Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Muddy Reds, The Venus Illuminato & Seamonsters @ Silverlake Lounge - 12/28/09

The Muddy Reds put on yet another stellar show last night at The Silverlake Lounge on Sunset Boulevard & what made it even sweeter is the fact that the 2 bands opening for the Reds, The Venus Illuminato & Seamonsters, were both excellent too! I had an absolute blast at this terrific triple-header!

You need to join me on New Years Eve here:

Because of this:

Also, check out The Venus Illuminato, another local LA band, because they're extremely talented & the lead singer's hot:

East Coast based Seamonsters really impressed me too. This clip is from a different show but it will give you an idea of their style:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tightrope by Yeasayer

Tightrope by Yeasayer is one of my favorite songs of 2009. It's featured on the unbelievable 2-disc compilation album Dark Was The Night (see future post) & it's just beautiful. 

Yeasayer is playing at The Natural History Museum in Los Angeles on February 5, 2010 & I will most certainly be there :-)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cannot Wait for Broken Bells!

Danger Mouse & James Mercer of the Shins have teamed up to form BROKEN BELLS & I couldn't be more excited! Their self-titled debut album's release date isn't until March 9, 2010 but, just today, they made the 1st single, The High Road, available as a free download for 24 hours only! It's SO good!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Unexpectedly Good Music on 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica

Sometimes you discover cool, new music where you least expect it. When I was shopping at Old Navy on 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica earlier this evening, I was literally drawn out of the store by the soulful, acoustic music I heard being played outside the store's entrance. That is where I found John West who, within minutes, had acquired a substantial-sized crowd of interested holiday shoppers.

John West, a Baton Rouge native, seems to have already started making a name for himself in the music industry. He's made several music videos, he has over 30,000 fans on Myspace ( & he's played shows at popular Los Angeles venues like The El Rey Theater (my favorite LA indoor venue) & The Roxy Theatre on Sunset (where he has another show coming up on 1/23/10). Yet he still plays for free regularly on 3rd Street in Santa Monica because all this guy really seems to care about is spreading the joy of good music.

Check out some footage from one of John's springtime appearances on the Promenade:

If you like what you heard, go see John West at The Roxy Theatre on Sunset Boulevard on January 23, 2010:

If You Like TV on the Radio...

You'll love Kyp Malone's new side project, Rain Machine:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

OM at Zanzibar in Santa Monica - 12/9/09

Last Wednesday was the 2nd Wednesday of December. For months, I'd been telling my friend Aaron Byrd (who has his own show on KCRW Fridays 12-3am) that I would come check out OM at Zanzibar in Santa Monica but, for one reason or another, I was never quite able to make it...until last week. I'm SO happy I finally went!

After showing up kinda late & unfortunately missing Aaron's set, I just assumed I'd be hearing DJ Itai play cool, dance music from around the globe the rest of the night. When I walked in, DJ Itai was spinning a bunch of familiar, old-school tracks that weren't necessarily multi-cultural but they were definitely fun. Then, to my surprise, a band started setting up on stage. I didn't know there was going to be live music. 

L'Esprit d'Afrique began their set around midnight & had my full attention within seconds. There were more band members on stage & more instruments (i.e. drums, trumpet, flute & saxophone) being played than I could count! The 1st couple songs were upbeat, sexy, Latin-sounding tracks that immediately drew me in. I loved all the drums & the beautiful combination of male & female vocalists. Every musician on stage was full of energy & just oozing charisma & I was feeling this way about L'Esprit even before the dancing...

After a few songs, all the percussionists came down in front of the stage carrying their drums. The 3 women in the group, who were all wearing white, also came down to the floor &, suddenly, the drummers started drumming like crazy & the girls started dancing like madwomen. The ladies' dance style was very African/Brazilian/Cuban salsa-esque. They'd each take turns in the middle of the floor just going off & then they'd mix it up with a bunch of cool synchronized segments. 

