Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Live Review: The Gories @ The Echo 09/08/10

Just when you thought it was safe to turn your back and dwell in pop oblivion, the Gories are back from the grave to feast on your feeble brain and reanimate your behind on the dance floor.
The Gories finished their three show stint in Los Angeles at the Echo last night, their first ever tour on the West coast. A crowd of restless natives huddled around the stage, ready to be hoodooed by the Gories’s footstompin’ riff rock.

Mick Collins and Dan Kroha did a call and response on their six strings while and Peggy O’Neill did a Bo Diddley stomp on the tom toms. Their signature anthem, “Hey Hey We’re the Gories” was an invocation to their glory days, and the hits kept comin’. Highlights included a raucous “Thunderbird ESQ,” a howling and entendre laden “Sister Anne,” a feedback drenched cover of Suicide’s “Ghost Rider” and a bumping and grinding take of Eddie Holland’s “Leavin’ Here.”

The crowd was high, tight and rowdy, with beers flying and arm flailing; like a mob possessed by the gris gris of a thousand years. Back on stage, guitar strings were breaking as Mick and Dan hollered and whined their back catalogue at the congregation of the Gories faithful, as Peggy coolly pounded one out on the drums, peering though dark shades of indifference.

It was as if no time had passed since the Gories’s former incarnation, which broke up in 1992. This was by far the best reunion show this intrepid journalist has ever witnessed, a sacred rite of joy resurrected.

Eyad Karkoutly

Live Review: Sweater Girls, Procedure Club & Wild Nothing @ Part Timer Punks- The Echo 09/12/10

The evening started out innocently enough. The Sweater Girls brought a self styled naivety to their diary entry turned song book style of twee pop, reminiscent of Comet Gain or Tiger Trap. With a warm charm and a calculated chastity, Sweater Girls could thaw the chilliest of the jaded. They apparently have a new seven inch out, which should more than satisfy the singles club.

Part Time Punk’s Michael Stockton appropriately paired his DJ set list for the evening with treasured obscurities from indie pop groups such as Trixie’s Big Red Motorbike and The Field Mice. It is so cool to see people dance to good music on the dance floor, which is reason enough to come to Part Time Punks each and every week.

Procedure Club (Slumberland Records) took the stage with more members than the Allman Brothers Band. They were really fucking loud! Andrea’s vocals reverberated through the Echo like a wailing widow trapped in the hull of a sinking ship, forlorn and chamber-esque. The rest of the New Haven six piece seemed to be mostly playing the same note and kind of unrehearsed onstage, which was fine, but a bit superfluous. Extra points for attendance, I guess. Although it was pretty punk how much they were just having fun and not giving a shit about the audience.

Wild Nothing, on the Captured Tracks label, were magnetic and majestic. The four piece’s sound recalls the twilight pop sound of earlier bands like the Wake or the Chills, but Wild Nothing are not ape-like in their debt to this ancestral heritage. Guitars were clean and lanky, the approach was minimal and subtle. Few bands create so much atmosphere with so little. Chief songwriter Jack Tatum's wistfully maudlin sound is given vitality onstage with the pulsing bass, cascading synths and driving percussion of his Wild Nothing band mates. Songs like “Summer Holiday” and “Chinatown” have true anthemic potential, and the crowd was ready for an anthem. It was one of those elbow-to-elbow evenings at the Echo where everyone came to actually hear the band, attentive and grateful. Wild Nothing are something definitely worth checking out.

Eyad Karkoutly

Thursday, July 8, 2010

One Man Beatles -Emitt Rhodes Documentary

Tonite is the US premiere of what looks to be an amazing documentary about Emitt Rhodes, entitled One Man Beatles. Should be amazing night, featuring an Emitt Rhodes tribute band as well!

Go to for more information on the Don't Knock The Rock Film and Music Festival.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Yummy Fur/ Neverever @ Part Time Punks (The Echo) 1/17/10


