Friday, December 21, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Best of 2012

With a seemingly laundry list of things to direct my focus on for this year's essay (see: a contentious election year and government gridlock, unspeakable tragedies, weather related devastation and Gangnam style) - it's with my deepest sincerity, that I turn my attention... to you.  Thank you for taking time out of a day undoubtedly filled with countless other things in order to: support, inspire, encourage, challenge and humor me.  Somewhere along the trail, we've crossed paths and it's not often that I get to express my gratitude.

I had two life affirming happenings this past year.  Firstly, the addition of a puppy that most certainly flipped things upside down for a few months and secondly, the opportunity to travel to Paris this past fall.  I'll focus on the latter; as, aside from a new found appreciation for what parents must go through in the early stages - raising a puppy has little by way of a pop-cultural pursuit (though, Desmond does like to cuddle up to our record player and/or my guitar amp).  Back to Paris.  

It was inspiring to walk storied streets and explore the lifestyle of a city that is principally built upon art and culture...and what I was exposed to, turned out to be perfectly contagious. I'll share one particular moment that stood out for me. Whilst sitting in the Luxembourg Gardens, I witnessed an older gentleman literally smelling the roses.  He slowly made his way from bush to bush, growing an appreciative smile with every new flower he sniffed.  How profoundly simple and beautiful?  As a silly cliché it doesn't hold much weight; but in deliberate context - truly puts a daily routine in perspective.  In fact, I've noticed my wife has picked up the habit herself. 

Now, the fortunate opportunity to travel doesn't fall short on me - so I think it's important that I get back on track here.  What I found, is whether you express yourself through food, art, gardening, crafting, whatever... as a collective, we can all give the proverbial cliff notes of our own various passions.  In turn, affording opportunities and growth for the personal gain of those we come in contact with.  The older gentleman for example, displayed his appreciation for beautiful and simple pleasures...and it had a ripple effect.  

Albert Einstein famously said: "I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”   How wonderful is that? Flipping the script - I'm going to take a bit of written freedom here and invert his thought to the idea of being curious about passions.  I happen to be extremely curious about what this world has to offer and I appreciate that you do too. I feel privileged that I've captivated a few of you to take interest in the music that I enjoy and love; and if there is any takeaway from all of the daily oddities that happen in our world - it's that there is a need to share all that you appreciate, enjoy and work tirelessly towards.  I promise you (no matter how trivial it may seem), you'll find someone that will be interested and engaged.  Maybe even inspired.  

As for the tunes, I didn't think this year offered great leaps and bounds by way of new and exciting music (save for a couple standouts).  As for the state of music in general - it seems to be at an interesting impasse. Musicians are finding inventive ways to release their material into the world...most certainly to their benefit but not necessarily their record label. On the flip side, the likes of Spotify allow ample exposure to artists but does more for the label (monetarily speaking) than it does the artist. Where it goes or what new music model are we heading towards - I can't say? For now, I'll just continue to listen and throw my two cents in every now and again.

I hope you have a lovely holiday season.  Tell the people who mean something to you - just that, and be safe.

Cheers and happiness in 2013.


Top 10 Songs of 2012

(in order 10 to 1)

Best Albums of 2012

10) Beach House - Bloom

9) Divine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits

8) Japandroids - Celebration Rock

7) Allah-Las - Allah-Las

6) Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself

5) Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan

4) Twin Shadow - Confess

3) Grizzly Bear - Shields

2) Tame Impala - Lonerism

1) Father John Misty - Fear Fun

Honorable Mentions

Nick Waterhouse - Time's All Gone
The Orwells - Remember When
Ty Segall - Twins
Diiv - Oshin
The Walkmen - Heaven

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack - Rhye Edition

New tunes have seemingly come to a halt as the year winds down. But, Rhye (the mysterious LA duo - now revealed as singer/producer Mike Milosh and Danish-electro master Quadron) have a full head of steam heading into 2013.

I love all that they've released thus far and pumped for their impending full length album via the cool kid label, Innovative Leisure.

Check out new(ish) track The Fall, below.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack

Tame Impala - Mind Mischief
Warpaint - Undertow
Melody's Echo Chamber - I Follow You
The Amazing - Gentle Stream

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack - Turnin' Back the Clocks Edition

Paul Simon - Duncan
George Harrison - What Is Life
Rolling Stones - Under My Thumb
The Velvet Underground & Nico - Sunday Morning
Fleetwood Mac - Never Going Back Again
Dillard & Clark - Out On The Side

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Get spooky, y'all!

