Goldenvoice unveils 2019 Coachella sideshows

Goldenvoice Presents: April 2019

Valentine’s Day is back, and even if you don’t have someone special to celebrate the occasion with this year, Goldenvoice is still giving you a reason to love live music in 2019.

As the 20th anniversary of Coachella approaches in less than two months, the famed concert promoter has once again revealed its latest list of April sideshows that will take place across the greater Los Angeles landscape, including some in Orange County, Santa Barbara County and the desert. There are even a few new venues — both big and small — that are hosting for the first time: Zebulon in the gentrifying LA neighborhood commonly known as “Frogtown,” La Santa Modern Cantina (or “La Santa” as locals call it) as well as the Yost Theater in Santa Ana, Chain Reaction in Anaheim and The Forum in Inglewood.

California punk rockers The Frights kick off the festivities with their headlining performance at The Glass House in Pomona on Saturday, April 6th before the action really ramps up just a few days later. That’s when the following acts will take the stage either inside or just outside of LA County:

Mac DeMarco, Tame Impala, Clairo, Blood Orange, Dennis Lloyd, Pusha T, Iceage & Shame, Yellow Days, Hop Along & Soccer Mommy (with Las Robertas), Smino, FKJ (with Ross From Friends), Jaden Smith (with SG Lewis), SALES, Mr Eazi, Charlotte Gainsbourg (with Steady Holiday), Playboi Carti, Bob Moses, Ross From Friends (billed, in this case, as the headliner), Ella Mai, The Messthetics, The Garden, BLACKPINK, HYUKOH, Turnover (with Turnstile), PARCELS (with Cola Boyy), KAYTRANADA, CHVRCHES, Mon Laferte, Khruangbin (with The Marías & Steady Holiday), Superorganism and Perfume. See the full list of sideshows in the poster above.

Much like last year’s sideshows, there won’t be a special showcase at the Palm Springs Air Museum the night before Coachella’s first weekend as there was back in 2017. Nonetheless, there are still two TBA gigs scheduled for April 10th and 17th at The Roxy that we’ll have to await further word on.

Since 2012, Goldenvoice has made a point of capitalizing off its signature event by putting on more shows in and around Coachella — though the volume has started to drop more recently, with the number of sideshows this year down to 34 in comparison to 53 in 2018 and 62 in 2017. With 19 less in 2019, we can only surmise that Goldenvoice is still trying to find a “sweet spot” when it comes to the amount it organizes and promotes in support of the world-famous three-day, two-weekend music festival.

That said, Paul Tollett and company have still managed to give Southern California an eclectic roster that offers a little bit of everything, from lo-fi and indie rock to hip-hop and even K-pop. In fact, at first glance, here are the 2019 sideshows that stick out the most to us: Mac DeMarco at The Echo, Tame Impala at the Fox Theater Pomona, Blood Orange at The Roxy, Pusha T at The Novo, Hop Along & Soccer Mommy (with Las Robertas) at the El Rey Theatre, Bob Moses at The Glass House, PARCELS (with Cola Boyy) at The Fonda Theatre, Khruangbin (with The Marías and Steady Holiday) at Pappy & Harriet’s and Superorganism at The Roxy, which will have a show practically every night during the eight-day run.

Tickets for most of the sideshows go on sale here this Friday, February 15th at Noon PT with the rest of them available on Friday, February 22nd at Noon PT or Friday, March 1st at Noon PT.

Goldenvoice

Goldenvoice announces 2018 Coachella sideshows

Goldenvoice Presents: April 2018

It’s Valentine’s Day, so what could be a better way to celebrate love — or least your love for live music — than with a whole slew of newly announced shows?

Well, with Coachella’s 19th edition just a couple of months away, Goldenvoice has done it again, assembling another massive list of April sideshows at various venues all across the greater Los Angeles landscape, including some in Orange County (at The Observatory and Constellation Room), Santa Barbara County (at the Santa Barbara Bowl and The Arlington Theatre) and the desert (at Pappy & Harriet’s).

