Watch & Listen

Eric Burdon & The Animals

Formed in Newcastle upon Tyne during 1962 and 1963 when Eric Burdon joined the Alan Price Rhythm and Blues Combo, the original line-up comprised Eric Burdon (vocals), Alan Price (organ and keyboards), Hilton Valentine (guitar), John Steel (drums), and Bryan "Chas" Chandler (bass). They were dubbed "animals" because of their wild stage act and the name stuck. The Animals' moderate success in their hometown and a connection with Yardbirds manager Giorgio Gomelsky motivated them to move to London in 1964, in time to be grouped with the British Invasion. They performed fiery versions of the staple rhythm and blues repertoire (Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, Nina Simone, etc). Signed to the UK Columbia subsidiary of EMI, a rocking version of the standard "Baby Let Me Follow You Down" (retitled "Baby Let Me Take You Home") was their first single. It was followed in June 1964 by the transatlantic number one hit "House of the Rising Sun". Burdon's howling vocals and the dramatic arrangement created arguably the first folk rock hit. Whether the arrangement was inspired by Bob Dylan's version of the song (which in turn was inspired by folk singer Dave Van Ronk) or by blues singer Josh White's (who recorded it twice in 1944 and 1949) or by singer/pianist Nina Simone (who recorded it in 1962 on Nina at the Village Gate, predating Dylan's interpretation) remains a dispute, as does whether all five Animals deserved credit for the arrangement and not just Price. The Animals' two-year chart career, masterminded by producer Mickie Most, featured intense gritty pop-music covers such as Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me" and the Nina Simone number "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood". In contrast, their album tracks stayed with rhythm and blues, with Hooker's "Boom Boom" and Ray Charles' "I Believe to My Soul" as notable examples. Burdon's powerful, deep voice and use of keyboards as much as or more than guitars were two elements that made The Animals' sound stand out from the rest. In November 1964, the group was poised to make their American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show and began a short residency performing everyday in theatres across New York City. The group arrived at New York City's Kennedy Airport in a motorcade which featured each member of the band riding in the back seat of a Cadillac with a model. The group drove to their hotel with the occasional shriek of girls who realised who they were. The Animals sang "I'm Crying" and "The House of The Rising Sun" to a packed audience of hysterical girls screaming throughout both performances. By May 1965 the group was starting to feel internal pressures. Price left due to personal and musical differences as well as a fear of flying on tour; he went on to a successful career as a solo artist and with the Alan Price Set. Mick Gallagher filled in for him on keyboards for a short time until Dave Rowberry replaced him and was on hand for the hit working-class anthems "We Gotta Get out of This Place" and "It's My Life". Around that time, an Animals Big Band made a one-time appearance. Many of The Animals' hits had come from Brill Building songwriters recruited by Most; the group, and Burdon in particular, felt this too restrictive. As 1965 ended, the group switched to Decca Records and producer Tom Wilson, who gave them more artistic freedom. In early 1966 MGM Records, their American label, collected their hits on The Best of The Animals; it became their best-selling album in the US. In February 1966 Steel left and was replaced by Barry Jenkins; a leftover cover of Goffin-King's "Don't Bring Me Down" was the last hit as The Animals. For the single "See See Rider" they changed the name into Eric Burdon & The Animals. In September they disbanded and Burdon recorded a solo album, called Eric Is Here. By this time their business affairs "were in a total shambles" according to Chandler (who went on to manage Jimi Hendrix) and the group disbanded. Even by the standards of the day when artists tended to be financially naïve the Animals made very little money, eventually claiming mismanagement and theft on the part of their manager Michael Jeffery.

Wanda Jackson was born in Oklahoma, but her father Tom — himself a country singer who quit because of the Depression — moved the family to California in 1941. He bought Wanda her first guitar two years later, gave her lessons, and encouraged her to play piano as well. In addition, he took her to see such acts as Tex Williams, Spade Cooley, and Bob Wills, which left a lasting impression on her young mind. Tom moved the family back to Oklahoma City when his daughter was 12 years old. In 1952, she won a local talent contest and was given a 15-minute daily show on KLPR. The program, soon upped to 30 minutes, lasted throughout Jackson's high school years. It's here that Thompson heard her sing. Jackson recorded several songs with the Brazos Valley Boys, including "You Can't Have My Love," a duet with Thompson's bandleader, Billy Gray. The song, on the Decca label, became a national hit, and Jackson's career was off and running. She had wanted to sign with Capitol, Thompson's label, but was turned down due to her young age, so she signed with Decca instead.

Jackson insisted on finishing high school before hitting the road. When she did, her father became her road manager and hit the road with her. Her mother made and helped design Wanda's stage outfits. "I was the first one to put some glamour in the country music — fringe dresses, high heels, long earrings," Jackson said of these outfits. When Jackson first toured in 1955 and 1956, she was placed on a bill with none other than Elvis Presley. The two hit it off almost immediately. Jackson said it was Presley, along with her father, who encouraged her to sing rockabilly.

In 1956, Jackson finally signed with Capitol, a relationship that lasted until the early '70s. Her recording career bounced back and forth between country and rockabilly; she did this by often putting one song in each style on either side of a single. Jackson cut the rockabilly hit "Fujiyama Mama" in 1958, which became a major success in Japan. Her version of "Let's Have a Party," which Elvis had cut earlier, was a U.S. Top 40 pop hit for her in 1960, after which she began calling her band the Party Timers. A year later, she was back in the country Top Ten with "Right or Wrong" and "In the Middle of a Heartache." In 1965, she topped the German charts with "Santa Domingo," sung in German. In 1966, she hit the U.S. Top 20 with "The Box It Came In" and "Tears Will Be the Chaser for Your Wine." Jackson's popularity continued through the end of the decade.