Dead Man's Bones - My Body's A Zombie For You
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Beverly Kills
David Lynch - Ghost Of Love
Talking Heads - Psycho Killer
M83 - Graveyard Girl

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack - CMJ Edition

This past week - bands of all shapes, sizes and buzz descended upon NY to bring their brand of musical heat. Below are a few artists making their case at the annual CMJ Marathon...

Tashaki Miyaki - Somethin' Is Better Than Nothin'
Guards - Silver Lining
Foxygen - Shuggie
Mac DeMarco - Baby's Wearin' Blue Jeans
You Won't - Three Car Garage

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Local Natives - Breakers

After a number of years touring the infectious tracks from their debut album, Gorilla Manor, LA's own Local Natives are back with new tunes. They debuted a number of them last night during a CMJ showcase at the Bowery Ballroom...Stereogum has a couple bootleg clips, here.

Breakers is the first single released from Hummingbird (out 1/29 on Frenchkiss). It features steely, angled guitar lines; hand claps and what would be a Local Natives jam without harmonies?

I've gotta say, it's quite gratifying to follow the success of these guys. From a monthlong 'send-off into the world' Spaceland residencey more than four years ago to selling out midsized venues across the world and playing festivals...this band deserves all the success they are garnering. They are hardworking, talented and well, you gotta love seeing local bands takeoff.

They have a CD release show at the El Rey, January 29th. Tickets can be purchased 10/26, here.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Grizzly Bear - Live at the Greek Theatre

With the loveliest of backdrops and a welcome autumn chill - Grizzly Bear brought their fitting sound to a Los Angeles crowd eager to soak it all in.

On what was their first ever show at the Greek and their last show of their North American tour - the 'vibes' as Ed Droste said, were epic ... adding, "I can smell y'all are having a great time!"

The new tracks from Shields swirled in the air and fit so snuggly into the bands repertoire, you'd think they'd been touring this setlist for years.

For a band that accomplishes intricate musical nuance so well and effortlessly, you'd never know they had difficulty coming to a consensus on the material that would ultimately comprise Shields. Lined up in a row of four (rotating fifth member tucked away in the back) - Chris, Ed, Daniel and Chris Bear moved about instruments placed throughout the stage, swapped vocal duties and orchestrated a beautiful light display behind them (think of giant bobbing jellyfish). An aural and visual overload.

Highlights from the new material included: Yet Again, Sun In Your Eyes and the rollicking, A Simple Answer. But it was the finale that left just about everyone speechless... Playing an acoustic version of All We Ask from Veckatimest; the band lulled down the lights behind them (see above) and put their finger on what everyone must have been feeling in that very moment ... "I can't get out of what I'm into with you."

They continue to prove: if you're invested, they'll deliver great returns.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack - Lord Huron Edition

LA's Lord Huron (Ben Schneider) has been buzzing around for a couple years now. He's released two excellent EPs: Mighty and Into the Sun; showcases an impressively tight live show and now the Michigan native is ready for his big debut.

Lonesome Dreams is set to drop October 9th via IAMSOUND records and the album is chock full of country-tinged folk and western Americana tunes that suit both a dusty highway and your front-porch.

During the writing process - he created a fictional character, George Ranger Johnson, whom he channeled for inspiration. This 'fella' (Schneider) writes classic western tales that ultimately provide the context for the album. Impressive huh?

He rounded out the project with childhood friends and recorded these tracks for the first time with a band. The attention to detail on this album is extraordinary. From album art to listener experience - he does his best to take you on an adventure set in the expansive, beautiful West.

Listen to the singles below, take a look at his artwork and short stories and stream the full album right now via KCRW's Album Preview.

Also, see 'em at the Echo November 2nd.

Saddle up!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumnal Equimix - 2012

Handsome tunes for the most handsome of seasons.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack - Sounds From Paris Edition

I've been in Paris the past was wonderful. Had the opportunity to DJ at a beautiful bar/gallery space, Flaq.

Below are a few tunes I heard whilst out and about.

Sorry I've been out of commission on the blog...Autumnal Equimix on Saturday!

