The last we heard about Tape Deck Mountain was in 2009, when they put out their uncompromisingly bleak debut 'Ghost'. Since then, the San Diego trio have been working on their forthcoming studio album, but not before releasing their latest EP "Slow Salvation", which frontman Travis Travisan actually recorded before jumping ship to Brooklyn. Out of that EP comes the disorienting "Kellies", a fuzzed-out, textural three minutes of austere guitar-based soundsculpting that resides in an unsettling state of mind.
The anticipation for recent Secretly Canadian signees Cayucas' debut release, "Big Foot", continues to build, and they're adding to the noise by releasing their summery new single, "East Coast Girl". The catchy, harmony-laden pop song rides like gentle breeze, its walloping bass line and calypso rhythm a perfect refresher for the incoming scorch of Summer. Before heading to promote "Big Foot" in Europe, the band will be celebrating the release at local record shop Origami Vinyl on April 30th, followed by a show at the Echo on May 9th.
In anticipation of the debut EP entitled 'Transverse,' LA-based producer Sigils has released a new single called "Equinox." The track can be appropriately described as ambient, as it gives off the feeling of a couple of different environments. "Equinox" starts off sounding like the soundtrack to a space voyage. As lush keys and quick percussive beats are introduced, eeriness creeps in and the track suddenly gives off the feeling of a dark night in a haunted mansion. Even though "Equinox" mixes different environments, what stays constant throughout the track and others on the E, is the sense of peace and calmness. Felix Herrera, the mastermind behind Sigils, puts deep thought into the tracks that stops them from going into a place that contains excessive noise. The 'Transverse' EP will be released on April 30th via Track Number Records. -Karla Hernández
The City of Angeles, according to Michael Jackson, never stops the beat. Wet guitars, tribal drums and vocals subdued in volume and tone lead singer-songwriters Azad Cheikosman and Eric Fabbro of Torches to release their follow up album to Head Full of Rust with a four track EP called If the People Stare. If you ‘want something worth a feeling’, kick back and let go of those daydreams while listening to the lilt, "When You Gonna"? The tribal beats of this new wave, hometown garage band will indeed give you goose bumps as the bass hits and the rhythmic cadence engulf every memory of your last heartbreak. But there is no room for despair with this modern rock band, after being seen and heard across the country on beloved radio stations like KROQ, KCRW and KPFK. Their new EP drops on May 6th, but that’s not all, as they recently announced a residency at the Echo in the month of May. Torches is more than a cohesive sound with a simple band name; the echoes of Passion Pit, Radiohead, Arcade Fire and Grizzly Bear can be simplified into an avant-garde state of mind. - Kayla Hay
Matt Adams, the brainchild behind The Blank Tapes, is set to release his sophomore full length, Vacation, May 14 on Antenna Farm Records. The first single, “Coast to Coast,” is perfect for scratching your summertime itch: a laid-back, sparkling tune for breezing down the PCH with all your friends in tow. Culling from the classic sun-drenched Southern California songbook, Adams is carving out his own piece of this resurgent landscape. With Beach Boys-inspired harmonies and a splash of groovy psych/surf moments, this is a delightful pop tune that will leave a smile on your face and an unexplainable desire to drop everything just to dip your toes in the ocean. The Blank Tapes are currently on a nationwide tour that ends right here in LA with their record release show at The Satellite on May 31. - Jacqueline Caruso
Touché, the duo of Alex Lilly and Bram Inscore, create electro pop that touches on both the dreamy and the danceable. Deliciously synth-heavy, beat driven pop tunes with just the right amount of winking and nodding to ensure you’re having a good time, their debut LP It’s Fate is set for release May 1. With a string of tour dates supporting Twin Shadow, the buzz is sure to be high leading up to their glorious hometown return at The Fonda on June 29. Having just had the pleasure of catching their live set at the Echoplex on Monday, this is certainly a duo to watch. Their light-hearted, quirky showmanship belies the intricate and inspired craftsmanship that is required to pull off a project that could easily become campy or stale. The single, “I’m A Man Not A Machine,” is a clear standout with just the right amount of referential stylings and one of the best hooks that have come across our desks this year. Stream the track below and catch them if you can at what are sure to be sold out shows at the Echoplex May 10 or The Fonda June 29. - Jacqueline Caruso
Many important decisions are made after a late night binge of tacos and beer. I can attest to this, as there’s something in those delicious carne asada burritos that opens a flood of information to your senses besides long showers and sleep. Recent artist of the month poll winners Arms that Work claim to have written most of their debut release, “Totalitarian Gov.” in the midst of these sessions. And it certainly shows, as the EP flourishes with bustling creativity - the trio’s brainy, serpentine arrangements are constantly in flux, anchored with frenetic guitar passages that mingle with warbling synth tones and contrasting dynamics. It actually reads more complicated than it sounds; after all, their arty, instrumental interplay flexes the time-signature kinetics of math rock. But Arms that Work like to shift gears fluidly, offering a more streamlined form of guitar rock that mirrors Superchunk at their most impassioned.
