Ears Wide Open: Sweet Bump It

by Kevin Bronson on August 21, 2014

Seldom have we come across band that less looks the part as Sweet Bump It, the Echo Park-based septet who appear to have just walked out of an Adrienne Rich study group. You know what they say about looks, though. Fronted by diminutive shredder-in-training Nicole “Paco” de Leon and co-founded by Jenna Eyrich, Sweet Bump It are bumping fairly straight-ahead blues-rock. Since the band came out from behind the Orange (County) Curtain last year and settled in L.A., the lineup has solidified with guitarist Andrew Parker, drummer Jason Doolittle and a trio of backup singers — Francesca “Cecca” Salac, Marlaine Reiner and Lisa Deines — who give the songs on last fall’s “First Slice” EP an old-soul vibe. They’re having fun with it, as evidenced by the new video for the single “Dauphine” (that’s the canine who kinda steals the show). The video was directed by Sammi Cohen, and it is, at the very least, a reminder to always make friends with the doorman.

||| Stream: “Revolution”

||| Live: Sweet Bump It plays Sept. 8 at the Silverlake Lounge.

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Video: Madi Diaz, ‘Stay Together’

by Kevin Bronson on August 21, 2014

Madi Diaz’s forthcoming album “Phantom” is one of the dance-while-you’re-mad, dance-while-you’re sad collections that sees the Berklee-educated, formerly Nashville-based singer-songwriter fully transitioning from folk to electro-pop. As evidenced by the irresistible single “Stay Together,” it works; the album reveals a sophisticate’s touch for songwriting as well as Nick Ruth’s accessible-but-not-overbearing production. The video for the single is the work of Claire Marie Vogel (Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jr,, Atlas Genius) and draws inspiration from the work of Diaz’s favorite visual artist, James Turrell, whose work with light, color and space was the subject of a retrospective that ended this spring at LACMA. The video was filmed at the Fitzpatrick-Leland House, a restored Rudolf Schindler design located in the Hollywood Hills. Color. The album is out Sept. 30.


Stream: The Bug, ‘Void’ and ‘Function’

by Andrew Veeder on August 21, 2014


U.K. artist Kevin Martin has been involved in a multitude of projects over the last 2 1/2 decades, including GOD, Ice, and King Midas Sound. Under the moniker The Bug, he has released three albums that fuse dancehall, grime and hip-hop into a dubstep-reggae sound. Now based in Berlin, he is set to release his fourth album, “Angels & Devils.” Each half of the album will focus on one of these two themes, creating a “battle between utopian and dystopian, exploring the fringes and the negative space between the two,” a sort of “soundtrack for end times,” as the label is touting it. Album opener “Void” leans more toward the former, with angelic and ethereal vocals-without-words from Liz Harris of Grouper lofting above some airy and moody production. On the flip side, “Function” roars with menacing buzz saw synth and ragga bass beats, as rapper Manga of the U.K. crew Roll Deep attacks the track with a fast-paced, grimy flow. The album also features contributions from Copeland, Death Grips, Gonjasufi, and Warrior Queen, and is due out next week via Ninja Tune.

||| Stream: “Void” and “Function”

||| Live: The Bug plays the Echoplex on Nov. 3 with Wolf Eyes and Manga.



The Henry Clay People broke their promise. And all it took was some beer and the Replacements.

When the scene favorites played Echo Park Rising last year, ending a decade-or-so run highlighted by two great albums (2008′s “For Cheap or for Free” and 2012′s “Twenty-Five for the Rest of Our Lives”), they vowed it would be their last show. The members parted ways to pursue careers and family lives and, in the case of founding brothers Joey and Andy Siara, advanced college degrees.

Their advanced skills as a cover band, however, brought them out of the closet Tuesday night when the Satellite hosted one of its monthly tribute nights, this one
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Video: Haim, ‘My Song 5,’ feat. A$AP Ferg

by Seraphina Lotkhamnga on August 21, 2014

The Haim sisters are back and they’re not alone. For their “My Song 5″ video, they’ve recruited friends from all ends of the music spectrum to join them in a hilarious parody of shows like “The Jerry Springer Show” and “Maury.” The host Dallas Murphy is played by none other than “Saturday Night Live” cast member Vanessa Bayer and she brings out a slew of guests: Artemis (Artemis Pebdani), who is deathly afraid of cotton balls, Keiysha (obviously Ke$ha), who is in love with her cat Mr. Boots. Even A$AP Ferg, who provides a rap verse, is part of the show when his girlfriend tells him she’s been cheating on him. As for the Haim sisters themselves, you can see Alana helping behind the scenes while Este is actually a guest who tells her boyfriend she’s turned on by mimes. As for Danielle, you’ll have to figure that out on your own. Other cameos include Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig and producer Ariel Rechtshaid being stoic audience members while Big Sean and bunch of the A$AP Mob crew can’t hide their shock at the unveiled secrets. Grimes is even there to chat Danielle up in the green room. It’s chaotic and silly but if you knew the Haim sisters personally, this video shouldn’t surprise you one bit. One more note: This isn’t Bayer’s first time working with Haim. The comedienne once “interviewed” two of the band members in a web series called “Sound Advice” where she demonstrates how you can be the world’s worst publicist.

||| Live: Haim plays Sunday at FYF Fest. 

||| Previously: Live at Outside Lands, live at Coachella 2014, “If I Could Change Your Mind” video


