Interview: Anthony Green
Anthony Green, best known as frontman of experimental rock band Circa Survive, recently released his first full-length solo LP Young Legs. He’s currently on tour in support of the album, and stopped in LA for a performance at the El Rey. We caught up with him to ask about his creative process, what touring is like as a family man, and how the rest of Circa Survive keep themselves busy while he goes solo.
How is it being back in LA?
It feels good! It’s always nice to come back to LA. I feel like I have a hometown relationship with LA, and pretty much anywhere in California. Living out here and being in a band out here for a while, I feel like I’ve developed a pretty strong relationship with this area. I always have good shows here.
How do you feel about the rest of the tour coming up?
I’m excited. The shows have been awesome. it’s been really fun having my family out with me. It’s been a dream come true. (more…)
Album Review: Various Artists – Rockin’ Legends Pay Tribute to Jack White
Not all great albums come from Third Man Records.
Rockin’ Legends Pay Tribute to Jack White features rockabilly and blues artists covering many of White’s songs. It features songs from his White Stripes albums, from his time with The Raconteurs, and from his solo career. Not that his songs need it, but this album injects a new feeling into his songs. His songs go from being messy blues to rockabilly, almost country songs. A more beautiful conversion could not be conceived. Although these songs aren’t covered by mainstream rock artists this album highlights the sounds and styles that influenced White himself to pick up a guitar in the first place and thank God for that!
You can tell right from the first track “In the Cold, Cold Night” that this isn’t just a cover album, it’s a tribute. This first track when featured on The White Stripes’ Elephant was sung by Meg White and it had a more quiet and tender feeling. Here it’s sung by rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson giving it a seductive almost deadly feel. (more…)
Album Review: Adam Rongo – Tell Your Story
Talent the likes of Adam Rongo should not go unnoticed. His debut album comes courtesy of the Kickstarter boom and he asked for only a mere $4,500 to put out this jazz album. Rongo is an alto saxophonist and even though he’s an up and comer his talent is something to be taken seriously. At the young age of 25 he’s already making a name for himself in the Jazz circuits as a teacher to other young musicians such as Diego Rivera and Rodney Whitaker.
Rongo isn’t just a technical wonder to listen to as on opening tracks “Turnin’ the Corner” and or on a jazz standard “Two Tees” by Jimmy Heath, but he shows his chops both as an emotionally charged performer and own compositional skill on a track like “Temporary Paralysis.” He shows his range from doing sweet licks on those previously mentioned tracks to doing slowed down bluesy tunes such as “You’re Mine, You.” But even on these tracks he blends perfectly with the people that he is paired up with never detracting from the ensemble’s cohesion. (more…)
Album Review: Fuzz – Life in San Francisco
Ty Segall’s newest stoner boner band, Fuzz, performed for Segall’s birthday at the SF Eagle. Despite the fact that this is a live record — sometimes a catalogue outcrop that doesn’t need to be paid too much attention — Live In San Francisco is essential for Fuzz fans jonesing for a live show. Segall, famous for his dual tasking (drumming and singing), is on top of his game.
Even having seen them live a couple of times, I can say that this album perfectly captures the experience sans the miasma of other people’s sweat/tears/blood/beer burps. A little fuzzy (sorry), if you enjoy the aesthetic of Fuzz, you should enjoy Live In San Francisco.” Ty Segall’s obvious energy and enthusiasm for making music (check out his catalogue) transfers well into this record, with songs off their 2013 release, “This Time I Got a Reason”, their other 2013 release, “Sleigh Ride”, and their 2013 self-titled album.
Fuzzy guitar, wailing, thick bass: Fuzz (and Ty Segall) are up and coming (if not already there) for a reason, and “Live In San Francisco” doesn’t deviate from their hard rocking stoner vibes. (more…)
Album Review: Gap Dream — Shine Your Light
In light of (excuse the pun), Pitchfork’s acrimonious and frankly bitter review of Gap Dream’s latest effort, Shine Your Light , I decided to give the record a thorough listening. Perhaps it didn’t garner such harsh words as Ian Cohen rained down upon them in his hateful fury. Oddly enough, the album gained a 6.7/10 from them but frontman Gabriel Fulvimar suffered through a scathing indictment of the Burger Records lifestyle he leads, taking shelter in the back office of his record label.