Beirut - A Candle's Fire
Bob Dylan - I Want You
Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks
The National - Fake Empire

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack

Cat Power - Ruin
Cold Showers - BC
Twin Shadow - Golden Light
Wild Nothing - Shadow

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Divine Fits - The Bootleg Theatre 8/14/12

Much has already been written about 'supergroup' Divine Fits but last night was the first chance us Angelenos could see 'em show off their new shoes.

I snagged an advance of the album (A Thing Called Divine Fits); so was already heading in feeling solid about the direction (especially noting Dan's tracks are the kingpins of the album). But, how would this all come together on stage?

Firstly - it was immediately apparent that Britt Daniel does not mind stepping back in order to let Dan get in your face.

Secondly - these two have vocal nuances that fit incredibly well together. Dan's punky chopped up delivery blends seamlessly with Britt's guttural yelps... who woulda thought?

Without getting too much into the set (a very thorough review can be found here) - The fact is: these tracks hold up, dude. This doesn't feel like a vanity project...they aren't playing jamz that were meshed together from their respective other bands...and without a doubt GO. SEE. THEM. LIVE.

They're on a mission to tell folks that raw, basement punk-rock will make you move and sweat. As of last night...mission accomplished.

On another note - they made it known they are residents of this fine city so their mini residency makes a bit more sense now ... check 'em out at one of the below dates.

The album drops 8/28 on Merge but stream it right now as part of KCRW's album preview.

8/21 - Hotel Cafe
8/28 - Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever
9/4 - The Echo

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The xx - Chained

The xx offered another glimpse into their sophomore release, Coexist.

Stream the very xx-ish jam below and reminder that Coexist drops September 11th.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack

Grizzly Bear - Yet Again
Bat For Lashes - Laura
Lord Huron - Time To Run
The Sea and Cake - Harps

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Grizzly Bear - Yet Again

Grizzly Bear debuted another new song from Shields today on BBC Radio w/ Zane Lowe.

Yep... your assumptions about it being beautiful and awesome are accurate. Stream Yet Again, below.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Orwells

Alls I gotta say is... Keep. Yer. Eyes. Peeled.

The Orwells are a young lot from the suburbs of Chicago and are readying the release of their debut album, Remember When. It drops August 7th via the wonderful Autumn Tone Records.

They recently tore through LA playing house parties, venues and showcases... creating a wave of buzz that they'll likely be riding for awhile.

Check 'em!

The Orwells - In My Bed

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

The XX - Angels

The XX have finally released a studio cut from their upcoming album, Coexist (album art above).

Stream Angels below and pre-order the album (slated for a September 11th release) for a free download.

They've also announced a number of new tour dates, including two in LA.

10-12 Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Palladium
10-13 Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack

Tame Impala - Apocalypse Dreams
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Only In My Dreams
Taken By Trees - Dreams
Purity Ring - Obedear
Dirty Projectors - Just From Chevron

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan

Brooklyn's Dirty Projectors are readying the release of their new album, Swing Lo Magellan.

For the occasion, the NY Times is currently streaming the record and has a nice interview with musical wiz and frontman David Longstreth.

Upon first listen, I'm drawn to the dichotomy of straight forward, listenability and their signature complicated song structure. The majority of the tracks seem to stay in the pocket a bit longer...leaving the listener room to find melody and nuance that might have been sacrificed when Longstreth et al flashed their chops. See: the title track and Just From Chevron.

In the interview, Longstreth reveals that both Neil Young and Lil Wayne played a part influencing the writing process. Listen with that in mind as flourishes of acoustic leads standout and club ready beats step in.

The band continues to evolve their sound and it's no surprise they've gathered fans in doing so. I expect this release to be both critically lauded and commercially embraced; as they've definitely honed in on the delicate balance of off-beat and accessible.

Take a listen - what do y'all think?

Also, see them July 28th at the Wiltern.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack

Donnie & Joe Emerson - Baby
David Byrne & St. Vincent - Who
Dirty Projectors - Dance For You
Liars - No.1 Against The Rush
Divine Fits - My Love Is Real

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack - Grizzly Bear Edition

Tunes have been a tad bit slow for me the past few weeks. Luckily, the lads from Grizzly Bear have given us a glimpse into what they've been doing the last 3+ years.

The quality of production and detail on this track is mind-blowing (even by GB standards). Daniel leads with some killer guitar work (again, even by GB standards) and they leave plenty of space throughout the lilting jam just to pique your interest and raise the tension... It works.

