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Eastern Conference Champions to take over Spaceland residency

Eastern Conference Champions by Clay Patrick McBride

Spaceland's Monday night residency has become the stuff of legends, attracting some of LA's best, including recent stints from Helen Stellar and Saint Motel. This time it's Angelenos-by-way-of-Pennsylvania Eastern Conference Champions who will be taking the stage for the month of September.

Eastern Conference Champions leans towards a more introspective and melancholy version of Modest Mouse, and their twist on the theme works perfectly. The band released their EP, Santa Fe, last year sans former record label Suretone/Universal and have been loving the self control ever since. Their follow-up fill length, Speak-Ahh, is slated for release this fall.

Their Monday night Spaceland shows are free, and to keep you busy with something a little different, they're sharing their song 'Bloody Bells (M. Zero Break Mix)'.


Baths debuts video for 'Lovely Bloodflow'

I had the pleasure of reviewing Baths' debut album Cerulean in the current print issue of the Deli and I truly have to say I'm proud of the progress that this 21-year-old San Fernando Valley native continues makes in leaps and bounds. His take on glitch electronica puts him on the level with another one of my local favorite, Dntel (Jimmy Tamborello). With that said, it's even cooler to bring all of you his samurai death masterpiece for 'Lovely Bloodflow'.

We do have to say goodbye to Baths for a while as he begins his fall tour. Keep an eye out, he'll be circling back to LA on October 13th to play The Bootleg Theater.


Jason Falkner tonight, Aug 25th @ Spaceland

Jason Falkner

What do acts like Beck, Gnarls Barkley, Cheap Trick, and Paul McCartney have in common? Jason Falkner, that's what. This multi-instrumentalist has worked with all of them and still found the time to record four solo efforts. It's no small feat that on his latest release, I'm OK, You're OK, he recorded, produced, and mixed every note on the album.

 If you haven't heard the his brand of infectious indie pop, tonight at Spaceland is your last chance for the rest of summer.



Interview with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

- by Melissa Bobbitt

Peter Hayes keeps getting interrupted.
This time, it's by Chris Cornell.
As Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" drones deafeningly over the speakers, Hayes smirks. Half-asleep after an arduous journey from Sacramento to Las Vegas, he clutches an energy drink and chortles to himself. He heads outdoors, the desert sun particularly cruel on this Sunday afternoon -- after torrential weather wrecked his travel plans to Reno the night before. Jets whoosh overhead, drowning out his quiet, ambling speech. He came outside to escape the clanking of slot machines, and just got more interruptions. All he can do is humorously scoff at his luck today. Especially because the first time he was interrupted today, it was by Peter Hayes.

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino pipes in all kinds of head-bobbing tunes, but when the rattle and churn of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's "Weapon of Choice" permeates his ears, Hayes squirms. "They're playing my music," he mutters, almost embarrassed. "I'm just trying to figure out who's doing it. I usually walk out when that happens."

Those are the BRMC blokes for you. Hayes and longtime collaborator Robert Levon Been are modest to a fault. Their disarming friendliness betrays their dark leather-clad exteriors. Their moniker, derived from a gang in the Marlon Brando film "The Wild One," might suggest an aloofness to which other Angeleno bands all too often subscribe. But maybe Hayes and Been's rebellion is kindness. If anything, it's their original name, The Elements, that best embodies their personas and their artwork. Their visceral layering of distortion with Americana and religious imagery has created for them a haunting, timeless oeuvre.

And now comes Beat the Devil's Tattoo, their first album for Vagrant, and their first featuring new drummer Leah Shapiro. The narrative of the 13 tracks and their real-life experiences parallel each other -- both tales of turmoil, metamorphosis and redemption. Being literary-minded individuals, they looked to an Edgar Allen Poe phrase for a theme, "for the imagery it conjures up," Hayes proclaims. To beat the devil's tattoo is to drum one's fingers incessantly, at the ire of others. But it also represents the call to soldiers to return to camp after dark.

Guitarist/harmonica-player/vocalist Hayes and bassist/vocalist/pianist Been have marched to war continually in their 12 years in Company BRMC. The initial battle was with their headquarters, the City by the Bay. "San Francisco, when we first started out, wasn’t all that interested in our music, really," Been recalls, squinting -- partially to stir his memory and partially because it's 2:30 p.m. in Las Vegas and he has just woken up. "As a hometown band, there’s a lot of hometown… competition. Then we moved to Los Angeles, and that kind of became hometown. But neither one of them are specifically responsible for anything special." He laughs, as his own identity struggle superseded the band's formation -- his father is The Call's Michael Been. For BRMC's first two albums, Robert used the surname Turner to escape dear old dad's shadow. Nowadays, Papa Been helms the soundboard for his son's concerts.