Jackson toured regularly, was twice nominated for a Grammy, and was a big attraction in Las Vegas from the mid-'50s into the '70s. She married IBM supervisor Wendell Goodman in 1961, and instead of quitting the business — as many women singers had done at the time — Goodman gave up his job in order to manage his wife's career. He also packaged Jackson's syndicated TV show, Music Village. In 1971, Jackson and her husband became Christians, which she says saved their marriage. She released one gospel album on Capitol in 1972, Praise the Lord, before shifting to the Myrrh label for three more gospel albums. In 1977, she switched again, this time to Word Records, and released another two.

In the early '80s, Jackson was invited to Europe to play rockabilly and country festivals and to record. She's since been back numerous times. More recently, American country artists Pam Tillis, Jann Browne, and Rosie Flores have acknowledged Jackson as a major influence. In 1995, Flores released a rockabilly album, Rockabilly Filly, and invited Jackson, her longtime idol, to sing two duets on it with her. Jackson embarked on a major U.S. tour with Flores later that year. It was her first secular tour in this country since the '70s, not to mention her first time back in a nightclub atmosphere. After releasing the critically acclaimed, "Heart Trouble", and "I Remember Elvis".. Wanda continues to tour all over the world to sold out venues.

In 2009 Wanda was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, and Bruce Springsteen were just a few of the high-profile artists that encouraged the Hall to induct the Queen over the last few years. That year it was also announced that Jackson would start work on new recordings with Jack White. The resulting album, The Party Ain't Over, was released on January 25, 2011. It included a cover of the Bob Dylan rockabilly song, "Thunder on the Mountain" as well as a fiery cover of Amy Winehouse's hit song "You Know I'm No Good". "The Party Ain't Over" was well-received by many critics and fans all over the world.

Berlin is an American New Wave/Synthpop band. The group was formed in Los Angeles in 1978 by John Crawford (bass guitar). The band contained Crawford, Terri Nunn (vocals), David Diamond (keyboards), Ric Olsen (guitar), Matt Reid (keyboards) and Rod Learned (drums). Learned left during the first EU tour and was replaced by Rob Brill (drums). The band first gained commercial success in the mid 1980s with singles including "The Metro", "Sex (I'm A...)", "No More Words" and the chart-topping single "Take My Breath Away" from the 1986 film Top Gun.

Chevy Metal

Chevy Metal is a 70s dirt rock cover band. We play deep cuts off albums by Sabbath, Van Halen, Queen and The Stones, to name a few. If you want us to play your party, we'll do it for a million dollars.

Adam Green & Binki Shapiro

Just one listen to Adam Green & Binki Shapiro is enough to become enchanted. With deceptively pretty arrangements that echo filigreed late-sixties folk-pop and an easygoing rapport between singers, this duets collaboration may seem like the perfect accompaniment to a sunny summer's day, Southern-California style. But it works even better as a comforting soundtrack at the end of a dark, lonely night in the big city. The atmosphere the pair conjures up with strummed guitars and discreet layers of synths indeed suggests romantic possibility, but the lyrics are more sweetly melancholic, gently but candidly addressing betrayal, incipient heartbreak, and conjugal discord. It's an approach that makes for compelling repeated listening, as the intimate dramas reveal themselves, and it's one that surprised even Green and Shapiro as their debut album together began to take shape.

On their own, Green and Shapiro have long been notable figures among indie-pop fans, cherished for their off-kilter sensibility (him) and elegantly quirky style (her). As part of New York City's "anti-folk" scene at the end of the nineties, Adam Green first came to prominence as one-half of Moldy Peaches, his duo with Kimya Dawson that enjoyed belated mainstream success via the Grammy-winning soundtrack of the 2007 indie film Juno. By the time the world had discovered Moldy Peaches, however, Green had already embarked on a solo career as a singer-songwriter, visual artist and filmmaker, enjoying chart success in Europe with idiosyncratic tunes like "Jessica" (a straight-faced lament for Ms. Simpson) and "Emily."

Shapiro was one-third of Little Joy, a breezy Brazilian-accented Los Angeles trio formed with Fabrizio Moretti of the Strokes and Rodrigo Amarante of Brazilian combo Los Hermanos that enchanted both critics and listeners with its eponymous 2008 debut LP. Shapiro was already known among the cognoscenti through her video collaborations with Beck for his 2006 album The Information and on the lovely covers of Leonard Cohen songs Beck uploaded to his Record Club blog. Shapiro has also been spotlighted by fashion magazines for her charming retro-modern look as well as her vocal talent, and the Los Angeles Times recently named her one of "30 Under 30" artists to watch.

Green, who sang backup on Little Joy's album, became better acquainted with Shapiro when he opened for the trio on a Brazilian tour. He knew then that he wanted to work with her, even though he had no concept of what form a collaboration might take: "I really, really liked Binki's voice – it's just amazing—and she was the number-one person I wanted to collaborate with."

Spotlighted on "Casanova," Shapiro is alternately dreamy and torchy. She renders an acid-tinged love letter to a roué over a slow-dance tempo that will surely entice couples to sway extra-close together. In "Pity Love," she and Green vocalize as affably as Nancy and Frank Sinatra on "Something Stupid," while trading lyrics that are cheerily neurotic.

