a blog about music, art, and fast times in LA from a midwestern new yorican.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Joyous New Sounds of the Nation

Monday night I was able to catch 2 great shows for a grand total of a dollar. I swear to god, this is what's keeping me in Los Angeles.
I started the night by going over to Amoeba to crowd into the record store and catch the sweet and short set of Vampire Weekend. I guess these guys are all the rage right now. Their show at El Rey next month is already sold out. So maybe you wanna try to swing down to Casbah in San Diego and make a night of it. Definitely a good excuse to get out of town. They are a fun band. The indie/hipster scene keeps throwing some curve balls. The boys are from Columbia in NYC, singing about New York transit and grammar, their name sounds like a special D&D tournament event, they sport striped sweaters and vest jackets, the singers voice sounds like part peter gabriel part sting, they have zero, i repeat zero distortion, the keyboard parts sound like they could have been taken from 16 bit RPG games on the Super Nintendo, and the kids eat it up. I saw quite a few unabashedly dancing in the cramped space of the music store's aisles. When it comes down to it, the songwriting is good and makes a white boy wanna dance. They seem to be smartly taking from 80's influences that have as of yet to been given a second thought. I suggest a pairing of their video for A-Punk with a listen to Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.

Watch: A-Punk by Vampire Weekend

Listen:Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa by Vampire Weekend

After the Ho Down at Amoeba, i ventured over to support my own personal family of bands. The newest member to the family is Robin and The Rainbows. Led by Robin Feher, and joined by Bryan Harris(the Hanks), Nathanael Balon(Rojo Trio), and my boy Lucas Guerin(Casxio) gettin down on the trumpet, as well as a few others, the band is very much in the baby stages, but was able to put on a strong debut performance. They had their first gig at Tangier, in full out Bob Dylan Big Band style. Here's some video for it, not too colorful a picture, but at least you can get a taste for the sound.

Watch: Robin and the Rainbows, "The Girl Who Broke the Hearts of a Thousand Boys"
Live at Tangier 2-4-08

Monday, February 4, 2008


hands down best political ad ever. Put together by the Black Eyed Peas' frontman, songwriter and producer,will.i.am, along with Jesse Dylan, son of Bob Dylan.
don't forget to vote tomorrow.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Theatre Is Alive

Last night I was privileged to see what has to be some of the best theatre going on in LA right now. In a cosy little theatre on Gardner just off of Sunset, a small cast of characters is putting on an intimate, inspiring original performance. Led by Leslye Headland's intoxicating writing, the cast and crew are setting out to mark IAMA Theatre Company as the new troupe in town to be reckoned with.

IAMA is currently in the midst of an ambitious project they call "The Seven Deadly Plays"; one for each sin. They state, "The goal of the series is to create work that inspires younger audiences to participate in a theatre community and to shed light on how ancient issues are still present in an ultra-modern, media-saturated and over-educated generation." Mission Accomplished. The play I saw last night, "Bachelorette", is the second in the series and the second stop and what is shaping up to be quite a ride. IAMA does not deny that the current medium of choice is film. In fact, they've opened each of their plays as if it were the opening of a movie, with credits projected on the wall and pop music blaring. But this isn't typical LA theatre that poses as a legit staging but is merely a platform to launch actors into television. This is a true play put on by trained professionals who have been keeping an ear out to what's happening around them, in their personal lives as well as the world of performing arts. All four women, with special props to Melissa Stephens, give such strong, colorful performances in such a surprisingly short time. Between Leslye's relentless dialogue, the stellar performances, and the spot on tellings of classical themes in a contemporary setting, "Bachelorette" is sure to inspire any artist living in LA.

Please, do yourself a favor and go see the play before it's over. It runs on the weekends until Feb 24th. You can buy tickets www.iamatheatre.com. If you can't make it, you're an ass. But at least you'll have 5 more chances to sin. In the mean time, enjoy some good tunes from the show.

According to Plan by I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness
My Alcoholic Friends by the Dresdon Dolls

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Cheers Sam

Last night I went to take a little disco nap before I went to Sam and Jesse's going away party and woke up 13 hours later. Ugh, sorry boys. Sam Sparro and Jesse Rogg will be taking their act to England. I have no doubts that their freshman year with Island Records and first album will be the spark that ignites the next London fire. I wish you boys the best. I'm sure you'll be killin it over there. Here's something I wrote about the wonderful Sam Sparro last year:

I used to think my band sounded like Prince. That was until was until I heard the Sam Sparro EP. Casxio had the honor of opening up for Sam Sparro this past Saturday at Bordello's. It was an amazing night. Sam and and his back up Jesse put on one sexy show. The place was packed, shoulder to shoulder, long line in front, sweat dropping, feet moving, crowd cheering. The energy combined with the overly gaudy nature of Bordello made for a beautiful evening of musique.

