Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Album Review: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Photo: Annie Powers

-Daniel Grant

In this age of lowered expectations music has been an inevitable victim. The evolution of technology has made the creation and distribution of music so easy that legions of new indie groups continuously sprout, seemingly overnight, like toadstools in the lawns of unsuspecting music fans. But technology is no substitute for inspiration and most of the new sounds emerging over the past few years have lacked the spark of genius that has defined all of the greatest bands.

New York fuzz popsters The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have tapped into the mainline of rock greatness that has surged through every favorite record of every bored kid sitting cross-legged in a dark room picking at the cracked rubber of their dirty sneakers while hating their life and dreaming of picking up a guitar to do something about it. Sounding like Stuart Murdoch and Isobel Campbell fronting The Jesus and Mary Chain, the Pains toss off one instant classic pop song after another, mostly smothered in a warm coating of feedback and reverb. The Pains’ recently released self-titled debut album plays like a greatest hits album from a group that you instantly can’t live without.

Rejecting both the snarky post-ironic lyrical style that has become standard practice for every indie band since the dawn of the new millennium as well as the clich├ęd recycling of cheesy '80s synth tracks that is foundation of almost everything “new” from Sweden to Paris to Silverlake, the Pains have somehow managed to take familiar elements of earlier legendary artists (the Mary Chain, Shop Assistants, Black Tamborine, etc.) and make them sound fresh again. Perhaps it is their earnestness of purpose or their undeniable knack with a hook, but it seems like a long time since a record this addicting was released.

Featuring only ten tracks and clocking in at a brisk 35 minutes, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart won’t leave your turntable, or your memory, once you drop the needle for the first time. The energetic playing and subtle harmonies of Kip Berman (guitar) and Peggy Wang (keyboards) joyfully bounces along on top of the pulse-quickening rhythm section anchored by Kurt Feldman (drums) and Alex Naidus (bass). Jokingly self-dubbed as “tweemo,” this is music that is as fun as it is exciting.

The Pains, who have released an earlier five song EP and a great non-LP single called “Kurt Cobain’s Cardigan,” will be playing at SXSW next month. They also have a few scattered East Coast gigs scheduled but, so far, no full tour. If you like noisy three-minute pop songs that will be rattling around in your head for days, check out The Pains of Being Pure Heart.

EXPOSURE: A Photo Show

This Thursday, February 27th, Simon Cardoza (love his photos of The Happy Hollows), Koga (as seen on Buzz Bands and LAist) and Benjamin Hoste (love his photos of The Henry Clay People) will showing you their work while you listen to the sweet, sweet sounds from local bands like Le Switch (2/27), The Voyeurs (3/6), Meiko (3/13), The Movies (3/20) and more. The photographers will also be selling their work so be sure to gather up your milk money, kiddos.

WHERE - Meet, Mix, Mogul will be hosting the exhibit and Friday is EXPOSURE's opening night. The festivities start at 7:30 pm, the bands go on at 9 pm and the cover is only $5 if you get there before 8:45 pm. Don't fret if you can't make it this Friday. The exhibit is going to remain at the location through March 20th and will feature a line up bands every Friday until then. Peep the flyer below for more details.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Review: VOICEsVOICEs at World Gallery

Photo by Jesse Plume

February 20, 2009
World Gallery in Costa Mesa
-Ms. Killer

A check point near my house and another check point just up the street from the gallery made it almost impossible to get to the gallery in time for the beginning of VOICEsVOICEs' set. I quickly worked my way through the art and headed for the outdoor "stage" where the girls were plugged in and doin' their thing.

Ah, a shoe-gazing boy's wet dream. Two girls. Lots of synth and just a few people watching.

"Ambient wankery" some would call it. Personally, I'm just trying to take it in and understand what the appeal is. I mean, sure, it's nothing super hard core. Easy on the ears and if you're not looking for a whole lot of progression and changes in your songs then this duo is for you. I don't know. The chick on the drums (Jenean) is pretty good. Ok, I think I might be able to dig this...one more song... wait, what!?

The power went out, the music came to a hault and I forgot my jacket in the car. What the fuck?! Seriously? And only the power outside was out? Um, sounds like sabotage. The music was sort of keeping us warm. It's 9:45 pm and we've got nothing. Ok, well, I suppose we still have some rad art inside and a lot of free red wine. I owe girls from VOICEsVOICEs a fair shot.

Here are some upcoming shows for the duo:

Feb 26th
HEMLOCK TAVERN - San Francisco, CA

Feb 27th

Feb 28th

Mar 1st
EAST END - Portland, OR

Mar 4th
THE COMET - Seattle, WA

Mar 6th
PAPPY & HARRIET'S - Pioneertown (Joshua Tree), CA

Cruising the room for my favorite piece, I came across a piece by Minas Halaj. It sort of reminded me of the type of collages that Jean-Michel Basquiat was known for. I couldn't afford the art. Called it a night.

Friday, February 13, 2009

PLAYBOY 2009 Music Issue Out Today - RocktheRabbit.com Goes Live

It's that time of the year again!

Press Release:

"For the third year in a row, Playboy's Rock the Rabbit initiative will fuse rock, hip-hop, art and fashion in conjunction with Playboy magazine's annual March music issue (on newsstands and at www.rocktherabbit.com today). Rock the Rabbit 2009 includes an impressive line-up of legendary artists, including Perry Farrell and Motley Crue, as well as other cutting-edge musicians across a variety of genres."