Sister trio HAIM kick off the festivities with their headlining performance at arguably our favorite Southern California venue, the Santa Barbara Bowl, on Saturday, April 7th before things ramp up the ensuing week with Kali Uchis, Chromeo, Tyler, the Creator, St. Vincent, Portugal. The Man (with Cherry Glazerr), Perfume Genius (with Big Thief), Princess Nokia, PVRIS, Marian Hill, Fleet Foxes, Carpenter Brut, Tash Sultana, The Drums & Alvvays (with Fazerdaze), alt-J (with BØRNS), Migos, The Bronx, Greta Van Fleet, A Perfect Circle, Yaeji, Angel Olsen, Jessie Ware, BROCKHAMPTON, First Aid Kit, Japanese Breakfast (with Snail Mail), Kelela, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Buscabulla (with The Marías), Priests, MØ, Jorja Smith & Tom Misch, ODESZA, Miguel, Boogarins (with B Boys & Señor Kino), Ron Gallo, Moon Boots (Live), The War on Drugs, Jungle, Soulwax, Petit Biscuit, 6lack, Aurora, Motor City Drum Ensemble (with Talaboman), Los Ángeles Azules, The Drums, Hayley Kiyoko and Elohim all playing — some even more than once — inside and/or outside of LA’s city limits.

Unlike last year’s sideshows, which included a special showcase at the Palm Springs Air Museum the night before Coachella’s first weekend featuring several artists from British independent record label Young Turks, Goldenvoice has opted not to go down that route again. The two gigs that mirror that mini festival the closest both take place on Thursday, April 19th, as Motor City Drum Ensemble performs at the Palm Springs Air Museum with Talaboman and Los Ángeles Azules invades the Riverside County Fairgrounds with Cuco, Helado Negro and Ocho Ojos just one day before Coachella Weekend 2 commences at the Empire Polo Club. Check out the full list of sideshows in the poster above.

Year after year, Goldenvoice seemingly continues to outdo itself with more and more shows in and around Coachella, and this April the renowned concert promoter has done its best to give music fans in Southern California a little bit of everything, from electro funk and indie folk to hip-hop and alternative R&B. But at first glance, the 2018 sideshows that stick out the most to us include the following: Chromeo at the El Rey Theatre, St. Vincent at The Orpheum Theatre, Perfume Genius (with Big Thief) at The Mayan, Fleet Foxes at the Warner Grand Theater, Tash Sultana at the Fox Theater Pomona, The Drums & Alvvays co-headlining (with Fazerdaze) at Pappy & Harriet’s, alt-J (with BØRNS) at the Santa Barbara Bowl, Migos at The Observatory, A Perfect Circle at The Arlington Theatre, Japanese Breakfast (with Snail Mail) at The Roxy, The War on Drugs at the Fox Theater Pomona, Jungle at Pappy & Harriet’s, Soulwax at The Fonda Theatre, 6lack at The Novo and Portugal. The Man (with Chicano Batman and Deap Vally) at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

Tickets for most of the sideshows go on sale here this Friday, February 16th at Noon PT with the rest of them available on Friday, February 23rd at Noon PT or Friday, March 2nd at Noon PT.

Goldenvoice

Jay 305 backs up his ‘more LA than the Rams’ claim in front of a hometown crowd at The Roxy

Jay 305By Joseph Gray //

Jay 305 //
The Roxy Theatre – West Hollywood, CA
September 25th, 2017 //

South Central rapper Jay 305, as confident and animated as ever, proclaims that he is “more LA than the Rams,” and you’d be hard-pressed to find many fans of West Coast hip-hop who disagree with him right now.

Unlike LA’s two new NFL teams that continue to fight –- in half-filled stadiums — to find their footing, Jay 305 (born Jay Cummins) is a regional staple. That was pretty apparent during his headlining show at The Roxy Theatre on Monday, as fans shouted the aforementioned claim heard on his authoritative and fun Taking All Bets debut via Interscope Records.

Running through everything from standout tracks like “All Around the World” and “99” to his “Youzza Flip” hit, which ignited his buzz five years prior, Jay 305 has seemingly pushed legal troubles and album delays aside to focus on his craft — and it showed in his hometown.

Goldenvoice reveals 2017 Coachella sideshows

Goldenvoice Presents: April 2017

We’re already six weeks into 2017, and for many music fans residing in California, that means Coachella isn’t all that far away. But while much of the talk around this year’s lineup has been centered on Beyoncé’s debut and more recently her pregnant-with-twins news (the jury is still out on whether it will put a wrench in her plans to perform both weekends), Goldenvoice has turned a good portion of April into a long stretch of top-notch shows, similar to what Red Bull Sound Select has done in November with its month-long “30 Days in LA” series that last year included artists like Nick Murphy (formerly Chet Faker), YG, Jhené Aiko, AlunaGeorge, Pusha T and Isaiah Rashad (look back at our coverage here).