Self-described as Eno-ish, the album is a lot more poppy and synth-y than you might have come to expect from Burger Records — in a good way! There’s a slight difference between the two — Eno is a master songwriter, and Gap Dream’s songs are fun to listen to (but not quite visionary). The album sounds naive and pastel, harkening back to some non-existent 70′s musical movie that would have had a lot of moon stones and washed out cameras. Or maybe a sarcastic PSA soundtrack (“Shine Your Love”)… at the same time, there’s a pretty astute feeling of world weariness and fatigue that pervades, but only if you’re listening closely. (more…)
Show Review: Of Montreal @ EchoPlex
On November 10th I had my first experience of the Echoplex, a concert venue associated with The Echo in Echo Park, and my second experience of Of Montreal. The first time I saw Of Montreal was four years ago; they and Dengue Fever were opening for Grace Jones at the Hollywood Bowl. At that time and for many months following, Of Montreal had been the best concert I had seen. After experiencing them again at the Echoplex this month, I can firmly say that the band’s concerts have only gotten better with age. Their concert at the Echoplex was incredibly theatrical, well populated, and, of course, well played.
Album Review: Ducktails – Wish Hotel
A few years ago, Ducktails – a solo project dating back to Real Estate guitarist Matt Mondanile’s New Jersey garden shed in the early 90s – was being held up as part of the forefront of the chillwave (or “hypnagogic pop”, depending on your level of self-awareness) movement, a genre name actually sardonically coined by satire blog Hipster Runoff. Time has passed, and thankfully, the Wish Hotel EP – recorded in Mondanile’s Ridgewood, NJ home, and out now on Domino Records - finds Mondanile, who’s been releasing Ducktails music on cassettes since before you’d even heard of the internet, stepping as far as possible from the boundaries of ironic commentary. (more…)
Concert Review: Anna Calvi at Royce Hall 11/16
If there’s one thing Anna Calvi proved onstage at Royce Saturday night it was that virtuosity in popular music is not dead. Rocking a pair of stilettos and with a guitar change for nearly every song, she incorporated solos and impressive technicality into the music without ever sacrificing her mysterious and wholly fresh sound. “One Breath” itself is like the soundtrack for a murderess’s getaway down a desert highway—the occasional lonely twang is never out of place, although Calvi’s crisp, belted vocals resist locking the songs into a specific genre.
The band seemed to barely interact with each other, but instead focused entirely on the production of flawless songs. Although their songs were not always identical to the record, they seemed to be of a pitch-perfection usually unattainable at a live show. It could be because the audience was seated, but it’s more likely Calvi’s intense and authentic performance brought a palpable measure of reverence into the room that reminded me and everyone in attendance why seeing live music is so important.
It’s a pity that she has so few US tour dates, otherwise I would absolutely implore you to go see Calvi and her band transcend classification and exceed expectations onstage. But for now, there’s always her new album, “One Breath,” to listen to as you speed down Route 66 with your stiletto on the gas.
Show Preview: CYP2 THREE YEAR ANNIVERSARY with Alice Glass of Crystal Castles (DJ set) + Andrew W.K .+ special guests
We’ve made it to the 3 year anniversary of Check Your Ponytail 2! We survived longer than your relationship with your high school girlfriend, and thats something to celebrate. Tonight at the Echoplex, we’re getting the privilege of seeing our favorite grimy princess, Alice Glass, do her thing on the decks along with some friends including Andrew W.K. Heres a summary of all the acts performing tonight:
Alice Glass of Crystal Castles (DJ Set)
Singer of Crystal Castles
Andrew W.K. was born Andrew Wilkes-Krier in Stanford, California in 1979, before moving to Michigan. By his early teens Andrew had already exhibited great enthusiasm and talent for both music and the visual arts. He spent his high school years playing drums and keyboard in an almost endless variety of short-lived, but passionate groups, all centered in southeast Michigan’s explosive cultural scene. In 1997 at the age of 18 he moved to New York City to persue his vision alone. Today, Andrew W.K. is the KING OF PARTYING. Infamous for his bloody nose, famous for his high-life attitude, beloved for his songs like, “PARTY HARD”. “WE WANT FUN”, and “YOU WILL REMEMBER TONIGHT”, Andrew’s true will is to use all forms of entertainment to create feelings of pure joy, fun, love, freedom, and possibility.
He is best known as the reserved half of the Cool-Kids. With a relaxed rapping style and an interesting lyrical foundation in his verses, it probably shocks most that he is also a very talented producer.
