06/29/2011 to 07/3/2011

Thursday June 30th, The Echo presents a record release from Johnny O’Donnell and Sacramento.  O’Donnell, formerly of the Holy Ghost Revival, will be leading a night of psychedelia and rock and roll perfectly suited for the little Sunset Blvd hipster haven, in honor of their 4 song EP, out on White Noise Records as of June 28th.

Also Performing are John Carpenter, Corridor, and residual Echoes, all a mix of neo psychedelic music spawned from scenes like Echo park’s own current mix. The show starts at 8:30 pm, is 18 and over, and only costs $5.

http://youtu.be/M3K5npGVm_w

The Rosebuds perform at The Satellite in Silverlake on Friday July 1st, a poppy rock band who deliver their tunes with a sense of longing, and a melancholy feel that pushes the songs along beautifully.  The band’s story is fascinating, led by the primary songwriters and creative force behind the group is a couple, formerly married, whose relationship has spanned and inspired the band’s existence. Over the years, the trials and triumphs of love and music have been documented on their albums, and at times can be intensely personal.

No longer a couple, their last release “Loud Planes Fly Low” is a ten song collection of songs about heartbreak, and the story of the love and time the couple shared. Amazingly intense and brilliant, the album plays like one long single, with a celestial feel. For something so honest and personal, the band really delivers with this release, and shows how far their sound has developed over the years.  Also performing are Other Lives, and The World Record. The show starts at 9pm, 21 and over only, and the cover is $12.

Saturday night Mr. T’s Bowl hosts Hands Like Bricks and Lysolgang for a night of cleverly written punk rock and some tongue in cheek good fun as well. Hands Like Bricks are fresh off a stint in Las Vegas, where they are rumoured to have played a show in a hotel room during the punk Rock Bowling tournament.

Lysolgang will be performing in advance of their upcoming self-titled debut LP, which is expected to drop on Sunday July 31st.  Both bands are locals, should have a great crowd, and as always, with an upcoming record release, Lysolgang is sure to have their show tightened and tuned for a tour. Also performing are Los Dharma Bums, from Highland Park, not to be confused with the garage band from the 80’s. Doors open at 9pm, the show is 21 and over, and the cover charge will be only $5 so get out there and support your local music scene!

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06/23/2011 to weekend. . .

Thursday June 23rd, The Echoplex enters the Dubstep Foray with LA Heavy.  This will be a weekly music gathering in the tradition of the Echo’s Dub Club, and the Airliner’s Low End Theory, but dedicated to heavy, bass grinding, low end driven beats.

About a month ago I mentioned that lines at the airliner for their now legendary Low End Theory nights were getting way too long for the small venue, and now it appears the Echoplex will step in and provide a larger arena for the music and scene to develop. One DJ coming over from the Airliner is Daddy Kev, who often headlines the regular event. LA Heavy will also feature a special guest every week, and will run each and every thursday starting tonight.  Doors open at 9pm, the event is 18 and over, and the cover is $10.

http://youtu.be/j9gsTf_bgSI

On Friday, June 24th, the American Legion Hall in Highland Park hosts Los Creepers, The Vagrant Dead, Saints and Sinners, and others for a night of greaser infused punk rock, Psychobilly. Hellbound Hayride will be headlining, fronted by Eddie Wilson, a SoCal legend in his own right, with thousands of shows under his belt, given his band’s 20+ year career.

Wilson’s songwriting style is more rock than country, but with just enough twang in his drawl and guitar to keep in step.  Really this is a rock and roll band, probably even delving into more aggressive sounds for a couple of songs, but Wilson’s vocals and tragic wailing style are what really separate this band from the rest. The show kicks off at 8p.m., is 21 and over only, and the door charge is $8. For the uninitiated, The American Legion Hall is on Avenue 55, just off of Figueroa.

http://youtu.be/YUVSk2sf6hE

Also on Friday, Umbalaye is performing at The M Bar in Boyle Heights. This is an Afro-Cuban fusion band formerly led by Jose “Crunchy” Espinosa, one of the co-founding members of Ozomatli, and an extremely talented saxophone player. Espinosa’s family garage was actually Ozo’s first rehearsal space.  Expect to hear afro driven latin infused rhythms, and a blazing horn section that truly compliments the full band with skillful playing as a unit, along with some great individual melody.

