FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) emerged a couple of years ago to showcase emerging artists of all styles from the L.A. underground. It’s co-presented by the Echo, DoLA, Origami Vinyl and Buzz Bands LA. More artists are expected to be added to the event, which kicks off at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10.
On their debut album last year, L.A. duo Howls proved moody and brooding. On the follow-up single “White Noise” (out next week via Buddyhead), co-conspirators Annalee Fery and Christian Stone move from the dreamy and dark to the brighter lights of the disco. The pulsating single was produced by Jon Siebels, the EVe 6 guitarist who was once a bandmate of Fery and Stone in Monsters Are Waiting. The song, says Fery, was “a staple of our live show as a guitar-based thing. We tried recording it this way but we weren’t happy with the results.” Enter Siebels. “”He stripped away all the ‘traditional’ instrumentation and really focused on synths and programmed drums instead,” she says. “Suddenly the song made sense.”
CRSSD Festival — the new electronic music event co-promoted by Goldenvoice and the year-old San Diego company FNGRS CRSSD — has added a handful of artists to the lineup for the inaugural affair at Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego on March 14 and 15.
Headlined by Empire of the Sun and Chromeo, the lineup now includes a DJ set from LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons, Amtrac, Kaytranada and Trippy Turtle, among others. Above, the updated flyer.
Two takeaways from Mini Mansions‘ too-brief headlining show on Wednesday night at the Troubadour: 1) It’s a disservice to pigeonhole the L.A. trio as a “psych-pop” band. 2) People really love Alex Turner.
The L.A.-based trio of Zach Dawes, Tyler Parkford and Michael Shuman unleashed an audacious display of their forward-thinking pop in front of a packed house, harmonizing like guys worthy of having Brian Wilson guest on their album (he does) and rocking like people who know how to command an arena (they do; Shuman is the bassist of Queens of the Stone Age and Mini Mansions opened last year on Arctic Monkeys’ tour).
On her first two albums, including last spring’s stellar “All My Love in Half Light,” Melissa Ann Sweat — dba Lady Lazarus — wrestled with her demons in wobbly, piano-based songs notable for their stark honesty and fragility. The title track from her new album, “Miracles” (due March 3), suggests that her clouds have lifted. “I believe in miracles,” she sings buoyantly over plinks from her signature baby grand and gentle orchestration arranged by Gary Mallaber (who has played and/or recorded with the Steve Miller Band, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen and a host of other luminaries). Sweat reports that she has relocated to Joshua Tree from Los Angeles, part of her ongoing effort, she says “to orient myself in a positive direction — which has come to a sort of fruition in this moment in my life and in my music.”
A few weeks ago, we retraced the career steps of Scottish singer Terry McDermott, onetime frontman of the star-crossed rock band Driveblind who went on to settle in New Orleans, form the band Lotus Crush and gain prominence as a contestant on Season 3 of “The Voice.” Lotus Crush — McDermott along with Candlebox’s Peter Klett and Scott Mercado, and guitarist Island Styles — make stadium-sized rock songs, the kind that used to warrant big-budget music videos. And that’s what the band has for the single, “Hearts and Minds.” Director Tylor Jones’s mini-movie for the song stars C. Thomas Howell and imagines a world where a corporate-backed totalitarian government hunts down youthful rebels. Says McDermott in the press release: “We are pushed and pulled every minute of the day. Whether we know it or not, we are in a war for our hearts and minds constantly.” The video premiered at Lotus Crush’s gig last week at Molly Malone’s, with Howell in attendance, and McDermott joked, “One thing I love about it is that we’re only in it for 15 seconds.” Lotus Crush’s full-length, “Rabbit Hole,” is due out this spring.
