Today it finally feels like winter here in the Canyon. Cold and grey, yet it’s so fucking dry up here. From such a warm winter, it’s gonna be “brown” spring.
The big news today is that the Armenians are on the march. Their protest to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the genocide Armenians suffered at the hands of the Turks in 1915 will likely shut the city down today. I can dig it and will gladly work from my garage office in the Canyon.
As it is, I’ve been super tired because this week it was my turn to volunteer to help direct traffic at Jonah’s school. They call it a “Kiss & Ride.” It’s cool, but we need to get up at 5:45pm to make it to school early.
PHOTOS: MANNY HEBRON | There was a buzz of French accents circulating The Echo Wednesday night. The Los Angeles hipster-French (and faux French) community, complete with striped sailor tops à la Godard’s new wave film Breathless, was in full attendance to support their newest electro pop sweetheart, Christine and the Queens.
The alter-ego of 26 year-old Heloise Letissier, Christine and the Queens took the stage ready to make her L.A. debut. Christine is in a fitted black suit flanked by two featured dancers—with their intricate choreography, it would be wrong to simply call them “back up.”
A crescendo of synth and bass fills the venue. The melody holds a sophistication that draws from the French noir classics. A pulsating rhythm leans ever so slightly behind the beat creating a sleek groove. There is energy of excitement to her playful interaction with the audience but an effortlessly cool vibe in Christine’s vocals. Her performance of “iT,” also the opening track to her English debut EP, “Saint Claude,” released the day prior via Neon Gold and Atlantic Records in the US, was sung as an arrangement of both English and French, like much of the record.
The runaway hit, “Tilted,” also acts as the centerpiece of the evening’s show. A quaint mid-tempo pop tune that is catchy as hell without being derivative, the song’s bouncy choreography quickly became a Christine and the Queens signature. Featuring detailed movements with isolated gestures and graceful weight shifting nuances.
Driving through the desert, blasting rock ‘n’ roll is righteous. Kem Nunn’s novel, Tapping The Source comes to mind:
“…As he listened the train sounds grew faint and disappeared and someone shut off the music so there was just the silence, that special kind of silence that comes to the desert, and he knew that if he waited there would come a time, stars fading, slim band of light creeping on the horizon, when the silence would grow until it was unbearable, until it was as if the land itself were about to break it, to give up some secret of its own…”
Day dreaming of bad dudes with surfboards strapped to the roof of a dusty car pulling into desert gas station… I know I’m trippin’, or should I say California dreaming—and why not?
As many musicians, trainspotters, scensters, and music fans make their way into the Indio desert, it may not come as a surprise that this week’s Idelic Hour toasts none other than the grandaddy of the current boom of “PC” American music festivals. As I say every year, Coachella is an example of what makes southern California so very cool. Well, that’s my”salty” opinion.
It’s not beyond me that with all of the streaming services, playlists, and advanced social networking, this week’s Idelic Hour may appear redundant. Well, who cares? By design, festival organizers have created a rock ‘n’ rock experience that is different for each and every fan in attendance. What I’m celebrating is MY Coachella 2015.
I was driving down Nicholas Canyon this morning listening to your album. It was one of those perfect Californian mornings in the canyon—clear and cool. In fact, it’s both Passover and Good Friday. I thought of tonight’s Passover the Sidels are having this evening in Long Beach. How strange my family is and how far we’ve all come. Filling the air in my car was your song “Honey Bunny.”
I thought it would be a cute way start my radio hour and well, it did more than that. It made me reminisce. The first thing I thought about was you and how and much I dig your album and, of course, your charming smile…or should I say shit eating grin.
You made me think of old microphones and hollow body jazz guitars, of running into you on many occasions, but one in particular—with Zoe on a sunny Spring day just north of little Italy.
TVD LA had an opportunity to chat with A Winged Victory for the Sullen, the ambient duo consisting of Dustin O’Halloran and Adam Wiltzie. Their latest project is the score for ATOMOS, a dance composition for famed choreographer Wayne McGregor (Random Dance, the London Ballet, and that guy Thom Yorke).
A Winged Victory for the Sullen brings this score to the El Rey on Sunday, April 5th.
