Friday, December 28, 2007

Listening Too Long To One Song: Caribou "Sandy"

Funny how a song can sneak up on you. I remember listening to Andorra quite a bit earlier this year, and I remember "Sandy," being my favorite track on the album. I made a mental note that those would probably make my list of favorite albums of the year/favorite songs of the year, and to go back and listen to them again as the end of the year got closer. Sure enough, I was absolutely right in that prediction. Though I repeated the song maybe once or twice when listening to it earlier in the year, when I put it on last week something about it really grabbed me and I found myself walking an extra block before I made it home just so that I could hit repeat one more time. It's one of those songs that you feel like you can actually step inside of, well actually every song on the album fits that description, this is just the one that I would most want to. The measured drums and bells that open the song spill neatly into a wall of drums, bells, strings, flute, vibraphone, vocal harmonies AND backing ahh- ahhs. The prettiest psychedelic dream you ever happened to wander into. Speaking of which, check out the live performance of the song posted below. You could almost be fooled into thinking that they actually made this in the 60s if it weren't for the modern look of the video and, well, the presence of a laptop. If you want to hear the album version it's posted on their Myspace page.

Caribou - Sandy (The Pink Room)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pop Sale!

If you ended up resorting to I.O.U.s for Christmas, and your friends and family are really into the Lucksmiths (or could potentially be really into the Lucksmiths,) you are in luck! Matinee Recordings is having a nifty little holiday sale with most cds/eps/10 inches, a dollar or 2 less than they normally sell for. And most of the 7 inches are going for the unbelievable bargain price of dollar or a dollar fifty! Surely you and everyone else in your life needs another 7 inch or two to add to the collection. You can see the complete list of items available here. There are also some downloadable holiday themed goodies on the label's sounds page including our most major long distance crush Math & Physics Club's unreleased cover of "Marshmallow World," and my very favorite Razorcuts song, "Snowbound." It's also probably worth your time to pay a visit to your own favorite record label's website if you haven't done so in awhile. You never know what treats may be in store for you. Happy hunting!

The Blue Light from the Christmas Strands is Beautiful

Hello all! I hope that everyone had a lovely Christmas complete with seriously great Christmas music. We switched to Michael Jackson's Number Ones, and Wolfie 7 inches by about 11 am where I was, but the day did begin with Bing Crosby and Ella Fitzgerald singing the classics.

I'm up early contemplating whether or not I realistically have time to make a compilation of my favorite songs of the year (normally, I have it together to give people in addition to their Christmas gifts.) Though, I am pet sitting this week which means a lot of nights in, and so many good songs to sort through...

Also, as a bit of a late Christmas present, and further proof that 2008 is going to be an awesome year for music. That song that the makers of my favorite album of 2007, A Sunny Day in Glasgow will have released as part of the Slumberland 7 inch series? A Pastels cover!!! They describe it like this:

"Slumberland Records will release our cover of the Pastels' "Sometimes I Think About You" on 7" in March of 08. We think it's a pretty cool cover. For reasons we don't understand at all, it kind of sounds like Underworld and maybe Neu! covering the Pastels? We don't know how it happened."

You can read that directly from the source, as well as some other interesting tidbits (other new singles, a potential new album, a vinyl release for Scribble Mural Comic Journal, etc.) here.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I Made a List, I Wrote it all Down 3...2...1...Fiiive

My 5 favorite records of the year... countdown style!

5. The Clientele God Save the Clientele (Merge)

Bottom line is the Clientele make perfect records that are always rooted in the lush pop that they do better than almost anyone else recording music these days. The addition of a full time violinist/pianist adds to the enjoyment of the music, as do the elements of Nashville (where they recorded this one,) that show up in all the right places. I'm a huge fan of records that are good to take long walks to, and this one will accompany me on those for years to come.

4. Okkervil River The Stage Names

This is the most lyrically compelling record I heard all year. Probably due to the fact that you feel every word that Will Sheff sings even (especially) the nasty ones. Because here's the kicker, even when our narrator is doing awful things, he's painfully aware that he is doing awful things. And the band is tight, and the music sounds big even on the more quiet songs. It's also been a long time since I've been affected by a semi-epic ballad that could have been lifted from the seventies, but "A Girl in Port" got to me in a way that no other song did this year. The stories contained in it are bittersweet, and the band picks up, and and then let's up in all the right places. Like Band of Horses' "The Funeral" last year, this song is so masterfully produced you kind of forget that it hasn't existed for years and years.

3. The Hepburns Something Worth Stealing (Radio Khartoum)
Okay, so the stage names was probably a technically better record than this one. God Save the Clientele too, but this is precisely the sort of British pop that I live for. Simple, deliciously clever, and it contains plenty of songs that one can bob one's head to. I will likely listen to this album more than any other on my list. I only have one of their previous albums on vinyl (The Magic of the Hepburns). I think 2008 will find me aiming to fix that.

2. Tullycraft Every Scene Needs a Center (Magic Marker)

And this is precisely the sort of American pop that I live for. Sure it's the most mature Tullycraft record to date, but it's still more fun to listen to than anything else I heard this year. And it's still a trademark Tullycraft record with nods to classic pop guitar, giddy ah-ah's/back up harmonies, and mile a minute obscure references many of which I won't get until next year, or the year after. When I do though, it's the most satisfying thing pretty much ever.

