Saturday, June 30, 2012

Team Spirit Lucky to be Underneath Kate Upton

As I was watching the latest Kate Upton / Terry Richardson video - "The Many Talents of Kate Upton" (GQ Mag Photoshoot) for the umpteenth time I finally noticed that the song underneath the video is pretty damn catchy. It has that early 80's power pop, post punk vibe and, in fact, could be a distant cousin of King Tuff with a tiny twist of Japandroids like energy.
The song is "Teenage Love" by Team Spirit which is Ayad Al Adhamy's rock band as opposed to his electro pop affair "Passion Pit" that started in or around 2007. Ayad, a talented keyboardist and synth maestro can also strap on a guitar and jam. Check out the 3 song EP on Bandcamp. All three songs pulsate with a shiteload of energy and pop prowess.

King Tuff's Self Titled Album - A Brilliant Music-Bender

This review originally posted on May 27, 2012 

Kyle Thomas is such a prolific songwriter that he needs three incarnations to utilize the vast amount of styles that emanate from his fertile brain (Happy Birthday, Witch, King Tuff). "King Tuff" the self entitled second King Tuff Album is wickedly smart and catchy. Kyle has created post punk pop songs sprinkled with equal doses of glam, pure bubbly gum, garage rock, teeny bopper, western punk, folk, and psychedelia and managed to keep it all fresh. King Tuff can do boogie woogie blues based rock as hard as the New York Dolls (Stranger) and  and conversely do a song like Keep on Movin that with it's handclaps and bubblegum feel that could literally be a song that the Brady Bunch would of sung with their stoner smiles, (yes those were stoner smiles) AND not sound like homages to things before. Kyle has written a brilliant (ostensibly indie pop) album that sounds genuine on it's face and underneath has a lot of heart. Vocally, Thomas can have a Dylan-esque cadence especially at the end of lyrical phrases but his bite and adolescent defiant snarl kind of reminds me of Jody Taylor Worth of  LA short lived 80's band- Blow Up.

Anthem bristles with big rock 90's indie prog rock and has some wonderful guitar lines. Alone and Stoned starts with a walkie talkie sound guitar and nasally voice, then at 25 seconds in it explodes into this delicious fast bottomed beat, the kind of beat that is moving like it is trying to catch up with itself. At 45 seconds in, the chorus kicks in and I literally said, (through a big faced grin), "DAMN!" as doubled falsetto vocals and a flury of tasty guitar licks enveloped me. I haven't heard such such infectious indie pop in a long time. Unusual World gallops into a dreamy place that certainly must be multi-colored and full of rainbows but with dark clouds looming. With it's indie teeny bop vocals blended in the sugar wash, it is full on pop but still has a bit of sad lurking underneath which I like very much. Bad Thing simply rocks your ass off and feels like mid 80's LA rock to me. Baby Just Break The Rules- veers nicely into folk / western punk. Loser's Walk with it's jangly guitar along with Thomas' especially venomous vocals feels like a collision between the Stones and Iggy Pop.

It is definitely hard to pick a favorite track on King Tuff but as I am writing this review it has to be Stupid Superstar. Some of the rock progs feel like 90's British indie rock but the song is drenched in this sweet glam syrup. This is one of the most produced tracks on the album with tasty harmonies and guitar licks AND a really beautifully psychedelic musical bridge. Evergreen- which I thought was going to be on the next Happy Birthday project is here instead.  One of the most down tempo tracks on this album, it is dreamy and could of existed on a 60's hippie trip in Donovan Leitch's brain. It is a perfectly beautiful lullaby, "I'm not really here.... not really here... not really here."  Swamp of Love  - a tambourine fueled ballad is one of those songs that a crowd sways to, sings along with and raise up their lighters or fully emblazoned cell phones to. It gets pretty lush and big mid way through straying head long into that "All You Need is Love" territory. Hit and Run with it's Italian Police Siren guitar is a full throttle dance that could very well be underneath the ending credits of a teen comedy movie. It is a little too overblown for my taste but it is the only speed bump on this entire record.

In Swamp of Love, Kyle sweetly sings, "Why is love so full of sun and rain?" and King Tuff's self entitled album is similarly full of hard and soft edges and that is nice thing. It makes you remember when you rode that teen line before you became cynical and hard. A time when things were more black and white. A time when you could be more happy than you could imagine as well as get your heart broken in so many pieces that you literally want to die. Step back into that mindset and let King Tuff wash over you.
Adler Bloom

You can Stream the Album here

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jereme Aubertine: UNWIND // REWIND on Damaged Goods Zine

Jereme Aubertin shoots some cool videos, many for Damaged Goods on line magazine coming from one of the most beautiful places in the world= New Zealand. This latest video shows this killer shore break. Some of the angles are shot in such a way that it looks like the wave is breaking 5 inches from the shore line. Not only does Jereme shoot his videos in a loose and easy documentary style, he has the brilliant balls to keep the music down to earth as well. Who the hell would think of using the lo-fi goodness of The Lovely Bad Things first cassette release on Burger Records? Jereme fucking Aubertin would! "Wematanye" off of the Shark Week tape is lo-fi garage rock at it's finest. The unpretentious, under produced track is as purely rendered as Aubertin's UNWIND//REWIND surf vid. YOU go Jereme!

