Horse Feathers — Appreciation

Easy rock done right

May 21st, 2018
Lex Voight
Category: Review

The Eagles can be a polarizing band.

With just enough country influences to not quite be rock, enough rock to not quite be folk, and a kind of omnipresence that can, at times, be cloying, the “easy-rock” band has as large a legion of haters as it does of avid fans. 

I, for one, fall into the former camp, which makes Horsefeathers’ Appreciation all that more remarkable by taking the template of folk-influenced easy rock and country and turning it into something that is soulful, enjoyable and deeply charismatic.

The 70’s rock and folk influences are immediately evident but gone are the cloying vestiges of the 60’s movement-gone-wrong that many of the folk-rock bands of the era fell prey to. In its place is a soulful, earnest effort that straddles its many influences with aplumb. 

Review: The Distillers @ The Observatory

The Distillers vs. The World That Didn’t Change

May 7th, 2018
Lex Voight

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”– Terry Pratchett
Continue reading…

Django Django/Tank and The Bangas @ Fonda Theatre

Fans got a little rhythmic mix on Wednesday night

April 23rd, 2018
Melissa Karlin
Category: Lead Story, Review

A double bill can be many things. It can be two things related but different coming together for a night show. It can be two unrelated things that sort of make sense so they are slapped together. Or it can be as it was Wednesday night at the Fonda Theatre: two opposite ends of the spectrum coming together to tell a story.

Continue reading…

Show Review: Khruangbin @ Lodge Room

This is not what I expected.

March 30th, 2018
Kyle B. Smith

Image by Mary Kang

It started without a greeting. With some hammer-ons, some hammer-offs. It brought to mind a sitar. An opium den. Someplace ex-US. Laura Lee cooed a bit. This is what I expected. Loungey, but you know, cool. There were hot pink search lights scanning the crowd. Within two minutes, it was officially notarized that this was going to be all vibe. “Como Me Quieres,” it was. Then it was “Dern Kala,” and I don’t know what that means. But Lee and guitarist Mark Seer were front and center doing coordinated knee-bends. Ok, maybe this is a bit looser than I expected. Our greeting finally came as follows, “Los Angeles, California!” This led to “August 10.” Donald Johnson sat back behind his kit, all pocket. There was no rush in these songs. Psychedelia came courtesy of projected soap bubbles, just like they used to. Then those search lights were blowing highlighter yellow over the darkened Lodge Room. Things slowed a bit for “Friday Morning.” Yes, there were echoes of Floyd, and friends asking, “What would the masons think?” Then Seer – what a name – told us that the Texan trio were very humbled to be there. Then “Mister White” arrived, as did the wall-to-wall sensation that whatever the fuck the caricaturized DOPE is supposed to mean now, this must be it. Some of these songs off new LP Con Todo El Mundo could one day graduate to be indie jazz standards? Maybe not. I don’t care. Wait, no. They’re a house band in Jabba’s lair? No, I’m high. Wait, what? In any event, Khruangbin is a band of few words, many sounds, dreamy intros and quick transitions. But then somewhere past the midpoint of the seamless set was a whole James Brown element coming on strong. The sorta mystery of how this impressive sold out three-night run came to be evaporated with one of those soap bubbles, at which point the hipper-than-thou crowd assembled in Highland Park was simply fucking lit. This is not what I expected. Khruangbin had succeeded in turning a room full of typically staid Angelenos in to something out of a late night set at Bonnaroo. Musical shape shifting, if you will. The beer was cold. Egos were lost. Lead guitar was given room to breathe. Slippery solos never betrayed dexterity, even when they put some stank on it. Are those Shaft quotes? Ohhhhh noooo, ohhhh yessss here it comes, it’s your grandma’s quilted-together crowd pleasing, hip hop medley! “Footsteps in the Dark” (for some, Cube for others, I had to look it up), “Summertime,” “I Got 5 On It.” Better stop right now, or somebody’s gonna get pregnant (thank you Prince). After a long strut with the covers, Khruangbin returned to their intellectual property to cool things down before the encore. The first encore. The Donald, alone on stage, swiveled his chair away from his kit, to face a piano at the back of the room. Then a delicate little pecked number came out of nowhere like a bar fight. It did not fit the proceedings, yet somehow did. His comrades returned. It got tropical sounding, and balmy in the air. Clothes were coming off. The tune accelerated in to a foot stomping jam treading closely behind the Dead. A bit ersatz, but hey it’s Saturday night in what’s become a juke joint, and it’s clear that nobody cares. Especially when things dropped in to a straight modern funk disco hybrid. And then it was over, all too soon. The room started to empty. There were smiles, sweat, cups kicked around on the floor. Where’s the next party?? But those with ganas remained. For a while they clapped, and insisted and, yes, that second encore did happen. Cribbing from the Godfather of Soul a bit more with a pinch of The Doors, it was chemical cross-pollination. A helpful drug for when Khruangbin vamped over instructions directed to the remaining faithful to “make new friends.” Sure why not? And so everyone started talking to strangers. I turned to my right and met Tim. What a concept. Then, a call your Uber-hip warning, “We gonna hit it and quit it.” And Khruangbin wasn’t lying. Their crusade in the name of vibe was over.

