Garbaj Kaetz (pictured right): “Girl from the Street”
Seasons: “The Weight”
Schoenberg Knife Fight Ensemble (pictured right): “Middle East Song”
Day of the Outlaw: “Master Disaster”
Princeton: “Calypso Gold”
Oh, The Spanish Moss (pictured right): “Coal Black Lungs”
Roll the Tanks: “Police Me”
The Dharma Bums (pictured right): “Why Be Sad”
Unfortunately, there’s not really any local music on my “What I Listened To…” playlist for this month. I did go to a few music shows, but it was mostly bands that I’ve mentioned on this site a few times so I won’t include them. I had a hectic schedule where I’ve been in and out of town a lot this year especially the past two months and that trend will continue for at least another two months. For some cool local music, check out Notes From Vivace’s playlist for this month (April).
Moody Blues – “Your Wildest Dreams”
“Nights in White Satin” just makes me laugh, but this song I actually really enjoy probably for the same reason I enjoy Oingo Boingo’s “We Close Our Eyes.” I feel like they should both play in some Cocktail/Risky Business type of 80’s movie.
The Black Angels – “Black Grease”
I vaguely remember this song back from when I first moved to LA in ’05.
Because of the Austin connection and the Angels part of their name I sometimes confuse them with The Arc Angels and have to stop and think about which band of the two I’ve seen live. The answer is the Arc Angels. I’ve missed catching the Black Angels live a few times in particular when they’ve played with BRMC, I’d actually really like to catch them though. I’ll have to make more of an effort and actually check to see when they are playing LA or if they are playing when I decide to head to Austin again.
Every Move a Picture – “Chemical Burns”
This song is a few years old, but I still enjoy when it comes on in one of my playlists or on one of my mix cds. Also, how appropriate is this as a band name? Seriously people are picture-taking crazy, everyone wants to capture every single moment of their life to post on Facebook? I’m all for preserving the memories, but can you tell I hate having my photo taken? Absolutely abhor it. Kindof ironic since I do love planning and coming up with ideas to execute cool photo shoots.
Every night of the week you can find a million things to do, even on a weeknight…especially on a weeknight. Tonight is no different. Out of those millions of things to go to here’s where you might catch us tonight:
Hotel Cafe for Vermont based, singer-songwriter Kris Gruen (cover $8)
Gruen’s new album, “Part Of It All,” is set for release in the next month via Mother’s West. This record was produced by Charles Newman, who recently co-produced the new Magnetic Fields album, “Realism”, as well as our friend AM’s “Future Sons and Daughters.” While recording in both New York City and Los Angeles Gruen was able to collaborate and record with some great musicians and friends, including drummer Butch Norton (The Eels, Lucinda Williams, Rufus Wainright), bassist Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing, Dixie Chicks), Nashville’s Jason Goforth on lapsteel, and drummer Nick Brown from New York City’s The Dig.
Tonight he shares the stage with Nina Storey.
Old Towne Pub for Mike TV’s Church of Rock ‘n’ Roll (Cover $3)
A weekly event happening every Thursday at the Old Towne Pub (66 North Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91103). Tonight the ever elusive Wormstew (whom you may recall Eric Summer spotlighted a few months ago) will be performing along with The Power Cords, Underwater City People, Get Set Go (speaking of Eric Summer you can catch him on Viola with Get Set Go), as well as an end of night All Band Jam (where else can you catch Indie Rockers/Power-Poppers/Mod Revivalists embarking on impromptu covers of 2 Live Crew’s “Me So Horny?“)
Last week was a leakfest of epic proportions that will go unmatched in the history of the digital age of collecting music. New releases by The Hold Steady ( you know how i feel), The Black Keys, Band of Horses, Crystal Castles, and The National all hit the interweb last week. ..and they’ve all gone neglected by me. Normally I would be bouncing off the walls for these advance releases but I have yet to give them a single solitary listen. They sit in my PC collecting virtual dust because I can not…no WILL NOT stop listening to the major label debut of LA’s own Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. What is it that resonated so much with me? Neglecting the National is kind of a big deal for me. What could possibly cause that? Is it the wacky name that I constantly have trouble replicating in conversations? Is it their freaky throwback Syd Barrett led Floyd sound that has entranced me so? Is it the fact that on first listen it isn’t immediately accessible? Don’t we all appreciate things more when we have to work hard for them? Whatever it is, I am like a love struck teenager in full pursuit mode. I’m running around town chasing that quirky girl that I just can’t put my finger on, but I know I want to spend more time getting to know everything about her. You can’t quite put your finger on Ariel Pink either. They shift gears from new pop leanings (“Round and Round”) to low fi chill-waves (“L’estat”), 80’s sweet cheese (“Can’t Hear My Eye”s) to drugged out fuzz attacks (“Butt-House Blondies”). …and I’m a sucker for all of it. I got it bad. i got it real bad for Ariel Pink. I should probably just settle for something nice, normal, and reserved like Band of Horses…but where is the fun in settling. I’d rather chase the mystery
Round and Round.
