New technology as well as the rapid decline of the old-school music industry structure has really leveled the playing field for independent music acts, including L.A.’s-own, Caught a Ghost.
The band in question is the new project from songwriter/producer Jesse Nolan, who fuses modern blue-eyed soul with elements of classic Motown/Stax compositions and contemporary electronica. Caught a Ghost recently premiered the video for their first single, Sleeping At Night, which was created entirely using an iPhone. No need for a major label music video budget here.
While indie outfit Grouplove is based in L.A., their journey towards bandhood began with a chance meeting in N.Y.C., and flourished in the coastal tranquility of Greece.
As if preordained, front man Christian Zucconi and keyboardist-singer Hannah Hooper met late one evening on the lower east side of Manhattan, and were instantly inseparable. So much so, that shortly after meeting, Hooper invited Zucconi to an artist residency she was attending over the summer in Greece. “Seriously, we had only known one another for a few days but are both so inspired and alive when we are together that going to Greece seemed like a magical and natural thing to do,” recalled Zucconi.
While on the island of Crete, Zucconi and Hooper made fast friends with a trio of fellow attendees who would become future Grouplove band mates: British guitar player, Sean Gadd, pro surfer and Los Angeles-based bassist, Andrew Wessen, and Wessen’s childhood friend and drummer, Ryan Rabin. “It was a really special way to form a band — we were friends first, before ‘a band,’” Zucconi told SPIN Magazine. “We never planned to be a band. When we recorded the EP, it was just for fun. It was just going to be one song, and then after that one song we were like, ‘Wait, this is really cool and special. Let’s cancel our flights back to the East Coast.’”
After the summer residency ended and everyone scattered to their hometowns, the memories of that incredible summer together weren’t easily forgotten. As Zucconi describes it, “We all understood how rare it is for five strangers to feel as close as family and create passionate music together. We couldn’t just return to Brooklyn and let the music we all made fade into a memory of that summer we had in Greece.” So after pooling their funds to travel and record an EP at Rabin’s Los Angeles recording studio, the members of Grouplove made a life-altering decision. Hooper and Zucconi packed up their lives in Brooklyn and Gadd packed up his life in London and they all moved to L.A. to live and play music.
Grouplove are currently putting the finishing touches on their debut LP, which is set to release in May via Canvasback/Atlantic Records. And after touring in late 2010 with the likes of Florence + The Machine and The Joy Formidable, Grouplove are headlining January’s month-long Monday night residency at the Bootleg Theater.
Tonight, Grouplove are joined at their Monday night Bootleg Theater residency by White Arrows. The show is FREE and 21+.
Check out Grouplove’s new video for “Colours,” directed by Jordan Bahat, below.
Grouplove’s self-titled EP re-releases January 25th.
Siblings rule the roost during the final month of Spaceland’s Monday night residency.
The Belle Brigade is Barbara and Ethan Gruska, and Americana-infused folk rock duo, whose songbook is filled with thoughtful harmony-laced tunes. Barbara is familiar to L.A. fans as the drummer for the likes of Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins, and in her newest incarnation as one half of The Belle Brigade with kid brother Ethan, she is poised to release a debut self-titled album from Warner Brother Records.
Tonight, the brother and sister team are joined on stage by Alex and Sam, The Sweet Hurt, and Wyoming. The rest of this month, The Belle Brigade co-headline with Long Beach-locals, The Fling, helmed by brothers Dustin and Graham Lovelis, who recently signed to Dangerbird Records.
January’s Monday night residency at Spaceland is FREE and 21+
Junk Culture is the brainchild of Oxford, Mississippi native Deepak Mantena, who fuses found sounds with high-energy dance rhythms and Animal Collective-influenced pop melodies. On the title track off his newest release, Summer Friends, Mantena splashes brash vocals over electronic swirls and layers.
It seems fitting that Mantena’s Junk Culture, with its found sound influences, has secured a home at Illegal Art, the same record label as mash-up master Gregg Gillis, of Girl Talk fame. The label mates will join forces in early 2011 for a U.S. tour, full tour dates can be found below. You can also stream/download the single “Summer Friends,” for FREE
The Long Beach trio We Barbarians may be playing in their own backyard, supporting Passion Pit on their So Cal dates, but they’ve come a long way.
College friends of fellow Long Beach natives, Cold War Kids, David Quon (lead vocals, guitar), Derek Vanheule (bass, vocals), and Nathan Warkentin (drums, vocals), started playing together in 2007, and after a short interim with the band, The Colour, struck out on their own as We Barbarians, touring the country with such acts as Local Natives, Tokyo Police Club, The Morning Benders, Les Savy Fav, and of course, Cold War Kids.
Timbre Tantrum was privileged enough to see We Barbarians hit the stage with Cold War Kids at an intimate Big Sur show back in November (check out Timbre Tantrum’s photos from their Big Sur show at Fernwood Resort), and their stage presence was electric. Now with an EP (2007’s In the Doldrums) and LP (2009’s There’s This There’s That) under their belt, We Barbarians are prepping a new EP, slated for an early 2011 release. Hear a taste of their heavier anthemic sound on their newest track, Headspace, below.
We Barbarians December 2010 Tour Dates
12/3 Santa Cruz, CA @ Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium *
12/4 Pomona, CA @ Fox Theatre *
12/5 San Diego, CA @ Soma *
12/7 Los Angeles, CA @ The Music Box *
12/8 Santa Barbara, CA @ The Granada Theater *
12/9 Las Vegas, NV @ The House of Blues *
12/11 Long Beach, CA @ Basement Lounge
* w/ headliners Passion Pit