1. A Sunny Day in Glasgow Scribble Mural Comic Journal (Notenuf)

One of my friends played a song from this record on his radio show back in January. I didn't hear the show, but I saw the playlist. Naturally, I was intrigued by the band name, and asked my friend about them. He said they were good and sort of reminded him of the Cocteau Twins. To my knowledge he never played anything from this record again, but I finally heard it and here it is as my favorite record of the year. Go figure. The Cocteau Twins reference makes sense. It's all heavily layered instruments/vocals/vocals as instruments, distortion pedals, and the result is (in my opinion) the noisest, prettiest, most compelling overall record of the year.

Honorable mention in no particular order:

Betty Lavette with the Drive by Truckers The Scene of the Crime (Anti)

Sweet soul from a master with everyone's favorite Southern indie rockers as her capable backing band. The music speaks for itself.

Caribou Andorra (Merge)

Mmmmm, bells, lot's of bells.

Sister Vanilla Little Pop Rock (Chemikal Underground)

This record is just flat out cool. A nice offering from the Jesus & Mary Chain with the neat twist of Linda Reid as the lead vocalist.

Malcolm Middleton A Brighter Beat (Full Time Hobby)

More great, witty, and at times heartbreaking Scottish pop. It opens with the hilarious juxtaposition of upbeat music to downer lyrics on "We're all Going to Die," the rest of the album carries on from there.

American Gangster (Roc-A-Fella)

I think that there are very few people out there who need to be convinced that Jay-Z does what he does oh so well. I still need to see the film that inspired tis album.

BOAT Let's Drag Our Feet! (Magic Marker)

BOAT make accessible/weird pop music that sounds like no one else who makes accessible/weird pop music.

John Vanderslice Emerald City (Barsuk)

Twenty years from now (if you still attend rock shows twenty years from now) you will be standing at a venue, and hear a kid in front of you ask the kid next to him/her, "Have you heard (insert John Vanderslice album here?) he's got to be one of the most important artists of the 21st century."

Exciting EPs/singles:

Le Switch Hello Today (Self Released)

Super tight musicianship, killer melodies that you'll hum for days, and vocals that will stay with you even longer.

Math & Physics Club Baby I'm Yours (Matinee)

More of that lush elegant pop music that they are brilliant at. Gorgeous melodies, whistful vocals, the always pleasant sound of prominent violin, and even an electro-pop song this time around!

Los Campesinos! Sticking Fingers Into Sockets (Arts & Crafts/Wichita)

Endlessly charming, giddiness inducing, and just plain fun!

Black Kids Wizard of Ahhhs (Self Released)

They got pretty huge pretty fast never having toured and whatnot. I sure do wish that I had made it to Athens Popfest this year to see them in a small venue. Sigh, good for them though. This Ep was a lot of fun to listen to.

Horowitz Tracyanne (Cloudberry)

"Popkids of the World Unite," They sold me on that one. Though all of the songs are so sweet and fuzzy.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Painbow)

British indipop circa the mid to late eighties cleverly updated by American kids circa now.

Anything that was released on the YAY! label this year.

See the description above, although this label doesn't so much update their influences as they pay perfect homage to them. They release singles that come with posters, and handmade drawings directing you to the YAY! website, and they publish fanzines with stories of record stores, rock clubs, and of course, bands. It doesn't get much more DIY than this. And the music contained on the singles sounds like it could have been released by any one of the labels that inspired them (Sarah, K, Subway, 53rd & 3rd, etc.) By far my favorite musical discovery of the year made even better by the fact that a label like this exists so close to where I live.

There were so many releases that I either didn't hear, or spend enough time with. Some will surely grab me next year, and I will kick myself for not including them here. Others I will miss all together. This makes me sad, but it just proves that 2007 was a better year for music than most gave it credit for. And 2008 promises to be even better! Be on the lookout here for Squaregirl Kristen's favorites list which will appear soon. And I'm sure I'll come up with something to write about over the next week. Until then, merry everything!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Yesterday's Gone, and Tomorrow Has so Much More in Store

While I'm still finalizing my list of favorite records of 2007 I thought that it might be a good time to skip ahead to 2008 and mention a few records that I'm most excited for. This is right off the top of my head so I'll probably miss a few things, and that's where you come in! Please leave anything, and everything that you are looking forward to in the next year in the comments section below.

Obviously, I'm pretty excited about the Slumberland Records 7 inch series. There is also the release of the first Grand Archives full length, the newish project from Matt Brooke of Carissa's Wierd and Band of Horses fame. I just adored their self released Ep so I can't wait to have more from them. And heads up, they are playing the Troubadour on February 29 with fellow Seattle darlings Fleet Foxes. Based on what I've heard about the live shows of both bands, my calendar is marked. Kelley Stoltz released one of the best records of 2006 so I can't wait to hear his new effort, Circular Sounds. Hearing an LP from Le Switch is the most exciting thing to me on the local front. New Nada Surf makes me smile, I'm intrigued by the long awaited Chris Walla solo record, and new Mountain Goats always makes for an occasion to celebrate (especially since there was no new Mountain Goats record in 2007!) Of course I'm most looking forward to that elusive new Pastels record which was reported to be released at the end of 2006. Now they are reportedly mixing it with John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake) sometime early next year. Fingers crossed for a 2008 release! They are also working on a collaboration with Tokyo band Tenniscoats. Alright, that's all I've got before I rush off to work. As I said, I'm sure I missed a ton of stuff. Please leave it below for me to smack my forehead over when I get home.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Listening Too Long To One Song: A Sunny Day in Glasgow "C'mon"

It's time of year when everyone who likes to write about music feels the urge to present a best of list, and I'm no exception. Okay, I'm actually giddy over the fact that I get to present a best of list, although I'm presenting more of a favorites list. I'm nowhere near qualified, nor did I hear enough new records this year to determine which ones were actually the best. For the past few days I've been going back to the records that really stood out to me this year. I've also been trying desperately to catch up on the ones that I know I will enjoy, but just haven't been able to purchase yet. Even though there are still one or two that I need to spend more time with, I'm fairly confident that Scribble Mural Comic Journal the first full length from A Sunny Day in Glasgow will end up as my favorite. Needless to say, I've been listening to it a lot lately.

