Lots of shows in recent days. The Milk Carton Kids recently took the stage at Amoeba Hollywood, giving fans a healthy dose of their acoustic, Simon & Garfunkel-influenced story-folk. Though still relatively unknown, the band has cultivated a healthy following for the Eagle Rock-based duo, garnering fans of like-minded L.A. venues Largo and Hotel Cafe. Their soft, mellowed-out sound contrasts with their comedic, center-stage personalities, inviting you to come sit by their campfire and hear them spin a yarn and sing a tune. Milk Carton Kid Joey Ryan regaled the audience with the history of the ampersand, much to the delight of a few fawning girls in the front, proving that a cute guy with a guitar can literally discuss typographical history and young girls will swoon. They sang the countryish “Honey Honey,” with Kenneth Pattengale really going to town on his miniature acoustic guitar, with the top of it wrapped in a cloth napkin for maximum intimacy. Ryan bragged about his quick fingerpicking and delivered it with finesse on a bluegrass-colored song. He said the band grew up shopping for records at Amoeba, and it was now “quite an honor” to be playing at the store. Pattengale mocked Ryan’s consistently deadpan tone, saying, “Guys, I’m so f*ckin’ thrilled.” “That’s not a good impression,” Ryan quipped back. They sang a few morose tunes to close the set, joking that everyone thinks they’re from Michigan because of their melancholy folk sound. They’ll be at the Largo Theater May 8 and 9. See more picture of their performance here.
In all the end of 2012/the world list-making, smaller releases tend to get ignored in favor of the ones everyone knows about. So I decided to do a list, in no particular order, of my favorite albums by L.A. artists this year that were released on small labels or were self-released — and which didn’t get as much press as others. That means no Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar, Best Coast or Ariel Pink, even though the releases by those people are great and you should listen to them, too. (Read my top 50 albums of 2012 here, with more L.A.-based artists like Miguel and Julia Holter.) All of these are great up-and-coming artists, seek them out!
Kim Free’s minimalist bass playing, ethereal voice and starkly beautiful violin playing come together to cast an entrancing spell on Angel Shadow. See her live to witness her virtuosic looping at work. Check out photos from her Amoeba Hollywood performance here!
Amoeba has been teaming with Goldenvoice to present some shows in Los Angeles, and the latest is one I’m pretty excited about: locally bred garage-rockers The Growlers are playing The Fonda Theatre Dec. 28. The band’s following has been steadily growing, following the release of two great, ramshackle records that strew together garage, surf and psych influences into a sound dubbed “beach goth.” They have a new album due in early 2013 called Hung at Heart. They’re joined on this date by another local band I love called Dirt Dress, a similarly surf-influenced band with more of a post-punk bent, as frontman Noah’s vocals are reminiscent of Talking Heads’ David Byrne, while the band’s uneasy, angular way with a surf-rock track is anything but typical. Also appearing are The Abigails, who mine classic outlaw country for their analog-soaked lo-fi sound, as well as Sam Flax, whose sound is a blast of psyched out new wave-influenced lo-fi pop — this guy is seriously good, seek his stuff out.
Tickets for the show are $19, plus a $2 service fee. The show starts at 9:00 p.m., doors are at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are general admission, and it’s all-ages.
Tickets are limited to quantities on hand, until they sell out. Amoeba stops selling tickets for a show at 5 p.m. on the day of that show. Please call the store at 323-245-6400 for current availability or to purchase/hold.
Mr. Little Jeans’ electro-pop ditty “Runaway” was already a pretty sweet Spring surprise of a song, but the L.A.-by-way-of-London rising star has been remixed by So. Cal. in human form Nathan Williams aka Wavves. I have to say I’m digging this remix even more than the original, and I’m not really a remix guy. Williams slows down and reverbs out her vocals to sound like they’re whispering through seafoam, while adding heavy drums and, I’m gonna say, naughty Nuggets organs. I think I like this remix so much because it’s like a big welcome to L.A., stripping a song of its cosmopolitan cool and washing it in sonic warmth. We’re happy to have you, Mr. Little Jeans.
New Beach House song “Lazuli” — I don’t care that they’re not from L.A.
Does the new Beach House song “Lazuli” sound like Enya? Do I love this new Beach House song? Does this new Beach House song sound like Enya but is still somehow amazing? Do I love Enya? Do I kind of like Enya sometimes? What is a lazuli? Does Beach House spend a lot of time researching things like rare bright blue stones that sound cool and mysterious for sick song titles? (Preorder the new Beach House album Bloom now! And come to Record Store Day April 21 to buy the "Lazuli" single!)
Coachella needs me to hype them like I need to hear that terrible Fun. song again (thanks, Chevy!), but there’s still time to make it to Desert Daze, a festival that started yesterday and runs through April 22. Today the biddies at L.A. Record along with Blundertown and Burger Records are throwing a massive show with Bleached, Audacity, Pangea, Lovely Bad Things and so many more L.A. goodies. The show is only a $5 suggested donation. It takes place at a secret location near Dillon’s Roadhouse in North Palm Springs; email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a room. (Disclaimer: I have no idea if there are any rooms left available, but email them and find out before it’s too late! Unless it already is.)
Highlights from the rest of the festival:
Saturday: Moving Units, Gangi, Dante vs. Zombies (ALSO: see them live for free at Amoeba Hollywood tonight at 7 p.m.),
Monday: Allah Las, Driftwood Singers, Pool Honeys
Tuesday: The Fresh & Onlys, Crystal Antlers, Babies on Acid, Henry Clay People (hear their newly released jam “25 For the Rest of Our Lives,” courtesy of Buzzbands.la)
Wednesday: Breakestra, Funky Sole DJs Miles and Clifton
Saturday: Dead Meadow, Spindrift, Dirt Dress
Sunday: Akron/Family, Here We Go Magic, The Entrance Band