Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Real Estate

Real Estate recently hit Santa Ana's Observatory in anticipation of their (as of yet, untitled) forthcoming LP. Sonic Sandwich's Adrian Garcia was there on vibe-capture duty to photograph the band in all their beach-y, chilled-out glory. Catch Adrian and his estimable co-host, Pizazz, every Saturday 12-2pm exclusively on KUCI 88.9FM.

(more after the jump)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Zombies/Allah-Las/Summer Twins @The Observatory 9/10

The Zombies recently came back from the dead to play The Observatory, and brought the Allah-Las and Summer Twins with 'em. Shaka Sista DJ Boop and DJ Adrian (Sonic Sandwich/60 Cycle Hum) were there to capture the magic.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Summer Twins in studio

Big thanks to Summer Twins for playing a very lovely set, and an equally big thanks to the gals at Jelly Jive for making it happen. Catch DJs Meow Mix & Cow in a Shoe Store every Friday 6-8pm only on KUCI 88.9fm. Also, check out a video of the performance on our brand spankin' new KUCI Youtube page. (photos/videos by Allie Ihm & Adrian Garcia)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Blonde Redhead @Constellation Room 9/4

Adrian Garcia, of Sonic Sandwich and 60 Cylce Hum fame, recently caught Blonde Redhead at the intimate Constellation Room in Santa Ana. Check out his beautiful pics here and keep a lookout for his next show in the coming weeks - exclusively on KUCI 88.9FM in Irvine.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Review: The Thermals at The Constellation Room, Santa Ana June 14, 2013

DJ Cow in a Shoe Store, one of the hosts of Jelly Jive airing Friday's 6:00-8:00pm, recently saw The Thermals at The Constellation Room in Santa Ana on June 14, 2013. Her show review and photos are below. For more from DJ Cow in a Shoe Store visit jellyjiveradio.tumblr.com.

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From Portland, The Thermals just came out with a new album called “Desperate Ground” and are on tour to promote it this summer. The album is poetic, compelling, and full of emotional guitar music. I haven’t seen them play live since high school! So I was super excited for this night. And on top of all this excitement, another favorite was opening for them: The Audacity. 

The Thermals played a lot of old favorites like “Now We Can See” and “I Might Need You To Kill” while mixing in some new songs in the set as well. You could tell the audience was enjoying it by the size of the mosh pit. However, the bassist noticed there weren’t enough girls in it, so she told everyone to start dancing with a lady since she thought there was too much testosterone in the pit. But we definitely left full of emotion as both bands killed it to say the least, making for a crazy fun night.

Friday, June 7, 2013

KUCI Takes Over Exchange LA on Friday, June 14th, 2013!

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KUCI will be taking over Exchange LA on Friday night, June 14th! Four KUCI DJs will be spinning the downstairs room between 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. The DJs include Dennis Simms (Riders of the Plastic Groove), DJ Rubrene (Telesthesia: Sound System Circuitry), DO'MIN (Delirium Drop) and Lily (Beatification). Marco V will be headlining the night upstairs with Tristan D. For tickets and more info visit http://vor.us/89218.

Review: Shannon and the Clams at Constellation Room on June 2, 2013

DJ Cow in a Shoe Store, one of the hosts of Jelly Jive airing Friday's 12:00-3:00pm, recently saw Shannon and the Clams at The Constellation Room in Santa Ana on June 2, 2013. Her show review and photos are below. For more from DJ Cow in a Shoe Store visit jellyjiveradio.tumblr.com.

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On Sunday, June 2nd, I saw Shannon and The Clams play an amazing set at The Constellation Room. DJ Meow Mix and I have been fans of theirs for a long time, but it was the first time either of us had seen them live. Basically, we danced the night away and left with smiles as wide as the summer sky.
Aquadolls opened the show, and it was a ton of fun from the get go. They threw confetti and balloons in the crowd and kept us very entertained. Their set was especially good because they had a few new songs I had not heard before, and ended the set with my favorite from them, Sinus Infection. Cherry Glazerr went on after and were super good as usual, except one of the singers was missing that night, so they didn’t play the song Bloody Bandaid which was a bummer since it’s one of my favorites from them.