More info:

Khruangbin

Show Review: Lucy Dacus @ Teragram Ballroom

Has Lucy Dacus ever told a lie in her life?

March 25th, 2018
Kyle B. Smith
Category: Review

Lucy Dacus came to the Teragram Ballroom Thursday night and played a show that was better than Cats.

On tour in support of gem LP Historian, the supremely understated Lucy Dacus was one member of a four-person outfit, each dutifully contributing an even share to the sturdy performance. There was nary a sour note. It was that type of impeccably clean sound where the negative space mattered as much as the instrumentation.

Continue reading…

Cornelius @ Fonda Theatre

The eclectic Japanese producer’s music exploration

March 22nd, 2018
David Fisch

Japanese producer Keigo Oyamada, also known as Cornelius, transformed the Fonda Theatre Tuesday night with an audio-visual performance in support of his latest record Mellow Waves.


Photos by David Fisch

Starting the show with a projected video welcoming the crowd, the white screen quickly fell away to reveal Cornelius himself and three members on a stage of cued lights and a backing screen of complete visual wonderment to accompany his eclectic music. With tracks like “Helix/Spiral,” “Drop,” and “Wataridori,” Cornelius brought a visually kaleidoscopic journey and an energy and instrumental charisma unlike anything I’ve seen as of late. Even the more monochromatic “In A Dream” was brought to life with mesmerizing flair. The talents of his band was unquestionable as they melded between electronic and prog rock and vocal automation via theremin.

This might very well have been the concert not to miss in 2018, and here’s hoping that Cornelius return to Los Angeles very soon so that everyone (including Scott Pilgrim director Edgar Wright, in attendance) can bask in such a creative and innovative musical event.

Check out the rest of our photos and watch/listen to “In A Dream” below.

More info:

Cornelius

Son Lux @ The Regent

A crisp night in support of Brighter Wounds

March 12th, 2018
David Fisch
Category: Lead Story, Review

What began as a Los Angeles bedroom project of sorts for Ryan Lott has turned into a fully-formed and smashing trio by 2018, as evidenced by Son Lux’s performance at The Regent in Downtown Thursday night. When Lott announced to the audience before the end of the set how endearing it was to be performing with his best friends, it felt earned, seeing the sometimes breathtaking musicianship they employed, as one solid unit of experimental beats and titillating soundscapes filled the room and the souls of the sold-out crowd.

Continue reading…

Festival Recap: Air + Style 2018

A spectacular kickoff to music festival season

March 9th, 2018
Lesley Park
Category: Lead Story, Review

Hot off the plane from Pyeongchang, Shaun White definitely can’t be accused of wasting any time post-Olympics. Upon touching down in LA, the three-time Snowboarding Halfpipe gold medalist hit the ground running overseeing preparations for Air + Style which under his tutelage has morphed into a multi-continental music, snowboarding, and skateboarding fest, the latter of which is a new addition to the roster following the IOC’s announcement that skateboarding would be added to the summer Olympics in 2020 (White himself is also avid skateboarder who has competed and medaled in both the Summer and Winter X Games).

Cut Snake’s smooth, tech house grooves and a series of food trucks were the first thing to welcome me to the venue which is divided into a Summer side and a Winter side both having eponymous stages along with corresponding snow and skate parks, respectively. The Australian duo’s languid, summery sounds provided a nice contrast to the ominous storm clouds overhead. Continuing Cut Snake’s theme of seductiveness, Mura Masa‘s sensual alt R&B filled the winter stage as the last rays of sun dipped below the horizon.