Yummy Fur and Neverever @ The Echo- Part Time Punks 1/17/10
Truth be told, most reunions shows usually suck. Who wants to watch some oldster relive former glories while dipshit kids sing along to lyrics that they weren’t out of diapers for the first time around? Yet this is hardly a steadfast rule, and I am happy to report the exception was the Yummy Fur’s glorious reunion show on Sunday Night at Part Time Punks.
Michael Stock started off the night right, as he always seems to do. I love walking into a night club and hearing the Shop Assistants being blared at top volume. We, the people of Los Angeles, really are blessed to have a night like this, where else you gonna go to dance to Blurt and Section 25?
The opening act, Neverever, came on strong and slick, like a Roxy Music send up of a doo-wop 45: Blondie does Dion in day-glo design. There was a serious Chiki Ti-Ta up front in a letterman sweater and panty hose, cooing like a mocking bird. The backup was workmanlike and locked in. I was reminded of The Long Blondes or Music Go Music and I was into it.
People started tripping in the door, two by two, and man was it a stylin’ crowd. Fred Perry and stove pipe pants were just as meticulous and the hair do’s. The Yummy Fur, who were obscure in the 1990s, seem to have found an audience ten years after their break up. This was their first ever tour of the good ol’ US of A and people were stoked to be there. As they fell onto the stage and began trading barbs with the crowd, their Glasgow charm was whisky soaked and affable. “We are going to play a long set, because when do the Yummy Fur play Los Angeles? Next you’ll tell me it’s raining outside.” John McKeown plucked the opening riff of “Career Saver” and up jumped the crowd like a bag of Jiffy Pop. Paul Thomson smiled wryly through the gap in his teeth and managed to give a wink to every lady in the crowd, while simultaneously pounding a drumbeat with a Belmondo swagger. Songs such as “Kodak” and “Plastic Cowboy” were gorgeously shambling around repetitive riffs that Mark E. Smith would disdainfully wag a wrinkled thumbs up to. Ever the showmen, jokes of the evening included doozys like ‘Why can’t Stevie Wonder see his friends?…Because he’s married! (rimshot).
The song “Policeman” brought guitarist Brian McDougal to the mic, chanting “Policeman” as John sang “You’re working for the government, that uniform is excellent.” Scotland apparently loves cops as much as we do.
At the tail end of an hour and a half long set, they broke into “Department,” which effectively communicates the Yummy Fur mission statement as well as anything else: “She asked for makeup tips, not my department baby, why don’t you ask your lady?...I’ve got my own department, Rock and Roll!”. A clich├ęd term for any other band, but Yummy Fur play with such a “who gives a shit” attitude that they really do rock, without all the trappings and studied poses that usually come with such a misnomer. Instead of an Axl Rose, you get a Pete Townsend.
The Yummy Fur stumbled offstage, after a jubilant encore of “Chinese Bookie,” to no doubt be plowed by whiskey n’ gingers and dance around until the keys in their backs wound down and they passed out on somebody’s couch, in true “rock and roll” fashion.
Eyad Karkoutly

Monday, December 7, 2009

Nite Jewel and Cold Cave @ the Echo 12/6/09

A Live review for LARECORD.COM:
The long queue outside was crazy cold to get in to see Cold Cave. This 4 foot tall girl in front of me was totally trashed, weaving and wobbling, while her guy friends inhaled a parade of cigarettes, discussed Deuce Bigalow, past episodes of the Simpsons and their favorite LA weed dispensary…I shit you not. Once inside, the familiar funk throb of a Part Time Punks obscuro minimal synth jam got the heart beating as anticipation rose for what promised to be an interesting evening of music. Tim Burgess of The Charalatans fame was guest DJing the evening, along with PTP regulars Michael and Ben. Their music selections were rarified, electronic ingots of pleasure, most of which would probably fetch serious coin on Ebay.
Nite Jewel began their performance and it really sounded alright, but Ramona and Emily seemed unable to hear themselves onstage and begin directing the sound man to tweak this and turn up such and such E.Q. level between almost every song, which kind of dispelled the magic of their performance frankly, especially since it sounded fine to the audience in the first place. Their frustrations were channeled inward and the set vastly improved as they found their rhythm and a new song was debuted. “What Did He Say” was delivered with a cool confidence, the closest thing to a hit in the Nite Jewel songbook. Processed sounds went warm and analog tones trickled into an amateurish charm of lustful regression, a bass thumped, vocals trilled and Ramona declared “ I really am enjoying myself…seriously.”
Cold Cave cut an arresting image upon the Echo stage. Three full size, beautiful synths featured front and center, including a Moog and an Arp 2600. Wes Eisold, Dominick Fernow (Prurient) and Caralee McElroy (Xiu Xiu) were clad in black attire with a striking intensity and stillness. The approach was succinct and precise, dance music at once beautiful and aggressive, lulling and pounding. Audience communication was minimal, as was the music, and righteously so. Their sound was reminiscent of early New Order gone digital and distorted. Lyrically direct and existential, they sang of isolation, uncertainty and angst. My friend remarked that their sound reminded him of early “Being Boiled” Human League. The crowd was mesmerized and moved to dancing, no small feat in Los Angeles. Songs like Love Comes Close and Cebe And Me were broken down to their basic elements, delivered with an iceflow of synth-waves and just enough sunlight to cast a shadow. The brevity of Cold Cave’s set definitely left you wanting more, not to be greedy. Their jubilant brand of gloom was fitting for the evening that brought the first winter rain that sunny Los Angeles has experienced in a long while.
Eyad Karkoutly

