The last couple of months have been pretty remarkable for me, but the last three weeks have elevated 'remarkable' to 'amazing'. First of all, all I did was start this blog 10 months ago, because I felt compelled to share what I was witnessing, and before I knew it, I was sucked into the vortex of Los Angeles indie rock.
Unexpectedly, I found a community of artists willing to engage, eager to share, disdainful of artifice, creatively motivated and highly talented and now they're people I call friends. Two months ago I was approached by Jon Hershfield of Isgoodmusic.com to write reviews for his website. Then Joe Fielder asks me to write for Radio Free Silver Lake, which was the first local music blog I ran into three years ago. Amazing. Now there's all kinds of things happening on that front.
Amazing are a couple of CD's I picked up in anticipation of a couple of upcoming shows.
Even though I saw Chad VanGaalen on October 2, 2006 open for Band of Horses at the Avalon, I didn't have any of his CD's. I purchased his 2008 release, Soft Airplane, and I am enchanted by it. Such intelligent, honest and startlingly fresh lyrics combined with his full arsenal of sonic tricks. This guy could probably make music with a stick and a rock. It sounds like he plays bottles, bells, guitars, whistles, drums, anything he can get his hands on. Reminds me of two of my favorite bands, The Ruby Suns and Le Loup. There's a playful quality to all these bands, that is always anchored in a real sense of poignancy and that oddball freak-folk flavor that I grow fonder of everyday. I can't stop playing this amazing CD. I'm all primed for his show Saturday night at Spaceland.
When I'm not listening to that, it's the amazing new CD by Sweden's Loney dear, Dear John, who are coming in May. This is a beautiful CD, filled with orchestral sweep, gorgeous melodies, sweet singing and the European fondness for a disco beat, coupled with a decidedly experimental element. Loney dear is Nils-Emil Svanangen, who is described as an ex-pro cyclist on his myspace page. I first saw a video for "I Am John" a couple of years ago and have been intrigued by him/them ever since. I missed a chance to see him at the Orpheum , opening for Andrew Bird last January, because of the god-damned flu!
For the last month I've been amazed by the latest CD by Vetiver called Tight Knit. They play a two night engagement at the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts in April and I'll go one night. I've seen them before at the Troubadour and have a few of the CD's, but this one is a breakthrough.
The song "Strictly Rule" is my current 'favorite rock song of all time'. I keep my 'favorite rock song of all time' a fluid category, because I prefer to think that the greatest rock song is always yet to be written. Keeps the art form fresh. A little while ago it was "God and Suicide" by Blitzen Trapper, in a week it will probably be "Bones of Man" by Chad VanGaalen.
Amazing that Groupee.com picked five of my very favorite L.A. bands for the top five slots of their Top 30 Emerging Artists in Southern California: 1. The Henry Clay People; 2. Red Cortez; 3. Avi Buffalo; 4. The Happy Hollows; 5. The Parson Red Heads. All thirty are worthy bands, but, like one writer said, "Where's Thailand?
Oh, and this is going to be an amazing weekend of music. Tommy Santee Klaws on Thursday, Gliss on Friday, Chad VanGaalen on Saturday and Seasons on Sunday.
I look forward to being blissfully wiped out on Monday...and amazed.