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When Shannon and The Clams came on, everyone was cheering and ready to have their minds blown away. We surely weren’t disappointed. It was hard not to shake your hips to the catchy doo-wop garage punk songs which were so energizing. They played a nice mix of old favorites and new gems from their album that just came out called Dreams In The Rat House. Also, a strange man who seemed to be a friend of the band came on stage mid set and started giving the crowd a strip tease. It was innocent but entertaining, nonetheless. Overall, Sunday night was a fantastic one, thanks to this incredible show.

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Review: Summer Twins and Blank Tapes at the Constellation Room on May 29, 2013

DJ Meow Mix, one of the hosts of Jelly Jive airing Friday's 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., saw Summer Twins and Blank Tapes at the Constellation Room in Santa Ana last Wednesday. Her show review and photos are below. For more from DJ Meow Mix visit http://jellyjiveradio.tumblr.com/.
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Summer Twins

I took a nice break during the week by seeing The Summer Twins on Wednesday night at the Constellation Room in Santa Ana. Summer Twins are two cute sisters that sing dreamy harmonies in 50’s inspired rock n roll songs. Just think of a modern girl version of the Everly Brothers – they even cover “All I Have to do is Dream,” which was just released on their new EP Forget Me. The title song of that EP is definitely one of my favorite songs by them, so you could imagine how happy I was when they played it as the last song of the set.  Another one of my favorites of the night was “I Will Love You” which they faded into and made a sort of medley out of the previous song. It was awesome and impossibly hard not to dance to! They are a great band to see live, and luckily they have an LA residency coming up in June where they play every Monday night at the Bootleg Bar, so there are plenty more opportunities to see them. DJ Cow in a Shoe Store and I built up the courage to talk to them afterwards and they were very nice and approachable. We talked about having them come into KUCI to play a live set on Jelly Jive so we hope to have that happen in the future. They also gave us a free copy of their new EP so get ready to hear more of that on our show!
Surprisingly Summer Twins were not headlining the concert, they actually went on first out of four bands. The main attraction was The Blank Tapes who put on quite a show themselves. Their style is pretty different from the Summer Twins – a lot more folky which is why I was kind of surprised they played together. The lead singer shredded on the guitar and had some impressive solos, while the drummer played on two floor toms instead of a full drum kit. Overall it was a unique and memorable show.

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Blank Tapes

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: Mikal Cronin at Echo on May 24, 2013

DJ Meow Mix, one of the hosts of Jelly Jive airing Friday's 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., saw Mikal Cronin at the Echo in Los Angeles last Friday. Her show review and photos are below. For more from DJ Meow Mix visit http://jellyjiveradio.tumblr.com/.

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Mikal Cronin swooned LA with his feel-good rock n roll last Friday night at the Echo. Although he is a Southern Californian native, it is not a common occurrence for him to play in the area as it seems he is always on some sort of tour (he has been to Europe twice this past year!). His next tour in June is to promote his new album MCII which came out just earlier this month and is definitely a must-have. He played a good mix between old and new songs – the highlights of the new, in my opinion, are “Weight” and “Change.” In the car ride there I told DJ Cow in a Shoe Store I really wanted to hear his old songs “Situation,” “Is it Alright,” and “Apathy,” and funny enough he started off the show with those exact songs, in that order! But I think my favorite of the night was actually a song I had forgotten about, called “Again & Again.” All of the songs seemed to be hits with the crowd, who started out to be mellow but got more energy as the set went on. The peak was when one guy from the crowd managed to get on stage and harmonized with Mikal. Eventually Mikal just let the excited fan have the mic for a while, until he jumped back into the hands of the crowd. Another highlight of the show was the encore – he had played pretty much all of his hits during the concert so I was wondering what he would play when he came back. He ended up doing a cover of Wreckless Eric’s “Whole Wide World” which was a nice treat.

                  I cannot end this review without mentioning the opening Burger act Pangea. They’re LA natives as well and have accumulated quite a following. Their fast rock style creates enormous energy in the building with some of the craziest crowds I have ever been in. This time I got knocked in the face and had an unidentified stinky drink spilled on me – but that’s just part of the fun!

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Review: The Presets at the Constellation Room on May 23, 2013!

Dagmar, the host of German Radio Broadcast airing Sunday's 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., saw The Presets at the Constellation Room last Thursday night. Here are her photos from the night. For more from Dagmar visit germanradio.kuci.org. 

