In fact it's going to drag me back to that venue for the third time this summer. And The Wiltern is not my favorite place to see bands, so it proves how devoted I am to Grizzly Bear (June 19, picture below by Lane Coder)...my god that's only two weeks away...and Elbow (July 22), still touring on the strength of their great CD, The Seldom Seen Kid.
Grizzly Bear's newest, Veckatimest, is easily one of the best CD's of the year and I can't wait to hear it live. I have to confess, I've seen this band every time they've played L.A., beginning with Spaceland on Sept. 26, 2006 (for about 30 people), and I don't intent to stop, now that they play for 3000. Their show at Walt Disney Concert Hall on March 1, 2008 is burned into my memory forever.
The awe-inspiring talent of Amanda Palmer (below) will be on full display at The Troubadour on June 25 and the audience will be dazzled into a state of ecstasy, as usual. I can't wait. She's so inspiring she makes me want to be a better writer. Check out her blog if you wonder. Last time I saw her she promised she and Brian Viglione would be back before the end of the year as The Dresden Dolls. I'll be there, too.
mewithoutYou (below) are a band no one I know knows about. I find the lead singer, writer Michael Weiss is an astonishing poet and that alone would be worthy of attention, except that his delivery is so extreme and odd, and oddly compelling. I saw a video of "Paper Hanger" way back when I first got back into music through music videos on Refused TV in 2005. (Does anyone know what happened to that wonderful show?) I have many episodes on tape but I kept watching this song over and over and over. I don't even think I liked the song the first few times I heard it, but something about the weird spastic guy doing the singing/talking/grumbling intrigued me, once I got over the similarity to Ed Grimley ("I must say").
He was the real deal. This act was genuine and I was hooked. I researched the band and found they are considered a religious band. Overcoming my prejudice, I bought their album, Catch For Us the Foxes, and discovered a work of art. mewithoutYou are also incredible musicians, but I've been particularly impressed with drummer Richard Mazzotta. I've seen them twice and each time I think I saw some of the finest drumming I've ever seen. They're at El Rey on June 20.
Handsome Furs is an interesting band I've seen once before. Led by Dan Boeckner of Canada's Wolf Parade, this offshoot band is worth exploring for the quirky, intelligent songwriting. Dan sings in that distinctive Wolf Parade-voice, but here it's matched with electronica and a more direct approach. It's a perfect match up with The Monolators at Echoplex on June 11, as Eli Charkoff employs a similar vocal approach. It will be great to contrast the two remarkable singers.
Residencies by Castledoor at Spaceland and Oliver Future at The Echo will continue to rule Monday nights. But Castledoor have the enchanting Deep Sea Diver on Monday, June 15, and on June 22, Local Natives, who impressed me at their set with Gangi last month, so that may tip the scales for me. Avi Buffalo's only L. A. date this month is Monday, June 8 at midnight at the Echoplex, so run downstairs right after Oliver Future upstairs.
Another favorite of mine, Tommy Santee Klaws, play Saturday, June 6, at Crane's Hollywood Tavern, and Sunday the 14th at Gallery 2023. Alaskan Summer are a band I must check out since Douglas Summer is also the voice of his Orchestra, who have recently become an obsession of mine.
I got to know Brooklyn's Chairlift (photo at left by Katie Chanler) a couple of years ago at the Silver Lake Lounge and really loved their music. They're coming back for a couple of dates, one at The Echo on June 18, and the other at the Getty Courtyard on Saturday, June 20. Also Viva Voce who are a couple who play guitar and drums and both sing creating a dense, swirling phantasmagoria. They play The Echo on June 17.
I wanted to write about the whole summer, but better take it month by month. There's too much going on and a lot more shows will pop up this month alone. I'll leave it there for now.