C'mon wasn't necessarily the song that grabbed me when I first fell in love with this record earlier in the year, but for some reason this time around it really has. Something to do with the slightly off instrumentation, the effects given to the vocals to make them sound like a beautifully distorted children's song, the way it all sounds so perfect in my headphones while walking around Echo Park on a chilly, dark, and slightly rainy afternoon. The video is posted below so you can hear it for yourself.
You can read an interview with Ben Daniels, the mastermind behind this project, here.
Oh! And did you hear that A Sunny Day in Glasgow are planning to release a 7 inch for Slumberland Record's Searching for the Now series sometime in 2008? I can hardly wait for that to start. Who's ready to jump immediately into the next year with me?

A Sunny Day in Glasgow: C'mon

Monday, December 17, 2007

Singing About Those Secret Places You Secretly Want to Be

With the glow of our outstanding Squaregirls night last week (thanks again to Princeton, Le Switch, and the Health Club for making this so) finally starting to wear off it's time to get back into the swing of things. For me, this means reverting to my default of attending a show nearly every night. It's been almost a week since I've made it to anything, and lucky for me, this week is not short on opportunities.

Starting tomorrow with Radio Free Silver Lake's dream team line-up of Frankel, The Flying Tourbillon Orchestra, and Castledoor at Boardners. Not to mention Marvelous Toy (who I've been anxious to catch for awile now) at the Silver Lake Lounge. I'm going to be very ambitious and try to make it to both. And if that's not enough for you, and you feel more like dancing than watching a band, Dublab, and Part Time Punks are presenting something called "Give Up and/or A Sad, Slow Dance Night" over at La Cita. I still haven't been to La Cita (I'm almost certain that I'm not hip enough to hang out there,) but I've heard good things. I have no idea what the night is about either, but the title sounds intriguing and it leads me to believe that dancing to Felt will be involved...

Thursday night finds our heroes The Henry Clay People playing at Pershing Square as part of a series entitled "Spaceland on Ice." I feel like something that is called "Spaceland on Ice" needs to be experienced first hand, and it's been far too long since I've been to a Henry Clay People show.

If I have any energy left by Saturday then I will likely road trip up to Oxnard for the Yay! Records Pajama Party. More information is available here.

Of course, the Rademacher record release show on Friday at the Echo is the thing that has me jumping up and down with the most fervor this week. Legend of Rademacher's live show first reached me back in September when I heard from several sources what a fantastic job they did opening for John Vanderslice in their home town of Fresno. Since then I have made an attempt to see them at least five times, and failed miserably on all counts. Not this time! I will finally get to take the two minute walk over to the Echo and see for myself what all of the fuss is about. To make this deal even sweeter, I have tickets to give away! The first four people that email their full names to, and include Rademacher in the subject line will receive a pair of tickets. Best of luck! And do keep in mind that it's 18+. To hold you over until the show, here is an mp3 of "If You Got Some Magic" from Rademacher's brand new album Stunts whose release is being celebrated on Friday. It should play a nice part in getting your week started with a bang.

Friday, December 14, 2007

You Have Nothing to Live Up to, You Have Nothing to Live Down

I know that I've mentioned at least once that it's my intention to post some sort of history/tribute to Sarah Records here. Especially with the 20th anniversary of their first release having just passed. While I'm nowhere near prepared for that, I came upon this clever little holiday story on the Sarah/Shinkansen home page. While none of the releases mentioned in the story are current, it is very well written, perfectly enjoyable, and season appropriate. Shinkansen, by the way, was the label that Matt Haynes and Clare Wadd started after the sad demise of Sarah Records. The reasoning for that demise is explained here.
You can hear a few songs from a few Sarah Bands here.

I hope this helps you to get into the holiday spirit, and maybe think about finally starting your Christmas shopping. Oh wait, that's me...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It May be Winter Time, but Baby It's Super Fine!

I have to say (and I'm certain that I can speak for Squaregirl K as well) that we could not have been any more pleased with the turn out at our show last night. We both send out huge thank yous to everyone who braved the chilly (for Southern California) weather, and helped make our first official night such a smashing success! 

Princeton brought the crowd to the floor early with their impossible to resist pretty pop songs. The Health Club  closed the night with a solid wall of upbeat indie/garage rock that sounded so cool, I actually felt cooler just by being in near proximity to it. And Le Switch, as you may already know, had stolen my heart months ago with the power of their live show. And just when I was thinking that surely they would put on an amazing show, but they couldn't be better than they were the last time I saw them. Guess what? They were better than they were the last time I saw them. They will likely be even better the next they play so make sure to get out there and check them out!

