Speaking as a chick blogger, what really is it with us ladies always fallin’ for the bad ones? Well, who gives a shit…if you fall for the “bad” ones, then brace yourself for a little heat from the Bad Suns. I’ve known these dudes for a while now and I’ve kept wondering when they’d begin to break out and brighten up the ears of my fellow, starving music hounds. I’m pleased to say that it now seems to be that they are successfully shedding some melodious luminescence all across southern California.

The video posted above is for the band’s rising single, “Cardiac Arrest”. This track came in at number 5 this week and last, on KROQ’s Locals Only show, but Bad Suns has rocked that chart for months now. They’ve been swimming in and out of multiple spots, including, of course, the coveted top 5. Back in March, they even hit the number 1 spot twice. If you don’t know of Locals Only, it’s basically a weekly playlist, put out by KROQ, highlighting singles from the best LA local alternative rock acts on the ascent. Among the more well-known appearances on it, the station has included acts such as Local Natives, Capital Cities, PAPA, The Neighborhood, Cold War Kids, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, and many other enchanting artists.

Anyways, this fresh-faced band has that kind of pop rock you blare from your speakers at the start of an inexplicably exciting night on the town, one of those nights where you don’t exactly know all the places you’ll go, but you got that gut feeling that it’ll all be fucking awesome. The music packs a heavy punch and a sweet kiss all at the same time. How could it not with a lyric like, “like cardiac arrest, high voltage in her lips”….tempting, no?

I just recently caught their show at the Troubadour on June 7th. The place was packed and everyone either had their hands swaying with a drink, or their bodies twisting and turning on the floor. The energy that their live shows create really is electric, warming, and alluring, like the sun coming out in the dead of night. The songs are blood-pumping, starry-eyed anthems with a surreptitiously enticing twist for the young at heart with nowhere to go and everything to desire, played to drift you away from your troubles, at least for a set.

I’ve been told the band is working on an EP, which will hopefully be out by the end of the summer. They’re playing a few shows in California coming up over the summer as well. They’ll be hitting the beloved Troubadour again on July 24th.  Be sure to catch ‘em while you can. I hope the best for these guys, and you should too. Get FB official with ‘em HERE.

T Hardy Morris is definitely an artist that stops and makes you look twice, or even thrice, at. Morris is known for his vocals and guitar with rebellious, grunge, heartland rock bandits, Dead Confederate, and for his work with my aforementioned beloved supergroup, Diamond Rugs. What I’m really writing about, though, is the exciting new notion of Morris releasing completely different and entrancing material with his debut solo album, Audition Tapes, this summer. The album is being released through Dangerbird Records, and the many-hatted minstrel describes it by saying that “a lot of it is memory or just feeling”. This makes a lot of sense when you listen to the stuff, as it is hard to put a genre on. It’s music like a fresh bruise still pulsating on a young face: tender, yet colorful and distracting, while occasionally sending a sharp twinge of pain through the nervous system. Also like a variegated welt, it’s the kind of oddity that makes you wonder the backstory, makes you probe, “what happened?”. The name “Audition Tapes” makes it sound as if it’s some furrowed-browed, PG soft rock, that a Gavin Degraw type slaps on as a marker to his first time exploring a career in music, through an album that will probably include a music video with an overcast beach and a lot of close-ups. Of course, it is entirely not that, primarily because it’s used somewhat sarcastically or ironically, in a time past auditioning, and post-success. It’s instead maybe a first time exploring what brought the ripened artistry to where it is and what chewed on the musician’s fingers, driving him to play. Maybe it’s a respectful nod to the past and the asphyxiating feelings of nostalgia and the unanswered queries that bubble up in a painfully quiet moment. Whatever it may be as a whole aside, the astutely tinkered and soldered lyrics coupled with the slithering melodies will create an air of intimacy and introspection that is certainly worth delving into.

Morris is about to go on a US tour starting June 8th. You can be sure to catch me at one of the two shows he’ll be playing in LA at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, on July 19th or 20th .

The single “OK Corral” is now available, as a little promo gift, for free download. I’m gonna go with ye olde peer pressure and say that all the cool kids are downloading, so you should too HERE.    

