Bosnian Rainbows at First Unitarian Church

Yes, you read that correctly: a rock band performed at a church in Los Angeles. A very LA thing to do? I don’t know but the sound inside was amazing (naturally) but it got it hotter than Hades with the lack of/the weak air conditioning system.

The band played the entire album minus two or three songs. Highlights were “Turtleneck” with its extended guitar solo, “Red,” my favorite song off the albu,, and “Mother, Father, Set Us Free.”

Teri’s antics were a lot more subdued from her Le Butcherettes days. She never climbed an amp, hung from a rafter or anything wild but she still had a number of weird dance moves to entertain the crowd with.

Check out a few photos from the set below with more on my flickr.

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Sargent House Labelmates Fang Island, Zechs Marquise and Adebisi Shank Rock The Troubadour

L.A. label/management group Sargent House hosted a huge bash at The Troubadour last Friday with Fang Island, Zechs Marquise and Adebisi Shank.

Headliners Fang Island were on tour in support of their recently-released second album Major and performed a long set that ended with a million guitarists onstage including Nick of Tera Melos, Marcos of Zechs Marquise and Lar of Adebisi Shank. I think I saw the ghost of Jimi Hendrix near the drum kit.

Zechs performed a shorter version of the set they’ve been playing since they released Getting Paid last year but changed a few of the songs to give them more of a “jam session” feel in the middle. Opening act Shank delivered the goods even harder than they did at their U.S. debut at last year’s SXSW and performed a new song.

Below are some photos of the event. The full set can be found on my flickr page.

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Five Favorite Things From 2011

5) Remezcla

I began freelancing for Remezcla on a regular basis in May. Since then, I:

My work there continues to expose me to many artists I would never hear of otherwise, such as Quiero Club whose song, “Dias Perfectos,” is my favorite of 2011:

My last interview of 2011 (with Rodrigo of Rodrigo y Gabriela) will be my first published interview in 2012. It can only get better from here!

4) Sargent House

Sargent House is an artist management company (don’t call it a record label!) in L.A. that is home to the types of bands larger labels are too timid to promote.

I met SH founder Cathy Pellow and her staff of dedicated musicphiles in October 2010 when I covered the Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group/Le Butcherettes concert for LA Weekly. It was immediately obvious that they were the real deal and not some stereotypical Hollywood character archetype.

2011 was a busy year for everyone involved with SH. Every band on the roster toured at some point. Le Butcherettes, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group, And So I Watch You From Afar, Zechs Marquise, Hella, Gypsyblood and others released an album (two in the case of Boris). Big Sir, Fang Island, This Town Needs Guns and others spent the year working on new material.

One of the highlights of the year was the company’s SXSW showcase, which featured the U.S. debut of Adebisi Shank. This leads to point three…

3) SXSW

You always remember your first! I traveled to Austin, TX for my first SXSW experience. My trip there was brief (two days/two nights) but memorable and fun thanks to the new friends and contacts I met and all the great music that surrounded me.

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Just one of many "entrances" to SXSW.

I was really struck by the diversity of genres and styles represented by the performers at the festival. I remember turning a corner and hearing a country band perform in the patio. Two doors down, an indie-rock band had people dancing while, next door, an independent hip-hop artist made some new fans. By the time I hit the other end of the street, I’d heard punk, metal and latin music as well.

2) Spain

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Festival de San Fermin (Running of the Bulls)

This was another “first” for me: my first time in Europe and Spain. I lived/studied in Valladolid for the month of July and visited Pamplona, Salamanca, Segovia, Santander and San Sebastian (mostly north/central Spain). I hope to return and visit the coastal areas.

1) My niece

I returned home from Spain to be greeted by my newborn baby niece:

Adventures in babysitting!

Getting Paid: An Interview with Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez of Sci-Fi Funk Group Zechs Marquise

Imagine a soundtrack for a blaxploitation film starring Shaft in outer space and you’ll have an idea of what Zechs Marquise’s second album, Getting Paid, sounds like. The album is a harder, funkier successor to the group’s full-length debut Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare, which favored ambience and mellow dub.

I spoke with bassist Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez over the phone about the album as well as a number of other topics including why the band is playing at a strip club in Hollywood, bass lines in latin cumbias and west coast hip-hop, Japanese anime, the period of time the band was named Mastodon, and a certain famous sibling.

(l - r) Marcos Smith, Matthew Wilkinson, Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez, Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez and Rikardo Rodriguez-Lopez

So you have a few shows coming up next week.

We actually start on Saturday. We have one here [in El Paso] and then the next one is in Mesa [AZ]. Then we play L.A., then San Diego, then L.A. again.

I was looking at those shows and I see you guys are playing at Cheetahs. How’d THAT happen?

We have a friend who books bands there and he saw that we were coming out and had a day off. And he’s like “It’s this bikini bar!” and the reason why we took it is because there’s no cover and we get to play all of our stuff. So we thought, cool, we’ll have one free show and one where people have to pay. We’re kind of interested in seeing how that works out.

Yeah, I read that and thought “When did Cheetahs start booking bands?”

[laughs] So is it like a bikini bar or like a strip club? I’ve been told it’s both, kind of.

I was there once for a friend’s birthday. It’s not a full-on strip club but you can get lap dances and all that.

Like a middle ground? [laughs]

Yeah, that’s why when I read about that show, I went “huh?”

That’s weird, yeah. [laughs] We thought the same thing too.

And then you guys are playing at Low End Theory later.

Yeah, we haven’t played Low End in like two years and we used to try to do it at least twice a year. Over the last few years, we never had a chance to schedule a Low End show, especially with how we’ve grown over the past couple of years, but we definitely like playing there. I think they’ve only had a couple of rock bands play there but all the residents there consider us residents so that’s cool considering that we don’t live in L.A.

The first time we did Low End we opened for Daedalus and Busdriver. We were totally stoked on that because we’ve been fans of Busdriver for so long.

And you’re actually playing two shows in El Paso.

Yeah, we have another one in October [at La Parada]. I guess it would be the equivalent of El Paso’s Low End Theory. It’s the first Friday of every month at the San Carlos building, which is a building a huge courtyard. They have lots of stores and stuff and they let these guys rent the whole space once a month with a few dj’s and live art. Sometimes they have a dance troupe play, they’ll have a band play, it’s really cool. We’re booking it as our vinyl release party since we’re playing two shows in El Paso so close together and because it’s mostly a vinyl culture as it is.

Are you going to add more tour dates?

We have a tour coming up in November. As soon as the routing and dates are locked down, we’ll be announcing those. The only reason we’re doing this one so short is because it’s right when the record comes out. We want to get out, play a few shows and give it some time to circulate for a minute before heading back out again.

Let it percolate for a bit?

Yeah, exactly. Let it settle with people. It’ll be nice to do these shows. The way it worked out was great with Low End capping it off and [brother/drummer] Marcel [Rodriguez-Lopez]’s birthday is the following day on the 29th so to come back home after releasing the record, especially after how long and how hard we’ve been working on it, it’ll be nice.

Continue reading “Getting Paid: An Interview with Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez of Sci-Fi Funk Group Zechs Marquise”