I also need to give a huge thank you to Joe Fielder over at Radio Free Silver Lake for presenting the show along with us, and all the help he has given us along the way. It is worth mentioning, by the way, that his monthly event Let's Independent is always a good time, and this month's line up looks killer. I think I know where I'll be on Tuesday night...

And while I anxiously wait for January 9 when we get to do this all over again (more details to come on that one soon.) I'm biding my time by working on a year end list or two, and exploring the internet for some fun holiday themed goodies for y'all. So be on the lookout.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Stay Awake Until Daybreak Calls Us Back to Our Rooms

Hello! I just want to quickly remind you that Kristen and I are DJ-ing at the Scene tonight before, after, and in-between sets from our pals (and not so secret crushes) Princeton, Le Switch, and the Health Club.

You can read my recent interview with Aaron Kyle (of Le Switch) here.

The only thing that could make us any happier about the show tonight is knowing that we will see all of your lovely faces there! Leave your full name in a comment at the end of this post, the blog on our Myspace page, or email us at Then you will be added to the $3 RSVP list, and everybody wins!

Also, to help get you into the dance party spirit, I have posted the video for "Night Fever" by the Bee Gees below. Don't even try to pretend that it doesn't make you smile...

Bee Gees - Night Fever (Video)

Monday, December 10, 2007

you hit the switch

Since a certain someone, for anonymity’s sake let’s just call her “Squaregirl M” inadvertently missed the Thermals show this past Friday night at the Echoplex, it looks like a certain other Squaregirl will have to break her blogging silence. Although I do not know the band’s catalogue of music as well and am not quite as eloquent, I will do my best and keep it short and sweet.

So in a nutshell, the Thermals are totally awesome live. The trio from Portland put on a powerful “post-pop punk” performance that kept the entire crowd rocking from the first note to the last. Limited stage banter besides the occasional shout out to LA, and adoration of Portland, helped keep the all ages crowd focused, hopping in place and even break out into mosh pits from time to time. Kathy and Hutch would turn to one another, face to face, playing within a few feet of each other and smile. Adorable.

Although the band did not play all my favorites, I did finally get to hear “Back to Gray” and “How We Know” live, two songs that are very personal to me, that made my heart jump into my throat. In a good way. And although I didn’t get to hear “Test Pattern”, the Thermals almost made it up to me with a great cover of Built to Spill’s “Big Dipper.” I also fell in love anew with “Returning to the Fold” which sounds very Replacements-esque to me. But I could be off on that. I generally am.

All in all, it was a great show. So next time they play, go see them. And in somebody else’s words “The Thermals are just a good time.”

The Thermals - Test Pattern
Built to Spill - Big Dipper


Months and months back when we started putting this dream show together. Kristen and I had the brilliant idea to get anyone who could make it from all of the bands playing our night on the 12, give them pizza, give them beer, record the ensuing conversation, and then post what sense we could make of it here. Um, it’s now Tuesday the 11, this hasn’t happened and I don’t think that it ever will. Though it is likely to go down in squaregirl history as one of my least plausible ideas (thanks Kristen for humoring me at least.) Still bound and determined to get an interview with some one in one of the bands before the show, I sat in my office and wondered to myself, “Who is awesome, and likely to be bored enough at work to take part in a completely spontaneous and unprepared interview via AIM?” The answer on both fronts (particularly the former,) is Aaron Kyle of Le Switch. Aaron and I chatted a bit about the formation of the band, Myspace, and per his recommendation I have at least one more record to add to my already quite long list of records I need to own.

SQGM: First of all, I need to thank you (collectively) for being the squaregils first friends on myspace (after me and Kristen.)

AK: Were we? That's neat. Prolly cause I'm on online all day.

SQGM: And your our favorite L.A. band.

AK: Even better!

SQGM: So i think we asked you first, but still...

AK: I pressed that approve button with gusto..Let me tell you

SQGM: That's what we like to hear!

AK: Hahahahaha. I haven't pressed an approve button like that since.

SQGM: Aww.
So I'm curious as to how things progressed in the early days, I know it was just you and joe at first.

AK: Yeah.

SQGM: Did you play many shows as a duo?

AK: Yeah we played a bunch, that was how we [were] rolling those days.
I think we played with the monolators as a 2 piece at Mr. T's. That's when they were a 2 piece, lot's of 2's.

SQGM: Oh interesting.

AK: Yeah. It was cool seeing another band that was a two peice, gave us comfort.

SQGM: This was 2005, right? Or before?

AK: Yeah that was 2005, we met in 2004. Joe and I at first didn't really think that we should have this big sound. we were really content on the two piece idea cause then we only had to worry about us, but he was playing on a suitcase drum set with percussion then.

SQGM: Interesting.

AK: Yeah. We planned for it to be as stripped down as possible, but then Maria came along. she was like, "I play the trumpet and viola." She said that could could fill out bass stuff on the viola
so we stuck with it for like 7 or months, 7 or 8.

SQGM: With the duo thing, or as a three- piece?

AK: 3 piece, we were only a duo for like 5 months, end of 2005 into 2006. When we got together in NY he played a full kit and we stuck with that cause it was a lot bigger. Haven't gone back to the suitcase since. although I do love it.

SQGM: I can't imagine that it would be quite as condusive to what you guys are doing now, but yeah, I bet that sounded pretty cool. Any recordings from those days?