Highlights: “ Round and Round,”" Bright Lit Blue Skies”,” Fright Night (Nevermore),”" Can’t Hear My Eyes”
Two facts about me: I love The Hold Steady and I fear change. Anyone who has been around me long enough knows this. The two go hand in hand here because with their new album “Heaven is Whenever” keyboardist, Franz Nicolay has departed, and along with him maybe their heart.
The soul of the band always seemed to be comprised of three parts: Nicolay’s master key work, Craig Finn’s bar buddy spoken word delivery, and their riff heavy guitars. I’m not sure how they’ll fill the void left by Nicolay’s departure. After one spin it sounds like they’re leaning towards just cranking the guitars (check out the 80’s soloing on Rock Problems) and pushing Finn to darker depths while tossing in some cow bell. Gone for the most part, besides the obvious, are the signature hooky athemic choruses and the backing vocals that every crowd loves to sing along to. This new mix produced a drastic hit or miss album for hardcore fans and an uneven album for everyone else. I for one definitely miss the sound of their previous three albums. I guess I can learn to adjust to this….just don’t expect me to
STAY POSITIVE (see what i did there?)
Highlights:” Hurricane J,” “Our Whole Lives”, “Rock Problem”
The Sun Always Rises: Waxing Literary in L.A. – “Tête-à-Tête: What the City of Angels Could Learn from the City of Lights”
by Clint Margrave
The truth is I’m a shitty journalist.
The first thing I did after agreeing to write a column about the L.A. literary life was hop on a flight to Paris to cover the Salon du Livre, one of the biggest annual European book festivals, where I spent only two hours, enough time to pick up my press pass, get charged 10 Euros for a feast so moveable it never got made (I did, however, demand a refund), and catch a tête-à-tête conversation with Paul Auster and Salman Rushdie in which I proceeded not to take a single note, conduct a single interview, nor snap a single photograph.
I can’t say the French didn’t try hard to get me there either. From the moment I arrived in this city, I was bombarded with ads for the festival on every train and in every metro station—not to mention the media coverage reminding me of my shirking responsibilities. I shirk you not: Book festivals make the nightly news in Paris. Take that L.A.!
But this is, after all, the literary center of the world, or was anyway, some ninety years ago when just about everybody and their certifiable lovers embarked on Montparnasse and the Latin Quartier to make literary history by holding their own salons du livre—or what might more appropriately be called, salons du liver.
The intersecting edges of these arrondisements also happened to be where I was staying, somewhere between Montparnasse and madness, at a hotel off the Boulevard de Port-Royal, minutes from the cemetery where Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Charles Baudelaire are buried (not to mention Eugene Ionesco, Samuel Beckett, Marguerite Duras, and Serge Gainsbourg), and steps from the Closerie des Lilas, Le Dôme, and La Rotonde, made famous by the works of Ernest Hemingway.
Of course, I visited none of these places—but I did have a cheese sandwich for lunch at Le Select one afternoon.
I also didn’t go to the relocated Shakespeare and Company or stand outside Gertrude Stein’s rue de Fleurus home and imagine Alice B. Toklas taking my scarf or any of that other stuff literary Americans do when they come to Paris. (Though in all fairness, I’ve done it before, and if you ever get a chance, you should too).
What I did do, however, was spend a cold, sprinkly Sunday afternoon watching my French friend Christophe’s seven-year-old son Iannis and his best friend Clothilde climb the shelves of a playground library (yes, I’m serious) in the Parc de Sceaux, and realize how in this old city, one needn’t any festival to commune with books.
All of Paris is a Salon Du Livre.
Clint Margrave has work forthcoming or most recently published in New York Quarterly, Pearl, 3AM, Chiron Review, as well as in the anthology At the Gate: Arrivals and Departures, published by Kings Estate Press. Currently, he teaches English and Creative Writing at Cal State University, Long Beach. Clint can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org