His tracks have been related to summer jams from the 80′s and with no sampling noted to date, he draws his audience mostly from the Chicago and LA rap fans. Having done a large portion of the cool-kids releases as well as featuring in other illRoots releases, he is considered a force to be reckoned with(in the near future).
Los Angeles Duo Youth Code are raw, punishing, industrious electronics built from the seeds of hardcore and early Wax Trax. Ryan William George and Sara Taylor blend chaos with catchy dance undertones to create a sonic fury paralleled to none. Formed in 2012, Using all hardware to perform, Youth Code have already proven their path with being the first band outside of Psychic TV to be put out by PTV’s own label ” Angry Love Productions ” as well as a full length LP on the flawless Dais Records roster due out this summer.
Fall Music, by Shiba Ian-u
Shiba Ian-u is a radio show that goes on every Saturday 2-4PM, and it’s run by DJs Jeremy, Ben, and Ty with the help of interns Nico and Sheila. While varied, Shiba Ian-u’s music focuses on more esoteric genres such as experimental, IDM, post-punk and shoegaze. Together, the staff of Shiba Ian-u compiled a list of 12 albums best enjoyed in the fall.
1. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998)-Neutral Milk Hotel
Song: Two Headed Boy pt. 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TudLjZ_4VhU
Neutral Milk Hotel, fronted by Jeff Mangum, is best known for their album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. The album makes use of a variety of instruments including a singing saw, flugelhorn, and some things that aren’t instruments, like an FM radio, to create an album unlike many others. Combined with Mangum’s voice and odd lyrics, that at times seem to reference Anne Frank, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is a wonderful folk album. It’s sometimes upbeat and fast paced, like songs “Ghost” and “Holland, 1945,” while other songs such as “Two Headed Boy pt. 2” or “Communist Daugher” feature sparse guitar playing. Discounting the strange lyrics on the album, “Untitled” is a notable track in that it’s an instrumental featuring Uilleann pipes, which are essentially Irish bagpipes. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is an album great to listen to at all points of the year, but it’s also perfect as a soundtrack for a fall afternoon or evening in a coffee shop.
2. American Football (1999)-American Football
Genre: Midwest Emo
Song: Stay Home http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3Rzkoag36I
Hailing from Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, American Football was a short-lived 3-piece band who were greatly influential in the genre of midwest emo. Their sound typically consists of gracefully layered twinkly guitar lines, personal lyrics, and varying time signatures reminiscent of math rock. The rather frequent instrumental interludes give the record a very sentimental quality, which is echoed in the often introspective and confessional lyrics. The longing vocals paired with lush instrumentation provide the listener with a refreshingly cathartic experience.
3. Pop (2000)-Gas
Song: Untitled #4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYjwFNUoD-Y
Gas is perhaps the most well-known project of Wolfgang Voigt, German experimental and ambient electronic musician. His work under the name Gas is often characterized by its fusion of ambient and techno music. While only a few of the tracks on Pop feature Gas’ typical use of a four on the floor beat, this does not make the album any less compelling. Voigt makes heavy use of looped samples, creating a hypnotic and soothing atmosphere. Pop is a masterfully crafted album that is bound to leave the listener lost in the ambiance.
4. The Glow Pt. 2 (2001)-The Microphones
Song: The Moon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb2mAJbH5AU
The Microphones is one of Phil Elverum’s most celebrated musical projects because it captures a flight of imagination and the solemn beauty of the human’s small place in nature and the universe. The Glow Pt. 2, perhaps the most well known of all Microphones LPs, remains one of Elverum’s crowning achievements because of its fleeting nature; vocal harmonies and instrumentation seem to disappear and reappear in a moments notice. Elverum’s production is organic – its sound makes you feel like you lost in a vast forest. The Glow Pt. 2 makes you feel small and impermanent – perhaps the perfect metaphor for the changing of fall into winter.
5. At Home With Owen (2006)-Owen
Song: A Bird In Hand http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2IZbnsdzOk
Owen is the solo project of Illinois musician, Mike Kinsella (of Cap’n Jazz, Owls, Joan of Arc), that started after the breakup of his project American Football. Owen feels like a more intimate version of American Football, partly due to the sparse instrumentation consisting mainly of acoustic guitar. Based on the record’s personal feeling, At Home With Owen is an apt title. Upon an initial listening, Owen will leave you with the feeling that you’re already familiar with the album. Similar to Kinsella’s previous projects, the lyrics are often self-reflective mainly on relationships. Overall, the album manages to feel both bittersweet and comforting, which is ideally enjoyed under a cozy blanket.
