When Shadow Shadow Shade burst onto the L.A. scene about two years ago -- then known as Afternoons -- you'd have thought there wasn't an arena big enough to hold them.
An early song, "Say Yes," hit the radio, and Shepard Fairey designed a poster for it. The seven-piece collective went to work on more music, occasionally gathering to play exhilarating live shows and stoke the fires of anticipation for a proper release. Finally, this week, they have an album to show for it.
Their self-released, self-titled album takes a dizzying, wide-screen approach to indie-rock (it would not be disparaging to call it prog-pop, or even "indie-pomp") that brings to mind at various times Pink Floyd, Queen, Arcade Fire and the Mamas and the Papas. Inflated pop choruses, intricate arrangements, horns, keys, doubled percussion, an opera-trained vocalist -- Shadow Shadow Shade eschews restraint and goes for it.
Their first music video is even a 17-minute movie.
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it's a triumph for the bands' veteran lineup, which includes four members of the band Irving (Brian Canning, Steven Scott, Aaron Burrows and Brent Turner), multi-instrumentalist Sam Johnson, singer Claire McKeown and Tom Biller, a guitarist-bassist and producer/engineer who's worked with Kanye West, Elliott Smith and Fiona Apple. (Among other work, Biller produced forthcoming albums by L.A. bands Warpaint and Voxhaul Broadcast.)
As part of a short West Coast tour, Shadow Shadow Shade plays a hometown album-release show tonight at the Echoplex, supported by Eastern Conference Champions and Lesands.
Elsewhere: M.I.A., joined by Rye Rye, plays to a sold-out Mayan Theatre. ... Indie darlings the Morning Benders, still riding high from the love shown their sophomore release Big Echo, kick off a big U.S. tour at the Music Box, with Twin Sister and Cults supporting. ... And Miike Snow comes back around for yet another SoCal date, teaming up with Mark Ronson & the Business Intl. at Club Nokia.
Also: CKY at the Roxy; Zola Jesus and Broken Spindles at the Echo; the Legendary Shack Shakers at Spaceland; K-OS and Shad at the El Rey Theatre; John West and Sara Haze at the Troubadour; Bachman & Turner at the Canyon Club; Cory Chisel at the Bootleg Theater; Devin Townsend at the Key Club; Toby Lightman at the Hotel Cafe; Death to Anders, Francisco the Man and George Glass at the Silverlake Lounge; Carved Souls at the Central in Santa Monica; the MuerTones at the Redwood; and PS I Love You at the Mint.