LAMB favorite Cut Copy was next up on the summer stage. Although the storm clouds above brought down a freak torrent of rain during their set, the crowd didn’t seem to notice or care as they were seemingly too busy shouting “With hearts on fire I reach out to you tonight!” You can lump me in with them.

After sampling little bits of Cashmere Cat, I decided to forgo the second half of the set to catch the Snow Finals which featured surprise appearances from decorated Olympians Chloe Kim, Red Gerard, and Kyle Mack, the latter of whom was competing.

Day 1 concluded with a literal bang from big room house maestro Zedd who brought all the big guns from a production standpoint. Fog machines, flamethrowers, and fireworks battered the senses in every direction which made for an enjoyable, albeit musically predictable, experience.

With the storm clouds passed us, Day 2 began on a more temperate note. Rising R&B star Tinashe took to the stage and mesmerized with her bangin’ dance moves and sultry vocals. Although the comparisons to Aaliyah are not entirely without merit, Tinashe is very much a force of her own and one to be reckoned with.

Continuing the theme of girl power (it was just International Women’s Day, after all), Sarah Barthel cast her own captivating spell on the winter stage along with Phantogram co-pilot Josh Carter. In between the breathy vocals of “Mouthful of Diamonds” and the grinding blare of “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore,” Barthel opened up to the audience about her sister’s suicide two years ago, “It’s okay to not feel okay,” she concluded before dedicating “When I’m Small” to her sister’s memory.

The breezy sounds of Washed Out paired perfectly with the skateboarders  practicing jaw-dropping stunts for the Skate Finals event. Future funk maestro GRiZ is no stranger to LAMB love, but his Air + Style set was on another level. In advance of his full live band show, the saxophone-touting producer added a guitarist to the mix which, paired with even grander visuals, made for a more complete concert experience.

The festival concluded with a standout performance from Phoenix, currently touring their sixth and latest album, Ti Amo, which was released last June. Barreling through crowd favorites “Lisztomania” and “1901,” Phoenix’s infectious good vibes was the perfect closer to an overall solid weekend of music. As is customary, frontman Thomas Mars surfed into the crowd for the finale, an encore performance of Ti Amo’s eponymous lead single.


 

Although we’re just a couple weeks short of spring and the slew of music festivals that seem to tumble out one after another as the months get warmer in LA (she said as the northeast gets pummeled by a freak snowstorm), Air + Style’s fusion of music and snow/skate athleticism—particularly so soon after a solid American showing in Pyeongchang 2018—make for a unique experience that can’t easily be found elsewhere. The comparatively small lineup and layout of the festival make it easy to avoid too many conflicts which is a huge plus, though I imagine that may change as the festival continues to grow. If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out this very worthwhile addition to the LA festival circuit, I recommend rectifying that the next chance you get.

 

 

For more info:

Air + Style

Night Lights @ The Regent

Indie pop rockers get crowd dancing

February 16th, 2018
Mary Bonney
Category: Lead Story, Review

After interviewing Night Lights at their Eat See Hear performance, I’ve been hooked on the LA-based internationally-bred indie pop band. Since that fateful summer day, these rockers recorded their latest EP Childish, released an energetic music video and kicked off a national tour with Mako and Caroline Pennell. Last Saturday, the band performed at downtown’s The Regent and got audiences dancing along to their infectious tunes.

All photos by Nathan Tecson

It was a hometown heroes welcome for these former Bostonians as they were met by enthusiastic cheers from fans and friends alike. Night Lights wonderfully balances their emotional lyrics with upbeat energy, as demonstrated by their video for the danceable earworm “Things That We Used To Know”.

Their hypnotic melodies intertwined with lush, swirling instrumentation. When the band swelled with energy, lead vocalist Mauricio Jimenez matched the crescendoes, going from belting on the floor to performing backflips.

This local group is quickly gaining momentum as their live performances match the energy captured on their recorded tracks. As they continue on their national tour, Night Lights are sure to hook audiences with their infectious pop bites and dreamy beats and ensuring 2018 will be their biggest year yet.

Check out the music video to “Childish” below.

For more info on Night Lights:
Facebook
Bandcamp