• LIVE REVIEW: LISSIE AT TERAGRAM BALLROOM

    Lissie may be known for her folksy singer-songwriter sound, but seeing her live reveals a performer with the stage presence of a popstar. Her latest record, “Castles”, leans reveals this penchant more fully than ever before, without losing her unpretentious charm. Kicking off her tour Tuesday night at The Teragram Ballroom, a barefooted Lissie stomped through material both new and old, and each track was backed by a chorus of adoring fans. Backed by emotive lights and a band of her midwestern friends, she played a satisfying eighteen-song set, leaping into the crowd for “Little Lovin’”, before returning to the stage for her encore.

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  • LIVE REVIEW: KATE NASH AT THE FONDA

    Backed by a three-piece all-girl band, Kate Nash stormed the stage of The Fonda Tuesday night. She played both her hits and some new material, all while dashing across the stage, crawling across her keyboards, and occasionally leaping into the crowd. A truly talented entertainer, she balances heavy topics with pure pop-punk fun.Kate Nash 2 1
    Nash has never shied away from topics generally treated as taboo in mainstream media, which is a huge part of her appeal. In her video for “Life in Pink”, Nash addresses self-care and mental health, and the fine line between accepting occasional flashes of darkness as a part of life without allowing it to overwhelm. Before breaking into a ripping rendition of “Musical Theater”, Nash gave an impassioned introduction, explaining the track’s origins as kind of therapy and imploring fans to take their mental health seriously.
    Unapologetically and refreshingly feminist, Nash uses her punk-rock persona to eschew outdated gender norms, screaming her way through such formerly poppy tracks as “Pumpkin Soup” reworked to be an explosion of pure blistering energy wrapped up in a sparkly silver bunny suit. Her relatable lyrics are a bit like a venting session with your best friend, wrapped up in blankets on the couch with a bottle of champagne and some Le Tigre in the background. Kate introduced a song written, “for a very special person” before tearing into “Dickhead”, an early track off her first album, encouraging the audience to serenade the stage and exchanging outstretched hands for middle fingers in a cathartic singalong. The audience was deeply engaged, though occasionally rowdy, leading to a few run-ins with security and prompting some entertaining quips from the leading lady.

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    Shortly before the encore, she paused the show to implore peace among brewing chaos, promising “we never have to talk again after this!” The commotion hardly dampened the mood, however, and she finished out with her sweet love song “Birds.”

  • LIVE REVIEW: THE RUBENS AT THE BOOTLEG THEATER

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    The Rubens brought charm, swagger, and some new tunes to The Bootleg Theater Tuesday night in anticipation of their forthcoming release. Their third album, due out in early 2018 and featuring an all-star production team of rapper EL-P and Run The Jewels producers/collaborators Wilder Zoby and Little Shalimar, promises to be an interesting musical collaboration. The band played an energetic set, with frontman Sam Margin at times wandering off stage to share a beer with concert-goers. The infectious optimism of the group is especially apparent in “Million Man”, the latest single, with which they closed out their set. The band has a pop-perfect combination of talent both on stage and off and stand poised to take over the U.S. airwaves this summer with their vibrantly catchy indie-rock.

    Check out our full gallery of the show below:

  • Introducing: Ionnalee

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    Under the moniker ionnalee, Jonna Lee’s first solo project in nearly ten years marks her latest metamorphosis. In collaboration with avant-garde fashion house COMME des GARÇONS, Everyone Afraid to be Forgotten is an ambitious fifteen-track feature-length audiovisual film to be released on February 16th.

    The Swedish audiovisual artist is best known for both her work with Röyksopp and as part of the trifecta responsible for Iamamiwhoami. With three beguiling albums to date, the trio has produced mysterious viral videos accompanied by a distinctly Scandinavian electronic soundtrack. Boasting 42,300,00 views, Iamamiwhoami has a devoted cult following and fiercely independent nature, releasing material exclusively on Lee’s own label, To Whom it May Concern.

    Lee’s work often deals with themes of creation, and Everyone Afraid to be Forgotten continues these musings more explicitly by exploring the dilemma of an artist facing the challenge of crafting something meaningful and lasting in a world increasingly fixated on fleeting distractions. As an artist working simultaneously in two mediums, this struggle is particularly poignant and personal for Lee. “My visuals have always been part of my creation”, Lee explains, “and, yet – frustratingly – they are still often being perceived strictly as a promotional tool.”