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Not gonna lie, happening into the The Presets DJ set on the 23rd was a happy accident. My lil sis and I were at The Observatory in Costa Mesa, to catch Turbonegro, a self proclaimed deathpunk band when we noticed the second show going on later that night in the much more intimate Constellation Room... Just the other side of midnight on the 24th, Elke Klaus celebrated her birthday and The Presets took to the stage and serenaded us for just over an hour.
They covered all the good stuff, like Girl and the Sea, This Boy's in Love, Yippyo-Ay, If I Know You, Kicking & Screaming and new yummy stuff from their latest release, Pacifica: Promises, Ghosts and Fast Seconds. AND THE ROOM DANCED. That's pretty much all you need to know. They came, they played and they delivered. :)

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And it's no wonder, the duo is in town from Australia where they are much loved. This round, The Presets hit up the Orange County venue sandwiched between an LA show they had just played at Avalon with Dragonette and Classixx and as a part of a mega international DJ lineup for LED in San Diego over the following Memorial weekend (A-Trak, Baauer, The Presets, Gesaffelstein, Brodinski, Digitalism, Congorock, Just Blaze, Feed Me, Axwell, Diplo, Martin Solveig, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Clockwork, TJR, GTA, Hook N Sling and Desctructo).  

Truth be told, I believe the OC show was a bit of an amazing fluke - according to their Facebook flyer - they were originally supposed to have been in Oakland. Lucky, lucky us!

Curious? You can listen to The Presets on Soundcloud. :)

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Photos: Turbonegro at Observatory May 23, 2013

Dagmar, the host of German Radio Broadcast airing Sunday's 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., saw Turbonegro at the Observatory last Thursday night. Here are her photos from the night. For more from Dagmar visit germanradio.kuci.org.

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Lightning in a Bottle Workshops and Speakers Announced!

Lightning in a Bottle is a festival that goes beyond music and entertainment. LIB also features speakers and workshops. Some of this years speakers include David Wilcock, Michael Tellinger, John and Ocean Robbins, Daniel Pinchbeck, Jamie Janover, and many more. LIB will also feature yoga classes, Sanskrit - Sound & Calligraphy, Essential Oil Wizardry, Social Permaculture - Redesigning Civilization, Partner Massage, Body Painting, Sketch Cabaret, Bamboo Building & Knotty Knot Tying, Glass Blowing, Healing Sound Orchestra, Metal Weaving, Tea Ceremonies, Quill Pen Writing Station, Create a Temple, and the Temple of Awakened Vision. For more info visit www.lightninginabottle.org.

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Tune in to KUCI to win tickets to see Mumford and Sons at the San Manuel Amphitheater on June 2nd!

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Tune in to KUCI to win tickets to see Mumford and Sons at the San Manuel Amphitheater on June 2nd! For more info about the show visit http://www.livenation.com/events/233304/jun-2-2013/mumford-sons.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Review: Born Ruffians at Detroit Bar May 5, 2013

DJ Meow Mix, one of the hosts of Jelly Jive airing Friday's 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., recently saw Born Ruffians at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa. Her show review and photos are below. For more from DJ Meow Mix visit http://jellyjiveradio.tumblr.com/.

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I started the week off right by going to a Sunday show at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa. Born Ruffians came all the way from Ontario, Canada for a U.S. tour to promote their new album “Birthmarks.” They sure did promote it by playing almost all of the songs off the album! But they still managed to fit in some older (essential Born Ruffians) songs because of an extremely long setlist – they played for over an hour which is rare for the shows I’m used to but was a nice treat. You could tell they are an experienced band because they brought their own custom light- up background decorations that were the same shape as what is on their new album cover.  It was great to see them at Detroit Bar because the venue is pretty small in an intimate setting. I think there were not as many people as I was expecting because they played two other Southern California shows in the days before – LA and San Diego – which I’m sure got big turn outs. The crowd was relatively mellow up until the middle of the show when they played their classic song “Hummingbird,” that was when the real fun began. Other crowd favorites were “Kurt Vonnegut” and two of the encore songs (after minutes of chants from the crowd to play more): “Foxes Mate for Life” and “I Need a Life.” I was happy with their song choices, but I must say I was really rooting for mine and DJ Cow in a Shoe Store’s absolute favorite song “This Sentence Will Ruin/Save Your Life.”  It wasn’t included in the setlist but that’s just more incentive to see them next time they’re around in hopes of hearing that godly song.  It was nice to hear new songs as well, my favorite of them being their first single “Needle” from the new album. Overall it was a great show I am glad I got to attend.  

