Indie Rock and Stuff

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • Sarah Golonka
  • The Eeries
When Los Angeles rock quartet The Eeries' brash song "Cool Kid" was played on KROQ last month, it was the first time in two years the influential Los Angeles radio station had added an unsigned band to its rotation. After discovering the cheeky ode to outsiders via tweets by Courtney Love and My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way, KROQ Music Director Lisa Worden said the song's '90s influence and snarky lyrics ("You're so hip it makes me sick") make it "totally 'KROQ'."

Almost immediately, The Eeries, who have also received public accolades from Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx and Oasis' Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs, were snatched up by Interscope Records.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tim Presley and Ty Segall - PHOTO BY BRIAN PRITCHARD
  • Photo by Brian Pritchard
  • Tim Presley and Ty Segall
White Fence's latest album, For the Recently Found Innocent, took Tim Presley out of the isolation of his bedroom and into the studio — well, into Ty Segall's one car garage with a foot of soundproofing on each wall, a space so tight Presley says your drink would knock over if you winked.

"That garage is basically a bedroom," jokes Segall. "Nah, it was smaller," adds Presley.

For Presley, who moved to Los Angeles so he "didn't have to rely on other peoples' opinions or stigmas," recording as White Fence has always been a pretty solitary process. 

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • Photo courtesy of the artist
  • The Neighbourhood
The Neighbourhood are pretty tired of talking about what the deal is with their fixation on black and white. "We've answered this question like a gazillion times," says frontman Jesse Rutherford. "Do you have any other questions?"

In all fairness, the Neighbourhood has been queried — interrogated, even — many times about their image since "Sweater Weather" blazed the charts in 2012. To the band, it's an endless discussion about something that just comes naturally: "It's kind of our DNA," Rutherford says of the group's aesthetic.

But, to some on the outside, their dedication to monochromatism is perplexing — the L.A. Times even called it "silly" when the band requested to only be photographed in black and white at Coachella in 2013.

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  • Screenshot from Roberts Ranch Larimer / CO by Burke Roberts
Spindrift has been making cinematic soundtrack-art since the '90s. Right now, they're roaming the range in a genre dubbed "Psychedelic Spaghetti Western."

Their latest cinematic trip began two years ago, when the band embarked on a month-long trek across the West; performing live at historic sites, cooked-desert terrain, and behind the dusty vestiges of old ghost towns.

The vision of both the band and filmmaker Burke Roberts was to create a cinematic experience — a psychedelic western soundtrack that now (after two years) has a monument: a whiskey-soaked, spaghetti western peyote trip called Spindrift: Ghost of the West.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Josh Schwartz in Painted Hills - PHOTO BY SASHA EISENMAN
  • Photo by Sasha Eisenman
  • Josh Schwartz in Painted Hills
After releasing 2010's Painted Hills under his solo project of the same name, Josh Schwartz, former guitarist of iconic indie folk rock act Beachwood Sparks, received praise for the record; one reviewer called it "the soundtrack to the best possible hippie dream."

Shortly after, he also received news that he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease, which degenerates motor neurons that control voluntary movements and muscle power. 

Now 42, Schwartz has been battling the disease for close to four years. It affects muscles all over the body, making everything from playing music to eating and speaking a challenge. Now, in 2014, the daily struggle has taken its toll.

"We've had enough. We're just ready," says Allison Betzler, longtime girlfriend of the prolific musician.

Here's how you can help.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

Indie Rock and Stuff

The Church on York Lives On

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Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 4:00 AM
S.H.I.T. performing at Los Globos, co-presented by The Church on York - PHOTO COURTESY OF LOS GLOBOS
  • Photo courtesy of Los Globos
  • S.H.I.T. performing at Los Globos, co-presented by The Church on York
After opening in November, The Church on York became something of an indie-rock phenomenon. Based in a literal Highland Park church, it hosted high-caliber shows — including the Vivian Girls' final performance in Los Angeles — and also put on everything from art classes to support groups.

