At The Glass House Blue Room
The Lovely Bad Things
So Many Wizards, Grmln (@ the Flyway at the Fox), Roses
200 W. Second St
Pomona, CA, 91766
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
The Lovely Bad Things
Brought together by time and fate—they’d all known each other since high school, but finally made a band together in 2009—and named by some kind of esoteric computer filename error too complex to further explain, Orange County’s The Lovely Bad Things are the hyperactive omnitalented and relentlessly hilarious garage-pop band who crowdfunded their way to an encore performance at the world-famous Primavera Sound festival and whose new album The Late Great Whatever was titled during a dream at the suggestion of their spirit guide, who happens to look strangely like Dinosaur Jr drummer Murph. Was that a lot to take in all at once? Then now you can sympathize with the cop who pulled them over on their way to the UFO museum in Roswell, New Mexico: “‘Who here has ADD?’” Brayden Ward remembers him asking. “And we all raised our hands.”
The Lovely Bad Things are Brayden and brother Camron Ward, Tim Hatch and Lauren Curtius, each a multi-instrumentalist and each devoted to a bottomless knowledge of ridiculous pop culture and comprehensive appreciation for the Pixies, though if you dismantled their songs and their record collections both you’d find Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse, the B-52s, the Wipers and of course Redd Kross, whose sense of humor and sense for a hook the Bad Things have inherited. They mostly come from the city of La Mirada, but their true home is the Lovely Bad Pad, a converted suburban garage—converted personally by the band members—that’s hosted truly legendary backyard punk shows, up to and including a surprise set by Peter, Bjorn and John, who know a good thing when they hear it.
It’s this combination of D.I.Y. spirit and off-the-wall luck that carried The Lovely Bad Things from that backyard to a cassette release on trendsetter label Burger Records that would be called one of the best L.A. punk releases of 2011 by the L.A. Weekly. And from there they ricocheted into a surprise slot at Primavera Sound festival, crowdfunding and benefit-showing just barely enough for airfare to get there and winning over their audience forever once they did. Now, after building a fan base show by show and person by frothing-at-the-mouth person—a guy once came all the way from Belgium to see them play one special song—The Lovely Bad Things have finished The Late Great Whatever for Volcom Entertainment.
The Late Great Whatever was started just after the release of the maxi-EP New Ghost/Old Waves, until now the Lovely Bad Things’ signature release. Although they’d released a full-length called Shark Week in 2010, the album that would become …Whatever was going to be something new, they explain: “Our first real full-length,” says Tim. At least half of Shark Week’s songs were written in … oh, about two minutes, calculates Lauren, because back then Lovely Bad Things were just discovering the knockout sugar high that came from just playing music with each other. But this would be different: “How do I say it and not sound like a super-cliché musician?” asks Camron. “More mature, I guess?”
So what’s that mean? Not one but two Star Wars references on the tracklist, Bigfoot on the cover, a shout-out to Macho Man Randy Savage and a relentless collection of the strongest songs The Lovely Bad Things have ever done. What, did you think “mature” meant? They were going to get all mopey and slow? (“Just say it’s ‘globular’ and ‘shapeshifting,’” suggests Camron.) Produced by Jon Gilbert in the studio built and run by Crystal Antlers’ frontman Jonny Bell, this is a record by a band who’ve developed a telepathic language of their own, with songs that stop and start and turn inside out in ways you just can’t play unless you know exactly what everyone else in the studio with you is thinking.
On The Late Great Whatever, Lovely Bad Things roll out just about anything you’d want about 15% faster than you’d expect. Do they do it all? They indeed do it all. They have stormers like “Kessel Run” and the stand-out “Randall the Savage,” which is all jittery post-punky guitar and gradually building insanity. Then they have sweetheart pop-punk like “Maybe I Know,” which is born for the best mixtapes of 2013. They have surf’s-up guitar (“Styx And Branches”) and wah-wah guitar (“Oozin It”) and oh-my-God-I’m-being-attacked-by-furious-bees guitar (“Kessel Run”). They have Frank Black-style spoken-word stammer (“Fried Eyes”) and cooled-out Kim Deal back-ups. And those heartbreaker harmonies that are part of what make The Lovely Bad Things so special? Pretty much everywhere, thanks to Lauren’s gift for melody, but why don’t you go right to “Rope Swing” if you need ‘em right away? And if this still seems like a lot to take in at once, don’t worry—down some (or too much) caffeine, roll down the windows and let The Late Great Whatever take the wheel. Just watch out for the cops on the way to the UFO museum. When they hear music like this, they pay way too much attention.
