Once upon a time, there was a TV show called Request Video that broadcast from Orange County of all places. The premise was simple, you call and request a video and maybe they would play it. Now, you might think that letting people request songs is a terrible idea, that it would lead to watching one cheeseball top 40 clip after the next. That happened once in a while, but, for the most part, Request Video was home to bands like Ride and My Bloody Valentine. Pretty much every band who fell under that “shoegaze” catchall had their videos played on Request Video, and a lot of those videos looked remarkably similar to this clip from Tamaryn for “The Garden.” They kind of sounded a lot like Tamaryn too. I would think I was having 9th grade flashbacks were it not for the knowledge that this sound, this aesthetic, never really went away, it’s just kind of hip again.
Tamaryn has a new album out on Mexican Summer called Tender New Signs. I need to pick up a copy asap. They’re also playing The Echo on November 23.
I’ve been writing a lot, just not on my blog. I have a notebook full of pieces of essays that were meant for Beatique, but none are complete. They may stay that way. I don’t know.
A few weeks ago, I made the effort to submit at least one pitch every day. I did that for two weeks straight. Most of those pitches were accepted and, on top of that, a few editors gave me some extra assignments. Now I’m racing to try and finish everything. I’ve talked to Bassnectar, Peter Murphy, Soul Clap, Foreign Beggars and a few more people whose stories are yet to be told. Continue reading →
Back in early 2011, my then-editor at LA Weekly handed me a CD from a guy called Bei Ru and asked me if I wanted to do a story on him. Of course, I did. The CD, Little Armenia (L.A.) was gorgeous, made by samples of Armenian music, grounded in L.A. hip-hop. It immediately became one of my favorite L.A. albums. I felt an immediate connection to Bei Ru, we’re both Armenian-Americans from the Valley who were obviously influenced by our city’s always-awesome underground music scenes. The story remains one of my favorite assignments (it’s also one of the only articles that everyone in my family read) and Bei Ru is still one of my favorite local musicians.
Right now, Bei Ru is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for his next album. It’s a more ambitious release in that he’s planning on working with other musicians and recording engineers. Because of that, he’s looking to raise $10,000. You know the Kickstarter drill by now: Bei Ru has to hit the goal by November 26 or he gets nothing. If you pledge, there are some really cool incentives, including Bei Ru releases, lots of limited edition art and even a 2-hour live Bei Ru gig at your house. Check out Bei Ru’s Kickstarter page for more info.
Vitalic is back with a new album, Rave Age, due out on November 6 via [PIAS] America, according to a recent press release. “Stamina” is the first single from the album and you can watch it right here. The video does have some gross-out moments and features a bare butt. Since I have no concept of what actually constitutes NSFW, keep that in mind and use your own judgment. The song itself is in line with what you’ll hear at those big raver gatherings that aren’t raves. In other words, it’s almost frantic sounding. That’s not a big stretch for Vitalic, who released his landmark EP, Poney, through International Deejay Gigolo more than ten years ago. That EP features one my all-time favorite dance songs, “La Rock 01,” which itself is a few minutes of complete dance floor madness. Vitalic knows how to get the crowd jumping on tables and, if “Stamina” is a good indication, his next album should manage to do the same thing.
Last year, I saw The Stepkids open up for The Horrors and they blew my mind. Everything about the band, from their dreamy psychedelic sound to their visuals to their outfits was perfect. Now, they have a new EP out on Stones Throw (personal note: must get 12″ asap) called Sweet Salvation and a video for the title track. Let me tell you right now, this “Sweet Salvation” video is a psychedelic sci-fi masterpiece. And by that, I mean that it looks like it’s taken from some Sid & Marty Krofft show that was still in repeats when I was a pre-schooler. In fact, it wasn’t. Big Nazo Lab took care of the robots and aliens in this video. Check out the full list of credits on YouTube.
Having grown up watching everything Krofft and Henson that came my way, I have an unusual affinity for puppets and people in puppet-like costumes. I also love 1960s science fiction. If that means my proclamation that this is the best video of the year is biased, than so be it.
It’s a song that used to find its way onto the radio when I was quite small. “Shiny Shiny.” I couldn’t remember how to spell the band’s name. After a few Google searches, Haysi Fantayzee popped up as correct. I never bought the single itself, though I’m quite certain it was on one of those ’80s flashback CDs that were all the rage in the ’90s. I still have a lot of those.
I don’t know anything about the band other than what’s in the video (behold! proto-Burner fashion) and a pretty barebones Wikipedia entry. I didn’t even realize they had more than one single.
Maybe there’s some profound significance to the lyrics. Since I can barely decipher them, and don’t really feel like clicking through lyric sites, I wouldn’t know. I’ll just continue believing that this is some hocus-pocus chant that can make good times happen right this second. It hasn’t happened yet, but if I sit here and keep watching this video, it might.
This was the first week of my second year as a full-time freelancer, so I dove head first into pitching new stories, as well as starting work on a non-fiction book proposal and a screenplay, and documenting as much of it as I could on Twitter and Facebook. It was an interesting experiment, and a successful one. I finished the week with five new story assignments, which might be a record for me. That said, by Thursday night, I was more than ready to do something just for fun. Continue reading →
Lately, a lot of people have been asking me about freelancing. I’ve posted a few notes on what I do on Facebook and on Twitter. Some of these are specific for writers, but a lot can be adapted for musicians, visual artists, etc. Today, I wanted to post about something that every freelancer will likely experience at some point in their career. That, dear reader, is the hell known as the dayjob.
If you’re just starting out, you will have to have a dayjob until you make it. (Notice, I did not say “if you make it.” That’s important.) There will also be times when you have to go back to a dayjob because the work in your field is sparse. That has happened to me as well. Twice. Continue reading →