Mick Rock shot all the bands in featured in the Rock The Rabbit spread. Also included in this issue: a 20 Q&A with the New York based, New Zealand bred Flight of the Conchords - sure to make you piss in your pants.

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!!! (a la infomercial)

In addition to the special issue and tour, Rock the Rabbit artists will put their twist on the iconic Playboy Rabbit Head logo by creating limited edition t-shirt designs. You can see and purchase the Rock the Rabbit t-shirt collection on the site, the Playboy Store Las Vegas, and select stores, with a portion of the proceeds going to a global charity. Nice!

So, go on, pick up the issue. At least now you don't have to lie about the whole "I get it for the articles" jig some of you still try to convince poeple of.

The Annual March Music Issue of Playboy Roll-Call:

Flight of the Conchords
Harlem Shakes
Jackson Swinton
Jay Reatard
Kenan Bell
Lady Sovereign
Lily Allen
Michael Johns
Midnight Juggernauts
Motley Crue
Perry Farrell
Pharrell Williams
Saving Abel
The Gay Blades
The Kooks
the morning benders
The Wedding Present
The White Tie Affair
Young Jeezy

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Launch of HEART

Joshua Fisher is launching HEART and is kicking things off with an amazing line up for tonight's party at The Echo, with the help of LA Record and KXLU. Who's on the bill? Only two of my favorite bands in all of Los Angeles - The Movies and The Happy Hollows. Not to mention, the ever buzz worthy, Avi Buffalo.

So what is HEART all about? I got in touch with Joshua, the man himself, and asked him to enlighten us a bit and this is what he had to say:

"HEART as the company/concept has already grown and soon it will be reborn with a new name. [The] new venture is looking to change the face of the music industry and label structure. HEART will still remain a management and consulting firm at this time... and maybe even a subsidiary under a bigger label in the near future."

And Joshua isn't really concerned about the state of the economy, the music industry as a whole or any of that blah blah nonsense.

"Most people are freaking out. I am loving it. This makes everything a challenge and forces people such as myself to think outside of the box."

We all know The Movies, The Happy Hollows (along with the Sad Solid) and Karin Tatoyan have made their mark on the local music scene in Los Angeles. What's the recipe to their success?

"Take Karin Tatoyan for example... amazing! That project took a lot of time and development, about a year and a half. Now every time she plays out she gets these write ups by writers such as yourself who are just blown away. If she went out too early, people would have turned their heads and once that happens its hard to earn respect again as a musician."

HEART currently manages: The Happy Hollows, Anni Rossi, Karin Tatoyan, Crooked Cowboy & The Freshwater Indians, The Movies, Jason Aaron, Inlets, Jillian Hank Leigh and PUBLIC. The label launched its first digital release and 7" with The Happy Hollows' 'Imaginary' in October of last year. Rumor has it, The Happy Hollows are going to sign to a much bigger label before the week's end. PLEASE LET THIS BE TRUE! I cannot get enough of them...PLEASE!!

Be sure to stop by tonight for an endless buffet of yummy music and help the rest of Los Angeles welcome the beautiful baby that is HEART. It's free before 8 pm and $5 after.

The line-up and set times (times may vary):
12am Avi Buffalo
11pm The Happy Hollows
10pm The Movies
9pm Crooked Cowboy and the Freshwater Indians
8:25pm Anni Rossi
7:50pm Jillian Hank Leigh
7:20pm Whitman

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Album Review: Rush

Black Gold

-Ms. Killer

You may have heard Kevin Bronson and I play "Plans and Reveries" during my guest spot on his Buzz Bands radio show last August. Well, ladies and gents, the Brooklyn duo's full length album is out. There are several stellar tracks on the album that make this some music you should definitely spend some quality time with. You can download it on iTunes or head to your local record store and keep them alive.

Be sure to check out "Breakdown," a song that's destined to be you're bad day's anthem. And then there's "Silver" - wow. This track is gorgeous and, call me crazy, it reminds me of the progressions that The Beatles used to write. "Shine" is another rad track that reminds me of of the catchy progressions and hooks I hear in a lot of older, 50's era-ish songs. Whatever, just listen. My favorite track is definitely "Canyon." Fucking gorgeous. The longest track on the album and the most beautiful. The vocals are simple but pack a punch of emotion...it's earned a spot in my "Summer Nights" playlist. Take a listen for yourself and you'll see what I mean.

Check out the band's video for "Plans and Reveries"

The band is currently on tour and preparing to hit up SXSW in March. Check their website for a full list of tour dates.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sonic Treat of the Day: Aeroplanes and Hurricanes by The Physics of Meaning

'Aeroplanes and Hurricanes'
The Physics of Meaning
"Snake Charmer and Destiny at the Stroke of Midnight"

This is an oldie but goodie and it's being brought to you by the fabulous RCRDLBL. If you dont' visit the site regularly, you should follow them on twitter so that you can get rad updates on even "radder" downloads that they put up. Oh, and follow Kill The Mic on twitter if you're down to hear my random thoughts, peek at my lame photo journaling and get Kill The Mic updates from time to time.

Upcoming shows for the band in February:

February 20 - The Regent - Los Angeles (with One Trick Pony and The One AM Radio)
February 21 - The Prospector - Long Beach (with Deep Sea Diver)

Check the band's myspace page for a full list