REVIEW: The Janks, Korey Dane & Rachel Goodrich and the Grrrls | Bootleg HiFi | 2/19/15

I’ve got a full time job. It takes a lot for me to drive 45 minutes to catch a band play on a weekday. When I found out that The Janks and Rachel Goodrich and the Grrrls were playing on the same bill at the Bootleg HiFi on a Thursday night, the 90 minutes of driving and the subsequent lack of sleep for a 9am conference call is definitely worth it. Continue reading

Rachel Goodrich & The Grrrls| Hotel Cafe | 2/28/14


After The Record Company wrapped up their set, they told the crowd to hang out to catch their friend Rachel Goodrich play a set. I hadn’t intended on hanging out, but I decided I’d google her to see what she was all about before deciding whether to leave or not. described her style as follows:

“Miami Beach-based singer/songwriter Rachel Goodrich‘s eclectic blend of vaudeville-inspired indie pop, swing-jazz and country-folk (the artist frequently describes her sound as “shake-a-billy”) is made all the more singular by the vast number of instruments at her command.”

Wikipedia also noted that:

“Her first album, Tinker Toys, was self-released in 2008 to which the New York Times dubbed her as a “queen of the Miami indie rock scene”. The second, self-titled album was produced by Grammy-nominated music producer Greg Wells. Goodrich’s song, “Light Bulb”, was featured in an episode of the TV series Weeds […] a Crayola commercial advertisement [and a] BT Infinity – “Light Streams” advert.”

Wanting to hear what her “shake-a-billy” was all about, I decided to stick around.

She took to the stage with her “grrls” and the trio (Rachel on guitar, a bassist and a drummer) started to jam out music that was a throwback to the 50’s era rockabilly with overtones of modern day pop sensibilities. At first, they reminded me of The 5 6 7 8’s … that all-female Japanese rock trio featured in Quentin Tarantino‘s “Kill Bill Volume 1, but I quickly put that comparison to rest since  Rachel Goodrich and the Grrrls vocals sounded much better.

A little bit honky-tonk and a little bit surf-rock with a bit of punk and western-swing sprinkled on top, Rachel’s wispy and subtle vocals enhanced the catchy hooks and had me shaking my groove thing. Ah … “shake-a-billy” … I get it. I enjoyed what I heard and liked her Facebook fan page after the set.

In my opinion, with a fuller repertoire and more exposure, I can easily this band getting booked for local festival spots at FYF Fest or Ink-N-Iron next year, and I’ll be keeping my ears to the web to see what else they have coming up.

As an aside, it was a shame that most of the packed crowd for The Record Company dispersed before catching Rachel and her band do their thing. It was a fun set that was a great night-cap to the blues rock show that The Record Company put on. C’est la vie en Los Angeles, I suppose. At least my view was unobstructed …

Unfortunately, the Flickr slideshow below is not available on mobile devices. If you are on a mobile device, please click THIS LINK to get redirected to the set of photos. If the slide show below isn’t working, the Flickr has disabled their embed option for WordPress and hasn’t yet updated their HTML code, which totally BLOWS! If you can see the slide show below, hooray!

Atomic Ape | El Cid | 1/31/14


What do you get when you combine progressive rock, Balkan folk, Klezmer jazz and surf rock? Atomic Ape.

Formerly known as Orange Tulip Conspiracy, the 5 piece band led by Jason Schimmel performed a gig at El Cid on January 31, 2014 to celebrate the release of their latest album, “Swarm”. The intimate venue was packed (capacity 104), and those that were in attendance were treated to a musical barrage of styles and musicianship that is, in my opinion, both unique and unparalleled.

If you’re looking for simple, pop tunes, you should move on. If Atomic Ape’s music is anything, it is definitely not simple. The compositions and arrangements crafted by Jason Schimmel (who has previously played for Estradashere and still occasionally with Secret Chiefs 3) are about as masterfully complex as they come, as evidenced during their live performance with seamless transitions into different rhythms, themes, and styles within any particular composition.

But however complex the music may be, it is all still accessible, as long as you are willing to let the music engulf you. I was consistently amazed with the ways in which the band melded the aforementioned styles to create a sound wholly their own. Not only that, but each player was given time to shine with stand-out moments to demonstrate their individual musical chops. Guitarist Tim Young, who played next with Thruster!, and accordionist Max Wipple, each joined Atomic Ape on stage for a song or two.

Ingenious music like this doesn’t come around very often. If you missed out on their recent tour, I highly suggest picking up a copy of their latest album (which, I may add is superbly produced and mixed) to hold you over until they perform in your neck of the woods.

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.

Mikal Cronin | FYF Festival | August 24, 2013

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


My day of music was originally supposed to start with Charles Bradley, but I got to the main stage a little earlier than anticipated and happened to catch the back end of Mikal Cronin‘s set. Raised in Laguna Beach, California, his music has that indie rock / garage punk / surf rock sound that is native to area. Though this was my first time seeing him perform and listening to his music, I could understand why the crowd showed up early in the day to catch his 4:00pm set. A little grunge, a little pop, and catchy hooks can put almost any rocker in happy mood. My day was off to a decent start.

Mikal Cronin
Mikal Cronin
Mikal Cronin’s Drummer
Mikal Cronin
Mikal Cronin
The obligatory rock and roll hair shot.
The obligatory rock and roll hair shot.

Orange Tulip Conspiracy | El Cid | 2/22/13


Had I been born in a different era, I would have probably spent my evenings sitting in the corner of a small jazz club, dressed in black, lighting up cigarettes and sipping on some scotch while letting the sounds of Duke, Miles or Coltrane take me away.  These days it’s hard enough to find a good jazz club, let alone smoke in a venue.

Jazz music is America’s indigenous art form.  It was born in America.  It’s even an American National Treasure.  But it doesn’t get the type of hype or attention from the kids today unless a loop is sampled into some hip-hop beat and made famous by some rapper who can’t pull up his own pants.  There are some “new” artists these days who are trying to infuse jazz back into music like Robert Glasper and Jose James, whose music I love, but jazz in modern pop seems to be limited to the R&B and Rap genres.


A buddy of mine, Jason Schimmel, plays in the band Orange Tulip Conspiracy.  I saw the band first play September 21, 2012 at Mr T’s Bowl and I was excited to hear them play again at El Cid.  The band consists of 6 talented musicians, and each has learned to play complex arrangements as a cohesive unit.  It’s particularly satisfying, at least for me, when bandmates (especially the horns) play in tune with each other at break-neck rhythms.  As a personal opinion, I felt that their playing this time around was much tighter than the first time I saw them… which is saying something since I thought they kicked ass the first time too. lol.

Their Facebook page describes them as a “band that bends the genres of balkan, jazz, surf rock, and progressive rock with a cinematic twist and an experimental edge.”  I think that that’s a good description.  Not your R&B and Hip-Hop kind of jazz.  Jazz more suited for Ska and Rock.

As I stood there amongst the crowd at El Cid, with the sounds of the horns bouncing off  the red brick walls, I let myself get lost in the music.  I imagined for a moment what it must have been like when jazz was the highest musical art form, when jazz was truly America’s treasure.  I let the Jason’s guitars riffs speak to me, as the horns continued to dance around the composition.  As the set continued, the audience became more involved with the music, swaying back and forth and dancing to the rhythm.  You could feel the temperature of the room elevate throughout the set.  It was intense and complex, like the glass scotch of scotch in my hand.  Now if only I were allowed to smoke a cigarette …