Though she is once again a Los Angeleno, Shapiro was living in New York when she and the Manhattan-based Green began to explore what they might create together. Their affinity was immediate. At Shapiro's apartment, they would scribble lyric ideas on index cards and spread them out on the floor. As Green recalls, "We found we were able to agree on what was good and what was bad and we were good critics of each other's sensibilities and taste. We were able to agree on how the songs should go."

Shapiro concurs: "It was a very vulnerable thing, sitting there and showing someone your lyrics, your words and ideas and opening yourself up to being critiqued. But it turned out to be very natural and easy. We pulled out certain things from each other that wouldn't have happened on our own."

The experience proved to be even more cathartic than they'd imagined. They were each going through their individual romantic travails at the time and their songwriting became a channel for their real-life emotions. They didn't so much decide simply to speak their minds but to read each other's thoughts, intuitively finding words for what the other might be feeling. That brought freedom as well as empathy to their enterprise, allowing the material to be surprisingly heartfelt and honest, even when one was mouthing the other's words.

"We were both going through transitional stuff, "Green admits, "romantic dysfunction type situations. There was something existential about it; two people who are singing together but who are very isolated. There is something kind of funny about me writing Binki's breakup record and she writing mine. I would write something down and think,'this is the perfect thing for Binki to say'. And I felt like she would have the same thoughts about me."

"It's interesting when you write and think about somebody else singing the words," Shapiro says. "You take all the vanity out of it. You say what you want to say. It created a freer space to write whatever we wanted." Continues Green, "We're both really romantic and we wanted to make this really romantic record, but it ends up being more reflective. I didn't picture this before we made it and I can't think of a reference point, another record that has this feeling."

A duets album has perhaps never sounded quite so harmonious yet so bittersweet. Green and Shapiro come across as confidantes, kindred spirits, translating difficult personal circumstances into beautifully crafted tunes, from the layered angelic voices at the top of opening track "Here I Am" to the psychedelic-pop sound of "I Never Found Out" and the surf-guitar interlude of "What's the Reward" to the elegant mournful closing waltz of " The Nighttime Stopped Bleeding." This intimacy can be explained by the writing process; the pair sequestered themselves whenever they got together, frequently flying between New York City and L.A to work on the songs. Once happy with their creations, Green and Shapiro cut tracks at a studio in Encino, California, along with musician-producer Noah Georgeson (Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newson, Little Joy), multi-instrumentalist Josiah Steinbrick, drummer Jason Boesel and Todd Dahlhoff.

—Michael Hill (September 2012)

Poolside (DJ Set)

Filip Nikolic and Jeffrey Paradise are good friends who are inspired by California, mezcal, dancing, good food, and friends. Filip is a Danish producer now living in LA who plays bass in Ima Robot; Jeffrey throws the infamous Blow Up party in San Francisco and used to be in the hardwave band the Calculators with Luke and Vito from the Rapture. Poolside's debut single "Do You Believe?" was charted by Aeroplane and Dimitri From Paris, and Dazed & Confused praised the song for its "pop-tinged disco, brimming with optimistic vocals and retro acid synths," while NME lauded its "supremely casual decadence." Poolside is currently working on their debut album.

Beach Fossils began in 2009 as the solo project of Dustin Payseur. Before and after the 2010 release of the S/T debut LP and 2011's What A Pleasure EP, they performed around the world with a lineup that once featured Cole Smith (DIIV) and John Peña (Heavenly Beat). They quickly became known for their highly energetic stage show, bringing the recorded work to a volume and tempo that would make even the indie-est of crowds wind up in a frenzy. With the exception of drummer Tommy Gardner, that lineup dissolved to pursue their ambitions with the aforementioned projects. Wanting to bridge the gap between the live and recorded aspects of the band, Dustin began writing Clash the Truth determined to capture the urgency, human flow and spontaneity of the live performance.

Now with a full time drummer (and co-writer of two tracks on the LP) Beach Fossils entered the studio in the fall of 2012 with producer Ben Greenberg of The Men. Instead of merely going from a "bedroom DiY" project to a "better fidelity studio project" the deliberate decision to work with Ben was determined to capture, if not in style, the spirit and enthusiasm of punk and aggressive music in general. To ensure that dynamic, the drums were recorded live in a room with Dustin on bass to give the album a driving and energetic force. Consider the titles "Generational Synthetic," "Caustic Cross" and "Burn You Down," it's easy to see how the record, while not a punk or post-punk record by strict definition, certainly nods to the first major influence of Dustin's creative spark. The first two notes of the title track that kick the LP off are a clear indicator of where his head was at.

The LP also sees Dustin stretching his songwriting muscles, with the acoustic Lennon-esque "Sleep Apnea" and the dreamy "In Vertigo", which features the vocals of Kazu Makino (Blonde Redhead). During the recording period, the studio was flooded and destroyed by hurricane Sandy and the band had to relocate to another studio to finish the LP in earnest. It all came together when the work of legendary video artist Peter Campus was finalized to be featured throughout the release and on the striking cover. Clash the Truth marks a clear progression in the ongoing story of Beach Fossils. Drawing from the previous works' melodic strengths and uncanny guitar textures emboldened by a sound closer to their energetic and cathartic live set, it's the clear next step in the trajectory of the band and the dis-association from the home-recording boom from which it originated.

Jake Smith's "White Buffalo" conjures a mythic portrait of America. A country populated by outlaws, dreamers, drifters and fallen heroes. It imagines our small towns before the days of strip malls and chain restaurants. With a voice that seems to emanate from some ancient source, his dynamic performances range from a whisper to a scream. His herd boasts the talents of Matt Lynott on drums and Tommy Andrews on bass. Together, they put on a live show that builds and propels like a freight train shot out of hell with a pulsing energy that keeps audiences buzzing for days.

