Friday, July 27, 2007

CHROMEO AND FLOSSTRADAMUS



Fancy Footwork Tour
Thursday, 7/26/2007
The EchoPlex
By S. Haynes.
carnivaloftheanimals@gmail.com

Chromeo and Flosstradamus played at Cinespace on Tuesday, but who wants to dance on carpeted floors and see people go crazy over Paris Hilton? If you ask me it was all about the show at the EchoPlex. Not only do I like the EchoPlex better than Cinespace but also because I was going there to assist my friend and doggie babysitterMichael Reich. (Watch for the release of the Shin's new music video "Turn on Me" – he directed it and it stars my one eyed pup, Ichi), I got to waltz past the long lines that lead away from the entrance to about a block away. Turns out they had to turn away 300 people… even from the will call line. Finally we interviewed both Chromeo and Flosstradamus at the end of the night (around 3am).

The show was incredible. I was in the center-front, right up near the stage, dancing and being pushed around like a little guppy in a storm, surrounded by an incredible amount of energy, enthusiasm, SWEAT, and drunk bitches taking pictures of each other and the bands. "It was a Chromeo hot dog with a Flosstradamus bun- Chromeo, then Flosstradamus again wrapping up the night. At the end of the show (around 2am) two girls were walking around looking for their car keys. One of them points at a tic-tac and says, "Oh my gosh… there are so many pills on the floor."

As Dave One, the ladies man, acquaints himself with a fan, we interview Flosstradamus first. Michael Reich and Curt from Flosstradamus notice have the same watch in gold and silver, and start admiring each other's and eventually do a trade/test drive. Before the interview starts, I ask how the Cinespace show was and Josh simply says "Paris Hilton." Eventually Michael starts asking the interview questions and Curt shows me some phone/thing that looks like one of those blackberries. I start playing Super Nintendo's Mike Tyson's Punch Out! …. So I wasn't paying attention to their interview much… In the end Michael and Curt decided they liked their own watches better and traded back.

We finally find Dave One and P-thug. 
"Are you going to interview us?" Dave One asks me as Michael starts messing with his video camera.
"No… Michael will be interviewing you. I'm his assistant," I reply.
"Oh, you can talk! I thought maybe you didn't speak English or anything because you haven't said a word to me," he says.
This is where I pull a weirded out face.
During small talk, he says he is surprised at how big the turnout in Los Angeles is.
"Anywhere else, we would have been excited to even fill the small room upstairs," he says, referring to the Echo.
"What is the best thing about feet?" Michael asks.
"The best thing about feet is that you can put Jordan's on them", Dave replies.
P-Thug nods and agrees.
"What kind of shoes do you wear?" Michael asks, to which Dave replies "Jordans".
P-Thug nods and says, "I have Jordan ones, twos….threes… fours…. um… fives… and huaraches."
They start talking about music videos and their tour (Theyre flying to Japan the following morning for the Fuji Rock Festival) while I start eating the most amazing grapes ever, and then I get hand fed some by Dave for a tight picture.

-SMH

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Put your money on ALOC.


ALOC at the Whisky a Go Go, Friday July 13th.
By Jasmin Blasco.
jasmin.blasco@catalogrecords.com


In watching ALOC play the other night I was reminded of the good things in life:
tight musicianship, solid songwriting, ripping guitar solos.
No gimmicks no dress up, just the goods.
While waiting for the show to start I walked up the strip and noticed the upcoming events at the Key Club; one them was called Metal School promising the Vegas version of a David Lee Roth show
This reminded me that in this day it’s unfortunate that classic metal is only appreciated as a caricature of itself.
Why have self-aware irony when you can listen to a band playing original material that just rocks.
ALOC is a trio led by Alexy on guitar and vocals. They gallop, they shred, they have tom rolls, bass solos and if that’s not enough they write good songs. Just go and listen to them.
Hit them up if you want them to rock your next party or you wanna get schooled at soccer; but I must warn you, don’t let Alexy catch a glimpse of you in gym shorts:he’s weird like that.
-JB.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Eat Your Denny Denny Breakfast



By Matt Hettich
MattHettich@gmail.com

I met Bob Ladue in a recording class at CalArts, where he is currently acquiring his MFA degree in percussion performance and music composition. During the first class, while playing one of those cheesy “What’s-Your-Name-and-Where-are-you-From?” games, I discovered that Bob, who prefers his music persona be known as Denny Denny Breakfast, and I had played a number of shows together in the greater Miami-Dade area- Bob on drums for Miami’s dance-rock kings Awesome New Republic and myself on open-the-show duty as my electronic hip-hop persona, Wake. Upon hearing Bob’s first recording project for the class (a roughly 3 minute marimba centric minimal math rock epic I have not yet reencountered) I realized there was something very special about this blond, southern dude in the ripped cargo pants, down winter vest, and monogrammed off-black backpack.

