Music

Save Music in Chinatown 2 preview: Hector Penalosa from The Zeros

Of course, Hector Penalosa is best known as a member of The Zeros. The much-loved Chula Vista punk rock ‘n’ roll band played their first show on a bill with The Germs and Weirdos; was involved of the Elks Lodge riot show with The Go-Go’s, Plugz, and X; and opened for The Clash. But he’s also one of the nicest dudes ever. We began corresponding when he thanked me for reviewing a concert. Who does that? And then he began supporting the first Save Music in Chinatown show on his own. Not only did he encourage his friends to go, but he actually drove up from San Diego to attend it and brought some posters and a CD for the raffle. One of my musical heroes turned out to be one the coolest guys ever.

So how could I not ask him to take part in the second Save Music in Chinatown benefit? He’s going to play a set with his Beatles cover band, The Baja Bugs, which will be a blast, and then preview some new solo material. I’m super excited and honored that Hector is on the bill with Channel 3 and Money Mark, and hopefully this short Q&A will get you ready as well.

You headline some pretty big shows and just toured Japan. Why are you driving up to L.A. to play our little benefit?
To answer your question, it may seem like a little benefit but for the school children and the effect music can have on their lives, well, it’s a HUGE benefit in my eyes. I love to play and if I can help out with my musical capacities, why not?

Was the Zeros recent trip to Japan cool?
Tokyo was surreal! Sensory overload with the neon signs, gigantic video screens, loud audio, and lots and lots of people on the sidewalks. I was knocked out by it all.

Tomoko, the bass player of Supersnazz was our hostess after the Saturday night gig and we had so much fun. We went to a karaoke place and rented a room with three other musicians from the opening bands and had a blast for about an hour. I was in seventh heaven having the two brothers from Teengenerate on the bill.

The bands that played with the Zeros were really nice to us, and we all spent time together after the gigs at The Poor Cow Bar, owned by Fefe from Teengenerate. (more…)



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Save Music in Chinatown 2 preview: Channel Three’s Mike Magrann

Yes, it’s awesome to throw DIY benefit shows to raise money for music education my daughter’s elementary school and great to help the community where my grandparents and in-laws have hung out. But on a purely selfish level, it gives me an excuse to work with some of my favorite bands and people. So while I have Mike Magrann committed to playing our February 9 show at Human Resources, I figured I’d ask him the latest about Channel 3. They were OG punks on Posh Boy records, they were on not one but two Rodney on the ROQ compilations, and now they are playing Save Music in Chinatown. Rad!

CH3 seems to be playing more than ever. How did this run of shows begin?
As we grow more, ahem, mature it is a lot tougher to get us four guys together for a weekend jaunt or two-week tour but we do okay. And it seems that playing out a lot breeds more gigs, ya know? If we can make a point to hit certain cities or go to Europe each summer, then we can count on the shows being a little better next time through. A few more familiar faces and–most importantly–we know the good places to eat!

You’ve been touring with friends, playing festivals, and getting your portrait done by the dude who draws Allroy and Milo. Why are you playing our rinky dink benefit?
Ha! It’s all due to the persistent nagging of one Martin Wong! But it’s actually an honor to be able to put your music to a good use, and music education is something near and dear to our hearts. Kimm and I, who are famously friends since second grade, always shared a love of music growing up and we actually learned to play guitars together at an after-school program in seventh grade.

Besides, it’s always nice to play at venues out of the norm.  I mean, we’ve played enough 1 a.m. sets at mildewy dive bars to last a lifetime. Let us do a matinee with cookies and coffee once in a while, for God’s sake!

Did your band play much in Chinatown back in the day? Got any stories?
We played at Wong’s Chinatown venue once but it was well after its prime. But we did play a lot at Esther’s Santa Monica venue, where she would always chase us out of the kitchen for making out with girls and trying to steal beer!

Our first-ever gig after making the Posh Boy EP was across town at the Brave Dog on 1st Street…

Whenever I Google Channel 3 or look up the hashtag on Instagram, I always see Thai TV starlets. Do you know anything about that scene?
I know, right? All I know is we get an awful lot of posts on our Facebook page in Lanna and Lao script! I don’t know what the hell they’re saying but a fan’s a fan, even if they do think they’re logging onto their fave soap opera page!

