L.A.’s Tennis System play a brand of psychedelic, dreamy rock ‘n’ roll that should please any fan of the shoegaze movement, yet they’ve got their own thing going, as new album Technicolor Blind trades between rocketing guitar noise and shimmering ambience.
Led by Matty Taylor, along with drummer Hector Gomez and bassist Zach Bilson, the trio has shared the stage with such like-minded acts as Ty Segall, Wavves, Japandroids and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Taylor started the band in Washington, D.C. in 2009 and released the 2011 noise-rock album Teenagers before heading to L.A. and changing up the band’s lineup and sound a bit.
Now they’ve found their niche within the Part Time Punks crowd and have been wowing audiences with their volume-heavy shows and excellent second album, released last year. They’re one of the latest bands to record a track as part of Converse Rubber Tracks, which gives up-and-coming bands studio time and exposure. Tennis System performs live at Amoeba Hollywood today at 6 p.m.
San Francisco’s The Fresh & Onlys have announced the title, Long Slow Dance, and tracklist for their new album, as well as tour dates for a West Coast tour. For anyone who loved 2010’s Play It Strange, and there were plenty of us, the news of a new album from The Fresh & Onlys is exciting stuff. From the sound of “Yes or No,” they’ve ditched a lot of the reverb for a more straightforward shimmery rock sound. I say all the better; “Yes or No” is the best thing I’ve heard from them yet, unafraid to hide its gorgeous melody in the garage. The album comes out Sept. 4 on Mexican Summer.
07/21 San Francisco, CA Phono Del Sol
08/05 Big Sur, CA Woodsist Fest / Henry Miller Library
09/05 Santa Ana, CA Constellation Room *
09/06 San Diego, CA Soda Bar *
09/07 Los Angeles, CA The Echo *
09/08 San Francisco, CA The Independent *
09/09 Santa Cruz, CA The Catalyst Atrium *
09/11 Sacramento, CA Ace of Spades *
09/13 Portland, OR Mississippi Studios *#
09/14 Bellingham, WA The Shakedown *
09/15 Vancouver, BC The Media Club *
09/16 Seattle, WA Crocodile *
1. 20 Days and 20 Nights
2. Yes or No
3. Long Slow Dance
4. Presence of Mind
5. Dream Girls
6. Fire Alarm
7. Executioner's Song
8. No Regard
10. Foolish Person
11. Wanna Do Right By You
I’m a huge fan of L.A.’s Lavender Diamond. There are few artists you can say are truly “special,” and Lavender Diamond and their frontwoman, Becky Stark, truly are. This week they released the first song, “Oh My Beautiful World,” from their upcoming new album, Incorruptible Heart, due Sept. 25 on Paracadute. On releases like Imagine Our Love and The Cavalry of Light EP, Stark and co. constructed grandiose folk-rock songs that relayed a disarming, unforced naivete. “Oh My Beautiful World” has glorious harmonies, sounding somewhat like Stark’s other musical project, The Living Sisters, but producer David Fridman (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev) ups the girl group quotient with big “Be My Baby” drums and acidic breakdowns partway through. I never would have thought to pair Fridman with Lavender Diamond, and I can’t wait to hear what else they come up with.
1. Everybody's Heart's Breaking Now
3. I Don't Recall
4. Just Passing By
5. Teach Me How to Waken
6. Come Home
8. Light My Way
9. Oh My Beautiful World
10. Perfect Love
11. Everybody's Song
12. All The Stars
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.
(Sally Struthers voice) Do you like watching scrawny L.A. hipsters swim and sing catchy tunes that sound like hip-hop without the rapping? Sure, we all do.
Poolside’s big summer single bowed yesterday on Pitchfork, along with its trashy summer vibes video. This thing was made to soundtrack the Ace and Standard hotels, all easy beats and lush synth hooks. Scoff if you must; this sort of thing is rarely done as well as it is here. Their nicely titled Pacific Standard Time album comes out July 9.
Best Coast – "The Only Place" video and KCRW performance
Best Coast debuted a super cute video for “The Only Place,” from the album of the same name, this week where Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno run around L.A. and give viewers a tour of the “real” L.A.: tacky souvenir shops, backyard pools, bikes, our gross but awesome river. And lots of Bobb! It’s as sweetly low-key and breezy as the song.
King Tuff has released a new record on Sub Pop, and all I can say is OMGGG. King Tuff is looking to be the garage banger of the summer. You should definitely pick this one up, and you can even preview it on YouTube for the time being. Check out a stream from Sub Pop below, and order the album here.
Up-and-coming L.A. pop band Kitten is releasing a new EP called Cut it Out on Aug. 28th. Teenage frontwoman Chloe Chaidez sure sounds like a star in the making on this buzzy electro single, which has the post-punk feel of Metric while upping both the catchiness and shoegazey sonics. I feel like we’ll only be able to claim Kitten for so long before they move on to bigger and better things, so check them out while they’re still local!
Shows This Weekend
This is a big weekend for local singer Nite Jewel, who recently released her fine album One Second of Love, which manages to be dancey (check out the title track) and cool, with atmospheric and experimental electronics throughout, while remaining classy, with Ramona Gonzalez’s sultry voice more reminiscent of classical pop singers like Barbra Streisand and Diana Krall. Tonight Nite Jewel headlines a krautrock-themed show titled “Krautrock Classics: A Night of German Cosmic Music,” presented by Dublab and the Goethe Institut. It will take place at the Ford Amphiteatre, with Nite Jewel performing a classic of the genre, Kraftwerk’s Computer World, with help from friends like Stones Throw Records’ Peanut Butter Wolf. The show also will include performances from the likes of Sun Araw, Dntel and Daedelus. Starts at 8, all ages, $15, get tickets online here.
Then, on Saturday, Filter Magazine holds its Summer Sessions series at the Original Penguin Store (8215 Melrose Ave.) from 2-6 p.m., featuring a performance by Nite Jewel. RSVP here.
On Sundays it’s usually hard to beat Part Time Punks at the Echo, and this Sunday is certainly no exception: Violens, whom fellow Amoeba-ite Brad also loves, will play alongside Capured Tracks band Catwalk and Surf Club, which features members of Craft Spells. Slumberland's Violens play blurry swoony guitar pop much in the same vein of their labelmates, but they stand out from the back with their strong melodic songwriting (check out the beautiful "Sariza Spring") and the fact that they bother to rock out once in a while (watch the "All Night Low" video below). Their album True is one of the best of the past couple of months. It's a whole lot of shoegazey, guitarry goodness for only 10 bucks. Get advance tickets here or in store at Ameoba.