Much like in 2016, Goldenvoice has once again released a list of sideshows that will take place at venues in the greater Los Angeles area, with a select few extending into Orange County (at The Observatory and Constellation Room), Santa Barbara County (at the Santa Barbara Bowl) and the desert (at Pappy & Harriet’s).

Florida emcee Denzel Curry will kick off the festivities on Friday, April 7th at The Glass House before LA outfit Chicano Batman close things out at the same venue on Saturday, April 29th. In between those gigs, Sampha, Banks, Jack Garratt, Crystal Castles, Francis and the Lights, Bishop Briggs, SOHN, Oh Wonder, Future Islands, Little Dragon (with Sophie Tukker), The Head and the Heart, Joseph, Kaytranada, Banks & Steelz, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Nicolas Jaar, Car Seat Headrest (with Preoccupations), Bonobo, Mura Masa (with Kamaiyah), DJ Shadow, Breakbot, Blossoms, New Order (with Poliça), Hinds (with Twin Peaks), Bonobo, Galantis, Local Natives (with Tennis), S U R V I V E, The Avalanches, Glass Animals (with Little Dragon and/or Jagwar Ma), Empire of the Sun (with Broods), Tacocat, Bastille, Roisin Murphy, Whitney, Lil Uzi Vert, Mitski, Röyksopp, Future Islands, Pond (with Ezra Furman), Moderat, Swet Shop Boyz, Floating Points (Live), HONNE (with Arkells), Daphini, Jai Wolf, Guided by Voices and Phantogram will all perform — some even more than once — inside and/or outside of LA’s city limits.

Furthermore, British independent record label Young Turks will host a special showcase for its roster of artists with performances by Ben UFO, Four Tet, Francis and the Lights, Jamie xx, Kamaiyah, Sampha and special guest PNL in Palm Springs on Thursday, April 13th. Check out the full list of sideshows in the poster above.

It’s hard to believe that Goldenvoice has found a way to top their efforts from a year ago, but the renowned concert promoter has managed to do just that. This year’s Coachella sideshows are jam-packed with alternative-electronic and indie-rock acts, with Nicolas Jaar’s headlining performance at Pappy & Harriet’s alongside Floating Points (Live) and Pond as well as Future Islands’ date at The Glass House featuring support from Car Seat Headrest as two of the bigger highlights — and no doubt there are plenty on this bill. Yet, one of the most enticing pairings has to be the Glass Animals-Little Dragon-Jagwar Ma one that’s slated to take over the Santa Barbara Bowl, arguably our favorite venue in Southern California, on Saturday, April 23rd.

Tickets for most of the sideshows go on sale here this Friday, February 17th at Noon PT with the rest of them available Friday, February 24th at Noon PT or Friday, March 3rd at Noon PT.

Goldenvoice

Emancipator liberates minds at The Roxy Theatre

EmancipatorBy Josh Herwitt //

Emancipator //
The Roxy Theatre – West Hollywood, CA
January 14th, 2017 //

In a matter of 10 years, Douglas Appling has gone from college student to electronic music producer to record label owner and founder. He has managed to release four studio albums and travel the world in that time, doing it all under his liberating stage name Emancipator. And at the young age of 25, he created Loci Records, which is now home to a cast of up-and-coming artists making music in the vein of melodic downtempo and instrumental hip-hop.

Last Saturday, four of the label’s 10 signees entertained a sold-out crowd in LA on the final night of its U.S. showcase tour. Serving as support at The Roxy Theatre were Tor, Edamame and Lapa, who each set the mood for Emancipator’s headlining set to follow — and what a doozy it was. As Emancipator, Appling has a unique way of melding hip-hop beats with the orchestral sound coming from his sidekick Ilya Goldberg’s violin. He even threw in a Snoop Dogg sample at one point, spreading energy across the venue’s tightly packed dance floor. This wasn’t the Emancipator Ensemble experience that we’ve witnessed before, but it was clear that Appling’s performances have continued to get better with each and every year.