Looking back, pre-Interweb, it was a pretty bad idea naming the band CH3. You Google us and we always come up on page 2 after Methyl compounds of hydrogen and Thai television stations. Although we are able to get some pretty cool T-shirts from the local CH3 news teams throughout the Midwest, so there’s that…

Check out the very funny Channel Three blog HERE.

And get advance tickets to the show HERE.

Then watch some video below…

See ya at the show!



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Show reviews: X live at the Whisky a Go-Go on the Fabulous Sunset Strip, It’s Casual and Bongoloidz at The Troubadour, Chain and the Gang at The Smell’s 16th birthday celebration, International Swingers at Farmers Market

I’d forgotten what a great venue The Whisky is. Big stage but small room with decent sound and a balcony means that pretty much every spot is good. So it’s cool the once proud venue (I saw the Ramones, Sonic Youth, Descendents, Scratch Acid, SNFU, Guns ‘n’ Roses, and so many other awesome shows there in the ’80s and ’90s, but before that the likes of The Doors, Love, and Jimi Hendrix would play there) is booking some of its most loved bands to celebrate its 50th anniversary. With a storied headliner like X on the marquee, I don’t know why anyone would feel the need to hire tatted up go-go dancers to entertain us, though.

First up was The Crowd. Who knew that one of the earliest and best HB punk bands was opening? I had no idea but as soon as they started off their set with “Living in Madrid” (off the essential Beach Blvd. compilation) it all came back. Geography and perhaps a last-second booking meant the five-piece was cut to four but the band had no problems going for the gusto. Great set, and yes they played “Modern Machine.”

X is one of my favorite bands, and I’ve seen them a lot since their New World Tour stop at Magic Mountain. Over the last few years, I’ve seen them more than ever and it seems like they keep getting darker, from the extra combative vocals to the dueling axes. I was trying to figure out if Exene was struggling since she was nursing a plastic cup for the first few songs and rested on the stairs during the drum solo of “Hungry Wolf,” but she powered through the set as otherworldly and awesomely as always. John Doe did most of the rocking and the talking, saying that if it were a few years ago the band would invite everyone over for a house party. Later on, Exene said that she thinks of Johnny Rivers, and not X, when she thinks of the Whisky. (Of course, Billy Zoom just smiled.) Cool to have people talking about excellent shows at the Whisky (and playing them) instead of lame pay-to-play shows, and I hope it stays that way after the 50th anniversary run is over. (more…)



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Show reviews: The Muffs at The Satellite; Bill Bartell Tribute with Redd Kross, Adolescents, Germs; Weirdos and Middle Class at The Echoplex

We get to see some pretty rad shows here in Los Angeles. Of course, the thing is that you have to leave your house on cold (about 50 degrees, for us) winter nights and sometimes it even drizzles. Yeah, it’s rough. But how can I not see a rare show by The Muffs when they’re playing about two miles away just on the other end of the Silver Lake Reservoir? (more…)



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Celebrating 100 episodes of Los Angeles Nista

Congratulations to my friend Eddie Solis on his 100th episode of Los Angeles Nista. I was already a big fan of his heavy-as-hell skate rock band, It’s Casual, when he started the Internet radio show, Los Angeles Nista, in November 2012. Of course, the program is all about his hometown–the neighborhoods, the subcultures, the public transportation of L.A. I was honored to be an early guest, on the heels of local heavyweights such as Keith Morris, Chuck Dukowski, and Ed Colver. A couple of weeks ago I was on the show once more, with the mic still warm from Tony Alva and Lee Ving. How did I crack a rotation like that, anyway?

It’s a big deal that Eddie broadcast his 100th episode last week, with topics that include food, history, art, and tourism as well as punk rock and skateboarding. And on top of that, It’s Casual is headlining a free show at the Troubadour on Monday, January 6. Sounds like a good time to catch up with the man. (Photos courtesy of Adam Murray.)