AK: ummm. Yeah there's an entire record Joe and I did with our friend Laura right before I went on tour across the country - solo. It's just an Aaron Kyle record, but some switch songs on there in their beginnings.

SQGM: I think that I've heard tale of this record...

AK: Hahahahaha. Possibly, I have a handful of copies.

SQGM: So once you went into three piece territory w/ maria was it just a case of "well we might as well add keyboards, and and a full time bass player" ?

AK: Sorda, yeah. I think we got a little tired of it sounding so thin. We asked Chris to come play with us for a few shows. See how it went. It was just kind of like..Let's get bass player,
but Chris isn't a bass player. He's a guitar player in disguise. He's a better guitarist than anyone I know.

SQGM: I hate to admit it, but i've never noticed whether or not he plays guitar on any of your live songs, or if it is just him on bass, you on guitar?

AK: Chris plays bass live all the time.

SQGM: Okay, that's what i thought. have you ever entertained the idea of trading instruments during the show? Do you play bass at all?

AK:I can play bass, but it'd be hard to play his basslines and sing. He pretty much makes it so no one can play his stuff. Hehehe.

SQGM: So the guitar talents of Christopher Harrison will remain hidden to Le Switch fans?

AK: Maybe on the new record you'll hear some Chris on guitar.

SQGM: Ooh something to look forward to. Are you recording another ep, or a full length?

AK: A full length, 10 songs.

SQGM: Oh nice.

AK: Yeah.

SQGM: Was the next record always going to be a full length or did that change once you got the label behind you?
Le Switch recently signed with local label, Autumn Tone Records.

SQGM: Congratulations on that by the way.

AK: We actually changed it when we started recording. We had 7 (songs,) and we were like it's only 3 more for a full length. Sooo, I had a new song. We had an old song that we never play live, and josh had a song that I really liked. So we decided, why not make it a full length?

SQGM: Sounds like a good plan. On that note, one thing that is really intriguing to me about your band is that you list "bands we like" under the influences section on Myspace. I find that alot of bands list so many bands as "influences" then don't sound as interesting as any of them yet, I hear some element of most of the "bands you like" in Le Switch. But it all works together as something different. Sorry for the long lead in on that one, but that is something that has always been fascinating to me about you guys. And having said that, any new stylistic directions that we can listen out for on the new record?

AK: Hahahaha. Ummm, that's cool. We all love music soo much, we're really just music music geeks that love to play music too. As far as they changing on this new record, I think people can expect things to be more orchestrated. On our last was everything you heard live was how you hear it on the recording, this one will be the same just with a little [more] ummmph.

SQGM: Ooh very nice. Yeah the music geeks that play music too thing really comes across for your band. Which i think is good. I can't honestly say that iI trust musicians who say they don't listen to that much music. I find that slightly confusing.

AK: Yeah. I always think that's weird too. Like most of my fave local bands have great tastes in music and love all kinds of music

SQGM: Who are some of your favorite local bands?

AK:Well, I have a lot.

SQGM: Okay, top 3 then?

AK: Too hard. Cause I like so many for so many different reasons. The Broken West, Division Day, Tandemoro, The Henry Clay People, The Parson Redheads, I Make This Sound... I could go on and On..but I think these bands are some of the best.

SQGM: Okay, now I'll ask an even harder question. Favorite record released in the 1960s?

AK: In the 1960's huh?

SQGM: Or the 1970s You pick.

AK: I only get to pick one?

SQGM: Okay both.

AK: That's too hard. The 70's I'd have to go with all time favorite is, Donny Hathaway – Live. That album changed my life.

SQGM: Oh cool. I have a 45 of Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack covering "You've Got a Friend.” It's pretty great.

AK: That song is pretty sick live, he does a cover of jealous friend live too.

SQGM: Is it both of them performing it?

AK: Just him and his band at the troubadour in LA in 1071, 1971. Hahaha, 1071. He's really old... He knew Jesus.

SQGM: I bet the troubadour was quite different in 1071. I imagine it was an outdoor venue then?

AK: Yeah, totally, lots of stoneware --- Maria joke.

SQGM: Well, I will certainly have to add that to my list of albums to pick up. You know, you could actually choose your favorite record from each decade from the 60s up until the present day. I'd be happy to print that.

AK: Revolver by the Beatles in the 60's.

SQGM: Good one.

AK: 80's - Out of Step - Minor Threat

SQGM: Were you in a hardcore band when you were a teenager?

AK: Maybe… The growl comes from somewhere.

SQGM: :)

AK: 90's - There's Nothing Wrong With Love - Built To Spill. They changed my life in high school. I thought everything was punk rock up until I heard Built to Spill, and Sebadoh. First indie rock show I ever saw, was Sebadoh - during Harmacy at the El Rey. They blew my mind. Dino Jr's is a runner up for the 90's.

SQGM: And it's funny, that kind of sounds like the story from [Sebadoh song] "Gimme Indie Rock."

AK: I just stepped out of the, "Our Band Could be Your Life" book.

SQGM: Oh you mean you just read it?

AK: No, I meant it sounds like I just read it and stepped out of it.

SQGM: Yeah, it really does.

This led to a brief tangent about the possibility of any new movements like the ones covered in that book occuring, and then we had to carry on with the rest of our respective days. However, movement or no, I think Le Switch are a band that people will be talking about for years to come. They may even change a few lives along the way...