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Review: Coachella Teams Up With Global Inheritance

Dominica, the host of Delirium Drop airing Tuesday's 8:00pm to 10:00pm, recently attended Coachella Weekend 2. Her article is below. All photos were taken by Lily, the host of Beatification airing Tuesday's 10:00pm to 12:00am. For more from Dominica visit dancedomain.kuci.org and for more from Lily visit beatification.kuci.org.
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KUCI had the privilege and pleasure of attending Coachella Weekend 2. The Southern California music and arts festival has been going on since 1999.  As the festival has expanded over the years, attracting both larger acts and crowds, Coachella has made the effort to keep the festival environment friendly.   Coachella teamed up with Global Inheritance (G.I.), a non-profit organization, to help educate the festival attendees on global issues regarding the environment via programs such as Carpoolchella, TRASHed art & recycling store, Oasis Water Bar, and the Recyclosaurus Rex.  Each program focuses on helping to better the environment in a different aspect and inspire the youth.  

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With over 80,000 attendees at the festival, trash is a major issue. Coachella and G.I. assisted in creating accessible recycling areas throughout the festival while providing rewards for those who partake in the action.

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TRASHed, the art of recycling is a 2-part program to incentivize attendees to recycle due.  The first part of the program is where G.I. asks for artists, either globally or locally known, to conceptualize creative designs for a recycling bin.  After sending in their designs, a select number of entries are picked to bring their creativity to life with a recycle bin that will be displayed and used at Coachella.  It gets even better for the entrants.  They get to attend Coachella for free!  You can view some of the inspiration and artistic recycle bin designs that were chosen below.

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Some of the best TRASHed designs were at the recycling center, which was located right next to the RECYCLOASURUS REX.  This was part 2 of the program.  When attendees went to this area, they found that when they help recycle, they have a chance to receive free water (10 for 1), posters, shirts, backpacks, and more.

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10 For 1

The 10 for 1 program is an amazing program that encourages attendees to recycle 10 water bottles and you get 1 refreshing bottle of water for FREE! This program has been successfully running for the past seven years.  Attendees needed to pick up 10 empty bottles from the festival grounds and bring it to the recycling tent.  There, they are greeted by a representative of G.I and Coachella that provides them with their very own bottled water.  This program helps the Coachella and G.I. keep the festival environment clean but it helps to keep the attendees hydrated that are low on cash!
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Free water shots! Are you confused? Let me explain the beauty of the Oasis Water Bar.  It is located between the Gobi and Mojave stages.  It is an education program that helps others better understand our existing water sources and innovations.  They offer over 10 types of water ranging from glacier water, mountain spring water, San Diego tap water, moonshine secret sauce and more! First, you answer a short 5-question survey that you turn in and in exchange you get a free water shot ticket.  I tried the deionized water, hot spring water, and glacier water. They all tasted very different.  The most interesting of the three was the deionized water, which is supposed to be the purest water on earth.  The best way to describe this water was to say that it tasted thicker/heavier than your “normal” water.  It was also very smooth but had an interesting aftertaste that is difficult to describe.  The most refreshing of the three was the glacier water.  It was light, smooth and refreshing.  Personally, I found this one of the most interesting programs because it truly helps your realize the differences there are with water from different locations.
Overall, this event is more than a music festival; it is a gathering to promote earth friendly methods that will inspire others to act for a better tomorrow. 

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review: Mudhoney at The Echo on April 14, 2013

George, the host of George Had a Hat airing 10:00 am - 1:00pm on Tuesday's, recently saw Mudhoney at The Echo on April 14, 2013. His review is below. Heather McCoy, the host of The Heather McCoy Show airing 8:00 - 9:00 am on Tuesday's and the host of Rachel Ray's Cooking Accident airing 6:00 - 8:00 pm on Tuesday's, took the photo of Mudhoney below. For more from George visit http://ghat.kuci.org. For more from Heather visit http://kuci.org/talk/ and http://www.kuci.org/~cmccoy/.

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Fifteen years may have gone by since I saw them at the Galaxy(Observatory) in Santa Ana. But time hasn’t stoped this veteran grunge/punk rockers. Mudhoney is Still delivering a fast-paced, high energy set for a packed house at The Echo.
 While there may have been less moshing and rowdiness than in years past, the older crowd still banged their heads, crowd surfed and even managed a few stage dives throughout the show. One such unwelcome appearance on stage by a staggering lady resulted in the band starting a song over mid-way through. However, there were no complaints from the fans getting to hear one of their favorites one more time.

