Category Archives: The Playlist

Pulsar, the New Album from L’Impératrice, Is Out Now

L'Imperatrice Pulsar press photos by Augustin JSM
L’Impératrice (Photo by Augustin JSM)

In April of 2021, I saw L’Impératrice live at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles. Three years later, the thing that stands out about that show is how hard everyone danced.. There was one point when singer Flore Benguigui got low and the audience did the same.

I was in the balcony that night and, from my vantage point, I saw a broken heart totem and a crown totem bouncing above bobbing heads. When L’impératrice turned songs from Tako Tsubo, like “Submarine” and “Peur des filles” into full-blown disco jams — the latter sounding like “Love to Love You, Baby”— it felt like the crowd was moving as a single body. Before that night, I had spent more than a month listening to Tako Tsubo  on repeat, partially because I interviewed L’Impératrice for Audiofemme, but also because the album quickly became a favorite of mine for that year. But, L’Impératrice live is a whole other level of wild energy that I hadn’t heard in their recordings, at least until now. 

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Here’s What I Played at Underground’s 2000s Nite on May 31, 2024

Dance floor scene at Club Underground 2000s Nite at Grand Star Jazz Club in Los Angeles on May 31, 2024. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)
The scene just before midnight on the dance floor at Club Underground. May 31, 2024. (Pic: Liz O.)

I’m not one for nostalgia, but ‘00s Nite at Club Underground on May 31 did make me feel a bit wistful for the final decade of life untethered to phones and social media and streaming platforms. I wouldn’t say the ‘00s were a particularly great decade (like I’ve written before, it wasn’t), but it was nice to not be connected to everyone, everywhere, all the time.

In keeping with this week’s theme at Underground, I busted out one of my favorite mashups, which I had downloaded and burned to a CD for gigs back in the ‘00s, and ended the night with the song that was my closer in the earliest years of that decade. Keep reading for the set list.

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Neutrals, Blood Club and More May 2024 Music

Album cover for New Town Dream by Neutrals released on May 31, 2024

On Memorial Day, right after turning in my last writing assignment of the month, I headed over to Bandcamp and played the new DIIV album. It was the first time I listened to Frogs in Boiling Water.Typically, I don’t like writing about an album unless I’ve given it a few spins, but, in that moment, DIIV resonated with me and I started typing. 

Frogs in Boiling Water is an album that sounds amazing when you’re eyes are about to fall shut at 11:30 a.m. because you had a DJ gig the previous night— your third over the holiday weekend— and you had to wake up early enough to finish some work. That is a very specific situation, but it’s one that I can hear reflected in the tough, hazy sound of the album. This album is not dreamy, as people often refer to shoegaze bands. It’s the sound of pushing forward even when your shoulders slump and you have to close your eyes ever couple minutes.

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Here’s What I Played at Footsie’s on May 26, 2024

Dexys Midnight Runners Searching for the Young Soul Rebels on vinyl. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)
At last, the first Dexys Midnight Runners album is mine! (Pic: Liz O.)

On Sunday, May 26, I popped into Footsie’s to play a one hour, all-vinyl set alongside DJs Scarlett Casanova, Ruby Woo 13 and Jenni Gee. It was a good time and I had the chance to play the Dexys Midnight Runners record I found at the Music Center’s record swap a few weeks ago. Here’s the set list. 

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Klub Nocturno Is Back at Catch One on 6/15/24 + My Set List from Nocturno’s San Diego Show

Klub Nocturno Catch One June 15, 2024

On Saturday, June 15, Klub Nocturno heads back to Catch One in Los Angeles for five rooms of dancing. You can hop between Rock en español vs. cumbia, new wave vs. darkwave (where I’ll be DJing), Deftones night, Sad Bunny Night and disco. Tickets are available now. Click this link to get yours.

On Friday, May 24, I headed down to San Diego to play in the new wave vs. darkwave room at Klub Nocturno’s show at House of Blues. This was the first time I’ve played a club in San Diego and it was definitely a good night. The energy was fantastic, with people staying on the dance floor until the house lights went up. Plus, there were some great requests and a few cool band t-shirts that I read as requests.  Keep reading for the set list.

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Here’s What I Played at Harvard & Stone on May 23, 2024

Family of Light live at Harvard and Stone in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 23, 2024 (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)
Family of Light live at Harvard and Stone on May 23, 2024. (Pic: Liz O.)