Bob is a prolific composer. Actually, that might be an understatement, let me rephrase... Bob is a beyond prolific composer, and (when asked) has compared his own musical output to that of post food poisoning bowel movements. It seems that to him, the creation of pop gems is as easy as the rapid expulsion of spoiled milk, and when I, somewhat jealously probed him for advice on how to achieve that type productive diarrhea, his only tip was “I’ve been doing this a lot longer then you have”. While this might not have provided me with the secret to Bob’s musical regularity, I find it a hopeful statement, both for me and for Bob. It seems that the father or co-father (as it is in some cases) of Denny Denny Breakfast, The Great Big Oh-No, and Van Allen (with Ehvi Jena) believes that anyone so inclined and focused, could eventually be worthy of even just a tiny suckle of creative milk of magnesia from the elusive but great harmonic teat.

Bob’s music is spontaneous and intelligent. He regularly stuffs guitar-monized, lengthy solos through your ear-holes. He isn’t afraid to be funky. Sometimes he raps and sometimes he rocks. Sometimes the music is humorous (if not down right silly) but often it is not. His music is always mature – even when it doesn’t seem like it wants to be. It is rare I hear someone with the ability to infuse a simple “nah nah na nah nah nah nah” with so much meaning and sensibility.

Not to be too verbose or didactic, but Bob could be the king of indie lo-fi pop. Then again, he could be an obscure math rock drummer who plays zombie drums over distorted video game chip tunes. Alternately, he could be the new hope for Zappa influenced classical music. Bob could, very well should, and probably will be any and every one of these things.
-MH




Monday, July 9, 2007

Rumspringa




Recently I had the fortune of being assigned to do an interview with Rumspringa. If this name doesn't cause your heart to pace in a steady, thumping, corn shucking rhythm then you've yet to experience the best kept secret in Los Angeles. Dont worry though, from what I hear, people are having trouble keeping the secret. The two-man band consists of drummer Itaru de la Vega and singer/guitarist Joey Stevens. The following interview is adapted from 10 questions and answers I scrawled down in five minutes in a brief interview with Joey after their show at the Unknown Theatre last Friday, June 22nd:
______________________________________


The concert starts at 10:30 pm, and I'm at the door by 10:45 pm. The bouncer at the door gives my I.D. A cursory glance and counts the cover I hand him. But at $9, it's a steal to see Rumspringa, and considering the band's footed the bill for free beer inside, the cover charge slips out of my hand like water.

Inside the crowd is milling about, some parts making efforts to mingle, other parts waiting in quiet, but nearly tangible anticipation. The tiered seats of the Unknown Theatre are full of cataracts of people coming and going, claiming seats in drones, and then abandoning them for standing room closer to the stage. I find my way to a corner close to the stage where they're distributing Pabst by the can, and, after sipping the tried and tested champion of 1893, I lean against a wall to watch an opening film that's being projected on to the drawn curtains in front of the stage.

The video montage blasts images of urban beauty and decay alongside a barrage of processed sounds. "Isadora?," I ask myself. The sounds amplify with the frequency of the image cuts, climaxing in aural/visual mosaic that demands attention, and by the end of the video everyone in the house has turned to watch the film. The video closes and leaves the air electric, rippling with waves of processed sounds and earnest applause. The crowd sits still, waiting for the curtains to be drawn, waiting for the concert to start.

But the curtains don't move. The silence falls thick around the stage like a fog, and the crowd, growing antsy, begins to talk again. And then, quietly at first, but creeping out from behind the still drawn curtains like a speech amongst babble, the soulfully syncopated bass and lead lines of a guitar intone the signature sound of Rumspringa front man Joey Stevens.

And the crowd erupts. The people in the tiered seats claim their spots with resolution. The crowds in the back push the front forward, but still the curtains stay drawn. Searching blindly for a face to put to the sound, the crowd peers into the thick red wool in front of them, unable to perform visually the same slice the music is performing aurally. It's a one way door, the crowd being given the music, but unable to give anything back. It's a brief moment of live musical altruism. And then, with the rumbling thump of Itaru de la Vega's kick, the curtains are shattered and sent flying left and right. The concert has begun.

The crowd moves in close to the stage, with the unified urge to be as close to the band as possible. Rumspringa obliges, and have in fact left half of the stage open out of the same desire to be as close to the fans as possible. The crowd circles round, washing up like the tide in front of the band, swelling in waves that crest atop bleachers hidden on stage left, dancing in eddies behind the band, and drowning in the pulsing rhythm that inundates the theatre. "At first there were so many people, I was sort of nervous," remarked Joey, "But then I just saw everyone smiling and it was like this cosmic zoom. I just wanted to pull the essence out of my body and become part of the crowd."

