Father John Misty performing at the FYF Fest August 2, 2012
Father John Misty, aka Josh Tillman left Fleet Foxes in January of 2012 to the disbelief of many fans, myself included. I personally thought he was crazy, I mean he’s been releasing excellent solo albums as J. Tilllman for years, but why would he leave such a successful band like Fleet Foxes? When I first heard his new record Fear Fun under the moniker Father John Misty, I knew why. The album which he produced with Jonathan Wilson is amazing from start to finish and is definitely one of my favorite records of the year. He for one has always stated that he was just a hired hand for Fleet Foxes and just learned the drum parts for their songs.
With his dry sense of humor and imposing stage presence, he stole the show from many an act he was performing with, he definitely stole the show at FYF Fest 2012. I remember Kevin Bronson from Buzz Bands LA telling me after his performance, “he’s like Dean Martin“, which I thought was a perfect compliment. The singer is just hilarious and can rival many a stand-up comic with his quick witted comebacks to any fan that makes a comment out loud while he’s performing.
His humor also extends to his website calling his upcoming tour dates, “Opportunities to Capture Cell Phone Footage of a Live Rock Show You Went To”. Yes, he’s heading back on the road in 2013 with some headline dates as well as support for The Walkmen, before heading to Australia. Tickets are available for all shows including his last show of the year on Dec. 29th at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles via Ticketmaster.
Also check out his video for “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” which his website describes as the following, “In this 3 hour experimental film, Aubrey Plaza reprises her career-defining role as Duncan Splays, a retired bounty-hunter and casual naturalist.”
I’ve been a huge fan of Jonathan Bates’ music for a long time. He was in the LA based band Mellowdrone, who I first saw back at the Troubadour in 2003 and loved. I first saw Big Black Delta at the Satellite in Los Angeles in mid 2011 during one of the free Monday night residences. I can’t remember who else played that night, but Big Black Delta made a lasting impression. I didn’t even realize it was the singer from Mellowdrone, since it was just Bates on stage by himself in darkness with a laptop and an array of lights behind him with a harder electronic sound. I did know that I was instantly taken by the music and his intensity. Earlier this year I saw him open for M83 at Club Nokia, this time he was backed by two hard hitting female drummers which definitely made it a more powerful dynamic and I was blown away again.
I was fortunate enough to speak with him the other day and he was nothing more than gracious. When I asked about his intensity on stage, he mentioned the old adage, “I like to play every show like it’s my last, since you never know”. I also asked what was the one record that changed things for him in regards to making music. “Sparklehorse. When I first heard Good Morning Spider… he played all the instruments on that record and I thought, I could do something like that and make my own thing. I even named Mellowdrone after his band, using a three syllable name just like he did”. The “he” Jonathan is referring to is the late Mark Linkous, mastermind behind Sparklehorse. I mentioned that I had known him back in the late 80′s when we worked together at a telemarketing office in LA, he was in a band called Dancing Hoods at the time. Probably dated myself there, but hopefully he got a kick out of my story.
“I’m just as fucked up as they say, I can’t fake the daytime, found an entrance to escape into the dark”, sang Emily Haines as Metric opened up with the first track, Artificial Nocturne from their newest record Synthetica. I doubt many of her fans would agree with her since the outpouring of love and excitement came as soon as the lights went down and didn’t let up for the whole show. I for one have been a huge fan of Metric’s music since I first saw them open up for fellow Canadians, Stars back in 2003 at the now closed Knitting Factory in Hollywood.
The laser light show over drummer Joules Scott-Key started when they played the title track Synthetica and as soon as the first notes for Dead Disco came on, the crowd jumped into a dance frenzy, not that it wasn’t before. While Emily is an amazing performer (I challenge anyone to do her trademark 80′s aerobic dancing for an hour and half), she has very few words for the crowd, that is until the encore. “I know it’s a cliche… moving out to CA to fulfill your dreams, but I’m so glad we did it… carrying gear when it’s not freezing cold… contrast to Canada… music trumps all the talking in the world.” With just James Shaw on acoustic, the pair ended with Gimme Sympathy which turned into a sing/clap-along as the rest of the band joined them onstage for the last half of the “lullaby”. Check out their new video for Breathing Underwater for a behind the scenes glimpse at what their Synthetica tour was like.
Shirley Manson from Garbage sings to an adoring fan, “Why do you Love me?” at the San Manuel Casino on December 6, 2012.
It was a long trek in rush hour traffic from Los Angeles to Highland, CA to see Garbage‘s final headline show of the year at the San Manuel Casino, but well worth it! I was lucky enough to catch their “rehearsal” back in early April at the Bootleg Theatre and I can tell you that even after touring most of the year (Shirley announced that this was their 100th show of the tour), they still have incredible energy and power and obviously love playing together.
They performed songs from their new record Not Your Kind Of People and of course many hits from their entire catalogue. During the opening of Stupid Girl, Shirley went down and did 20 perfect push-ups sharing with the crowd that she’s still in amazing shape after all these years. I’m sure I’m not the only one that would pay to see Gwen “Abs of Steel” Stefani and Shirley Manson in a push-up contest. Shirley went on to dedicate, #1 Crush to Bean from KROQ’s Kevin & Bean morning show stating how incredible and brave he was. Bean recently underwent kidney transplant surgery to help long time KROQ staffer Scott Mason, It was actually one of the most touching song dedications I have ever heard at a concert.
Garbage heads to New Zealand and Australia starting in February, 2013 so definitely check them out if you’re able to!
John Cale founded The Velvet Underground back in 1965 with Lou Reed and he’s been going strong ever since. The living legend turned 70 earlier this year and yes, he’s been making music for almost 50 years! His fifteenth solo album, Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood came out this past October on Double Six Records to great reviews.
You can still get tickets for tonight’s last stop of his West Coast tour at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles with opener Cass McCombs via Ticketmaster. He also has three special performances in January, 2013 (A tribute to Nico and Paris 1919) at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music. Check out the video for Face to the Sky and do what you can to make it to one of these rare shows.
Check out the smoky, goth-tinged new video by Los Angeles’ own Cold Showers that premiered earlier this week on Noisey. “BC” directed by Brian Davila is “an homage to films such as The Hunger, Society, and Night Of The Comet”. Their debut LP Love and Regret is out now on Dais Records and they’ll be heading out on the road with Veronica Falls starting in March of next year. You can also catch them in Los Angeles with Black Marble at the Echo for Part Time Punks on Feb. 24th, 2013.
How To Dress Well performing at the Echoplex, December 4, 2012
It’s late Tuesday night… VERY late, well it’s actually almost 1am on Wednesday morning when Whitney Houston sings out from the speakers and Tom Krell aka How To Dress Well makes his way onto the Echoplex stage. Ten candles burn at his feet and beautiful video projections illuminate him and his backing band when his voice, a beautiful haunting falsetto hits my ears and my head starts thumping to the beat.
Playing songs from Total Loss, his newish record out now on Acéphale and a few from his debut album Love Remains, the heartbreaking, but beautiful set highlighted not only his voice, but his talent as a songwriter. When he sang the song Set It Right, it rang out like an R&B version of the late Jim Carroll‘s, People Who Died with the names of friends and family who have passed or not in his life anymore.
Sweden’s Kate Boy are set to release their debut EP Northern Lights on IAMSOUND Records on January 22, 2013. They have kindly released two songs in advance, one a video for Northern Lights and the other, a b-side called In Your Eyes via SoundCloud. Both songs are infectious and have been on repeat since they landed in my inbox late last week.