Banks & Steelz played their first-ever show last night and we were there to see the duo in action

Banks & Steelz - Paul Banks


Paul Banks

By Josh Herwitt //

Banks & Steelz with T.O.L.D. //
The Roxy Theatre – West Hollywood, CA
July 21st, 2016 //

For the last three years, Interpol frontman Paul Banks and Wu-Tang Clan legend RZA have been working on a collaborative project that, for the most part, has flew relatively under the radar. But just a couple months ago, the duo made things official when they finally unveiled the name of said project as Banks & Steelz.

The next day, the singer/guitarist and rapper released their first Banks & Steelz track “Love + War” featuring fellow Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah. Three weeks later, Banks & Steelz had more important news to share, announcing that their debut album Anything But Words will drop on August 26th with guest appearances from Florence and the Machine’s Florence Welch, Wu-Tang Clan’s Method Man and Masta Killa, and Kool Keith.

Banks & Steelz - RZA


RZA

The two musicians, though, had yet to play a show together — that is until last night at The Roxy Theatre in LA. Kicking off a 15-date tour that includes stops at The Independent in San Francisco, FYF Fest and Life Is Beautiful, not to mention two weekends at Austin City Limits, Banks & Steelz performed songs from their forthcoming LP for the first time ever, showcasing the Rage Against the Machine-inspired cut “Speedway Sonora” along with lead single “Giant” that opens the 12-track record. Singing in his usual baritone style, Banks worked the strings on his Fender Stratocaster while RZA handled rapping and keyboard duties. And at one point during their 50-minute set, they even brought out LA-based singer-songwriter Morgan Kibby, who performs under the name White Sea and has collaborated and toured with M83, to help contribute vocals.

While rap rock may feel like a thing of the past now, Banks & Steelz feature a unique pairing of musicians from very different backgrounds. Banks, for one, has remained Interpol’s lead singer for close to two decades as the New York band continues to rank high on the charts. And RZA, who served as Wu-Tang’s de facto leader, has managed to find success outside of music, whether it’s writing and directing movies or just acting in them. But between Banks’ longstanding love of hip-hop and RZA’s newfound interest in rock music, they’ve figured out a formula that could work in a studio and on a stage, even one as small as The Roxy’s.

Riding J. Cole’s coattails, Bas doesn’t shy away from the spotlight at a sold-out Roxy Theatre

BasBy Joseph Gray //

Bas with Cozz //
The Roxy Theatre – West Hollywood, CA
June 15th, 2016 //

The expectations for a hip-hop protégé have always been unfair and lofty. Fans often hope the pupil has soaked up just enough of the mentor’s know-how and creativity while also craving different risks and a new wrinkle to the story that has captivated their attention. Nevertheless, the game is not based on sympathy. And lucky for Bas, the Queens, N.Y.-raised rapper signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville Records imprint, reveling in self-awareness with rangy detail appears to be his greatest attribute.

For every apprentice that becomes Snoop Dogg under Dr. Dre’s wings, there are countless contemporaries that go the way of Jay Z’s Memphis Bleek. The second-in-charge star vs. the promising and hungry upstart who never quite materializes commercially. Where Bas (born Abbas Hamad) eventually lands aside North Carolina’s prodigal son still remains to be seen. However, after carrying his mindful thoughts in a workmanlike fashion into a sold-out Roxy Theatre last Wednesday in LA, it’s clear that the 29-year-old emcee has no plans of letting his inebriation with success — and its subsequent effects — stagger his straight-lined momentum.

There’s unrelenting, surface-level music that you listen to in a hyped-up state while you’re on your way to the club, and then there’s music you listen to while you reflect on the ride home. Sonically, Bas, similar to J. Cole, is mostly backed by hypnotic, darker sounds peppered with bits of warmth and place his projects in line with his mentor. Be that as it may, his youthful admirers won’t let you believe there are many lulls in his journey.

Bas

From “Too High to Riot”, the pensive title track on the follow-up to his 2014 debut Last Winter, to the breezy “Clouds Never Get Old”, Bas’ ever-loyal “villains” showered their appreciation onto him for his personable showmanship — so much so that he was able to reverse the roles and play the fan during “Night Job” with the crowd reciting the verses verbatim as he let the microphone rest at his side.