But the space's continued existence was in doubt almost from the get-go, due to complaints from neighbors and legal issues — after all, the spot did not have its proper permits. "The end of The Church on York came out of my sheer stupidity of putting the cart before the horse," says venue owner Graeme Flegenheimer. "It would have taken $500,000 to get the place up to code."

Thus, it was forced to shut down on May 15.

Its final show, featuring the band Haxan Cloak, had Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers in attendance and earned about 20 noise complaints from neighbors, says Flegenheimer, adding: "We went out with a bang."

But there is hope yet for The Church on York. 

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • Photo courtesy of Pitch Perfect
  • Brian Reitzell
Brian Reitzell is the former drummer of iconic punk band Redd Kross. He's also collaborated with French electronic duo Air to score Sofia Coppola's 1999 directorial debut, The Virgin Suicides. Since then, he's been Coppola's go-to music supervisor, including on Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette, and The Bling Ring

"When I first met Sofia she was a 19 year old kid studying photography at Cal Arts," says Reitzell. "We didn't really know what we were doing at the time."

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

  • Taylor Bro/Blind Blind Tiger
  • The BBT taping space.
The folks behind Blind Blind Tiger prefer that we not disclose where they record their videos and podcasts. Their "online speakeasy" - as they call it - features new and notable local indie bands, from LA Font to the Dead Ships and Manhattan Murder Mystery. You can find new content on the site the first Tuesday of every month. 

It's in the meatpacking district, but that's all we can say. Why the secrecy? Perhaps because the place is usually crammed with folks drinking and smoking stuff.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

OOFJ: Jenno Bjørnkjær and Katherine Mills Rymer - PHOTO COURTESY OF TERRORBIRD MEDIA
  • Photo courtesy of Terrorbird Media
  • OOFJ: Jenno Bjørnkjær and Katherine Mills Rymer
In 2010 South African songstress Katherine Mills Rymer met Danish composer Jenno Bjørnkjær while he was working on music for Lars Von Trier's Melancholia. From then on, it was clear the two were headed for a dark and dreamy soundtrack of their own.

After Bjørnkjær wooed Rymer with his moody, romantic solo recordings, the couple got engaged, relocated to Los Angeles. As OOFJ -  "Orchestra of Jenno" - they released Disco to Die to in 2013, the mournful, elegant debut LP they wrote in the wake Rymer's father's death. (The Prague Symphony Orchestra appears on the work as well.)

Since then Rymer and Bjørnkjær have been working on their sophomore album, due out this fall. The first single, "Snakehips," is brooding, sure, but also "smooth, slim and how you feel drunk," in Rymer's words. 
The track is named for the "Snakehips" dance style made popular in the 1920s and 30s by "the human boa constrictor," Earl Tucker, and video features clips of Tucker swiveling in the 1930's short film Crazy House. It was quite provocative for the time. In the background you'll notice women's mouths, hips, breasts, etc., that Tucker slithers in-between.

West Coast Sound is proud to debut the "Snakehips" video below.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

  • Photo courtesy Erica and Chris at Echo Country Outpost
  • Chris Hajek and Erica Forneret
If you've gone to Echo Country Outpost  -  the Echo Park non-profit music venue on Glendale Boulevard - in the last four years, you may have seen old-timey country rock n' roll acts like Christian Lee Hutson, Blackwater Jukebox and Little Lonely. But the spot shut down in March, after cops learned that the turquoise-colored space didn't have the proper permits and wasn't zoned for live entertainment.

Husband and wife team Chris Hajek and Erica Forneret are the Outpost's directors. They live on site, along with several artists and musicians who rent studios in the building. They emphasize that they weren't closed by the cops, but rather they themselves stopped holding shows until they could figure out how to make Echo Country Outpost legal.

Unfortunately, as we've said on these pages before, that's a nearly-impossible task in L.A., one which would require applying for a conditional use permit to rezone the building for live entertainment; since it's housed in a former auto body shop, it's only zoned for retail. Then, they'd have to upgrade the facilities to meet requirements for handicap accessibility, capacity, and parking, among other standards. 

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