Jessy Lanza’s Smart Electro-Pop Filled Debut, Pull My Hair Back

Jessy Lanza performing at the Hollywood Palladium, April 1, 2014. Photo by Barry Belkin

Jessy Lanza performing at the Hollywood Palladium, April 1, 2014. Photo by Barry Belkin

Jessy Lanza has been quite busy lately. Not only has she just finished up a tour with Cut Copy, she’s about to embark on an even longer headlining tour of the US and Canada along with some festival appearances in Europe.

Still riding high from the great reviews she received from her fantastic debut album, Pull My Hair Back released late last year on Hyperdub, I was lucky enough to catch the Canadian singer perform last week at the Hollywood Palladium. Playing most of her new record, she entranced the early arrivals with her unique electro-R&B tinged sound that had the crowd swaying during her hypnotic set. Her beautiful, breathy voice matched with her catchy beats really strikes a nice balance that once you let in, you can’t help but to let it move you as the growing Cut Copy audience displayed during her set.

Jessy will be heading back on the road at the end of the month playing some Canadian dates, as well as some US dates before she heads to Europe. Any fans of electro-pop or R&B should make it a point to see her incredible live performance. Check out her video for Kathy Lee and grab tickets here for one of her upcoming shows.

 


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Angel Olsen’s Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Photo by Zia Anger.

Photo by Zia Anger.

Singer Angel Olsen is back with a new album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness released earlier this month on Jagjaguwar. I featured Angel here on Beautiful Decay early last year with her incredibly haunting sophomore record, Half Way Home. She has one of those unique voices that clearly stands on its own and with this new record she brings some of it with an edgier, harder sound.

The record starts simply enough with the opening track, “Unfucktheworld” where she sings about a broken heart and then lets loose with the next track, “Forgiven/Forgotten“. It’s truly a beautiful record from start to finish and quite different than both her debut, Strange Cacti and Half Way Home, but her voice is still the star of the show.

Angel is about to embark on a massive three month tour of the US and Europe so you have plenty of chances to see her live. You can catch her this coming Sunday, March 2nd at the Echoplex in Los Angeles, March 3rd at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall, and Friday March 7th at Barboza in Seattle. She’ll also be playing at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin as well as at Primavera Sound in Barcelona, Spain. Check out all of her tour dates here and check out her new video for, “Hi-Five” directed by her frequent collaborator, Zia Anger.

 


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The Beautiful Songs of Mutual Benefit, Love’s Crushing Diamond

Photo by Danny Dorsa

Photo by Danny Dorsa

Jordan Lee aka Mutual Benefit is giving Justin Vernon a run for his money. His debut album, Love’s Crushing Diamond out on Other Music Recording Co. is a beautifully crafted, lush sounding pop record that falls somewhere in the neighborhood of Fleet FoxesBon Iver, and Youth Lagoon.

The songs are heartfelt and powerful with Lee’s fragile and beautiful voice as the centerpiece, and the recordings are an instantly engaging blend of high and low fidelity, mixing lush studio productions, featuring keys, guitar, violin and banjo, with clattering homemade percussion and found sounds. While the album is certainly Lee’s brainchild, the recordings are very much a collaborative effort featuring contributions by friends and others met along the way.

Mutual Benefit is currently on a US tour with European dates to follow. Check out his video for Advanced Falconry and then catch him live this Tuesday, January 28th at the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock in Los Angeles. He’ll also be playing some East Coast dates in early February before heading off to Europe.

 


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The Psychedelic Sound Of The Netherlands’ Jacco Gardner

Photo by Nick Helderman

Photo by Nick Helderman

Hailing from Amsterdam, 24 year old multi instrumentalist Jacco Gardner was the perfect opener for fellow psych-rock band, Allah-Las the other night at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Jacco released his debut LP, “Cabinet Of Curiosities” earlier this year on Trouble In Mind Records and was in great spirits performing for the first time in Los Angeles.

The short, but sweet set featured songs from his debut LP including “The One Eyed King”, “Chameleon”, “The Ballad of Little Jean”, and my personal favorite, “Clear The Air”. The show echoed the album’s fuzzy, but highly psychedelic feel that had the crowd swaying from the very first beat. I’ll be looking forward to hearing what he has up his sleeve for the next record, but in the meantime NPR just released a video for his newest single, “The End Of August” that you can watch here.

Jacco is currently on tour with the Allah-Las and you can catch both bands at The Chapel in San Francisco tomorrow night, Saturday October 5th. Enjoy the video for his song, “Clear The Air” and check out dates for the rest of his US tour as well as his jaunt across Europe that will last through the end of the year.


