california

THE FUNDAMENTAL DIANE COFFEE
November 14, 2016 9:00 am

Guys. Me and Shaun Fleming of Diane Coffee have the same silver eyeshadow. And now that that’s out of my system, I can tell you that we were able to grab some quality time with the shiny bombshell himself Thursday night before his show with St. Paul and The Broken Bones at Terminal 5. Keep reading to get the essentials on how Shaun feels about touring, turning the big 3-0, and what it’s like to sing opera at Macaroni Grill.

It’s been a really weird week, with the election happening two days ago. Did you perform last night?
We did. I needed that more than anything else I’ve ever needed, ever. I look to music and to artists to get me though everything from cracked a toenail, or this. [The band] were talking about it, and none of us had slept the night before, and we were just…I’m sure a lot of people were stressed on both sides. It was really close for a long time. So we were feeling pretty down, plus sick all over from the outcome. [Drummer] Kate was throwing up before she went onstage. Everyone was feeling really dumpy and awful. We were in Philadelphia last night, and the crowd was so positive and so energetic, and it was really awesome to be someone’s relief.

How is your tour going otherwise?
It’s really great, we sold out tonight. It’s been one of my favorite tours. I feel like [St. Paul and The Broken Bones] and I are cut from the same cloth in a lot of ways, but we’re different enough where I think it’s a nice blend. We’re playing to a lot of people who have never heard us before, and they’re walking away really enjoying what they heard, so we couldn’t have asked for a better pairing. Crowds have been awesome, they’re here to dance, they’re here to have fun, and the few headlining shows we had done were great. I got sick early on; right when we hit the road, it became fall all of a sudden. I had to cancel a show, which was a bummer, but other than that I think it’s been awesome.
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Is it hard for you to sit in a van with a group of people for the entire length of a tour?
I’ve been playing with Foxygen as well, so I feel like I’ve been on the road for like five years straight. [Diane Coffee has] been touring this record since September of 2015, almost nonstop. It’s funny; I get home and I feel like I need to go to the gas station just to go to the bathroom to feel any sort of normalcy. It’s been awesome and very tiring. You get used to it, and I’m traveling with great people who are my closest friends, kind of the only friends I have now with being on the road.

The lineup for this tour is new; I was playing with a separate band for everything prior to this for the Good Dog tour. And this tour kind of came up last minute and the other band couldn’t commit. It’s fun for me, because everyone brings their own personality to it, so everything feels very fresh and very new and very exciting again.

Will you be playing with Foxygen when they perform in New York?
No, I’ve stepped away from Foxygen. I’ve got so much to do with this project now, kind of focusing on my baby. They’ve got a whole new lineup though, and it’s amazing. They just played their first show that I haven’t played with them, ever. It was kind of surreal to see the tweets and stuff, “Excited to see Foxygen!”, and I’d have a little panic attack like “I’m supposed to be onstage!”. It’s like that dream where you forget your clothes and you’re at school. It was that feeling. I’m excited to see my first Foxygen show.

I have to ask, what brand is your silver eyeshadow and is there a method to the madness in its application?
There is, I got way better at it. It’s been about 2 or 3 years in the making now. I started doing it with Foxygen and it developed in that world and spilled over into this one. I’m using Maybelline Color Tattoo. Once it dries, it doesn’t come off. And just a basic eyeliner. And I use that Maybelline silver eyeshadow for my lipstick too, which I don’t think you’re supposed to do. I got this stuff by L’Oreal, Liquid Diamond powder, and I was thinking of doing gold, but it kind of looks like you have jaundice. But if you mix it with a silver powder, it’s kind of a weird halfway point between silver and gold.

Guitarist Matt Kronish walks in.

Me and Matt grew up together in L.A.

Matt: I feel like we’re still growing up together.

What was he like as a teenager?

Shaun: Matt had shorter hair.

Matt: He was just as much of a dynamo when we were 15.

Shaun: We were just talking makeup. Matt wore makeup for the first time the other day.

I’m a serious journalist, and we’re talking about makeup.

Matt: Getting to the hard issues.

Shaun: How do you feel about the election? What brand [of eyeshadow] do you use? Actually, that’s actually exactly where it went.