MW: You recently passed your 100th episode. Did you treat the milestone as something special or is just another show?
ES: I treated it as a milestone. I had to hit it out of the park. My in-studio guest was Hunter Burgan (bass player of AFI) and Ryan Seaman (drummer of Falling in Reverse and I Am Ghost). The co-host is Efrem Schulz (Death by Stereo).

MW: What are some things that you’ve learned or ways that you’ve grown as a host since the first episode?
ES: Don’t be so rigid. Be  intuitive. As Bruce Lee says, be like water. And research, share, and find commonalities that connect people.

MW: Now that you have this sizable body of work, do you recognize any categories or trends? 

ES: Good question. Yes, the categories of los Angeles nista are geography, destination and a curriculum on how to be car-free in Los Angeles, California. The trend being everything is connected.

MW: What’s your secret to cranking out this many episodes this quickly, without burning out or running out of ideas?
ES: This is my secret: I come from the world of skateboarding. It’s not a team sport. You draw inspiration from within. You get up every morning, create a vision, and then take the necessary steps to make that vision a living, breathing reality. You create your world. I apply these ideals to everything in life. A past in-studio guest, Salman Agah, professional skateboarder and owner of Pizzanista! and calls it the “skater’s advantage.” You don’t rely on others to motivate you. Everything you do is out of a passion and love for it. You cannot do things with such conviction, confidence, and authority unless you love it. The passion and love lead to endless motivation. The motivation leads to a full tank of gas. That’s how I keep it fresh and full of ideas!

MW: The topic of Los Angeles can go on and on. Can you share some dream stories that you’d like to address?
ES: Well put, Martin. There is an endless amount to talk about. Dream stories, yes indeed. I wanna highlight and tell Art Laboe’s story. Bobby Castillo and I wanna use Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, and the late Johnny Ramone–three mega New Yorkers who came here and never went back–as examples why L.A. is better than New York City. It’s an ongoing debate, but to me they can provide testimonial as to why L.A. is a better place to live. If Gene and Paul can testify, that will end the debate. Everything goes back to KISS.

MW: Meanwhile, It’s Casual is going strong. Tell me about your new record label as well as the upcoming show at the Troubadour…. Bongoloidz is an inspired choice as an opener!
ES: Thanks. My label Stoked Records is inspired by the eclectic taste of Greg Ginn and SST, and all genres will be released. And It’s Casual is stronger than ever. Our last show was with Black Flag at The Vex back in July. We played in front of 1,000 people. Now we’re headlining the Troubadour for the second time and the show is free.

Check out Los Angeles Nista at skidrowstudios.com, including my recent episode on Chinatown and Save Music in Chinatown.

It’s Casual plays the Troubadour on Monday, January 6. Get your free tickets (just three bucks if you’re under 21) at the venue site.



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Show Reviews: Save Music in Chinatown, Paisley Underground Reunion at the Fonda, Redd Kross at the El Rey, ASG at The Satellite, Channel 3 at Alex’s Bar

Photo: Ben Clark

I would have written about Sunday’s Save Music in Chinatown matinee at Human Resources earlier but I’ve been busy writing thank-you letters to friends, helpers, and supporters. The first DIY benefit gig that my wife and I organized to raise funds to pay for music education at our daughter’s school, Castelar Elementary, was awesome and Bob Forrest was a perfect start. (more…)



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Save Music in Chinatown on Sunday, December 8!

Remember when my daughter Eloise modeled infant clothing in Giant Robot ads? Now she’s the poster child for a series of benefit concerts that my wife (and GR mag graphic designer) Wendy Lau and I are starting. Our first show takes place this Sunday–a matinee that brings together Chinatown’s punk rock heritage and art gallery scene to benefit the mostly immigrant neighborhood’s kids and community.