Le Switch are headlining our Squargirls night Wednesday December 12 at the Scene Bar in Glendale, and I don't think that it is possible for us to be any more excited about this fact. You can be on the look out for a guest DJ set from Mr. Aaron Kyle at a future Squaregirls night. And also be on the look out for the very first Le Switch full length record in April or May of 2008, which will be released through Autumn Tone Records! It will feature my favorite Le Switch song, “Pristine!" Hopefully if you've ever caught their live show you understand my excitement behind that one. In the meantime, you can download the song "Tounge Tied" from their EP Hello Today, which they self released earlier this year.

Listening Too Long To One Song: The Beach Boys 'Disney Girls (1957)

It's a crazy day at work today, and in addition I am in the process of editing a recent interview that I conducted with Aaron Kyle from Le Switch. Therefore I am not left with my usual amount of time to obsess about a pop song (that's probably a good thing.) All I can really say about "Disney Girls (1957)" is that it's perfect. There is the sweet waltz of the melody. The sigh (good sigh) inducing nostalgic lyrics which were written by Bruce Johnston in response to the seeming deterioration of the (then) current generation, and to celebrate simpler times: "Reality, it's not for me, and it makes me laugh/ Fantasy world and disney girls, I'm coming back." Perhaps too sweet and simple a world to imagine living in all the time, but it's a nice thought. And I think most people would be kidding themselves if they said that they never longed for a much less complicated life. This song offers a perfectly brief escape into that feeling without having to spend too much time there. Then there is the build up to the multi- part harmonies about 3/4 of the way through that seem to bring everything in the world around you to a stand still, and leave you wondering, "How does anyone pull that off?" I know they are the Beach Boys, and they are known for pulling off those insanely beautiful, layered harmonies, but seriously, how? The song shows up on the 1971 album "Surf's Up." You can find it, reissued along with "Sunflower," here.

Friday, December 7, 2007

See Her Runing Around She's The Girl About Town That You (Probably Haven't) Heard Of

Just arrived home from seeing Wreckless Eric at Safari Sam's. He recorded songs for Stiff Records in the 70s (alongside Elvis Costello, and Nick Lowe,) and released one of the most charming singles (in my humble opinion) to be associated with the punk movement, "Whole Wide World." That song sounded great tonight. He made full display of the sense of humor he is known for both in lyrics, and banter, "More acoustic guitar, more vocals, for her not me!" The her was Amy Rigby, who I'm sorry to say I didn't know of previously. She held her own when she took the lead on various songs, and had fun with her celver lyrics. All around good show, but wow am I tired.

So why post now you ask? Well, ordinarily I skip the rundown of upcoming shows/recommendations, figuring those are better left to the experts (namely Radio Free Silver Lake, and You Set The Scene.) If there is something that I feel is a must see, I'll mention it. But since there are some seriously amazing shows coming up, I thought I would list the rundown for the weekend and next week.

Friday (Tonight) 12/7:

Radars To The Sky, The Flying Tourbillon Orchestra, The Henry Clay People, & The Hectors at Spaceland

Naked Raygun at The Knitting Factory

From First To Last at The Troubadour

Meredith Meyer, Lissie, Todd McLaughlin, Malcolm Sosa, & Wheels of Fortune at Pehrspace

The Natural Disasters, National Treasure, Joshua Lanes, & The Monolators at Mr T's Bowl

Andrew Bird at The Orpheum

Jon Brion & Nels Cline at Largo

Idyllists, The Great Gleaming Sea, Black Sugar, & Rocking Horse People at The Scene

The Thermals, The Big Sleep, & The Scandells at The Echoplex

Club Underground pres The Bloody Hollies at The Echo

Jeremy Jay, Maria, The Chapin Sisters, & Black Umbrella at The Smell

Everybody & Nino Astronauta at El Cid

Deborah Harry at The Henry Fonda

Dengue Fever at The Getty

Your options for Friday night are essentially endless. So it really comes down to what you are most in the mood for. If you were/are into American post punk/hardcore in the mid- eighties then you likely already knew that Naked Raygun are playing at the Knitting Factory, and you likely already have a ticket. This is just a friendly reminder for you. If you prefer something a bit more local band friendly, the line-up at Spaceland promises to be good. I've not yet seen Flying Tourbillon Orchestra, but I've seen The Henry Clay People, Radars To The Sky, and The Hectors. If you are looking for a night of fun, solid, local rock bands I don't think you will be disappointed with this one. The Natural Disasters, and The Monolators at Mr. T's Bowl, and Malcolm Sosa of Rademacher at Pehrspace are other notalable options in the way of local stuff. Of course my favorite (almost) local popstars Maria are playing at the Smell along with Jeremy Jay, The Chapin Sisters, and Black Umbrella. I've seen all of these bands before, and they are all fantastic. This is certainly the show that I would attend if I weren't already planning on The Thermals at the Echoplex. The Thermals are one of those bands that I try to see every time they make it to town. I love all of their songs, and they have tons of energy on stage that always seems to carry into the audience. Plus, at the risk of sounding totally girly about it, Hutch is really nice to look at.