The songs of Once Upon a Time in the West are rooted in everyday struggles, on both epic and personal scales, with elements of blues, country western, folk, and classic rock. The influences of story-tellers like Bob Dylan, Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt, Elliot Smith, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Bad Religion shine through. The album ranges in themes from slices of life in the shadows ("The Bowery") to coming out of a battlefield ("Ballad of a Dead Man") to dark heroic fantasies ("The Pilot") from putting the concepts of family and country under the microscope ("I Wish It Was True") to etched childhood scenes ("BB Guns and Dirt Bikes," "The Witch").

"The whole point of songwriting is taking people on an emotional journey, like a mini-movie," says Smith. "Most of my songs capture moments in time, small snippets of life and some paint broader pictures. It's less about the Old West, than the new one I grew up in, with some politics and some nostalgic memories of my childhood in Southern California."

Born in Oregon and raised in Southern California, he moved to the Bay area from Huntington Beach to pursue college on an athletic scholarship. From the moment he learned his first three chords on a guitar he got in a pawn shop, Smith began writing songs, which came quick and easy, though he kept them to himself. "I don't analyze them as much as other people do," Smith insists. "I prefer the songs do the talking for me. I've always been isolated, outside the system, and done it on my own. If you're writing stuff that's real, emotional and you believe will resonate with people, that's what you have to do."

The White Buffalo's first full-length album, Hogtied Like a Rodeo, debuted in 2002, followed by The White Buffalo EP, produced by Eels' Koool G Murder, which Smith states is about "relationships, love, loss and booze with a little murder mixed in." In a friend's living room in 2008, he re-recorded his first album, only this time with more guts and less whiskey, dubbing it Hogtied Revisited. Combined, these independently released albums have sold over 20,000 units, as Jake toured Australia, Japan, Europe and the U.S. with acts like Donavan Frankenreiter, Gomez, Xavier Rudd, State Radio, Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, among many others.

When a bootleg tape of Smith's music made it into the hands of pro surfer Chris Malloy, one of his songs, "Wrong," was featured in his popular surf movie, Shelter, and earned him a burgeoning fan base on his return to his roots in the Southern California surf community. It eventually led to further film scoring and composing work, with three of his songs featured in FX's hit show Sons of Anarchy and HBO's Californication.

In 2010, a second EP, Prepare for Black and Blue, was recorded in six days by producer Jimmy Messer [Kelly Clarkson] and released through Chad Stokes Ruffshod imprint via Nettwerk Records earlier this year. The music and the Artist captured the attention of Unison Music's Bruce Witkin and Ryan Dorn, who inked Smith and co-produced Once Upon a Time in the West. "When we sign someone, we look for someone who can play live and songs with longevity," says Dorn. "He's a terrific story teller and his performance is right in your face," adds label founder Witkin.

Accepting the help of major players wasn't easy for Smith, who prides himself on his self-reliant approach. Meanwhile, the buzz on The White Buffalo continues to grow, thanks to the intensity of the band's live shows, including a much-talked-about appearance at Bonnaroo this year.

"For a long time I was off the grid," he admits. "This is the first time I've had the luxury of going to the studio every day for two-three months. It was pretty focused. If I can do it my own way, write my songs, move people and have it be something I'm still proud of, I'm up for it. I don't know how to write songs that are not like that. I try to dig a little deeper, to express an emotional thought."

A family man with a wife and two kids, The White Buffalo has retained Jake Smith's DIY approach. Driving thousands of miles to dozens of cities, the band is a hard working, no frills outfit. They load their own gear, sell their own merchandise and pack it all up at the end of the night. From Bonnaroo to the smallest local neighborhood bar, The White Buffalo delivers its signature sound as if each show was its last.

If Once Upon a Time in the West is any indication, The White Buffalo will find itself on the grid for a long while.

On the heels of three well-received singles comes Ride Your Heart, the bombastic debut album by LA band Bleached. Sisters Jennifer and Jessie Clavin match their ability to blend a mix of freewheeling '77 punk with vintage sunny Southern California melodic rock and roll; creating blindingly bright hooks and dark heartfelt lyrics about love, loss, and all the crazy fun moments in between. That's the goal: the sugary and sour, repurposed by two aggressively harmonic musicians and songwriters, stepping into a new visceral dimension of sound. Their full length debut epitomizes this movement – gritty, raw, adventurous and frenzied, tossing you out onto the dance floor, hair mussed from make-outs, cigarette still dangling from fingertips.

Raised up deep in the San Fernando Valley, their suburban isolation nurtured a frenzied creativity, as they started making their own music at a young age. Sneaking into punk shows over the hill in Hollywood, they became teenaged underground scene staples at all-ages Downtown DIY venue, The Smell. "Me and Jen were punk kids who weren't taught how to play instruments," says Jessie. "We taught ourselves how to play, out in the garage." Eventually signing to Kill Rock Stars and Post Present Medium, their all-girl punk band Mika Miko drew international acclaim, landing slots on tours with No Age, Black Lips, and The Gossip.

Bleached originally formed when the Clavin sisters resolved to continue working with each other upon the break up of Mika Miko. Plans were postponed when the sisters joined other bands. (Jennifer relocated to New York and toured extensively, and Jessie began to play with various bands in LA.) But in the fleeting moments they found together back home, the songs that became Bleached's early 7" singles came together. Since Jennifer moved back to her hometown, Bleached now serves as both girls' chief creative outlet. "I was going crazy being in someone else's band," remarked Jennifer. "Me and Jessie are so proud and happy to be able to focus on our own music, together."