Once that titillating number was over, everyone went back up on stage to do another song. Then this one dancer/singer Erica (who I was told is one of best salsa dancers in LA) came down to the floor again with one of the male vocalists accompanying her & they proceeded to perform an incredible salsa/tango number that was super hot. The crowd couldn't get enough. It was awesome.

This video certainly doesn't do L'Esprit d'Afrique justice but it will give you an idea of what went down when the 3 girls in the band 1st hit the floor:

Join me for the next OM on Wednesday, January 13th 2010!!!

OM - The 2nd Wednesday of every month
Grooves, beats and pieces with DJ ITAI and AARON BYRD (KCRW)
Afrobeat + Latin Dub + Brasilian + House + Broken Beat + Dancehall
9pm-2am - Drink specials before 10pm -  $10 cover (but worth so much more!)
Plus house band, L'Esprit d'Afrique (pan African dance/music group)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Rainy Day in LA

WATCH: And It Rained All Night - Thom Yorke

LISTEN: Pray For Rain - Massive Attack (featuring TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe)

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Muddy Reds' New Year's Eve CD Release Show @ Trip in Santa Monica

Are you unsure about what to do for New Year's Eve 2010? Are you staying in (or visiting) the LA area but just can't decide whether to go big or maybe take it kinda easy this year? Are you low on funds & hesitant to drop a large wad of cash on one night you probably won't remember much of anyway? Do you like free champagne? Are you a fan of bad ass live music? Are you looking for something to do on NYE that is cheap, easy, local &, most importantly, FUN???

If you answered yes to one or more of those questions, then I've got that perfect NYE game plan you've been looking for!

The Muddy Reds play the 11pm-midnight countdown set & there is a FREE champagne toast at midnight for everyone! Tickets will be $20 at the door BUT I have $10 pre-sale tickets ready for purchase TODAY &, with each ticket, you get complimentary band buttons! Trip is a relatively small venue so get your $10 pre-sale tickets ASAP! To help motivate you, here are a couple clips of The Muddy Reds performing @ The Viper Room this past Tuesday 12/8/09:

Join The Muddy Reds & me for NYE 2010 @ Trip in Santa Monica!!! (You know, if I'm gonna be there, it's a guaranteed good time!)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stellastarr* & Transfer at Spaceland - 12/5/09

I'm a planner. My friends & family might even tell you I'm a little bit OCD. Actually, I'll tell you I'm a little bit least when it comes to planning fun activities. One of my favorite activities to plan is a concert outing. Whenever possible, I'll buy my tickets to a show the moment the pre-sale begins. If I know I want to go to a show, I just know, but despite my best efforts to plan every concert months in advance, occasionally, a completely spontaneous concert opportunity presents itself & I rarely turn it down.

That is what happened on Saturday night when I went with my friends Darin & Tom to see stellastarr* & Transfer at Spaceland on Silverlake Boulevard in Los Angeles. We were driving back from the USC game when they were telling me about the show they were going to later that evening. I had never heard of stellastarr* or Transfer before but the guys had an extra ticket that only cost $15 & I'd still never been to Spaceland so there was little holding me back. Tom had bought his tickets a while ago after having seen stellastarr* a few times already so the mere fact he was stoked gave me confidence the show would at least be decent. If anything, it'd be a fun, Saturday night out.

Transfer opened for stellastarr* & seriously impressed me. I didn't even know this San Diego-based band's name until after their set was over but that didn't keep me from getting really into their music. These guys just rocked out big time, got all sweaty & captivated the audience, including me. First thing Sunday morning, I listened to a few tracks off Transfer's new album
Future Selves & really liked what I heard. I hope I get another chance to see them perform!

stellastarr* was Saturday night's headlining act &, for only hearing of them for the 1st time a few hours prior, I had blast at their show! I like that 3 of the 4 members of the band (which consists of 3 guys & 1 girl) contributes to vocals & the only member who doesn't sing, Arthur Kremer, plays both drums & keyboard. I appreciate multi-talented musicians who offer a wide range of variety on stage. Each member of stellastarr* was a vital component to their successful performance Saturday night.

