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PHOTOS: Armors/ The Bulls / Kid Cadaver/ Conway @ The Satellite 3/9/15

photos and words by Shabnam Ferdowsi

Last night was CONWAY's second residency night at The Satellite. On the bill were ARMORS, The Bulls and Kid Cadaver.

It was a packed venue and I was grooving the entire night, not to mention the lighting was on point so I  was able to capture some cool moments:

SESSION: Kid Cadaver- New Friends

Kid Cadaver is a band based in LA. I found them on Free Bike Valet about a month ago and instantly got hooked onto their music. So I hit them up, went to a couple of their shows, they played our backyard event last week, and now here they are playing a stripped down version of their newest single,"New Friends".

CONNECT WITH KID CADAVER

Website // Facebook // Twitter

PREVIEW: New Music Empire Presents- First Fridays at Old Towne Pub

New Music Empire returns to Old Towne Pub to host their second night of killer rock n roll. The night will feature three bands all current students and alumni of USC's Popular Music Program, and all bringing an incredibly high energy with their rock music:

 

The Hammers

The Hammers are an 80's inspired rock band, bringing those raspy vocals and intense guitar shreds that you remember from those days when the Sunset Strip was still cool. They deliver an energy-filled, hot and sweaty performance using actual hammers as mic stands. It's all kinds of entertainment in one place. They recently released an EP Hammer City and will be releasing a music video for "Hammer City" off the EP on September 24th.

 

Dolly Spectra

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Dolly Spectra is the project of Dani Ashjian. It's surrealist punk with a girl power edge. Their quirky live shows are brought to you by neon colors, men in dresses and a gut-wrenching tantrum pop that'll make you forget it's only 2014 and we haven't actually invented time travel yet. This show will be Dolly Spectra's single release show for her newest track, “Moving in Circles”.

 

Livia Slingerland

Livia's angsty rock has been described as "gritty and full of longing". Her songwriting is honest and vulnerable, and her live performance is nothing short of raw and energetic. Livia is currently working on a full-length album as she prepares to graduate from USC.

 

This is bound to be a mind-boggling, head-banging, sweaty show!

 

PHOTOS: DWNTWN and Hunter Hunted @ Tarfest 2014

Free live music? Count us in any day. 

Tarfest  is a free arts and culture festival at the La Brea Tar Pits at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that took place yesterday 9/20/14. We were able to snap some pics of DWNTWN and Hunter Hunted as we enjoyed some mellow weekend vibes, free range turkey burgers and breezy sunshine. 

DWNTWN

LIVE REVIEW: Blake Mills @ The El Rey 9/18

by Ethan Sherman

The biggest takeaway from Blake Mills’ show Thursday night at the El Rey Theater for this listener was that he’s managed to make old new again. 

The second show of Mills’ first headlining tour as a solo artist– so far, he’s made his mark mostly as a sideman guitarist and record producer for artists such as Fiona Apple, Lucinda Williams, Sara Watkins and Julian Casablancas– was in support of his new album, Heigh Ho, and left a sold-out crowd in awe for just under two hours. Mills sat center stage, a phalanx of guitars (which he switched to and from between nearly every song) and amplifiers behind and to his left, surrounded on all sides by an amazing band including violinist Rob Moose, keyboardist Tyler Chester, bassist Sebastian Steinberg (the only one standing), drummer Stuart Johnson, and percussionist Griffin Goldsmith. They all seemed genuinely grateful to be there.

Mills mostly played songs from the just-released Heigh Ho, as well as a couple covers and radical rearrangements of songs from his first album, 2010’s Break Mirrors. When I say “make old new again”, I’m not just referring to these creative presentations, but to Mills’ overall aesthetic as a singer, songwriter, guitarist and bandleader. Even though much of his approach to making music comes out of various traditions, he synthesizes elements of these traditions together in a truly compelling way.
Take the guitar playing, for example: while Mills is clearly indebted to players such as Lindsey Buckingham (he barely used a guitar pick all night) and Ry Cooder (indeed, one of his guitars seemed to be a near-replica of Ry’s famously modified Fender Stratocaster, down to the gold foil and steel guitar pickups– guitar nerds, take note!), his playing also exhibits the expressive qualities of sonic innovators like Jeff Beck– literally sounding like a human voice, or perhaps another musical instrument altogether. The most amazing thing about all of this is that it appeared to be second nature, as if the guitar was Mills’ second mouth, helping him speak.

One of the highlights of the night– both personally and judging by the whoops and cheers from the audience– was the surprise guest appearance by Mills’ sometime employer and collaborator, Fiona Apple. Apple sings on two songs from Heigh Ho, both of which were performed at the El Rey, as well as a cover of indeterminate origin (if anybody who was there knows the name of that song, please comment below!). Her presence seemed to invigorate Mills and his band with an energy that lasted after she left the stage through to the end of the set; their duet on “Don’t Tell Our Friends About Me” was a personal favorite.

All in all, if you like songs, sounds, or guitars, this tour is not to be missed. Blake Mills is truly on to something great, and I recommend that you see it for yourself. If you can’t, at least buy his new record. Heigh Ho was recorded at LA’s famed Ocean Way studios in a room once used by Frank Sinatra and Brian Wilson, and Mills hired some of his musical heroes– musicians such as Jim Keltner, Don Was, Jon Brion and Benmont Tench– to back him up on it. The result is, in this writer’s opinion, nothing short of phenomenal, not unlike Thursday night’s show. Thank you, Blake.


CONNECT WITH BLAKE MILLS

Website / Facebook / Twitter

Artist Spotlight: DownBeat Keys

photo: Shabnam Ferdowsi

Where: Brooklyn, NY

Who:  Kadahj Bennet (vocals), Baldwin Tang (keys), Andrew Root (bass), Ryan Calabrese (drums), Jared Schneider (guitar)

Sounds Like: Hip Hop with a pop groove.

 “We started out as a groove band, and then we went into pop songs, then we kind of came back into groove song [with the EP Memory Chrome]”

Beginnings

“’Wouldn’t it be crazy and revolutionary if we did hip-hop, with a live band’… Then we didn’t talk about it for four year”

The DownBeat Keys formed at Day Hamilton College their senior year to create a live, hip-hop band.  

Why DBK

“The sound of it, the syllables, and to be able to use letters, DBK.”

                                      _________________

Connect with The DownBeat Keys!

Website // Facebook // Twitter

PREVIEW: USC Springfest 2014

The most anticipated on-campus event of the year is here!

Every spring USC’s Concerts Committee within Program Board puts on a day-long music festival on campus, free to all USC students. Past acts have included Capital Cities, A-Trak, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Big Sean and more. 

This year, the line-up features musicians within various genres, so there’s definitely something for everyone!

Opening Line-up:

DJ Set by GNASH 

Night Riots

Breach the Summit

dale

Leo

Headlining Line-up:

X Ambassadors

Sir Sly

New Politics

Tyga

Diplo

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Music ranging from indie to alt/rock to hip to electronic, Springfest is bound to jam-packed with excited college students. 

Stay tuned for a recap of the event!