As a whole, the twelve tracks on Ride Your Heart reveal the many facets of Bleached's music in a delirious vortex of playful harmonies, tangled guitars, and golden noise. Each song brings a new element, while also imbibing the classic moods of bands as varied and iconic in nature as The Ramones and The Cars to The Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac. From the syncopated backbeat and two-part chorus of "Dead In Your Head,", the rolling riffs and sparkling melodies of "Searching Through The Past" and the pulsating energy and urgency of "Dreaming Without You" and "Outta My Mind", Bleached take you on a sweeping emotional rollercoaster that churns and burns. Ride Your Heart is a thrilling, beating, glorious wall of sound strong enough to withstand its own impact.

Mr. Little Jeans

MR. LITTLE JEANS

Meet Mr. Little Jeans, a.k.a. Monica Birkenes. She is small and Norwegian and she makes music that will leave you reeling. Her pop dances left of center, a curious thing of equal parts organic magic and buzzing electricity. She has worked hard to get to this place, traveled far to find it. On some unmarked pasture between St. Vincent's prettiest moments and Debby Harry's wilder inclinations, she stands fronting an army of bright ideas and sharp sounds, a shipbuilder's daughter with a voice that could part a sea.

Monica grew up in the middle of the woods in a seaside town called Grimstad. Her dad built catamarans and her mum was a secretary whose love for music was infectious. They didn't have much money, but put their daughter through years of piano and voice lessons which she'd attend wearing her mother's oversized outfits from another era. There were four black cats called Missy, and some neighbors who killed a man, but otherwise it was all Nancy Drew, dancing through the trees, and singing to mum's records.

Her first instrument has always been her voice. Monica sang in the church choir at 5, then around town wherever and whenever her mum saw fit: malls, old folks' homes, theaters, even on local television once or twice. At 10, she recorded a cassette of children's classics and shopped it around to gas stations mainly. By 15, she was singing in bars, clearly underage but backed by a band of boys in their 20s. She focused on music in high school, then relocated to London to study drama.

A year later, Monica was on her own in England, having left college to chase singing leads gleaned from the "wanted" page of The NME. Mostly she spent an endless string of years as a terrible waitress and, after an exploratory trip to Los Angeles, a couple more years sofa-surfing, country-hopping, and racking up credit card debt as she wrote with different producers—Peter Moren (Peter Bjorn & John), John Hill (Santigold)—and shaped her sound into that of the inimitable Mr. Little Jeans we now know.

Many people's introduction to Monica came with her haunting, beat-damaged cover of Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs," essentially doing to that song what James Blake did to Feist's "The Limit to Your Love." She'd similarly flipped Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" on 2010's Angel EP, but Mr. Little Jeans' has since come into her own. Her forthcoming full-length debut—recorded and produced with Tim Anderson (Ima Robot, Dead Man's Bones), John Hill (Santigold, Wavves) in L.A., Monica's new home base—promises untold treasures that happily blur the lines between pop and art, light and dark.

He's My Brother She's My Sister

He's My Brother She's My Sister, the western-tinged, folk-rock ensemble, with a touch of vaudeville glamour, will be bringing their expanded (and slightly experimental) new show to the Troubadour in West Hollywood, on Friday, February 3. This will be the acclaimed band's first Los Angeles live performance of 2011 after coming off the road opening for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes last fall.

The Los Angeles band's mixture of colorful costumes, alleyway rhythms, and high energy entice audiences of all tastes and generations. The band will be testing new material for an album along with their fan favorites from their recent self-titled EP.

Brother and sister, dueling lead singers and songwriters, Rob Kolar and Rachel Kolar, and tap-dancer Lauren Brown, will be joined on this special evening by an extended family of musical accompanists including the brilliant lap-slide player Aaron Robinson (Sea Wolf, The Hi-Ho's), Oliver Newell on upright bass (Amanda Jo Williams, Henry Wolfe), and Patrick Joseph on a non-traditional standing drum set up.

If you have yet to catch He's My Brother She's My Sister live, come see why they have been called "delightfully original" (Indieshuffle) "a time warp to the golden present" (LA Record) and "forward thinking folkies forging new ground"(New Times). "Rob and Rachel's voices mingle like glamour in the desert" and serve up "party music for coyotes drunk on champagne," (LA Weekly). "Their mojo (has) the power to heal the afflicted" (Deli Magazine) so "see them before your friends do." (Jambase)

As a weather pattern forms its shape and sound out of the unknown and invisible into something tangible and rare, so does the dirty blues force "little hurricane". This storm began when CC hung up her chef knives for drumsticks and turned to Craigslist for collaborators. Tone, a songwriter and audiophile could see something different in her drumming and energy. Together they began their musical outlet crafting songs in CC's living room that within months thousands would relate to and appreciate.

Staying true to the living room vibe, the pair sets the stage with vintage furniture (complete with built-in speakers), microphones, instruments and lamps. You can almost feel the warmth from the tubes emanating from the ratty old suitcase guitar amps. Their equipment's expanded in the many months since—CC even started singing alongside spare bursts of mandolin and harmonica—but the San Diego duo's bruised sound is still rooted in restless rhythms and heated hooks on their self-released debut album, Homewrecker. That goes for everything from the seamless call-and-response choruses and windswept strings of "Give Em Hell" to the curlicue chords and doomsayer drums of "Crocodile Tears." And then there's "Haunted Heart," a single that's already landed on modern rock stations and Gossip Girl telling a story of love from beyond the grave.

