Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

Massage – “Michael Is My Girlfriend”

Been a busy day around here, but there’s always time to squeeze in a post on new music from L.A.’s Massage. The band’s album 2018 album on Tear Jerk was a wistful, jangle-jolted affair that should have caught twice as many ears. They follow it up with the sprightly “Michael Is My Girlfriend,” a summer-sweet dose of indie-pop that’s got threads of Brighter, The Field Mice, and Another Sunny Day woven between those pastel-hued strums. The vocal harmonies sigh, the drums crackle with an effervescent snap and the hook gets lodged in your head for all time. With production by Jed Smith of The Jeanies/My Teenage Stride, the single precedes some news about a new LP coming later on in the year. Good news all around!



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Peter Ivers – Becoming Peter Ivers

There’s every chance that, even if you’re a fan of New Wave and punk, the name Peter Ivers has never crossed your lips. Even if you’re a David Lynch fan, Ivers’ involvement in Eraserhead may have escaped your attention. Ivers was more often known as a proponent of music than a writer of music. He had, in fact, recorded several albums – 1976’s Knight of the Blue Communion, 1974’s Terminal Love and 1976’s eponymous affair. Despite this, he was best known as a TV host, presenting the utterly essential cult classic New Wave Theater until his tragic death in 1983. The first album bears little resemblance to the songs on Becoming Peter Ivers. His first outing was threaded with jazz and blues, building to something more idiosyncratic in the future. Those other two albums were headed toward the New Wave he championed through a valley of singer-songwriterdom that was rumpled in the vein of Moon Martin or Warren Zevon.

Many of the songs here would wind up on those latter two albums, but here they’re stripped of any gloss. Demos seems a crude label, because it gives the impression that they weren’t up to snuff, but if anything the version of the songs on Becoming prove that even in private and without the intention of these versions finding their way to the audience, Ivers was still an undeniable charmer. Given his predilection for more outre visions on his show, its always been a bit at odds that Ivers’ own records were more in a lounge singer vibe, but he gives that genre a proper Lynchian feeling – the singer wrapped in plastic, alone at the piano, while a cadre of regulars ignore the emotional exfoliation going on upon the stage. The moments here feel private, like we’ve wandered into a closed session with Ivers. Its almost conceivable that we’re all intruding, until Ivers whirls around and gives a wink, letting us all in on the voyeurism for hire that he’s peddling.

Ivers was a singular entity, part Lou Reed, part Max Headroom. This era of music has been scoured and repackaged, but somehow there’s still a hole where Ivers once stood. His musical voice is a worthwhile addition to the strange bedfellows made of punk, pop, post-punk and ultimately new wave boiling under Los Angeles’ sanded soul. I’m eternally grateful that RVNG has made this available. Now someone issue New Wave Theater in its entirety for a viewing audience in need of a licorice strip search.



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Allah Las – “Prazer Em Te Chnhecer”

Been a good week for hazed psychedelia and ever new trickle out of this Allah Las album marks it as one of their best. The lackadaisical, sunny swing of “Prazer Em Te Chnhecer” slings a set of Portuguese vocals onto a sun waxed surf slider that’s baked in the afternoon sun. There’s not a worry in the bones of the song, instead marinating the days last rays in Mezcal and contented sighs. The song’s title translates to “Nice To Meet You” and that cheerful veneer and welcoming spirit buoys the track throughout its three-minute ramble. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Keep your ears out for the Las new one on October 11th.

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Triptides – “See Her Light”

A shot of sunshine from L.A. psych-pop group Triptides lands via a new single on Greenway Records. The psych vets have been carving out their fuzz-pop niche for years and their songs always blow in on a breeze of gooey nostalgia and easy vibes. “See Her Light” kicks in initially as a hard driver until the midway point when it kicks into a baroque bridge and then just lays back into the surf to let the sun wash all over us. The accompanying video is stacked with beachside home video that leans right into the song’s Kodachrome kitsch. Not a bad way to enjoy the door to autumn as the weekend ekes open.



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Red Channel – “Demons”

Can’t go wrong with a new track on UK DIY powerhouse Upset the Rhythm and they’re offering up some prime post-punk/new wave goodness today. “Demons” is the first cut off the debut LP from L.A.’s Red Channel. The band has cobbled together an EP of stripped-down simmer that calls back to punk’s willingness to lop off the fringes. Atop a squirming beat the band backdrops the vocal magic of singers Melody and Casey who slash at singles from Blondie, The Go Go’s and We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and reassemble the pieces into their own image. The resulting track keeps its cool, never breaking a sweat but inviting dance and debauchery with a great detachment that pulls in some of their more Teutonic peers as well (Monopol, Starter). It’s a pulsating cut that positions the band as ones to watch indeed.



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The World – “White Radish”

The 2017 debut from Oakland post-punks The World was a biting and bouncy delight, invested as much in groove as it was in lyrical invective. As such, the news that the band has a new mini-LP coming out on new label, Microminiature, comes with great anticipation. The first cut off of that release hits today and “White Radish” is just as infectious as anything the band has done. With sharp shards of guitar, loping bass, a kitchen sink’s worth of clattering percussion and the sax squawks of the band’s Stanley Martinez, this one’s a keeper. File it next to great latter-day post-punk from Lithics, Vital Idles, Uranium Club, and Primo for maximum rhythm damage and keep an eye out for the mini-LP to land on March 20th.