Sporting a beard as burly as his physique and the portions of his subject matter, Bas is an adversely light-footed performer with lots of jumping, smiling and promises that his fans’ newly purchased vinyl would be signed before they left for the night. All of that, of course, was sandwiched between his unique storytelling.

Every good story deserves a few surprises, though, and Bas was more than happy to keep up with tradition as some of his running mates and friends were also at the diminutive venue. London electronic quartet The Hics provided some soulful pleasantry to Bas’ inner battles. Additionally, the Dreamville crew’s veteran, Omen, delighted the audience with “48 Laws”, his standout track from the label’s 2015 compilation Revenge of the Dreamers II before Cozz, the South Central rapper also signed to Dreamville who performed his own opening set at The Roxy, re-appeared alongside Bas to continue building on his raw, growing confidence with his notable verse on the spirited “Tabs”.

Where the demands of being next up naturally weigh the most, Bas seemingly welcomed the opportunity to improve and chase history in front of the disbelievers and fellow dreamers. His “Too High to Riot Tour” stands as a chance for him to move the scope beyond just “making it” and inward toward everything, from life’s ills to racial injustice and an overall celebration of life through his eyes. If the chants for an encore during the LA stop on his nationwide tour were any indication, he’ll have some devoted fans supporting him as he continues to grow.

Skipping FYF Fest? You can still see all these shows

2015 FYF sideshows

FYF Fest returns to the LA Sports Arena and Exposition Park this August for its 12th edition with an amalgam of trending indie in tow. It’s also one of our eight music festivals taking place in California that you won’t want to miss before the end of 2015.

But if you’re not keen on catching headliners Frank Ocean and Morrissey yet still want to see sub headliners like Bloc Party or The Jesus and Mary Chain without shelling out $175 for a two-day GA pass (single-day passes have already sold out, by the way), well then, you’re in a bit of luck.

FYF and Goldenvoice have announced a series of sideshows around the festival’s August 22nd-23rd dates, which include performances by Toronto experimental hip-hop/post-bop trio BADBADNOTGOOD, Northeastern legendary alt-rockers Dinosaur Jr. and even NorCal industrial hip-hop group Death Grips, who, if you can remember, broke up not all that long ago, reneging on an opportunity to tour with 90’s rock heavyweights Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden last summer.

The sideshows start later this month, with LA’s own HEALTH kicking things off at The Echo before London-based post-punk revival band Savages finish the run off with a headlining gig at The Roxy on August 26th. It’s worth noting, however, that none of the sideshows will take place over the weekend of FYF, much like what Goldenvoice does in April by booking high-profile shows in and around Coachella’s two weekends.

Tickets for the sideshows go on sale at FYFpresents.com this Friday, July 10th at 10 a.m.


Here is the schedule for the festival’s upcoming sideshows with links to purchase tickets:

July 24th: HEALTH at The Echo // BUY TICKETS

August 19th: The Jesus and Mary Chain with A Place to Bury Strangers at The Fonda Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 19th: Bloc Party at Glasshouse // BUY TICKETS

August 20th: The Jesus and Mary Chain with A Place to Bury Strangers at The Fonda Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 20th: Bloc Party at The Roxy Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 20th: METZ at The Echo // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: BadBadNotGood with Show Me the Body at The Regent Theater // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: NAILS at Echoplex // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: The Drums with Froth at Glasshouse // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: Lower Dens with Empress Of at The Echo // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: Dinosaur Jr. at The Roxy Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 25th: Death Grips at Glasshouse // BUY TICKETS

August 26th: Savages at The Roxy Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 26th: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard at The Echo // BUY TICKETS

2015 FYF Fest lineup

Miami Horror trip out in SF, continue the party in LA

Miami Horror at The IndependentPhotos by Josh Herwitt & Justin Yee // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Miami Horror with De Lux //
The Independent – San Francisco & The Roxy Theatre – West Hollywood, CA
June 3rd, 2015 (SF) & June 5th, 2015 (LA) //

With the release of their sophomore record All Possible Futures this past April, Australian indietronica outfit Miami Horror are back on the road for the first time in a long time. Amid a 17-date tour across the U.S. with LA disco-rock band De Lux, which also have a brand-new album on the horizon, the Melbourne five-piece left its mark in SF and LA last week with sold-out shows at both The Independent and The Roxy Theatre.