Matt leaves.
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You’ve mentioned in interviews that you embody a female role for your Diane Coffee persona.
Not necessarily a female role. I embody the feminine archetype, which is sort of that performer. Everything gets lost in translation with interviews, especially stuff like that. Diane Coffee is that feeling that you get when you’re a shy, reserved person, but maybe you go to a concert and the energy surrounds you and because of that community, you’re singing at the top of your lungs, and you’re dancing and then you’re back home and you’re quiet and reserved again. It’s the same thing when you go onstage; that thing that kind of takes over.

You hear a lot of artists that say they don’t remember what they do onstage. I remember what I do onstage to an extent, but that part of me takes over completely. That’s what I call Diane Coffee. When I’m performing, I’m Diane Coffee. If the band feels it, they’re Diane Coffee. If the audience feels it, they’re all Diane Coffee. I definitely wanted a more feminine name, but I don’t think it’s a character I’m playing onstage. It’s a piece of me that’s amplified greatly.

You used to live in New York and L.A., and now you’re in Bloomington. Do you feel like a big fish in a small pond when you’re at home?
I really love Bloomington. When I grew up in L.A., I wasn’t in L.A. proper; I was in a small place called Agoura. New York is kind of scary; I lived on the Lower East Side, which was a lot. Everyone was like “You should’ve moved to Brooklyn”, and they’re probably right. Bloomington felt to me like going back to business as usual. I don’t feel like a big fish or anything like that. A lot of my band members come from Bloomington, and there’s a sea of talented people there. There’s the Secretly Canadian label, Jagjaguwar, all that stuff, so they’re there. It feels like an artistic community in the middle of Indiana. It’s like this cultural oasis in the middle of corn. It doesn’t feel like a lot of other midwest towns; it’s a college town.

I’m far enough away that I do kind of become a little bit of a shut-in. Me and my girl have a house out in the woodsy area and it’s great. When you tour, it’s like city, city, city, city, all the time. And when I get home, I don’t want to be in a city, I want to be somewhere where I can have a fire and kind of just unwind and get creative again.

You’re turning 30 in the coming year.
Yes, I am. I’m trying not to think about it though. I feel like 29 was freaking me out more than I think 30 will be. My then-girlfriend in high school, me and her made this pact: she made me promise that if nothing starts happening with music by the time I’m 28, I had to get out of music and get a job or something like that. When I was 25, 26, I was like “Fuck that, I’m gonna keep doing what I’m gonna do”, and I started playing with Foxygen and things were taking off and it was going well. But still, in the back of my mind I was like “Oh man, 28 is coming up. How am I going to feel about it when I hit that point?”. And then my birthday was during the Primavera festival in Spain, and I think that was the biggest crowd I had ever played to, like 20,000 people or something like that. And I remember just thinking “This is cool, I think this counts as ‘I can keep doing this.’” But I mean, I know a lot of cool 30-year-olds. You seem cool. The world’s not going to come to an end. At least not because I’m turning 30.

Have you ever had a “real” job?
I did acting and stuff as a kid, and then no one really taught me about saving any of it. And one day it was like “Ok, this is over now. I have no more money.” My first job was at Cold Stone Creamery.
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Did you have to sing when they put money in the tip jar?
We’d holler for a dollar. Everyone had to sing. I was not getting into it. I had a job at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and I was a host/opera singer. Every hour on the hour, I had to go into the middle of the restaurant, pull out a chair, take out a fork and a cup and sing some opera standard.

Our Macaroni Grill never did that.
I don’t know if it was just this one, or if they knew I could sing and were like “This is what you do, this is part of the job.” And I would have to go around to the tables and ask if people wanted a song and they would maybe tip me a dollar or something. It was so brutal. I hated everything about that job. That was, like, my darkest hour, I think. I was living in Reseda, in this little cramped apartment by myself. I was trying to play music and write, but I couldn’t get a band together. And L.A. just sucks for trying to put a band together.

That sounds like the theme of a Tom Petty song.
I tried everywhere – Ventura sucked, Reseda sucked. I ended up moving to Boston for six or eight months, crashed on couches. Tried to be in a pop band, that didn’t work out. I did a lot of teaching; I taught voice and guitar and a lot of stuff like that. Things were getting super dark and I didn’t know what to do anymore. So I was thinking about going back to school and trying to get into music business, which I’ve never really wanted to do. Anything to keep me in the world. That’s when Rado [of Foxygen] hit me up, and was like “Hey, we got a show, do you want to play some drums?”. That’s when one show became two, and two became more.