Saturday 12/8:

Heloise & The Savoir Faire, Lovelikefire, Alex And Sam, & Lola Gayle-Sandgren at Bordello

Not In The House, Scrappers, Half Assteroids, & Fasto Jetson at Mr T’s Bowl

Tea Leaf Green @ The Troubadour

Dirt Dress, Black Shirts & Combat! at Pehrspace

Jon Brion & Nels Cline at Largo

Stay Fucked, Good For Cows, Grandpire at The Smell

The Moving Picture Show at The Crash Mansion

Balkan Beat Box & Dengue Fever at The Echoplex

This Moment in Black History, Haunted George, & The Slighted at The Scene

Juliette & The Licks, Scissors For Lefty, & Suffrajett at The Roxy

The Coral Sea, The Playing Favorites (feat. members of Sugarcult and Lagwagon), Light FM, & Exitmusic at Spaceland

There are definitely some good options on Saturday. However, there is really nothing appealing enough to have me reconsidering taking a much needed break in order to decorate my Christmas tree (and likely fall asleep at 9:30...) Any one else have a suggestion or two?

Sunday 12/9:

Ragsy at The Hotel Cafe

Heloise & The Savoir Faire, Tara Busch, & Lil’ JJ Fats From The Valley Of The Ashes at Tangier

Tommy Peacock and the Gas, The Weazels, & Moan Red at The Scene

Punk Rock Karaoke at Spaceland

Part Time Punks w/ Medium Medium, & Abe Vigoda at The Echo

Demoted & Sirvenamar at Mr T’s Bowl

Shonen Knife at The Knitting Factory

Prefuse 73 at The Troubadour

Sunday is a tough call. Do I attend what is sure to be an endlessly fun, loud, pop night with Japanese girl group Shonen Knife , or what is sure to be an excellent, and very cool dance party from post punk heroes Medium Medium at the Echo? Perhaps I'll have compensate for my lack of show going on Saturday by making it to two on Sunday? We'll see.

Monday 12/10:

Radio Free Silver Lake Presents Rock Against HD w/ The Movies, The Western States Motel, Sarah (The Happy Hollows) Negahdari, The Spires, Thailand, & James Patrick (Buffalo Roam) at Safari Sam’s

Brandon Mayer And The Hidden Powers at The Silver Lake Lounge

Deerhoof @ The Avalon

The Binges @ Spaceland

Tool at The Nokia Theatre

Goon Moon at The Troubadour

Performer Magazine presents: The Binges, The Wildbirds, Codebreaker at Spaceland

Indie 103.1’s Check One.. Two w/ Eskimohunter at The Viper Room

Radio Free Silver Lake's Rock Against HD benefit at Safari Sam's has an amazing line up. You can hear tracks from artists that are playing the night here. And it's for a good cause. Both squaregirls will be in attendance, and so should you!

Tuesday 12/11:

Shiloe, Wait Think Fast, The New Room, & Never At Night at The Scene

John Gold, The Rosewood Thieves, & Eugene at Bordello

Icarus Line at Safari Sam’s

The Shys at The Troubadour

David Bazan (of Pedro The Lion) at Spaceland

The Mojave & Hollerado at The Silver Lake Lounge

I don't know much about most of the artists that are playing this night, except for Dave Bazan. I don't spend too much time with my Pedro The Lion records these days, but every time I see Dave Bazan live I tend to want to. He's got a really interesting way with words, and his live performance commands ones attenion in a very subtle way.

Wednesday 12/12:

Squaregirls & Radio Free Silver Lake Present Le Switch, Princeton, & The Health Club at The Scene

AM Pacific, Gretchen Lieberum, Marina’s Daughter, & The Golden Ratio @ Bordello

Club Moscow w/ Moving Picture Show & The Squares @ Boardner’s

Last Kiss Or Kill Show w/ Bang Sugar Bang, The Randies, Midway, Silver Needle, & Underwater City People at El Cid

Indie 103 present CLUB NME w/ Office, Tiger City, Via Audio at Spaceland

Mia Doi Todd, Anders & Woods, & Sara Lov at Tangier

Jesca Hoop at The Troubadour

The Rosewood Thieves, Eugene, Eyes In Elegance, Voxhaul Broadcast, & Morning Benders at The Silver Lake Lounge

You should already know where I'll be on this night, but here is another friendly reminder. We Squaregirls are so far beyond excited to be presenting our night at the Scene Bar with Princeton, The Health Club, and our most major crush Le Switch. Yep, the squaregirls' date with Le Switch that we've been looking forward to for ages is finally here! To celebrate the occasion we are pulling out some of our favorite vinyl, and baking cookies! Surely you won't want to miss this one...

Thursday 12/13:

The Modlins Record Release Party w/ Eux Autres, Swim Party, & The Fresas @ The Silver Lake Lounge

Ferraby Lionheart & Richard Hawley @ The Troubadour

West Indian Girl, Sara Melson, & DJ Scott Sterling @ Bordello

If I haven't given way to a sleep deprivation coma, I'll be at the Silver Lake Lounge on this night. I love everything that I've heard from Eux Autres, and I'm trying deperately to figure out where I know about The Modlins from. What I'm listening to right now sounds pretty cute.

Friday 12/14:

Christmas Sweater Party w/ The Deadly Syndrome, The Mae-Shi, The Happy Hollows, The Pity Party, & Eskimohunter @ The Crash Mansion

Imperial Teen & Midnight Movies @ The Troubadour

Jessica Fichot, Pink Mochi, Hearts Of Palm UK, & Murder On The Moon @ El Cid

The Christmas Sweater festival sounds intriguing, and Imperial Teen are always great. However, for me, Friday will be a day of rest. Anyone else know anything good coming up? Let us know, we always love to hear it!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ladies And Gentlemen Give It Up For The Dap Kings

All too often I think I take for granted just how many good concerts we citizens of Los Angeles have the opportunity to see. So when I take the time to really think about it, I'm flat out amazed. The fact that two of the best shows I've seen so far in my life happened within the space of less than a week has me pretty amazed right now.