While the set list consisted of all but one song from their most recent album Vanishing, Mudhoney delighted fans with tunes deep from their archive, including “You Got It” and “Get Into Yours” off their 1988 self-titled album.

Mudhoney Set List:

Slipping Away
I Like It Small
You Got It
Suck You Dry
Get Into Yours
Who You Drivin’ Now?
In This Rubber Tomb
Sweet Young Thing (Ain’t Sweet No More)
Judgement, Rage, Retribution and Thyme
No One Has
Good Enough
Touch Me I’m Sick
What to Do With the Neutral
I’m Now
The Final Course
I Don’t Remember You
The Only Sun of the Widow from Nain
Sing This Song of Joy
Tales of Terror

Review: Youth Lagoon and Lady Lazarus @The El Rey 4/17

Josh, the host of the Noodle Incident from 1:00 - 2:00 pm on Thursday's, recently saw Youth Lagoon and Lady Lazaru at the El Rey on April 17th, 2013. Read his review below with photos by Lisa Sondora. For more from Josh visit http://incidentalnoodle.tumblr.com/.  

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Since Coachella’s recent expansion into a two weekend affair, several acts have taken advantage of their extended stay to embark on small west coast tours in the interim. As part of this overflow, often dubbed “Localchella,” Trevor Powers recently found himself in Los Angeles’ beautiful El Rey theater under the guise of his soaring-ly introspective musical persona, Youth Lagoon.
            The night began with California native, Melissa Ann Sweat, taking the stage under her Lady Lazarus moniker. Equipped with but a solitary piano illuminated by a single stage light, Sweat’s presence befitted the El Rey’s old-timey aesthetics. Her piercing, operatic voice laced over elegiac piano lines that often circled back into a morbid cocoon not unlike a less bleep-bloopy Zola Jesus. It’s a shame then that Sweat’s stage presence isn’t quite on the same level as Nika Danilova’s, as her folksy dirges were soon swallowed by a crowd presumably antsy to hear “Seventeen” and split.

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            After an exhaustive sound check, Youth Lagoon emerged – accompanied by the same soundscapes that opens Powers’ newest LP Wondrous Bughouse, which may be best described as the aural equivalent of an underwater carnival ride (an image the awesome cover art seems to visually portray). These opening moments were just as important on stage as on the record, setting the terms for Powers’ more cacophonous approach to songwriting before materializing into the thudding, melodic hook of Bughouse single “Mute.”

            This was followed by a string of Bughouse cuts that further differentiated the Boise act’s sound from the nostalgia-soaked anthems of its predecessor, Year of Hibernation. The crowd did, however, visibly express their appreciation when the band launched into Hibernation highlight, “Posters.” The relative lack of Hibernation tunes served the night well, though – allowing Bughouse’s spell to more fully envelop the crowd in its singular charm.
            “You’ll never die” Powers repeatedly screams during Bughouse standout, “Dropla,” and for the duration of his performance of that song – all 10 odd minutes of it – I believed him.

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review: Feeding People and King Khan & The BBQ Show at The Observatory 4/18/13

DJ Cow in a Shoe Store, the host of Jelly Jive airing Fridays 12:00-3:00pm, recently saw Feeding People and King Khan & The BBQ Show at The Observatory in Santa Ana on April 18, 2013. Her show review and photos are below. For more from DJ Cow in a Shoe Store visit http://jellyjiveradio.tumblr.com/.

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Feeding People

Lucky me got to witness the legendary King Khan and The BBQ Show at The Constellation Room with my co-host, DJ Meow Mix, on an obviously typical thursday night. We knew the night was going to be interesting from the second we approached the venue, realizing that there was another show happening on the bigger stage of The Observatory on the same night. It was 2 Chainz. So there were a lot of people there dressed in clubbing attire. It was pretty apparent who was there for 2 Chainz and who was there for King Khan. 
When we made our way The Constellation Room, we were wondering who the opening bands were, since it did not say anything on the event page. We found out Tashaki Miyaki and Feeding People were the openers. It was my first time seeing Tashaki Miyaki, and I was very impressed. The drummer was singing melodic and sad songs that really touched the heart. But there were two girls right at the front of the stage talking very loudly which was very rude. They also did not look like the typical King Khan fans, so we were a little worried the girls were at the wrong stage...we were right. So my co-host and I told them that 2 Chainz was playing at the bigger stage. That was the funniest part of the night, even though I felt really bad because they were rude and did not respect Tashaki Miyaki during their set. Feeding People also played a great set, as usual. The crowd was warming up and getting ready for a body moving dancey time. 