When you were a voice actor on the Disney cartoon “Kim Possible”, were you held to a strong code of ethics like many of the actresses on Disney’s live-action shows?
No, no one knows who the hell we are. It’s great, my dad would just pull me out of school, drive down and we’d sit in a booth and do the thing and get out. No one really knows who you are. Especially pre-internet, no one knew who the hell any of these vocal actors were.

Do you look forward to coming back to New York at all? Is there a pizzeria that you like?
I was living right across the street from Lombardi’s, so I was right in the thick of it. I look forward to the dumpling houses. I was right near Chinatown and I was broke as all hell, so dumplings.

I love being in New York and playing in New York, but I hate living in New York. I hate driving in New York. I hate parking. I always end up getting a parking ticket.

Do you have any last words before you go on tonight?
I think this is going to be the last show in New York for a while. I’m going to be doing the new record soon. I’m sure this will be one of the first stops. Don’t forget me, New York.

POP ETC GETS DOWN IN TOKYO
August 29, 2016 11:13 am

As  summertime rolls around, artists travel around the globe to perform at the biggest music festival. It’s about time a New York native band come perform in Tokyo, and POP ETC finally made their way halfway across the world to bring their American indie-rock vibes. They were actually in Japan not even a year ago, but who cares? They’re rad, and they deserve to be back as many times they want.

Some of you may know POP ETC from the The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 2 soundtrack (ha!). Some others may have seen them supporting big time indie musicians like The Black Keys, Death Cab for Cutie and The Kooks. Either way their music blurs the lines between indie pop and indie rock, sitting just in between those two genres. They create music that makes you want to chill with a beer in hand, but also wave your hands in the air and dance at the same time.

Their show in Tokyo was surprisingly filled with an unusual mix of fans ranging from young females in late teens to middle aged business men. And like any other show in Japan, people watched them quietly, showing major respect to the band and their music. I was surprised with front man Chris’ fluency of Japanese – who knew! Because of that, the band members were able to connect with the audience on a whole other level. I was amazed to see the lack of phones in the crowd, trying to record precious videos of the show on their iPhones so they can upload it on their social media. Literally nobody. Nobody had their phones or selfie sticks (thank goodness) out which made this show an even more superb experience. We’re hoping they’ll be back again sometime soon, but if you’re in the big apple, don’t miss their next gig!

Want to know more about POP ETC? Click here to check out our exclusive interview with them.

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ZIPPER CLUB GOES THE DISTANCE
August 11, 2016 11:49 am

If you haven’t heard “Going the Distance” by Zipper Club yet, get ready because it’s going to be stuck in your head pretty much forever. The band, comprised of Mason James of Cerebral Ballzy and Lissy Trullie, have recently been working with James Iha (of The Smashing Pumpkins fame) to produce their debut album. If it’s anything like this single, I can’t wait to hear it.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS spoke with Mason about new wave, new music, and new experiences:

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Your press release describes Zipper Club as being a “new wave-inspired” band. Are there any new wave albums that inspired you as musicians, or any that you’d recommend in general for your fans to listen to?

Stand And Deliver by Adam Ant, Big Country by Big Country is kind of a jam. The Bangles.

What bands from LA do you feel deserve more attention?

Every band in LA gets plenty of attention.

Has your producer James Iha given you any advice that’s resonated with you?

He has a real mastery of how to craft a song. He imparted little bits of his wisdom while working together. Subtle changes made a world of difference.

Did you squeal and freak out directly before/after meeting him?

I just got off tour. I met him in a dingy basement in Brooklyn to work on a Record Store Day single. I was so hung over that I wasn’t squealing much.

You just released a video for your song “Going the Distance”. What can you tell us about the production of it?

We wanted to make a non-literal adventure video that visually represented the music. We went out to the desert with some friends…and it turned out rad.

Did you help with the video’s concept or direction?

Jason Forrest Hogg and I had been messing around with ideas for a while and decided to direct this one together. Lissy and I worked as a band to conceive the storyline. We hit up some of our friends, bought a Cadillac, broke down four times on the way to the desert and then made a video.

What can we expect from your upcoming album?

Spacey synths and big hooks.

Zipper Club has a very different sound than your previous band Cerebral Ballzy. Is there anything in particular you were looking to do with Zipper Club that you felt you couldn’t do with Cerebral Ballzy?