So Many Wizards
With a sound that Aquarium Drunkard describes as an “enigmatic blend of pop, rock, ballads, and zany nuggets," the hardworking dream pop group, So Many Wizards, have been consistently playing high-spirited and powerful live shows across Los Angeles and greater Southern California. Started originally by lead singer/guitarist Nima Kazerouni in Long Beach, California, the current lineup includes Erik Felix on drums, Bassist Devin Ratliff, and Martin Tomemitsu on lead guitar. Their single “Inner City” earned airplay on BBC 1 leading to a UK tour as well as touring the US, and last year supporting No Age at the first annual KXLU Fest in Los Angeles. They have unquestionably become a staple of LA’s DIY music scene as all of their local shows are brimming with sweaty young fans crowd surfing and dancing along to every jangly dream punk song. Along with packing venues with their high-energy shows, So Many Wizards have released a handful of EPs, a debut album, two 7”s, and recently had their single “Lose Your Mind” featured on FOX’s New Girl. They just released their Part Time Punks session EP via Lolipop Records and a split 7” via Converse Rubber Tracks and Amoeba Music. Their sophomore full-length album, Heavy Vision is slated to be released in September 2016.
Grmln (@ the Flyway at the Fox)
Born in Kyoto, Japan and raised in Southern California, 19-year-old Yoodoo Park is the man behind indie rock outfit GRMLN. In the summer of 2010 in between sessions on his surfboard, Park began recording guitar-driven dream-pop in his garage to soundtrack the journeys in his car. Park chose the name GRMLN to echo the feelings of otherworldliness and disconnect he felt during those summers. Currently a student at the University of California Santa Cruz, Park pens songs there when he's away from his makeshift recording studio and his live band, in which he plays with his brother. Entitled Explore, Yoodoo's debut EP is just that: a young artist inspired by the scenery of his coastal surroundings, discovering and developing his singular voice to create a wistful palette of blues, greens and golds.
On Explore, Park pairs clean, jangly guitars and strong backbones of bass with his yearning, muted vocals that employ reverb to soften, not distort. GRMLN's sound may be unmistakably Californian, but there's a sense of nostalgia that pervades Explore, hearkening back to Park's roots in Japan, where he still spends every summer. Tracks like album opener "Relax Yourself (Dolphin Cry)" and the slow-burning "Live.Think.Die" encapsulate the wistful aesthetic of Explore, with twinges of heartbreak and melancholy tales of wasted youth darkening the album's summertime mood. "Patio" brings Explore to a close on a restless note with one of the album's most soaring melodies, bolstered by haunting harmonies that build a feeling of despair lingering on far after the album's final minor key. Explore is a bittersweet portrait of a young man, making music to catalogue his memories as they slip away with every passing California sunset.
Camera Trouble is the lush first full-length record from L.A. band Roses. Across 10 brooding songs, the drum-machined trio makes something fresh using familiar pop sounds from decades past. The reference points - from The Cure and Cocteau Twins to Adore-era Smashing Pumpkins and what feels like a million little things in between- are never hidden or obscured. And the record is stronger because of it.
Roses is three California boys: Juan, Victor, and Marc. They've been making reverbed dream pop together since 2013, when Juan Velasquez, a founding member of late-aughts punk band
Abe Vigoda, met Marc Steinberg at a gay bar in Silverlake. They bonded over cool old music, started jamming, and something clicked. Once Juan hit up Victor Herrera, a longtime friend
from the L.A. scuzzy rock underground, Roses became a living, breathing thing. The trio put out a four-song EP in 2014, and played shows with DIIV, Dum Dum Dum Girls, and Wild Nothing. But it's on Camera Trouble, out this fall on Group Tightener, where these three really come into their own. They've gained confidence, both as individual adult humans and as a songwriting unit, and the payoff is dazzling.
Produced by gear whiz and Zola Jesus cohort Alex Degroot, Camera Trouble is hinged on gorgeous contradictions. Human melodies unravel via effected guitar tones. Marc's vulnerable delivery glides over statuesque drum loops. Contemporary anxieties mingle with retro textures. "Dreamlover," a song about living in a world with the Grindr app, is built around a quirky New Wave bounce. "Julian March" pairs Nintendo synths with cynical, world-weary poetry. Do you think anyone really cares what you wrote on the wall? Marc sings, always crooning but rarely moping.
The title track, Marc says, is a big twinkling ballad about a specific sort of modern malaise: the kind caused by having thousands of digital pictures of yourself scattered across the internet. He wrote all the lyrics, and says assuredly that the record is "definitely queer." It'll click with all kinds of outsiders, though-especially ones who like detail-oriented pop and hooky, introspective melodrama. Maybe that's be biggest contradiction of them all: this is unhappy music that will, strangely, make you feel less alone.