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Frankie and the Witch Fingers

Frankie and the Witch Fingers have long found a home here at Raven Sings the Blues. From the garage gutwrench of Heavy Rollers to last year’s psych-soul shakedown, Brain Telephone, the band has been burning more ozone than most and I can’t get enough. Impressively, after that synapse-singer from last year, they’re back and burning on a bigger scale with a double LP for new home Greenway Records. The band doesn’t take a break it seems, and that urgency finds its way into the work. In fact, ZAM’s entire ethos is breathless in nature, boiling their fuzz-dipped licks into a psychedelic steam that’s born to singe.

Taking a few cues from fellow lysergic warlocks Oh Sees, the band is melting down details from Krautrock, funk, soul, psych, and space then ladling them into the loving cup atop the alter of Hawkwind. They’re irradiating the populace with enough high-beam hijinks and amplifier fry to bring on bouts of fuzz-fed hysteria and truth be told; the band has rarely felt more in their element. Barreling down Main like a Tarkus tripped out with half-stacks, rippin’ cracks in the pavement, ZAM is the maelstrom made flesh and set to scorch. This LP certainly isn’t made for mediation, so it’s best to buckle in. ZAM is made for mayhem and motion – grinding out grey matter melters with deadly precision on every track.

While the bulk of the album sees the band in full-form freakout, they do take things down every now and then, just to air out the fallout and survey the damage. The all too brief respites roll the record in a sultry scent of electric sex, slipping into the husk of rock n’ roll’s promise and pulling the straps tight. Thing is, ever time the band turns down the burner, you know they’re only waiting to grab the electrodes, double-charge the groove and send it tearing into town like an acid-fried golem. After an hour or so of psychedelic chaos, they slip off into oblivion and never look back. This is a record built on excesses and its all the better for never reigning in its scope. If you’re prepared to unlock a third, fourth and fifth eye and huff in the fever sweat of the soul, then look no further.




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Frankie and the Witch Fingers – “Pleasure”

Making the jump from Permanent to Greenway, L.A.’s consummate psych-smelters Frankie and the Witch Fingers give the video treatment to their new single “Pleasure” today. The song’s drawing on the same toast-cone overdrive that serves as the beating heart of so many loved lumps from fellow psych crawlers (see: Ty Segall and Oh Sees), but the band gives it an extra layer of leather n’ sleaze. Coming off of the ecstatic sweat revival of Brain Telephone, the band set themselves up a hurdle that was hard to hop, but “Pleasure’s” seething freak fuzz more than does the trick. There’s enough molten mayhem in this track to liquefy your speakers and they up the ante with a xeroxed S&M zine treatment on the video. If this doesn’t get you revved and ready for a new LP from the band, I can’t imagine what would. Long one of L.A.’s most criminally undersung acts, if you’ve been missing on Frankie in the past, I’d recommend getting down this time around.



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Grave Flowers Bongo Band – “Birds”

Hoover III member Gabe Flores strips back the psych to a warm sunny burble on his own Grave Flowers Bongo Band. The L.A. band whips up a psych-folk froth that brings to mind Fresh Maggots a young Bolan’s T. Rex before he found moniker brevity and cocaine. There’s definitely a beard of stars at work here, and true to their promise, bongos. On “Birds” the band adopts the “faded demo from the hip” approach that’s worked well for their contemporaries in Paint this year. On the track, the band feels far from the pounded pavement of their L.A. locale. Perhaps they’ve pushed out to the Canyon and beyond for an off-kilter psych soup that’s built from the static transmissions of Gary Higgins, Sam Gopal, Trees, and John Peel favorites Tractor. Like the best psych-folk this one’s wobbled off its axis and sticks around to delight all the way through. The LP lands in full on Friday via the good folks at Permanent.



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Paint

L.A.’s Allah-Las trade in their fair amount of ‘60s shaded nostalgia, and while they’re usually brimming with a decent dose of homegrown appeal, the solo stint from ‘Las guitarist and songwriter Pedrum Siadatian makes his mainstay sound positively modern by comparison. The faded photo trappings are most certainly by design. Siadatian is reaching for the hidden bins that house the hometapers, the 4-track quiet geniuses and the unstable imps of the acid-blotted paisley past. Helmed at the production desk by the similarly inclined pastiche painter Frank Maston, he crafts an album that seeps up from the humble hovels of R. Stevie Moore and F.J. McMahon sounding like its never seen so much as the door to a proper studio. That’s not a complaint mind you, the pair are aiming for a record that could easily slip between the cracked covers of the private press gold rush and blend in seamlessly and they’re pulling it off swimmingly. Siadatian’s clearly done his research and delights in creating something of a crumpled homage.

Paint catches the same prism-bent dusty sunshine that revs up the cardboard kaleidoscopes of Kevin Ayers, Danny Graham and Billy Nicholls. Siadatian makes it seem effortless, but I get a sense that he and Maston have gone to lengths to meticulously craft an air of economical wonder to match these low-key touchstones. Maston doesn’t push the project too hard, or imprint himself as heavily as one might imagine given his own passions for the past. Instead of coifing this record in lush brushstrokes of the Library psych he’s so fond of, he’s let the backroom hiss and bedroom sleepiness linger. Just because the mics are bedroom bound doesn’t mean this thing is totally sparse, though. The songs are still adorned with brain tangling backwards guitars, satin organs and flute swells, but the sounds are stuffed into the spectrum like they were tracked in tandem, stuffed into a third-floor apartment.

Paint has the feeling of a one-off curio, which are oftentimes the best records. It remains unclear if this is to become a new avenue for Siadatian in the long run, or just a way to shake out some private press psych impulses. Either way he’s ticking a lot of boxes on the RSTB favorites list and the album elevates itself to be more than just style over substance. It’s a well-conceived diorama of psych that creeps under the skin time and again.



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