A whole batch of awesome videos from LA-based artists were released this week. Check ’em all out like it’s 1994 and you’re home watching MTV.
Crown Plaza – “Reactor” video; So Many Wizards’ “Lose Your Mind” video
The solo project of So Many Wizards’ Nima Kazerouni, Crown Plaza, is dreamier and lo-fier than his band’s indie power-pop. “Reactor” is lonely and lightly melancholic bedroom pop of the finest order, while the video calls to mind visiting your hometown and feeling like a stranger. Chem Waves Volume 1 is out now on tape on LA’s Vanity Projects, while So Many Wizards’ fine Warm Nothing was released earlier this year. That album’s “Lose Your Mind” video was also released this week. Crown Plaza play a free show at the Bootleg Theater Nov. 12. So Many Wizards will be all over LA this month and next, starting with a show at USC with the Allah-Las tonight; see all their dates here.
At some point in the past few weeks, Pussy Riot became the most important band in the world. They’re not “important” in the 9.0 review on Pitchfork kind of way. Rather, Pussy Riot is a band that reminds us that music can, and does, have a very real worldwide impact.
I won’t attempt to re-report the tons of great coverage the Russian feminist punk band has received since reaching international attention, but here’s a summation: the Moscow-based band has held public performances wearing colorful masks and clothing while playing songs that directly criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as the politics of the Russian Orthodox Church. These quick concerts are filmed and then put online, having appeared in places like the band’s livejournal page. One such performance, at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, on Feb. 21, 2012, landed three of the collective’s members in jail, and after a widely publicized trial, they were found guilty of hooliganism and inciting religious hatred against the church.
The verdict has been widely criticized as overly harsh. The United States State Department, The U.S. Embassy in Russia, U.S. President Barack Obama, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, among others, have expressed disappointment or disgust with the decision. Artists including Bjork, Madonna, Tim Minchin, Zola Jesus, Patti Smith, Paul McCartney and others have expressed public indignation over the decision, while on Aug. 16 a demonstration was held in New York, where actress Chloë Sevigny, writer Eileen Myles and others read writings and court statements from the detained members of the band — Maria Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samucevich. Vice Magazine editors got tattoos of the word “hooligan” in Russian to show their support. The Guaridan (U.K.) edited together a montage of Pussy Riot supporters with their song “Putin Lights Up the Fires.” Marches and protests have been held around the globe, with supporters donning similar attire to that worn by the band during its performances.
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 email@example.com 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.)
This trio of sisters spins out serious pop (not pop-inflected goth or whatever) with the kind of easy, a capella style harmonies that come easy to siblings. I like to picture Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim, all in their early 20s, singing along to Hanson in their parents’ car together as kids. Then, like, they grew up and moved to L.A. and started making music that references ’80s pop curios like Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks. I don’t actually know their real story — I’ll have to investigate this further. For now, I can’t stop listening to their three-song EP, particularly the dancey “Forever.” Get it free here.
White Arrows – “Fireworks of the Sea”
White Arrows have been making it happen for a while now with superb live shows and a handful of released recordings hinting at the cool things they’d be doing down the line — I once called them “Paul Simon in space,” and I can’t really think of anything better than that at the moment to describe their sound, so we’ll just go with that. Their new song, “Fireworks of the Sea,” certainly fits that mold, with swirling synths intimating some digital acid trip over Mickey Schiff’s snaking vocal. Their debut EP hits April 3 from Votiv Music. They’ll be at the Roxy March 27. Listen over at Spin.