Once they adopted L.A. as their turf, they tried to find their footing in the local scene. Hayes credits Scott Sterling, who booked The Fold in Silver Lake, as their first cheerleader, the only one who "would give us dough to play." Been counts the Troubadour and Silverlake Lounge as other springboards. "We played in every venue in L.A. when we first came, but those were the only ones that invited us back," he says. A crocodilian smile creeps across Hayes' face. "We did lie to them all. ‘Can you bring 40 people?’ Yeah!” (Not that that's a problem anymore. The Feb. 28 gig at the Hard Rock's Wasted Space, where The Deli caught up with the band, was sold out.)

BRMC's growling guitar arsenal impressed Virgin Records, who released their self-titled debut in 2001 and the multifaceted follow-up, 2003's Take Them On, On Your Own. Hayes and Been did indeed take them on -- by switching to RCA in 2005 for the Ginsbergian Howl, and 2007's experimental Baby 81. They went rogue for 2008's instrumental digital download, The Effects of 333, released through their imprint, Abstract Dragon. AD melded with Vagrant for Devil's Tattoo, an allegiance about which Hayes says, "Everything's so far, so good. Fine by me."

Perhaps the group's greatest skirmishes were civil: Prior to Shapiro (formerly of the Raveonettes' touring team) joining their ranks, it was firebrand Nick Jago who pounded the skins. But his demons bested him, and saw him in and out of rehab -- and the band -- from 2003 to his ultimate departure (or firing, depending on whom you ask) in 2007. Listening to this current collection of material, one might guess it addresses the frustration and fear Hayes and Been felt for their friend: "You have forsaken all the love you’ve taken/Sleeping on a razor, there’s nowhere left to fall," Been sings forlornly in the shuffling eponymous track. "Long Way Down," "River Styx," "Bad Blood…" All deal with diabolical issues.

Thank heaven for Shapiro, then, who stepped in behind the kit back in 2007. The shaggy-haired Dane adds an element of femininity to the Club, a brighter, hopeful tone in the backing vocals. She plays guardian angel to Hayes' weary balladeer in "The Toll," her breathy words echoing his as he solemnly reaches for his harmonica. In concert, she bounces on her stool with the fidgety prowess of a child with ADHD. Hayes says that including her in the development of Devil's Tattoo was "pretty easygoing."


"Writing's never all that easy, but as far as the transition from touring to writing is a lot easier when you've been playing music together for a while," he explains. "We got off the road and went straight to Philly, basically -- two or three days after the (Baby 81) tour stopped. It was Thanksgiving, I believe, the year before last. We started rehearsing, put together about 20 songs. Then we went to Los Angeles. Did the drum takes in four days, and then went back to Philly, and started recording all the guitars and singing."

A couple of weeks after the fervent show in Vegas, BRMC have their three-night homecoming at the Echoplex. Been is fighting a cold, but soldiers on during Night One, perching himself at the very edge of the stage and hovering mere inches over the audience. He's perspiring and coming close to accidentally clocking a few admiring women in the head with his bass, but it's not awkward in the least to either musician or fan. Twinkling green lasers blanket the venue, and everyone becomes like celestial bodies in rock and roll heaven.

Things conclude, the house lights come up and, almost immediately, Hayes is interrupted by some of the concertgoers. But he's grinning. These are the kind of interruptions he lives for. "It was a decision we made a long time ago," he said back in Vegas. "We didn't get into this to be secluded rock stars that don't interact with people."






Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Beat the Devil's Tattoo



Love Darling, love indeed!

Love Darling

Shay Magro, Mike Wolpe, and Christian Jovanny Trujillo are the magic behind indie rock band Love Darling. Sultry vocals and driving guitars draw immediate comparisons to The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but I promise this band has more to offer. The songs stretch their wings a bit, and Shay isn't afraid to switch from punk rock to singer/songwriter at a moment's notice.

Their most recent album (which sits awkwarly between EP and LP at 9 tracks), Sunshine Dust, was crafted with the help of producer Gordon Raphael (The Strokes, Regina Spektor) and it shows; the songs on Sunshine Dust are tighter and more polished than the band's debut EP. Choice cut off the album goes to the spacier "Close To Me" with its steady drum-machine-like beat, keyboard work, and reverb-laiden vocals but the guitar squealing on "Step Outside" earned it a close second.

If you're a fan of The Real L Word, you may have heard Love Darling's song "This Time". If not, you can grab it for free download here.


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