• 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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  • An Intimate Performance in a Bar with No Name from Durand Jones

    Oct. 2nd, 2017

    A blank, black building with darkened windows, No Name on Fairfax is intentionally nondescript. It sits across from Canter’s Deli, a smartly dressed woman with a clipboard standing sentry outside the door the only indication that it is open for business.

    The venue strives to maintain an air of exclusivity - only recently have they begun taking dinner reservations from the general public. It is a spot haunted by musicians and celebrity clientele, drawn by the quiet atmosphere (no photography is allowed anywhere in the club) and excellent live music. It feels a bit Lynchian (if David Lynch were to cater to hipsters) with exquisite vintage furniture, beautifully quirky artwork, hunting trophies, and a chandelier that looks a bit like an underwater mine lighting the velvet bedraped stage. A perfect venue, then, for the soulfully vintage sound of Durand Jones and the Indications.

    The band takes the stage and an immediate hush of anticipation sweeps through the room. This silence doesn’t last long - Durand Jones is a performer who is able to funnel his energy into a crowd and make the air vibrate with his music. A septet ranging from brass to keys, the group grooves with the ease of seasoned performers. Each member is prodigiously talented - the playing is album-perfect but still feels completely effortless. At times, it is impossible to say who is the star of the show. They channel the spirit of classic soul music wonderfully - a homage that still manages to feel original.

    Seeing Durand Jones and the Indications perform is a bit like discovering Otis Redding for the first time - the intensity of the experience is that invigorating. “I never thought I would be a singer,” Jones says halfway through the set. At first, this seems implausible as he is such a natural talent, but the playfulness with which he conducts his band belies a joy that only a newfound passion can inspire. He banters with the melodies full of a vivaciousness equal to that which he uses on the crowd - it truly feels like a participatory experience, with the audience lending enthusiasm to the players on stage.

    On “Can’t Keep My Cool”, the band plays with the rests - building tension with silence, and then drowning the room in a burst of noise. Jones invites audience to participate in call-backs and sing-alongs, all of which feel exhilaratingly authentic. At one point, on “Is it Any Wonder”, Durand reveals the band’s “secret weapon” - switching to backup vocal duties to allow the multitalented drummer Aaron Frazer to play double duty on both vocals and drums. The youthfulness of the group, which was formed while playing college parties, is surprising given how strong the performance is.

    The energy never runs dry with each song melding perfectly into the next. Great performances like this are incredibly satisfying. The show feels intimate and huge all at once - and sans encore, leaves one craving for more, and humming the whole way home. Should Durand Jones and The Indications make it to your locale, it will be an unforgettable and unmissable experience.

     

  • Mondo Cozmo Unites LA in Rock

    Sept. 27th, 2017

    “This is what hard work looks like”, Mondo Cozmo announced to a packed and excitable crowd last night at the El Rey. The band has been working very hard indeed lately, touring for 180 days straight. It’s been a productive year for Joshua Ostrander, the musician behind the Mondo Cozmo moniker. Since “Shine” hit #1 on Billboard‘s Adult Alternative Songs chart in January 2017, the project has seen rising success, with crossover appeal pleasing the ears of audiences from all generations and tastes. You can see this diversity in the crowd – hipsters grooving next to middle aged father types, united in Mondo’s vibrant and impassioned performance. And boy, can the guy move – hopping across the stage and jamming whole-heartedly all the while. Tribute was paid to the rocker’s idols as well – from a pitch-perfect cover of The Verves “Bittersweet Symphony” to a moving tribute to the late, great David Bowie with a cover of “Heroes”. Mondo Cozmo himself is a rock hero on the rise. Treat yourself next time he’s in town – you won’t regret it.

     

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    Reposted from DMNDR

  • The Little Miss at King Eddy

    December 2016

    The Little Miss debuted her first of a series of shows featuring a full band last night at King Eddy’s in Downtown LA. Boasting a powerful voice blending masterfully with her appealing interpretation of modern folk, The Little Miss (Hayley Johnson) sounds more California cool than Delta blue at times, infusing her sound with a hint of Indie rock. The addition of a full band elevates the music, breathing force into stomping melodies, but the tunes are just as at ease when stripped just Hayley and her guitar, as on her closing track played during an encore. Catch her on her upcoming tour – this is a rising talent not to be missed.