Last night's show from Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings at the El Rey could not have been much more different from the Jonathan Richman show that I wrote about earlier in the week. However, they were both shows that made me so aware of why I love music as much as I do. The Dap Kings seem to exist completely in another time (i.e. sometime in the 1960s.) I knew this from listening to their recordings so after the introduction was given, and the curtain was cleared, I prepared myself for a SHOW. The eight piece Dap Kings took the stage, impeccably dressed, and warmed the crowd up with delightful, impossibly tight (you know, to the point where the horn palyers moved their instruments back and forth in unison while playing) soul. Watching them was a bit awe inspiring, especially when Binky Griptite energed as the leader. He greeted the crowd, introduced the band, and sang a song. Then it came time for him to introduce Sharon Jones. It was clear from the beginning that she is a born performer. She burst onto stage dancing (and I'm not entirely sure that she ever stopped dancing during the performance.) She gave us some fantastic lines, "I need to strut before this next one, give me some struttin' music." The audience members that were pulled on stage to dance (and there were quite a few) were all wildly entertaining. And her voice is, well there really aren't enough descriptive words for how powerful her voice is. Her cover of James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World," gave me chills. Posted below is a video of her, her band, and Lee Fields rehearsing a James Brown montage. I think it's pretty neat. "It's a Man's Man's Man's World," is included at the end.

Sharon Jones Rehearsing James Brown Medley with Lee Fields

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Listening Too Long To One Song: The Pastels "Nothing To Be Done"

Often when you discover the band that is your new favorite band, the reaction is immediate. There is something contained within those first few chords that makes you realize, "Oh right, surely this band will change everything for me." Other times (most times I find) it's a slower process. You hear one song, maybe enjoy that song then kind of forget about it, but something makes you go back and listen to it a few more times. So then you buy one album from that band, and you listen to that album a few times. Then you figure, "Well I really like that album, I should have all of their albums." Then you can't stop listening to those albums, and so on and so forth until you realize that you probably have a new favorite band.

Such was the case with me and The Pastels, and I think,"Nothing To Be Done," is one of their strongest songs. It opens with the kind of guitar riff that tends to inspire air guitar then keeps that energy going throughout. And no matter how many times I listen, I always get caught up in the story. It's about a relationship which may or may not happen with the boy character being the one who wants to go all in, and the girl remaining skeptical until the song nears it's close. Stephen Pastel presents the line, "Simply nothing to be done, tell me I'm the only one..." which Aggi Wright picks up and carries on as a refrain until the end of the song. If you have become invested in the story, this makes for a very satifying ending. If you haven't become invested, the melody of that refrian is so good you probably won't be able to stop humming it for the rest of the day. And you probably won't mind one bit.

You can find "Nothing to be Done," on the compilation "Truckload of Trouble" which is a very good place to start if you feel like you might want to get into the Pastels. If you simply want to hear the song, there is a VERY good chance that I will play it at our Squaregirls night on December 12 (next week!) at the Scene Bar in Glendale. Oh yeah, and there will be awesome bands there too...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Your World is Beautiful... I'll Take The Subway to Your Suburb Some Time

Despite the fact that I was dead tired on Friday night (and had for some crazy reason agreed to pick up a shift at the restuarant where I used to work the next morning) I went out to Safari Sam's because I knew that I was in for something great. I did not realize that I was in for what might be the best show I have ever seen. Listening to live Jonathan Richman/Modern Lovers live albums gave the impression that the songs would be great, the stage banter would be top notch, and I would be thoroughly charmed. However, nothing could prepare me for what it's like to actually be there. The line up was simply Tommy Larkins on the drums, and Jonathan alternating between the guitar, and the sleigh bells. The sleigh bell segments had him showing off some very fun dance moves, but then again so did many of the guitar segments. He sang effortlessly in four different languages (English, Spanish, French, and Italian.) During the first Spanish song he translated almost every line after he sung them, during the Italian song he translated one word teasingly commenting afterwards, "And that's all you get." You can tell that he enjoys interacting with his audience, and it was clear that nearly everyone in attendance felt the same way towards him. It was the highest level of respect for an artist that I have ever seen from a crowd. Regardless of the slightly uncomfortable atmosphere (a packed room with no air conditioning) everyone stood and watched attentively not wanting to miss a thing. Except for the couples who were slow dancing. Something tells me that any future Jonathan Richman show that I attend will not seem complete without couples slow dancing. I wish that I could offer more to describe how amazing a show it actually was, but I think it's something you just have to see for yourself. In the meantime check out the video posted below of crowd pleaser, "I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar."

And just as a friendly reminder, the first Modern Lovers album was recently re-issued. That one was highest in the rotation for me this past weekend, but I also finally spent some time with the newest release from Malcolm Middleton, "A Birghter Beat." I'd been meaning to pick it up for awhile, as his album, "Into the Woods" was one of my favorites of 2005. "A Brighter Beat," serves as further proof of why I tend to like Scottish musicians more than most all other musicians. Anyone else see a great show/ discover a great album over the weekend? Please, do tell!

Jonathan Richman - I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar