Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thee Oh Sees, Dom, and Daylong Valleys of the Nile- FYF / ERMF Presents - AP LIVE Review

I revisited Eagle Rock for another FYF/ERMF collaboration, in which they presented us with Daylong Valleys of the Nile, Dom, and Thee Oh Sees. Daylong kicked it off for an audience seeming mostly unfamiliar with this Lavender Diamond side project. They're heavily new wave, and their love for music is both audible and visible when they're performing. They gave us a genuine 80's sound, and couldn't have portrayed the beginning of punk/new wave sounds 30 years later better. They said "Thank you, it's nice to see some old friends tonight," and quickly packed up so that DOM could begin their set. In between bands, I enjoyed the sounds of Tom Tom Club's "Genius of Love," and Polaris' "Waiting for October" while each band quickly got things going instead of making us wait around. I believe it might have been because of how close in proximity the Center for the Arts is to residential areas, but it was still refreshing.

I made my way to the very front for Dom, as they said "We're Dom, we're from western Massachusetts. This ones called Things Change." Their music what I'd classify as girl garage music. It's sort of grungy and alternative, but in the end it has the sweet vocals and fun lyrics that attract girls. I don't really consider myself a girl-girl, but I understand why girls enjoy their energetic stage presence and witty songs.They played "Living in America" which had electro backtracking, and seemed to be a crowd-pleaser that pumped them up. Their biggest fans in the front called out for "Bochica" and they played it happily. This song embodies a good time montage in a teen movie, and the crowd was feeling it shamelessly. They sounded very loud and clear, and had a lot of movement all the while. They finished their set after an OK from Thee Oh Sees' John Dwyer for a few more songs than they'd originally planned, and said "Next up Thee Oh Sees, they fuckin' rule."

I was in my good picture taking/dancing spot, overjoyed to see Thee Oh Sees, and it wasn't long before my joy went away because some guy that presumably was on every type of drug and drank every type of alcohol was behind me. He stood with his back to me, kept pushing me and elbowing me while loudly talking to his friends, and even continuously pushed me out of the way to touch Brigid Dawson's keyboard. I now couldn't wait any longer for Thee Oh Sees to play, so I could 1) go crazy over their immense talent, and 2) punch this guy in the face and blame it on moshing. As soon as they began to play, the crowd came to life and trampled each other vehemently. So, I elbowed the shit out of that guy, shook the spilled beer off of me, and went to the makeshift backstage area to take pictures and not die. They played the addictive "I was Denied," which starts out very old school then modernizes on the chorus as it gets louder and progressively badass. Everyone freaked the fuck out when they played their hit "Meat Step Lively," which reminds me of The Stooges type garage punk. The crowd surfers caught waves during "Crushed Grass" and of course "Tidal Wave," two songs that exemplify a surf punk sound that is different from the current. Thee Oh Sees give an original surf/garage/punk that definitely has it's influences, but they're mostly set apart from the rest. "Warm Slime" brings out each of their talents; powerful fast drumming, tight swift bass, beautiful loud vocals from Brigid, and John defining punk rock with his skillful vocals and ear-splitting guitar that rests just below his neck. This was their last show after 31 in a row, and now they're going home to San Francisco for some much needed rest.

-Alyssa Holland

The Strange Boys, Natural Child and White Fence presented by FYF and ERMF - AP LIVE Review

I hydroplaned my way to Eagle Rock Center for the Arts for a perfect Thursday composed of White Fence, Natural Child, and The Strange Boys (thanks to FYF and ERMF). People sat around the beautiful church-like building, and White Fence began to play at around 8:30 sharp. Tim Presley's current project got the crowd flowing with a 4 man pit, surrounded by many bobbing heads. They began with "Mr. Adams" which completely reminds me of psychedelic 60's anthems. All of their music gives a Byrds/Simon and Garfunkel feel; perfect music for die-hard hippies that need something new to play in their communes. I loved "Stranger Things Have Happened (To You)." It caught my attention the most, because it sounded like the best combination of country and rock. They ended their set with "Get That Heart" which mixed the 60's vibe with a more alternative aftertaste. I love everything Tim Presley tackles; he is a talented fellow, and this performance left me excited to see White Fence again, and to see his buddies The Strange Boys in a few hours.

Natural Child is fucking hilarious. They're a trio from Nashville, Tennessee who remind me of what Danny McBride's children would do if they were skilled musicians who live by beer, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and sex. They played "Shame Walkin'" after announcing every dirty word pertaining to sex when telling us what the song is about. Before all of their songs, they'd say "This song is about white people," "This song is about beer," "This song is about an asshole we know," "This song is about A BUNCH of assholes," making their fun carefree attitude apparent. They asked, "Hey do you guys know where skid row is? We're gonna want to be going there later" before playing "Crack Mountain" which is more fast paced and alternative than the rest of their songs, that have a southern punk sound. I enjoyed their humor, togetherness, passion, and Zack's perfect drum rolls.