Spaceland is a small, laid-back venue with great acoustics & a decent view of the stage from just about any spot inside the club. I definitely will be going back.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rocky Dawuni @ Zanzibar in Santa Monica - 12/3/09

I can't believe I'd never been to Zanzibar in Santa Monica until this past Thursday when I went there for Afro Funke Night. My buddy Johnny Elkins from The Muddy Reds had told me that Thursdays were the best night at Zanzibar so I decided to go for my 1st time (with my girlfriends Sarah & Melissa) on a Thursday.

Instead of having a DJ like they usually do for Afro Funke Night, Rocky Dawuni & his band were performing. The cover charge was $12 instead of the usual $7 or $10 but it was worth paying a little extra to see such a fun, live reggae show! Rocky was extremely entertaining on stage & his brass section was sweet. After pre-partying with a couple bottles of 2 Buck Chuck, my girls & I were extra inspired to dance up a storm! 

Zanzibar is a great venue & has live music every night of the week. I'm going back again this Wednesday 12/9 for OM which is the 2nd Wednesday of every month. My friend Aaron Byrd who has a show on KCRW every Thursday night from midnight until 3am is one of the participating OM DJs & he guarantees a good time!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Low End Theory at The Airliner in East LA – Family Reunion Special – 12/2/09

I’d never even heard of glitch hop before last week. Now, not only do I know what glitch hop is, but I’ve experienced it firsthand &, man, was it intense! The best definition of "glitch hop" I can come up with is “electro hip hop with super heavy bass”. It’s a new genre of music that certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but, if you’re into drum & bass &/or underground hip hop, I highly recommend checking it out. And, if you live in the LA area, The Airliner in East LA on a Wednesday night is a great place to get your first taste!

The 3 artists we saw perform last night were Nocando (pronounced no-can-do), Nosaj Thing (usually pronounced no-such-thing) & the headliner, The Gaslamp Killer.  

A few minutes before Nocando’s set, I was on the back patio chatting with my friends while they smoked cigarettes. A guy asked to borrow a lighter & we struck up a fun little conversation with him. The dude was really chill & down-to-earth but I just assumed he was a fellow show attendee. It wasn’t until Nocando was up on stage doing his thing that I realized we’d been shootin’ the sh*t with one of Low End Theory’s featured artists! Nocando rapped while the house DJ was spinning &, although it was sometimes a little tough to hear what he was saying over the room-shaking bass, he really got the crowd moving with his sweet flows & deep beats.

Next up was Nosaj Thing (Jason Chung) who opened for Fever Ray at The Fonda on 10/7/09. With his recent debut album Drift getting many positive reviews, Nosaj (which is Jason spelled backwards) was making a very special, surprise appearance so the audience was pretty stoked. I had never heard of Nosaj before last night but, after having my friend Cole give me a brief explanation of who Nosaj was & seeing the audience’s reaction to Nosaj stepping onto the stage, I got pretty excited myself! And Nosaj Thing did not disappoint with his dance-inducing mish-mash of instrumental hip-hop, electronica, and bass-heavy dubstep.

The Gaslamp Killer was last night’s headliner & the first thing I noticed about this guy was his giant afro. It was really entertaining to watch Gaslamp bop his ‘fro around while dancing to his own funky glitch hop beats. I loved the way Gaslamp used his bass. In Nocando & Nosaj’s music, the bass was constant & super loud. Gaslamp took the bass on & off giving your eardrums a little break each time & also allowing you to hear the beats going on beneath the bass more clearly. I think that’s why I was the most inspired to get down dancing during Gaslamp’s set.

I recorded a few little videos last night but the bass made the audio turn out pretty badly so, to give you a better idea, here's a clip of Gaslamp playing at Low End Theory in July 2008:

Walking out of The Airliner, I spotted Gaslamp & took a photo with him. He gave me one of his stickers & told me to find him on Facebook so, of course, I’ve already become an official fan :-)

One tip for Low End Theory night at The Airliner: Bring earplugs if you’ve got them. I definitely could’ve used a pair last night to help neutralize the bass a bit but now I know for next time (and there will be a next time). The bass was SO overwhelming that it shook me from head to toe. I could feel it on my skin. My entire body was vibrating &, although there weren’t many girls in the crowd last night, I can guarantee every female there was thoroughly enjoying those vibrations!

