Sunday, September 14, 2008


On Satuday (September 13) my intention was to go see a band called My Secret Alphabet, who had extended an invitation for me to come see them sometime. I didn't know their music, but when I listened to a few of their tunes on their myspace page I was impressed. They play the kind of shoe-gaze, psychedelic indie rock that I'm instantly partial to, and they play it well. Well, I feel like a fool because I went to all the trouble to take the train to Union Station, another train to Highland Park and walked over to Figueroa St. only to have brought the wrong address with me. And no one I asked had heard of the Legion # 206 I was looking for, so I had to turn around and go home. I'm sorry to have missed the show.

It's just as well as the rest of this month is one of the best extended periods of live music since I've been back into the music scene. For local bands as well as some of my favorite national bands, too. Monday night's Echo residency starring Death to Anders is an all star lineup of 4 of the very best bands around, period, hosted by Radio Free Silver Lake (see link below). The Monolators, The Transmissions and Radar To the Sky will see that The Echo is packed on September 15. It doesn't get any better than this and I will be there early to be sure to get in. And it will be a late night.

Tuesday (September 16) "Let's Independent!" by Radio Free Silver Lake's Joe Fielder begins it's third year with some bands I'm reallly anxious to see. The Poor Excuses are playing and they're fun and loud and I liked them live, so they should give the night a lively jolt. Manhattan Murder Mystery and Tenlons Fort are both bands I've been meaning to see for a long time. I expect greatness. As usual.

Wednesday night (September 17) brings Aaron Embry, Edward Sharpe and The Deadly Syndrome to Tangier for a set of freaky, hippie, folkie and some garage rock music. But don't let that scare you off, they're all so talented it could be an impressive evening.

Friday (September 19) at the Troubadour are The Wedding Present and Earlimart. I'd never heard of The Wedding Present, but a couple of friends said they've been around a while and thought I'd like them, so I bought their new CD El Rey and it's pretty good. The lead singer's style sounds like it could have influenced Andrew Spitser of Radars To the Sky and they write good, poppy, melodic songs. These friends are going with me and I'm excited to introduce them to Earlimart who, I'm sure, will knock them out. It will be my 12th time seeing my favorite local band. Theirs was the first local music I heard and they were the magnet that drew me to so many of my other favorite bands so I will always feel indebted to Aaron Espinoza. Treble and Tremble was their current CD then and I played it to death, wondering if I'd ever get to see them live. On March 22, 2006, I got to see them for the first time at a club in Hollywood called King King, and they were everything I could have hoped for as live performers. I was just getting used to the fact that these bands usually sounded just as good live as on their recordings and it taught me just how much the technology had improved in the 25 years since I had been to a concert. Anyway, thanks Earlimart.

Saturday (September 20) is a real highlight for me because New Zealand's The Veils are coming to town to open for Liam Finn at the Echoplex. The Veils are fronted by Finn Andrews who is, without question, one of the most electrifying artists I saw anywhere last year. They played two nights (August 16 and 17, 2007) at the Hotel Cafe and I knew enough to get tickets for both nights. He sings blues so intense it can curl the hairs on the back of your neck, or croon a ballad so heartwrenchingly it brings you to tears, or a sunny pop ditty, or a jazzy number. You name it, he seems able to master it. I've never stopped listening to their CD Nux Vomica. I'm not familiar with the music of Liam Andrews but I expect anyone with the good sense to appear on a bill with The Veils to be worthwhile.

Fleet Foxes have sold out the El Rey on Monday night (September 22) so I was glad I got my ticket a long time ago. I've already said so much about this band, I'll just add that I understand they're working on their next CD already, since they've had a whole two and half weeks off. This band gets bigger every day so I'll always be grateful for their early concerts (The Echo and Spaceland), because, I fear, one day, you won't be able to get near them. Can't wait to see Frank Fairfield again, too, because he's as intense as Finn Andrews. Unfortunately, I have to miss Death To Anders doing their fabulous acoustic set at The Echo that night and I'm sorry for that.

Tuesday (September 23) I see Okkervil River for the first time, and I have to say, I'm really excited about this one too. I've been loving their last CD The Stage Names for long months now, in fact, since they last played in town at the Troubadour and sold it out in about one hour. When I couldn't get tickets, I was so mad, I decided to torture myself by buying the CD and I was right. It was torture because that CD could be considered some kind of literary masterpiece and I couldn't get in to see them. Will Sheff is one hell of a lyric writer. I found myself completely caught up in the stories he tells. Some sad, some funny, some revealing, all brilliantly realized. I just got his new CD The Stand Ins and it may not be as readily accessible as the last one, but with writing of this quality, sometimes you have to give it time.

Wednesday (September 24) is Aaron Embry's residency night at Tangier which I'm hoping to attend.

Thursday (September 25) has both Pop Levi playing an in-store at Amoeba and a program at Safari Sam's with The Western States Motel, Aushua and The French Semester which sounds very good.

I have a ticket for Silver Jews at the Echoplex. I love David Berman's off-the-wall, tilted version of alt-country rock. I was lucky to see his show a couple of years ago at the Fonda when he was on his first tour (after recording for, what, 12 years?) and it was a wonderful show. Friday (September 26) is only his second time in L.A. so I didn't think it wise to miss this. Haven't heard his latest CD yet but his songwriting skills rival Okkervil River's Will Sheff, or is it vice versa.

Saturday (September 27) brings a current very favorite local band of mine, Thailand, to the Echo Curio with
Manhattan Murder Mystery, and since I haven't been to the Curio yet, I think I'll be there. Thailand's last few show that I've seen have been so good that no one should miss this.

Monday (September 29 ) rounds out the month for me with Calexico and The Cave Singers at the Fonda. Calexico is probably on my list of favorite 20 bands (this list doesn't exist, by the way) and I've only seen them once. As a fan of their last two CD's, the new one, Carried To Dust is my number one CD this week (see list below). I think it's a terrific achievement and I'm just a sucker for Joey Burns' voice. And that great southwestern American sound. I'll never forget the night I saw them for the first time on June 13, 2006 at the Fonda when The Black Heart Procession opened for them and I saw two of the best bands I ever saw. Both bands are among my top 20 (if there was such a thing).

I'm going to have trouble peeling myself off the ceiling of many of these theatres after some of these shows so I don't know how much time I'll be spending on Earth the next couple of weeks. This is why I live in L.A.!

Someone asked me to and I thought it might be fun to post the top CD's I've been listening to this week, so here goes:
For the week of September 8 - 14:

1. Calexico - Carried To Dust (Quarterstick Records)
2. Okkervil River - The Stand Ins (Jagjaguwar)
3. Darker My Love - 2 (Dangerbird records)
4. Gangi - A (self release)
5. Jefferson Starship - Jefferson's Tree of Liberty (The Lab Records) note: the old dinosaurs go back to their folk roots and produce a potent collection of beautifully sung standards, classics, new material and protest songs (Boy do we need them now!). I can't believe I'm listening to them again. Grace even appears on the bonus track.
6. Earlimart - Hymn and Her (Majordomo Records)
7. The Veils - Nux Vomica (Rough Trade)
8. The Stevenson Ranch Davidians - Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs (self release)
9. The Wedding Present - El Rey (Manifesto)
10.The Flying Tourbillon Orchestra - Escapements (self release)

Anyway, that's what I've been playing.


No comments: