Deap Valley – Sistrionix

Deap Vally

Nevermind they met in crochet class. Guttural blues rock duo Deap Vally emotes anything but tender things warm and fuzzy. Envisage Janis Joplin backed by a White Stripes/Zeppelin hybrid, and you begin to scratch at the tip of the voracious musical hybrid that is Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards. Hot off a stint at Coachella the L.A. natives continue to make molten splashes both here at home and abroad. Keeping busy all over Europe, Deap Vally shares stages with the likes of Mumford & Sons and Iggy Pop, hobnobs with Robert Plant and recently rocked out on the BBC’s ever-popular Later… with Jools Holland. Their debut full-length, Sistrionix, opens with “End of the World” pairing alarm-inducing guitar tones with a pulsating beat that gloriously won’t relent. With this kind of intro, you immediately know what you’re getting into: a distortion-fueled journey of angst, frustration and fuck-all attitude of two very strong and independent women. Fending off sexism with precipitous kickdrum beats and addictive guitar riff, “Gonna Make My Own Money” sees Troy frothing. “You say marry a rich man … Daddy, don’t you understand?/I’m gonna make my own money/Gonna buy my own land.” On the driving “Baby I Call Hell,” they demand with purpose and power: “If you wanna serve me/Show me you deserve me … No you don’t get this if you don’t treat me well.” This brand of no-nonsense lyrics abounds on this record, as do Edward’s red-hot drumming and Troy’s delightfully cathartic vocal purging. “If our mothers only knew the trouble that we get into,” Troy delights on “Bad for My Body.” If the music is any indication, we can’t even begin to imagine.

Originally published by L.A. RECORD


Strunz & Farah @ Catalina’s


Photos by Linda A. Rapka

It’s not every night you hear a beatboxing flutist, but with international instrumental guitar duo Strunz & Farah one can’t expect a typical concert experience.

Acclaimed as much for their international virtuosity as for their dazzling eclectic live performances, Middle Eastern-flavored jazz/flamenco duo Costa Rican Jorge Strunz and Iranian Ardeshir Farah are credited for pioneering guitar-focused world music before the term even existed. The Grammy-nominated pair shares a prolific partnership spanning more than three decades. They met in 1979 after learning of their shared ability to play mind-blowing instrumental guitar improvisations at lightning speed. Continue reading

Robyn Hitchcock: Ready for the End of Time

0413hitchcock_lgBlending classic English sensibilities with darkly clever psychedelic pop, Robyn Hitchcock constructs a musical universe all his own. With a career spanning nearly four decades, the frontman of Cambridge’s neo-psych post punk group the Soft Boys first made waves with the much-admired 1980 release Underwater Moonlight before the band split later that year. Not to abandon making fine-crafted pop thick with wise whimsicality Robyn has steadied a prolific career, making a decade’s worth of music with the Egyptians (including 1985’s Fegmania!) and more recently with members of R.E.M., Young Fresh Fellows and Ministry as the Venus 3. In March the singer, songwriter, painter and even sometime-Hollywood actor celebrates the release of a new solo album, Love From London (Yep Roc Records), and his 60th birthday. He sips a cup of tea and chats by telephone from his hotel room in New York. This interview by Linda A. Rapka.

Robyn Hitchcock: Sorry if you can hear that noise. That’s me making a cup of tea. You can tell how English I am.

You describe your new album, Love From London, as one that ‘celebrates life in a culture imperiled by economic and environmental collapse.’ That sounds contradictorily optimistic.
I do my best to block out the news. I don’t have CNN on all the time or spend all day listening to NPR or Radio 4. I don’t follow Twitter. I recoil in horror at most that goes on at real life. I try to keep my head buried in the late ‘60s. The emphasis on my record is on celebration. Little bits of information—snippets from the outside world—bleed through occasionally in what I’m singing, but I’m not here to give you the bad news. I just wanna boogie. Continue reading

Infrasonic’s Pete Lyman Talks Vinyl

IMG_1788A gearhead with a mean vinyl fetish, Pete Lyman spends most of his time as co-owner and principal mastering engineer at Infrasonic Mastering getting down and dirty with the company’s Scully LS-76.

For those not in the know, this badass machine is a vintage piece dating back to 1978 and one of only a handful of functioning vinyl lacquer-cutting pieces in the world. The new mastering facility, opened four months ago in Echo Park, acts as a satellite to Lyman and business partner Jeff Ehrenberg’s East L.A. recording and mastering studio,Infrasonic Sound, which has created vinyl magic for the likes of Radiohead, Beck, the Mars Volta, Best Coast, No Age, Butch Walker, Wavves, Gogol Bordello, Daniel Johnston and Jason Falkner.

Lyman describes to Linda A. Rapka on a typically hot Echo Park summer afternoon the allure of the vinyl lathe and what keeps bands — and him — coming back for more. Continue reading

Glen Campbell Farewell Tour @ the Hollywood Bowl 6/24/12

glen campbell farewell

Decked out in a sparkle-studded blue suit and matching boots, Glen Campbell gave Los Angeles one final performance befitting a real rhinestone cowboy during his farewell tour at the Hollywood Bowl June 24.

For most farewell tours, it’s a safe bet that the parting adjective is thrown in just to boost ticket sales, with future “farewell” tours sure to follow a year or two down the road. But for Glen, this was truly goodbye. He announced his battle with Alzheimer’s in 2011, and his final tour. Continue reading

Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde Live @ the Roxy 5/23/12


LA Weekly photographer Timothy Norris caught this pic of me and my crew hanging with J-Sw!ft after the show. Check out their full slideshow here.

Taking us on a bizarre ride back to the golden era of hip hop, the party was on from the start at “Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde: Live” on May 23. Fatlip, Slimkid3, J-Sw!ft and L.A. Jay brought it hard at the sold-out Roxy show celebrating the 20th anniversary of one of the most influential hip hop albums of all time.

DJ Nu-Mark did well to prime the crowd with an appropriate booty-shaking mix of early ’90s hip hop jams before Big Boy (Pharcyde’s bodyguard from back in the day) introduced the MCs to the stage. Straight from the downbeat the vibe was right and crowd was bumping, and when the timeless comedy of “Oh Shit” kicked off everyone flowed along with every rhyme, ingrained into every Angeleno’s brain as part of our native vocabulary. The four performed the entire album top to bottom, and 20 years later it still holds up — as do the MCs, who sounded (and looked) as fly as they did in 1992. They went through all the classic tracks sounding as good as, and at times even better than, the record, among the standouts being the Stanley Cowell-heavy “On the DL,” ganga-lover favorite “Pack the Pipe,” and the still hilarious “Ya Mama.” Taking a solo moment, Tre impressed with his dynamic vocal lead on “Otha Fish.” But of course the undeniable highlight was “Passin’ Me By,” which remains as haunting and soul-stoppingly beautiful as it did the day it was released. They even played all the hysterical skits in between, like “It’s Jigaboo Time” and “Quinton’s On His Way” (and he really was; the famous “delivery man” showed up with the evening’s most important party favors). Even the original album drummer, legendary JMD, was there holding down fat live beats. Continue reading

Strawberry Alarm Clock @ the Satellite 4/25/12

Though they weren’t delivered to the stage upon mystical Persian rugs, as was their usual mode of transport in the late 1960s thanks to some hulky roadies, Strawberry Alarm Clock did conjure plenty of magic at its show at the Satellite.

The vintage psychedelic rockers, best known for their 1967 gold hit “Incense and Peppermints,” which saw newfound revival thanks to the stellar musical taste of Austin Powers, performed a rare live show at the popular Silver Lake club in support of its first album of new material in 42 years. Continue reading