My first visit to Sam's Myspace started on the good foot. The first thing you see is a picture that looks like Tron wearing a swimming cap with lasers shooting out of his head. Rad. Then I began to watch the video for Black & Gold. I'll admit, my first reaction to his video was a little unsure. Not in a bad way, but I wasn't gung-ho on board from the get go. Starts slow with a gold, shimmering female image emerging from a black void, swaying in true Fosse form. I wasn't sure how I felt about somebody I was about to play with starting his video bustin' some Fosse moves. But Sam didn't leave me unsure for long. Check out his video. You'll see a fine display of fashion as well as a groove that will invade the privacy of your thoughts with an unnerving frequency. Black & Gold is an easy single fav of the year. And the rest of the EP is sweet. You can hear so many different good influences, and you know this boy is coming right out of the late 80's/early 90's. I love it. And let's not forget to plug his show. Down right dirty. Beats, Fashion, Flirtations, Sweat, Sex. The show is hot. If you want to have fun, you want to dance, get to his next show.

Friday, February 1, 2008

American Apparel vs Rambo

Ads like this make it hard to hate American Apparel. They also make it hard to drive safely around LA. Now I love AA, but I think it might be getting time to put it away.
Last weekend I saw two movies: Juno and Rambo. Pretty sweet combo. Juno was a good movie, but I have to say I was not a fan of the grotesque display of AA as well as the incessant soundtrack that would rival the frequency of Gossip Girl or Smallville. It was no doubt written extremely well (kudos to Diablo Cody all the way), but I think the direction does a terrible disservice to the film by instantly dating it. Totally exploiting the AA fashionistas and the Garden-State-Indie-Soundtrack method, the film loses it's effect by shoving way too much of it all in your face. All that being said, go, watch the movie, try to block some tube socks and folk songs once in awhile, and then just love the characters and appreciate what growing up in Minneapolis can be like.
Rambo, however, was a perfect film. Now I realize when I say this I can very well lose all credit as a valid movie critic. Just hear me out. The movie is probably getting like a 3 stars out of 5 rating at best. Now, you have to understand, this movie should not be judged on all 5 stars, so 3 stars is actually a perfect rating for it. When you go and see a movie like rambo, are you looking for a great character arch in the story? NO! Are you looking for a deeply complicated dilemma that poses a great question to humanity? NO! You want Rambo to kick ass, dodge bullets, and ENTERTAIN YOU. You want Rambo to come in, kill bad dudes, and then you want the movie to be over. The movie is 93 minutes, folks. And as soon as the action ends, the movie ends! Ah, what a novel idea.
Now obviously this movie is not for everyone. My GF would have nothing to do with me the entire night just because I wanted to go see Rambo. I looked around the theatre and marveled at how many dudes were able to sucker girls to come with them. But for those who love old 80's style Death Wish action movies, it's gotta be up there with some of the best. Also, check this site out if you like that kind of shizzle. I'm guessing out of the two movies the one I'll revisit first will be... RAMBO!

Thursday, January 31, 2008


I'm not really sure how to describe the simple genius displayed in Snoop's new video. Retro done well. Extremely well. Reminds me of Dr J and the ABA. It's like a psychadellic groove at the disco. And who the hell wrote this song? Sounds like a collaberation of Cher and Daft Punk. I love it.
Well the song is written by Calvin Broadus & Demetrius Stewart and the Video is directed by Melina. I want to know what else these people are doing, pronto.

Watch: Snoop Dogg's Sensual Seduction

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Decisions, decisions...

RIP Edwards.
You weren't a bad choice. Will you be VP hopeful again? Pretty Please!

Moving right along...