I conceived this band out of frustration with punk. Punk can be pigeonholing in terms of musical creativity. This is a way for me to do something I wanted. It’s catchy and still cool. Once Lissy came into the fold, the remaining songs were greatly influenced by her presence and the collaboration built something great.

What advice can you give a band who is new to the music industry? Is there anything you were particularly surprised by when you were first starting out?

Get ready to sleep on a lot of floors.

Will you be touring soon or doing any live performances?

We play LA every Monday night in August at the Satellite. Then we’ll be on the road for the next year and a half.

Check out more Zipper Club with their tour, on Youtube, their site and here with the new single, “Going The Distance”.

GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE: RAW FABRICS
July 22, 2016 9:46 am

Jack B. (Jack Bruno) has been through the ringer and then some.

Jump back 12 months and he’s on the brink of self-destruction. Okay, so you’re not the first chip off the block to embrace the rock and roll lifestyle only to find yourself completely in over your head. Rebel without a cause. His creative outlet, Raw Fabrics, abruptly goes up in smoke. His band mates leaving him in the dust. His girlfriend calls it quits. Bridges are burned, relationships tarnished. Jack B. checks himself into rehab.

But this isn’t just some sob piece. Put your tissue box down. It’s cliché, it’s trite, but it often holds true: sometimes you need to reach rock bottom before you can claw your way to a higher place. Raw Fabrics has done just that, albeit as a revitalized solo band, Jack B. hasn’t looked back.  In fact, he’s turned the page in dramatic fashion.

The LA native’s been on the road for the last 3 months straight, sucking in fresh summer air, playing shows, writing new songs, meeting new friends and finding himself.  Raw Fabrics was asked to open for She Wants Revenge, the mid-ought’s electro-punk band celebrating 10 years since the release of their eponymous self-titled debut. I got to catch their Philadelphia stop at the Theater of the Living Arts.

The two bands emerged from two very different eras of indie rock, but they have their comparisons. Both might loosely qualify as dance punk–Although Raw Fabrics blend is much more hook-centric, accessible pop sensibilities with an LA hipster cool edge.  Jack B. is full of energy and charisma on stage—he ended his set by jumping out into the audience smashing a floor tom before breaking into one last tune.

She Wants Revenge music hinges on grooves and gloomy minimalists.  Their closest contemporaries were The Faint or The Kills—they’ve stated their admiration for early goth bands such as Bauhaus and The Cure.  As such, SWR music is likewise abound with horror tropes, such as their album cover depicting a scantly-clad girl clutching a kitchen knife. Fun for the whole family! It was great to see them back at it.

With this level of activity, it feels likely Raw Fabrics will have some new material on the way soon. In the meantime, he did manage to squeeze in time recently to film his last single “Get Me The Hell Out of Here”, check it out below.  He also recently teased a remix  by Lil Texas.

ROONEY: NEW LINEUP, SAME OKAY TASTE
May 13, 2016 12:00 pm

Prominent 00’s rockers and California enthusiasts Rooney are back, and with more of the same. The band’s fourth album is thick and mellow, like a Weezer ballad or an OK Go video, but it represents a new direction for the formerly-large-but-now-only-one-man band. Founder/singer/multi-instrumentalist Robert Schwartzman released the following statement on the band’s website:

Rooney is my baby and I really love it and I miss it. I came to a place where I felt creatively ready to make new Rooney music. On Washed Away, I wrote, produced, engineered, mixed and performed all of the songs which, I hope, will serve as a direct line from me to you. I hope you enjoy it.

So, pretty much what you’d expect. Guy likes music, guy makes similar music, music doesn’t quite compare with band’s greatest hits. That’s not to say the album isn’t good–it’s excellent background music, go listen to it–but nothing really jumps out as the indie smash hit I’m looking for. Not since the days of The OC has Rooney felt particularly relevant, and no amount of nostalgic west-coast-pop is going to change that. I want to feel like Luke belting “Sh-Sh-Shakin'” like an idiot, but I’m left more like moody Ryan leaving the show early. Thanks a lot, Marissa:

WIDE-EYED WATERBED
March 23, 2016 3:13 pm

Waterbed is a special band from California, but they sound like they’re from another world.  Having never really left the East Coast, maybe I’m not that far off.