Links to info and ticking:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1392793007629037/

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/save-music-in-chinatown-1-bob-forrest-lucky-dragons-la-fog-tickets-9310986411

Thanks for checking it out, sharing, and supporting however you can!

xo,
Martin

 



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Show reviews: Beck at the Disney Hall, Obits, Wire, Quasi at The Echo and Echoplex (plus CASH Music: LA Summit)

Just got back from the Walt Disney Hall. Wow. While most artists consider releasing new music on vinyl to be O.G., Beck schooled everyone by releasing his last batch of songs in sheet music form. Intended to be interpreted by any musician at any skill level, the Disney performance is only one of a handful of official performances. Most songs were played by the L.A. Philharmonic (conducted by his dad, David Campbell) with vocals from the likes of Jack Black, Jarvis Cocker, Jenny Lewis, and Childish Gambino. John C. Riley, Becky Stark, and Tom Brosseau played as a trio. Interspersed between the songs were brief readings on music from the likes of Jonathan Gold, Allison Anders, Tig Notaro, and Randall Poster. Wow. But ultimately, the point was not to show off big-time names in L.A.’s most elite venue but to communicate that music is meant to be performed, interpreted, and enjoyed by anyone. Only the humble genius of Beck pull it off. (more…)



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Save Music in Chinatown on Los Angeles Nista

Last Monday night I was a guest on one of my favorite Internet radio shows, Los Angeles Nista. In each episode host Eddie Solis (who is also the shredder/singer in It’s Casual) delves into a specific neighborhood of his hometown, and this time our focus was Chinatown. I talked about eating tomato beef chow mein and drinking Sunkist soda there as a kid, as well as the area’s unmatched punk past and current art scene. While the conversation always returned to the Save Music in Chinatown concert series that my wife and I are starting, there was also talk about Los Angeles sports teams, skateboarding, public transportation, and Giant Robot mag.

You can stream or download the entire episode for free at the Los Angeles Nista site, and it’s pretty funny. It’s also pretty rockin’. I made three short playlists of songs with bands that I associate with the neighborhood (X, Weirdos, Dils, No Age), groups with members that have been supportive of Save Music in Chinatown (The Zeroes, OFF!, Channel 3), and music by December 6 co-headliner Bob Forrest (Thelonious Monster, The Bicycle Thief). I brought songs by The Go-Go’s and Plugz, too, but there just wasn’t enough time…

Since last week, there have been additions to the inaugural show’s lineup. Ex-Dirty Projectors member Angel Deradoorian has just finished touring with Animal Collective and wants to participate. Also, DJs from KCHUNG radio will be pitching in between acts. Pretty cool.

Check out the updated flyer below and if you plan on going/supporting on December 6, you can buy tickets via Eventbrite. It’s cheaper that way and you can also get a deal on raffle tickets for some pretty rad items, as well. Prizes from the likes of Best Coast, Daniel Wu, Shizu Saldamando, Philippe The Original, and the Dodgers are listed on Eventbrite and the Facebook event page, too.

Give the episode a listen and hope to see you at the show!



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GR2: 11/24 7pm Goh Nakamura LIVE Music

 

Enjoy the sounds of Goh Nakamura Live at Giant Robot 2.

On November 24th, Sunday 7pm, Goh Nakamura will wield his axe to perform a set of songs at GR2. The type of set is undetermined, but most likely will be a mixture of his acoustic songs and perhaps some of his musical compositions. For any additional information: please contact us at: [email protected]



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Save Music in Chinatown 1: Bob Forrest, Lucky Dragons, LA Fog at Human Resources on Sunday, December 8

Editing Giant Robot mag was great. It gave me an excuse to fan out over all of my obsessions–music, art, film, and everything else–but be a journalist and not a stalker. And over 16 years of publication, I made a ton of friends who do interesting things. I’ve kept in touch with many of them.

When my wife and I discovered the music program had been defunded at our kindergartener daughter’s school and that parents were being called upon to help out, we thought crud. There’s no way the mostly immigrant families in inner-city Chinatown can come up with $50,000 to pay for this year’s music program, which is being taught on an I.O.U., as well as next year’s fee so it can be paid on time. Then we remembered who some of our friends are.