Indeed the concert feels somewhat astral, what with the solar glare of Itaru's drum lighting at center stage, and the nebulous crowd in shifting orbit around the band. In the middle of the concert Itaru stands up and begins knocking glowing globes out of a strung net hanging above the band. The globes float down gently, revealing themselves to be white balloons filled with white glow sticks. The crowd devours them, regurgitates puncturing explosions, and soon after constellations of bright white light appear throughout the theatre.

As the band brakes into "Catfish", and the beads of sweat begin to fall from Joey's chin like some displaced southern storm, the venue becomes an oven, the crowd rising with the swelling energy of the set, the Unknown Theatre shining in its capacity to marry the crowd with the band.

"The Theatre was recently fined for an alcohol infringement that cost them $5,000," Joey later explained. "The owner sold his car to cover this month's rent, but they were still in serious trouble, so we decided to hold a concert and have all the proceeds go to the Unknown Theatre. This is actually our sixth show at the venue. It's a blast to play here, just wonderful."

Joey's enthusiasm is contagious when he plays the band's newest song, looping first the rhythm chords, then the base, and finally the lead, leaving him free to send crowing and searingly sweet vocals over the loops and Itaru's rumbling drums. "I've been playing guitar for about 5 years," says Joey, "but Rumspringa's only been together for a little over a year."

The band sounds impressively tight for having just turned 1, but perhaps most impressive is not how the band stands out, but how they blend in with the crowd. By this point in the concert, fans are playing bongos along side Joey, running fingers through Itaru's hair, or otherwise dancing behind, in front of, and between the band members. I ask Joey how he's culled such a jubilant following.

"There's a lot of people who've followed us back from New York. We just finished touring, and had shows in New York, Pittsburg, Weslyan, but the majority of our shows were in New York, and we made a lot of fans there. We also have a lot of friends in Los Angeles, since this is where we grew up."

"Ok everyone, this is the time to grab that special someone," suggests Joey, as the band begins the last song of the night, “Dout in ma Mind". It seems everyone in the theatre knows the words to the song, and are either singing along out loud or dancing even more loudly. The concert ends, and despite the shouts of "encore" Rumspinga makes way for the next act. The crowd embers, reluctant to leave the stage, watching what are now the ghosts of a phenomenal concert.

I walk up to Joey and thank him, effusively, for what has been one of the best concerts of my life, and ask him if there's anyone he'd like to thank.

"Oh man, ...um, everyone! I mean, my parents, my friends, Itaru, you, Owen Vallis for helping produce us, but just....everyone! Everyone that comes out to see us. Thank you so much."
-RV


License to Pop.


Dzuy Vuong from Sailboat at the Hollywood racetrack
By Jasmin Blasco.
jasmin.blasco@catalogrecords.com

Dzuy Vuong and I became friends based on our common interest in Bukowski and the music of Tom Waits, but as he got in my car to drive to the Hollywood Racetrack we discovered an another similarity in our musical tastes, I started playing The Queen is Dead by The Smiths and we sang along to the album most of the way there.

Dzuy is the front man and songwriter/producer for the electro/pop outfit Sailboat. A band that sounds something like the glamtastic bastard child of Daft Punk and a Mechanical Animals-era Marylyn Manson. While they retain the effortlessly danceable thump of the former and the shock rock value of the latter, they add to it more humor than any of the two. In speaking of his creation Dzuy mentions: “It’s so ridiculous that we are a band of dudes in sailor suits but that's what’s great.” Indeed Sailboat does dress up. Testament to this is their video for the song “Mannequin” which features sailors and sailorettes alongside an assortment of aquatic wildlife.

We get to the track, proudly stepping into the footsteps of our common hero Bukowski to find just how inept we are at placing a bet on a horse. After attempting to place a bet on horse that isn’t in the race and then a horse that is in the race but loses us our $5, we finally get our bearing. Dzuy looks up the meaning of the expression “Trifecta bet” in the race form and discovers it to be the placing of a bet on the order of the three winning horses of the race.
With a buy-in at $1, the Trifecta seems a risk less opportunity. However, much to our surprise, we win. “Wow how much do you think we won?” he asks. “I don’t know maybe ten bucks or something” I answer. A minute later we are informed we pocketed $140.
We go buy ourselves a beer at the bar.
In the wake of our gambling success I ask Dzuy a few questions:

J B- “So how does Morrissey fit into the influences of Sailboat?”
D V- “Well in the sense that the first time you watch a video or listen to the CD there’s a part of you that always initially thinks: "my god, what an asshole". It must take a man of a certain substance to be this big of an asshole. And then after a while he grows on you and you think, "wow there’s no asshole like him". I wanted to be that one asshole too.”
JB- “So tell me about the starting point for Sailboat.”
D V- “Well you know, it started of as this total farce. Everything I ever loved about David Bowie, Prince, and Morrissey mixed with everything I’ve loved about electro/clash and very flamboyant metro-80s music.
And musically it was like three years of art school pop repression, using every melody and progression that I was holding back for three years.
It’s almost like it gave me a license to pop. I did my time and now I have a license to pop.”

The importance of strong charismatic figures in ones adolescence cannot be underestimated. The choices made are necessarily revealing. In identifying we hope to witness our potential fully realized.
Dzuy has gravitated towards musicians that express their individuality thru self-created characters: Morrissey, Reznor, Waits, Bowie. He spoke to me of his kinship with the idea of the one-man band in the example of Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. “I like other peoples compositional ideas, I like to see them fully realized, but when it comes to writing my own songs I prefer doing it myself.” As for his singing voice he explains himself in terms of English crooners like Morrissey and Bowie but states that he is simply trying to sing in his natural register.

Towards the end of the day as we go to take a look a the faded pastel fa├žade of the neighboring casino I begin to assemble the running threads of Dzuy’s musical heritage. For him it is the same glamour and decay that inhabits the baroque decadence of a Tom Waits, the resigned and decrepit practical wisdom of Bukowski and the space-bound romanticism of Ziggy Stardust.

Sailboat, like any self respecting glam band anticipates its own demise.
Their lyrics speak of the substance of abuse and the refusal to let go of the high. The idea of glamour is bound to a time and place. Sailboat is a band fully aware of this. Their references to musical eras are informed by the fleeting nature of style and fashion.
In talking with Dzuy Vuong its plain to see that he wishes to honor the impermanence of pop music rather than take it for granted.
-JB.



Marc Nimoy at Dangerous Curve in Downtown LA.




By Jasmin Blasco.
jasmin.blasco@catalogrecords.com

“It’s a relationship of single to many” Marc Nimoy tells me when I ask him about the parallels between two of his works currently on display at Dangerous Curves in Downtown LA. On the far corner of the gallery is displayed “Box Song” an array of touch sensing circuit boxes that when activated trigger a simple sine tone out of a single speaker in the center. Visitors are invited to explore the installation and listen to the sonic environment they have themselves created.

“Constellation” a multimedia sculpture composed of miniature light bulbs hanging from the ceiling invites the viewer to listen to recordings of Nimoy’s voice broadcasting from above. The audio samples are of Nimoy uttering sentences that recount personal memories. One of the light flickers each time the corresponding memory is heard.
Nimoy tells me some of the memories are mundane and some are significant turning points in his life. What groups them together is the simple fact that they have occurred.

For Nimoy each of those captured and remembered instants aren’t to be organized in a hierarchy of value. With this piece he wishes to play with the idea of the self as a construct of singularities in time; hence the image of the constellation where each instant is a shining light. And much like the stars we see in the night sky, our mind attempts to assemble them in a shapely ensemble. Where there is nothing but a group of objects, our rationale demands that we link them together in significant ways.
Nimoy wishes to return to the state antecedent to the infusion of meaning: The instant of the occurrence.

In going back to his installation “Box song” Nimoy explains that the piece attempts to achieve a similar effect in a different way. Here he hopes to outline the parameters of the birth of musical activity. Marc sees the environment he’s created as a tool to reveal the foundational building blocks of musical experience: the sound, the instrument, the composer, the performer(s), the audience.
The piece naturally invites not one single participant, but several. Groups tend to form in activating "Box Song" and it's community is dispatched in the space that the piece inhabits. Nimoy uses physical space as a parameter of music when it is usually thought of as rooted in time.

Nimoy who is also a programmer and accomplished musician, chooses to express himself with the primary tool of his crafts.
Letting their skeletal constructions apparent, the works inform us on the desire for purity of thought in Nimoy’s investigative approach. In existing naked and untainted they invite us to interact with them earnestly and succeed in doing so by rewarding us with a tranquil presence.
-JB.
Photos by Jesse Menn and Becky Bryan.

Box Song and others: New work by Marc Nimoy is on display at Dangerous Curve in Downtown LA from July 7th to August 4th 2007.
Dangerous Curve: 1020 East fourth Place.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 617-8483
dangerouscurve.org
Marc Nimoy's Portfolio



Friday, July 6, 2007

Van Allen's Hit Website

Van Allen's Tea Clock



also: FLASH STREAMING VAN ALLEN PLAYER! HERE!

brought to you in part by Atomisk Records