After Thelma and Louise hurled over their cliff, nothing lay below them but the only thing that could really defeat their vibrant life-force…a crushing valley below. Well in this case, the female outlaws are replaced yet again by a Deap Vally. Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards make up the musical pair of rebellious souls. I would like to point out before I go any further, that I wrote the little Thelma and Louise bit about an hour before checking out their Facebook “about” section which states their only influences as Thelma and Louise…no lies, pinky promise, cross my heart and what not. Anyways, now that that’s settled, you can get the idea from that analogy that the evoked attitude is very ‘take us as we are, because we’re not changing’. The unrestrained, gritty sexual energy that you find in those classic twosomes, like Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, or Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, is overflowing but also with a femininity and post-punk vibe that reminds me of The Kills or The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Also, the whole vocalist and drummer combo is very White Stripes, and the music does tend to emit a similar vibe. An article through NME quoted the girls in saying that they “would love to work with Jack, but don’t think he likes the way [they] dress. [They’re] too empowered as women.” Yikes, a bit critical, but good to know that these sirens really have no filter between song and speech, stage and self. They’re certainly not afraid to push the envelope with a sort of neo-feminism. The music screams that they’ll do and preach as they please. They take on the rock n’ roll stereotypes, of well…sex, drugs, and rock n roll, that have so long been instinctually associated with men, and add an extra pinch of “fuck you” brashness. In the video, they openly parade around in skimpy, revealing clothing, they plaster the word “cunts” on the wall, and they pour wine and whiskey on themselves in a bathtub of sensuality and intoxication. Some people may argue that this is an example of degradation for womankind, but in reality, it’s just the opposite. It’s more-so a message of strength and power through the destruction of labels and inhibitions to create a sense of equality through a criticism of all, with a lack of acceptance for playing nice or curtseying to political correctness. Their “image” lies within showing a disregard for the need to construct an image, and that’s a huge reason why I admire the two so much. There are more and more pop rock female musicians making moves in the industry these days, it is true, but how often do you see Florence Welch aggressively advertising curse words, or Hayley Williams showering herself in alcohol? I’m not saying that those things are necessary to be a performer or an admirable person, but what I am saying is that rock and roll is not the same as it used to be. It has become much more audience-concerned and mass-friendly, since nothing’s really about making the music and everything’s about making the money. Nowadays, you’re either a censored rock n’ roll more reminiscent to pop rock or you’re punk and expected to be extreme. These bad-ass chicks are defining a modern day, millennium classic rock mentality, and I’m just smitten.

The girls came together very recently, in 2011, and, of course, under the California sunshine (or spotlight) of Los Angeles. Their debut 4-song EP, Get Deap! was just released this month on April 9th and is filled to the brim with hot and heavy spite, bubbling from heart-wrenching lies that cause you to scream “look me in the eye”, to the toils of a starving artist, to the end of the world that’s begun to come about “’cause there’s too much time wasted, time spent hating”, and to the lack of fairness “that’s why we sing the blues”. They’ve played shows with previously mentioned DIIV and Nightmare & The Cat, as well as The Vaccines, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs themselves, Mumford & Sons, and Muse. After playing in the UK, they recently whirled into their American tour. The second show on the list was at Coachella and is soon to be followed with a repeat performance at the festival’s upcoming second weekend. For just starting up within the last 2 years, they’ve played with a ridiculous array of greats and toured a wonderful amount and distance. I expect a lot of controversy and excitement for them in the near future, which is splendid, since those are two of the major ingredients for impending rock and roll fame. Catch their next Coachella set on April 21st, 12pm, at the Mojave tent.