I expect big things from their yet to be named new album, out September 18th via Warp. They are a true example of a band that has progressed and strengthened their sound with every release...and Veckatimest ain't gonna be easy to top.

But rest assured, given the quality and direction of Sleeping Ute - it's fair to say, their hibernation has been time well spent.

See them in their natural habitat (the stage), October 10th - Greek Theatre

(now back to puppy training)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack

The Tallest Man On Earth - 1904
Beachwood Sparks - Forget The Song
Pop Etc - Keep It For Your Own
Beach House - Wild

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack

Smells like summer...

Twin Shadow - Five Seconds
The Walkmen - Heaven
Kindness - House
Yeasayer - Henrietta
Superhumanoids - Too Young For Love

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack

Couple notes...

A touching tribute to Adam Yauch. RIPMCA.

Had the chance to watch Father John Misty live on Morning Becomes Eclectic (listen/watch here) and at the Natural History Museum. Would strongly recommend going to see J. Tillman et al when they roll through your town...and definitely pick up Fear Fun; like now.

Beastie Boys - No Sleep Til Brooklyn
Bobby Womack - Please Forgive My Heart
Rhye - Open
Beach House - Myth
Father John Misty - Nancy From Now On

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Jack White - The Mayan Theatre - 4/30/12

In most circles - Jack White sits firmly in the hierarchy of rock 'n roll royalty. And, as demonstrated last night - he rules his kingdom with grace and pomp.

Backed by a 6 piece all-female band, White (in all black) tore through his notebook of sing alongs and all out rollicking guitar jams with ease and grit. His new material from his Third Man Records release, Blunderbuss - swirled and swelled the cramped venue. New tunes Love Interruption and Weep Themselves To Sleep fit snuggly amongst his prior work that put him on his current pedestal. Classics like Hotel Yorba and My Doorbell sound (and feel) bigger thanks to the fuller accompaniment.

As the night closed the air in the room was special; it felt as if the collective group needed a second to comprehend what had just happened or everyone was already working on procuring sold out ticket to his impending two dates at the Wiltern (May 30th and 31st).

When the king speaks - you listen.

Jack White - Blunderbuss

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack - Record Store Day

April 21st was Record Store Day. Braving the lines and masses - I managed to snag a few limited edition and/or reissued pieces of choice audible wax. Highlights below.

Beach House - Lazuli
Destroyer - Painter In Your Pocket
Dillard & Clark - Why Not Your Baby
Allah-Las - Don't You Forget It

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack - London Edition

A few of the sounds I've heard whilst roaming about in London. Thankfully The Market Porter played the Kinks exclusively.

The Kinks - Picture Book
LCD Soundsystem - Someone Great
Radiohead - I Might Be Wrong

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack

Dirty Projectors - Gun Has No Trigger
The Shins - The Rifle's Spiral
White Rabbits - Heavy Metal
Hanni El Khatib - You Rascal You

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Equimix 2012

Longer days & Looser nights.

Tanlines - All Of Me
Perfume Genius - Hood
Andrew Bird - Danse Caribe
Fanfarlo - Tunguska
Hanni El Khatib - Dead Wrong
Nick Waterhouse - Is That Clear
A.A. Bondy - Surfer King
Allah-Las - Catamaran
Delta Spirit - California
The War On Drugs - Comin' Through
Mazzy Star - Common Burn

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack - One Jam Edition

New track from Hot Chip ... Spring Equimix coming Tuesday.

Hot Chip - Flutes

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Neil Young - Harvest Moon
Buddy Holly - Everyday
Wilco - You and I
Donovan - Catch The Wind
The Hollies - I'm Alive
James Brown - Love Me Tender
Girls - Honey Bunny
The Ronettes - Be My Baby

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack

NO - Stay With Me
Chairlift - I Belong In Your Arms
KNESSET - Steady Hands
Daniel Rossen - Saint Nothing
Father John Misty and Phosphorescent - I Would Love You

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Shut Up And Play The Hits

I will be watching this trailer repeatedly until I can see the film...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sunday Morning Soundtrack - New Year Edition

Happy 2012, folks! Hope this year brings you the best.

The Walkmen - In The New Year
Yeasayer - 2080
The National - Slow Show
St. Vincent - Year Of The Tiger
Wolf Parade - The Grey Estates