A mighty enticing Thursday night of shows:

► Forty-six years after the release of their masterful album “Odessey and Oracle, the Zombies (with just two original members, Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent, steering the ship) play the Twilight Concert Series at the Santa Monica Pier. Mystic Braves open.
► Transcendent Canadian punks (and how often can you that about a hardcore band?) Fucked Up rock the El Rey Theatre behind their new album “Glass Boys,” with Tijuana Panthers opening.
Blood Orange, sure to be one of the highlights of this weekend’s FYF Fest, does a show downtown at the Theatre at Ace Hotel
► It’s Night 2 of Future Islands at the Fonda Theatre.
Buddy celebrates the release of his long-awaited album “Last Call for the Quiet Life” with a show at the Hotel Café. It’s a loaded lineup at the venue, with Yellow Red Sparks, Distant Cousins, the Dust of Men and Covenhoven also performing.
► Is tonight the first L.A. headlining show for New Zealand’s The Naked and Famous since the release last fall of their sophomore album “In Rolling Waves?” We think so. They’re at the Echoplex, with the Moth & the Flame opening.
► New Orleans’ Benjamin Booker (who’s also playing FYF) rocks the Echo, supported by JUNK and Small Wigs. Booker’s self-titled debut came out this week on ATO Records.
► And North Carolina duo Sylvan Esso does the first of two sold-out nights at the Troubadour.

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Ryan Pollie has impressed us with the very fact that he’s been able to hold on to Los Angeles Police Department as a recording moniker (bands named for government agencies like Chicago Transit Authority, eventually Chicago, didn’t fare as well back in the day). But Pollie’s recordings are the real ticket. When he released the short and sweet tunes “Enough Is Enough” and “The Only One” last year, it wasn’t hard to get wrapped in his warm Pavement-like simplicity. Pollie’s material for LAPD is sparse on the surface but subtly sexy and layered, which is why the lengths of the songs may leave listeners hanging. Even the new single “She Came Through (Again)” — a song about screw-ups and redemption — is only 2 minutes 33 seconds, but the hints of Neutral Milk Hotel yet again wash over like a warm bath. Intimately recorded in his bedroom again, self-produced and then mastered for vinyl by Warren Hildebrand (of Foxes In Fiction), it’s the first track from LAPD’s forthcoming self-titled debut, and we’ll just tell you now that all 11 tracks make for an arresting body of work. “Los Angeles Police Department” is slated for a Sept. 2 release via Forged Artifacts (vinyl) and Chill Mega Chill (cassette tape).

||| Download: “She Came Through (Again)”

||| Previously: “Enough Is Enough,” “The Only One”  [click to continue…]



Video premiere: Tien, ‘This Ain’t Home’

by Kevin Bronson on August 20, 2014

Even more heartrending that lovers separated by geography are lovers isolated by emotional distance. In the stylish video for singer-songwriter Tien’s new song “This Ain’t Home,” you get a sense of both. Directed by Belarusian filmmaker Vlad Akushevich, the surrealist video depicts the Maryland-bred artist deep in longing — a sentiment for which there is some literal truth. Tien, born Tien Nguyen to Vietnamese immigrants and reared in the U.S., spent substantial time in Brazil before coming to L.A., temporarily leaving his girlfriend behind in South America. The song “is about the realization that the familiarity of my surroundings no longer offers me solace — the only thing that truly comforts me now is being with the one I love,” he says. “I imagined going back to my childhood home in rural Maryland and hearing the birds by the creek in my backyard singing, telling me to go back to Brazil.” “This Ain’t home” appears on Tien’s debut EP “Invitation,” which comes out the first week of September.

||| Previously: “Peaceful Patient”
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Victory for the win? Not so much. Singer-guitarist Robert Fleming has changed his nom de tune to Sneakout (ostensibly to avoid confusion with Victory Records) and embarked on making a follow-up to his infectious 2013 full-length “Victory Is Music.” If Fleming’s buzzing pop-blues (nice for selling cars) recalled the early days of rock, he graduates to a ’80s vibe in the first Sneakout song, “The Art of Hanging On.” It’s the first taste of the “Letting Go” mixtape that Sneakout has coming out Sept. 2.

||| Download: “The Art of Hanging On”

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Video: Tove Lo, ‘Not On Drugs’

by Seraphina Lotkhamnga on August 20, 2014

“I don’t write about happy love,” Tove Lo explained during her sold-out show at the Echoplex back in April. “But I do have one song that’s a happy song,” the Swedish pop star shared before she went into “Not On Drugs.” As opposed to her other hits like the wildly popular “Habits (Stay High),” the adrenaline rush in “Not On Drugs” comes without the self-deprecating crash (no matter how relatable it can be). Lo, whose real name is Tove Nilsson, hasn’t popped out of nowhere, either. She paved her way to her own releases by initially writing songs for other pop acts such as Icona Pop, Girls Aloud and Cher Lloyd; she’s even worked with the well-known mega-pop producer Max Martin. The 26-year-old singer-songwriter will follow-up her “Truth Serum” EP with her debut album “Queen of the Clouds,” which will be broken in to three parts: “The Sex,” “The Love,” “The Pain.” “Queen of the Clouds” is slated for a Sept. 30 release via Island Records.

||| Stream: The original version of “Habits”

||| Live: Tove Lo performs Sept. 21 at Sunset Strip Music Festival. [click to continue…]