Thursday, May 31

Live: Arcade Fire

Kick-ass, as always. They added to their set from Coachella by performing a few more tracks from the catalog. I had seen them several times before, so it was quite a treat to hear "In the Backseat" live for the first time. This band always delivers 110% and plays each song like it's the last time they'll ever perform. Absolute quality. Just wish the Greek had turned it up a little...

Electrelane opened but I missed most of their set scarfing down a chilidog. What I did see was sufficiently ferocious.

Point 'er here for some other nice shots.

Main photo by Jonathon David.

Wednesday, May 30

Jinpachi: Best. Sushi. Ever.

The Lady Doc and I had date night last week at Jinpachi, a sushi restaurant in West Hollywood. Now I've had my fair share of sushi over the years, and have actually been to Jinpachi once before with our friend Eric, but this meal was unbelievably scrumptious.

The edamame was great and our ginger-dressing salad was excellent, but the main event at Jinpachi is found at the sushi bar.

From what I can remember, our meal included cut rolls of spicy tuna, toro scallion, and shrimp tempura. As for nigiri, we had yellowtail (hamachi), sockeye salmon (sake), fresh water eel (unagi), and giant scallop (hotategai). (The sake and hotategai were specials.)

I cannot imagine any of the sushi being better than it was that night. Every piece just had an extra "something" that knocked this sushi to the next level. The quality of each selection was to such a degree that a better epicurean experience is simply unrealistic. (And I'm not referring to atomic materialism, if anyone was wondering.) If that's not enough, they also offer desserts from a Spago-trained pastry chef.

If you live in LA, there's no excuse for not going. If you live within 75 miles of La Cienega & Santa Monica Blvd., make it a Jinpachi daytrip. If you live any further--let me know and you can crash at my place for, you guessed it, JINPACHI WEEKEND!

Saturday, May 26

Live: The Clientele

On Thursday night I caught The Clientele with my buddy Kfuture. They played at the Knitting Factory (Hollywood) which is an awesome venue in a very not awesome half-constructed mall space. Beach House opened and the duo proved they could pull off their unhurried compositions in a live setting. They played all the hits from their self-titled 2006 debut.

Next came The Clientele, who started just as I was finishing up in the loo. I heard the beginning of "Since K Got Over Me" and rushed out to catch the rest of what would be a wonderful show. Their musicianship was spot-on and Alasdair MacLean's voice was phenomenal. His range is nothing to write home about, but his skill in conveying that breathy Clientele aesthetic is amazing.

After the show I picked up a vinyl copy of God Save the Clientele and by so doing entitled myself to a digital download of the same. I believe Merge Records offers downloads with everything they put on vinyl. I just wish that was the industry standard.

They play Great American Music Hall in SF tonight, where my buddy DJ KRC will be in attendance. Go here for a list of remaining shows and here for more pics.

Photo by Jonathon David.

Wednesday, May 23

Live: Fujiya and Miyagi

Last week I was lucky enough to catch Fujiya & Miyagi at The Echo. I've been jamming out in my car to Transparent Things for months now and was very excited to see them. Originally they were to open for Peter Bjorn & John at The Fonda, but for some reason that gig was postponed (until 7/31, if anyone is taking notes). Thankfully F & M opted to do their own headlining gig in a smaller venue.

Man, these guys can groove. The bassist lays down rhythms that lock on to triggered beats, while the lead vocalist plays clean guitar licks and chords. The whole sound is accented by various keyboard and sample flourishes and is extremely catchy and danceable. All three band members sing, but it wasn't until this show that I realized the lead vocalist is more of an MC than a singer, speaksinging many of the lyrics and delivering a sometimes constant flow.

If you can, catch them at any of the following appearances:

May 31 2007 8:00A
Jun 15 2007 8:00P
Jun 19 2007 8:00A
Jun 20 2007 8:00A
Jun 21 2007 8:00A
Jun 22 2007 8:00A
Jun 25 2007 8:00A
Jun 26 2007 8:00A
Jun 28 2007 8:00A
Jun 29 2007 8:00A
Jun 30 2007 8:00A
Jul 6 2007 12:00A
Jul 7 2007 8:00P
Jul 9 2007 8:00P
Jul 10 2007 8:00P
Jul 11 2007 8:00P
Jul 12 2007 8:00P
Jul 28 2007 8:00P
Aug 11 2007 8:00P
Aug 16 2007 8:00P
Sep 1 2007 8:00A
Sep 8 2007 8:00A

Photo by Jonathon David.

Saturday, May 19

Tio Bitar

There are some bands (exempli gratia Radiohead and Animal Collective) that invite high expectations for consistently revolutionary output. At the same time, there are others that satisfy their audience by sticking with whatever musical formula they do best. (See Explosions In the Sky and the latest LP therefrom.) I love Dungen, so I have been eagerly awaiting their follow-up to the neo-psych rock showcase that is Ta Det Lugnt.

