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!