Crowd-funded through IndieGoGo, “Rattle Rattle” is the latest album by Dorian Wood; An impressive scope for an independent artist clearly creating art for art’s sake on their own terms. Overflowing with impassioned creativity, this is not an album for the faint of heart, or the single hoarders. An avant-garde piece that is more chill-inducing with each listen. Your ears are awakened by the very first notes and are held captive til the very last. Varied in style from western to choral to Baroque to the pure strange, it moves unstoppably like liquid through concrete cracks. The despotic operatic style of “A Gospel of Elephants/Hpssos” slinks maniacally into “The Lady”, which sounds like the voices of the dead crying out from the River Styx as Charon passes by ferrying the newest batch of souls to the underworld. The story-telling continues as a parlour style piano plays underneath the male/female duet (featuring the airy and mysterious vocal stylings of Angela Correa) that moves from sweet to bitterly sour as the thread of undergirded menace continues, this time supported by an ever-building mournful string arrangement. Acting like the soundtrack to a drawing room opera yet to be written, “The Useless Servant” showcases the shimmery tone of Nina Savary’s voice that seems perfectly suited for a re-telling of the original Grimm fairy tales. It is at this point in the record that the darkness fully shrouds. All sweet and tender moments are left behind and traded for pure absurdity and paranoia. Playing out like an even more twisted and disturbed version of The Decemberists’ Hazards of Love, “Rattle Rattle” is an undoubted masterpiece. There is a deep, richly textured story being told amidst the tensely developed instrumentation and sound palette. As the album closes with “O,” the 9 minute epilogue, you are left knowing that the beauty wrapped in tortured frustration unravelling into madness has only begun for this brave artist and his cohorts. This is a poignant and telling work of art that pulls from our uniquely American musical past to parallel our uncertain present. While his poetry may leave you politically unsettled, Wood is exercising his freedom to boldly share his perspective that is at times both nightmarish and delicate, elegant and disturbed, and well worth many undivided listens. Stream the entire album from bandcamp below. - Jacqueline Caruso
The soft sensual beat of The Lonely Wild’s new album, The Sun as It Comes Up, attaches graceful lyrics and a perfect melody to their already upscale sound. The smooth harmonies of this Los Angeles quintet band are haunting, persuasive and provoking. With so many different genres of music to be influenced by and so many different bands to shine through, band member Andrew Carroll talked to KCET about the band's influential prospects. Carroll talked about them embedding ideas from different genres into their own, which include singer/songwriter Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Johnny Cash, Woody Guthrie, and even some piano trios from Ravel. The integrated aesthetics of The Lonely Wild can be heard and felt throughout the entire album, but with songs like "Buried in the Murder", "The Sun as it Comes Out", and" Flames to Fight", the noticeable touch of strength and closure attached to their lyrics really hits home. The Sun as it Comes Up satisfies every listeners' needs, with hypnotic beats, tranquil voices and their down-to-earth imagery catching everyone off their feet. The distinct, passionate lyrics this band drives for starts at the very first song and ends with the last. - Kayla Hay
This acid-washed cut and splice style video is a companion for the computer-based sample heavy project from former Halloween Swim Team member Dustin M Krapes. The song, “Haacksaw” has the bite of early Beck with all the post-post modern apathy you’d expect from an Information ager. While his lo-fi approach may not be anything new, Krapes puts his distinct stamp on it in a way that manages to disturb and intrigue. Habits are playing a free show at Casey’s Pub on April 12. - Jacqueline Caruso