Archive for July 2011
Last time I posted a mixtape, I mentioned that summer was on its way. And as I’m typing, I can say that it has certainly arrived. As soon as July sneaked up on us, the heat returned from its June gloom vacation and rushed back into Los Angeles at full strength. Oh, how I regret bad-mouthing the cool days of June.
Since June’s mixtape is surprisingly even heavier on local artists than April’s mixtape, I’m just going to skip to the good stuff now.
Here’s a quick rundown of the locals who earned a spot on the mixtape:
Computer Magic – Because Goldfrapp’s latest album was a huge disappointment and Little Boots has been busy working with the Knocks on her new album, Danielle Johnson, aka Danz, aka Computer Magic has been filling the spacey-electronica void for me pretty well lately. Her sound ranges from disco to rock to pop, and you can hear all of this if you just go to her blog. She’s been releasing songs online for free since 2010, and her credibility was boosted in my book when her first physical release came out on White Iris Records during March.
Superhumanoids – This indie dream-pop quartet has been blowing up as of late. I’ve been a fan of this band since I saw them for the first time at an insanely early slot during Waved Out in 2010. I’ve featured them numerous times on Wild Tonic, so they shouldn’t be new to you either. But if they are, just know that Cameron an Sarah’s vocals are pure gold, and this band knows how to keep churning out the hits. The chorus in “Mikelah” is wonderfully addictive.
Vanaprasta - This guitar rock quintet also aren’t strangers to readers of Wild Tonic. I’ve raved about this band too many times, but they just keep getting better every time I see them. (In fact, the last time I saw them play a midnight set, the audience demanded an encore.) I’m not going to lie. I was pretty upset when they scrapped their almost-ready-to-release record to start all over again. However, they have me eating my words with new tunes like “Supernumerary.”
Foster the People – Oh, Foster the People. I’d be surprised if anyone hasn’t heard of these guys by now. Their track, “Pumped Up Kicks,” made the blog rounds for quite some time before it reached the mainstream masses, but as soon as it did, talk about Mark Foster and his band spread like wildfire. They acquired a late night slot at Coachella this year based on a 3-song EP, and their tent was overflowing. They’ve released their debut album “Torches” since then, and they’re still riding on the coat tails of that first single. This Milles remix puts a really great ’80s spin on their track, “Call It What You Want.”
Dawes – Dawes has come a long way from Simon Dawes. After one of their original members split, they decided to drop the first half of the band name and move toward an Americana sound. That was back in 2005. Flash forward six years later, and they’ve successfully released two great albums that have reignited the Laurel Canyon sound. In fact, they’re still doing so well they will be the backing band for Jackson Browne tonight at the Satellite. You can read more about them in my Dawes feature here.
Doom & Gloom - Sorry if I mislead you, but this band isn’t actually an L.A. band. However, if you were a big Castledoor fan, Doom & Gloom should make you very happy despite their ironic band name. Nate Cole and his wife Liska are now Brooklyn residents, but it would just seem wrong not to talk about them since the married couple contributed so much to the Silver Lake music scene during the last five years as members of Castledoor. Now a duo on the East coast, Dloom & Gloom totes those undeniably soaring vocals from Nate and Liska’s soft vocals lay a nice foundation on their new pop gems. “Jenny” showcases both new and old sounds from Nate as a songwriter and pretty much has me hoping Doom & Gloom grows successful enough to come back to L.A. to do a show.
Hanni El Khatib – Back when I still wrote for BeatCrave, I selected Hanni El Khatib as one of the artists to watch out for in 2011. My lists in the past have never been far off from what actually happens, and Hanni is proof that my hunches for this year are also correct. Not only has he gotten attention from label Stones Throw, but his cover of Funkadelics’ “I Got A Thing” is currently featured in the latest Nike campaign on TV. Oh, and his upcoming album, “Will the Guns Come Out,” is killer. Hanni will be performing July 14 at the Hammer Museum as part of the Also I Like To Rock series.
Active Child – Leave it to a former choir boy and harpist to surprise people with some new, heavy, R&B vibes. I always knew Active Child seemed a little out of our world, but as that feeling about Pat Grossi grows stronger, I also grow more excited. I love how his gothic romance is crossing over into a genre that has unfortunately turned out to be quite flat during the last decade. Sing it, Harp Boy, and save R&B while you’re at it.
Capital Cities – Need more proof that Cragislist actually works for finding band members? Well, new electro-pop band Capital Cities can testify. Sebu Simonian and Ryan Merchant may have been gotten together to write jingles, but that initial collaboration led to some new music that has just as much pep. “Safe and Sound” is clean, catchy and bubbly, and I find absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Chelsea Wolfe – Is Chelsea Wolfe the Stevie Nicks of our generation? Maybe. Maybe not. She’s got this mysterious, supernatural vibe going on, but this is pop noir without the pretense. Her album “Ἀποκάλυψις” (pronounced Apokalypsis) comes out Aug. 23 and I highly recommend picking it up. This version of “Moses” is off her last album, “The Grime and the Glow,” but the new record will also have a new version of this track.
Grab the latest Wild Tonic mixtape below and enjoy!