Posts Tagged ‘los angeles’

2015 is coming to a close, and I can’t believe it! This year sped by and was the most adventurous year for Rocker Stalker yet. Between presenting showcases at SXSW (3!) and CMJ (6!)  and attending Aftershock and VooDoo Fests, and hosting over a dozen shows throughout the year in NYC, I’ve had a pretty great time.  More importantly, though, there have been some incredible releases this year! Here are my top 5:

  1. Mister Asylum by Highly Suspect: I’ve had my ears on these guys for about four years and was privileged to have them on a few shows  in New York and SXSW before they burst from the Brooklyn “local” scene into the international spotlight. Their debut album that dropped in July is both a sultry, heavy alternative/bluesy rock delight and vulnerable record that  you can rock out and cozy up to. It’s a breath of fresh air to see a ROCK band making headway so quickly. And now, up for two Grammy nominations, Highly Suspect might just be the next, most highly prized music act of the 2000’s.  *Highlight tracks: “Lydia,” “Mom,” “23” 

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2. Blood Moon by Luna Sol: Back in the spring, I was lucky enough to interview Dave Angstrom, a name you may recognize from “stoner rock” staples, Hermano and Supafuzz, and main man behind Luna Sol.  The Denver-based group’s debut, released via Slush Fund Recordings,  is heavy, dark and gritty; three words that describe almost all of my favorite music.  And, to make things even MORE awesome, there are guest spots from Nick Oliveri (Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age), Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses)  and John Garcia (Kyuss, Vista Chino), to name a few, lending to the already expertly-crafted, fiery and sludgy goodness. *Highlight tracks: ‘Your War,” “Operator,” “December” 

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3. High Country by The SwordAfter catching these gentleman a few years back at SXSW, I fell in love with Austin’s hometown rock heroes. Their 5th studio album is fraught with masterful, headbanging riffs mixed with some space-rock/psychedelic influences and some more up-to-date electro-effects.  Those who weren’t able to live through the glory of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and the 70’s in general (yours truly included), can bask in the The Sword’s modern take on vintage vibes.  I caught them recently at Webster Hall in New York City and once again, they blew my mind! *Highlight tracks: “Mist & Shadow,” “The Dreamthieves,” “Buzzards”

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4. We’ll Show You Where the Monsters Are by Fable Cry: These Nashville-based characters call themselves “theatrical scamp rock.” But, “what does that MEAN?” you may ask. A short and sweet answer is: vaudevillian, unique gypsy punk-infused rock. If you’re in search of the most out-of-the-box album of 2015, look no further. A combination of creepy, spooky, playful and creative, Fable Cry’s sophomore release is like having Halloween year-round.  It’s only a matter of time before Tim Burton finds these guys and has them score his next film. *Highlight tracks: “The Good Doctor,” “Fancy Dancing,” “You Ain’t My Baby No More”

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5.  Temporary Love by The Brinks: OK, so this might be the black sheep of the list upon first listen, but you may recognize Australian-born, LA-based vocalist/guitarist Scott Mellis from Rocker Stalker’s “highly stalked.” His new band, The Brinks, a duo comprised of Mellis and producer Matt Friedman, dropped their 6-song EP earlier this month. Executive produced by Pusha T and Salaam Remi and avidly supported by Pharrell Williams, Temporary Love showcases Mellis’ ethereal, spine-tingling vocals over bubbly dance-infused tracks.  *Highlight tracks: “Temporary Love,” “Hide Your Love,” “Stoned”

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Wishing everyone a happy 2016!

ROCKER STALKER

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Rocco Deluca is the type of performer who will break and mend your heart all at once. The Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter/slide guitar extraordinaire graced Brooklyn with his presence on Tuesday Setpember 2 at Rough Trade NYC in Williamsburg.  DeLuca has been through a few incarnations over the years.  I first heard his tunes back in  2006 when his band and music were the focuses of a documentary  entitled I Trust You To Kill Me,  featuring  Kiefer Sutherland, who acted as the band’s tour manager during that time.  Now, touring as a duo in support of his latest self-titled album, DeLuca was joined by Johnathan Wright on drums.

