The War On Drugs | Fonda Theatre | 10/3/14 [Photos & Setlist]

THE ACT: The War On Drugs | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 


THOUGHTS: When people ask me what music has been turning me on lately, I usually rattle off a list new LP’s that I’ve purchased at the local record shop. The one album that hasn’t left that list? The War On Drugs’ “Lost In The Dream”.

I remember when I bought the LP. I was thumbing through some racks of LPs at Origami Vinyl, when the text of “Limited Edition” and “Purple Vinyl” on the sticker caught my eye: “. Silly as it may be, since I’m a collector, things like that always interest me. I asked the proprietor about the album, and he told me that it was a solid album, giving me the history behind the band (how founding member Kurt Vile left the band in 2011, leaving Adam Granduciel to helm the band) and suggesting that if I purchased it, he was pretty sure I wouldn’t be disappointed. He was correct. In fact, he had gotten me to purchase an album that I have very high on list of “best albums of the year”. Well done, Origami Vinyl.

The album is brilliant. It’s a cohesive masterpiece of brilliantly engaging, dreamy rock, melding understated synths with soaring guitar licks. The album is only 10 tracks deep, and runs slightly over an hour, but the listening experience seems to conclude too early, as if the “dream” is the music causing the listener to get “lost” in it. A dream that you simply don’t want to wake up from. The lyrics, honest and emotional, is Adam’s voice … but really, it’s the voice of the everyman. When he sings about that moment of realizing heartbreak or admitting depression, he’s really writing, whether he meant to or not, for everyone one who has been there.

The War On Drugs’ live show is just as amazing as their album. Pulling from the band’s entire catalog, their set, and pardon the pun, was like an ocean with waves (a song of theirs is titled “An Ocean Between The Waves”). From sublime smoothness, to relentless ardor, the room swelled with the kind of natural energy only great music can create; hitting the right peaks and valleys with an emotional fervor.

And the music was played to perfection. Though they may have jammed out, extending songs longer than what are on the album, I closed my eyes at times and couldn’t hear the difference. The musicianship, and the technicality with which they played, was effortless.

After their performance, I hung out a while to see if I could get Adam to sign the LP that I had lugged with me in my camera bag. As his band was on stage taking down their equipment, I asked a stage hand as to whether Adam would be cool signing the LP for me. He shouted up to Adam and he jumped from the stage to greet me. A very real, and modest man, he was happy to sign my LP and was genuinely pleased (I could see it in his eyes) when I told him that their performance blew my mind. I asked him some more questions about the rest of his tour, and then went on my way; but needless to say, knowing that the man behind the music was as genuine and modest as the other, looking me in the eyes and paying attention to me with my small talk, made me appreciate his art more than ever.


The War On Drugs | Fonda Theatre



Dum Dum Girls | Coachella | 4/11/14 (PHOTOS)

     I’m a fan of Dee Dee Penny (nee Kristin Welchez) and her sound. Based on some of her more recent work (like “Too True To Be Good” and “Coming Down”), her voice and style reminds me of some of the female rock-pop fronted bands I grew up with (off the top of my head, maybe an amalgam of Lucious JacksonSiouxsie Sioux and Mazzy Star).
     When the band took to the stage, wearing their trademark black, Dee Dee brought a little “shock and awe” wearing a sheer top with strategically placed pasties. The band launched into their 12 song, 45 minute set under in the sweltering desert sun, but didn’t let the heat hold them down, bringing it instead. I enjoyed what I heard and I plan on keeping tabs on the band’s music to see how it develops from here.


Medicine | Culture Collide | 10/11/13

Click here to check out the other bands that I saw perform at Culture Collide 2013

Brad Laner of Medicine.
Brad Laner of Medicine.

Shoegazing is a sub genre of alternative rock that emerged from the United Kingdom in the late 1980s. As per its entry on Wikipedia, “The British music press—particularly NME and Melody Maker—named this style shoegazing because the musicians in these bands stood relatively still during live performances in a detached, introspective, non-confrontational state, hence the idea that they were gazing at their shoes.” One of the biggest UK acts to arise from this musical movement, was My Bloody Valentine (a band that I opted not to see at 2013’s FYF Festival). Pitchfork Media has hailed Medicine as the closest thing to being an American answer to My Bloody Valentine. I had to check them out.

Medicine founder, Brad Laner, is perhaps one of the most accomplished Los Angeles musicians in the indie rock scene. Having played on more than 300 albums,  he has worked with the likes of Brian Eno, Savage Republic and Rick Rubin. After over a decade of the band being on hiatus, band members Laner, singer  Beth Thompson and drummer Jim Goodall recorded and released the highly regarded album “To The Happy Few” earlier this year.

To be honest, I wasn’t all too familiar with Medicine’s catalog of music. Truth be told, growing up, I wan’t that big of a fan of the “genre” of shoegazing. It was only somewhat recently when I started to get into M83‘s music that I started to look into the genre. But where M83 is more pop-synth rock, Medicine’s brand of shoegazing is massively more psychedelic rock with silky vocals and wall of expert guitar playing and driving drums. It was a great set, and I have money that this set was much more entertaining than the My Bloody Valentine set at FYF Festival, which I heard was plagued with technical difficulties. US-1 : UK-0.

Unfortunately, the Flickr slideshow below is not currently available on mobile devices. If you are on a mobile device, please click THIS LINK to get redirected to the set of photos.

Click here to check out the other bands that I saw perform at Culture Collide 2013

Deerhunter | FYF Festival | August 24, 2013

To check out pictures of other bands I was able to catch at the festival, CLICK HERE.

Leaving The Locust, I headed back  to the main stage to meet up with some friends and to get a good spot for both TV on the Radio and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Performing on the main stage, as I was walking toward it, was an experimental noise rock band from Atlanta, Georgia: Deerhunter.

Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013

I wasn’t familiar with the band, but from where I was, and what I could hear, it came off pretty good. I’ll have to admit, I was a little thrown off as I thought the lead singer was a woman. After all, he was wearing a dress and a wig, and his voice was kinda Yoko Ono-ish. It was more shocking than anything when he tore off the wig half way into the set, and for a minute there I was lost in my own confusion.

Though I arrived midway through their set, I could tell that the music hit on elements of alternative, punk and  shoe gazing. I was starting to get into it by the time their set came to a close, but before I knew it, Bradford Cox (the lead singer) put his wig back on, picked up a purse from the ground, and walked off stage.

The set list from

  1. Cover Me (Slowly)
  2. Agoraphobia
  3. Neon Junkyard
  4. Don’t Cry
  5. Rivival
  6. Desire Lines
  7. Blue Agent
  8. Rainwater Cassette Exchange
  9. Nothing Ever Happened
  10. Sleepwalking
  11. Back to the Middle
  12. Monomania
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013 shredding behind the back.
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013 shredding behind the back.
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013