The capacity crowds were a testament to how well Miami Horror have built a loyal fan base off the buzz that their 2010 debut Illumination generated, but as bandleader Benjamin Plant told Showbams in a recent interview, this was still their “reintroduction tour.”

Miami Horror at The Roxy Theatre

Yet, from the way it commanded the crowd in SF, you wouldn’t have known that the band had eaten psychedelic mushrooms (yes, really!) before stepping on stage. And from the way it had fans singing along to every word in LA — its new home after leaving Melbourne close to three years ago — two days later, you wouldn’t have thought that it has been almost five years between the band’s two LPs. After all, in this day and age where streaming services have come to rule the music industry and artists are now forced to continually churn out new material in order to tour and make ends meet, that’s quite a long layoff for a group that’s only other release, the five-track EP entitled Bravado, came out in November 2008.

In many ways though, it felt like not much time had passed at all as Josh Moriarty (guitars, vocals) and Aaron Shanahan (co-production, guitar, synthesizer, vocals), with the sweat beads rapidly dripping down their faces, climbed on Kosta Theodosis’ drum kit and a few floor speakers at different points during both shows to pump the fans up — if they could actually be pumped up anymore than they already were. It just goes to show that after all this time, Miami Horror haven’t lost their charm one bit.

Molly Kish & Justin Yee contributed to this report.

Miami Horror cover all bases on ‘All Possible Futures’ before a sold-out show in their new hometown

Miami HorrorPhoto by Dylan Reyes // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Growing up, Benjamin Plant had always seen Melbourne as his home. As a native of the Australian city, he immersed himself in its music scene at a young age, DJing at house parties and clubs around town.

But a lot changed for the Miami Horror founder and bandleader when he moved to Los Angeles nearly three years ago — and for the better.

“I think life is a lot groovier and easier,” he says about his LA lifestyle now. “People are just a lot nicer and happier, so it allows you to find your own space when you’re away from your scene.”

Plant wasn’t the only one in the band who chose to leave the dreary streets of Melbourne for the sunny beaches of Southern California. At this point, all but one member in Miami Horror lives in LA, where the majority of the quintet’s second full-length album All Possible Futures was recorded and where they’ll play to a sold-out crowd when they take the stage at The Roxy Theatre this Friday night (June 5th).

“This is our reintroduction tour,” Plant says about the 17-date run that ends in Chicago on June 30th and includes an appearance at Electric Forest. “It’s our opportunity to show what we’ve got and what we’ve become. We’re a lot more mature now.”

It’s been quite a bit of time — almost five years, in fact — since the indietronica outfit released its debut Illumination on British multinational label EMI, and things were much different back then.

Plant, for one, wrote most of the songs that appeared on the 12-track LP that came out in 2010, including “Sometimes”, the first single off Illumination that put Miami Horror on the map with frequent radio play and numerous remixes around the club circuit.

The songwriting process for All Possible Futures, on the other hand, was revamped. This time around, the entire band was involved rather than only Plant coming forward with song ideas. What results is a record that boasts plenty of futuristic pop and uniquely combines elements of both house and funk in a more traditional rock band setting.

“We wanted to make sure we made an album that covered all bases,” Plant says. “You have to keep fans, impress old fans, make new fans and be happy with yourself. There are so many things going on that you have to cover everything.”

It had Miami Horror — made up of Plant (production, synthesizers, bass), Josh Moriarty (guitars, vocals), Aaron Shanahan (co-production, guitar, synthesizer, vocals), Daniel Whitechurch (piano, synthesizer) and Kosta Theodosis (drums) — shedding their producer-centric approach to study bands like Talking Heads, as they aimed for the stars during the recording sessions in LA and Melbourne.

“We were definitely more inclined to writing a flashy kind of hit,” Plant admits. “We were almost imagining and hoping we could do that. For quite a while, every song we made was directed as a single.”

Coincidentally enough, two of the first three tracks on All Possible Futures were tabbed as singles, with “Real Slow” and “Love Like Mine” setting the stage for other dance-pop hits “Wild Motion (Set It Free)” and “Colours in the Sky” later on. That said, with 15 tracks and over an hour in run time, the finished product remains more comprehensive than one that simply will be remembered only for its singles.

“We wanted an album that you could listen to for five years rather than two months,” Plant says. “We focused a lot more on songwriting, like learning about chord progressions, changes and structures of songs. We just really wanted to push ourselves there.”

