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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

Topic: Los Angeles

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May 16, 2014 at 3:00 PM

At last, Failure a success | Concert preview


Failure, from left: Ken Andrews, Greg Edwards, Kellii Scott. Photo by Jeff Bender.

It takes a lack of superstition and a sense of sarcasm to call a band Failure in the first place — but around 1996, singer, guitarist and producer Ken Andrews had to be wondering if it was a self-fulfilling prophecy for his star-crossed Los Angeles trio.

For a group to make a career-defining work, only to have it go largely unheard, requires bad luck and bad timing — and Failure had both.

Their label, Warner Bros., had no idea what to do with “Fantastic Planet” — their 68-minute whale of a third album — and gave up promoting it after it failed to chart on Billboard’s Top 200.

“I’ll never fully understand why they got cold feet,” sighs the Seattle native in a phone interview. “I felt like people really just needed a minute to get to know us, to figure out what our sound was about… but they weren’t ready to make that commitment.”

But now, Andrews and his writing partner Greg Edwards — Failure’s bassist and co-founder — are getting their due. Last winter, they announced their first live performance since breaking up, at L.A.’s El Rey Theatre. It sold out instantly. They’ll play The Showbox Sunday.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Los Angeles, post-grunge, Showbox

April 17, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Northwest ex-pats Gun Outfit steady their aim | Concert preview

Gun Outfit

Gun Outfit’s Dylan Sharp, above. Photo by Rachel Carr.

While the presence of two distinct songwriters — and absence of a bass player — has defined Gun Outfit since it formed in Olympia in 2006, co-founders Dylan Sharp and Carrie Keith changed things up for last year’s “Hard Coming Down” LP, their third, adding low end and harmonizing for the first time. Bassist Anton Seder and drummer Dan Swire round out the lineup; they’ll play Chop Suey Thursday. The four-band bill also includes Brooklyn’s The Men, Olympia’s Moldy Castle and Seattle’s Lures.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Chop Suey, Los Angeles, Olympia

February 7, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Touché Amoré finds poetry in emotion | Concert preview

Touché Amoré

The Southern California band Touché Amoré plays Neumos in Seattle Sunday. Photo courtesy of Deathwish, Inc.

For a guy who screams his head off for a living, Touché Amoré’s Jeremy Bolm seems curiously shy — at least when he first picks up the phone.

Speaking from his home in Los Angeles, the vocalist-lyricist is admittedly weary from a day’s worth of interviews, but begins to perk up when asked about his musical upbringing.

“My parents listened to Elvis and country,” he remembers, “which I hated. Hated. I think that subconciously pushed me to find aggressive music at an early age, because it was the complete antithesis to what I was raised on. I was eight when Nirvana ‘Nevermind’ and Pearl Jam ‘Ten’ came out. That was such an awesome time to be exposed to actual alternative music, because it wasn’t hidden. It was right in front of you.”

While Bolm’s band isn’t operating on that large of a scale yet, it’s on the bubble. The quintet — which also features guitarists Clayton Stevens and Nick Steinhardt, bassist Tyler Kirby and drummer Elliot Babin — performs live at Neumos Sunday.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: emo, Los Angeles, Neumos

October 24, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Haim and Seattle love at first sight | Concert review


L.A.’s Haim sisters — Danielle, Alana and Este, from left — made their local debut Wednesday. Photo by Bella Lieberberg.

Neumos is one of the Emerald City’s bigger rooms. For many artists, headlining there might represent the peak of a career.

But Los Angeles’ Haim, which played to a sellout crowd Wednesday at the Capitol Hill club, is just getting started.

The band — multi-instrumentalist siblings Este, Danielle and Alana Haim, plus drummer Dash Hutton — has charmed mainstream audiences and KEXP types alike with its recent debut, “Days Are Gone.”

“Days” is a big-budget pop production, but anyone who pegs Haim as run-of-the-mill — or, worse, manufactured — isn’t listening hard enough. The album’s habit-forming hooks and top-shelf sonics have garnered most of the attention so far, but the group’s rock-oriented live performance really gets inside the songs, displaying remarkable musicality and presence.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Haim, Los Angeles, Neumos

October 18, 2013 at 11:30 AM

L.A.’s hitmaking Haim sisters to visit Seattle | Concert preview


Haim — from left, Danielle, Alana and Este — performs live at Neumos Wednesday. The show is sold out. Photo by Tom Beard.

“I’m never too busy to talk,” says 27-year-old Este Haim, via telephone from New Orleans. “You know I love to gab.”

On this particular Monday, Este and her music-making sisters — Danielle, 24, and Alana, 21 — have lots to chat about. “Days Are Gone,” the debut LP from their group, Haim, just hit number one on the U.K. pop charts.

“Surreal,” she says. “It hasn’t quite computed yet. It’s a moment for us, for sure.”

Other bands might celebrate such a moment with some debaucherous rock-star antics — but not Haim. Instead, says Este, “we’re having a chill spa day. We haven’t had much downtime lately.”

That’s an understatement.

The Los Angeles natives, who’ll play to a sellout crowd at Neumos Wednesday, built anticipation for “Days” one infectious single at a time — first “Forever” (listen), then “Don’t Save Me” (listen), “Falling” (listen) and, most recently, “The Wire” (listen). Tours with Mumford & Sons and Rihanna elevated the public’s interest in the group to a fever pitch. Now, like those artists, they’re certified chart-toppers.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Haim, Los Angeles

August 19, 2013 at 8:13 AM

L.A.’s No Age fights the path of least resistance | Concert preview

No Age

No Age — Randy Randall, left, and Dean Spunt — play Seattle’s Washington Hall Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the band.

When bands depart basements for larger clubs and festivals, what they gain in stability they often lose in day-to-day spontaneity.

Not so, however, for Los Angeles duo No Age, which celebrates the release of its latest LP “An Object” Tuesday at Washington Hall, a hundred-year-old theater in Seattle’s Central District with a deep musical history. The city’s first documented jazz performance took place inside its walls in 1918, and Jimi Hendrix played there often in the ‘60s. Nowadays, however, it mostly hosts plays and community meetings.

For No Age’s Randy Randall (guitar) and Dean Spunt (drums and vocals), such underused — or disused — spaces are a way of life.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: D.I.Y., Los Angeles, Post-punk