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King Khan & The BBQ Show

When King Khan and The BBQ Show came on stage, they were wearing these lovely little numbers that just foreshadowed what was about to come...absolute craziness, which was exactly what happened. Their up beat funky rock ‘n roll songs got everyone in the dancing mood and people went wild. Everyone felt the energy from King Khan’s sweat dripping all over the audience. It sounds gross, but it was beautiful. When he took off his shoes, a girl in the audience started to put her fingers through his toes and even attempted to lick them. All in all, it was a great show, and we left smiling.

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Review: CHVRCHES – Recover EP

This album review was written by DB, the host of Party at Gatsby's airing Tuesdays 6:00-8:00am. For more from DB visit http://lepartyatgatsbys.tumblr.com.

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By Katrina Yentch

Formed in Scotland, CHVRCHES is a new electronic group that has recently released an EP for the States. Recover EP (3/26 on Glassnote Records) features three tracks and an added remix of the single Recover. “Recover” is a pleasant way to start the album. Lead singer Lauren Mayberry takes over the vocals of this track, creating essences of pop intertwined with the overall electric feel that the EP brings. “If I recover, will you be my cover?” Mayberry begs, as the song progresses from a singular beat to multiple orchestral tones that are generally pleasing to listen to. It’s a strong start that leads way to the following track, “ZVVL,” which appears to take a bit more of a slower pace, with vocal help by synthesizer Ian Cook. However, the song seems to build, gathering intensity as Mayberry joins him in their chanting of the chorus. Is there a chorus in this song though? Probably not; I’d say that it’s replaced with a repetitive instrumental breakdown. Overall, nothing too memorable. The last track, “Now Is the Time,” is a surprisingly “ending-sounding” end to the EP. Reminiscent of 80’s electronic music, Mayberry croons as Cook chimes in during the choruses. Again, it is generally pleasant to listen to. It certainly meshes well with the lyrics that the group is trying to convey. A message to act now and think later, the instrumentals allow this to be delivered with spirit. For some odd reason, the song and its lyrics remind me of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.” (However, Recover doesn’t end here. The trio tosses in a remix of their single mixed by Cid Rim. The remix reminds me of something that would be a part of a soundtrack to an old school videogame. It seems to reversibly slow the pace of the song, till an instrumental breakdown of drums reclaims the upbeat attitude that the song carries. It’s an interesting take on the song, but definitely makes it more electronic and less pop. The EP is overall an interesting start to CHVRCHES’ recognition in the U.S. If the whole album is to sound like the EP, though, I suggest tossing it aside with the other electronic artists that are playing with synthesizers. The tracks are agreeable and easy to listen to, but it does not seem like something that would be worth keeping on repeat in the car. Regardless, you can listen to the EP for free via Pitchfork at (http://pitchfork.com/advance/51-recover-ep/). If anything, I would make “Now Is The Time” a good “go to” song to add to a “feel good” playlist.

6 ½ out of 10      (or?)       3 out of 5

Review: Telekinesis – Dormarion: Pop Angst at its Finest Review

This album review was written by DB, the host of Party at Gatsby's airing Tuesdays 6:00-8:00am. For more from DB visit http://lepartyatgatsbys.tumblr.com.

