Wednesday, August 10, 2011

News...And The Rest

Apart from learning today from Wisconsin that the party is going to dictate the future (mis)direction of this country, and that undisclosed campaign donations are going to spell the end of representative democracy in this nation, I'm trying to stay positive and hope, against much evidence, that this society will evolve and not devolve.

I've got to get my mind off this, so let's talk music. Over the last couple of weeks I've seen a bunch of bands and musicians new to me and, as usual, it gets my mind to racing over all the extraordinary music coming at me from all directions.

Why is it that both times in my lifetime when the greatest societal upheaval has occurred, I have taken my refuge in music, specifically rock music. The times now are so similar to the 1960s, when the country seemed irretrievably split, that once again, music restores my optimism and gives me hope.

As a teenager, while the world seemed hurtling toward oblivion, I was about to graduate high school and head to college and I should have been filled with fear of the unknown and concern over my worthiness, but instead, I couldn't wait to leave the comfort of home and get out of my hometown and head to the city and the future.

Music brought people together then with it's healing power and it's happening least for me it is. The Henry Clay People played the last night of "Also I Like To Rock", on July 28, at the Hammer Museum and that was great, but the chance to see Lady Danville for the first time made the evening really special. Their vocal harmonies, which brought them together in the first place, are sublime and the music is smartly written.

Then on Saturday, July 30, I saw Saint Sea Hat perform some flawless and tuneful indie pop/punk in a passionate set at Pehrspace for the Seasons video release party. The video for "...Of Our Discontent" is as remarkable as the song itself, being a surrealistic tale of a girl with built in speakers. It manages to be both sad and repellent at the same time. Wet and Reckless also played a dynamite set that night. I heard that night went on till the very wee hours of the morning.

Feed Your Head helped present the first LA Underground and Supergoodmusic residency of Judson at The Central in Santa Monica on Tuesday, August 2. Judson was wonderful, of course, accompanied by a superb set of musicians, including Mary, but I have to say the find of the night was Omar Velasco (shown above) who performed a moving and hypnotic set. I was with Cody Hudock and a friend in the outer bar area and we heard a familiar song in the distance. It was Paul McCartney's "Mother Nature's Son" and it sounded so good we thought it might be an outtake of the original song.

Wandering into the separate performance space, we were treated to a set of pretty dazzling solo acoustic songs by Omar Velasco, who is a very accomplished singer/songwriter who I hadn't known about. Exquisitely sung, but a strong voice, accompanying himself on guitar each song sounded like a little gem and I eagerly bought his EP after he finished. I'm happy to report that he will be playing at my first show that Feed Your Head will be presenting monthly at Lot 1 Cafe, beginning on September 3. Headliners are Death To Anders.

On Friday, August 5, Radio Free Silver Lake presented a show at Lot 1 Cafe starring The Spires, who played a set of totally fantastic music that was infectious and had the place hopping. Again I was blown away by a band I'd never heard of before, Naive Thieves, who play a kind of surfy/power pop, with a strong lead singer, reminiscent of The Californian, but different enough in it's upbeat swagger to create space for both bands. Besides no one does surfy/creepy like The Californian. I picked up their EP, Le Sheik Rhat, and it's obvious Naive Thieves know what they're doing. Very self-assured and well produced, the record is a winner.

Sorry to have gone so political at the beginning, but Jeez! Anyway, here are some of the reasons music makes life worth going on and living.


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