    To separate the merits of her craft into the visual and the auditory would be an unfortunate mistake. In fact, what makes her work so enticing is that it allows the audience to derive personal meanings from a narrative of recurring dramatis personae, places, and symbolism. Filled with dense metaphorical imagery, cult audiences relish in analyzing and debating her work. The films are incredibly atmospheric, with a sense of place being as much a character as Lee’s mythic, otherworldly personas. It is unusual that an artist succeeds in constructing intricate worlds around a project while remaining entirely consistent with a point of view which defines her body of work.

    Jonna Lee’s musical work stands well on its own, however. The transformation from folksy indie rocker to electronic ice queen is truly remarkable, but Lee has made a career out of surprises. To compare her early compositions to her latest offerings is to reveal an artist who has truly found her stride, and it is clear her labors with Iamamiwhoami have allowed the artist to fully flourish. Lee herself echos these sentiments, especially on her track “Gone”, engineered with scraps from an early teaser for Iam’s first project, 2010’s Bounty. “It was actually so healing to go back to where iamamiwhoami started because that’s where I now feel that I started”, Lee explains.

    The album also features several guest vocalists, most notably with Barbelle/Claes Bjorklund, Lee’s former partner and collaborator. The erstwhile couple duets on Memento, written after their separation. This tribute to an important chapter in Lee’s life reflects an overall exploration of independence, as she explains that “after years of working with someone really close and whom I’d also been in a relationship with for a long time, I wanted to see who am I in the present, as a solo artist”.

    Who Jonna Lee is as a solo artist is a fiercely creative, innovative musician. With six strong tracks and five accompanying videos released in anticipation of Ionnalee’s inaugural album, the project is sure to be a satisfying introduction to her new iteration. A world tour is planned for 2018, with a Kickstarter to support the project and the first date slotted for London in May. Within the first twenty-four hours, the project had halfway reached its goal, proving Lee’s fans are eager to hear what she has planned next.

    All quotes taken from press release written by Doron Davidson-Vidavski and provided by To Whom It May Concern.

    Reposted from DMNDR

  • JOHN MAUS AT TERAGRAM BALLROOM

    A strange dance party took place Tuesday night at The Teragram Ballroom. Existentialist synth rocker John Maus released his first album in six years, Screen Memories, in October, and has been debuting the songs live — and for the first time, with a full band.

    Maus previously played solo, singing over instrumentals of his work, creating a kind of performance art out of his desperate vocals and hysterical movements and expressions. The addition of a live band does not diminish this focus at all, and Maus’ ability to enrapture and enliven an audience remains the focus of the show.

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    His brainy, danceable electronica is heightened by his incredible passion, and this energy enlivened the crowd just as much as any punk rock garage band, with borderline moshing as the audience pulsed like one unit to the beat.

    Maus emotes like a silent film star and is both fascinating and baffling in his intensity. He is a riveting performer, with an uncanny ability to make a crowded room feel intimate and worthy of his reputation as a legend in his field.

    Maus will continue his nearly sold-out tour in Phoenix and Texas in the upcoming weeks.

  • TY SEGALL SLAYS THE TERAGRAM BALLROOM

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    Hot on the heels of his latest release, Ty Segall and company tore up the stage Saturday at the Teragram Ballroom on the second night of a three-day stint. Freedom’s Goblin, which came out Friday, is an epic 19-track album, and Segall’s tenth in ten years. The man is a prolific machine of spitting guitars and spastic energy, both on album and in person, and that energy is contagious. The show was a huge, excited mosh pit, with plenty of stage diving and rambunctious dancing as increasingly exasperated security attempted to contain the mayhem.

     

    This man is not in the band.

     

    Dressed all in white and looking like punk rock angels, Ty & his kick-ass band of misfits played a sprawling 21 song set, keeping the room on fire until well past eleven. Despite the rowdiness of the crowd, the mood was high in the presence of such an undeniable talent and master performer. Denee, Segall’s wife, also joined the band, sporting a Freedom’s Goblin shirt and just as much high-octane bravado as her spouse.

    The tour continues Tuesday in Laguna Beach.

     

  • LIVE REVIEW: SURFER BLOOD AT THE HI HAT

    The Hi Hat welcomed Surfer Blood on Friday night, the second night of their current tour.
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    The band played their trademark blend of beachy indie rock to a packed and excitable crowd of
    revelers, keeping in character with stage diving and other antics. Vocalist John Paul Pitts at one
    point even crawled beneath the stage while still performing, and it was clear the band’s
    relatively recent new lineup has not diminished the energy of their shows.
    The band played tunes from their newest offering, 2017’s “Snowdonia”, as well as other career-spanning hits.
    Terry Malts, who is touring with the band, opened the show.
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  • TUNE-YARDS BRING FIERY BEATS TO A BURNING LOS ANGELES

    tUnE-yArDs brought an intimate performance to Los Angeles on Wednesday as part of a small tour featuring venues they have billed as “so intimate we may spit on you.”

