Friday, March 27, 2009

Ema and the Ghosts 3/20/09 - Where Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.

(Photo by Jeff Koga)

I first heard of Ema and the Ghosts on an artist list affiliated with a Dresden Doll's group called The Dirty Business Brigade back in 2007. It's weird, it sometimes seems like some roads to musicians lead through The Dresden Dolls - they're just that prevalent. Ha.

Anyway, I first saw Ema at Mr. T's Bowl in April of that year (only time I've ever been there, really need to go back) I later saw here a couple more times in '07, at Canoga Park venue The Verity Room and The Echo. This was the first show of hers I caught since then, and things have changed somewhat since then.

The set consisted of a lot of older material, but there was quite a difference in hearing these songs ("Ermine and Mink," "Alligator") in 2009 vs. 2007. I can't say exactly what, but it definitely was stronger. A new cover has been thrown in the mix (The Kinks "Victoria") and a couple of new songs ("Ice Cream"), one of which is so new it doesn't have a title yet - supposedly, it was only the 2nd live performance. (it was also played on the banjo - also a newer addition I think)

I must also note that the photo in this post wasn't taken this night - how it's related is that buttons were made with the image and given out at this show.

Like The Movies set from earlier in the night, this one came out pretty good as well, though there were a couple of technical issues during the show, which I tried to minimize as much as possible. Shouldn't be an problem though.

1.) Victoria (The Kinks cover) FLAC MP3
2.) Ermine and Mink FLAC MP3
3.) Alligator FLAC MP3
4.) Ice Cream FLAC MP3
5.) Whirly Kid FLAC MP3
6.) "New Song" FLAC MP3
7.) Behemoth FLAC MP3
Text File

The Movies 3/20/09 - Where Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.

(Photo by Classical Geek Theatre)

It's weird, while I've been at shows where The Movies were on the bill, I never got to see them until now. I was familiar with the name, but never really got the opportunity to see them play live or listen to their music. However, with last Friday's performance at the final night of "Exposure", this has happily been remedied.

Keeping with the acoustic theme of these past four Friday nights at Where Gallery, The Movies frontman Tim James played half of the set solo, and the second half with bandmate Marcos Lopez on guitar. It was a short set, due to the fact that Mr. James had to be at work soon after he was done playing (he can be heard at various intervals counting down "I have to be at work in 20 minutes" "I have to be at work in 12 minutes" "I have to be at work in 5 minutes" - you get the idea) Regardless of the compacted set length, it was a good one showcasing some The Movies work.

This one came out pretty well, better than the recently posted Monolators recording, partially due to figuring out where the "sweet spot" was (the point in a room to best record and get the sound from), and should reflect how it sounded in the gallery that night.

1.) "Intro" MP3
2.) Pass The Music MP3
3.) ??? MP3
4.) "Improv" song MP3
5.) When I Was In Nam MP3
6.) Missed Opportunities MP3
Text File

FLAC (loseless) files available upon request (by e-mail)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Artichoke Heart Souffle 3/07/09 - Synchronicity, Los Angeles, CA.

Artichoke Heart Souffle is another one of those bands I heard about in a roundabout way. Back in 2006, they were playing on a bill with Jesca Hoop at The Hotel Cafe (more about her in the future), and I thought that was an interesting name for a band. Unfortunately, I didn't make the show, but the name stuck and I made a mental note to check out their music later.

However, that ended up being quite awhile later - about 2 years later to be exact. Part of the reason it took so for me to see them was because they are (or were, not sure about this) based in Orange Country, and mostly played in that area. In the past, I've driven the long distances for concerts, but these days I've been finding it difficult to do so (fluctuating gas prices have also had an effect on this)

Anyway, I did finally see Artichoke Heart Souffle live last November at the New Image Art Gallery out here. Twas a good show, but due to the semantics of the venue I choose not to record that night. I did pick up their two releases (their self-titled debut and the more-recently released "Who You Know") and have been listening ever since.

Now we come to this recent show, which turned out to be someone's birthday party. Artichoke Heart Souffle were part of the line-up that included LA-based The Chapin Sisters . They played a good set of older and newer material, with covers of the Spice Girl's "Wannabe" (also on the debut album) and Whitney Houston's "So Emotional." Indie-folk-rock covers of pop songs almost always equal the awesomeness.

This one turned out pretty well I think, levels may somewhat extreme. (when I do post-mastering, I prefer not to try to "normalize" the music to a uniform level because it's distracts too much from how the show sounded in the first place) The last song of the night was performed unplugged, so it will sound quieter than the others.

1.) Fell In Love At The P.O. MP3
2.) Wannabe (Spice Girls cover) MP3
3.) Doctor MP3
4.) Who You Know MP3
5.) So Emotional (Whitney Houston cover) MP3
6.) The Coast MP3
7.) Icing On The Cake MP3
8.) Tarantula Hawk Wasp MP3
9.) Whatever It Takes (false start) MP3
10.) Whatever It Takes MP3
11.) Don't Confuse This MP3
12.) Sunup to Sundown MP3
13.) Love Makes You Soft MP3
Text File

FLAC (loseless) files available upon request (by e-mail)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Monolators 3/06/09 - Where Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.

(Photo by Jeff Koga)

A lot has been said and written about Monolators. I first heard and saw them in April 2007 while at Mr. T's Bowl to see Ema and the Ghosts, also for the first time. This is the perfect example of how interconnected the local music scene is, because Ema is part of The Monolators side project band and has covered one of The Monolator's songs "Prom Queen."

I also saw them again on one of the stages at the annual Eagle Rock Music Festival in 2007, although quite by accident. It was a really good set, and I'm kicking myself for not recording it (since I didn't plan on seeing them) So, as a perfect example of my somewhat recent sporatic show attendance in recent years, I didn't see them again until this show.

This was a very unique show for The Monolators, because it was an acoustic one, and this was their first time doing so. Nested in front corner of the gallery, they played a short set of re-arranged material plucked from their catalog. It was an interesting show, and hopefully they'll do another one in the future.

A note on the quality of the recording - I have to admit this was a challenging environment to record in, and this is reflected on here. There is some background chatter (especially in the last couple of songs) Don't let that stop you - it's still certainly worth the download.

Finally, this Friday is the last night for "Exposure: A Photography Show," a show featuring the work of 3 L.A.-based music photographers. Since a billion other blogs have been writing about the exhibit, I will only say that it's most certainly worth going after appreciating their work for all this time, and for the great musical line-up. See you there.

1.) Rejection Set Me Free MP3
2.) Hearts Going Steady MP3
3.) Tiny Bicycles MP3
4.) 14 Degrees MP3
5.) CA 3A 569 MP3
6.) Oh No, Everything Has Changed MP3
Text File

FLAC (loseless) files available upon request (by e-mail)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Oohlas 3/30/07 - The Hotel Cafe, Hollywood, CA.

I don't really remember where I first heard of The Oohlas - it was probably online somewhere. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure if I listened to any of their music before this show. Regardless, I liked the name of the band (yeah, not being very eloquate here) and they were part of a strong line-up at The Hotel Cafe that night (Carina Round, Kate Earl, and Laura Weinbach also played there that night) so off I went.

On this particular night, The Oohlas played acoustically. While I do love and listen to quite a bit of rock, I do love my acoustic music, and especially adore it when bands that are usually plugged in play in such a fashion because then I can have my cake and eat it too. I fully agree with the often-said opinion that acoustic music is usually the best way to hear music because to hear a song stripped down is to hear it in it's purest form.

Anyway, The Oohlas played a great acoustic set this night, and I immediately started liking their music. I later tracked down their very-good debut LP "Best Stop Pop," and saw them play a regular "plugged-in" show; however, I think they shine best in the live acoustic setting. Wish they would play that way more often.

1.) Tripped MP3
2.) Small Parts MP3
3.) TV Dinner MP3
4.) Gone MP3
5.) Octopus MP3
6.) Cahuenga Shuffle MP3
7.) Pollination MP3
8.) Across The Stars In Blue MP3

FLAC (loseless) files available upon request (by e-mail)