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Local Natives Perform Emotional Hometown Show At LA’s Greek Theatre

Taylor Rice of Local Natives. Photo by Barry Belkin

Nick Ewing of Local Natives. Photo by Barry Belkin

Friday the 13th was nothing but lucky for LA’s Local Natives as they headlined the Greek Theatre a couple of weeks ago. The band gave their hometown fans a hard hitting, emotional show full of heartfelt thanks and crushing songs. Not that long ago you could have seen them at any number of clubs in Echo Park or Silverlake, but to see them perform at one of their largest headlining hometown shows to date was something I could not miss. With their latest album, “Hummingbird” released at the beginning of the year on Frenchkiss Records, the band played their hearts out to the enthusiastic crowd of well wishers.

Opening with, “Breakers” from their new record, the band jammed through songs both new and old including, “Wide Eyes“, “You & I, “Camera Talk”, and “Airplanes” and continued to thank the audience of fans, family, and friends up until their final song of the night. With that familiar thumping drum beat and the band bathed in red light, the crowd clapped and jumped along to one of the most intense versions of, “Sun Hands” I’ve ever seen them perform.

Local Natives will be appearing both weekends of the Austin City Limits Music Festival on October 4th and 11th as well some shows in between so check out there tour dates here to see if they’re playing in or around your area before they head off to Europe. Also, check out their new video for their song, “Ceilings” which was directed by their bass player, Nick Ewing.


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London Duo AlunaGeorge Will Have You Dancing To Their Debut, Body Music

AlunaGeorge performing at the El Rey Theatre, September 12, 2013.

AlunaGeorge performing at the El Rey Theatre, September 12, 2013. Photo by Barry Belkin.

Aluna Francis and George Reid, better known as AlunaGeorge have one of my favorite records of the year. I’ll even forgive them for covering Montell Jordan‘s 90′s hit, “This Is How We Do It” even though I couldn’t help but sing along when they played it during their LA debut at the El Rey Theatre a couple of weeks ago.

Playing songs from their debut album, “Body Music” released on Vagrant Records this past July including my favorites, “You know You Like It”, “Attracting Flies“, and “Best Be Believing”. They also got the crowd really riled up when they played their collaboration with Disclosure, “White Noise” which the crowd acknowledged by jumping up and down through the whole song. Ending their set with, “Your Drums, Your Love“, the lights came on almost immediately signaling no encore even though most of the crowd was begging for more.

You can catch the band performing in Australia starting this Saturday at the Listen Out festival taking place in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth before heading back home for a full scale European tour that will have them on the road until the end of November. Check out their latest video for their infectious song, “You Know You Like It” and definitely try to catch one of their upcoming shows.

 


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Montreal’s Cœur de Pirate Makes Her LA Debut

Cœur de Pirate

“I heard my song at Whole Foods like a half an hour ago… this is weird”, said Montreal’s Cœur de Pirate, aka Béatrice Martin who performed this past weekend in LA at the El Rey Theatre in front of a very enthusiastic crowd. At only 23 years old, she already has two award winning LP’s under her belt and three new nominations from the ADISQ (Association québécoise de l’industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo) this year, and she was invited to perform at the Francofolies first American event, A Tribute to Édith Piaf at New York’s Beacon Theatre tonight. I was more than happy that the busy young singer/songwriter graciously sat down with me to chat before her LA debut.

“It’s my first California tour, I did Portland and Sasquatch about a year ago when I was still pregnant so that was intense”.  “I wasn’t expecting such a turn out” she says about her show at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall the night before. “I thought 3 people were gonna show up… it was packed… people that don’t know French and they’re just singing… it was really nice so I’m excited about tonight”.

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Julia Holter’s Music Video “This is a True Heart”

Photo by Rick Bahto

Photo by Rick Bahto

Julia Holter

Julia Holter performing at the First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles on September 11, 2013. Photo by Barry Belkin

Los Angeles based artist Julia Holter recently released her third full length album, Loud City Song on Domino Records to great reviews as well as a feature about her in The New Yorker. I was lucky enough to catch the first show of her North American tour last week at the First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles as part of their Church Sessions concert series. Playing to a very respectful and quiet audience, she performed songs from her new album accompanied by members of Los Angeles’ wIld Up orchestra who also performed earlier in the evening. You could hear a pin drop during her entire performance making me happy the show wasn’t at your average club/venue.

Her cinematic new video, “This is a True Heart” is a perfect introduction to her beautiful voice and rather unique sound. Julia Holter is definitely worth your time and her live performance will resonate with you long after the lights come on. Upcoming shows include Chicago’s Schubas on September 21st as well Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg on September 24th. You can also catch her in Europe this coming October and November. Check out the video and hopefully you can catch one of her upcoming performances.

 


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