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    Indeed, the Moroccan Lounge in the downtown art district is diminutive but very polished; recently opened in September, it feels new but extremely professional, with tack-sharp lighting and excellent sound. The room was packed tightly with revelers come to dance the night away to the energetic and visceral beats.

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    At times, it was hard to remember that I was there to document the night, and I frequently had to remind myself to pause and click the shutter rather than move to the music. The band opened up the show with their newest single “Look at Your Hands”, followed by several new tunes, as well as fan-favorites such as “Water Fountain” and “Gangsta”. On a new piece, “ABC 123”, the lyrics were curiously apt, as Garbus sang “California’s burning down” in the middle of a state currently suffering from a historic unseasonal rash of forest fires. The band had played the night before in Santa Barbara under threat of blackouts due to the natural disasters plaguing the area.

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    The new songs are at times lyrically bleak but still great fun to listen to, in keeping with a career of emotionally charged bangers Garbus is so good at. Merrill’s massive set of pedals and modifiers filled the room with sound and looping vocals, intermeshing with Nate Brenner’s bass and some inspired drumming to create a sound much bigger than a typical three-piece. Overall, the band continues to shine and evolve, carving out their own niche through sheer creativity and energy.

    Check out more photos from that night’s event below:

  • KISHI BASHI LIGHTS UP THE TROUBADOUR

    KISHI BASHI LIGHTS UP THE TROUBADOUR

    Kishi Bashi brought his unique blend of classical and psychedelic indie-pop to The Troubadour in West Hollywood on Saturday to a sold-out and enthusiastic crowd. The small venue was packed wall to wall, with guests even crowding the staircases, all eager to get as close as they could to this vibrant musician. The tour precedes the release of his documentary “Project 9066”, which explores themes of privilege and identity through the musical lens of a Japanese-American wrestling with the legacy of internment in turbulent political times.

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    Kishi Bashi brings a great deal of passion to everything he touches, and from the previews shown to the crowd, the film promises to continue this trend.

    The night’s music explored the prolific career of the seasoned performer, showcasing everything from his playfulness on such tracks as “Unicorns Die When You Leave” and his romanticism on “M’Lover”. Snippets of chords were looped and transfigured using complex pedals, and electric guitars were frequently swapped for violins. Mike Savino of Tall Tall Trees played double duty, as both the opening act and part of Kishi Bashi’s entourage, strumming along on a banjo that strobed with a multicolored light-up body.

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    Kishi has mastered the art of dramatic buildup, both sonically and theatrically. The show itself climaxed with a hilarious and endearingly passionate duet with Mr. Steak, a seven-foot tall foam rib-eye. It’s an obvious crowd-pleaser, simultaneously silly but still indisputably a display of prodigious talent. Even the steak can sing. The encore was a special treat, as well. Wading into the crowd with a string trio, the band played a gorgeous cover of Talking Head’s “Naive Melody”, followed by “Atticus” and ending with the fan-favorite “Manchester”.

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    The tour continues a breakneck pace on Sunday in Phoenix, Arizona. If you are lucky enough to be graced with a visit, it would be well worth your while to catch Kishi Bashi when he comes to town.

    Check out more photos from the night’s event below:

  • PROLIFIC VIOLINIST ANDREW BIRD DEBUTS “ECHOLOCATIONS: RIVER”

    Prolific Violinist Andrew Bird Debuts “Echolocations: River” Live Andrew Bird debuted his newest piece, “Echolocations: River”, on Thursday night at Zebulon, just a few miles from the Hyperion Bridge where the site-specific recording was made. He opened the set with the piece, playing to a projection of the river as well as NASA geological surveys, keeping in tune with his career-long fascination with nature and science. “River” follows his recording “Canyon”, the first of the series, and incorporates the natural acoustics of the locations to create an otherworldly, beautifully magnified sound. Alone on stage with his violin, he looped and altered his instrument using an impressive pedalboard, showcasing his masterful and inventive playing. Following his audiovisual set, Bird introduced the rest of his band, a bassist and a drummer, to form a trio and segue into a career-spanning musical exploration of his more indie-rock driven catalog. He played some old favorites, such as “Three White Horses” and “Give it Away”, alongside some new, yet-to-be-released tracks such as “Sisyphus” (spelled “Sissafiss” on an entertainingly playful setlist). Performing double-duty on both guitar and violin, the night’s nearly two-hour performance was a unique and thoroughly engaging experience. Andrew Bird continues to be one of the most creative and fascinating performers on the indie rock scene

     

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