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    Reposted from DMNDR

  • Scaling Human Freakout Mountain with Zuli

    Sept. 25th, 2017

    Following his electrifying show at The Hi Hat in Los Angeles, NY-based musician Zuli (Ryan Camenzuli) sat down with DMNDR to talk about music and creative inspiration.

    Is this your first time touring LA?

    No, we did a seven week tour last year in LA for a couple nights, but we drove. We played a couple shows, one at The Resident [DTLA]. It was great, and we’re glad to be back. This visit was just a flyout, we had the show [last night] and then some sessions and interviews. We did a performance at the Capital Tower. Just a quick in and out this time around – and we’ve had a lot of In & Out!

     

    Right on. So what inspired the title “On Human Freakout Mountain”?

    I was walking around the Brooklyn Museum, and there was this one photograph they had shot that was huge, I can’t remember the name of the guy who took it, but for some reason the phrase [“Human Freakout Mountain”] just shot into my brain. When I started writing the songs for the album, they were dealing a lot with self worth, and trying to be the person you want to be, and it all just clicked.

     

    Do you usually look to art for inspiration?

    Sometimes, it’s kind of hard to pinpoint. People always ask, “Well, how do you do it?” And it’s never been “Oh! I do this and this and…” There have been plenty of times where I’m just like, zoning out, watching T.V. or something, and it will just hit me. Or you know, I’m reading a book, walking on the beach… It’s always different. Just capturing those kinds of moments. You know… “On human freakout mountain. Huh.”

     

    I saw that you’re involved in a collective?

    Yeah! “Con-Template”.  Community is such an important part of music, it has to fall into place and feel good. This is one of those scenarios where we were all together, and just grinding, really super passionate about what we were doing, and we built this support system that has become kind of our “scene”, which is weird and amazing. There’s TK the Architect who helped me co- produce this album, and Kimberly Young Sun, who is an artist that did all the album artwork and the promos, and has been working so hard with me. And there’s Gen Motion, this amazing production team. I don’t know if this project would be doing as well without them.  It’s great to have a talented and incredible support system.

     

    I imagine it keeps you a little more healthy and sane too.

    Yeah! Just having people you can really talk to and bounce ideas off of. I love everyone and I love everyone’s work and I’m so lucky to have met all these great people.

     

    Where did you meet them?

    I was playing in a different band at the time before I started the Zuli project, and I had met a couple people, including my girlfriend, and we all clicked and started talking, and everything fell into place.

     

    So you collaborate a lot with those guys, are they also a part of your band?

    No, the band is sort of a separate entity. Those are just my boys.

     

    Your Zuli Boys.

    Yeah! Greg, I’ve known since third grade, he’s my best friend and plays the bass, Kyle I met in high school, he’s my drummer, and Alan in college. It’s amazing. They’re super talented and they help make it all so much better – touring is more comfortable with friends. The fact that they’re fantastic musicians too… I’m just the luckiest guy in the world.

     

    So you guys all drove across the US in a van together presumably?

    Yep, we just got back maybe a week or two before we flew out here. We’ve done several tours together now, and it’s been great.

     

    I’ve noticed that a lot of your music builds up to a sort of wall of sound, is that something you strive for consciously?

    No, I actually try not to do that because I have a tendency towards that kind of build. I’m not going to follow a formula. It works with some melodies, but I try to be aware of it.

     

    It’s good to do self editing.

    Yeah, of course. And taking note of things like that is super important — understanding the things you do as maybe a safety net. But I do love stuff like that. I think it’s really cool, those intense walls of sound. But at the same time I’m also really passionate about things like pop melodies, so doing this gradual thing sort of lends a hand to being able to do both.

     

    Without being accused of making pure pop music.

    Yeah exactly. It’s something I’ve done and I’m proud of. Compared to the EP, I feel like I’ve learned a lot and gotten a grasp on always improving and striving to be better and work on what’s exciting and what feels good. I’ve noticed a big change, but it’s hard to pinpoint. It’s not so methodical. Inspiration can come from anything — like a phrase, to a song I’ve never heard before. I’ll hear something and I’m like “Wow! I didn’t know you could do that! I want to do that!”. I first heard Animal Collective in like 2008, when I was a sophomore in high school, front row at a festival. I thought, “This is either the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, or I hate this.” My mind was literally blown.

