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Video: Mystery Skulls, ‘Ghost’ (animated)

by Seraphina Lotkhamnga on October 30, 2014

Are you in the Halloween mood yet? If you aren’t then this new animated video for Mystery Skulls‘ “Ghost” might do the trick. Although it’s not the scariest of clips, it will have you reminiscing about old Scooby Doo cartoons with your pals. Animators Ben Mangum, Isaiah Kim and Blake Hudson found much inspiration from the Mystery Incorporated crew — just take a look at that van  — and have fused the Hannah Barbera-type characters with futuristic robotic elements you can find in most sci-fi-oriented cartoons. Synced perfectly to the beats of Luis Dubuc, who released Mystery Skulls debut “Forever” on Warner this week, the characters in this animated clip scream and run from ghosts and skeletons. In fact, they even make monsterous sandwiches like Shaggy and Scooby used to! Most importantly, you find out why the haunting happens.

||| Live: Mystery Skulls winds up his residency at Dirty Laundry tonight.

||| Previously: “Number 1″ feat. Brandy and Nile Rodgers  [click to continue…]

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Stream: Line & Circle, ‘Wounded Desire’

by Kevin Bronson on October 30, 2014

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The new EP from Line & Circle shimmers like a mirage from the distant 1980s — although not the new wave ’80s currently being plundered by anybody who can plug in a synth.  The L.A. quintet, founded by Midwesterners Brian Cohen and Brian Egan and including Eric Neujahr, Jon Engelhard and Nick Cisik, recalls the weighty ’80s (and beyond) of college radio and the enigmatic sophistication of bands like R.E.M. Recorded With Lewis Pesacov (the Fool’s Gold guitarist whose production credits include Best Coast, FIDLAR and Incan Abraham, among others), the quintet’s three new songs seem propelled by the anxiety that comes with feeling, alternately, spiritually grounded and emotionally detached. With their whorl of guitars and insistent rhythms, they’re beautiful puzzles, waiting to be solved.

||| Stream: “Wounded Desire” and “Mesolithic”

||| Previously: “Mine Is Mine,” “Roman Ruins”

Photo by Courtney Halverson

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Ears Wide Open: Livingmore

by Kevin Bronson on October 30, 2014

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Singer-guitarist Spencer Livingston played for almost a decade in the alt-rock band the Alternates, and in the summer of 2013 he released his Peter Malick-produced solo album of evocative Americana, “Grow.” Now he has merged names and talents with singer-guitarist Alex Moore as Livingmore. After debuting under the name Alex & the Constellation, the duo has unveiled a three-song EP that’s a pristine bouquet of she-and-him folk. The single “Nothing Else,” with its beautiful vocal democracy, speaks to the power of facing obstacles with a partner; Moore carries the more electric “Counting Sheep,” featuring Livingston’s pickin’. Livingmore’s release (available as a free download), by the way, comes just as the Alternates officially called it quits — although the quintet just issued some previously unreleased songs on Bandcamp.

||| Stream: “Nothing Else” and “Counting Sheep”

||| Live: Livingmore play Nov. 6 at the Hotel Café.

Photo by Chris Seno

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Video: Buzzcocks, ‘It’s Not You’

by Kevin Bronson on October 30, 2014

If you didn’t know the source, the chorus of “It’s Not You” might be something overheard in a practice space in Echo Park where some kids are working on their next cassette. It’s the Buzzcocks (est. 1976), now doing business in the lineup of long-timers Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle with 2008 additions Chris Remington and Danny Farrant. And, yes, the pop-punk progenitors still sound as disaffected as you. The quartet’s new album “The Way” comes out Nov. 18 via 1-2-3-4 Go! Records; it’s the quartet’s first release since 2006 and ninth album overall and comes a full 35 years after their Absolutely Mandatory “Singles Going Steady.” Shelley and Diggle are 59 and they start the album with a rager titled “Keep on Believing.” Couldn’t agree more.

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Stream: Dirt Dress, ‘Twelve Pictures’

by Kevin Bronson on October 30, 2014

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It’s been two years since post-punk agitators Dirt Dress released “Donde La Vida No Vale Nada,” which featured nine quick hits of insurrectionist shout-alongs. The new EP “Revelations” feels like a ray of sunshine by comparison, while still abiding the band’s compulsion to throw sonic curveballs. That’s a skronky sax in the middle of the sweet garage-pop guitars on “Twelve Pictures.” And if you’ve followed Dirt Dress for the five-plus years they’ve been knocking around the L.A. scene, frontman Noah Kwid’s vocals on the title track might be “Revelations” indeed. The new EP is out Nov. 18 via Future Gods Records.

||| Stream: “Twelve Pictures” and “Revelations”

||| Live: Dirt Dress celebrate their EP release with a show at Part Time Punks at the Echo on Nov. 23.

