Doom metal has a very special place in my heart. If its got low, droning bass lines that pound into your skull for 8+ minutes, I am so there. Even better than that, add some shoegazy effects and you get what I affectionately call "bootgaze." Like an expensive bottle of red wine, its dark psychedelic flavors have to be sipped and savored. It's dark and dreamy and there are only a few bands out there that really nail it. So when I discovered that LA has its own indie dark-psyche act, and that they were playing ten minutes away from my house, you can imagine how stoked I was. Black Math Horseman gave a killer show and claimed their place in the doom metal canon.
But before I get into their music, I have to give a quick shout out to some really cool Angelinos out there. You see, I found out about Black Math Horseman's show so last minute that I couldn't find anyone to go to the Pirate-themed Redwood Bar and Grill. As I discovered, being alone at a pirate bar is a very special kind of pathetic. Luckily, a random group of strangers adopted me for the evening. LA isn't just phony Scenesters, there are some really cool people at these shows. You know who you are: Thanks for being rad.
Anyway, back to Black Math Horseman. They were all about epic, noisy haze. Singer/bassist Sera Timms was channeling a dark Pagan Goddess as she weaved her voice into evil melodies. Guitarists Ian Barry and Bryan Tulao mingled riffs and solos for crazy long periods of time. Not surprising, as really good doom metal means extended instrumental numbers that hypnotize the listener into a murky daze. Grounding it all was Sasha Popovic's thunderous, tribal drum pounding. With these guys supporting her, Timms even let out the occasional black metal shriek. I was so pleased.
But if we're talking drone-doom music, then it's all about one thing: the bass. This is where Black Math Horseman really proved their worth. Timm's slow vibrating bass riffs were what made the music so freaking evil. It was like being trapped in a subterranean cave filled with slow-motion thunder and lightning. Or, as they say on their myspace page: "Pure spirits by ritual dismemberment."
To my dismay, Black Math Horseman didn't have any kind of merch for sale at their show. And sadly, their record wont drop for another two weeks. But if you also have a soft spot for some really killer bootgaze, you wont mind. Black Math Horseman are worth the wait.
So, we had two options. Either listen to them on KCRW or go to the Echo and watch them live on Friday. I chose to go to Echo and listen, and of course, I am talking about The Asteroids GalaxyTour. And boy I am so glad that I did. Seriously, how different could it be being at The Echo on a Friday night listening to a danish pop and funk sensation I wondered to myself as I waited outside to get in? Then I had my answer as soon as I walked in and there was a definite sense of anticipation for this band to go on.
With a lead singer that looks like she walked out of a closet owned by Grace Slick and Janis Joplin but with an elegance all her own, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, led by the incredible and playful Mette Lindberg and the keys of Lars Iversen took the stage and set beautiful melodies, blown to a soft brass section behind them and started to ease into the set with a psychedelic flashing light concoction and lime green lights illuminating the echo stage all to a semi-nude drummer. Hmm, only a few seconds into the set, and I was already hooked to sounds of The Asteroids GalaxyTour.
Sometimes the best thing about music is our inability, or simply not wanting to label it . Let's just say that this 60's flavored singer blazes a danish funk pop combination of stellar sounds, that you simply label The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, and dam it, you leave it at that. The Music is fun, unique, and truly stands on its own.
There was a packed crowd at The Echo this night to see The Asteroids GalaxyTourfor their first ever show in Los Angeles. And it wont be the last if this performance was any indication. Personally, I really like how these euros came to LA with a big fucking smile on their faces, and gave us lucky folk an incredible night of live music and killed their set.
Another totally filling, filled, and fulfilling week of music in LA is coming up. Here are this week's picks. For every show, click here:
Kissing Cousins, 9PM @ The Echo, Echo Park
Nico Stai, 9PM @ Spaceland, Silver Lake
Horse Stories, 8PM, @ Hotel Cafe, Hollywood
Fitz & The Trantrums, 11 PM @ Hotel Café, Hollywood
The Pastilles, 9PM @ Old Town Pub, Pasadena
Nacoteque, 8PM @ Conga Room, Los Angeles
Bloody Robots, 9PM @ The Smell, Echo Park
Robert Francis, 9PM @ Troubadour, West Hollywood
Warped Tour Kick Off with The Adolescents, TSOL, TV/TV, TAT, Sing it Loud, 9PM @ The Key Club, Hollywood
Voxhaul Broadcast, 9PM @ The Echo, Echo Park
The Doghouse Lords, 9PM @ The Redwood Bar, Glendale
Bobby Mathos, 8PM @ Catalina's, Hollywood
Japanese Motors, 9PM @ Saint Rocke, Hermosa Beach
The Get Up Kids, 9PM @ Troubadour, West Hollywood
Life on The Bang Bus, 9PM @ Motion LA, Los Angeles
The Phatal DJ, 8PM @ Natural Musuem, Los Angeles
The Break Ups, 9PM @ Pehrspace, Echo Park
One Trick Pony, 9PM @ Pehrspace, Echo Park
Leslie & The Lye's, 8PM @ The El Rey, Los Angeles
Ratatat, 9PM @ Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood
Fiona Landers, 9PM @ Room 5, Los Angeles
Christopher Hawley, 7PM @ Hotel Cafe, Hollywood
Cut Chemist, 9PM @ The Echo, Echo Park
I can't even begin to classify Dark Dark Dark. Are they Gothic Cabaret? European-folk-fusion? Classical banjo-jazz done indie style? No... None of those really capture what this band is. All I know is, last night at the Hotel Café, this band played some really, really pretty music. On top of that, I now have a newfound respect for the accordion.
