L.A. RECORD!

WILLIAM ALEXANDER: THE OL’ SHRED STICK

Why is it that after playing music for 20 years and five releases with his previous band the Meanest Boys, the first solo record under his Christian name William Alexander is the one attracting non-stop attention? Let’s find out! This interview by Frankie Alvaro. William Alexander plays Sat., Jan. 31, at 4th Street Vine in Long Beach.

Live reviews

JOHN COOPER CLARKE @ LA CITA

The peripatetic punk poet from Salford arrives late—20 minutes or 40 years late, depending in how you look at it—apologizing out of a halo of cigarette smoke, saying, “I got here a little late, too late to read the guest list.” It’s a failing he turns to his advantage as he then reads that guest list, making a poem out of it in which the names rhyme and people are caught unawares by his awareness and the utterly-packed house (courtesy of Part Time Punks) erupts into the rapture of applause. “I tried to make it entertaining as I can,” he shrugs.


MURDER BALLADS AND DARK SONGS @ ECHOPLEX

The 5th annual Murder Ballads & Dark Songs night at the Echoplex was as righteous and delightful as anticipated. Each performer brought a new spin to timeless songs about killers and bleeding broken hearts. …And there’s something about the audience sitting in chairs that makes it all feel more special and a little bit fancy.


KERA AND THE LESBIANS ARE BRINGING DUENDE BACK

“I’m so happy,” blurted an elated Marketing Director of the Fold, midway through Kera’s performance. Even if she didn’t mean it … the room compelled her to HAVE TO SAY IT.


BOY AND BEAR @ THE FONDA

With reverence for such staples of Americana (yes I know Young is from Canada), Boy & Bear has a lot to live up to but the band certainly met the mark, especially in categories of self-exploration, lyrical depth, and haunting harmonies.


AUSTIN PSYCH FEST @ CARSON CREEK RANCH

Yes, you heard that right: the Flamin’ Groovies have bested the Zombies.


Album reviews

DRINKING FLOWERS: SHADOW SHOW EP

SoCal psychedelic rock/shoegaze group Drinking Flowers is back just a year after the release of their breakthrough debut EP Sanity Restored 1972 with Shadow Show. Put simply, this collection of five brand new brain-bending tunes is an acid trip in musical form with its droning vocal repetition and Hendrix-esque thunderous walls of guitar buzz and fuzz.


THE BANGLES: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN … THE BANGLES!

These fabled L.A. New Wavers are now touring and celebrate with this assortment of glittering rarities from the band’s glory years. Produced by the great Craig Leon and flung into shops some thirty-two years ago, the five tracks from the long out-of-print Bangles debut EP show the band (then known as the Bangs) firmly anchored in the then-reigning Paisley Underground aesthetic.


COTILLON: SELF-TITLED

Debut opus from bummer-pop iconoclast Jordan Corso, now under the most appropriate guidance of producer Chet “JR” White from Girls—who makes sure no sound or idea on this album lingers too long. Here, Cotillon are focused through a host of post-VU experiments on this corrosively intimate excursion into heartbreak.


STERILE JETS: LIQUOR STORE

Hailing from Long Beach, Sterile Jets plays an aggressive and in-your-face style of music that celebrates the degeneracy and poetics that life can sometimes bring all at once. Still, Sterile Jets are one of those bands that are slightly hard to define.


ITASCA: UNMOORED BY THE WIND

Unmoored By The Wind is a funny name for this album, since the music here is anything but flying wild and frightened free—instead, the photo on the back is a better tell, with silhouettes of mountains split by sky and empty space. But maybe the title means the state of mind: as she sings on “Nature’s Gift,” “I was staring at these windows for hours … I was just looking for a sign.”