Seattle’s Craft Spells headlined the Echoplex on Friday in support of its latest shoegaze album “Nausea.” Craft Spells’ sophomore album was a long-awaited release to follow-up 2010′s debut “Idle Labor” and 2012′s “Gallery” EP. They were joined by San Francisco’s dream-pop duo The Bilinda Butchers and L.A.’s electronic project MEISHI SMILE. Buzz Bands LA photographer Carl Pocket was there to capture the night.
The L.A. quartet’s sophomore album “In Bardo,” released last September, carries more intellectual heft than the next three psych-pop records you can name — sex, religion and death are the topics on the table, all addressed with varying degrees of aplomb. Live, however, much of thematic material is lost in translation, with singer-guitarist Mickey Schiff and mates Andrew Naeve, John Paul Caballero and Jake Nielsen settling a feel-good opaqueness.
On Friday night at the Roxy Theatre — amid polychromatic projections, billowing smoke, thrumming backing tracks and mostly buried vocals — White Arrows turned that more superficial connection into a fine party, if only that. In fact, it was even more fun if you saw the humor in drunk people on the Sunset Strip dancing to the songs “God Alert, Parts 1 and 2.”
The galloping anthem “We Can’t Ever Die” proved exemplary of the power White Arrows can wield. On one level, it’s an MGMT-styled rallying cry that appears to [click to continue…]
Art-pop duo The Controversy released their second album, “Don’t Count on Me,” this month, and it includes the single “Queen of Chinatown,” a heartrending meditation about the double life of a drag queen. The song makes for compelling cinema, too, in the video directed by the band — Laura Vall and Thomas Hjorth — and filmed by the band and Mehdi Hassine. Whether relying on synths or organic instrumentation, the album as a whole boasts beautifully restrained production — witness the song “You Know” and its tender cello, or the Barcelona native Vall cooing “Luna, lunita, llévame contigo” amid shimmering guitars in “Luna” — and painterly textures, making for heady, slow-motion psychedelic trip.
||| Live: The Controversy celebrate their album release with a show tonight at the Satellite along with Green Gerry, Death Valley Girls and Charlie Bird.
Feels like a potpourri Friday to me … So on today’s Buzz Bands LA Show on The Independent FM, I revisit a few songs from past months, and even from a couple of years ago, and stir the pot with new tunes from Best Coast, Stefan Pruett, SWIMM, Taylor Locke, Ships Have Sailed, Bonson Berner, Auditorium, Two Sheds, Boolan and Light FM. It’s hard to compete with Internet memes, but maybe you’ll like it. The playlist and a stream are below; the show begins at 11 a.m.; talk to you then.
There was a room full of love at the Echo on Thursday night as San Francisco duo Cathedrals — the collaboration between Brodie Jenkins and Johnny Hwin — brought their moody pop to L.A. With only one EP to their credit (plus an EP of remixes), the duo played Hype Machine favorites such as “Harlem” and “Unbound” to a sold-out crowd. Chicago quartet Empires was as big (if not bigger) attraction, rocking songs from their album “Orphan,” released last September, and LANY opened the night.
While wearing our best white-and-gold dress, we list tonight’s shows:
► L.A. psych-poppers White Arrows headline the Roxy Theatre, making up a show that was postponed back in January. Say Say, GRMLN and the Entrance Band support. Above, White Arrows’ video for “Nobody Cares,” off their sophomore album “In Bardo.”
► Dan Deacon plays the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock behind his new album “Gliss Riffer. Deradoorian opens.
► Their 21st album “Further/Deeper” having come out in November, Australian rockers the Church headline the El Rey Theatre.
► Caribou is back for a second sold-out night at the Fonda Theatre.
► Taking Back Sunday, whose sixth album “Happiness Is” came out last year, rock the Hollywood Palladium
► Seattle’s Craft Spells joins the Bilinda Butchers and Meishi Smile for a show at the Echoplex.
► Psychedelic electro trio the Controversy celebrate their album release at the Satellite, supported by Green Gerry and Charlie Bird.
► And Colleen Green parties at HM157 in support of her new album “I Want to Grow Up.”
Adam Bainbridge — aka Kindness — brought his lanky limbs, big band and honey-voiced guests to the El Rey Theatre on Wednesday night. Oh, and he also brought his video camera to the kickoff of his U.S. tour, recording the crowd for a music video he plans to make.
After an opening set by New Orleans-bred, Mississippi-based rapper Pell, Bainbridge took the stage with a full band (plenty more backup than he had in August at FYF Fest) and sprinkled in a few covers into the set along with songs from his 2014 album “Otherness.” On this night, Kindness was surrounded by a three-piece band and two [click to continue…]
Few reunions of pioneering bands have come further out of left field than the comeback by the Pop Group, who were insurrectionists when they started in the U.K. in the late 1970s and seem to have lost none of their edge all these years later. After re-forming to play a handful of festival dates the past few years, the quartet has made “Citizen Zombie,” their first album in 35 years.The seemingly extemporaneous screeds on “Y,” their 1979 debut, made them among the most-punk of the post-punks, with their mix-and-mismatched styles of primal guitar rock, funk and dub propelling their politicized screeds. They made only two albums the first time around, but they lived on in influence, and have been acknowledged as such by a couple generations of artists. One old devotee was acclaimed producer Paul Epworth (Lorde, FKA Twigs, Adele, and others), who ended up working with original members Mark Stewart, Dan Catsis, Gareth Sager and Bruce Smith on “Citizen Zombie” (released this week via Freaks R Us). Soundtrack to a revolution, and not many of the kids are making those these days.
||| Stream: “Citizen Zombie” and “Mad Truth”
||| Live: The Pop Group perform March 10 at the Echoplex along with Peaking Lights, Sex Stains and DJ Michael Stock of Part Time Punks.
Pop princess Frankie may be relatively new to L.A. but anyone in the Bay Area (hometown is Oakland) would recognize her since she spent her childhood writing music and forming a band with her cousin. Now in the city where pop tart dreams can come true, Frankie Miller has partnered up with longtime collaborator Petros (Dillon Francis, One Direction, among others) for a sweet, retro, baby-doll single that sticks in your head. Her ’90s-inspired style is heavy on the girl power without being overbearing and is versatile enough to hang in a club or make the next Apple commercial. “Problems, Problems” is romantic with practicality, remaining extremely humble and pure as the 23-year-old tells the story of a fizzling relationship. This single is the second to drop from her debut EP “Dreamstate,” due April 14 via South by Sea Music.
||| Stream: “Problems, Problems”
||| Live: Frankie performs at the Bootleg HiFi on March 5.
||| Also: Watch the Jancarlo Beck-directed video for “Blackout” below:
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.