Alpine performing at Bardot (School Night) on March 4, 2013
As I write this, Alpine just wrote on Facebook that while on tour in the US, their video for Villages went past two million views. With solid reports coming out of SXSW about their many performances and KCRW picking their songs Lovers 1 and 2 as a recent double header Top Tune, it won’t be long before this Aussie six-piece finds their way into your ears.
I was lucky enough to catch them live at both Bardot in Hollywood and at Brooklyn’s Glasslands and both shows had me dancing from the first beat. Filled with energy, singers Phoebe Baker and Lou James get the crowd moving with their catchy tunes and lovely harmonies. I guarantee that once their album is released in the US, you’ll be hearing a lot more of them.
Alpine’s debut album, A is for Alpine will be released in the US on May 21st on Votiv Records. Check out the video for one of my favorites, Gasoline directed by Kris Moyes and be sure to catch them when they’re stateside again.
Gypsy and the Cat performing their U.S. live debut at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, CA, February 19, 2013.
With the success of Australian bands like Cut Copy and a huge Grammy win for Gotye‘s Somebody That I Used To Know, I expect more and more pop-infused indie bands from Down Under will be making the long trek to try and win over American audiences. The Vaccines‘ recent show in Los Angeles had San Cisco open to a very enthusiastic crowd that sang along and went wild for most of their early set. Gold Fields performed to a sold out crowd last night at the Troubadour and Melbourne pop band, Alpine should be reaching our shores again any day now. When I was invited to the Hotel Cafe last week to see the American debut of Gypsy & The Cat, I had high expectations and wasn’t disappointed.
Xavier Bacash and Lionel Towers, former Melbourne DJs released Gilgamesh, their highly successful debut album back in 2010. It garnered rave reviews in both the Australian and European press, but failed to reach much of a U.S. audience. I’m guessing that’s why they ditched their major label and went with their own on their latest release, The Late Blue on Alsatian Music. It’s currently available on iTunes and definitely worth a listen.
Their U.S. debut at the Hotel Cafe was a perfect start to what should be a very fruitful year for the band. They played songs off both of their albums including their 2010 hit, Jona Vark that had more than a few people singing along. Newer songs like Bloom and Zombie World sounded very strong with the addition of a touring drummer and bass player. “Anyone here have our music?” Xavier asked the large industry heavy crowd to which a few clapped as they began playing Human Desire from their debut, Gilgamesh. The band were more than gracious through their short, but sweet set and finished with their new single, Sorry. Check them out this weekend and next when they perform at the Future Music Festival in Australia.
You do remember electronic duo Matmos, don’t you? They’re the DJ’s that worked with Björk on Vespertine and also toured with her around the world, that’s how I first heard of them anyway. Well, they just released a new album, The Marriage of True Minds on Thrill Jockey earlier this week and from their press release it looks like it could be something very special.
“The Marriage Of True Minds is Matmos’ first new full-length album in five years and follows 2012′s The Ganzfeld EP, which was the culmination of four years of parapsychological experiments based on the Ganzfeld (“total field”) experiment. Test subjects were put into a state of sensory deprivation by covering their eyes and listening to white noise on headphones, and then Matmos member Drew Daniel attempted to transmit “the concept of the new Matmos record” directly into their minds. The resulting transcripts of the videotaped psychic experiments became poetic and conceptual scores used by Matmos to generate the nine songs on this album, which prominently features vocalists and voices for the first time in Matmos’ work. Guest musicians include Dan Deacon, Dominique Leone, DJ Dog Dick, Leslie Weiner and Holger Hiller (Palais Schaumberg), Jason Willett (Half Japanese), Angel Deradoorian, Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak) and more.”
See what I mean? The whole project sounds incredible and they’re currently on tour in the U.S. with only a handful of shows left, including a date at Public Works in San Francisco on Sunday, February 24th and a show at the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Monday, February 25th. The last two shows before heading to Europe in March are at The ND in Austin, TX on February 28th and Zanzabar in Louisville, KY on March 2nd.
Check out their amazing version of the Buzzcocks‘ ESP that was shot live at Thrill Jockey’s 20th Anniversary show last September in Baltimore where they are currently based. This should cement the idea of seeing one of their upcoming shows.