Although Espinosa passed away in the beginning of this year, Umbalaye is carrying on the music, and sure to get people out of their seats, and onto the dance floor. The show kicks of at 5pm according to their website, so show up early, or call ahead.

Through 06/19/2011

The Boulevard Cafe and Bar kicks off a busy weekend on Friday June 17th, with a show featuring Hellcat Recording artists Static Thought, former label mates Union 13 and Los Difuntos. Also performing are The Dirty Filthy Mugs, and The Apathy Cycle.

The bar will be full of an interesting, aggro mix of music on Friday, with the various styles ranging from Static Thought’s bay area infused punk rock, to Los Difuntos’ East LA based psychobilly madness.  Union 13 have been an East Side punk staple since the backyard gig was the only way to get loud, and the Dirty Filthy Mugs sport a style more akin to bands like Bouncing Souls or The Pogues.  Altogether this bill sounds like an entertaining mix, especially if you like your guitars set to eleven. Show starts early, at around 7pm, cover is $8, 18 and over only, please.

On the weekend of Saturday June 18th, HM-157 in Lincoln Heights is having another weekend long festival of music, food, crafts and entertainment with the 3rd Annual Summer Solstice Festival, featuring  their usual fare of across the board diversity, wild experimental bands, and traditional, revivalist folk. Featured artists include quirky countrified singer songwriter Amanda Jo Williams, local favorites the Whispering Pines, and a wide array of different music, without going to ear shredding levels. Not entirely acoustic, but not quite loud enough for some, this show promises a bit more on the mellow and groove side.

Headliner Michael Yonkers has been pulled, he had to cancel his first show in 50 years, but the bill still offers up over 20 groups performing, including burlesque by Jewel of Denial, fire dances by Magpie and a Menagerie of Lightning Bugs, BBQ, projected trippy visuals, and DJ’s all weekend long.  Admission is $10, and is all ages. With all this talent rolling through Los Angeles’ homiest venue, this show probably offers the most diverse mix this weekend.

One of the East Side’s most respected and storied bands in recent memory, Aztlan Underground will be celebrating their 20th anniversary on Saturday June 18th, also atthe Boulevard Cafe and Bar. Hosted by none other than KPFK’s own Pocho Hour of Power show, the event features a night of music, comedy, theatre, live silkscreening, and a celebration of a band that has been iconic to local scene kids for the last 20 years. Trends have come and gone, neighborhoods have been torn down and revamped, some barely recognizable, but Aztlan Underground have kept their integrity intact and taken their fans on a two decade journey of introspection, cultural education, preservation, and celebration. 

One member of the Pocho our of Power, Lalo Alcaraz, has been in the national forefront for some time now, penning his signature syndicated comic “La Cucaracha”, a latino themed comic addressing problems in our neighborhood and beyond.  Often the humour is dark, but also it shows a willingness to deal with, and recognition of the issues we face every day. His comic and commentary are sharp, critical, and pointed directly at a system of government and society that leaves cultural importance in the dark.  The same can be said for Aztlan Underground, except their message is delivered to your ears, rather than the eye. The celebration kicks off at 8pm, so show up early!

Sunday, June 19th, Swervedriver will being a night alternative rock and roll to the Echoplex. After a stretch signed to major labels, and some commercial success, the band went on a 10+ year hiatus, and regrouped in 2008.  The Oxford, England group has retained quite a bit of that mid 90’s post grunge sound, and no doubt the newer material will show the growth and development that only 2 decades performing or writing can provide.

Also performing are The Black Watch, A Santa Barbara band with more than 10 years under their belt, and a slew of releases based on a similar power pop style. Should be a great match for Swervedriver, as they do have a bit of the brit pop sparkle and inflection in their songs.  The show kicks off at 7 pm, tickets are $22, and the show is also 18 and over only.