Following the release of his wonderfully sharp and thought-provoking album “Dark Comedy” last year, Los Angeles rapper Open Mike Eagle is back with the six-track “A Special Episode Of” EP, due out next week via Mello Music Group, and featuring production from Exile and Gold Panda. The first track to surface is “Raps For When It’s Just You And The Abyss,” with a bleak and muddled beat from Lo Phi that swirls with the distortion of a filtered thunderstorm. Mike’s rhymes continue to be heady and smart, name-checking everything from “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” ISIS, R. Kelly videos and Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” in the first verse alone, then dropping lines like, “I’m so right-brained, I can’t grow an even beard / I wonder if I balance sh*t out would things seem as weird;” “Eyes mad low, grin wide just like a cheshire cat / Got four dimensional skin, my chin is a tesseract;” and even, “Some folks leave rap and never look back / If you tried it yourself, you woulda understood that / Make films, play ball, write, or even cook crack / My famous homies picked the right sh*t to get good at.” The track even flips the chorus from Broken Social Scene’s “Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl,” reinterpreting Emily Haines’ high-pitched lyrics “Used to be one of the rotten ones and I liked you for that / Now you’re all gone, with your makeup on, and you’re not coming back” into his even-keeled tenor delivery. Please keep ‘em coming.
||| Stream: “Raps For When It’s Just You And The Abyss”
||| Live: Open Mike Eagle plays Jewel’s Catch One on Feb. 28 with THEESatisfaction and Erik Blood.
► Patti Smith does the first of two nights at the Theatre at Ace Hotel.
► Sam Smith holds forth at the Forum.
► Body/Head, the collaboration between Kim Gordon and Bill Nace, visits the Echo, with Syko Friend and Eloe Ornoe opening.
► Crash Kings headline the Satellite, supported by My Goodness and Badflower at the Satellite
► The Haden Triplets bring their sibling harmonies to the Echo for a show benefiting TIOH. Alejandro Pelayo and Janitor support.
► New Zealand electro-pop singer Brooke Fraser headlines the Fonda Theatre behind her latest album “Brutal Romantic,” with Dark Waves opening.
► And country singer Sam Hunt kicks off his “Lipstick Graffiti Tour,” supporting his new album “Montevallo,” at the Troubadour. Native Run opens.
The L.A.-based duo Bouquet features the electronic explorations of Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs and Max Foreman; the former once fronted the Bay Area folk-noir outfit the Finches, the latter made experimental instrumental music as part of the trio Tenebre. “Stacks On Stacks” is the first song to emerge from Bouquet’s aptly titled third EP, “In a Dream” — Pennypacker Riggs’ languorous vocals float above queasy synths in a way that is both beautiful and unsettling. Overall, it’s deeper stuff than the music Bouquet release on their EPs in 2012 and ’13. Pennypacker Riggs, a visual artist, has incorporated Bouquet’s sonic sensibilities into work such as prints, sculpture and projections; the new EP, meanwhile, will be out March 10 via Folktale Records, with a run of 500 10-inches, half on black vinyl, half on white.
||| Stream: “Stacks and Stacks”
||| Live: Bouquet opens for Zola Jesus on Feb. 8 at the Observatory.
Mini Mansions’ latest single “Any Emotions” articulates a typical guy lament — ”I can’t understand / any emotions” — but actor Colin Hanks displays the full range in director Mike Harris’ one-take video for the song. The single features background vocals from the legendary Brian Wilson, for whom Mini Mansions’ bassist Zach Dawes did session work and possesses a soulful ’60s feel, with a loping bass line underneath those shiny falsettos. Along with the previously released “Death Is a Girl,” it stokes anticipation for Mini Mansions’ sophomore release “The Great Pretenders,” due March 24 on T Bone Burnett’s Electromagnetic Recordings (via Capitol Records). Joining the trio — Dawes, Michael Shuman and Tyler Parkford — on the album are guests including Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys. “The Great Pretenders” figures to be anything but.
||| Live: Mini Mansions play a sold-out show tonight at the Troubadour and also perform Saturday at the Observatory.
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.