I didn't necessarily expect people to mosh for The Strange Boys, since their music is more dance-inducing than violence-worthy. But they moshed indeed, and my knees are so bruised up from being pushed against the stage that even the touch of my sheets to my skin hurts like hell. If you'd like to take that as an indication for how awesome their set was, then feel free to do so. Ryan Sambol said “That was a good shot” in response to my photo taking, and the pain subsided. People seemed to go wild for the occasional songs thrown in from their first album and Girls Club, especially for "Woe is You and Me." This song is very upbeat, loud, and it was an obvious answer as to why I have such wonderful battle scars. When they played "Be Brave" from their new album released last year (also titled Be Brave), everyone sang along to Ryan's bluesy high-pitched vocals and danced devotedly. The audience went nuts for another and Girls Club hit called "Heard You Wanna Beat Me Up" which is very playful and fun, and quite frankly you'd have to be deaf and blind to not dance to it. They played 16 songs, mostly off of their new album with a few surprises from their first album, and ended the set with the B-side "Keys to the Kingdom" from their 7" Be Brave vinyl. Ryan said to his saddened fans, "This 'll be the end of the show, thank you very much ladies and gentlemen" when they played this, finishing off a perfect set that purged us all.

- Alyssa Holland

Monday, March 14, 2011

Growlers, Crystal Antlers, Tijuana Panthers, Hanni El Khatib, The Audacity, Death Hymn Nine, Drug Cabin and Burger Record DJs- FYF Presents- AP Live Review

simulposted on LA Record
The line was long at the Glasshouse when the Growlers tour bus pulled up. This painted up school bus that looks like it could be a creature in one of Hunter S. Thompson's mescaline dreams fueled my anticipation. While this FYF affair boasted seven great bands and Burger Record DJ's in between sets, the buzz was in the air for the Growlers. At one point a dusty Jeep full of people, (and all sorts of stuff), rolled up and a wide eyed hippie type girl with sun baked crimped long hair leaned out the window, "Is this the Growler's show?" When we told her yes her face lit up like she had just reached the holy land after traveling 100 miles through a parched desert. Yeah, this night, where myself and the magnificent Alyssa Holland would trade our time, (and this review), between The Glasshouse and Aladdin Jr's - was starting off just right.

Hanni El Khatib, (say that 5 times fast), kicked things off at the Glasshouse. With only guitar and a drummer, Hanni played his own brand of striped down 50's influenced dirty blues rock with dashes of rockabilly and soul. "Loved One" full of testosterone and one two many beers feels like a car gunning it's engines before a street race. "You Rascal You" - with it's chunky over modulated sound and piercing lead jabs is slicked back and tattooed up and cruising for a bruising and "Dead Wrong" is a dancy doo wop skirt twister.  Dirty guitar, sultry sandpaper vocals- awesome. Hanni El Khatib will be doing multiple showcases at SXSW.
- Adler Bloom

Drug Cabin is Nathan Thelan's, (Moonrats and Pretty Girls Make Graves), solo project. I was not able to catch their entire set but what I heard was really wonderful. "Nobody's Ghost" with it's airy chords and meditative cadence and Thelan's beautiful vocals wraps you up in your own daydreams. "One I love" moves along like a water running over rocks, Thelan's guitar picking dancing while the bass happily walks along. Very cool dreamy stuff that for me, pulled me back to Steeler's Wheel or elements of the masterful Beach Boy's Holland Album or the earthiness of Neil Young. Cool beans indeed.
- Adler Bloom

As soon as Tijuana Panthers started warming up, a crowd began to form tightly in the glasshouse full of many fans and many curious observers that hadn't heard them before. They started out with "Don't Shoot Your Guns," which reminds me of a British-pop-punk that differs from their general surf sound. The crowd was pushing to get to the front and there was a small amount of moshers, but everyone was dancing and singing along. All three members were on point with their vocals and playing; they sounded phenomenal. When they played the audiences favorite "Creature" absolutely everyone began to jump, dance, and scream out the lyrics. They played "Boardwalk" beautifully, and dedicated it to "Pee Wee Herman" making him a lucky lady because this song is sensual and sweet. They ended their set with "Prayer Needs," after Chad played the beginning of it once before and left us wanting to hear it, we finally got our fix and it sounded as amazingly catchy as ever.
- Alyssa Holland

If Hell has a Club Punk Cabana then Death Hymn Nine would be the band. If music is blaring in Charlie Sheen's head when the "poles" in his brain are playing tug of war then Death Hymn Nine is that noise. With the blood red paint spatter on their t-shirts and the chalk powder faces they looked like Día de los Muertos punk puppets. The music is frantic and balls out punk with the lead singer screaming so hard that it made my throat sore but Death Hymn Nine's songs also have some cool vibes that lift it above standard punk fare. Some of the tom tom beats almost sounded punk big band, some of the guitar almost sounded like a punk version of Duane Eddy twangy surf guitar. Splash some blood red paint on your t-shirt and go check them out.
- Adler Bloom

Crystal Antlers seriously sounded fucking magnificent tonight. They always do, but for some reason tonight everything just came together perfectly and Jonny's voice sounded so good it was like a recording (so we recorded it of course). The crowd got denser, and moshed powerfully, as I was standing directly behind their biggest fan. He was reaching his hands out to Crystal Antlers, and screaming along to each song. They began with new songs titled "Fortune Telling" and "Until the Sun Dies pt. 2" which both sound very strong, hard-hitting, energetic, and experimental. When they played "Summer Solstice" not one person wasn't moving. The drumbeat forces your hips to move, and the Cora's keys get stuck in your head for days (making my days better). This is honestly one of my favorite songs, ever. The song that captured the audience the most was "A Thousand Eyes" which starts out heavy, fast, and loud, and drops down to a bluesy passionate slower chorus. Before they ended their perfect set, Jonny said "up next is Audacity at Aladdin's, then Growlers. Growlers... we played on your roof five years ago, don't forget that."
- Alyssa Holland

When you watch The Audacity, that surf / garage / rock band from Fullerton California you feel like you're in a back yard house party. Maybe it is because the guys are so unpretentious about what they do which is play solidly crafted garage rock, have some beers and call each other bitches. The crowd at Aladdin's Jr were totally on board, dancing and asking the boys to play their favorite Audacity songs. If only there was a swimming pool to jump in- it would of totally felt like the OC.
- Adler Bloom

Growlers started their set as Brooks said over the screaming crowd, "This song is called Gay Thoughts." I was in the middle of the crowd, with absolutely no room to even breath anything but the smells of 3 different kinds of smoke, many different alcohols and sweat. I don't know what the hell the crowd was doing... we were just falling back and forth together and squished up so tight that I'm pretty sure my bones are now crushed. So after this song I left this weird wave of people with many others saying "Why can't we just dance?" - made my way backstage and then on stage with the Growlers, and danced my heart out with all the other girls surrounding the band. The crowd went wild for "Acid Rain" an obvious all time favorite for most of them. It's definitely one of the most addictive songs out there right now, and it's impossible to not enjoy. They slowed it down with "Empty Bones" but that didn't stop people from crowd surfing constantly and getting thrown back into the wave of people by the Glasshouse security. I died when they played "Old Cold River" and I sang along adoringly to Brook's fantastic vocals. A drunk person almost pushed me off the stage but I retaliated and continued to dance to all of their tropical-bluesy-surf music that holds hypnotic sway over so many die-hard fans who will never get enough of the Growlers' genius. When they finished, we of course screamed for more, and they played "People Don't Change Blues" which Matt Taylor sang after he took a bra that was thrown on stage and put it on a coyote that sat next to the drums, (I swear I was not tripping). We got our last hoorah, danced and sang along, until the dear Sean Carlson told us to go off stage at the end of another magical FYF night.
- Alyssa Holland

Thanks to Burger Records Dj's for playing sweet sounds between sets and Mike and Sean for keeping it real-
-Alyssa Holland and Adler Bloom

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Strokes - "Under the Cover of Darkness"- not much has changed since 2001

Julian Casablancas sings "everyone's been singing the same song for ten years"- and the SNL performance of "Under the Cover of Darkness" sounded very familiar. In fact some of the melodies they skillfully strained out could of been off their debut album back in the day. "Life is Simple in the Moonlight" showed more breadth and scope so hopefully their new album - Angles - (which I have not had the pleasure of hearing yet) - will show an evolution in their stripped down much beloved sound.
Adler bloom

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bruise Cruise- a sign of things to come??

When I think of Cruises on the high seas I think of many things: The Love Boat with Captain Stubing, senior citizens in Hawaiian shirts, food poisoning, and the occasional husband tossing his wife over the side. One thing that does not come to mind is bad ass alternative rock bands. Well, now after hearing about the "Bruise Cruise" this possibility will enter my brain matter.
How crazy is this??  Apparently it was a rousing success. Not only could you see the Vivian Girls or Ty Segall but you could actually hang with them at the pool. Check out the pics and article at Spin Magazine, (which seems to have some association with the cruise)-

Will this be the new thing?? Quite possibly until some hapless hipster who has had too much to drink topples overboard.
-Adler Bloom