New York’s Buke & Gase recently released their second LP, General Dome on Brassland to great reviews. Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez have once again succeeded in creating a unique sound based on their homemade instruments as well as Dyer’s amazing voice.
“Buke = (pronounced “Byook”) a self-modified six-string former baritone ukulele.”
“Gase = (pronounced “Gace”) a guitar-bass hybrid of Aron Sanchez’s own creation.”
They’re currently finishing up their North American tour with a stop tonight at the Echo in Los Angeles and also a show at the Casbah in San Diego tomorrow, February 20th before heading to Australia and Europe. Check out their new video for their very catchy single, Hiccup and grab a ticket to one of their last shows of the tour.
M. Ward with (not so) surprise guest, Zooey Deschanel performing at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, February 7, 2013.
The Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles played host to M. Ward last week to a very enthusiastic crowd. The show was supposed to happen last October, but was cancelled due to illness. “I was sick as a brick”, he said after coming home from Mexico with a fever. The show featured songs from his last album, A Wasteland Companion as well as 2009′s Hold Time which were well received when crowd favorites like Primitive Girl and For Beginners were played.
“As you can see behind me, it’s a beautiful evening”, Ward said referring to the five windowpane backdrops that projected various outdoor scenes throughout the evening. The mostly seated crowd finally got up to dance a bit when Ward played his Buddy Holly cover of Rave On even moving two couples to swing dance in the aisles which security unfortunately put a stop to. The show reached a deafening peak when Zooey Deschanel came out to sing She & Him‘s You’ve Really Got A Hold on Me and Magic Trick, one of my favorite earlier tunes from Ward. They ended the show with the Rivieras’ version of California Sun which had the whole crowd finally on their feet.
Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth performing at the Troubadour February 5, 2013.
Dirty Projectors‘ recent sold out show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles was filled with hardcore fans that even surprised singer David Longstreth, “You don’t see a lot of moshing at a Dirty Projectors show”, but that was exactly what was happening about mid-way through their set. The band who usually performs in much larger venues were definitely in high spirits for the hour and a half show that included many songs from their latest release, Swing Lo Magellan as well as songs from their lengthy discography.
“This is the most reluctant catwalk I’ve ever seen”, Longstreth shouted out referring to the Troubadour’s very small center stage extension as he began to do a little rock star posing of his own. They really shined during their three song encore playing one of their most popular singles, Stillness Is The Move that had everyone in the crowd wildly dancing. They finished with their song, Impregnable Question from their latest which was the perfect ending to one of the best shows I’ve seen them perform.
No other dates have been announced, but last year Longstreth wrote and directed a short film produced by Pitchfork.tv and YouTube called Hi Custodian which stars the band and features the music from Swing Lo Magellan, it’s just over twenty minutes long and is a must see.
You can catch her tonight, February 1st in Houston at Fitzgerald’s, Feb. 5th at Phoenix’s Crescent Ballroom, and next Friday, February 8th at the First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles along with Deradoorian from Dirty Projectors fame opening the show. She’s also performing on April 20th at the Desert Daze festival in Mecca, CA along with Warpaint. Check out her video for Flatlands and grab a ticket to one of her upcoming shows for what I’m sure will be a beautiful evening of music.
Their energetic live performance is really something to see… it’s hard to not dance to this band which makes me laugh at the title of their new record. The band consists of brother and sister Rob and Rachel Kolar on vocals and guitar, Oliver Newell on upright bass, Aaron Robinson on slide guitar, and then there’s Lauren Brown who plays drums. Well, she’s not just a drummer, but a tap dancing drummer. She actually stands on top of the bass drum and tap dances on it while keeping the beat, it’s pretty fun to watch. If you like Neko Case and Rilo Kiley, with a little sprinkle of John Doe and X thrown in, you’ll love this band!
They are currently touring across the country with stops at the Independent in San Francisco on Feb. 2nd, One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans on Feb. 24th, Miami’s the Vagabond on March 2nd, as well as SXSW in Austin from March 13-18th along with many dates in between and after. Check them out if you want to see a great live performance and definitely pick up a copy of their new album so you don’t feel alone when everyone else is singing along.