Tio Bitar (which tidily means "Ten Pieces" in Swedish), the latest from mastermind Gustav Ejstes, does not disappoint. That is, of course, if you like Dungen's sound in the first place. On this record, Ejstes does not exactly build on the layers of blown-speaker guitar jams, dreamy reverberated piano odysseys, and atmospheric flute solos of Ta Det Lugnt (meanwhile singing entirely in Swedish). Instead, it's more of the same from the first searing note to the sleepy closer.

And that's a great thing.

I want Dungen to be Dungen, not something outside their realm of 1968ish production, sonic sensibility, and general psych-pop aesthetic. I'm certain you could play Tio Bitar to the unaware and easily convince them that it's a long-lost LP from the Scandinavian classic rock scene. This stuff is so good, it very well might be...

Monday, May 14

An Announcement To Answer

Quantic (aka Will Holland) is a Brighton-based DJ/producer/cratedigger, but first and foremost he is a talented multi-instrumentalist. Proficient in piano, guitar, saxophone, bass, double bass, and percussion, Mr. Holland combines these chops with an ear for diversity to create tracks that traverse geography and time. He samples some of the sounds that end up in his work, but most of the elements are entirely composed by Quantic himself.

Released in 2006 on Tru Thoughts/Ubiquity records, An Announcement To Answer is Quantic's strongest work to date. The album is under 4o minutes but this brevity is made up for by the distinct quality of each individual track.

Blending breakbeat funk, jazz, salsa, reggae, and lush strings and horns, Quantic has melted the pots of many genres to great effect. Contributions by vocalist Noelle Scaggs and MC Ohmega Watts balance the mostly instrumental album.

This is not amazing music, but it doesn't have to be, and more importantly, doesn't try to be. Just drop An Announcement on your turntable and prepare to dance, chill, or contemplate. But be sure to bring your International Cocktail Guide.

Bonus: Cool Hunting video of Quantic discussing his methods, performing, and digging for LPs.

Friday, May 11

From Brighton Beach to Santa Monica

The Clientele have just released their follow-up to 2005's excellent Strange Geometry. God Save The Clientele finds the Londoners in familiar territory: autumnal, jangly tunes suited to slow walks lit by the last light of a fall day. The gauzy nostalgia remains, but here The Clientele look toward printemps. There's more sunshine on this record, more hope. While the band have added some light to their work, they've not forgotten how to craft lush, aching tracks.

I am catching The Clientele w/ Beach House and Pipas on May 24th at the Knitting Factory (where I saw them last year). Full report to follow. In the meantime, KEXP has archived an in-studio performance here.

Wednesday, May 9


My good friend Mr. Meniscus recently introduced me to a series of hilarious shorts paying homage to 1970s educational films. They are very well-done and will have you brainstorming your own silly experiments in no time.

Point your cursor to trusty YouTube and start with "Maths." Now if I can just locate my pipette...

Tuesday, May 8

Serene Velocity

Do give the excellent Stereolab Anthology Serene Velocity a spin. Although this is not the only compilation from the band, and although it's missing one of my fave Stereolab tracks, I find the balance and flow of this disc to be comprehensively satisfying.

Lux Aeterna

The Lady Doc and I went to the Griffith Observatory last Friday as part of an awesome night out. The Griffith, publicly opened on May 14, 1935, recently reopened after a four-year, $93M renovation. It is a must-see LA attraction, hands down. They have implemented a good reservations-based shuttle system that virtually eliminates traffic to the observatory. The result is a peaceful vantage point overlooking the city with one of the coolest shows in all of LA.

What can I say? The concepts presented in the planetarium show--fundamental questions of astronomy and being--just blew my mind. I know I've heard them before but it was a powerful presentation about topics that will never bore me.

Be sure to find the portrait of Griffith J. Griffith when visiting.

More pics:

Post-planetarium dinner at Magnolia, a loud, recommended eatery open until 3Am. Fantastic fish entrees and vanilla crème brûlée.

Monday, May 7

Coachella Wrap-Up

In case you didn't know, I attended The Coachella Valley Arts & Music festival during the end of April. We had a squadron of eight Coachies from as far as NYC and KC and we comfortably overtook a villa at a nearby, highly-recommended resort.

The festival was, as I had hoped, phenomenal. One of the things about Coachella is that because there are so many acts from which to choose (100+), you inevitably miss some wonderful performances because you are already seeing so many other wonderful performances.

Highlights from the weekend included Bjork, Jesus and Mary Chain, Interpol, Arcade Fire, The Rapture, Andrew Bird, and LCD Soundsystem. Blonde Redhead provided wonderful recuperation music between AF and LCD. We also randomly caught the funtabulous Teddybears on Sunday along with 90s faves The Lemonheads.

But like I said, I look at who I missed--Explosions In the Sky, Hot Chip, !!!, among many others--and remember that this truly is a summit of incredible musical talent.

I just wish they held it in January when the high in Indio is 71 and not 99 like in April...