Check out their site and snag the EP HERE

Fall head over heals for this “Funnel of Love”. The indie heart-kicker presented above, by Terraplane Sun, is off the band’s second album, Coyote, of 2011.  Even though it was recorded in only 3 short days for little cost, it’s ridiculously enjoyable through your big headphones, or, better yet, your car speakers during a drive through their indigenous parts, Venice Beach.  The tracks have a full tone for such back-to-basics rock n’ roll. The music has both a raw blues influence pouring fluidly over to an irresistibly danceable trait.  Beyond the traditional guitar, bass, and drums, there is a handful of flavorful instrumental spices, whether it be harmonica, steel guitar, accordion, mandolin, some hip-shaking tambourine, or even those moans from the trombone, like on the catchy “Tell Me I’m Wrong,” or “Slow Train” which gets you feeling the heat on your neck and the dryness in your aching throat, reminiscent of a long well-deserved journey home. These guys bring big band to the blues and dust the dirt off your shoes. In an earlier interview with The Deli Magazine, they said “good music, like women and pillows, comes in all shapes and sizes.” This is a charmingly accurate metaphor, since this band clearly strives to make music that combines a variety of sounds, making each album, and each song distinctive, while still bringing the warmth from California grown melodies.  I caught a glimpse of the sun at their set, this past January at The Satellite that allowed me to sway to some fiery tunes from their most recent EP, Friends. Friends has a bit more pop and sensuality that’s easy to like and destined to be loved.The guys are opening a show for Imagine Dragons in Los Angeles, at the Palladium, on May 30th. Unfortunately for us, but wonderful for them, this gig is sold out. If you don’t already have those tickets locked up, check ‘em out at the Roxy at an earlier, more intimate show on May 10th

Get FB Official with ‘em HERE

Ghost In The Attic

Reed Turner

South By Southwest may be over, but with all that music, one could only expect there to be some leftover reverb rumbling in the air. Let’s just say, I may have had a few hounds sniffing out the grounds, since I couldn’t be there for the hunt, in person, and I’m still being shown some work from topnotch acts.

Today, I’m calling out to all you crooner connoisseurs and asking you to put down the glass of red wine and temporarily pause the old Sinatra vinyl playing in the background of your mind. Now that you’ve done that, pick up the bottle, press it to your chapped lips, and grab an earful of this track by my new favorite 21st century crooner, Reed Turner. With much less desperation and hair gel, and a bit more tenacity and 5 o’clock shadow, this Austin-based troubadour knows exactly how to use his music to make listeners feel as if they’re receiving a long lost lover’s whispers of the learned truths of life experience that are soft on the ears, yet hard to swallow. Ghosts in the Attic is Turner’s 3rd and most recent album that just dropped on February 5th. In an interview with RAJR Productions, he states that the purpose of the album was to “get away from the traditional singer/songwriter sound”.  Producer, Matt Novesky called it “proof that somebody can get back to basics, and make a very effective, dynamic record.” With Americana poetry one might expect from the lyrics of The Avett Brothers, and an entrancing intimacy reminiscent of Jeff Buckley, Turner really creates a romanticized portrait of reality. His folklores of travel, change, and growth allow for a deep-rooted sympathy with lyrics like, “I give all that I can…just a poet drawing conclusions of a wayward, broken man. And I’m a fool to leave these bloodstains on the floor, by the need to share our wounds with every stranger through the door”. The album, in general, is very well produced with a lot of attention to the little things, which is extremely important in the presentation of folk-oriented music. An upright, double bass is played, which generates a wonderful richness, to the point that you can almost feel the vibration of the strings. The extra vocals from Phoebe Hunt allow for the addition of a mystical alternative feel, and her use of the fiddle really tops it off. When the fiddle presents itself almost exactly half way through the title track, “Ghost in the Attic,” it hits you like a passionate kiss you just can’t resist. The notable appreciation for finger plucking, the appropriate switch-off between an electric and acoustic guitar, and the occasional insertions of harmonica really bring you into his sphere.

If you find yourself weak in the knees, or driving into the night for a Ghosts-induced adventure, I expect you might wanna check him out this coming Thursday, April 4th at The Mint in Los Angeles. Show starts at 9 p.m.

