Chelsea Wolfe has a new, all-acoustic album due in October on Sargent House. Here’s the first track, a spare and haunting departure from the more densely layered, dark folk you’ll find on 2011’s Apocalypsis. The track features Andrea Calderón on violin, Ezra Buchla on viola and Ben Chisholm also on guitar.
John Maus – "Bennington"
John Maus’ We Must Become the Pitless Censors of Ourselves was a fun trip through the sort of cerebral art pop of Klaus Nomi or Kraftwerk but with goofy lyrics and sturdy hooks. “Bennington” is no different, boasting a raunchy synth groove and lyrics like “I miss those funky eyes.” A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material, collecting 16 tracks recorded over the past decade or so, is slated to come out July 17 on Ribbon Music. He’ll be at FYF FestSept. 1 (tickets go on sale at Amoeba today at 5!). I never realized what a babe John Maus is till today.
Princeton have gotten increasingly pop-oriented and more electronic over the past couple of years. “Florida” is the latest example of their evolution, a richly detailed Rhodes piano-led driving jam that feels like cruising beachside, either in Miami or their native So. Cal. Check out its Cosmic Kids remix too for even more chill vibes. Princeton play Café Bleu Feb. 16, and their new album, Remembrance of Things to Come, is due Feb. 21 on Hit City U.S.A./Easter Everywhere.
The first time I heard Highland Park's Seasons was a song called “Light, Lost,” from their Winter EP, released in June 2010. I was immediately taken with its languid guitar-work and gorgeous melodies, not to mention the way the song takes a sharp left near the end and picks up into an indie-dance gem — sucker for tempo changes, right here.
But what really gets me about Seasons is the passion they clearly put into each song. Through their three released “season” EPs — Spring, Summer, Winterand Autumn, the last one just released this month — Seasons aren’t afraid to change things up sonically or thematically. So what you get is a landscape painting of a band across its releases rather than a portrait. Though overall I might classify the music as epic spacefaring rock of the variety you don’t see too often these days — Slowdive, Smashing Pumpkins and, more recently, The Arcade Fire come to mind — there’s also a strong twee vibe running throughout, echoing Sarah Records and C86 bands, not to mention an electro streak that keeps things vibrant.
The band consists of longtime friends who like to go by their first names — John sings and plays guitar and keys; Nik does the same; Adam plays bass and guitar; Erik plays drums; Ray handles beats, keys and bass; and Kaitlin, violin and vocals. During the day, these people occupy such various jobs as teacher, florist, Trader Joe’s team member and Grammy Museum usher.
In the summer of 2006, they came up with the idea to do a set of EPs each with a mood to set the tone for feelings that arise during a particular season.
“We let the climate changes and the way people and ourselves reacted to each season inspire us to write each one, with the intention of releasing them when we were finished even if they season they were written in was over,” John explains.
The Autumn EP begins with “Monday Night” (available as a free download), a lighthearted danceable ode to getting up and out at the beginning of the work week — which, by the way, you should do tonight and/or next Monday to see the band play at the Echo as part of its January residency. The EP continues with the strings-and-bells laden yet hard-charging “These United States,” which nicely features singer Nik's growling, yearning vocals. The EP’s closer, “Lazy Bones,” is sort of meat-and-potatoes Seasons, a six-minute-plus psychedelic heart-on-sleeve power ballad. Meanwhile, “Number of the Beat” is their most outward flirtation with dance music thus far, although its striking violin playing still lands it firmly in orchestral pop territory.
Races: Lucas Ventura, Devo Higgins, Wade Ryff, Breanna Wood, Oliver Hild and Garth Herberg. Photo by Bryan Sheffield.
L.A.'s Races will release their Big Broom EP tomorrow on Frenchkiss Records. To commemorate that release, they'll play the Echo tonight at 10 p.m. with dark dancers The Chain Gang of 1974 (as part of their November residency there) and Polaris at Noon — the show starts at 8:30 and it's free.
Atmospheric rockers Races played their first show just two years ago in October of 2009, haphazardly assembled from friends playing in other bands, and already have drawn a following with their big sound, built from the ground up by six members playing smoothed out classic rock licks with a gentle percussive roll and Asiatic synthesizers, something like an indie-minded update of Fleetwood Mac's hevenly pop.
Frontman Wade Ryff, whose warm vocals wrap his songs like a wool sweater, said he'd been frustrated with trying to fit his songs into other bands and spoke with his friend, guitarist Garth Herberg, about forming a one-off band. The band now features Devon Lee on vocals/percussion, Breanna Wood on piano/vocals, Oliver Hild on bass/moog and Lucas Ventura on drums/percussion.
“I think we all sensed that there was something really special there and we just kept playing together because it felt good.,” Ryff said.
Super-talented art/punk LA band Dante vs. Zombies will be playing in their hometown at The Echo on Monday night (March 14th)! Their set will no doubt include their addictive new track "Yes I'm Stalking You," which they recently released as a 7" single on Albino Crow, followed by the attitude-filled video just a few days ago. The video (above), which is the band's first official music video, was directed by Kyle Safieh, shot by Cooper Dunn, and edited by Ryan Andrus. Formed in September '09, the five member Dante vs. Zombies features Dante White of Starlight Desperation as well as members of Jail Weddings (who, note, will be opening for the Jim Jones Revue at The El Rey on Saturday, March 12th).
If you miss the Dante vs. Zombies show at The Echo on Monday you will have more opportunities to see them on the same stage since they are scheduled to have a Monday night residency at that club for the month of June. In addition to Dante vs. Zombies, also on the bill Monday are Spirit Vine, Dark Moon, and Rumspringa with DJs on the back patio. Click here for all the details!