Tuesday evening was  a treat to say the least. The opener was an intriguing and interesting Brooklyn-based act called The Loom, who put a twist on “indie rock,” integrating a french horn into their sound.   The softspoken DeLuca and unassuming Wright appeared on the stage after a brief soundcheck, creeping up on the audience with undetectable introductions that  launched into walls of sound that seemed almost impossible to achieve by only two musicians. The  musical chemistry between Wright and DeLuca was undeniable as Wright complimented every nuance in DeLuca’s voice and interwove rhythms into DeLuca’s slide guitar variations and dynamic style. Taking selections from the 2014 release, including hymn-infused “Congregate” entrancing “Through Fire,” and hypnotic “Colors of the Cold,” DeLuca’s ethereal voice ebbed and flowed with such sentiment, made all-the-stronger by the yearning nature of the pedal steel,  that  I was on the verge of tears. Heavily influenced by gospel music and hymns, DeLuca took on John Cleveland’s “God Can Do Anything,” crafting a poetic rendition, complete with exquisite vocal runs that trailed off into whispers,  leaving the audience in entranced awe. In between songs, DeLuca was a man of few words but still managed to mention he “wasn’t into the UK scene,” cracking some jokes about British hipsters, which he would “never live down.” Whatever the case, his Brooklyn fans were forgiving, especially when he played a more hip hop beat-infused version of the favorite, “I Trust You to Kill Me,” title track to the aforementioned album, to complete the set. Compelled by the crowd’s cheers, DeLuca agreed to an encore, but not before expressing his gratitude to the audience, the venue and the incredible sound. Closing the night officially and on a powerfully poignant note, DeLuca chose the radiant and emotive “Nightingale,” a song inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Dole of the King’s Daughter.

After the show, I chatted with DeLuca briefly about his next tour stops and future NYC plans. He also mentioned liking my nail polish that glowed brightly in the black light, which gets him brownie points. His kind demeanor and approachable attitude was refreshing to encounter in such a talent.

Rocco DeLuca will be on tour through the fall and will be returning to NYC on October 19 for a performance at Rockwood Music Hall. After years of listening to his albums and finally seeing the live show, I highly recommend checking out a gig near you and guarantee that DeLuca’s beautifully powerful artistry will have you hooked in no time.

Meanwhile, check out all things Rocco DeLuca on his website and Facebook!

 

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Day 5 of SXSW kicked my butt, to be frank, but in the best way possible. I set up camp at Rusty’s after a failed attempt to get into Rachel Ray’s Party at Stubb’s BBQ. Not waiting in the three mile long line was definitely a blessing in disguise.  I ventured to the tried and true, Rusty’s, where the line-up stayed amazing all day long.

A bunch of  Boston acts including, folk rock Air Traffic Controller, bluesy, harmony-soaked  Coyote Kolb, and rock ‘n rollers with a humorous edge, Mellow Bravo , got the energy pumping right off the bat.

A little later in the afternoon after yet another Tex-mex descanso, I returned to Rusty’s for some heavy hitters. Previous contestant on The Voice, Nakia, who is based in Austin, showed off his lung capacity and soulful vocal chops with the help of an orchestra of instruments and back-up singers.  San Antonio-based band of (literal) brothers, Hacienda, took the stage next, demonstrating that their tightness as a band was not only by blood, showcasing their rough-around-the-edges pop rock and their personable stage presence .

Outside, another band of siblings, Chicago’s Filligar, led by three brothers, who would be a “classic” rock band if I didn’t know better. They’ll be in NYC on June 1 at Gramercy Theater rocking tunes from one of their 5 records. In the next room over, Phoenix, AZ’s The Technicolors shined with Brit-rock-esque tunes from their record Listener Deluxe, who were followed by Fresno, CA-based Strange Vine, who, though only a twopiece, created a huge sound with some extra keyboard responsibilities played by their drummer.    SXSW got a huge dose of happy when country/blues/folk six-piece,  Sam Marine & County,  high-voltage, Louisiana-born, pop group, Super Water Sympathy,and  Brooklyn’s indie synth-pop/rock quartet, Silas Fermoy, who welcomed their debut EP Chapters yesterday, took the Rusty’s stage.