The band’s songs are very melodic and fun. I’ve had their most recent track “Jupiter Baby” stuck in my head for DAYS. Infectious and spacey, my heart has made room for them besides Grimes, and CHVRCHES. Waterbed makes material that reminds me of fun summer nights, ice pops and the color of oil on the pavement after it rains. That may sound insane, but listen to them and you’ll get what I mean. They are just SO cool.

Waterbed is also a mysterious band as there’s not much online about them, but if my predictions are correct 2016 is the year for oil slick space pop. Stay wide-eyed and enjoy their track!

FLATSOUND GETS CLOSER
March 14, 2016 12:29 pm

It’s not common for an email address listed on a musician’s official Facebook page to lead directly to that musician’s personal email account. I’m almost taken aback by what a seemingly intimate way this is to make a business arrangement, but knowing Mitch Welling’s approach to writing and how he interacts with his fans, I shouldn’t be surprised.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS got personal with Mr. Flatsound himself to find out what goes on inside his head.

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You mentioned in the bio on your website that your only goal is “to create something honest.” What does honesty mean to you?

MW: It’s the lyrics and production. It feels like more than that, though. Something more subtle. It’s the selflessness that goes into every track, the idea of recording vocals in your own kitchen and mixing songs in your bedroom at 5am. I guess it’s Flatsound as a whole. The little things all add up and make a bigger picture. I just want to keep working on that picture and connecting with the people who see themselves in it.

You released two EPs in 2015, Four Songs for Losing You and If We Could Just Pretend. Was there a reason for releasing these separately, versus all tracks on one album? Do you prefer to release tracks as you have them?

MW: Ah I couldn’t have just lumped them into one release. It probably would have worked (not to mention made me more money) if I had passed it off as a new full length, but the disconnect between the songs would have bothered me too much. The songs off of If We Could Just Pretend were just unreleased songs that I had laying around and thought deserved to be released. Four Songs For Losing You was something different; a concept album with a beginning, middle, and end. I couldn’t imagine breaking those songs up. I’m a sucker for themed releases, even if they’re short.

Your 2012 LP Sleep was recently released on vinyl. Is this something your fans requested? Do you find they prefer to listen to your music on vinyl, versus MP3 or CD?

MW: Oh my God, yes. Fans want vinyl today more than anything, they just keep getting more popular every year. Unfortunately for little ol’ independent me, putting out a record is an enormous project, so I typically have to work with different labels to even pull them off. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just kind of weird to send fans in different directions for specific releases. Not to mention some of the labels are smaller, inexperienced, or just get dealt a bad hand by the pressing plant resulting in major delays. I have nothing but good things to say about Sleep on vinyl, though. Broken World Media did an amazing job all the way through.

I love the sound of vinyl but most of my music listening is done digitally. Modern convenience killed my indie cred years ago.

You run your online merchandise shop yourself. Do you also pack and ship everything on your own? That must take a long time.

MW: Yup! I mean, yeah it gets pretty crazy sometimes. Especially when new items go up. My girlfriend helps a lot when things get too crazy and I feel overwhelmed, but on a casual day it’s just me. Printing labels, assembling packages, signing stuff, doing my best to reply to customer service related emails. Sometimes it gets a little mind numbing, but I just treat it like any other job and it’s not so bad. Plus, sitting there signing cards and folding shirts for a couple hours while listening to podcasts beats the heck out of most jobs, right? The rest of my work day is pretty creative and fun.

You mentioned you were passionate about gender issues when discussing the inclusion of your song “You Were a Home That I Wanted to Grow Up In” in a compilation to support Casa Ruby (a support center for trans people). How has this commitment to gender issues shown itself in your life?

MW: I mean, I’ve lost fans here and there from being so outspoken about gender issues in the past, but I couldn’t imagine something bothering me less than that hahaha. It’s a common theme in the advice podcast I record with one of my best friends, Christian Novelli, who happens to identify as agender. I don’t know, it’s such an every day part of my life that I don’t recognize it, but the passion and importance is still there.

Other than that, I’d say my dreadful left wing agenda is kept pretty low key. Though, I am known for occasionally starting twitter beefs with problematic internet superstars much larger than I will ever be.

In 2015, you requested for your fans to send in photos of their beds for a project you later called “Four Hundred Twenty-Seven Beds”. Your explanation for this was to use the photos to help you get out of your own bed. Did it work? Did the project have any other outcomes you weren’t expecting?