Get FB Official With Him HERE

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to wake up to a text invitation for a private gig at the intimate Foundation Room in the House of Blues. Naturally, I dropped everything I had to do that day, as I was told of a 3pm rendez-vous with Dawes and an open bar. Dawes is a band of (yes, of course) LA-based vagabonds, including the brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, Wylie Gelber, and Tay Straitharn, who act as the guiding light in the modern folk revival that seems to be preparing for battle against the radio flooding of distorted bass and the overuse of synthesizers. They are that true as blue, Americana, Folk Rock with Classic Rock influences, with a vintage feel as distressed as the 501’s you can find at a consignment shop, a little worn down with a bit of retro charm. They talked briefly about their appreciation for the production of music, and mentioned that they make their albums with the idea of them being played via vinyl, from start to finish. The guys are just closing up a record store/radio tour to promote their upcoming, 3rd album Stories Don’t End. This album was produced by the legendary Jacquire King. King’s work on Tom Waits’ 1999 Mule Variations and Kings of Leon’s 2010 Use Somebody brought home the Grammys. With his hands on the sound board, you can hear perfection calling. After the promo-tour, the band will be touring this summer as the opening act for…wait for it…Bob Dylan. Well, you just can’t get more Folk Rock than that. Taylor Goldsmith was so elated at the notion, he said that even if they never met the icon, just sharing the stage with him will be such an immense honor. Also, my dear Los Angelians, don’t be discouraged if you check out the list of tour dates and notice that LA isn’t on the map. Gelber assured me that they would come through the homeland; the date and location just haven’t been decided yet. Yesterday’s little shindig allowed for a 4-song set, 3 of which being from the new album. It started off with the track “From A Window Seat”, which is currently the only recording from Stories Don’t End available for a listen, as a little teaser. Next up was the tenderhearted ballad, “Just My Luck,” but my personal favorite of the day was the rowdier, yet still undeniably sentimental, “Someone Will”. From what I got a taste of, I have a feeling this is going to be a magical set of stories. 

Check out the album teaser with “From A Window Seat” embedded above. If you’re a die-hard fan be sure to join in on their fun. You can take a picture from a window seat, make it all hip with your app filters and your instagram, then tag @dawestheband and mention #fromawindowseat. Lastly, scope out the tour HERE.

It’s the things that go bump in the night, that send shivers up our spines, and lay goosebumps on our trembling skin, that send our hearts racing and minds spinning, like ghosts and demons, nightmares and black cats, or in this special case, Nightmare & the Cat. Honestly, from the moment I started this blog, I’ve been wanting a reason to share the tale of this tapping tail. The LA-based band consists of London-raised brothers, Django and Samuel Stewart, and Scotty Henson, Claire Acey, and Spike Phillips. As Timothy Leary once believed, get ready to “turn on, tune in, and drop out.” A listen to this bunch will hit you with the ethereal vibes of a contemporary space rock, psychedelic revival, with divine instrumentation and a lot of clear influence from the mind-altering sounds of surf punk Pixies, which can even be heard in some Kim Deal characteristics from Acey. At the same time, it’s this ambient, timbral focused pop that also reminds me of a 60s/70s Jefferson Airplane. Throw in some catchy drum beats and I smell a flavorful future for this new act that “can bite your head right off”. The track above, “Special”, is just one of many vibrant beauties. The group was signed to Capitol Records in June 2012, and is currently finishing up some studio time, but you can grab their 2011 self-titled, 5-song EP on Itunes.They might call themselves a nightmare, but a real good listen through will put you in a dream-like state.

Nightmare & the Cat will be playing a really exceptional gig coming up at the Skirball Center for “Gary Baseman’s House Party”. It showcases the artist’s work in a new exhibit entitled “The Door is Always Open”. At the opening event on April 25th though, Baseman will be painting a new piece as the band plays. It will undoubtedly be a sight to see and a sound to groove to. Buy tickets in advance HERE .

If you’re cheap, or you just can’t wait that long to dig in, check out their free show on March 30th at Dim Mak Studios at Cinespace in Hollywood.

Recently posted on ‘em. Always have to share some fresh goods, though. Here is The Diamond Light's brand new video for “Fuck the Clock”.

By The Sea

Electric Graffiti

Before I headed to the east coast, I caught a glimpse of the extremely fresh-faced, untarnished, Electric Graffiti. I put it that way because these guys are literally just jumping into the live show circuit. They have a pretty unique sound for an alternative band, that’s mellow, yet anthem-esque. They’re a group worth keeping tabs on and hearing develop. I grabbed a few words from vocalist and guitarist, Khari Rhynes:

T: How long have you been playing music? What instrument(s) do you play?

