK Go, the Decemberists, Oddisee, Dustbowl Revival, the Bright Light Social Hour, All Time Low, Translator
Above: That’s Matt & Kim‘s video for “World Is Ending,” a track off their latest album “New Glow.” They stop by for three SoCal dates this week: Tuesday and Wednesday at the Fonda and Thursday at the Observatory. Waters supports all three nights.
Our staff picks of the week:
@KRBronson recommends: Feeling pensive? You could do no better than either of José González’s shows Wednesday and Thursday at the Regent; the Swedish singer-songwriter is touring behind his latest album “Vestiges & Claws.” Feeling punk? Then you could do no better than either of Sleater-Kinney’s shows on Thursday and Friday at the Palladium; the trio is playing behind “No Cities to Love,” their first album in 10 years.
On Sundays like this, I just wanna jump up and down and celebrate like a guy who just hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. I just might, too (although there won’t be any video), when I kick off the L.A Buzz Bands Show at 9 tonight on KCSN (88.5 FM, streaming at KCSN.org). It’s something about all the new music I have to share, starting with the eagerly anticipated new single from The Moth & the Flame. Besides that, I have tunes from Tyler Lyle, Alexa Melo, Dutch Party, Cillie Barnes, the Milk Carton Kids, Gold Star, Albert and Kyle Krone, along with a tasty morsel from mystery band Pooltheory. So join me at 9 p.m., won’t you? Below, tonight’s playlist:
Damien Rice needed only his voice, guitar and storytelling abilities to hold rapt a sold-out, season-opening crowd at the Greek Theatre on Friday night. Rice, who returned in November with the Rick Rubin-produced “My Favourite Faded Fantasy,” his first album in eight years, performed two hours, telling stories about his native Ireland and inspiring many a sing-along, including dividing the crowd into three parts during “Volcano” and singing the fourth part himself. The 41-year-old played six songs off his new album, and five from his 2002 solo debut “O,” including “Delicate” and “Amie” in the middle of the set preceding “Volcano.” The highlight came at the end, when a spectator who was singing along loudly to “Long Long Way” was invited onstage to join in. He finally did, with Rice and singer-songwriter Markéta Irglová (one-half of Swell Season, who opened the night) joining in.
► It’s Day 2 of Stagecoach, with Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Gregg Allman, ZZ Top and more at the Empire Polo Field in Indio. [Set times at the end of this post.]
► The Kaiser Chiefs rock the Wiltern behind their latest album “Education, Education, Education & War,” with We Are Scientists opening. Above, the video for “Falling Awake.”
► Punk agitators the Dead Milkmen play the Troubadour behind thei rlatest albu last year’s “Pretty Music for Pretty People.”
► If an intimate show’s more your style, Pete Yorn does a solo thing at the Roxy Theatre.
► The 3rd Light Up the Blues concert, a benefit for Autism Speaks, brings Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Shawn Colin, the White Buffalo, Steve Earle and Chris Stills to the Pantages
► Athens, Ga., quartet Reptar visits the Bootleg HiFi, supported by Sandy’s.
► At the Regent Theater, it’s a big night of rap led by Curren$y, who’s joined by Ty, Le$, Young Roddy and Corner Boy P.
► And for you “Adventures of Pete & Pete” fans, Polaris plays the Echoplex, supported by Upset.
Join Kevin Bronson every Sunday at 9 p.m. Pacific time for the L.A. Buzz Bands Show on KCSN (88.5 FM, streaming at KCSN.org).
The long-running Buzz Bands LA Show — weekly on the Internet since 2006 — streams two hours of local music at 11 a.m. on Fridays on The Independent FM. It's rebroadcast at 7 p.m. Tuesdays.