MW: The beds project was beautiful! I honestly didn’t expect so many people to actually do it. When I created the page I thought, if I was lucky, maybe 30 or 40 people would contribute to my boring little art project. Maybe I would put them on my website to show everyone, that was that. But, over 400? It forced me to rethink the entire project and turn it into something physical. Having them each printed, and covering a wall with them. The video was more impactful than I thought it would be.

Was “Four Hundred Twenty-Seven Beds” an effort to fight depression and anxiety? Do you ever struggle to create when faced with the symptoms of those conditions?

MW: I’d love to get all deep and say that I create my art when I’m at my lowest, and the words and sounds you hear are excerpts from that, but that isn’t the case. The truth is, anxiety and depression make everything harder. That’s just how it works. It kills your ambition to do anything, including make art. The fact of the matter is, I create my best work and am the most productive when I’m happy. The words and emotions are genuine, but they’re a recollection. A catharsis. Most of all, a reminder that it’s okay to feel a certain way. Let it come, but more importantly, let it go.

You don’t seem to vlog anymore. Does it have something to do with “The Gatorade Story”? Does the subject of the story know it’s about her?

MW: Hahahaha, very funny! I actually tried to look her up on Facebook a couple years ago. You know, for scientific reasons. To see if she still drank Gatorade or whatever. Anyway, I realized that I couldn’t even remember her name. I hope she doesn’t remember mine either.

In your “Electromagnetic” video, the video is shot in such a way as to imply the electromagnetic waves of your phone and guitar are contributing to the song playing over the video. Can you speak to the actual process used to create the song in the video?

MW: Oh I really love that video a lot. It’s a visual demonstration of a noise piece from my website. It’s pretty simple stuff, you’ve got an electric guitar running through different heavy ambient and reverb effects and a smart phone held up to the electric pickups of the instrument. Without ever actually touching the guitar, you hear the many beautiful sounds coming from the phone as it makes its way through different applications. The most beautiful part is, everything that you do in your phone sounds different and creates a unique pattern of sound; Twitter, iMessage, your home screen, even taking a picture. It all has it’s own little beautiful pattern of noises.

I know, it comes off as pretentious postmodern nonsense, but stuff like this really does drive me wild.

What are your plans for 2016? Any tours? 

MW: I actually don’t know yet! So far my plate is pretty full from the future releases I have coming up. I’m releasing yet another EP soon titled Did Everything Feel Beautiful When You Let Go of the Idea of Being Anything At All, it’s about panic and agoraphobia. Later I have a full length spoken word album, and then I’m even trying to squeeze in another full length after that.

I’ve never toured. I barely even consider Flatsound a normal band or music project. It’s always just me creating art and showing it to people online, and one of those outlets of art just happens to be songwriting. I’m fortunate enough to be friends with some really successful and amazing bands, and they keep inviting me on their tours, so maybe I’ll actually take them up on that soon. More realistically, I’d love to get back into the habit of playing local shows again now that my fanbase has gotten as big as it is. Baby steps I guess.

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM’S INEVITABLY TRIUMPHANT RETURN
January 14, 2016 1:40 pm

By now the “farewell concert” has become something of a cliché.

Ever since Jay-Z hosted his retirement extravaganza back in 2003 (which didn’t last very long), the legitimacy of other acts celebrating their exit from show business has been somewhat questionable. Let’s be honest though, are we ever upset when one of favorite artists decides to come out of the wood work and start performing again? Absolutely not.

LCD Soundsystem, what hasn’t been said about them already?  For a band with a relatively short life span of only 10 years, they released three critically acclaimed albums, and for many of us, defined an indelible era of musical history.

Although it’s easy to forget sometimes, given how popular music has shifted toward an EDM-dominated landscape, that there was a time when electronic music wasn’t very ‘cool’ at all.

It was flaunted by cool kids, hipsters.  LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy first made a name for himself by co-founding DFA Records, a record label that quickly picked up steam as an underground advocate for house music’s accession into the mainstream.

By the time LCD Soundsystem formed in 2001 their hometown of Brooklyn had already been transformed into the central hub of hipsterdom (yeah I know, I made up a word, but so what?!).  Indie electronic music was about to explode into a global phenomenon.  Albums like Cut Copy’s In Ghost Colours, Jus†ice’s , and lest we forget, LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver, received not only rave reviews from the music press, but were starting to cut mainstream pop out of the picture all together. This empowering shift marked the beginning of the digital age, for the first time since recorded music’s inception, listeners were choosing their own music, and plugging their iPod’s (that’s right) into their car stereos rather than listening to overly-glossed Top 40 hits and mainly commercials.