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It seems all too recently since 12 Desperate Straight Lines came out. However, that was 2011, and this month, front man Michael Lerner decided to welcome spring with his third studio album, Dormarion (4/2 via Merge Records). It’s a lot of music to take in, as the album consists of 12 tracks in under 45 minutes. Throughout you can expect to hear a lot of what you’d usually expect of Telekinesis: toe-tapping, pop rock tracks that simply put you in a plain good mood. They’re the songs that you walk around campus to. They’re auditory fuel right before a huge test or presentation. Dormarion starts out strong with “Power Lines,” a clever metaphor for the connection between locked lips. It’s upbeat, bright, and leads way for an even louder second track, “Empathetic People.” Here, Lerner experiments with a genre I’d like to coin as “pop angst.” Otherwise known as purposely anger-driven yet effortlessly cute. The single off the album follows, “Ghosts and Creatures.” It seems to be the outlier to the album as a whole. It is more direct of a message from Lerner, a call to escape loneliness as he delivers in a verse, “Yes, I need a friend, seeing things in black and white again.” It’s an impressive experimental turn from what Telekinesis is used to doing. Dormarion also slows it down a bit for listeners later on with “Symphony,” which seems to almost lead way for the following track, “Dark to Light.” It’s almost as if the track title and song itself pick up “Symphony.” Perhaps Lerner intended the two to work in conjunction with each other. The last track that seems to stray from Telekinesis’s roots is “Ever True.” It plays with 80s synth pop and immediately you can envision the bright highlighter pinks and greens that practically ooze from the lyrics of the song. A catchy electric keyboard riff accompanies this feel: surprised? The album as a whole is characteristic of what Telekinesis is good at doing: creating toe-tapping pop rock. However, it is done is such a crisp, clear manner that we don’t really ask ourselves, “Why doesn’t he just try something different?” He does with a few tracks and that’s all that really matters. It is Lerner’s precision with this genre that makes the album a great follow up to 12 Desperate Straight Lines. The album takes a good amount of turns with upbeat and happy to upbeat and angsty, if that appears to be a difference for some. For the purpose of Telekinesis’s genre, it certainly is. He basically sticks to his roots, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing! The man is talented too; while he may have a full band with him live, Lerner actually sings and plays a majority of the instruments in the studio when he records. We can add some credibility to Dormarion for that, right? A perfect way to start spring, the album is great soundtrack for your car rides to the beach.   

Review: James Blake - Overgrown

This album review was written by DB, the host of Party at Gatsby's airing Tuesdays 6:00-8:00am. For more from DB visit http://lepartyatgatsbys.tumblr.com.

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Recommend if: You want a slow yet symphonic musical experience.

James Blake: Overgrown

To premise the album, I will start off right away by declaring that this album is an experience. It is an album that demands the entire focus of the mind for full enjoyment. In order to really embrace this record, you have to lie on your floor with headphones on. Heavy bass capabilities on these headphones is a bonus. However, this can also be a lullaby. Placid dreaming is ensured afterwards. Out 4/8 (Polydor Ltd.), Overgrown is the sophomore to James Blake’s successful self-titled album not too long ago in 2011. With a second go comes a honed craft, as Blake truly experiments and dives deeper into his electronic roots with even more symphonic and orchestral waves of high notes and synth. 
The opening track, “Overgrown,” is bass-driven, and this only serves as an introduction for the bass that is about to encompass the entire album, which seems to be swallowed by it. Again, you’re not going to enjoy this as much unless you’ve got some great speakers or leak-free headphones. “I Am Sold” follows, which continues with the repeated lyrics, “speculate what we feel.” The instrumentals take this as a key, offering little accompaniment in order to contemplate these words that continue throughout the majority of the song. “Life Round Here” picks up the pace of the generally slow tempo album then follows with “Take a Fall For Me.” It seems to offer a fresh perspective of music from Wu Tang Clan’s RZA, who raps to the track with back vocal help by James Blake. This does seem to tear a bit away from the lyrics or the message of the song; I felt that Blake’s vocal samples made the song a bit comical, as his attempt to keep the song reflective of his genre alternately made me laugh a little; there were spurts of high notes that were awkwardly thrown in throughout. However, “Retrograde” makes up for this, Overgrown’s single. Simply put, it is marketable for a wider audience. It is simple, melodic, and incredibly contagious: expect this track to be stuck in your head for the next few days. Blake takes a right turn from this and “DIm” is brought forth. Here, we hear a slowed tempo once again, but with piano accompaniment. Blake also seems to really experiment with his vocals, as he constantly shifts from sets of high notes to low notes. It is representative of what he does with the entire album, actually. He is clearly a fan of voice samples and chooses to replace these with generic collective choruses in songs. What comes next is the most experimental yet also most well done track in the album, and my personal favorite: “Digital Lion.” I am passionately amazed by this song. It does not even sound like a song more so than it does of a set of electrocuted footsteps and beats that tell a story. “Did you tell a lie?” Blake chants, as the footsteps get louder and louder and quieter and quieter throughout the song. There is an “organized chaos” to the dynamic of “Digital Lion.” The entire song basically places you in the middle of an electric jungle. After this chaos comes “Voyeur,” which seems to differ from the prior: It is crisp and clean; consistent beats ensue, creating a dance vibe that is dance-able in a “James Blake sort of way.” The final two tracks, “To the Last” and “Our Love Comes Back” bring the album to a happy ending, as Blake concludes with these tracks at an average speed. 
Overall, Blake truly impresses listeners and fans with his sophomore album. With this, we can ensure that James Blake is here to stay and to hone his electronic craft.  

