One of the bands opening for Lieutenant at the Troubadour 4/8/15 was the Echo Park based, indie rock band Banta.
The first time I heard of Martin Sexton, it was in college circa 1998. A member of my vocal group had arranged an acappella cover of his song “Love Keep Us Together.” It was a beautiful arrangement, and I loved singing the background tenor 2 part every time our music director called it.
THOUGHTS: If Little Hurricane was my surprise set on Friday, Nathaniel Rateliff was my surprise set on Saturday. Nathaniel is a burly gentleman with a scraggly beard, but his music, for the most part, was blissfully soft and emotional. Playing a set with just his voice and acoustic guitar, for moments, I got lost in his music, and I stopped taking pictures and/or recorded Instagram clips. His music reminded me of Iron and Wine, and it truly seemed to be coming from an intensely emotional place. As I was watching his performance from the eye of my zoom lens, I could see him envelop himself in his music, his eyes seemingly welling up with emotions. It was a personal, powerful set and I could only watch his performance with respect as he lay his soul out for the world (at least at Way Over yonder) to see.
THOUGHTS: These guys were great to watch live. This Brooklyn-based group of transplanted Southerners have a brand of Americana (a rocking and rolling, country sound) that is a perfect soundtrack for a beautiful summer afternoon by the sea. Having released an album in 2013, the group is planning to release their sophomore album in early 2015, and it was produced by Aaron Dessner, a member of The National who writes the majority of their music (Listen to the track by CLICKING HERE). Look, if The Lone Bellow are good enough for Mr. Dessner, it’s good enough for me.
Excited that Typhoon’s management gave me permission to bring a DSLR camera into the El Rey to snap pics of the gig, I got to the venue early enough to stake out some territory and to play around with the settings of my new camera. While fiddling with my new toy, a Silver Lake based folk band named Miner took to the stage, set up and started playing.
Miner is a friends and family affair, formed around the husband/wife duo of Justin and Kate Miner, along with Justin’s brother Jeremy, his cousin Amanda, and friends Justin Krook and David Schechtman. Perhaps it was that personal relationship they had with each other that gave their performance a certain air of comfort that made the performance feel more intimate than you would have expected at the El Rey. It could have been that … or it could have been the fact that I was up front. LOL. Either way, it was mellow, feel good music that any folk-lover would enjoy.
If you are a fan of The Heart And The Heart, The Lumineers or Of Monsters and Men, then you may want to check this band out. If you live in Los Angeles, and you enjoy any of the foregoing bands, then you should really follow them on Facebook to catch them when they play a gig in town. I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it. If you’re the festival-going type, their tour schedule has three of them listed for this year: Lightning In A Bottle, Snowmass Mammoth Fest, and Bunbury Music Festival.
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I didn’t have much of a social life during law school, and that’s probably a good explanation as any as to why my music collection tends to lack albums released during that time of my life. Insofar as I didn’t have a television during that time, and the only recordings I listened to were recordings of lectures explaining aspects of civil procedure or property law, I relied on friends (mostly in law school) to tell me what was hip or “up and coming” in terms of music that was available.
Samuel Beam, professionally known as Iron & Wine, released his first album when I was in law school. A classmate of mine turned me on his music, and I used music from The Creek Drank the Cradle to help me fall asleep after hours of studying, hopped up on caffeine products. Beam’s gruff voice, and tender acoustic guitar playing lends itself to a soothing, mood-mellowing state of mind.
I’ve always been interested in seeing him perform live, and when I saw the announcement that he was to perform at the Orpheum Theater on Halloween Night, I figured that that would be a great venue to see him perform in, other than a grassy festival lawn or the Hollywood Bowl.
I bought two tickets as soon as their availability was announced, about 5 months in advance of the show. I wasn’t dating anybody at the time, but I figured that I couldn’t go to the show alone. I’ve been to these types of shows before. I had a feeling that it would be couples galore. Being overly optimistic, I bought two tickets with my fingers crossed that I’d have a special someone to ask. As it turns out, I did find a date, but I noticed during the show that we were literally the only couple not snuggling during the concert.