KR: I have been playing guitar since I was nine, and have been singing since I was 17.


T: What’s your favorite guitar (that you own) and what’s your dream guitar?

KR: *laughs* I love how you added “that you own” into the equation. Hmm, my favorite guitar right now would be my 2003 Gibson SG. I got it at guitar center as a birthday gift from my father. It has seen so many gigs, and has touched the hands of many greats, including myself of course. I’d have to say it basically sums up my youth in its entirety. Dream guitar would be my own custom guitar, but there’s also the Sugi Rainmaker with a Fernandez sustainer. Matte red finish with a black pick guard.

T: How would you explain the sound and message you’re trying to convey with the songs of Electric Graffiti?

KR: Electric graffiti’s mission is to say the things that go unsaid throughout modern society. Each song is a window into the minds of everyday civilians and the emotions they possess while interacting with one another. Our ambient/sonic sound is a representation of the city we live in. Each note is placed to paint a picture inside the listeners mind. Each song is like a scene in a person’s life, and all the songs put together is movie filled with situations any person could relate to.

T: Electric Graffiti is a spunky name…what inspired that?

KR: We at first wanted to be “Physical Graffiti”, but we changed to Electric Graffiti to avoid any Led Zeppelin cover-band confusion. Graffiti came to us because we felt that it was and still is the most honest form of art. Being LA natives, we have an attraction to city life and urban expression.

T: Who are your main musical influences?

KR: Our main influences would be Kings of Leon, Radiohead, Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Local Natives, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Rage Against the Machine, Snoop Dogg, and so much more…

T: What is “By The Sea” about?

KR: By the sea is an invitation to all who haven’t experienced LA to come out and get in on the fun. It’s a reminder that you can enjoy a big city like LA without having to be special or wealthy. All you need is a good outlook on life and good people around you.

T: Favorite album?

KR: Michael Jackson’s Thriller…cliché I know.

T: Any suggestions to new artists and groups trying to break out into the music industry/scene?

KR: Go into it head first and don’t look back.


Get FB official with ‘em HERE

Or cruise on over to the Roxy on April 11th for your own invitation to some fun by the sea.

I’m posting a bit early, but tomorrow’s Hipstamatic showcase is for those early risers that have learned to tune out last night’s leftover ringing in the ears. So, if any of you exist out there, I suggest you roll through this “morning after brunch party,” as they put it, to catch another precious gem. My last post was on Diamond Rugs, but now it’s time to get off the rug and look up at the light. The Diamond Light is a Los Angeles based, local, indie rock band that I’ve been lucky enough to catch live a few times before. Griffin Young throws out some echoing, soulful wails and shivering whispers, with equally reverberant wails from his guitar playing. Brian Stanley brings some funk to the groove while still maintaining that pop modernity on the bass. When the two of them join vocals, as well, you can tell they’re riding on the same wavelength. Trevor Menear can be caught with the quick fingers on the keyboard, but also watch out for some of his sweat-inducing guitar solos, and Ian Ochs brings the whole lot together on the drums. Thus, it creates what they endearingly refer to “rock ‘n’ soul”. That’s a pretty spot-on definition, as I’d call them an electrified heartland rock that requires you to only drink straight whiskey at their shows. I saw them tagged in an Instagram post the other day, and the photographer even more endearingly referred to their sweet sounds as “baby making music”. Well…you can’t get much more complimentary than that. These boys have a drive and a clear passion that glows like a diamond on fire, which is noticeably felt in the air during their sets. The song “3 Days”, shown above, is presented as eerie, spin-tingling, and sure to get you gasping for the chorus. It’s got a stomping melody accompanied by a special fullness in the current that echoes from that semi-hollowbody Epiphone. The track is part of their most recent, self-titled, and only full-length, album, The Diamond Light. It’s worth listening to all the way through and has a good amount of diversity, ranging from this crowd shaker, and all the way to a solemn and nostalgic, bruise-kissing “Strong Wind South”.

So, dust off your denim and pop in some Visine to make your way over to their set tomorrow. Try not to make any babies…or do, whatever works best. RSVP for the full event from 11am to 4pm HERE.

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