review

PHOTOS: Popshop West 027 w/ Parade of Lights/Tove Styrke/Dark Waves/ Golden Coast

photos and words by Shabnam Ferdowsi

Last Thursday 1/15/15 was Neon Gold Record's Popshop West show at The Echo in Echo Park, CA with Parade of Lights headlining the night. 

The entire night was filled with electric feels and synth-rock vibes. It was such a fun show and was definitely a dance party for a few seconds there. From Golden Coasts's cali-inspired electric grooves, to Dark Waves' sultry and magnetic pop-rock, to Tove Styrke's light and sway-able beats and finally ending with Parade of Lights synth-heavy, alt/rock anthems, it was one stellar line-up of upcoming artist you're going to want to keep you on your radar.

Take a listen to some of our favorite hits from the night and check out the photos!

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

CONCERT: Barcelona @ The Troubadour 9/9/14

by Shabnam Ferdowsi

You know when you're at a show and you start confusing the drumbeat for your own heartbeat? That's what Barcelona's concert at the Troubadour last night was like.  Their set included a mix of old and newer tunes, and their crowd was a dedicated one who was singing along with all the lyrics and swaying their arms to the lounge-y beats. I loved how their set flowed between mellower synth/electronic tracks and drum-heavy alternative favorites. Their music is developing into a blend of both, into this synth/pop/rock genre that's blossoming in the industry right now, and their fans are following along with them. 

 

This was the second night of their tour with The Young Wild, whose performance easily blew everyone away. Their energy was fuller than the space and larger than the stage and even though I didn't know the songs beforehand, I found myself reactively moving my body to the very dance-able beat. 

The night's opener was local band Verre. They only have two songs on soundcloud but released their first EP last week. The crowd had just started piling in as they started playing, but their electronic, synth-pop, indie-rock vibes were enough to get people mesmerized. 

Local Spotlight: Young Creatures- Foreigner

Who: Mikey Escalante (Drums), Spencer King (Bass), Mike Post (Vocals/Guitar), Andrew Gleason (Guitar/Vocals)

Where: Los Angeles, CA

Today's local spotlight is on Young Creatures who released their self-proclaimed "psychedelic pop" single last week. "Foreigner" is a groovy tune, with a bass-line that'll make your head bop and electric guitar stylings that'll make you want to flow with the funk. 

Hit the beach, grab some speakers and take a listen here:

CONNECT WITH YOUNG CREATURES

Website / Facebook / Twitter  / Bandcamp

WATCH: Brightener- Make Real Friends (Official Music Video)

by Shabnam Ferdowsi

Remember what it was like to make blanket forts with your friends when you were young? Now imagine what it would be like if you made one now in the middle of a party?  Brightener's official music video for "Make Real Friends", released today, has all the feels (and humor) your imagination needs to figure that one out. 

Will Sturgeon's honest lyrics capture a certain nostalgia for something lost, but it's a feeling that's definitely not lost on my generation these days. The bridge goes, "so I just sit alone / scrolling through my phone / wonder who my real friends are"  and hits the universal, inner debates every college kids goes through at some point or another (i.e. do I have real friends??).

The music video is the solution to the problems set up in the song. It's funny yet meaningful, fiction yet crushingly true. You will be sure to be left with a smile, a dash of hope, and a sparkle of motivation to go out and have your own blanket fort party.

CONNECT WITH BRIGHTENER

Website // Facebook // Twitter

 

Review: Three of Clubs Tour at The Roxy.

12/12/13.Misterwives, American Authors and The Royal Concept have been on tour for the past 6 weeks, and I was lucky enough to be able to see them at The Roxy in West Hollywood last night, 12/12.

Misterwives: I was oh so pleasantly surprised by this NY-based band that I’d never heard of until that night. Funky tunes + sweet vocals + a sax= never fails. Their energy on stage was infectious, and can’t wait to see where these guys go .

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American Authors: Seeing them again after 6 months, and seeing how much even better they’ve gotten, how much they’ve honed in on their style, made me so happy! The crowd loved, and by the end of their set, the entire room was dancing and singing (screaming) along. Stay tuned for the first album coming out next March 2014!

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The Royal Concept: All the way from Sweden, these guys are definitely on their way. Mixing electronic and indie rock to create something along the lines of Phoenix, The Royal Concept’s performance was truly unique.They ended their set with their hit track “On Our Way”, which easily got the crowd yelling their hearts out to the lyrics.

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Album Release: In Rolling Waves- The Naked and Famous

IT’S OUT!!

The long awaited album has been released and TNAF has not failed. Their indie/electro/pop/rock sounds still prevail.  There’s nostalgia, synth, and sweet vocals. I still miss my dose of Young Blood and Punching in a Dream (Passive /me, Aggressive You 2011), but I have been waiting so long for this album it just feels good to hear these guys again. “Indie Synth Rock” is my jam, and I don’t even know if that’s a genre,

Some of my favorites:  Wellz, The Mess, Grow Old, What We Want, A Small Reunion.

I’m seeing them here in LA at The Wiltern on September 27th, and I know ‘ll be listening to the whole album on repeat.

Take a listen to the whole album, buy it on iTunes, and let us know what you think!

The Naked and Famous

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{to the beat of the lights, to the beat of your life}

Album Release: Miles- Canopy Climbers

A couple days I discovered this website called

Brite Revolution

that features new, unsigned artist and comes out with a free sampler every week. There I stumbled onto Canopy Climber’s

"Stuck"

, and I was instantly hooked!

As luck would have it, their new album, “Miles”,was released today and now I have eleven great new songs to keep my ears happy this summer.

My favorite track still has to be “Stuck”, with the right balance between a casual pool party and a ride down the Pacific Coast Highway in your convertible (or at least that’s how it makes

me

feel!)

"Souvenir" is my next favorite. It has a tone of nostalgia that makes me miss..something. I just don’t know what I’m missing! There are a handful of songs that have made feel this way, and when they do, that’s when I can easily say what a strong and powerful song they are.

Check out Canopy Climbers on 

soundcloud

, and if you like what you hear, 

buy

 their album on iTunes now!

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