Looking toward the future, after all, is something that has always preoccupied Plant, to the point that it largely became the inspiration behind the band’s new studio effort.

“I’m constantly thinking about the future, every different direction you can go and every way your life can turn out,” he says in discussing the meaning of All Possible Futures. “There are always a million directions to go, and you have to choose what the right one is.”

So far for Plant, that direction has been east — Melbourne to LA while never looking back.

Quantic branches out with diverse set at The Roxy

QuanticBy Josh Herwitt //

Quantic with DJ Vadim //
The Roxy Theatre – West Hollywood, CA
March 25th, 2015 //

For well over a decade, Will Holland has been the brains behind Quantic, one of his many projects as a musician, DJ and record producer. This past fall, we caught Holland and his Quantic sidekicks performing inside a tiny church in Echo Park for Culture Collide Festival (read our review here). At the time, Holland said the show would be Quantic’s last one for a while after touring the world in support of 2014’s Magnetica. But less than six months later, the UK native was back in LA on Wednesday night for a KCRW-sponsored event, hitting the decks and showcasing a variety of Latin genres — everything from cumbia to salsa to bossa nova — while mixing in a handful of reggae and hip-hop grooves. DJ Vadim kicked things off with his own set of turntables and was joined on stage by a couple of guest vocalists.

Chet Faker plays to sold-out Roxy in LA

Chet-Faker_postBy Josh Herwitt //

Chet Faker with Sweater Beats //
The Roxy Theatre – West Hollywood, CA
May 29th, 2014 //

It’s amazing how quickly things can change for aspiring artists in today’s music industry.

Just ask Chet Faker.

It was only a little more than three years ago that the relatively unknown singer, songwriter and producer from Melbourne, Australia, struck Internet gold with his cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity,” propelling him to No. 1 on the Hype Machine charts in a matter of days.

Fast forward to now, and the word has officially gotten out about 24-year-old Nicholas James Murphy, who continues to pack venues across the U.S. following the release of his debut LP Built on Glass (read our review here) in April.

But what is it about Chet Faker that has made him such a must-see act all of a sudden?

Chet-Faker2

To be honest, I’m not quite sure. Because for all the hype Murphy has garnered over the past few months, something felt missing when he took the stage at The Roxy Theatre last week.

Headlining the second of two sold-out nights in LA, Murphy warmed us up with older cuts like “I’m Into You” and “Terms and Conditions” from his 2012 EP Thinking in Textures before eventually digging into Built on Glass. And although it was refreshing to see him create new adaptations of “Blush” and “1998,” the energy never seemed to reach a threshold inside the diminutive Sunset Strip club.

With an arsenal of production equipment sprawled across the table and his Rhodes piano off to his right, Murphy attempted to recreate many of the melodies that won me over less than two months ago when I first sat down to listen to Built on Glass.

Yet, it was not long before I realized that Murphy’s music, as refreshing and soulful as it is, may not be best suited for a live setting after all. There are some artists whose studio work far surpasses their live shows, and while that’s not to say that the disparity for Murphy is totally transparent, it’s certainly noticeable.

For someone whose music is as refreshing as Murphy’s, it’s still hard to enjoy watching a musician turn knobs and press buttons, regardless of his true talents. That’s not to take anything away from Murphy’s vocal capabilities, but it felt slightly ironic for him to candidly share some of his thoughts on the current state of the music industry.

“Lots of people are spending lots of money to see some dude press play and jump around on stage,” he told the crowd midway through his 75-minute set, bridging the gap from one song to the next.

That obviously wasn’t the case at The Roxy, but at the same time, Murphy didn’t appear to be putting on a clinic in musicianship, either. Instead, he would go on to perform “No Diggity” all by himself, dashing my hopes for the guitarist and drummer he had brought on tour to join him for the Grammy-winning tune.

Still, Murphy couldn’t get past the song’s first verse before stopping to tell his fans to put away their camera phones.

“I give you permission to look around you, and if someone next to you has a phone out, to knock it out of their hands,” he said, even if no one actually followed his advice.

It was a strange request from a man whose fans have become so gaga over him lately that one of them even screamed, “I want to lick your beard!”

Chet-Faker3

Thankfully for some of us, there would be no beard licking on this night.

