LA Times Festival of Books - Pop & Hiss stage

LA Times Festival of Books - Pop & Hiss stage

Inspire your fire.

This year's LA Times Festival of Books will dazzle the senses, spark new ideas and light up your imagination. It's a two-day celebration of music, comedy, photography, film, art, food – and of course, books. But most of all, it will be 100% fun.

"Thee Commons is one more bit of evidence of Latino L.A.'s further dominance in the independent music scene. Sure, you can reminisce all you want about the days of Mika Miko and Moving Units (they were definitely fun!) but, that was then and this is now. Besides, L.A.'s Latino scene has a couple of Grammy winners to boast of if you're into keeping track of that type of silverware.
What separates Thee Commons from their local brethren (Quetzal, Las Cafeteras, La Chamba, etc.) is their focus on that old-school rock & roll sound a la Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. There are flashes of cumbia chicha here and there reminiscent of Los Mirlos and Los Orientales De Paramonga as well.
"Rabbit And Rattles" is one of the tracks off their upcoming Sunburn at Midnight vinyl EP. The band's style sounds like it belongs on vinyl. It's super retro and I was surprised that a fight between sailors and greasers didn't break out after I listened to it."

Written by Afroxander

Jens-Petter Wiig : The drummer. Makes tea, not war.

Morten Skjørholm : Guitarist. Speaks gently. Plays loud.

Karl-Martin Hoddevik : The young one. Plays the bass. Likes to rock.

Katja Benneche Osvold : Good singer. Good mother. Sometimes talks to strangers.

Viggo Mastad : Writes songs. Plays guitar. Still thinks about anarchy.

Maxim Ludwig

In California, Maxim Ludwig lives surrounded by the ghosts of the "Gone West" migration. Though barely broken into his 20′s, Ludwig embraces folk music of eras past, and his songs seem drunk-honest in their depiction of an uncertain life in a temporary town. He was born in New York, but spent time in Germany frequently where he first started playing blues harmonica live in beer tents at age 9. In his teenage years, Ludwig began writing and playing in bands in Los Angeles until he spent a year in college in New York, working on his songwriting. After leaving the Hudson Valley, Ludwig settled in Silver Lake where he finished his self-produced debut album.

When asked about the name of the band, he says, "None of them are from Santa Fe and there aren't seven of them, which is why they're called the Santa Fe Seven." After playing with a cast of revolving characters, Ludwig set out to find what he refers to as "a balance between the Stray Gators and Booker T. & the MG's". He then teamed up with Los Angeles country music veteran and bassist Ben Reddell from Texas, a staple of the mid-west music scene, pedal steel player and guitarist Chris Vos from Wisconsin, and fresh from the Miami college rock world, drummer and percussionist Jorge Balbi from Peru. Together they make a hard, reckless, dust-laden sound.

His deeply personal and wild live shows that mix his influence of early rock and roll, classic soul, and songwriting craftsmanship have earned him comparisons to Bob Dylan, The Band, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Presley and caused the Los Angeles Times to label him as a "brash maverick" who "views rules as something to be broken, not followed". An intense showman, Ludwig's narratives follow the tradition of Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, and Kris Kristofferson.

Whether he is crooning over lap steel, piano, or violin, the young musician's lyrics channel the feelings of rambling desperation that inspired such greats as Hank Williams and Tom Waits. Hard living and rock n' roll tradition aren't the only places he finds his inspiration. Ludwig is a voracious reader and disciplined scholar who admires the works of Robert Creeley, Walt Whitman, and John Cassavetes. Confessing, "I became heavily obsessed with words," Ludwig's songs unveil themselves like good literature, and string the listener along with equal parts suspense and intrigue.

Maxim Ludwig & The Santa Fe Seven's animal-like energy at the The Hotel Cafe, The Mint, The Bootleg Theater, The Troubadour, Spaceland, The Roxy, The El Rey, The Viper Room, The Key Club, and The Whisky in Los Angeles as well as Ludwig's passionate performances at the StageCoach Festival and the Austin City Limits Festival have earned them a showcase at this year's SXSW and a reputation as the hardest working band around.


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