My buddy Evan put it best when he said, "I never knew my eyelashes could vibrate.”

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Get Down 'n Dirty w/The Muddy Reds Dec 8th @ The Viper Room!

Come join me this Tuesday, December 8th at The Viper Room on Sunset to see my favorite local band, The Muddy Reds, put on what is sure to be yet another kick ass show. Their set is at 8pm & tickets are only $8 each with a printed copy of this flyer:

All you need to remember is the number 8! 12/8 at 8pm for only $8!

To get an idea of what genre of music The Muddy Reds kinda fall into, think The Black Keys with 5 members playing 5 instruments instead of only 2 members playing 2. I've been to 3 of their shows in less than 2 months & they've killed it every time. The Muddy Reds put on a musically creative & fantastically fun show where you just can't help but dance.

P.S. One more reason you should definitely go to the Viper Room this Tuesday 12/8 at 8pm (as if you need any more reasons): 


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Youth & Young Manhood: The 1st & Best Kings of Leon Album Ever

Most people had never heard of Kings of Leon until last year when their hit single Sex on Fire from the album Only By The Night became one of the most played songs on the radio. The track got SO played out that the band even apologized to the audience at their August 22nd LA show before playing the song. 

I was at that 8/22 show at The Forum & was thoroughly impressed by Kings of Leon's performance. Lead singer, Caleb Followill, has a voice that sounds as flawless live as it sounds on the Kings' records &, with the help of his incredibly talented family, brothers Nathan & Jared Followill & cousin Matthew Followill, he puts on a show you won't soon forget.

Kings of Leon have released 4 albums in the past 6 years: Youth and Young Manhood (2003), Aha Shake Heartbreak (2004), Because of the Times (2007) & Only by the Night (2008). Only By The Night may be the album that turned the band into a global sensation but Youth and Young Manhood is still my favorite.

Talihina Sky by Kings of Leon -

Dusty by Kings of Leon -

And, on that note, happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Flaming Lips' Live Show

My good friend Bobby said something quite profound to me the day before I was going to see The Flaming Lips for my 1st time on 8/17/09 at the beautiful outdoor Greek Theater in LA:

"You only get to see The Flaming Lips for your 1st time once."

Now I realize that's a fairly obvious statement but, at the time, I could barely contain the overwhelming excitement I was feeling in anticipation of seeing a band that is acclaimed worldwide for its spectacular musical productions. Sometimes I make the mistake of expecting too much from a particular band or artist's live performance but, in the case of The Flaming Lips, my expectations were beyond exceeded.

The show was on a warm Monday night in August at my favorite outdoor venue in LA, The Greek Theater. I love the Hollywood Bowl too (especially because you can bring in your own booze & food) but The Greek holds a special place in my heart. It's smaller than The Bowl & the theater itself is completely surrounded by huge trees that help contain the sound to give you an even more intense acoustic experience.

So my 1st Flaming Lips experience was at my favorite outdoor venue & there was an added bonus...Ghostland Observatory was opening for the Lips! I'd seen Ghostland one time before at Coachella in April 2009. Their show in the desert was amazing & their opening set for the Lips at The Greek was even more amazing. Frontman Aaron Behrens' crazy, falsetto vocals & funky dance moves paired perfectly with Thomas Ross Turner's exceptional drum & synthesizer talents. To top it all off, their laser light show was phenomenal! The colorful beams of light were so powerful that they shot straight to the back of theater & bounced off the trees all around the perimeter. It created a visual effect unlike anything else I'd ever seen. I was so happy my concert buddy Andy & I had made a point to get to the venue in plenty of time to catch this entire opening act.