We can assume writing for both dance and film involve telling a story. How is the approach for scoring for dance different from your work scoring for films?
The history of dance and music together is much older and really developed together—it’s very natural in the sense that music comes first and the choreography comes after. You have lots of images and concepts in your head, but it’s really close to writing for yourself. Film seems to have confines as you are locked into edits and timing—it’s really two different ways to work. Both have the object of telling a story, but dance is something that is movable and happens in the moment, and film is something carved out in time.
This process is incredibly unique. Since choreography and dance tend to be dictated by the music, did the movement of the dancers come to mind or have an effect on the movement of the music? Did you see clips, did you send the dancers demos?
We started working on the score on our own with just some images and videos that Wayne McGregor sent us. About half way through the process we went to London to his studio to see what he was creating. We really could not imagine how someone would dance to our music, so the biggest inspiration was how well it worked. It just made us more confident that we were on the right path. The whole dance piece is built in a kind of modular way with these little scenes that could be put together or separated …much like atoms.
TVD LA recently chatted with The Silent Comedy’s Joshua Zimmerman to discuss the reissue of their debut album Common Faults, which is being pressed to vinyl for the very first time. 2015 also marks the 5th anniversary of the release, so to celebrate they’ve remixed the album and will be taking the vinyl on the road playing shows in select record stores throughout California.
The vinyl is available for pre-order now and the album will also be released digitally on April 14th.
You call Common Faults a transitional album that brought the band into their current sound. Can you elaborate on that? What was it in the writing and recording of this record that made you guys change the sonic direction of the band? Was the change intentional when going into this project or did it happen organically?
The process of transition in the band’s sound happened naturally over the course of making Common Faults. We started to experiment with how to capture a more energetic sound, and focused less on the acoustic songs that had made up our fledging recordings before that. Many of these songs developed from the live show, so these recording sessions were the first time we were analyzing parts, and realizing that the band would benefit for a more organized writing process. It took a while for these lessons to be fully assimilated, but you can see the product of lessons learned from making Common Faults in our new recordings.
Can you tell our readers the production process of this reissue and what you did to change the sound of the album?
One of the regrets we had about Common Faults was that we didn’t have sufficient time or resources to mix the album. We had so little money that my brother Jeremiah and I ended up mixing it ourselves in a very short amount of time. There are years of experience that a professional mixer brings to the process that we simply didn’t have.
For the reissue, we turned the raw tracks over to the extremely talented and accomplished Brian Malouf, who mixed our last couple of projects. Brian took the tracks and gave them a richness that hadn’t been present before. The original version of Common Faults was a little flat, and the remixed songs have a depth and clarity that brings them closer to our original vision.
I came back from a rainy week in Austin to a full house. My mom is in town and staying with us this week. Nice to see ma with my son. I’m sure she has been decompressing from another harsh winter back east.
“I told ya ma, come in February, but you’re always welcome.”
I should have said, always welcome—except when you ask one too many questions. (Ha!) Jewish mothers always ask way too many questions—thousands of questions! It takes patience to understand this family fact. “Blabbing” and asking dumb questions just comes naturally to us Sidels.
Last week I posted an old photo on Instagram asking “Who’s going to Texas for SXSW?” Most of the enthusiastic responses came from my daughter’s friends. Many indie labels and SXSW regulars have decided to sit out this year’s festivities. I would say, candidly speaking, LA and NYC are not representing.
Interestingly enough, a new crop of bands has made this trip so those of us who like to enjoy more than complain about SXSW are having a hell of a good “Texas” time. First and foremost I’m doing what I’ve come to SXSW to do—see bands! In fact I was so inspired by just how many interesting and diverse bands I saw yesterday, I stayed out on the streets watching music.
Thank G it’s fucking Friday (“TGIFF”! )—a sweltering one here in the Canyon. You know you’ve had a weird and stressful week when your ol’ lady hands you a small bottle of Rescue Remedy. Fuck me, ha ha!
All I can say is that it’s Friday the 13th—and I feel a bit better after blasting out an hour of tunes into the sky. Most of this playlist has the magic number of “13” in mind, but there is certainly a fair share of new music I am listening in preparation for next week’s SXSW.