You want a peek inside the mind of Kera Armendariz? Watch what you wish for. Armendariz, the provocatrix at the front of L.A. ensemble Kera & the Lesbians, is at the mercy of mad scientists and crazed clergymen in the video for “Snakes,” a song that came out earlier this year as part of the “Year 23″ EP. The wild-in-a-great-way video was directed by Sinziana Velicescu and Michael Delaney and filmed by Lonnie Francisco, and its horror-film inspirations and symbolism notwithstanding, “Snakes” displays both Armendariz’s outsized charm and vocal derring-do. (Here, we are reminded of the theatrics of Amanda Palmer and the Dresden Dolls.) Kera & the Lesbians have a full-length album completed with no firm release plans yet, but their distinctive music — ”gypsy-punk” they call it — and the mettle they show onstage make them one of the brightest lights on the horizon.
||| Live: Kera & the Lesbians play the Bootleg HiFi on Oct. 10.
It’s taken a second, but the L.A. quartet Detangler has unveiled a new song to follow up its self-titled EP from almost two years ago. The project of Davin Givhan (whose credits as a sideman include gigs with Lauryn Hill, Saul Williams and the Bravery), along with Bryan Kertenian, Mike Corwin and Joel O’Neill, Detangler deals in phased-but-not-hazy psych-pop, and the new single “On the Edge” motors along at about the speed limit, never quite brushing against the guardrail, but offering a thrilling ride nonetheless.
||| Stream: “On the Edge”
||| Live: Detangler plays El Cid on Friday along with Derde Verde, Dinosaur Feathers and Jake Bellows.
On heels of a Glastonbury headlining set and building toward next week’s release of their seventh album, Kasabian has invaded the U.S. with a new direction and plenty of noise. At the heart of the band are songwriter-guitarist-producer Sergio Pizzorno and his bromantic partner, lead singer Tom Meighan, with bassist Chris Edwards, drummer Ian Matthews and new touring guitarist Tim Carter rounding out the lineup. The U.K. darlings’ previous four albums — including 2009′s Mercury Prize-nominated “West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum” — have cemented their place in the lineage of Brit-rock and now “48:13″ (named for the album’s running time) attempts to update the band’s sound for these bombastic electronic times. The album features strange and seemingly unnecessary instrumental interludes, but “48:13” possesses undeniable energy and a groove that can win over American ears, infatuated as they are with EDM. The first single, “Eez–eh,” will surely draw a crowd to their tour, which is where they truly shine. Pizzorno had electro pioneer Giorgio Moroder (who once referred to 120bpm as a “magic tempo”) in mind when he wroted “Eez-eh.” He also found it creates a natural rhythm for jumping — ideal for a live show. Is this a revelation? No, but when the crowd hears that song, their feet get seduced into moving. It can’t be avoided. It’s science. “48:13” could have some fat trimmed, sure, but we like a little fat in America. Other highlights, including “Bumblebee” and “Treat,” urge the most irksome of snobs to let their guard down and enjoy. It’s best not to overthink this one.
— Jessica Shalvoy
||| Stream: “Eez-eh”
||| Live: Kasabian headlines the Wiltern on Oct. 8.
The melodic mopery of the aptly named Dark Waves is perfect for anyone who’s spending a lot of time alone thrashing out all those unrequited love issues. It’s the project of singer-songwriter Nick Long, once of the punk outfit Dead Country, who’s now taken a turn toward intimate, meticulously produced synth-pop. With the release this week of Dark Waves’ self-titled EP, Long joins electro-romantics such as the Neighbourhood, Sir Sly, Maudlin Strangers and Jaymes Young, afloat in the unsettling, gloomy currents of love and longing. First single “The Heartbeat the Soul” finds the former, goes all-out for the latter.
Please check your cynicism at the door; it’s time to spend an afternoon with A House for Lions. The classic rock craftsmen’s full-length debut “Hills So High,” produced by Tom Biller and released in June, set the quartet apart — young blood doing traditional rock with open hearts and without a trace of irony. Director Manash Das’ video for “Ordinary Life” is exemplary, a collection of almost-Hallmark moments fitting with with the song’s motivational and somehow-not-cloying theme: “You’ve got your ordinary life / Why don’t you aim in towards the light?” The work of singer-guitarist Daniel Norman, guitarist Mike Nissen, bassist Eric McCann and drummer Joseph August Luisi, “Hills So High” is filled with reflective folk-rock and straight-outta-the’70s ballads (see “Come On Let’s Go”), occasionally turning it up (“SOS/XOX”) to great effect. Every dad at Jackson Browne’s Way Over Yonder set would like this, and probably some of the kids too. What, you’re too cool to enjoy a simple bounce on a trampoline? Get outta here.
