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Weekly Roundup: New Videos from Crown Plaza, So Many Wizards, IO Echo, Line & Circle

Posted by Billy Gil, November 8, 2012 02:02pm | Post a Comment

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.

Nima So Many WizardsCrown 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.

 

 

IO EchoIO Echo – “Berlin, It’s All a Mess” video

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Local Stuff: Best Coast/Iggy Pop, Poolside, IO Echo

Posted by Billy Gil, July 6, 2012 11:12am | Post a Comment
true bloodBest Coast & Iggy Pop - "Let's Boot and Rally"
 
Insane amount of Best Coast happenings. First there was her not one, but two Fleetwood Mac covers, “Storms” and “Rhiannon,” the latter on an upcoming F-Mac tribute album, Just Tell Me That You Want Me, and now she’s teaming with Iggy Pop on a cool song for “True Blood.” It premieres on this Sunday’s episode of “True Blood,” and you can hear it now via KCRW, whose Gary Calamar co-wrote the song, as music supervisor for the show. Hopefully it makes it onto a “True Blood” soundtrack, I love the song, it sounds like X at their most rockabilly.
 







 
Poolside
Poolside Album preview

 
L.A. duo Poolside continue to drum up buzz for their upcoming full-length album, Pacific Standard Time. Right now it’s streaming from our friends at KCRW ‘till July 16. After that you’ll have to wait a bit to pick up a physical copy of the disc. For now, enjoy the sweet sounds of this proggy, sunny electro duo’s music with a cocktail. Something blue, maybe with a tiny umbrella.
 

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Local Stuff: Videos From Poolside, Best Coast, Kitten

Posted by Billy Gil, June 15, 2012 11:30am | Post a Comment

Poolside – “Slowdown”
 
Poolside(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
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.
 

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Album Picks: Beach House, Best Coast, My Bloody Valentine

Posted by Billy Gil, May 15, 2012 06:08pm | Post a Comment
Beach House BloomAnticipation has been high for the new albums from Baltimore dream-pop duo Beach House and Cali-cool pop-rock duo Best Coast, and luckily neither disappoints. Beach House continues the upward trajectory set by their previous three album — the haunting, murky lo-fi of their self-titled debut, the more grandiose Devotion and its modern classic follow-up, Teen Dream —with an even fuller, more confident statement on Bloom. The album jumps from the springboard set by Teen Dream’s “Norway” into more definitively pop territory, albeit the sort of cerebral goth-pop pioneered by Kate Bush and Cocteau Twins. Like that song, “Lazuli” emits a sky-searing chorus of Victoria Legrand’s cloudy vocals that is simply glorious, the kind of thing directors dream about hearing in their film’s opening sequences, eliciting sudden and unspeakable emotion. The band combines this with verses that are more mysterious and harder to recall — it’s a perfect example of the band’s strength in fusing archness and pop structure, retaining their intrigue while delivering hooks. Every song on Bloom is a highlight, as the album moves from the cascading keys and chiming guitars of opener “Myth” to propulsive “The Hours” and “New Year,” perhaps their clearest stabs yet at radio-ready pop-rock, through closer “Irene,” which stretches its music-box arrangement to epic proportions, boosted by Alex Scally’s hauntingly spare yet melodically uplifting guitar lines. Every song on Bloom somehow sounds strange and new, yet somehow feels intimately familiar upon first listen. Listening is like unearthing someone else’s memories, each song like a glittering diamond that has just been waiting to be found.
 
Best Coast The Only PlaceMeanwhile, Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino documents the process of entering adulthood and looking for lasting love the way few singer-songwriters can on The Only Place. Her sophomore full-length album is a more grown-up affair than the anxiety-pinned sunshine pop of Crazy For You, aided by springy, shimmering production from Jon Brion, but luckily Cosentino hasn’t changed too much. The longing Cosentino communicated in songs like Crazy For You’s “Boyfriend” is still present in songs like the swaying countrified ballad “No One Like You,” asking “if I sleep on the floor, will it make you love me more?” The simplicity of her lyrics belies their cleverness, as she pleads with her subject by offering to leave in order to make him stay. Throughout The Only Place, Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno reference ’50s and ’60s country starlets and girl groups, creating Phil Spector-style melodrama with crystalline guitars and lyrics yearning for individualism within codependence in songs like “How They Want Me To Be.” Throughout, Bruno and Brian keep things chugging along nicely in order to allow Cosentino’s personality to shine and not wallow too much in sentimentality, giving the haunting, Julee Cruise-style ballad “Dreaming My Life Away” some nice propulsive drum work, an improvement from an earlier, sparer recording, while “The Only Place” and “Let’s Go Home” burn with college-rock energy to spare. And Cosentino has never sounded better, her voice now brimming with confidence and pulling the heartstrings directly rather than from behind a shield of reverb and lo-fi sonics. It’s impossible not to be affected as she sings simple lines like “I wanna see you, for ever and ever” in the show-stopping “Up All Night.” She makes us feel the simplest sentiments as deeply as the first time we felt them, a hallmark of a truly great songwriter and performer. (The LP comes with a free bonus 7" while supplies last.)
 
My Bloody Valentine Loveless And I would be remiss not to mention the reissues of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, Isn’t Anything and EPs 1988-1991, including songs released between those two albums, plus previously unreleased songs from that era. I’m not the biggest reissue person — often seems like a money grab with few good unheard songs and tweaks only an audiophile can hear, but this is My Bloody Valentine we’re talking about. The band’s two shoegaze classics sound better than ever, as only the most delicate nob twiddling has taken place at the hands of Kevin Shields. Anyone who doesn’t own these two albums, two of the best ever in my humble opinion, should get these import CDs right now. Even if you don’t buy CDs anymore. It’s time. Meanwhile the EP collection is a no-brainer for any fan of the band, as My Bloody Valentine’s throwaways tend to be better than most bands’ entire catalogs. Superfans may have the material Tremolo and You Made Me Realise EPs already, all excellent of course, but not songs like “Good For You” and “How Do You Do It,” terrific jangly pop songs gnarled by shuddering noise that sound nearly as good as anything on Isn’t Anything.

Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino Talks 'The Only Place,' Dad Rock

Posted by Billy Gil, May 8, 2012 10:26am | Post a Comment
best coastBest Coast's The Only Place comes out next week (pre-order from Amoeba here). Without spoiling it too much, I can say Bethany Cosentino, Bobb Bruno and producer Jon Brion have produced the album you hope for, with Cosentino's voice maturing markedly over gorgeous cleaned up sonics, while the lyrics retain the directness and charm that made Crazy For You so appealing. I spoke to Cosentino a bit about what went into making the album, and asked her to produce a list from her beloved "Dad Rock" genre, which she graciously did. (See Best Coast with Abe Vigoda at the Wiltern May 18!)

PST: How has the way the vocals are presented on record changed? Does the way that has changed have to do with confidence, or was it always an aesthetic choice?
 
Cosentino: The vocals are just more present and up front — which has a lot to do with confidence and me just learning how to use my voice in other ways. Singing on stage every night for the last three years has given me the confidence to sing differently, and I wanted that growth to be showcased n this album. I’m a singer — that’s what I’ve always been, and I want people to hear that.
 
PST: “The Only Place” (download free from Amoeba) to me sounds like what I want to hear when I cross the state line into California. It has a similar vibe to a number of California songs but I think feels more L.A. specific because of its punkier feel, kind of like a fantasy of California mixed with the real thing. What was the goal with that song?
 
Cosentino: I wanted to write an homage to this place that makes me so happy and relaxed and I wanted to make other people feel the love I have for California. In a way too, I wanted To write a song that would make people be like “whoa wait — California seems awesome.” I’m trying to get the state tourism board to accept it as the new CA anthem!
 
PST: “Dreaming My Life Away” sounded really cool and different in its earlier version, sort of more overtly melancholy and somber than some other Best Coast songs. How does the new recording change things?
 
Cosentino: It has a pretty creepy feel to it, almost like David Lynch or something. The original recording had the same sort of feel, I just think the new recording includes a few new elements and sounds better than the first because it’s sonically better and my singing is stronger.
 
PST: What influences did you tap into on this record that you think are new influences or you didn’t tap into as much before?
 
Cosentino: I listened to a lot of Fleetwood Mac while making this record, and though they were a band that I loved while recording Crazy For You, I don’t think the influence was very obvious. It might be a bit more on this record. I also just got really inspired by female vocalists, and I used those influences to sing to he best of my abilities.
 
PST: You stayed as a three-person live band sans bass for a long time but recently switched to a four-piece and worked with orchestral pop maestro Jon Brion. Was that important to keep Best Coast as its original form for as long as you could? How do you think you’ll continue to expand upon what Best Coast means, either live or on record?
 
Cosentino: We stayed as a three piece because we didn’t have time to add another live member — we literally toured for two years straight, and we knew we wanted a bass player, we just were like — when the fuck are we going to find the time to do this? When we went in to record the new record, we wanted to change it up, and we had the time to put together a new line up and we wanted to have a stronger live show, so we worked on that a lot. The band all always be Bobb and myself — we will never add another permanent members. That’s something we agreed upon from the start.
 
PST: Speaking of Jon Brion, he certainly makes the list of producers (like Steve Albini, Alan Moulder, Dave Fridman etc.) who really make their presence felt on a record. How did you balance what he brought to the record with your own style?
 
Cosentino: Jon didn’t want his fingerprint on this record — he didn’t want it to sound like a Jon Brion record — he just wanted to make a Best Coast record with a more sonically enhanced sound, and I think that’s exactly what he did.
 
PST: Would you consider making us either a list of songs or top 10 albums of your favorite Dad Rock?
 
"Dust in the Wind" - Kansas (from the album Point of Know Return)

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