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Video premiere: White Dove, ‘Caroline’

by Seraphina Lotkhamnga on October 30, 2014

L.A.-based White Dove has always worn its California rock and pop influences well. Elements reminiscent of the Byrds and Fleetwood Mac have seeped into their sound yielding wonderfully filtered nostalgia. Alex Johnstone, Jack Long, Carl Harders and newest member Michael Morgan now follow up their excellent 2013 debut “The Hoss, the Candle” with a 7-inch via White Iris Records. Like most bands who get the chance to release music through the boutique L.A. label, the the band was lucky enough to work with producer Luke Top (of Fool’s Gold). Amping up the guitar work and highlighting the band’s strengths Top has joined White Dove in producing the stellar A-side “Caroline,” a psych-folk guitar-pop jam where Johnstone’s vocals flow above with ease. No doubt having blossomed, White Dove’s palette reflects a certain flower children-mentality yet captures the buoyancy of today’s SoCal culture. The music video for “Caroline” follows suit with plenty of flowers in their hair.

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Ears Wide Open: Letts

by Kevin Bronson on October 30, 2014

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Singer-guitarist Christian Letts has spent several years as a key ingredient in Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, contributing the beautiful ballad “Child” to the band’s 2012 album “Here.” He is stepping out under the name Letts to release a solo album, “Hold Fast,” on Feb. 17 via Alex Ebert’s Community Music (and Vagrant Records). The album’s release will come in conjunction with a series of exhibitions of paintings and watercolors by Letts, who is also a visual artist. He paints a evocative picture in the first single, “Charles de Gaulle,” which draws its title from the Paris airport, where the song’s whirlwind love story begins. As Letts implores in the chorus, “don’t walk away.”

||| Stream: “Charles de Gaulle”

Photo of Christian Letts at the Greek Theatre, April 2012, by Laurie Scavo

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Thursday’s highlights:

► Homecoming for two bands who originally hail from southern California: Indie-rockers Delta Spirit headline the El Rey Theatre behind their new album “Into the Wide.” And Deep Sea Diver opens.
The Airborne Toxic Event visits the Greek Theatre
Citizen Cope is celelbrating the 10th anniversary of “The Clarence Greenwood Recordings” with a our that brings him to the House of Blues.
Nick Jonas hits the Troubadour
► And Bay Area rockers the Stones Foxes, with a new album “Twelve Spells” on the way, kick off a run of three consecutive Thursdays at the Bootleg HiFi.

Also:
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Stream: Robert DeLong, ‘Long Way Down’

by Seraphina Lotkhamnga on October 29, 2014

Robert DeLong

Robert DeLong will follow-up his excellent debut “Just Movement” with the “Long Way Down” EP. The highly-anticipated 4-track release from the young electronic meastro of Wii-motes, joysticks, game pads and controllers, drums, keys and much more is slated for Nov. 10 via Glassnote Records. Those lucky enough to have caught him as the midnight special guest at Planets’ residency show at the Satellite on Monday heard a live preview. The EP’s title track, however, is now available for everyone to play on repeat. With opening lyrics “I’ve been f–king around / While you’ve been saving the world,” DeLong demonstrates his talents yet again in writing concise yet biting lyrics to accompany his glitch-stomping melodies. Futuristic yet realistic, “Long Way Down” is an intelligent, slow-burning electro-rock anthem where his vocals shine as much as laser sounds seem to zoom into your headphones. DeLong’s sophomore album is set to release in early 2015.

||| Stream: “Long Way Down”

||| Previously: Live at El Rey Theatre, live at Coachella 2013, “Global Concepts,” live at the Troubadour, “Happy,” “Codexahton”

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BØRNS births some disco fever at the Echo

by Kevin Bronson on October 29, 2014

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“You look so nice under the disco lights,” Garrett Borns told an unusually robust (for 8:45 p.m.) crowd at the Echo on Tuesday night. The Michigan native didn’t look so bad himself, in a manner of speaking. For his band BØRNS’ first Los Angeles show, he was decked out in a colorful jacket (an “amazing technicolor dreamcoat,” somebody tweeted), skinny jeans … and a pheasant shoulder wrap.

The 22-year-old could have been dressed in cling wrap over a leopard suit for all the audience cared — they came to see whether BØRNS had anything else in their arsenal besides the insanely catchy single “10,000 Emerald Pools.” It turns out they did — six more originals and an arching, solo cover of “It’s My Party,” a hit in 1965 for Lesley Gore.
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