Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Out of sight, out of music: Filardo, Winter, and Sales

2 Mar

I really wish there were more lights to illuminate Sales a little better.

If I were ever to become famous, I think I’d be like Sales. They played to a riled crowd at the Echo in LA last Tuesday, and couldn’t disguise how grateful they were for all the support.

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Little Red Lung is a Rare Bird

9 Nov


I’m not sure I can sufficiently write words that can compete with the press photo above. Generally, any combination of soldier with an alligator head on his shoulder, braided and bucolic headdress, and suited recreations of the Pale Man, take the perennial eclectic cake and leave me speechless. But that would do Little Red Lung a major disservice, as there is much to talk about concerning this Los Angeles Indie band.

Modern music reviewers – and I’m one of the greatest offenders – often bandy around the genre Indie when describing current bands. We do this because the genre is low-hanging fruit; so many bands fit the encompassing description that it is easy to attach the title to several musicians. The genre itself has been perverted through the years, initially only serving to describe bands who abided by a do-it-yourself approach without the aegis of labels. So, when I describe Little Red Lung as a quintessential example of true Indie music, you must bear with me.

Little Red Lung is everything you want in an Indie band. As the photo above suggests (and the music will suggest when I post it), the band is eccentric and attractive. Each tune is a diverse sampling of innovative instrumentation and esoteric organization. Indie music at its purest is like a Dali, a delicate smattering of surrealism mixed with distorted shapes and emotions. Little Red Lung’s music is art, and it’s absolutely delightful to listen to it.

Little Red Lung grew out of a solo project by singer/keyboardist Zoe-Ruth Erwin, a musical free spirit, who, after a sabbatical in East Tennessee, returned to LA and gathered a trio of local music veterans (Ali Nikou – guitar, Rob Hume – bass, and John Broeckel – drums). Together, this unconventional quartet formed Little Red Lung. In 2012, the band released its self-titled debut and received overnight success. A U.S. Tour, features in Deli Magazine, and a performance at Bonnaroo in 2013 have cemented this band among burgeoning Indie superstars.

“Rare Bird” is a perfect depiction of Little Red Lung’s talent. Erwin’s vocal is flawless; it features a Florence-like passion that projects over the abstruse instrumentation to form a perfect complement. Everything from the unconventional percussion to the eerie marimba to lyrics like “a hairline fracture in the wind” build this song into an odd, tender track, which makes the depressed, grungy drop-down even cooler. The song falls like Alice down the rabbit hole. It’s unsettling and frankly really cool.

“Fangs” is different. An acoustic guitar lets Erwin’s tender vocal harmonies shine. The vocal is a huge strength of Little Red Lung, and I’m glad it is emphasized in the track. The song also features well-placed strings that help create a contradictory warmth, considering the lyric (“I knew you were waiting to die the whole time”).

Conclusion? Get on the Little Red Lung train. More great music to come.

You can check out the Full EP at Bandcamp. Track the band on Facebook or Twitter.


Airborne Toxic Event – Summerstage Preview

10 Jun

Airborne Toxic Event

There are many reasons to like Airborne Toxic Event. As I have written in the past, the band plays an infectious alt/rock style that pulls influences from the 80s and mixes these influences with theatrical vocals and riffs. This amalgamation creates an intriguing aura of orchestral sound that echoes and pulses.

The music is also “smart” rock. It’s a neoteric genre. Let’s be honest; a lot of music today is, well, nescient – intellectually dumbed down for an audience that just wants to hear a consistent beat. That is not to say that the producers and creators of the music are unintelligent – they are simply playing to what will make money. But Airborne Toxic Event is different. The band is made up of uber-talented musicians who understand how to mix “smart” rock with infectious rhythms.

I initially became interested in the band because of lead vocalist Mikel Jollett. Jollett, a fiction and freelance writer, began seriously writing songs after a string of moribund events in his life. He named the band after a tremendous section of my favorite Don DeLillo book “White Noise.” The life-altering events that engendered the band’s creation are similar to “The Airborne Toxic Event” portrayed in DeLillo’s masterpiece. Thus, as a writer, Jollett’s lyrics are laden with symbolism and passion.