Thursday, September 17, 2009

HEALTH- Get Color (Album Review)

Reposted from LA Record

Watching flames chew up the hills of Los Angeles, I’m struck by the fear and rapture that washes over me as I watch a beautiful orange glow under alien skies. As I listen to Get Color, the latest release from HEALTH, I find myself experiencing a similar sensation. Drums pound on your frontal lobe and high frequency tones wash over you as a guitar shifts its shape and a synthesized choir of vocal reverberation pans from left to right—and you can dance your ass off to this shit. This is a very sophisticated distillation of underground music’s best: My Bloody Valentine’s Isn’t Anything, Public Image Limited’s Metal Box and Olatunji’s Drums of Passion joined together as an era realizes that it is falling into decline. HEALTH is striving to reinvent—to rise above. There is a tension between hazy melody and speed metal that lulls and arrests the listener. Track 1—“In Heat”—leaps out at you fully formed, looking for a home inside your body. “Death +” disorients with mooger-foogered ferocity and atonal laps around the familiar. “Eat Flesh” is appropriately titled: traditional song structure is eviscerated with stabs of keyboards and pummeled with mallets like a drum head. HEALTH engages in simultaneous acts of deconstruction and creation, birthing a modern classic in the process. Get Color is both startlingly original and comfortably fucked up. What is most surprising is just how driving and focused the chaos of this album is. HEALTH takes aim at the horizon with “We Are Water” and fires off a lysergic warning shot with “In Violet.” The overall effect of Health’s second album is a heightened sonic awareness of environment—everything is suddenly seen with new eyes that change color and glow in the dark. This is modern music.

—Eyad Karkoutly

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Jimmy Campbell - Half Baked

Mark David Chapman once stated that he targeted John Lennon because he thought he was "phony and insincere." Perhaps his insanity would've been soothed by the music of Jimmy Campbell. While watching contemporaries like the Beatles achieve massive success in an era where anything from Liverpool or London was rabidly consumed by the record buying public, Campbell never found his place in the pop music glitterati. He started with the Merseybeat boom as part of the Kirkbys, whose singles included It's A Crime, an upbeat riff rocker in the vein of the Stones's Satisfaction. His musical path reflected the ups and downs of the fickle pop singles game, from Merseybeat to psychedelia. Another project of Campbell's, the 23rd Turnoff, produced the song Michel Angelo, a haunting admonition for the folly of dreaming rather than doing, a cautionary tale it turns out. It is apparently one of Will Seargent's favorite songs, and rightly so.

The death of his mother is a crushing blow to his state of mind, and his first soo lp, Son Of Anastasia is not exactly an upbeat affair.

His second solo LP, Half Baked is a work of staggering heartbreak and beauty. It was released in 1970 on the Vertigo label in the U.S. and features Billy Kinsley and Tony Crane of the Merseybeats, Pete Clarke of the Escorts and Joey Molland of Badfinger. The orchestral arrangements are reminiscent of Nick drakes Five Leaves Left. Dylan and Lennon are evoked on the tracks "Green Eyed American Actress" and "don't Leave Me Now," but the overall sound is wholly his own. Campbell sings of missed opportunities, cheating girlfriends, loneliness and love unreturned. Yet, there is an acceptance of his situation, an almost wry glee expressed by his lot in the songs. Campbell seems to be sincerely singing his life. None of the disparity that Chapman saw in Lennon's multi millionaire reality versus his professional everyman persona. Campbell presented his heartbreak to the world eloquently in these beautifully crafted songs. It really is a crime that his work is not better known, especially the Half Baked material. EBay seems to be your best bet of tracking it down.

For every sacred cow, there is a sacrificial lamb. It almost seems that with each success of John Lennon's, Campbell suffered another professional setback. Yet his music survives him, and is ripe for reappraisal.