06/16/2011

http://youtu.be/A61c4FgxZz8

Tuesday June 14th, the Boulevard Cafe and Bar on Whittier Blvd. will serve up a show that is a few decibels under their normal ear shredding fare. Spoonboy, a post punk sounding band from the midwest will headline a show with their catchy upbeat riffs, again not the usual fare for the Boulevard, but a good chance to catch an out-of-town band with a couple of good indie releases under their belt. 

Also performing are The Boy Who Could Fly, a female vocalist led group with a focus on quirky sounding recordings, almost as if made at home just for kicks, but with clever composition, and a deafeningly simple style to the mix. Their latest release “Brain Cloud” is a 100% lo-fi record, not once sounding overproduced.  In fact, sounding a bit underproduced, but clear enough to let the song shine through.  Lo-fi artists tend to be eccentric, and take their songs very personally.  This mentality shines through on this record, and the simplicity of the recording also presents a technical challenge, which The Boy Who Could Fly deal with handily.  COver charge is $5, doors at the Boulevard are typically open at around 7:30pm.

http://youtu.be/TTALWD2ww4o

Thursday June 16th proves to be a busy day on the Eastside, with two great shows to pick from. Meat Puppets will be taking over the Echo, the legendary, highly influential band taking the stage for a rare Socal appearance. Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain paid tribute  to the band, one of his favorites, by covering three of their tunes, and made sure people knew at their “Unplugged, live in New York” album.  Nirvana also featured “On A Plain” on their seminal “Nevermind” album. These covers thrust the small, experimental rock group into the national spotlight, and this momentum combined with their crafty songs have carried them through ever since.

Their latest effort, “Lollipop“, released earlier this year, was a bit of an experiment. The band went into the studio with a clean palette, no music was written for the sessions, and it was all done  by the seat of their pants, written in the studio. Lollipop stands strong with the other Meat Puppet releases, perhaps only a bit more polished and developed as a band. The show kicks off at 8p.m., cost is $15, and is an 18 and over event.

The other big show Thursday night is Booker T.  at The Satellite.  For those of us who have heard his latest album, “The Road From Memphis”  the expectations are set extremely high for this show.  The album has won over new fans, convinced old fans of its integrity, and re-established Booker T. Jones as a musical force, with a past, and future that will shape bands and songwriting for a long time to come. Sometimes when you hear a great new album by an older artists, you wonder, would the industry have signed this artist, in this day and age?  Anti- records’ signing and promotion of Booker T. has set a new standard and direction for the well-known Silverlake indie label, and the response has been tremendous.

Known for such acts as Tom Waits, Sean Rowe, and Mavis Staples, Anti- has defied pop trends, and gone in a direction stressing substance over marketability, with beautiful results.  Questlove produced most of the beats on this latest record with his foot, at a drum kit rather than on a beat machine, and the analog feel mixed with the soulful grooves and retro organ make for an awesome album and show.  Doors at 8:30 pm, show at 9pm, $20, and will be 21 and over only please.

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This Thursday June 9th, The Echo will host The Rumble LA, featuring two local favorites, The White Arrows, and Milo Greene.  Milo Greene is a mellow Rock band, soft, with a rocking approach to the tunes.  The interplay between the lead vocals, and the harmonies they spark are sharp and catchy.  The White Arrows will be supporting, playing spaced out psychedelic rock, mixed with electronic drums and keyboards to create huge echoing jams.  The show is free, but it is 21 and over only, and kicks off at 8:30.

The Ataris are making a surprising stop at the Airliner on Sunday, June 12th, just one stop on a month-long tour that appears to be booed by the seat of their pants.  Some of the later dates in New Mexico still show “Need Show” even though the band is already on the road!  Sounds like a fun show to catch, and definitely a nod to the Airliner’s credibility as a music venue in Lincoln Heights. 

With their 15+ years of pop punk history under their belts, The Ataris really could have had their pick of a venue for this date. It’s been fun seeing the small venue grow from a relative unknown bar with a stage. to a truly respected venue able to stretch lines of music fans around the humble Lincoln Heights block. The Ataris have said in messages to fans that they are doing everything they can to keep tickets down to $10 or $12, and the show is 21 and over only.