These next two nights are ripe for the ear. Wednesday night is east side vs west side. Two shows, both $10. If it were just between the venues, I'd say definitely go to Troubadour over Silverlake Lounge. But the fact is you've got two pretty cool bands playing: Nico Vega and Von Iva.
Nico Vega and Saint Motel will probably both deliver some cranked up, non-stop shows. Plus the Troubadour is such a great venue to catch music. You can download Nico Vega songs for free if you hurry to their myspace.
Silverlake Lounge will probably boast some pretty outragous fashion as well as perverted performances from Von Iva and Berlin's Jessie Evans.
The only band I can vouch for on Wednesday is Von Iva. They're loud, quirky and they take no prisoners at their shows. I just hope I can make it to one show, but I work late so probably won't work out.
Thursday is going to be packed at Spaceland. If you want to get in for sure, get there early and RSVP for your free tix NOW by emailing AirborneToxic@aol.com. Airborne Toxic Event finishes off their special Thursday Night Residency with Deadly Syndrome, Castledoor, and the Morning Benders. I've seen all but Castledoor, and all are adored and embraced by silverlake/LA. There will be a lot of love in the club so I would highly recommend this show for a good night on the town.

Von Iva @ Silverlake Lounge
Wednesday, Jan 30th
w/ Jessie Evans
2906 Sunset Blvd

Nico Vega @ Troubadour
Wednesday, Jan 30th
w/ Saint Motel
90801 Santa Monica Blvd

Listen: Wooden Dolls by Nico Vega

Airborne Toxic Event @ Spaceland
Thursday, Jan 31st
w/ Castledoor, Deadly Syndrome, and the Morning Benders
1717 Silverlake Blvd
Free if you RSVP by emailing AirborneToxic@aol.com

Listen: Does This Mean You're Moving On by The Airborne Toxic Event

Snow Days (my first request)

(That's my niece making a miniature snow man who appears to be wearing a fez. Kind of amazing.)

Last night was kind of a bust. I hit the world's largest pot hole on my way home. It can be found on the 101 South on ramp at Silverlake Blvd. Beware, it absolutely destroyed my tire and rim.

So, I received my first request for the blog. One sprightly young man known simply as Marc asked, "I want you to tell me the best place for me to go if I were to go to Koreatown." The man is obsessed with finding the right joint to go to in K-Town. I lived there breifly and unfortunately most of my time was spent looking for parking, not hitting the hole-in-the-wall bar scene. However, I did hear tell of a place called Frank N Hank's. The name sounds like the kind of place you would find among newly developing suburbs that all the construction dudes would go to. But I hear the juke box is great, the room's too small for the pool table, and the bartender who goes by the handle "Snow" is everybody's BFF. Sounds like my kind of place. I've read a few reviews, and decided it needs to be checked out. Possibly tonight when I go to pick up my car with shiny new tires from the Pep Boys near by. Let's find out if this juke box has got anything on the Cherry Tavern. You down, Marc?

Frank N Hank's
518 S Western Ave, 90020

Monday, January 28, 2008

Last chance for the Parson Express

This is the last night of the free Parson Red Heads residency at Spaceland. The show is definitely worth checking out. It's pretty much hippy folk rock that you just can't resist once they take the stage. This might have been exactly the kind of band I thought was over after high school, but instead seperate themselves from the flow of the scene with a contagious charisma. The tunes are poppy, the vibe on stage is unpretentious, and the performers are unashamedly happy to be playing. Kind of refreshing for the indie scene of Silverlake.
Tonight they are joined by the Monolators. I finally caught one of their shows a few weeks ago at RFSL's Let's Independent show over at Boardner's. The group is punk rock and I love it. Once the show started they just kept charging from song to song with a barreling drum beat that wouldn't stop for your grandmother crossing the street.
Between the two bands you would be hard pressed to find a night where neither was playing. Tonight, though, you can see them at the same spot in a club that will actually have good sound. AND FREE! The bands don't have a lot in common sound wise, but they both know how to put on a show better than your average local band. If you go tonight, you will be spared the usual stage awkwardness that rival's the time you tried to ask Geanie Kiff to the sock hop but your attempt to speak only resulted in vomitting on her neon windbreaker.
Forever by Parson Red Heads
Parson Red Heads Myspace
Eagle Fighting Zebra by the Monolators
Monolators Myspace

Tonight! Monday Jan 28th! @ Spaceland
The Parson Red Heads
w/ The Idaho Falls
the Monolators
and the Papercranes
1717 Silverlake Blvd, 90027

Part time blogga

I'm a Puerto Rican born in Delaware who was raised in the midwest yet considers New York my hometown but currently resides in West LA. I came out here about 3 years ago and have had an epic love-hate relationship with the unorganized settlement known as Los Angeles. This blog will post the good, the bad, and the fugly experienced out on the town. LA's music scene will no doubt be a strong focus of topics discussed as it is this city's saving grace and only reason I remain here. But I hope to branch out and share all sorts of funderful fancies.