The best moment of the night happened when Jared James Nichols took the main stage, not to downplay any of the artists. JJN took my breath away, though, and it’s a rare occasion to be so utterly impressed. The trio, born in Troy, Wisconsin and now hailing from Los Angeles, shook the venue with blues rock to the max, with intense drums, surging bass lines,  and Nichols’ guitar-playing that is pretty untouchable.  Last but not least, Nashville’s The Hollywood Kills, closed the night on a perfect note, danceable rock ‘n roll with finesse, featuring sultry sounds from their latest EP  An Idiot’s Guide to Desertion. 

Here’s a quick look at the day, but check out the full album on Facebook!

I’m back in Austin! What a relief!  I’m down in Texas for the annual SXSW Festival, a personal 5th! Day 1 was the perfect day of music, weather, and food, and I was lucky to catch some incredible bands.  I kicked the day off at Hotel Vegas with Parisian rockers, Hooka Hey, who were definitely worth the wait of the soundman’s eternal set up. Following them, Austin-based The Preservation provided uplifting spacerock to fight any oncoming afternoon sleepiness.  I bounced over to the Red Bull Space where an all Los Angeles line-up impressed and made me completely homesick! When I arrived, dancy quartet Hands, was riling up the crowd.  Next, surfy and punky Beach Party  and dual-drummer, electro-rock/industrial Big Black Delta kept my day at a high. Plus, I really liked Beach Party’s bassist’s Clash t-shirt!  Closing off my time at the Red Bull Space was Best Coast, who has been making waves with their light indie vibes. Back at Hotel Vegas, I got my face melted upon entering by Austin’s The Venus Illuminato who were breaking down some serious blues rock. The late show started off with mellow indie trio Cheree, then the pace was accelerated by psych-rock, projection-embellished Holy Wave out of El Paso. Concluding my first SXSW day, I caught up with Joshua Tree-founded Gram Rabbit, one of my favorite bands from California (here I go with that nostalgia again…), who packed the room with heavy riffs, experiental tinges, and cowboy attitude.

Check out some photos from Rocker Stalker’s SX start!

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LA-based, indie rock duo, Broken Anchor, took the plunge and set out on their first east coast tour for the past week and a half. Vocalist/guitarist,  Austin Hartley-Leonard, and drummer, Mike Duffy, stopped by NYC at the  beloved LES room, Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 on February 15 to serenade the crowd with soulfully sweet tunes and quirky and witty inter-song patter. A week later, the Angelenos took their tunes further uptown to the American Folk Art Museum for the ongoing Free Music Friday series that featured the band in acoustic form.

The pair currently has three self-titled EP’s available, downloadable for FREE on their website (“Ghosts” from Broken Anchor Vol. III was recently featured on Private Practice.)  You can stream their music below and get a glimpse into their full-length record, Fresh Lemonade, due out this summer.

Tuesday evening at Santos Party House buzzed with excitement that reverberated through the smoke-machine clouds as the audience anticipated the high-energy, high-caliber line up, including Richmond, VA’s dancy groovers, Spirit Animal, NYC’s piano-led, indie pop group, Eytan and the Embassy, and LA rockers, Nico Vega.  Spirit Animal warmed up the crowd, enlightening all on entertaining dance moves, and Eytan and the Embassy lifted spirits with their upbeat melodies and peppy rhythms.  Headliners, Nico Vega, impressed with heavy riffs and powerful vocals. Leading-lady Aja Volkman, although small in stature, packed a punch in her performance, bouncing on and off the drum kit and large metal barrels that the band used as percussion.  The audience reflected back the energy radiating from the stage, inducing smiles across the band’s faces.  Nico Vega gave their all, but the crowd still begged for an encore that was passionately fulfilled.

Check out more photos from the night on Rocker Stalker’s Facebook!

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Awesome Aussie, Scott Mellis will  be serenading Silverlake tonight at The Bootleg Theater. There are still some tickets at the door, so get there promptly at 10pm! 21+

 

Outernational is partway through their summer/fall tour, welcoming  their new EP, Future Rock.  Tonight the band is back in Los Angeles, rocking The Satellite in Silverlake with support by Las Cafeteras and Los Hollywood for their official EP release party. Check out Outernational’s website to listen and download Future Rock, or even better, stop by a show to pick up a copy!   Doors tonight at 8pm, 21+, $10.