“My parents just don’t get it,” said a 17-year-old fan from her front-row-center perch for the Orwells. She and her squealing friends writhed with anticipation for Chicago’s garage-rock five-piece just before they invaded the stage at the Fonda Theatre on Monday night. At a glance, the entire front row looked like ladies-only, but brewing just a couple rows back was a body of moshers ready to erupt.
So the Orwells kicked off the night with their new single “Dirty Sheets,” boasting their signature blend of juvie-chaos. Singer Mario Cuomo jumped into the pit after only a couple songs and once back onstage pushed his head of curly hair right up onto photographers lenses. And the Orwells — most of whom are too young to drink at the venues they perform at — were back at their don’t-give-a-damn outburst of raw attitude and fiery hooks.
With their second album “Disgraceland,” they are cleaning up a bit and building a [click to continue…]
► Folk-rock quintet the Felice Brothers [pictured] visit the Roxy Theatre behind their new album “Favorite Waitress,” supported by Spirit Family Reunion.
► Australia’s Clairy Browne & the Bangin’ Rackettes, their new EP “Love Cliques” just out, bring their wild mix of soul, doo-wop and jazz to the Troubadour, supported by Wild Roses and Deluka.
► The War on Drugs do the first of three SoCal shows at the Glass House in Pomona. The Thursday and Friday dates at the Fonda are sold out, by the way.
► Boston three-piece Slothrust rocks the Satellite — get there early for Gateway Drugs and Vision.
► And U.K. rockers Turbogeist hit the Bootleg HiFi, supported by the Ten Thousand and Le Noire.
Despite a catalog of four albums, U.K. trio Little Barrie doesn’t enjoy as high a profile in the U.S. as in their native England, where other associations (frontman Barrie Cadogan plays guitar in Primal Scream) make for valuable currency. Little Barrie — Cadogan, along with bassist Lewis Wharton and and drummer Virgil Howe (the son of Yes’ Steve) — earlier this year released its fourth album “Shadow.” Made on vintage gear in Edwyn Collins’ studio, it’s a sprawling slab of scuzzy psychedelic blues that’s liable to hurt a little bit going down. Gil De Ray’s video for “Bonneville Ride” uses old footage of Wharton’s father in his crazy dirt-bike days. Goes well with a long drive in the desert? Quite possibly. See below.
||| Live: Little Barrie joins artists such as the Dandy Warhols, Ringo Deathstarr, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister and David J at the Desert Stars Festival on Friday and Saturday at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown. There are 32 artists in all, and weekend passes are $65.
Corners will follow up their 2012 album “Beyond Way” (and two perfectly hazy 7-inches) on Oct. 7 with “Maxed Out On Distractions.” The LP, which will be released via Lolipop Records, trades in those familiar, woozy surf- and garage-rock riffs on previous releases for cold synths that reflect the post-punk that has recently influenced the Echo Park quartet. The new single “Love Letters” gets an appropriately smoky, straight-outta-the-’80s video from director Alfredo Lopez. Not only do Tracy Bryant’s baritone vocals boom louder this time around, but the bass lines dominate, the percussion is persevering and the synths slice through it all. It may be a drastic sonic shift, but they’ve also picked up Jeff “Jeffertiti” Ramuno (of Jeffertittis Nile and Father John Misty) along the way to lend a hand on guitar and vocals. Change may be a good thing for these guys.
||| Live: Corners celebrate the release of “Maxed Out on Distractions” Oct. 10 at the Echo. They also play Oct. 19 at the Pomona Fairplex as part of the Moon Block Party and Oct. 25 at the Observatory as part of the Growlers’ Beach Goth Party.
After six albums and seven EPs at the front of Chicago-bred Kill Hannah, Mat Devine has stepped out in a substantial way, under the moniker Wrongchilde. His L.A.-based project’s debut album “Gold Blooded,” which came out Sept. 16, sounds oddly current given its obvious 1980s influences. The album even comes complete with a morbid version of Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield,” thanks, in part, to Morgan Kibby (M83, White Sea). The song would fit perfectly into any slow motion, romantic movie scene. Kibby isn’t the only collaborator on “Gold Blooded” — Wrongchilde also tapped Alain Whyte (primary songwriting partner for Morrissey) and former My Chemical Romance frontman, Gerard Way, for “Falling In Love Will Kill You,” a track originally meant to be performed with a woman. The decision to use Way’s voice only made the song more haunting, heaving a tear from even the most aggrieved hearts. Don’t worry though; Devine has more than just heart-wrenching songs to offer. He’s also expanding on his creativity with accompanying music videos, most notably “Slow.” The video will do one of the following: provoke a pillow fight, cure coulrophobia via the creepy clown’s mad dance skills, or reaffirm coulrophobia via the creepy clown’s mad dance skills. Warning: If you haven’t already figured it out, the video features Mat Devine as a clown.
— Jessica Shalvoy
||| Stream: “Falling in Love Will Kill You” and “Love Is a Battlefield”
||| Live: Wrongchilde plays Thursday night at the Viper Room.
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.