The Airborne Toxic Event, fresh off the release of its new album Such Hot Blood, will join a large Summerstage crowd in Central Park (5th Avenue and 72nd Street entrance) on June 18. Best of all – the concert is FREE. Yes, free as in no money. The band will be joined by The Calder Quartet, a LA-based string quartet, who have been called “outstanding” and “superb” by the New York Times. So, yeah, free Airborne Toxic Event show with The Calder Quartet in Central Park – you should probably come.

“The Fifth Day” is one of my favorite songs off of the new album. The song features one of my favorite Airborne Toxic Event elements. The music is almost subtle. While you can drown in the elaborate instrumentals and production, the music progressively rises and falls like waves before ultimately crescendoing. In this case, the music perfectly matches the melancholic lyric.

Check out more about the Airborne Toxic Event and don’t forget to keep track of the diverse Summerstage schedule!

DAMEDAS Is All You Need Today

13 May


With the eccentric musical flair of Grizzly Bear and a penchant for 60s pop psychedelia, DAMEDAS is about ready to take the Los Angeles scene by storm. Founded in 2007 by musician Felipe Damedas, DAMEDAS has just recently expanded to include a full group of musicians…and words. The transformation from instrumental to lyric-laden psych/pop was not a difficult for the foursome.

What is perhaps most striking about DAMEDAS is its clear appreciation for the roots of rock n’ roll. The art (above) is reminiscent of the Beatles, and, class-style portraits aside, the music bears a neat resemblance to Beatles-style psychedelia – infectiously effervescent, heavily melodic, and elusively organized. Let me explain:

“All I Need is All I Have” is a tight single by DAMEDAS. The music is crowded with drenched harmonies, twangy guitar, and spondaic percussion. The instrumentation combines a wall of sound approach with portions of sincere quiet. Although I already made this comparison, I can best describe the music as a mix between old and new psych/pop. While the synth fits in with newer Indie Psych/Pop, the sing-song swooning melody is much like late 60s psych/pop. Excellent track!

You can download the single for free at DAMEDAS’ Bandcamp. Check out more about the band: Website, Twitter and Facebook


A Historical Waltz by The Rebel Light

30 Apr

The Rebel Light

I’m going to go out on a limb and start this post off with a guarantee. If you like creative pop/rock music, you will enjoy “Goodbye Serenade” by The Rebel Light. It’s that simple. It doesn’t matter if you are from Montauk, New York, Yucaipa, California, or anywhere in between or across the seas; if you like pop/rock music, you will like “Goodbye Serenade.” Why am I so confident?

“Goodbye Serenade” is structured to be successful. The song is effervescently focused on a catchy melody that is accentuated by several instruments like the piano, trumpet and the xylophone. It fits into the rare category of mainstream Indie, where the song is accessible enough to be dispersed to a wide range of audiences but still maintains a strong taste of Indie musicianship mixed with an enviable DIY enthusiasm. Also, the song is a waltz. Yes, I’m not lying, it is in three. Immediate kudos right there to The Rebel Light.

The Rebel Light released its debut EP last year, which was independently recorded and mixed. Vocals for each song were recorded in a bathroom and the drums were tracked in a wood shed. The band is made up of two brothers from Montauk, New York and a cousin from Yucaipa, California. The Rebel Light is currently based in Los Angeles.

“Goodbye Serenade,” as is expressed in the praise above, is my favorite piece off of the EP. The video paired with the song was also created by the band, and it provides a spine-tingling trip into history. This historical waltz flashes images and video as the song builds in the background. The strength of this song resides in its climactic chorus; a true diapason of harmonic instruments mixed with potent vocals. It has an empowering effect on the listener. The song is puissant. The melody is delightful. It all meshes well. The Rebel Light may have a big hit on its hands.

Keep up with the Rebel Light on Facebook, Twitter, and Website
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