To get an idea of what the lasers looked like & what Ghostland sounded like, check out: 

Believe NEED to watch that clip :-)

After a brief intermission, The Flaming Lips made an entrance I'll never forget. The main large screen at the back of the stage had an electronic, artsy image of a woman's "nether regions" that zoomed in closer & closer until the screen was filled only with this one image. Suddenly, from the middle of the woman's "flower", a zipper started to unzip & out came the band members one by one, stepping down a small flight of stairs that had been rolled in front of the screen while no one in the audience was even paying attention. Of course, lead singer Wayne Coyne was the last to emerge. The crowd went wild :-)

Now, because I don't want to ruin all the surprises you might encounter at your 1st Flaming Lips show, I won't give you a play by play of the entire show. I will only say that there was a ridiculous amount of confetti, dry ice shooting out everywhere, giant balloons bouncing all over the theater, costumed characters dancing on the sides of the stage, Wayne rolling around on the crowd in his plastic, man-sized bubble, Yoshimi sing-a-longs, super creative imagery & insane light displays.

I walked out of The Greek Theater that night in a daze of pure bliss.

For just a taste:

The Flaming Lips' most recent album Embryonic was released on 10/13/09 & it's been getting rave reviews. I feel lucky to have seen some of their new songs performed live before the new album was even released. As a gift to the fans, The Lips sent you 3 free downloads of songs from Embryonic along with your ticket purchase so you could get acquainted with some of their new material before hearing it live.

There's a reason that, in 2002, the British publication Q Magazine listed The Flaming Lips as one of the "50 Bands To See Before You Die." In my opinion, they're one of the Top 10.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Blakroc's Debut Album Out This Friday 11/27!

I have been waiting for this album for months! I got lucky & was sent a leaked copy so I've been blasting it in my apartment all weekend. It makes me happy :-)

The new BLAKROC album is a rap rock collaboration featuring, one of my favorite bands ever, The Black Keys along with some of my favorite hip hop artists, including Mos Def, RZA, Raekwon, Q-Tip, Ludacris, Pharoahe Monch, M.O.P.'s Billy Danze, Jim Jones, Damon Dash, & the late Ol' Dirty Bastard.

I'm a huge fan of both rock & hip hop music so I greatly appreciate the effort The Black Keys made to bring all these extremely talented artists together to create something new & different. The Black Keys' guitar & drums are the perfect musical backing for these legendary rappers' smooth flows.

For a few examples of why you need to get your hands on this album as soon as you can, check out:

Ain't Nothing Like You (Hoochie Choo) featuring Mos Def & Jim Jones -

Dollaz & Sense featuring RZA & Pharoahe Monch -

What You Do To Me featuring Billy Danze, Jim Jones & Nicole Wray -

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Friendly Fires & The XX @ The Fonda in Hollywood - 11/21/09

What better day to start my music blog than the day after my most recent show!

Last night, Saturday Nov. 21st, I went to see Friendly Fires & The XX at the Fonda in Hollywood, CA. The XX is a young British quartet that I was only recently introduced to in early October. The female lead singer, Romy Madley Croft, has a very soft & breathy voice that adds a sexy element to their music.

For not knowing their entire repertoire, I enjoyed their show a lot. They could've used a more creative lighting set-up to enhance the mood a bit but, for being relatively new to the scene, they did a decent job.

Crystalised by The XX -

Friendly Fires was last night's headlining act. FFs are another young British group whose genre can best be classified as dance punk indie pop (the more categories, the more variety!). I'd heard of these guys before but never really listened to their music until I was turned onto The XX & got tickets to their show that Friendly Fires just happened to be headlining. I needed to do some homework.

Friendly Fire's music is fun & energetic with cool beats, the lead singer is a great dancer & they make very visually creative music videos. I think I was expecting a little more from their live performance than I got last night but I still had a great time dancing with all the diehard fans. Again, they definitely could've stepped it up a notch with their lighting but not every show can have visuals as breathtaking as I've seen at Phish, The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, Roger Waters, Daft Punk, etc. I've probably just become a lighting snob.

Skeleton Boy by Friendly Fires -

Last night's show didn't necessarily blow me away but there are countless concerts I've attended that did. You'll hear all about the classic shows I'll never forget in posts to come :-)