The Three O’ Clock at The Observatory

The first thing that became apparent to me when I stepped foot inside The Observatorywas the incredible diversity of the crowd. It was a room full of cheery dread-bearing chain smokers, well-kempt yet utterly tranquil business men, elated young people ready to pick up speed, and even an older bunch relishing in the powerful atmosphere that the night had provided. I was in awe.

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A Band Defying Conventions About Gender, Music and Tradition: The Great Wilderness

An almost tribal drumbeat has overtaken the room. At the center of the stage is the figure of a girl intently curled, enraptured, over a red and ivory Fender Jaguar guitar. Her red hair sways rhythmically above its strings, over which her hands make quick, precise motions with a pick. She looks up purposefully, addressing the crowd with eyes that feel like they’re looking right into your soul, and starts to sing.

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Hiss Golden Messenger Delivers Us

There is a special place in my heart for Hiss Golden Messenger. They were the first musicians that I ever wrote about, professionally. I decided on them because I had recently embedded myself in a listening frenzy the likes of which had never been seen, and the song “Blue Country Mystic” was the main event.

I believe my description of the song included “it’s like rocking on your front porch barefoot while drinking Bourbon from a mason jar.” Which… is a little dramatic. But that’s the way I feel when I listen to it, so do what you will with that.

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The Band You Ought to kNOw NOw

What does it mean for a young band to play the legendary stage at the Troubadour in West Hollywood? “A lot” explained Sean Stentz while we spoke before his September 29th set. “Radiohead played here,” he adds for perspective. Sean plays bass guitar for the band, NO, who hit the stage a short time later for a set promoted by Filter Magazine as a part of their new artist concert series in LA. NO is part of the Echo Park music scene, having arrived there late in life to collaborate and make music in a recording space above the Echo/Echoplex, which couldn’t make for a more perfect beginning in a city that nurtures so many young bands.

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Lucero Talks Love, Tattoos, and Texas & Tennessee

When a band articulates the depths of human emotion through songs that champion whiskey and cultivates a sound that borders on medicinal, it’s a pretty safe bet they’re doing something right.

Lucero threads gritty lyrics with alt-country, hip swayin’ music that heals the soul. After eight studio albums the group stepped outside their usual routine and released their first EP, Texas & Tennessee, in April. While an EP may seem like an odd choice at this point in the bands career, the experience took the group full circle and back to the same studio where they recorded their cult-classic album, Tennessee, in 2002. Music In Press caught up with guitarist Brian Venable on a rare break from touring to discuss his Dad’s first time holding a tattoo gun, lead singer Ben Nichols’ new love interest, and why fans can’t get enough of Lucero.

 

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The Heavy, in the Heat of Night

British rock band, The Heavy, brought the heat–quite literally–to the Constellation Room last night. In between songs front-man Kevin Swaby incited the crowd, “I know it’s hot as $#!! in here Orange County but do you like us?” In response, the audience roared, from the front of the stage all the way to the crowded back corners of the obviously sold-out show.

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Frank Maston in LA

A little while back I covered a show for Maston that took place in a small record store in LA. At that point, I had only heard a couple of songs from his Soundcloud account and a few tracks off a friend’s vinyl copy of Shadows, but those few tracks were all it took for me to fall in love with his music. Since that time, I have become quite involved in his music; in fact, I’m listening to his album as I’m writing this. The fact that nearly all the instruments on his songs were performed, written, and recorded by him alone is extremely impressive and inspiring.

When I learned that Frank Maston had a new album in the works, I had to learn more. I had the privilege to not only get the answers I wanted but also to learn much more than I expected from the artist himself.

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When I listen to Phosphorescent, I am that Girl

I remember the first time I heard “Song for Zula” by Phosphorescent. It was on some blog that I was following and the girl was like, “Dudes, check this out!” and since I’m all about new music, I did. It was spellbinding. His voice is some kind of throwback to Tom Petty- who I love more than life itself. I showed Zula to a friend of mine the other day and, like I did once I heard it, she had it on repeat for a good hour or so. Then the full album Muchacho came out and I just about died. This is the kind of music that you throw on and kick your feet up and watch the sun set to. So, now I’ll be the girl in a blog telling you to listen to it: I double-dog-dare you to play it and not fall in love. I freaking DARE you.

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The Reasons Why: Rachael Yamagata is my new best friend

Happened

I’m hesitant to be totally honest about seeing Rachael Yamagata play live because of how vulnerable it makes me. And I hate being vulnerable.

I knew, going into this, that her music was touching in a way that my words can’t explain but hers seem to prick like a needlepoint- at a very fine and precise point, and just enough to make you bleed but not debilitate you. Her songs seem to mainly wrap around breakups and heartache- strumming on your heartstrings and pulling you in to a point where you know you should move but almost can’t.

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