By the end of the decade LCD Soundsystem was on top of the world.  Sold out concerts, packed festivals, and Murphy plastered onto the front page of every music publication possible.

Then, like all good things, LCD Soundsystem decided it was time to call it quits.  On February 5th, 2011, the band announced on their website that they thought it was better to quit while they were ahead and go out with a bang.

On April 2nd, 2011, at Madison Square Garden, the band performed their final show.

Hold on, hold on. Where have a heard this before? This is bogus! You know this isn’t going to last! Come on!

Sure enough…on January 5th this note was posted to their website.  That’s right, they’re back. Like really back.

Of course, it’s no surprise that somehow Coachella managed to cash in on their triumphant return. While we can safely assume plenty of festival-goers will flock to the outskirts of Palo Alto to sweat it out this April, where will LCD Soundsystem appear next?  For now, my friends, the answer to that question is shrouded in mystery.  The only hint is a promising yet cryptic message on their website: “2016 tour dates coming soon.”  I supposed we’ll have to wait it out (although, I think it’s safe to assume they’ll be playing somewhere in the vicinity of New York.)

By far the most important tidbit of information is that there’s a new album in the works.

LCD Soundsystem has a pretty awesome discography. It’s dancey, but sophisticated. It’s music that celebrates dusting off obscure records for audiophiles with an interest in obscure music. You know, like cool kids. Hipsters.

So in short, farewell concerts are probably a sham, so don’t drive halfway across the country to celebrate your favorite band’s early–er, I mean, botched retirement. LCD Soundsystem is back and 2016 is going to be an awesome year to ”Dance Yrself Clean yet again!

DEAD TIMES: THE FUTURE
December 21, 2015 11:41 am

Los Angeles-via-Tempe, Arizona transplants Dead Times fit cozily in today’s beat-forward R&B meta.  Boldly  describing their sound “the future” on their Facebook page, the duo’s sonic palate consists of Calvin Marcus’s ethereal croon underpinned by Travis Bunn’s snappy percussion and atmospheric samples–check “Inner Gold” for one of their more exquisite brews.

Dead Times grooves are harmoniously constructed, intimate love songs with a kick. To boot, Calvin is an adept lyricist–take the poetic chorus from the up-beat “Feel” for example:

“come outside my hands are freezing cold / let’s just start running until we’re completely alone / forget our past forget our valuables / I’ve got this feeling you’re all I need for warmth”

Last year, Times performed aside fellow bedroom beat-artisan How To Dress Well exposing themselves to a wider audience. Although still unsigned, these two guys aren’t going away any time soon–they’re very prolific and have even hinted at the idea of a self-released debut album. They’ve already garnered a considerable listernership on Spotify, and as such, their songs are–I’m going to make a bold prediction here–pre-destined to be included in a clothing store playlist.  It just has that vibe.

THE NEIGHBOURHOOD’S BEEN WIPED OUT
December 10, 2015 1:33 pm

Infamous Newbury Park, California indie-pop act The Neighbourhood has recently released their sophomore studio album Wiped Out roughly two years since they rose to prominence amongst the pop-culture conscious crowds of 2013 with their hit single “Sweater Weather.”

Their tattooed, urban California style has not changed drastically, but continues to mix urban pop and alternative rock songs with R&B and hip hop vibes. With close to one million Facebook followers, I think it’s safe to say that this band has officially broke into the mainstream.

While the album provides for professional production with good sonic quality and tone, It seemed to struggle to break out at any one point. It almost felt like it was trying too hard to please a certain demographic rather than letting creative freedom reign. Their style is contrived and marketed to the culturally engineered socialites of a pathetically shallow generation; expect to hear these songs on the radio. However, I will admit that their particular fusion style is not easy to pull off authentically. Overall, Wiped Out showed good progression and the hopes for another “Sweater Weather” are still alive. Check out songs “Prey” and “R.I.P. to my youth” for a good idea of what it’s all about.

The Neighbourhood will be on tour throughout Europe in the spring, with American Festival appearances in May and June. Check them out if you can stomach the crowd full of tattoos, vans and $300 pairs of ripped jeans.