New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In

Posted by Amoebite, October 25, 2017 03:26pm | Post a Comment

Cedric Bixler-Zavala (At the Drive-In) What's in My Bag?

"To me John Carpenter sounds like he should have been in a Krautrock band," says Cedric Bixler-Zavala, lead singer for At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta, during his recent What's In My Bag? interview. Picking up a 12" record of Carpenter's theme to his film Assault On Precinct 13, Bixler-Zavala compares the moody, synth-based sound of his music to the experiential, avant-garde form of music that came out of Germany in the late '60s and '70s. He also found some genuine Krautrock, in the form of Cluster's debut record, an atmospheric, instrumental soundscape. "All roads lead to Germany, in regards to interesting out there music," he tells us, adding, "I love to draw to this kind of stuff because it just makes me feel like I'm there."

Grammy-winning musician Cedric Bixler-Zavala made his name as the frontman of At the Drive-In. He would later go on to earn further acclaim for his work with The Mars Volta. Throughout his varied career, he has performed with dozens of bands, sometimes playing drums, sometimes singing in English, Latin, and Spanish. He is renowned for his energetic, raucous on-stage performances.

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RIP Isaiah "Ikey" Owens

Posted by Billy Gil, October 14, 2014 02:52pm | Post a Comment

Musician Isaiah Randolph "Ikey" Owens has died at the age of 38.

Owens was on tour with Jack White at the time in Puebla, Mexico. White's label, Third Man Records, issued this response via their website:

It is with great sadness that we tell the world of the passing of the incredible musician Isaiah "Ikey" Owens. He will be missed and loved forever by his family, friends, bandmates and fans.  

Ikey Owens was an astounding keyboard player in Jack White's backing band. He also played with Mars Volta, Free Moral Agents, and many other projects. 

Out of respect for Ikey, the remaining shows of the Jack White Tour in Mexico have been cancelled. 

We will all miss you Ikey. You were and are an incredible artist.

Owens has played with many L.A. and Long Beach bands over the years, first coming to prominence mainly as a keyboardist for such bands as Crystal Antlers, Long Beach Dub Allstars, El-P, Mastodon, Saul Williams and The Mars Volta, bringing explosive energy to the live shows of whatever band he was playing with at the time as well as on records like The Mars Volta's De-Loused in the Comatorium and White's latest record, Lazaretto. Owens also had his own bands, Free Moral Agents and Look Daggers.

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Essential Records: The Mars Volta's 'De-Loused In The Comatorium'

Posted by Amoebite, October 8, 2014 05:32pm | Post a Comment

Essential Records De-Loused in the Comatorium

The year was 2003. I was a 22-year old musician living in Silverlake, playing in a band and chasing the dream. I was taking in heavy doses of Stevie Wonder and anything I could find from Salsa greats Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe. At that time, my whole musical world was Soul, Salsa and Hip Hop. The Roots' Things Fall Apart and Mos Def's Black on Both Sides were still in heavy rotation from my college Freshman days of 1999. 

I vividly remember my friend Jesus Beas telling me about this new band I should check out. He said they were called The Mars Volta and some of the guys were in a band called At The Drive-In. I had never heard of either band, but I knew it was worth my time to take a listen. Jesus and I had been friends since 9th grade and he had always turned me on to bands I ended up loving (mostly underground politically charged rock groups like Aztlan Underground and Downset).  

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out this week 6/16 & 6/23...legends...mars volta...little boots...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 8, 2009 04:10pm | Post a Comment

I am obsessed with two very different albums the last couple of weeks. There might be those of you out there obessed with the new Little Boots. And I know there are those of you obsessed with Mars Volta...But there might not be many people into both these groups. I assume most people who like The Mars Volta are probably not big fans of pop music, and most fans of pop music are not big fans of The Mars Volta. They are sort of extreme opposites -- but I love them both. It keeps my life interesting. I have never been into just one specific genre of music. I am sure you have all heard of Lady Gaga by now. She sort of took over the world this year. It was hard to stay away from "Just Dance" or "Poker Face." There was obviously a big hole before she came along. We obvioulsy needed her. Love her or hate her, she made an impressively catchy dance pop album. I don't know where we would be without her. However, she has been overplayed just a bit. I guess DJs just don't know what else to play. Every little boots handstime I turn on the radio I can always find a Lady Gaga song. And I am not just talking about a couple of months ago -- this is still the case. Every time you go into a bar and most certainly a gay bar, you are bound to hear some Lady Gaga. Pop music needs stars like her. It would be nothing without her. I still sort of appreciate that she exists but I am done. I have had enough! So I was happy to first hear about Little Boots. She couldn't come to us at a better time. Her debut album Hands is out now as an import. It might not come out domestically until 2010, so you might have a couple of months to get into her before the rest of America does. I am sure she will take over the world quickly. If she could even get a fourth of the airtime that Lady Gaga got, I am sure she could become a star out here.

Victoria Christina Hesketh, also know as Little Boots, is from the UK...sort of England's answer to Lady Gaga. She has the same sort of electronic pop sound as Lady Gaga, but I find it more interesting. I might get sick of it in a year, but for now it is a great alternative. The album is nothing if not fun. It is hard to get through the album without a smile on your face. And all the songs on the album really hold up to the others -- not a bad song on the album. One of my favorites on the album is "Symmetry." It is a duet with Philip Oakley who I recognized immediately as the voice of The Human League. A perfect man for her to do a duet with. The song is really brilliant. He helped create the genre she is emulating, so it is nice to see him on the album. She is not really doing anything that drastically different than Lady Gaga, Madonna, Santogold, Robyn, or Kylie Minogue. It is just pop music. Music that is easy to fall in love with. But it is also the kind of music that is easy to hate and make fun of, which I think is where Lady Gaga is headed right now. I am sure that there are fans out there that will defend her until they die, but this is the nature of pop music. It is not always timeless. It can quickly feel outdated mostly just from being completely overplayed. I have even been known to hate certain songs by Depeche Mode and The Cure. It is nice to hear the songs you love over and over again, but there is always the tipping point when you have heard it one too many times and don't ever want to hear it again.

I have been a long time fan of The Mars Volta since before their first EP came out in 2002. I really loved At the Drive-In and was sort of devastated when they broke up. I only got into them their last couple of years but luckily I got to see them live a couple of times. It seemed that just as I was getting the mars voltaobsessed they decided to call it quits. They basically split and became The Mars Volta and Sparta. My sadness quickly became replaced by joy once the two bands started releasing albums. I loved the Tremulant EP. I loved the first full length album De-Loused in the Crematorium. Frances the Mute came out in 2005. I still liked the album but my love was just not as strong. They released two more album in 2006 and 2008 but I just never got into them like the first couple. So I was expecting to probably like the new album, but not to really want to listen to it over and over again. I do love Cedric's voice. It is why I keep coming back for more. It is one of those weird and fantastic voices that I just can't get enough of. It is the reason I first got interested in At the Drive-In. The new album is called Octahedron. I do love it. It did not take much time at all for me to like it. It reminds me much more of their first album than anything that they have done since. They may have gotten a bit too proggy for me with the last couple of albums, but I love what they have created with this new album and I can't stop listening to it. I am glad that they are back in my life.

also out 6/17...

Over & Over by The Legends

also out 6/23...

Farm by Dinosaur Jr.

Split CD by Envy/Jesu

Travels with Myself & Another By Future of the Left

God Help the Girl by God Help the Girl

Hangover Soundtrack

Deliverance by Hawk & a Hacksaw

Last Choice by Love Is All

Dragonslayer by Sunset Rubdown

Beacons of Ancestory by Tortoise