Also on Sunday the 12th, The Boulevard Cafe and Bar continues its activist stance with a fundraising event for Angel Food Project, an organization established to assist people living with different terminal illnesses.  You can learn more about Project Angel food here, and support the cause by attending this eclectic show.

The event features Joyce Manor, an indie flavored band with a feel that teeters between radio pop and much louder music, but never delves to deep into either extreme. Also performing are Isolated Victims, a great little Ska/Punk band that has been performing since 2003, tearing up stages in both ska and punk shows.  I say stages, but this is a true party band, playing just about anywhere, frequently in backyards in the neighborhood. The fact that they advertise this show as “All Night, Indoors, 3 Bucks, All Ages” sums it up nicely.

Week of 06/02/2011

Army Navy will be performing at the Silverlake Lounge on Thursday, June 2nd, along with The Wind, The Damn Sons, and Dede.  Army Navy is a Los Angeles indie rock group that sounds a lot like Britpop, complete with a tangible influence from bands like The Smiths, The Stone Roses, and others who favored bright guitar chords, as opposed to the highly distorted, uber-loud stylings of Grunge or hair metal of the same period.

The show kicks off at 9pm with Dede, a great band that sounds a lot like a 60’s vocal group, or Edie Brickell with a little more dreaminess thrown in for good measure. Singer Dede weaves her lyrics around the airy, mellow beats, soothing the listener with her vocal melodies, and rounding out the tunes very nicely.  Doors should be at around 8pm, and the cover charge is $8.

On Friday, June 3rd, Resistant Culture will be tearing up the already band battered stage at The Boulevard Cafe and Bar on Whittier Blvd, and for a good cause too. They are joining forces with SMD, Social Conflict, Rabia Al Sistema, and Politziko to raise funds for the Humberto Corzo Guzman school in Guatemala.

The school is in the highlands of Guatemala, and the threat of it’s demise hits especially close to home for the bands. The school has been under fire from an Evangelical church, corrupt police, and city officials trying their hardest to shut down the school.  Sounds like the perfect cause for this group of socially conscious bands to adopt, and a very good reason to come together over some very loud angry music in the spirit of defiance. The show is 18 and over, starts at 7pm, and cost is $8.

One event not actually in East LA, but directly related to it, is Stories And Songs: An intimate Evening with Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo and Louie Perez.  They will be discussing their collaboration styles and techniques, and sharing some examples of their musical explorations, past and present.

Along with the collaborative discussions, they will give a preview of their project with About…Productions, a presentation called “Evangeline, The Queen of Make Believe” and it’s related educational programs for at risk youth.

The best tickets are a bit pricey, starting at $125 a seat, and going up as high as $1,000 for two people in the orchestra pit, but there are still tickets available at a reasonable $25, for this authentic piece of East LA musical history.  It all takes place this Saturday, June 4th, at the Los Angeles Theater Center in Downtown Los Angeles. Show kicks off at 8pm.

Sunday, June 5th, Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock presents Sunday evening concerts featuring Kaoru, G.E. Stinson, Alex Cline, and Brad Dutz Quartet. This is either a show for those who pride themselves on their eclectic taste, and open minded musical sense of adventure.
The opening act, Brad Dutz Quartet, features Dutz on a variety of instruments, but mainly on vibes and marimba.  The sound is free form to say the least, exploring themes and feelings more than actual music technique, masterfully executed.

The main Attraction,  Kaoru, G.E. Stinson, and Alex Cline, play in a style that is more ambient, and mixed with influences from varied of music. At times downright out there, and even challenging to give a listen to, this is the kind of music, again, actually intended for the audio explorer in all of us, something completely new and unprecedented.
The show begins at 7pm, $10 at the door for general admission, students, seniors, and series performers 5$.

This is the last week the Dinner House M will be open, after serving the Silverlake/Echo Park area for over 24 years! Come on down, and see what the little music club has to offer for it’s last night ever party. With the music that went through this charming little dark bar, ranging from free form indie rock, to hip-hop, jazz, and even some straight punk rock, I wouldn’t be surprised if the night is something of an all star jam.  That being said, even if they have NO live music, the bar deserves a nice send off after its decades of service in the community.The party kicks off at 8 pm, get there early!