Dark Dark Dark have the least traditional instrumentation the indie scene has had in a long time. No guitars, no drum kits, no sonic synths or fuzzy effect pedals. Just banjo, cello, piano, trumpet, upright bass, and (of course) the accordion. That's right, the accordion is cool again. Forget about Urkel or Polka or any of those other cheesy stereotypes. Lead singer Nona Invie played her accordion with passion, making some super touching (and sexy) sounds.
They started the evening with the sizzling hot "Trouble No More", a song about unrequited love that was overflowing with haunting imagery. Invie crooned with her rich, raspy vocals, "Find me the muddiest shore, that's where I'll go to get lost, I wont cause you no trouble no more." Oh dear, this song hit really close to home. In another song, Marshall LaCount deftly plucked his banjo and offered, "I will make you a boat out of lightning and fill it with pearls." A somber trumpet solo followed and I melted. The music was just so damn beautiful. But it was also extremely gothic too. In "Junk Bones" Invie seethes: "all the junk you fill your bones with, it fills us too... all the rope you hang your neck with, it left a mark." Oooh, that one hurt too...
With a name like Dark Dark Dark, it's no wonder they're so good at revealing inner sadness about true love lost. My heart was often breaking right along to Jonathan Kaiser's cellos (yes, I still adore cellos). These guys took the "I really wish you loved me as much as I loved you" sentiment and elevated it to poetry. Really lovely musical poetry. The reason it worked so well though, is the music itself was generally up-tempo and lively. It was the kind of music you want to play you're walking through the rain in Paris (or even just when you want to pretend you're in Paris).
I loved how well composed the music and the lyrics were. I loved hearing instruments I rarely hear live. And most of all, I loved being made to see the accordion in a brand new light. I was so impressed with Dark Dark Dark that I even bought one of their t-shirts after the show. And in case you're wondering, yes, it has an accordion on it.
To ask someone if they want to go see a guy with a tongue twisting name and nothing but a tape recorder, a megaphone, a guy with a guitar and a girl with an accordion, the amount of no's are staggering. In the mass media attempting to get in on the "indie" scene (even though they're, like, 5 years late) the bands that are frequently mentioned when talking about Los Angeles natives are No Age, Abe Vigoda, HEALTH and the Mae Shi. They're all Smell darlings whose fan base has been cultivated by playing at all ages venues. However, there is another group on the rise here. I call it the Killsonic Family. Killsonic, as previously reviewed by Loudvine, are a 25-piece marching band that has been getting attention from fans and media alike. An effect mostly seen in Canadian bands, there are several bands that have stemmed from Killsonic. One member has spawned his own masterpiece calling it Mooey Moobau.
Mooey Moobau is the brainchild of Killsonic trombone player and speech enthusiast Joe Tepperman. If I could describe it, I guess I would call it narrative minimalist jazz. He uses voice collages and live tape edits and seems to be the only real member of Mooey Moobau with his constantly sifting lineup of musicians aiding him. When I saw him for the first time at the Curio, he had his tape recorder and megaphone, but when I saw his at Pehrspace, he was playing bass and was partnered with a bass clarinet player. Joe's deep, yet lively voice is a perfect marriage for his telling the parable of the "2 1-Legged Man". At first, the audience seemed confused by what this calypso singer of sorts was even talking about. But I guess what can you expect from a guy whose song titles on the album All Murmur of Our Mother's Waters include "Autopsy of a Pigeon", "Love Bloody Food Sewer Food" and my favorite "McDonald's Mouse vs. the Toilet Seat Cat", right? But the audience grew to love Joe and were along for his journey. One blogger said that it was "David Byrne meet Picasso". Maybe that's a little much, but you get the idea. The heavy influence of speech, natural flow and patterns comes from Tepperman's work as a speech pathologist and research of applied linguistics at USC. Hats off to anyone who can waltz in from Florida and turn LA music upside down and slap a big shit-eating grin on these hipster kids.
Seeing Mooey Moobau is a lot like watching the film Fantasia. Tepperman recites and narrates using heavy word play (the visuals, such as movement, in the film) and the minimalist yet chaotic music to marry the abstract content of the fables (the colors, sounds of the film). Its frenetic and spontaneous, yet beautifully detailed and and sophisticated. He usually lurks in the shadows of small, divey venues and crawls out of his wormhole frequently to play. So, yeah. You just have no reason to never see Mooey Moobau.