6. Ys (2006)- Joanna Newsom
Song: Cosmia http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3CfgVR0lO8
Joanna Newsom is a folk musician from California known for her interesting voice and talent as a harpist. Her second album, Ys is an ambitious piece of work not to be listened to casually, the shortest song is just over 7 minutes long and the longest is almost 18 minutes long. However, Ys is definitely worth listening to. Though her voice may take some getting used to, her talents as a harpist and lyricist shine throughout the album. Her songs evoke a folktale like feeling, as if Newsom herself is telling the tale while accompanying them with complex harp melodies. Ys is an album best spent listening to while camping or sitting on a porch watching leaves turn colors and fall.
7. LSD and the Search for God (2007)-LSD and the Search for God
Genre: Dreamy Shoegaze
Song: Starshine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bw3O4teWDgQ
Not much is know about LSD and the Search for God despite the fact that they released this 20 minute self-titled LP and then faded away. This album does a great job of recreating early 90s shoegazing with droning riffs, echoing feedback, and whispering lyrics, but with a subtle psychedelic twist. The melodic vocals, which switch between male and female, leave the listener in a state somewhere between dreaming and waking. This record is perfect for laying down on a breezy autumn day.
8. Untrue (2007)-Burial
Song: Archangel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7hBUL9kk1Y
Burial’s barren, alien landscape of beats seemingly does not lend itself well to fall music, but the use of distorted vocal hooks lends an emotional aspect that gives the coldness of electronic music a warm longing. The vocal hooks seem to try to burst out of the cold beats – a trembling human voice against the cold rhythm of time. The subtly tinged emotions in Burial’s Untrue LP is what makes it perfect for wandering around during a cold fall or winter night.
9. VIRTUAL大気中分析 (2013) – ECO VIRTUAL
Song: Nimbostratus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdGmrpeeC-U
VIRTUAL大気中分析 is considered one of the best albums to come out of the very short lived vaporwave movement. Vaporwave is loved and highly criticized due to its internet based origins and its sometimes formulaic production. However, the “genre” (whether it can actually be considered a genre is up to the listener) aims to focus more on the feeling it elicits rather than cutting edge sampling. This album gives the feeling of looking out the window on a cloudy day in a surreal 1980s reception lobby.
10. Slow Warm Death (2013)-Slow Warm Death
Genre: Garage Rock
Song: Sleep http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yk4V-mq5qo0
Slow Warm Death is the latest project of John Galm, who previously fronted twinkly emo bands Street Smart Cyclist and Snowing. This latest project is a departure in sound from what he had become to be known for, but the lyrics are still just as dark. With tracks like “Alone,” “Blood,” and “Kill You,” it quickly becomes apparent that Slow Warm Death is a vehicle for Galm’s innermost sinister and bleak feelings. This album is also packed to the brim with catchy, fuzzed out riffs perfect for cruising around on an early fall evening. However, one track in particular, “Kill You,” goes against the grain of the album in a particularly intriguing way. It comes off as essentially a sludge metal track based on the relentlessly distorted and brooding riffs and guitar solos. As an up and coming band, Slow Warm Death shows great promise with their uniquely perverse interpretation of garage rock.
11. Around (2013)-Whirr (new music)
Song: Around http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9pLvc-Aa2A
Whirr is a shoegaze band from Northern California that keeps one idea in mind when making music: be loud. Around is their latest EP and definitely very loud but also sees the band exploring the post-rock genre. The walls of sound and distorted vocals are still present, but the music is slower, now there’s build-up to the fuzz. Their previous works were energetic, even danceable at times, but Around is something to sit down and take in, perfect for slow days in autumn.
12. Hospital Sports (2013)-Hospital Sports (new music)
Genre: Alternative, Folk, Emo
Song: Days http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKPdtpbNdPo
The self-titled debut from Hospital Sports captures a feeling of wistful reminiscence through its lightly layered guitars, gentle drum fills and thin vocals. Hospital Sports is a caress of an album. You never feel assaulted by the instrumentation or the vocals. It’s a bit like a cool, soft fall breeze.