Happy Monday. Allow me to think aloud for a bit (and, in the spirit of Monday, it may be harsh):
(please feel free to click on any blue inked link for further enlightenment)
Newly discovered musical groups:
Django James & the Midnight Squires.
This group popped onto my radar via the Troubador's Free Monday shows. They are a Los Angeles local band (transplanted from elsewhere remains a mystery) that sound quite old, yet they look like pre-pubescent youths (sorry kids, it is a paradox I must point out).
Django James (fancy name, where'd you get it, from a Woody Allen movie?) makes a successful stab at blending styles like the blues, art rock, and a mish-mash pourage of Dylan-Lennon-Bowie vocal timbre of their front man (or boy is it?). Even though their song listing is a meager three (one of which is a vocal-piano solo that harkens back to Elton John's Candle in the Wind and directly contradicts the philosophy of pop culture they have posted on their myspace page), I personally enjoy their hodge podge jams. However, my friend, Parisa, made a contribution by saying, "Meh, I've heard it before." Agree or disagree? I'll let you make that decision.
Foot note: Django James sings with a quasi Brit accent. Let's hope it's not fake... for their sake.
You, Me and Everyone We Know.
Hailing from our nation's capital. They formed sometime around 2006 (I base this off of their myspace page) ? Introduced to me by a high school student in a class I was subbing, I hear this band as a mixture of the following three bands:
New Found Glory (Who, I believe, has somewhat swung and missed at hitting the pop-punk market, but straddles the bench in terms of authenticity and text book sell out) meets...
Fall Out Boy (Fall out as in the nuclear kind their music constantly craps out on the ears of ignorant billboard listeners? Honestly people, if you want to listen to an atomically named band of superior quality, Cold War Kids is the undeniable correct choice here. And BOY am I open to arguments) meets...
The Thermals (which do a wonderful job at carving a niche in the pop side of indie-rock and push it's boundaries by experimenting with melodies that are, in my opinion, unconventional to "that" pop formula). Too bad borrowing from the Thermals doesn't get you street cred. Thermals are an excellent band, but they are not NOFX people!
My apologies if you are, dare I say, into bubblegum indie pop? - EW. Please check out You, Me and Everyone We Know's song, "New Dirty Laundry" (on myspace) and tell me you don't here Weezer's "El Scorcho" as their intro (and then will you join me in pulling my freaking hair out!).
Furthermore, there is a movie by the same title of this burgeoning bigmac-molded band that was released in '05 (see here).
Whether or not this band is named the same by coincidence is regardless... Way to beat a dead horse boys, go listen to some more Good Charlotte and get signed to a Major; your teenies will love you forever.
El Haru Kuroi.
An East LA trio that enjoys double dipping themselves in a cocktail of musical styles that include, but not limited to, mariachi, reggae, folk, afro-cuban and latin rhythms, and a trace of blues. Front woman, Eddika Organista, proves to be a sound singer and guitar player. Watching them perform at the El Cid in Echo Park, Organista brought an element of beauty and fierceness to her performance, as well as a bit of history as she studied ethnomusicology at UCLA (always a plus in my book!).
Their instumentation is wonderfully simple (drums, guitar, upright bass), the rhythms intriguing, and Organista's clean guitar riffs rouse a curious blend of our sweltering LA summers and the ever-so-important musical history of East LA's cultural pockets. And if that isn't enough, none of songs on El Haru Kuroi's album are sung in English, making them, in my opinion, all the more authentic.
Their entire persona is plumb and they deserve more listeners and larger audiences, so I say, "Get out there and listen to them... they tour, too!"
Two events I recently attended and supremely enjoyed are worth noting here for anyone who remotely knows how to dance (because, like any skill, practice make perfect and I used to suck. Now, I am mediocre).
Bootie presents Saturday Night Mashups at the Echoplex in Echo Park: click here.
Bootie, a troupe of San Francisco DJ's with lots of talent and a knack for juxtaposing anything from ketchup and mustard to sexual dimorphism and Russian Matryoshka dolls, throw down their bit every first Saturday of the month at one of Echo Park's hot spots - the Echoplex. So, what's a mash up? I'll let Bootie tell you how it is:
"It's pretty much all the same. Also known as "bastard pop," a bootleg is a song that's "mashed-up." Usually, this means the vocal track of one song is mixed over the instrumentation of another. Using audio editing software, DJs and mashup artists combine different artists and musical genres to create new and unique songs that are often greater than the sum of their parts. Imagine Michael Jackson rocking out with Nirvana, Britney Spears singing with Daft Punk, Cher fronting AC/DC, or Ludacris rapping with Depeche Mode..."
It's a wild ride and Bootie is worth the money put into your gas tank if you can get yours to the echoplex before 10pm ($5 before, $10 after 10pm). Check out some of their mashups here.
Sif Heffington and the Fingered Dancers:
Introduced to me by the great designer of misc. things including fashion, Parisa Rezvani, this dance troupe and choreographer put on an event every now and again (the next one will be Sunday, May 4) at Charlie O's down town LA bar and club.
Here's the skinny: A $10 cover charge will get you a 15-30 min group lesson in the choreography category of "anything goes" (this includes ballet, hip-hop, jazz, and so much more) and led by Sir Heffington himself, A promise of dancing with wildly dressed LA bohemians and the like, and the promise of a pretty stellar dance performance by Hef and the Fingered. Check out his choreography reel on his myspace here.
It's fun, it's cheap, and it's a great way to burn some calories. Thanks Sir Heffington, you bring the seemingly impossible to us laypeople and then "walk it out" for us. No need for my stair master anymore.
In closing, baseball season has begun. This is like putting on a really worn, yet comfortable pair of jeans that you love to wear.
Now playing: Daniel Johnston - Living Life