Ok folks, I've have a crap week. Jury duty and food poisoning in a three day span. I sort of wanted to shoot myself in the face. So I was need of some serious musical cleansing when I hightailed it to the Silverlake Lounge last night. Better than a bottle of Pepto Bismol was Restavrant. These guys served up a big helping of Southern gator rock mixed with a healthy dose of... electronica? Whaaa?
I knew something was up when I scanned the crowd. Sure there were the usual dark-rimmed glasses and skinny pants (I mean, we were in Silverlake). But there were also some really big, beer-guzzling trucker dudes there. Like, the sort of guys you wouldn't want to share a prison cell with. It all made sense as soon as Restavrant started playing their bluesy swamp music. Singer/guitarist Troy Murrah had a gritty growl that could have been from any of my Grandmother's old blues vinyls. In true blues fashion, he worked a bottleneck guitar, a harmonica, and had a strong tendency to say, "Thanks Y'all."
The second guy in the band, J State, had the most (amazing) white trash drum kit EVER. I'm not even exaggerating. Sure, he had a kick drum and a snare. But for cymbals, he just had two license plates melted together. A gasoline can was thumped on, too. When he wasn't banging the hell out of his dumpster-dived-drum set, however, he was working a synth and a drum machine. With Murrah's Boomhauer vocals, the two made some pretty fantastic dance songs. In the song "Joe D" Murrah would chant, "I've got no sunglasses, I've got no tennis shoes" making a super fun, Hillbilly-techno romp. "Homeless Architect" was so fast I wondered if this is what they play at raves in Alabama. Damn.
By the end of their set, J State's wife beater was soaked and Murrah was off the stage playing in the audience. Their gritty eletro-blues may have been a weird combo, but it was a thoroughly kick ass one too. I don't care what you're doing next Wednesday night (you can TiVo Lost, goddamnit), just get out there and see some live music. You might just see a band as cool as Restavrant.
The Fresh & Onlys took the stage around 10:50, the tall bearded singer carried with him a telecaster, the tall tattooed drummer a couple of sticks, the powerful bassist a... bass guitar, the long haired thin lead guitarist a vintage fender that appeared to be a Jaguar model, and finally the good looking female vocalist a tambourine; a band of ruffians hailing from San Francisco, ready to unleash their sound upon the audience. Their first song had the rock and power worthy of a show opener, each member comfortable within the music and expelling their own unique energy as they rocked out, lost within the very sounds and grooves they were creating.
The bassist was certainly the one that rocked out the most, keeping fast and steady time all the while, pounding out the rhythm. The lead guitar was enveloped in a sea of reverb that sailed in and over the audience, while the telecaster kept the structure of the songs intact. The drums broke the songs into their individual parts, stopping and starting again with each piece, and eventually pounding endlessly as the music took on an almost punk rock quality.
The vocals gave the music its style and flavor. The tambourine and the lady yielding it provided great backing vocals to the singer, at times singing together and at other times doing call and response. The vocal setup gave the whole music a decidedly California sound. A wide range of styles and sounds were incorporated, ranging from psychedelic, to the aforementioned punk, to vintage surfer rock, which came out most distinctly in their last number. But all of these styles blended together effortlessly and created a dynamic ten-song set filled with force and vigor.
The Fresh & Onlys put on a well-tempered rock show. Each song was performed with the same efficiency and energy, yet each song had it's own unique quality, making it a little bit different from the others. The show was never boring, and always tight and to the point, pounding towards the audience, causing us to move our feet, heads, and arms in unison. If The Fresh & Onlys mission was to put on a great rock show tonight, well then mission accomplished.
I can't even begin to describe this girl's talent. So I won't. Ema & The Ghosts. Wow. But I will say this. When she plays around town, I would make it a point not to miss her. Whether it be the ukulele, accordion, or any other instrument she touches, Ema & The Ghosts is simply brilliant, capable of lighting up any room with a voice that just grabs a hold of you and takes you to a better place then you were before you heard her sing to you. She does not have any upcoming shows, but you can be sure as soon as we find out we will let you all know. Ema & The Ghosts, a true gem in the LA music scene.
Anytime we come across new material from Adam Balbo, we simply sit back, smile and play it. And play it again. And Again. We luv this guy.
We luv the fact that he just writes, records, and plays music the only way he knows how. Pure and vocalizing something funny about life. Listen to one of Adam Balbo's latest little gems here. Adam will also be at UC, Irvine on March 29th.
Love this LA band's mantra, "To Make Music." Seriously what eles matters, when you got a probing 4-piece rock band that is on a mission to spread their notes and play all over town? We are talking aboutExoneration.
My gut feeling is Exoneration will be blowing up shortly and not just because they are performing, but because more people will jump unto this band's sound and start passing the word on them. We like them and we look forward to them giving us more of their music! Go out and support these guys.