Category Archives: writing

Show Review: Maximo Park in LA

shot with my iPhone 4GS

A mellow Friday night in Los Angeles, CA assembled a veritable mix to see two very different bands at the El Rey as part of the Moheak and Goldvoice Presents – local newbies The Neighborhood and Mercury Prize-nominated Brit-rock band Maximo Park.

Local teens, college kids, music supervisors, and what appeared to be family members of the band gathered to see The Neighborhood who performed songs from their debut album I’m Sorry…..

Not having heard the entire album prior — outside of considering the single “Sweater Weather” to be a catchy tune — the repertoire sounded surprisingly different from what was previously envisioned in my mind.

Their sound had a harder edge to it, and as the singer bounced around in a do-rag and gold chains, I couldn’t help but admire the new band and their seemingly quick ascent to mainstream popularity. It’ll be interesting to see which direction the band chooses to go in next.

Promptly after The Neighborhood ended their set, the Newcastle, England-based band Maximo Park took the stage. This was their last show as part of a short North American stint in support of their fourth album The National Health.

The band was in top form. Paul Smith, the effervescent frontman of the group, jumped across the stage commanding the show with his presence as he danced, yelped, sang, shouted, and chatted along the way. The show could have easily entertained thousands of people rather than the smaller occupance of the El Rey (not a sold out show). It was a treat. The band performed music from The National Health alongside older, familiar songs to Maximo Park fans – “Girls Who Play Guitars” and “Apply Some Pressure.”

All in all, a good night!

Bloc Party – Four

This post is syndicated from Indie Shuffle.

Sounds like: Kele, Friendly Fires, Two Door Cinema Club, LCD Soundsystem, Gang of Four

What’s so good?

By  | August 21st, 2012

The critically acclaimed, indie rock quartet Bloc Party are back with an unexpected new sound on their first album in nearly seven years.

The debut Silent Alarm (2005) introduced the band’s punchy, shouty, “almost-dance-music-but-not-quite” style that was welcomed by the music community with open arms. In a post-millennial blur of UK bands like The Libertines, The Kooks, and Maximo Park, Bloc Party ran the pack of being just talented enough, just cheeky enough, and just unpretentious enough to suggest something new.

Their unpresumptuous and approachable style made it easy to connect with fans while solidifying relationships with young party promoters across the globe. This led the band to eventually finding — and owning — their righteous place in the burgeoning indie rock community. Whether it was lead-singer Kele Okereke’s unique vocals or “Matt the drummer” and his elevated drum technique, Bloc Party ran a cool factor that has always been completely unique and untouched by any other band.

As evident on each album in their discography, the band has always excelled at nailing and even forecasting particular trends in music. The first singles we heard all the way back in 2004 were simple melodies driven by staccato-laden lamentation – not dissimilar from bands like LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, and other Gang of Four-inspired groups also gaining momentum at the time. Their second album, Weekend in the City, was a nod to indie disco that continued to speak to the dance music crowd and indie hipster alike.

Fast-forward to now.

Four, the band’s first album since 2008’s electronic-heavy Intimacy, retains the sentiment. We hear Kele plunge deeply into lyrics surrounding fame, society, and relationships. The band goes on a relentless rock spree, gently acknowledging the resurgence of alt 90s rock and post-hardcore – without allowing it to take over their sound entirely.

The title track of the album, “Day Four,” is signature Bloc Party material. The listener hears steady drums, lilting, melodic vocals paired with soaring guitar and trembling bass. Other tracks like “We Are Not Good People” have the same listener double-checking the iTunes playlist to see if they’ve stumbled across an old Nickelback song.

While there are no immediate standouts, Four is a good listen. It’s well-rounded, confident, and a complete body of work that supports their natural evolution as a band, and growth as individuals.

Fellas – welcome back.

Review: Analogue Monsta

This post is syndicated from Indie Shuffle

Sounds like: Flying Lotus, Teebs, Nosaj Thing, Tokimonsta, Suzi Analogue

What’s so good?

By  | August 11th, 2012

The cultural scene in East Los Angeles has been exploding for quite some time, and in the electronic music community there’s one night commonly known as the place to be. It’s called the Low End Theory, and it goes down every Wednesday night at a unassuming location called The Airliner in L.A.’s Lincoln Heights.

Once a low-key local night attended by DJs and aspiring producers, art students and their significant others, the party has quickly grown to become a world-renowned launching pad for heavy-hitting electronic artists like Flying Lotus and Nosaj Thing.

Two of these talents have teamed up for a duo unlike any other. The group, aptly named Analogue Monsta, is comprised of Suzi Analogue and TOKiMONSTA. And together, they forge the perfect blend of emerging talent and nu-school artistry.

TOKiMONSTA is a producer at-large – a highly-sought after femme fatale whose textured electronic landscapes have just the right amount of deconstruction to elegantly cross genres while defying what we’ve traditionally come to define as mainstream appeal.

Like many of her peers in a similar genre (Flying Lotus for one), Toki has the flawless ability to deconstruct drum patterns, implement arresting bass lines, and keep the most cynical of listeners guessing at each turn. If the walls of the food truck begin rattling, it’s likely that Toki has just taken the stage.

Suzi, known for signature sultry vocals falling somewhere between Erykah Badu and the late Aaliyah, brings a new panache that is raw and defining of a new generation.

On “Boom,” Suzi Analogue’s vocals lend just the right amount of footing and upright persuasion to make each song on the full-length collaboration a thoughtful listen.

“Boom” is out now via Scion A/V.