UNWIND // REWIND from Jereme Aubertin on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

AP Song of the Day: Wish You Were Here by Sparklehorse (with a little help from Thom Yorke)

With just a little bit of help from Thom Yorke singing his part over the phone from his hotel room, Mark Linkous covers Pink Floyds iconic "Wish You Were Here". I love this version a lot. It feels so much more intimate than the original. All the grandness is stripped away revealing raw, naked emotion.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Moon Block Party 2- Growing Pains and Good Times in Pomona, CA

The 2nd Annual Moon Block Party has come and gone. I wasn't able to attend the entire festival so what better way to celebrate the day than to view Instagram pics posted up from the party goers themselves. If you want to leave comments next to the Instagram pics, please LIKE us on our Facebook page and post comments in the  FaceBook Moon Block Party Album.

The Festival, like an 2 year old, is going to go through some growing pains and some of them were evident yesterday. Last year, the set up seemed to be a bit more inviting.The Stages seemed to be closer together and the flow of the the vendors and art installations seemed to just fit together in a more seamless way. This time around the Moon Stage seemed to way down the street and  there were a lot of technical hiccups, especially on the Sun Stage where the PA system was distorting terribly. A little vocal distortion never hurt anyone but this sounded really abrasive like the speakers were literally blown. The snap, crackle and pop was even made worse because the high end distortion cut through everything else. The drum mics were also clipping in and out so the sound for Habits, Ahkiyyinii, Death Hymn #9, The Lovely Bad Things and Allah-Las was really not too good. I am sure the sound crew (who I believe were volunteering) were doing their very best but all those bands deserved better. One of the Allah Las put it best during their brief sound check when he said through the mic, "It sounds like shit." Still they persevered and played a great set to an appreciative crowd. The next day the Allah-Las posted this on their face book page: "We wanna thank everyone who stuck around during our set at moon block party, even though the mics made us sound like rammstein."

By the time Kiev played on that stage the sound crew pulled up the sound board (snake and all) and did the mix directly from the stage (stage left). It seemed to clear out the distortion a lot, although the PA seemed to lose a lot of it's power resulting in a low vocal mix. This was still a buh-zillion times better than before. I am wondering if there was just not enough juice to power the system. The Moon Stage fared better although they had some technical issues during Dante Vs Zombies and Dante gave the sound guys a bit of a tongue lashing when Laena Geronimo's mic was not working. I know it was hot and there were some problems but Dante's attitude was veering into the "dick zone." Still, they put on a solid show. A little while later, I heard that the Moon Stage lost power altogether for a little while.

Again, these are just growing pains that the Moon Block Party organizers will surely learn from. The great thing is that even while the audience where listening to broken glass vocals on the Sun stage they enjoyed the bands just the same. Of the Bands I saw, Death Hymn #9 killed it (sweating stage blood and bullets), The Lovely Bad Things stirred up their usual mosh pit even on a hot day, and the Allah Las commanded the crowd even with their heavy metal vocals (lol). The audience and bands took the technical lemons and made sweet musical lemonade. I wandered between stages and caught some of the acts at the Jive Joint Stage. The vibe was intimate and the crowd really showed their love. I caught some of the art installations and gallery art and pulled my neck muscle doing like 5 double takes at the body painted girls. One of the fun things to do was to watch people notice them and do a quick double take while not trying to run into a light pole.

Kiev (with the much improved non distorted PA system) played a set with long musical jams and their enthusiasm spilled over into the crowd. As I said at the beginning, I was unable to see all the acts and many of the later acts but I did get to see the Cosmonauts. I have seen them a dozen times but there was something extra electric going on last night as the crowd  pressed up tight against the stage in a non stop, stage diving, crowd surfing fun fest. IT was awesome! Crystal Antlers had some bad luck. According to their Instagram, they abandoned their crippled van, grabbed instruments and hitched a ride (?) That may of been Instagram hyperbole (or not) but they did make it. You have to absolutely hear CA in full- loud power mode but they were on the Sun Stage with that some what lack luster PA system. After their first song, they edged down the volume just to be able to hear the vocals. They still sounded sweet. I reluctantly had to head out mid way through their set and was not able to see the rest of the bands or attend the after party.

The time I spent there was very cool. I ran into a lot of people and bands I have not seen for a while so it was nice hanging and catching up with each and every one of them. Let me know what you thought of the bands you saw and what you thought of the Moon Block Party overall.
Till next year-
Dante Vs Zombies on the Moon Stage.
The Lovely Bad Things on the Sun Stage.

Dahga Bloom on the Moon Stage.

Fools Gold

The Lovely Bad Things stir the mosh pit

The Cosmonauts were awesome

The Allah Las

Dante Vs Zombies
Crystal Antlers !!

The Entrance Band

Death Hymn # 9 blood and guts

Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel-- YES!

Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel

Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel on the Moon Stage

Sleepy Sun

Black Feet Braves

Black Jesus and the Experimentalists

Some happy guy with the body paint girls

Brayden and Camron Ward with ??

Painting fun

Paz Lenchantin on the Jive Joint Stage

Allah Las

These Girls were everywhere

The Lovely Bad Things rip it up

The Lovely Bad Things

Artist and friends

Laz Penchantin

Lovely Bad Things "Mike" Impression

Water Color Light Effects

Strangers Family Band on the Jive Joint Stage

The Entrance Band
Dahga Bloom on the Moon Stage