My whirlwind Memorial Day Weekend began on Thursday night with gig playing in between and after live sets from Host Family, the Rose Haze and Family of Light at Harvard and Stone. The show, presented by The Witching Hours, was fantastic and you should check out all of the bands on the bill. 

I arrived right around the time Host Family started their set and it felt like walking into Spaceland. The band has a very turn-of-the-21st century L.A. indie vibe, which I really appreciate. The Rose Haze was followed with a set that was a lot heavier than I had anticipated. Kate Ramsey is a fantastic guitarist, as well as a singer.  Family of Light hit the sweet spot between psyche and shoegaze, which influenced a decent chunk of what I ended up playing in this set. 

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Here’s What I Played in the New Wave vs. Darkwave Room for Klub Nocturno’s 4th Anniversary Party

Klub Nocturno 4th Anniversary Party, May 10, 2024,  New Wave vs. Darkwave Room at Catch One in Los Angeles.  (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)
Dancing to “Love Will Tear Us Apart” in the New Wave vs. Darkwave room at Klub Nocturno’s 4th Anniversary Party on May 10, 2024 (Pic: Liz O.)

Thanks to Klub Nocturno for asking me to be a part of their 4th anniversary party last night. It was amazing. Online tickets sold out a few days before the event and, from what I saw on Insta, the few remaining tickets at the door went quickly. A big surprise for the night was the first U.S. performance of Depresíon Post-Mortem. I didn’t get to see their set, but did get to hear soundcheck, which was a real treat. You can hear Depresíon Post-Mortem on Soundcloud or Spotify and you should do that as soon as you have the chance because both their covers and original tunes are fantastic. 

I played open to close in the New Wave vs. Darkwave room. Sometime after 11 p.m., while playing “Sex Dwarf,” I flashed back to Stigmata, which was *the* big Friday night alternative club when I was fresh out of high school. It was a combination of the song and the energy inside the room that made me think about being out with my friends when we were 18 or 19 and dancing so hard that we were dripping sweat, but still couldn’t leave the dance floor. I dropped “Sex (I’m a…)” into the set after that and realized that I’m 99% sure that’s how those two songs were played at Stigmata. It was long time ago— like, back in the days of paper flyers and L.A. Weekly club ads— so maybe I’m misremembering, but some things just stick with you. And, for me, those things are usually songs. 

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Digging for Heat at On the Record Vinyl Fair

The Music Center in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, May 4, 2024 for On the Record Vinyl Fair (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)
On the Record Vinyl Fair at The Music Center on May 4, 2024 (Pic: Liz O.)

Salt Box Records has never steered me wrong. So, when I saw a 7” with a tag on cover the sleeve that read “Italo-style Spanish synth pop,” I grabbed it. I had never heard of the band Tango?— or, at least, in that moment, I thought that I hadn’t heard them— and the song title “Breve Síntesis de los Huecos,” sounded completely unfamiliar to me. I bought it strictly because that descriptive tag, written in Sharpie by an actual human, said, “Listen to me, Liz” in a way that algorithmic suggestions never do. 

Later on, I would realize that I had previously heard Tango?, who were based in Barcelona and active in the mid-1980s. They had a self-titled song that was included on the stellar compilation, Ritmo Fantasía: Balearic Spanish Synth-Pop, Boogie and House. The two songs couldn’t be more different, though. “Tango?,” the song, is a slow groovy piece suited for pool parties and bars where they serve tapas on shady, outdoor patios. “Breve Síntesis de los Huecos” should have accompanied a montage in an ‘80s movie. It’s a vibe.

But, back to the record shopping. 

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Here’s What I Played at Dolce Vita’s Italo Disco vs. Space Disco Night on April 30, 2024

The Mermaid in Little Tokyo on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 for The Wolves takeover and Dolce Vita Italo disco with DJ Liz O. (Photo: Liz O.)
Scene at The Mermaid on April 30

The Mermaid was busy last night. People filtered in and out of the bar. Guest bartenders from The Wolves poured specialty cocktails. Scenes from Star Odyssey, the “Italian Star Wars,” played on the TV set. I played a mix of Italo disco, space disco and other assorted, related tunes from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. A couple friends turned up and got a dance party going. It was a good time. Check out the set list. 

Continue reading Here’s What I Played at Dolce Vita’s Italo Disco vs. Space Disco Night on April 30, 2024