Vagrant Journalism

Published pieces from the past, the present and of the potential future.

Archive for the ‘L.A. Record’ Category

1 September 09: Live at The Smell @ The Downtown Independentt

Posted by Christina on September 2, 2009

live-at-smellSo, The Smell is a pretty legendary venue out here in Downtown LA. The bands, the art, the people – everything about it was perfect for the live show scene of LA. All it needed was its own documentary and man, did they get one. They screened it last week at the beautiful Downtown Independent.

L.A. Record: Live at the Smell @ The Downtown Independent

Some volume issues during a performance on screen render the crowd restless. Murmurs ripple through, speculating and questioning.

“Can’t hear a fucking thing!” cuts through the darkness, crass and unconstructive.

“Well, you should’ve been there!” retorts another faceless voice, more lighthearted. By the end of the film, he couldn’t have been more right.

The Smell first opened its doors in 1998 and to this day is the only Los Angeles venue heavily DIY in nearly every aspect. Dedicated to the purveyors and connoisseurs of music and art, the Smell is run by the artists whose work decorates the walls, by bands who schedule their own shows and volunteers who love art. It’s a community spot welcoming creative minds.

Michael Fierstein, of Static Aktion, has been working with club owner Jim Smith for over five years now, setting up shows and loving every minute. He’s brought some great acts to the Smell, a magic he used to make their documentary film about the legendary venue, Live at The Smell.

“I love The Smell, it’s my home,” said Fierstein, who produced the film. “I have nothing but the utmost respect for Jim Smith and it really was an honor that he would trust me to oversee a movie about the Smell, using The Smell’s name.”

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25 July 09 – Mellowdrone ‘Angry Bear’

Posted by Christina on August 31, 2009

angry_bear2This was a really fun album and my first record review for L.A. Record. I’ve posted my original here but check out the link to see their edited version. They’ve posted a track on their website and you can listen to Mellowdrone’s tunes by clicking the below link to the original article as well – totally worth it!

L.A. Record: Mellowdrone ‘Angry Bear’

In the thick, melodious haze of Mellowdrone’s latest LP comes Angry Bear, an album rich and heavy with lo-fi goodness. Bandmates Jonathan Bates on vox and bass, Tony DeMatteo on guitar and Brian Borg on drums have been going strong for about a decade with a few EPs and band member changes in between. Now with their second full-length album, the trio has released their definitive rock opus.

Starting off minimalistic with vocals and backing guitar, “Where Ever You May Go” is a psychedelic rock ballad without the lighters and pretentious lovelorn emotions. A dash of keys punctuate the chorus throughout while a guitar blares through distortion. With this track, Mellowdrone establishes a woozy wall of sound for a 12-track odyssey through their vast sonic landscape.

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3 July 09: The Moondoggies – I Don’t Decide Where To Move My Body

Posted by Christina on July 4, 2009

moondoggiesI recently started contributing to L.A. Record, an independent music magazine published in Los Angeles. I’ve started out with a band interview and it’s ended up on their home page! I suppose they switch it up every time they have a new interview, but it’s exciting to see mine up there for now. I interviewed the lead singer and guitarist, Kevin Murphy, for a pretty exciting, up-and-coming band called The Moondoggies out of Seattle. There’s more of the interview but they’ve published the highlights.

L.A. Record: The Moondoggies – I Don’t Decide Where To Move My Body

Moondoggies’ Kevin Murphy—and bandmates Robert Terreberry on bass, Carl Dahlen on drums and Caleb Quick on keys—are hauling their three-part harmonies, finger-picked guitar licks and Rhodes piano south to L.A. from Seattle. It’s an ageless American sound—as casually accidental as it can get. This interview by Christina Nersesian.

You started as kind of a punk band and then you went to Alaska and came back making music with this whole Byrds and Eagles vibe going on—so what happened in Alaska?
Kevin Murphy (guitar/vocals): I moved to Bellingham, which is an hour north of Seattle and I lived there for about a year. It was during a time where our old band the Familiars were dying and I don’t know—we weren’t listening to that kind of music as much. The drummer had hearing problems so he stopped playing the drums and starting playing the banjo. We were just kind of listening to a lot more bluegrass and things like the Band. It was just kinda like—‘I want to get out of this college town and focus on some music on my own.’ It was more about getting myself more disciplined, I suppose. I moved up there because I had nothing else to do. I was interested in Ketchikan because it’s pretty isolated being an island and I had a friend who had a job for me and a place to stay for free. I could save up money and jump on the ferry and ride up there. It seemed like a good opportunity to go see what that place was about.
When you guys started to play the bluegrass-y stuff, were you tapping into anything you heard growing up?
I think things are just coming around full circle. I grew up on the Beatles and Nirvana, definitely. I was discovering a lot of stuff but nothing was very unfamiliar. I just started digging more and more into it. I still like some of the louder stuff that I listened to in high school. I started to really hear a lot of those brilliant, older songs and suddenly you realize you haven’t heard anything and you keep digging. Read the rest of this entry »

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