The snuggling aside, Iron & Wine’s show was exactly what I expected, and more. Playing most of the show with a full band, each member costumed as a member of The Muppets, Sam Beam wooed the audience with selections spanning his entire catalogue. Playing over two and a half hours of his soul-soothing music, I enjoyed the show completely, but was particularly impressed when the band left the stage, and Sam Beam stood front and center, armed with only his guitar, Kermit tied to his microphone stand, with only two spotlights from the lighting tresses illuminating his position.
His solo set revealed to me the vulnerable and fragile tenderness of Iron & Wine’s music. Though the subject matter of his music tends to lean towards the darker facets of life and love, listening to his stories through lyrics, you always still had a sense of there being a silver lining through it all. I, like the rest of the audience, was drawn into Iron & Wine’s world, and enjoyed it all. Though, I probably would have enjoyed it more with someone to snuggle with… lol. I’ll keep that in mind for the next time I see him live.
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This past weekend I stopped by record store to do a little “research” on two band’s whose music I don’t own: Humble Pie and Emerson Lake and Palmer.
I recently blogged about Steve Marriott, and I was particularly drawn to his work with Humble Pie, specifically his live performance of an Ike and Tina song called “Black Coffee” [Click here to read the blog and check out the video]. I made it my quest for the weekend to find it on vinyl.
I figured I’d start with their first albums, so I bought “Lost and Found”.
This album was a double LP compilation for the United States which contained their first two albums originally released in the UK: ” As Safe As Yesterday Is” and “Town and Country”. Both individual albums received excellent reviews.
If you didn’t already know, the original incarnation of Humble Pie featured Steve Marriott and Peter Frampton, and both of these albums, and particularly as a compilation, really shows the musical genius of the members of the band.
The musical stylings of “As Safe As Yesterday Is” covers blues rock to hard rock. In fact, this album was the inspiration of the term “heavy metal” as it was used in a Mike Saunder’s 1970 Rolling Stone article to describe an element and stylings of the sound on the album. The quote is as follows:
“Town and Country”, on the other hand, is a predominantly acoustic album. Though Humble Pie tended to lean towards the “heavier” stylings throughout their career, this album seems to demonstrate the bands more “sensitive” side. More country than city. I think any music enthusiast can probably draw from the album that this may have been a foreshadow of the type of music Peter Frampton would pursue in his solo career.
In my opinion, this compilation album was the perfect introduction, at least for me, to the band. “As Safe as Yesterday” reveals a new band putting together a new, rough and raw sound that they’d develop, while “Town and Country” was just the opposite. A very insightful album, and highly enjoyable.
I bought “Rock On” because this was the last album that Peter Frampton performed on for Humble Pie. Based on what I’ve read, it was this album which solidified Humble Pie’s legacy as being a preeminent heavy blues/rock band.
The production quality of this album is quite stunning, and it’s probably because Glyn Johns produced it. While listening to the album, it really felt like I was in a club listening to the band play live, but it is so clean. Peter Frampton kills it on his guitar parts, and Steve Marriott wails through blues riff after blues riff.
A terrific album and worth every penny.
I probably didn’t need to buy this album, but it was the only vinyl in stock that had a recording of “Black Coffee”. Mission accomplished.
Emerson Lake and Palmer
Progressive Rock. Some love it. Some hate it. For me, I just have to be in the mood for it. Emerson, Lake & Palmer was on of the largest progressive rock bands during the 1970s. Their self titled, debut album was an album that I thought I should have in my collection because it was, if you are in the mood for it, an album that you can drop the needle on and just let play.
I’ve only listed to this album once in it’s entirety, and it’s just simply overwhelming. I’ve studied music. I’m familiar with jazz music. I’m familiar with classical music. I’m familiar with rock music. With Emerson, Lake and Palmer, it’s like the edges all blur and … you’re just overwhelmed by their musicianship. I’ll be honest with you, I can’t hum a single musical passage from the album, but I’ll guarantee you that it blew my mind.
The other Emerson, Lake and Palmer album I bought is a live concert recording of the band titled “Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends: Ladies & Gentlemen, Emerson Lake & Palmer”
Let’s just say I’m holding off on that one for a little while. I’ll need a good two hours to listen to the four sided album, and I understand that I need to listen to it loud … really loud.