As for how all of this sounds onstage, you might want to ask the fans who've been floored by Little Hurricane's dirty blues sets in the past year, from dust-kicking festival crowds at Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits to more intimate, buzz-stirring residencies in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Cruz. That's when the band's raw power truly kicks in—when you're in their sights and they've got every last amp cranked alongside shabby thrift store finds and moody lights.

"By the end of our set the 'home' we've created on stage is literally wrecked," CC and Tone explain, "with both of us dripping in sweat and looking like a hot mess. It's more rock 'n' roll than the record. With all the rattling that comes from our homemade speaker cabinets, you really feel the dirtiness live. We give it all we've got, and we never hold anything back."

Even if you never find out what a Penguin Prison is, there's no denying Chris Glover aka Penguin Prison has made a brilliant record. If you're a fan of New York disco, as accessible as it is angular, all burbling bass lines, resonant rhythms, shimmering synths and heavenly melodies, then you'll love the new Penguin Prison album.

Imagine, if you will, Chic produced by James Murphy, or a collaboration between Prince and The Human League. It is some measure of Penguin Prison's skills in the studio, on vocals and in terms of songwriting, that such illusory marvels have been achieved on this superb self-titled collection, that some critics have gone as far as to hail it a modern day Off The Wall masterpiece.

"It's not a concept album about Michael," says Prison, or maybe we should call him Penguin, of his all-time hero "But it's definitely been influenced by him."

To say he was an early starter would be an understatement. From the age of 10 he was singing in the local gospel choir. When he was 11, he got an agent and began recording jingles. By 12, he had learned to play guitar and was into punk rock, the American variety – bands such as Green Day, NOFX and Bad Religion. He even performed as a teen at the legendary CBGBs with his band The Museum.

Chris became Penguin Prison at the start of 2009. It wasn't long before he earned a reputation as remixer du jour for the likes of Marina and the Diamonds, Goldfrapp and Passion Pit. He agrees that he conferred NY kudos especially on the British artists, and admits his favorite remix was for Jamiroquai, adding that the secret to a good remix is "to throw everything away from the original track and start from scratch".

It was inevitable that Chris would then make music of his own, which he began in late 2009. You can hear the spectacular results on the debut Penguin Prison album, which sounds to all intents and purposes like a Greatest Hits collection, so chock-full it is of catchy hooks and classic pop choruses. There is Multi-Millionaire, which is about "being rich even if you've got no money" and one titled Don't Fuck With My Money that features Jackson-style percussive gasps and a lyric that pushes the envelope. "I was worried it was too crazy – 'Can I really say that?' People said leave it in, so I did. "All my lyrics are sarcastic but serious as well," he adds. "So I'm really saying 'don't fuck with my money'! Because if you try to, it's not going to be good…"

Penguin Prison Is signed to Downtown Records.

Since 2006, Anna Lunoe has been leaving a trail of exhausted and ecstatic crowds wherever she goes. Clubs throughout Australia have become her weekend playground, she's a festival favorite with multiple appearances at Big Day Out, Splendour in the Grass, Parklife, Field Day, Falls Festival & more, steadily moving closer to the top of bill with each passing year. When artists like Diplo, Daft Punk, Switch, Calvin Harris, A-trak or Soulwax come to town it's more than likely Anna's on support, throwing down a set that has the crowds and the main act talking for days.

Despite having dominated down under for the most part she is no stranger to touring, having racked up a mountain of flyer miles playing world renowned parties throughout Asia, Europe and the U.S. Flashing lights in NYC, Mad Decent & Dim Mak joints in LA, Raves in Kansas City, and all the way across the Atlantic at Ed Banger soirees in Paris, Vice shows through the UK, Razzamatazz in Spain, and Rust in Copenhagen to name a few. In 2009, Ministry of Sound approached her with the prestigious offer of being the first female to curate one of their mixes, and the resulting CD [Clubbers Guide to 2010, mixed alongside Axwell & Hook N Sling] went gold in the snap of a glowstick.

Her reach does not stop in club land. When international brands like Chanel, Fendi, Prada, Louis Vuiton and Hugo Boss need music direction for their shows, whether in London, New York, Paris or Sydney, Anna can be found behind the decks looking as graceful as the models on the catwalk.

So far in 2011, Anna performed across Australia on the Big Day Out tour, completed a month long USA club tour, wowed Japan for MTV, Dj'd (and hosted!) Parklife main stage, mixed her 3rd Ministry of Sound Compilation followed by a national tour, was chosen as the Australian ambassador Smirnoff, returned to Splendour In The Grass [with her all-girl DJ crew Hoops] plus made huge leaps further into the production world.

Her first original production, a disco-inspired collaboration with Wax Motif called 'Love Ting' reached #12 on the national independent radio charts, getting radio play all over the world, with Chuckie championing it on BBC Radio 1. Her second, a dark banger 'Voodoo' (produced alongside LA's Them Jeans) features her on vocals, and is on her new Ministry compilation. It's a very exciting sign of things to come for Anna's production, with some massive releases on the horizon.

Since getting her start on radio over 5 years ago, Anna has gone on to influence numerous fledgling DJs and steer clubbers towards breaking genres in the world of bassline & bashment sounds. At the end of 2010, Sydney magazine named her in their 100 most influencial people list, and she continues to host her popular radio slot on Tastemaker radio station FBi 94.5 each week. Now she is taking on the world- and with heavyweights like Brodinski, Switch, Calvin Harris and Axwell turning up at her shows, its safe to say Anna Lunoe is the little Aussie girl that could, winning over the big boys one spin back at a time.