     

    They can be a polarizing band.

    Oh definitely, but overall my favorites. But yeah, all kinds of things can be inspiration. I saw you had one question written down – “what is a kubadiver?”


    Oh my god, yes! What is a kubadiver? I looked it up and couldn’t figure it out.

    It’s not really a thing! Basically that song came into place when I was smoking a ton of weed, just too much, and hanging with a really scummy crew. And I knew it, I wasn’t crazy about it, but it was an inside joke with these dudes. But for me it took on this meaning, like, man, just scumbags…

     

    So a kubadiver is a scumbag?

    I guess so, yeah. That was the kind of weird…oh man I hope those guys don’t see this. But yeah, a better way to say it is when I wrote the song I had the melody, the lyrics, and this idea that you’re attached to these people, but the reasons for that attachment aren’t always that great. That kind of title, one of their inside jokes, seemed to appropriately fit with the overall feeling of the song.

     

    It seems like everything you do happens really organically.

    Absolutely, and even with the title and, and the song “Blaze”….

     

    Which is a song about a dog…

    Yeah, the dog’s name was Blaze… But even with the name “Zuli”, it was never like I considered myself this amazing talent for naming things. I’m more interested in the body of work itself than the title of the album. I just try to not overthink it, just do it.

     

    It seems like it’s going well, thinking with your gut.

    Yeah, I gotta stay true to it. I forget that sometimes, but it has lead me to where I am.

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    Reposted from DMNDR

  • The Broad Presents Largest Private Collection Of Work By Cindy Sherman

    12 June 2016

    The Broad, LA newest contemporary art museum, presents its inaugural special exhibition on June 11th – Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life.

    The museum, which opened last September, boasts the largest collection of the inimitable photographer’s works, exhibiting pieces from throughout her career spanning nearly half a century. The exhibit will be the first major solo show for the artist in Los Angeles since 1997, an appropriate locale for images with much to say about celebrity and the influence of the media on popular culture. 

    The collection the museum has amassed is expansive, featuring images covering everything from her classic Untitled Film Stills to the local debut of her newest series. It also includes her 1997 comedic horror film Office Killer and audio tour featuring celebrities such as Molly Ringwald and John Waters. In addition, the museum will be presenting a late night Sherman-inspired film series Doll Parts, featuring works which relate to the artist’s influences and heirs apparent. 

    The exhibit is a lovingly presented retrospective, with the Broads proving themselves one of Sherman’s greatest champions.  Eli and Edythe Broad visited Metro Pictures, an art gallery in New York, in November of 1982 and found themselves enamored with Sherman’s images.  There, after purchasing twenty of the young artist’s works, they established themselves as lifelong patrons. Living in New York as a young woman deeply influenced Sherman.

    In the 1994 documentary Nobody’s Here But Me, she explains she learned very quickly to adapt “because in order to feel comfortable you need to present a street persona to avoid [discomfort]”. Her experience in the city primed a chameleonic habit which informs her aesthetic and imbues it with the feminist connotations with which she has become associated. Themes such as the male gaze, fashion, and celebrity often treat the viewer as a voyeur, and simultaneously the pieces suggest an undercurrent of wry humor. Sherman’s use of herself as a canvas belie an artist fascinated with the nature of artifice, seen throughout the show in her use of prosthetics intentionally undisguised and gaudy, messily applied makeup. In her series of historical portraits inspired by classical artworks, she reinvents herself as a nobleman with a comically oversized nose or a iconographic maiden with plasticine breasts bursting out of silk robes. Her brief departure from portraiture, the reactionary Disgust series, is featured as well, and explores her darker undercurrents with disturbing and sometimes brutally beautiful collages of disembodied anatomical body parts, blood, and guts. The final portion of the show presents the artist, now sixty-two, exploring themes of aging and celebrity. The images, which have never been shown in Los Angeles, present silent screen starlets seeminly posing for publicity photographs, and are shot in digital format. Reminiscent of her early work using rear screen projection, they document an artist who clearly has quite a bit more to say, and we are lucky for the opportunity to listen.

    Words: Symphony Arnold  Photos: Jake Robinson

    Reposted from Artlyst