Review: Vampire Weekend Plays Fox Theater Pomona on 4/18/13

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DB, the host of Party at Gatsby's airing Tuesdays 6:00-8:00am, recently saw Vampire Weekend at the Fox Theater in Pomona on April 18, 2013. Her show review is below. For more from DB visit http://lepartyatgatsbys.tumblr.com.

Thanks to Coachella, I was fortunate enough to catch a week’s worth of bands. While in town, musical artists playing at the music festival will make an appearance at various venues in SoCal to play for some who might not have been able to make it out to Coachella (such as myself) or even possibly for those who wanted to watch a band at the same time as another band’s set. In this case, Vampire Weekend chose the Fox Theater in Pomona to do this on the night of Thursday, April 18th

Tanlines opened the show with a funk/beach/synth set, hyping the crowd with merely a set of drums, guitars, and the vocal accompaniement. As opposed to the usual bore of an audience during an opening act, this was quite the opposite. In my place in the middle of the venue I could see heads bobbing and bodies moving all in front, and let me tell you, for a 5’0 feet young lady, this is something worth noting. 

After the usual obnoxious half hour of moving in between sets, Vampire Weekend came on with a hilarious, uplifting instrumental piece that could be compared to the “Chariots of Fire” theme song. The song of anticipation was justifiable: the band had not released an album since January of 2010 (Contra). The crowd was roaring non-stop.

Something I noticed too about the crowd was the age set. It seemed as if Vampire Weekend’s fan base had certainly grown up; we were all in high school or our first couple years of college during their last album. It seemed as if us reliable fans had grown up while waiting for a new album to come out, and it was apparent that nobody under the age of 18 was in the audience. Let’s admit it: Vampire Weekend is not completely relevant to today’s popular music at the moment. However, they are soon to make a comeback on May 10 with the release of Modern Vampires of the City. You can most certainly expect a review from me soon. 

Anyhow, following the instrumental introduction came “Cousins,” a bright and loud opening that caused the entire crowd to become a wave of bobbing heads and moving feet. This was also seen with the members of the band, as Ezra Koenig, lead singer and guitarist, seemed to dance through each song with his classical guitar and an entertaining swagger. He swayed back and forth and walked all over the stage as if he didn’t care where he would end up by the end of a song. Chistopher Baio, bassist, was the complete opposite; it appeared that he had a set of coordinated moves that he had been working on throughout the band’s touring history. Let’s just say that leg-jive-type movements were a part of the whole shebang, and it was wholly appreciated by us audience members. 

The stage was incredibly and elaborately set. With the theme of “modern Vampires” came these large stone pillars hanging from the stage that had lights attached to them; the stage lit up throughout the entire set with shades of purple, red, yellow, and voltages of strobe lights throughout the faster paced songs like “A-Punk” and “Giving Up the Gun.” Midway through the set the white sheet hanging as a backdrop fell, revealing a floral one that was characteristic of a Gilly Hicks shopping bag, pardon the reference. Lastly, a mirror hanging in the middle of the backdrop would project images throughout each song that was characteristic of the themes they were conveying. This ranged from fallen chandeliers to, oddly enough, a bust of a statue, looking and “judging” the band and audience. 

Vampire Weekend played three songs from the upcoming album: “Steps,” “Diane Young,” and “Ya-Hey” all of which were received with enthusiasm by the audience. “Steps” and “Ya-Hey” are reflective of their sound, whereas “Diane Young” is a little more “rock n roll” sounding and edgy; red lights accompanied the song. 

Overall Vampire Weekend kept the show high-energy, constantly thanking fans for keeping the set alive and cheering whenever an instrumental break ensued during songs. Closing, as always, with “Walcott,” Vampire Weekend set the audience for a great comeback to follow.