Jacques Renault

Jacques Renault was a post-punk Washington, D.C. native who moved to Chicago in 1997 to continue his studies of viola, but in turn got an education in dance music. Tapping into the well-established Drum 'n' Bass scene, he held a residency at Smart Bar and became a buyer at the legendary Gramaphone Records. This broad, raw exposure to House lead him straight back to the classics of Disco and to its
heart, New York City, where he landed in 2002.

As a DJ, Jacques has held residencies at New York's famed venues Happy Endings, APT, Tribeca Grand and 205 Club, and has been a guest around the globe in venues like Tokyo's Womb, Rio's D-edge and London's Fabric and Plastic People. With his remixes, edits, original tracks and collaborative project Runaway, he has released music on internationally acclaimed New York labels DFA, Chinatown, RVNG INTL, Throne of Blood, Italians Do It Better, Editions Disco, and Wurst, as well as Tokyo's own Mule Musiq & Crue-L, Parisian imprint I'm A Cliché, Munich's Permanent Vacation, Sydney's Hole In The Sky & Future Classic and of course London/Berlin's Rekids.

Along with his Runaway partner Marcos Cabral, Jacques has launched the new label On The Prowl, and OTP Party Breaks featuring their own material as well as original and remix work from Andy Ash, Simoncino, Brennan Green, TBD, Cosmo Vitelli, The Revenge, Azari & III, Tensnake, Nicholas, Coyote, & Kaos to name a few. Jacques has also taken up production duties for a number of artists including Warp Records' the Hundred In the Hands, which also featured Richard X, Eric Broucek and Chris Zane.

After nearly a decade of playing for others in NYC, Jacques, along with good friend Nik Mercer, began producing his own series of events called Let's Play House. The duo has brought in guests from abroad like Horse Meat Disco, Mugwump, Mock n' Toof, Cosmo Vitelli, and Kaos as well as local talents DJ Spun, Morgan Geist, TBD, Beg to Differ, Brennan Green, Midnight Magic, and Dan Selzer to name a few. Let's Play House is a moving party that uses Brooklyn warehouses, Manhattan ballrooms, hotel lounges, and everything in between for its regular events.

DROOG is the DJ collective of Andrei Osyka, Brett Griffin and Justin Sloe. From their start 7 years ago, DROOG has steadily built a reputation as one of the leading purveyors of forward thinking dance music, in Los Angeles and beyond.

The collective have become known for their respected parties that through the years featured leading international house and techno talent, from Magda, Jamie Jones, Steve Bug and Martin Buttrich to Dixon, all four memebers of Visionquest, Nicolas Jaar, Dyed Soundorom, Shonky and beyond. Droog have also masterminded showcase parties at WMC, DEMF, BPM and Sonar festivals. Between 2007 and 2011, Droog had held down a residency at Avalon Hollywood, one of the biggest clubs in the US. At Avalon,they have had the chance to play alongside influences such as Richie Hawtin, Lee Burridge, Steve Lawler, Damian Lazarus, Tiefschwarz, Mr. C, Booka Shade, MANDY, Matthew Dear.

In 2009 the trio made a leap into a new territory by launching an LA-based record label, Culprit, which has built steady momentum with successful releases from Matt Tolfrey & Inxec, Hot Natured, Lee Foss, SECT (Soul Clap, Tanner Ross & Sergio Santos), Subb-an, M A N I K and others and joining the ranks of the leaders of the new school of underground dance music. Having toured the US and Mexico extensively, Droog have since expanded with European and South American shows. In October of 2010, Droog made a Fabric debut and since then have covered the globe, from Moscow to Lima, Ibiza to Costa Rica, Berlin and Paris. Recent new DJ debuts included Brazil, Tunisia and Portugal.

More recently the Los Angeles collective has been focusing on production work, with original material for Crosstown Rebels (released in September 2011 to wide acclaim) and Supernature, remixes for Culprit, NOICE, Murmur, My Favorite Robot , Adjunct Audio, Noir Music and Get Physical Other high profile projects include mixing the second installment of the Rebel Rave mix CD for Crosstown Rebels, released in November 2011 and Droog’s first appearance at the premier US dance music festival, Movement Detroit in 2012

Let's rewind a bit for those playing catch up: the LOL Boys ​an internet-based electronic duo comprised of Jerome Potter (a.k.a. Jerome LOL) and Montreal-based Markus Garcia. After 4 years of putting out buzzworthy EPs on various independent labels, they scored a surprise #1 on the KCRW chart a couple of weeks ago with their recently released Changes EP on LA-based Friends Of Friends Records. The LOL Boys, and Jerome in particular, are among the most in-demand DJs in the LA club scene.

"The Soft Pack? Like, cigarettes?"

Well, no…not quite. The Soft Pack are a group of Southern Californian gentlemen looking to make a racket that lies somewhere in-between post-punk and post-Warren Zevon. How would you describe their music? Ask the guys themselves, and they might have simply said "rock 'n roll" at the time. Labels are boring though; onto the good stuff:

Starting in 2007, with Matt Lamkin (guitar/lead vox) and Matty McLoughlin (lead guitar) taking the helm, the band started a buzz early on while playing house parties, dive bars, and anywhere else possible in San Diego. By the following year, David Lantzman (Bass), and Brian Hill (Drums) had joined, rounding out the line-up and keeping things tidy. The guys spent a lot of time hanging out in the van that year, listening to way too much Steely Dan when nobody else at the party would hang out with them. In search of day jobs and a change of scenery, they moved to Los Angeles. Then things started picking up more and more. Plans were hatched, records were pressed, many tours were played, band names were switched, and their lives got quite busy for quite a while.

