Sophisticated Monster Muu-zak and Buried Horror Films to Howl For

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, October 29, 2017 05:26pm | Post a Comment

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show

Close you eyes and picture in your mind that Gomez and Morticia Addams are throwing a party. One can not imagine them playing Bobby "Boris" Pickett's "Monster Rap" or Elvira's "2 Big Pumpkins." I see Lurch pulling the cobwebs off their record collection and tossing the needle on such classics as The Zanies' "Russian Roulette," Ken Nordine and his Kinsmen's "Strollin Spooks," and of course all five of the amazing Frankie Stein and the Ghouls records.

If you find yourself humming the theme to Experiment in Terror every time you cross the Emperor Norton bridge late at night or cruising up to Twin Peaks for a super burrito at Taqueria Miraloma, then this is the truly the Hallow's eve music for you. The 1960's was the golden ghoul era of Monster music and here are a just a few LPs and 45s to keep your eyes peeled for...not to mention a couple spooky flicks.

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Allah-Las Talk New Album, Play Moon Block Party and FYF Fest

Posted by Billy Gil, June 20, 2012 05:35pm | Post a Comment

This year is turning out to be a good one for Allah-Las. This week saw the announcement that the L.A.-based band, who weave strains of ’60s Nuggets-style garage rock with ’80s Paisley Underground jangle and au currant surf rock swagger, would be releasing their self-titled debut album Sept. 18 on Innovative Leisure. Additionally, Allah-Las were announced as part of the FYF Fest lineup this week, taking place Sept. 1-2. And the band also is playing this weekend at Moon Block Party in Pomona Saturday June 23.
Allah-La's debut album was recorded at the Distillery Studio, a Costa Mesa-based haven for analog recording, and was produced by label mate and local rock hero Nick Waterhouse. The band, which consists of bassist Spencer Dunham, singer/guitarist Miles Michaud, guitarist Pedrum Siadatian and drummer/singer Matt Correia, already has released a video for the album cut “Tell Me (What’s On Your Mind),” a jangly powerhouse that calls to mind Them’s garage classic “Gloria,” but relaxed instead of manic, resplendent in its analog sheen and laid-back cool.
I checked in with Dunham, a fellow South Bay native, to ask about the new album and what it was like for 3/4 of the band to work together at Amoeba.
PST: Has it been difficult to capture the exact sound you've been looking for on record?
Dunham: We tried recording a bunch of ways with different people but were never really satisfied until we went to the Distillery.
PST: What has recording with Nick Waterhouse and at the Distillery afforded the band in terms of sound and direction?
Dunham: Nick grew up in Orange County and has known the owner, Mike, since he was about 16. Mike loves to tinker with weird electronics to create one-of-a-kind instruments and effects, like microphones that go through record player needles. Sometimes those kind of things can be very complicated and time consuming, so it was really helpful to have two people working together to set up strange reverb tracks and whatnot.
PST: Can you talk a bit about working at Amoeba and how that affected the formation of the band and development of its sound? And what did you do while working at the store?
Dunham: Pedrum, Matt and I all used to work upstairs in the warehouse as “case switchers,” which is where you take bins of used CDs and put them in fresh jewel cases. You get a CD player and a hold box and basically just listen to music all day. It's pretty mundane work, but you get to see a lot of unusual albums, and we were all exposed to a lot of new music.
PST: In addition to the screaming girls and whatnot, have you had a lot of older “Nuggets” fans and people like that be into you guys? Have you had any particularly strange fan experiences so far?
Dunham: We definitely have a healthy contingency of garage fans, but our main audience remains American Apparel models. Not too many strange fan experiences yet, but Patrick Campbell Lyons from the ’60s band Nirvana (UK) befriended us after hearing our old radio show on KXLU a while back.
PST: I was never really that into the punk and stuff that a lot of other kids from the South Bay were into. Were you guys always attracted to more of the rock n roll stuff compared to what the area is known for? Were you exposed to it by parents, older siblings etc.?
Dunham: I used to listen to punk and it will always have a place in my heart, but in high school we mostly listened to a lot of classic rock: Hendrix, Who, Rolling Stones etc. We also used to hang around Scooter’s, which was a legendary Hermosa Beach record store owned by Uncle Tim, who hosts my all time favorite radio show, “The Bombshelter,” on KXLU. His shop was about the size of a closet, and while the majority of it catered to the punk scene, he also kept an eclectic selection of rock and got us turned onto stuff like The Velvet Underground and early Moody Blues.
PST: Can you give me a top five garage rock and paisley underground list of records you're particularly fond of?
Dunham: Here's a mix of classics and current jams:

The Rain Parade - Emergency Third Rail Power Trip

Simla Beat - 70/71

Clap - Have You Reached Yet

zombies i love you
The Zombies - I Love You

galaxie 500 on fire
Galaxie 500 - On Fire

Allah-Las Tracklist:
Don't You Forget It   
Busman's Holiday   
Sacred Sands   
No Voodoo 
Ela Navega   
Tell Me (What's On Your Mind)   
Seven Point Five  
Long Journey

Those only live to get radical - or - Little hand says it's time to rock and roll

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 17, 2012 09:36am | Post a Comment

A new compilation of SoCal bands titled Who invented the Mirror has just been released and is available exclusively at Amoeba. One of the bands featured thereon, Those, recently released their debut, We Cure Nothing, just before Christmas.

