Whittier, CA-based Let's Drive to Alaska is the ambient/experimental project of Christopher García, whose developed a soothing soundscape of gleaming, almost anthemic instrumentals that oscillate between delicate synth textures and spacey, melodic loops. The arrangements are minimal and hypnotic, each piece perpetuating a flutter of pulsing artificiality that digs deep into classic kosmische territory. Christopher will be playing with a full band tomorrow night at Huntington Beach's Shanghai'd Room.
Here's one which just stepped right out of the lot. Early October, Whittier's The Littlest Viking released a second full-length, twelve tracks of a skilfully led exploration of structures, textures and rhythms, most of which are instrumental, made consumable by Ruben Cortez & Christopher Gregory's ability to turn a math-y extravaganza into a well constructed, cohesive ensemble. Oh, yes; there's only two of them. Meaning if that's what you can do with effect pedals and a little elbow grease, what is everyone else up to? Another thing, their tracks have the best titles. Some are straightforward, like Give Me Motorhead and its speed-thirsty cavalcade. Some playfully misleading. Like Puppies Forever and its on-and-off shred-machine intro. Some plain improbable. Like Mary-Louise Parker Has AIDS..A Lot. And so forth. You can catch them tomorrow evening (11.15) for their residency at Hungtington Beach's Shanghai'd Room, and then on December 7th at Kim'a Bar in Riverside.
Yellow Red Sparks, dynamic guitar/double bass/drums indie folk trio from Los Angeles, fronted by this sprightly young man that is Josh Hanson also happen to be one of the first acts I saw during this year's CMJ. Early afternoon, upstairs at Pianos. Not the easiest crowd to work with, but thanks to some joke cracking, involvling us all in some thirty-second-singalong of 'I Can't Help Falling In Love With You', and, let's not forget the essentials, playfully swaying through their set of 'cinematic' country. Engaging, entertaining, upbeat; so far, they're ticking a far few boxes to stand aside your average folkies, right? Catch them this evening (11.03) at LA's El Cid, with Dustbowl Revival and Sad Robot. All the info's available here.
Seattle/Los Angeles-based lo-fi garage band The Intelligence, who have certainly been around for a while (over a decade, that is), yet are still restlessly putting out records at the solid pace of an album a year since 2004 (along with a parade of EPs, singles and splits), recently released the video for their latest track 'Hippy Provider'. Taken off the band's latest full-length 'Everybody's Got It Easy But Me', the single's a short, cherpy ode to doing whatever the heck you may thingk is right, built upon a bed of delicate dissonances and swarming synth sounds. Currently on tour, sharing the stage with King Tuff in New Orleans this evening, the band will be back your way on November 8th, playing at San Diego's The Griffin. Meanwhile, check out the video below.
Brash and relentlessly energetic, East LA's Criminal Hygiene are a trio of snotty buds that play pop hooks in disguise, littered with loads of reverb and trenchant guitar lines. Fuzz may be the overlying element in their sound, but it's merely an accouterment to songs that merge somewhere between blissfully ragged and straight up garage rock. Their latest self-titled LP can be described as defiant except that it also coupled with a laconic attitude, piling up one sloppy arrangement after another as if they're unpreoccupied with the end result. But it's also refreshingly loose in execution, trying to make sense out of different generations of rock with boundless vigor and with much more swing than its surface implies.
Guess what? We're near the end of the year already. And assuming the Apocalypse doesn't happen between now and December 21st, that means it's time for some wishful thinking. To that end, The Rescues have come and delivered the first song to celebrate the end of 2012 with new single 'Everything's Gonna Be Better Next Year.' Ready for your New Year's parties everywhere, the song details relationships new and old, and even ends with a rousing verse to 'Auld Lang Syne.' Taken from their forthcoming release 'Blah Blah Love And War,' (set to be released at the start of next year) the band's trademark 4-part harmonies are back in a big way. Should give us all something to look forward to next year. Check out the track below. - Mike Levine (@goldnuggets)
With Halloween just around the corner, the desolate, wicked sounds of synth duo Branes is the perfect soundtrack for zombie dance parties and haunted houses, but in reality their music should be enjoyed all year round. Listening to Branes' album Perfection Condition, which was released earlier this month on Burger Records, is like running through a sci-fi movie, full of suspense, lasers and creatures from other worlds. Vocalist Ivy and her male counterpart Susan Subtract create a world that is dark and foggy, but one that is fun and animated. Considering that Branes started as a performance art project, it is not surprising that the music has a lot of movement that evokes visual characteristics. The synths are the deep and fuzzy backbone, but the sharp percussion adds some bounce to the music, while Ivy's vocals move from sounded robotic to gargled. She has a pull and release vocal quality that makes it seem like she is telling a gripping ghost story around the camp fire. Her high energy and style of vocals bring to mind UK post punk bands like Essential Logic and Au Paris. Branes will be heading overseas to take part in Drop Dead Festival in Berlin, Germany on Halloween. - Karla Hernández
A band that certainly needs no introduction, Silverlake darlings Local Natives are back it after a three year wait with the announcement of a new full-length. The follow up to 2010's Gorilla Manor, Hummingbird is slated for a release date of January 29th on Frenchkiss Records. They've also shared a first taste of the record in the form of "Breakers", a clattering, slightly oft-kilter cut that doesn't abandon their knack for vocal harmonies and twinkling melodic tones.