2010 was the group's last major statement, with the release of The Soft Pack (Kemado, produced by Eli Janney) full-length. Singles like "Answer to Yourself" and "C'mon" helped them gain wider attention. They spent much of that year on tour, playing with Kurt Vile & the Violaters, Male Bonding, Nodzzz, just to name a few. They appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman–followed by many enthusiastic phone calls to parents. A handful of trips overseas to Europe and Australia happened. Then they came home…life had become a blur. It was time to slow down a bit. They started working out, going to bed earlier, eating their vegetables, and now here they stand…a little older, with a few more wrinkles on the brain.

Since that time, they have been locked away without much sunlight, toiling and writing, and doing their damnedest to focus on writing the best follow-up they can. Choosing to travel down the self-produced road this time around, they are determined more than ever to create exactly the sort of record that they would buy themselves. This is indeed good news. While tinges of the fuzzy, garage-y element remains, the overall sound has expanded to "practice the weird", as Lamkin once said. Their collection of guitar pedals has grown. They like to switch instruments. They like to buy drum machines and listen to disco. They really like Funkadelic and Sly Stone. Only some of them still like to work out though.

The new album, Strapped, is due in September, 2012 on Mexican Summer. Things have been quiet for the time being, but for The Soft Pack, this feels like a new beginning. They can hardly wait to make a racket; get quite busy again.

With a sound as blistering as a parking lot on the hottest day of summer and a tireless devotion to the gods of rock and roll, Saint Motel are an explosive, cinematic, indie-pop band, with an intriguing blend of mischief and sincerity. Breaking out with "Puzzle Pieces," brand new single "At Least I Have Nothing," and a boundary pushing, explosive live show, Saint Motel are moving full speed ahead with their light hearted melodies and roll around on the floor excitement.

After high school, A/J Jackson decided to study film to discover new ways of creative expression, at the same time knowing full well that music was the closest thing to his heart. At film school, he soon met guitarist A Sharp, and the two friends began discovering structural parallels between movies and songs and began to explore them. A Sharp, who had been classically trained both by pedigree—having a classical guitar mentor in both his father and grandfather—and by education, learning to play flamenco in the caves of Granada, Spain. He wanted to immerse himself in something besides notes and chords and training, and so the two met amid film screenings and lectures about light and sound.

The rest of the band came together easily, if not somewhat by chance. The two film students found bass player Dak, a former buddhist monk, working as the sushi chef at their local sushi bar, where he overheard them discussing their search for a bassist. They found out that he'd been in a rock and roll band back in Thailand, and enlisted immediately. Drummer Greg Erwin gave up a professional career in motorcycle racing, and moved to LA to pursue careers in music and stunt work. Having first learned about music from bagpipe sessions with his grandfather, he ended up meeting the band at one of their first Los Angeles shows.

Saint Motel is one of those bands so dedicated, they're willing to try everything—and anything-- once. Looking to transport listeners to the same sweaty, shaking, dangerous place they found at the punk shows of their adolescence, they do things like practice entirely in darkness and try and maintain eye contact with one another through entire sets. Their shows are filled with thrills for the senses including a video piano that is connected to various live cameras planted on stage and others wirelessly roaming around the venue.

As a songwriter, Jackson pulls from a variety of sources. When it came time to build "Puzzle Pieces" into a Saint Motel tune, Jackson recalled a conversation with a photographer friend, about a model with perfect features but an anything but perfect face. "She had the most beautiful lips and beautiful eyes and her nose was perfect but they didn't fit together on her face—I just thought that was magic." Reflecting this everyday magic in sweeping melodies and raucous performance is exactly what the band is all about. "Sometimes our shows are more ruthless than they need to be for the type of music that we play," Jackson says, "but that's exactly how we want it."

Tijuana Panthers

"The Tijuana Panthers got their name from the little black ceramic panther that was a present from their neighbor Max Baker—yes, the Max Baker who they named their first album after, and who deserves a bio all his own—and they got their sound from that strange place where punk bands crash into pop music and come out the other side, bristling with hooks and hitting three-part harmonies almost by happy accident.

Even the Beach Boys were once a garage band, and after them came the waves of kids playing rock 'n' roll somewhere between the surf and the surface streets. Then when punk showed up in the '70s, it was just an adjustment in hairstyle and speed. The Buzzcocks did this a whole hemisphere away, the Real Kids and the Modern Lovers did it on the other side of the country, and the Crowd and the Simpletones did it just a few towns over. And now Tijuana Panthers come striding proudly out of their hometown of Long Beach, California.

Tomorrows Tulips

Tomorrows Tulips formed on August 15th when alex bought a piccalo snare drum at the thrift store and handed it to Christina. The two spent 3 nights at Mike McQ's distillery studio organizing some sort of an idea on how to play together. While socializing with Mike and discussing what to call the group it became vaguely clear what to do. The duo consists of stripped down pop that often disregards professionalism in anyway shape and form. Absolute Fearlessness prevails in creating songs that revolve around subject matter that consists of flowers, happiness, love, haircuts, friends, and un-macho-ism. TT will continue to make songs on cassette tape and post them on the internet until the release of the full length album that will be recorded at the distillery in late September and released on vinyl, cassette and cd in October 2009. Then with a vw bug tour across America to follow.

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