The name of the band, Those (assuming it's the plural pronoun of "that" and not the village in Nepal), seems calculatedly obscure and at the same time reminiscent of Them, The Who, The The, They, Them, Them! or It. The they behind those are John Cason (guitar), Eric Spolans (ex-The Not Today and 000 Records - guitar), JJ Watson (bass and horns), Brett Strobridge (drums), and Emily Grant (keys). It was recorded and engineered by Chris Reynolds at Dangerbird Studios in Silver Lake.

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The Soft Pack Are Back, and Saxier Than Ever

Posted by Billy Gil, August 31, 2011 12:51pm | Post a Comment
The Soft Pack were set to play Sunset Junction last weekend. That didn’t happen, but the L.A. by way of San Diego band did set up for a surprise backyard show in Highland Park with Devon Williams in an awesome D.I.Y. way that made Sunset Junction’s absence less of a bummer. With the addition of a saxophone player that also played on their upcoming new album, The Soft Pack sounded stronger and more focused than ever before, honing their garage rock into perfect-summer-day surf rock. I chatted with drummer Brian Hill about the changes the band has made over the years, from their first album, as The Muslims, to 2010’s self-titled album, to now. Bonus: Free download of "Extinction" by The Soft Pack recorded live at Amoeba.

PST: Your guys’ transition from the Muslims to The Soft Pack across the two albums saw you guys employing a cleaner sound with more hi-fi production. What can you tell me about the new recordings so far?

Hill: So far, we've got a little more than half of the new record written and recorded. We went into a nice studio again, so the hi-fi sound is still a factor. We've gotten a lot more into doing actual tricks and production as well, overdubbing a lot of cool keyboard, sax and percussion tracks. That's kind of been the coolest part for us this time around.

PST: Are you playing any of the new songs live? What are some new songs we should look for in your live sets?
Hill: Actually, the new set is going to have about six or seven new songs in it. We're trying to get them down, so they don't sound like utter garbage. Also, we'll be bringing our friend Tony out on the road with us to help play sax, keys and extra guitar. We're trying to step up our game as much as possible for the next record. You gotta keep yourself entertained as well.

PST: How complete is the new album? Do you already have a name for it?

Hill: We don't have a final name or real concept behind the new album yet. Matt, our singer, really likes the word “Flamingo,” and that might make an appearance somewhere in there. It's a great word, phonetically speaking, so I'm in. We still need to write and record maybe four tracks, but we've all been working both independently and together on the writing for this one.

PST: I really liked the song “Mexico” on the last album. Was that song sort of a diversion, or does it point to a new direction?

Hill: "Mexico” is one that I love playing. Stylistically, it was so weird to us to put that on the record at first, but now it seems like no big deal. We've come to the realization that no matter how "weird" we think we're being, we aren't that weird at all when it comes down to it. I guess it felt like a bit of a risk because it's so much more mellow than the rest of the songs. We're definitely interested in getting deeper into that territory though. Fear not though, there are riffs for days on the horizon.

PST: Explosions in the Sky still gets shit about their name. Do you guys still get bugged about having been called The Muslims?

Hill: Yes. We seriously have gotten asked why we changed our name in 99% of all interviews we've done since we became The Soft Pack. It has become a bit of a burden, but I suppose it'll always just be part of being in this band. We've now been Soft Packers way longer than we were called the Muslims, but I doubt we'll ever fully shake our checkered past.

PST: You guys came along at a time in which people were sort of done with garage rock or rock ‘n’ roll. Now it seems to be doing quite well again, at least in the underground sense. Do you guys stay aware of those kind of trends or have you just tried to do your own thing?

Hill: Garage rock has certainly become a thing again within the last couple of years. Personally, I feel like our last album was a departure from that world. Our new stuff is getting even further away from the garage sound as well. I feel like we've always been inspired by different stuff, so we try to do our own thing with whatever we write. Trends don't really inspire the output of the band, in my opinion. We like to know what's going on around us though simply as dudes who are obsessed with music.

PST: Aside from your hilarious Twitter, I found precious little about you guys online since the release of your last album. Do you guys try to go with a "less is more" approach to releasing music and making indie headlines, or was there just not much to report?

Hill: Matty, our guitarist, is responsible for about 95% of the Twitter stuff. I'll pass along the compliment (laughs). I've gotten really into posting dumb YouTube videos of guys who did too much ketamine and silly junk like that lately. For the majority of this year though, we've just been quietly writing and recording. Not too much exciting stuff to report. Certainly nothing scandalous to report either. I feel so boring (laughs). Controversy doesn't really seem to follow us. I guess that's a relief. We might make some videos with the remainder of the year and hopefully do some cool stuff that will keep people (and ourselves) entertained.

PST: For the last album, you guys did a rash of shows all over the area, including at local record stores. Any such plans in the works for the next album?

Hill: I really want to figure out a way to outdo the 10 shows in one day. Sean Carlson is the idea man behind that event, so we'll hit him up again, I'm sure. Whatever it involves, I hope nobody dies.

Upcoming Soft Pack tour dates:

-Aug. 31
Cellar Door
Visalia, CA

-Sept. 1
Crepe Place
Santa Cruz, CA

-Sept. 2
Bottom of the Hill
San Francisco, CA

-Sept. 4
El Dorado
San Diego, CA

-Sept. 7
Detroit Bar
Costa Mesa, CA

-Sept. 8
Velvet Jones
Santa Barbara, CA

-Sept. 9
Pappy and Harriet’s
Pioneertown, CA