Rather, we were treated to an alternate version of “Drop the Game,” a track Murphy worked on with fellow countryman Flume for their Lockjaw project last year.

But there were also standout tracks from Built on Glass — “Gold” and “Melt” are two that immediately come to mind — that we never got to hear. Murphy at least saved one of his best for last, stripping down his hit single “Talk Is Cheap” to just piano and vocals during his one-song encore.

It was a somewhat anticlimactic ending to a performance that proved just how hard it can be to make it as a solo act — and even more, keep the flame burning bright.

For Chet Faker though, that could be easier said than done.

VIEW PHOTOS FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO SHOW.

Chet-Faker4

Holy Fuck showcase new material at The Roxy

Holy Fuck #7By Josh Herwitt //

Holy Fuck //
The Roxy Theatre – West Hollywood, CA
May 22nd, 2014 //

Canadian electronic outfit Holy Fuck played their first LA show in quite a while, headlining the latest installment of Red Bull’s Sound Select series. Despite its most recent studio album Latin coming out more than four years ago, the Toronto quartet unleashed a handful of new songs during its hour-long set at The Roxy Theatre. Josh Herwitt dropped by the renowned Sunset Strip venue last week to take it all in.

Atmosphere celebrate album release in LA

Atmosphere #8By Josh Herwitt //

Atmosphere //
The Roxy Theatre – West Hollywood, CA
May 8th, 2014 //

Hip-hop took over The Roxy Theatre last week with the return of Atmosphere, hot off the release of its brand-new album Southsiders less than 48 hours old.

The alternative hip-hop group’s seventh studio record, which follows 2011 success The Family Sign, debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 chart with 23,159 copies sold in the U.S. during its first week.

Not bad for a hip-hop act that has never won an award in its 25-year run.

Atmosphere #1

It’s hard to believe sometimes that rapper Sean Daley (aka Slug) and DJ/producer Anthony Davis (aka Ant) have been making music together for almost that long, but it may be even harder to believe that Slug has been writing music for Atmosphere since the age of 16.

In that period of time, the Minneapolis native has also founded independent record label Rhymesayers Entertainment with Davis, Musab Saad and Brent Sayers, as well as the Rhymesayers imprint Women Records with Nick Carter (aka Murs). He’s even collaborated with a host of other MCs for side projects like Furs (with Murs), The Dynospectrum, Deep Puddle Dynamics and The Orphanage.

Yet, this night belonged to Atmosphere and the arrival of Southsiders, which took Slug and Ant more than three years to make. The 16-track LP (not including four bonus songs) boasts singles “Kanye West” and “Bitter,” and they made sure to perform the former early on at the diminutive Sunset Strip club. The room, subsequently, went apeshit when they did, losing itself in Ant’s catchy beat and hanging onto every word that came out of Slug’s mouth, particularly the track’s “put your hands in the air like you really do care” hook. It was all part of a 90-minute set that included other classics like “GodLovesUgly” from 2002’s God Loves Ugly and “Trying to Find a Balance” from 2003’s Sevens Travels — not to mention “Sunshine” from Sad Clown Bad Summer 9 (2007) and “Yesterday” from When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold (2008).

Atmosphere #6

From the sold-out crowd’s roar after every song ended, you would have thought we were in Minnesota. But after more than two decades on the scene, it was clear that Atmosphere’s following in LA is as strong as ever. It’s why the group already has plans to return in a few months for two back-to-back shows (Sept. 5-6) at the Hollywood Palladium. For Slug and Ant, it will be a busy summer of touring throughout North America, with festival stops at Summerfest in Milwaukee, Squamish in British Columbia and Outside Lands in San Francisco on the docket. And with so much material in their catalog, it’s not hard for them to keep audiences entertained.

What’s different about Atmosphere from other contemporary hip-hop acts, though, is its message and tone. The music that the group creates nowadays feels like — for lack of a better term —happy hip-hop, even if it requires Slug to repeatedly ask his fans to smile in between songs.

After all, Daley’s life seems to be all about the pursuit of happiness these days, and while it hasn’t always been easy for things to remain that way, he’s managed to keep his message primarily positive as he enters middle age.

Because from the number of smiles he flashed at The Roxy, you can tell that he’s pretty happy himself.

Atmosphere

Atmosphere

Atmosphere