Chinatown has an unmatched music culture (punk rock) and ongoing thriving art scene (post punk). And although those folks don’t mix with the residents much, they would surely help out if they were given an opportunity. Hence, Save Music in Chinatown, an ongoing concert series at art galleries and other spots in the neighborhood to raise money for music education at Castelar Elementary School.

With guidance from my old friend Wendy Yao from Chinatown’s coolest shop, Ooga Booga, and my newer friend Eric Kim, who helps run the excellent Human Resources art installation space, the first benefit show will take place on Sunday, December 8.

The 2:00 matinee will feature co-headliners that reflect Chinatown’s punk heritage and its arty present. Bob Forrest plays with Thelonious Monster and The Bicycle Thief, who include members of storied bands like The Weirdos, Circle Jerks, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. I fully expect him to talk about the bad old days at the Hong Kong Cafe between songs. Chinatown regulars Lucky Dragons are as experimental as they are participatory, and are perfect for an afternoon gig that is not intended for kids but is open to them. Rounding out the bill is LA Fog, a post punk jazz quartet that might as well be the house band at Human Resources.

In addition to the contributions from the Ooga Booga shop, the Human Resources gallery, and the bands, I have other friends who have been donating items for raffle. The quickly growing list includes signed items from artists (Shizu Saldamando, Stella Lai, Susie Ghahremani), musicians (Best Coast, Mike Vallely), and Hong Kong filmmaker Daniel Wu, as well as Dodger tickets, a Donut Friend gift certificate, and a Wanmock courtesy of Architecture for Dogs. More cool stuff is in the works.

It’s a real gift to be able to parlay my publishing background into something tangible that might help the kids and community in the neighborhood where my grandparents and my wife’s parents have spent a lot of time. And now that’s where our daughter is attending L.A’s second oldest public school.

For more information about the show and the cause, check out the event’s pages on Facebook and Eventbrite. Of course you can contact me directly if you want more information or would like to help. And if you can’t take part in our inaugural event, look out for the next ones in 2014…



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An interview with Sam Coomes of Quasi

Sometimes the world seems to good to be true. How cool is it that Sam Coomes (who’s played with Elliott Smith and Heatmiser) and Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag, The Jicks) can come together and form a unique and excellent musical bond that sounds nothing like those other top-shelf bands. Like The Beatles on steroids with out-of-this world hooks, free-associating lyrics, and crazy dynamics, Quasi is never less than totally melodic while somehow never leaving the red zone of the Rock-O-Meter. And despite being in even more than the previously mentioned bands–as well as actually been previously married to each other–they are miraculously celebrating their second decade of kicking ass.

And then sometimes the world is lame. Why wasn’t last night’s show at The Echo totally packed? If the rock gods meted out any sort of justice, the Portland duo would be selling out fancy venues instead of playing comfortable dives that are not sold out. Sam wondered aloud at the show if it was a problem that he and Janet started off playing prettier music and may have become too rocking for their audience. The storied drummer responded that she can’t not rock. (more…)



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Show reviews: Ronnie Spector at the El Rey, Indian Handcrafts and The Dirty Streets at The Satellite

On Tuesday, I saw Ronnie Spector‘s Behind The Beehive show at The El Rey. It wasn’t really a concert as much as it was the legendary singer recounting her life’s journey via anecdotes, personal photos, rare video, and song performances. From what I understand, this format is a way for the Original Bad Girl of Rock ‘n’ Noll to give a live performance without getting caught in the spiderweb of legalities spun her infamous ex-husband and producer.

Going to the show as a casual fan of Spector, it was mind-blowing to hear firsthand her tales of The Ronettes crashing the Peppermint Lounge, hanging out with Murray The K, playing with The Beatles in England, and touring with The Stones. Taking both of those bands to a BBQ joint in Harlem and recording a 7″ single for Apple. And it was also shocking to hear what a dick Phil Spector was to her as a manager and a husband. Even so, her tone always remained classy and positive and she  remained respectful toward his work with her.

As a big fan of the She Talks To Rainbows that was produced by Joey Ramone and released by Kill Rock Stars, I was stoked that she played so many songs off it. She said that Joey wrote the title track of that EP for her, and that Brain Wilson wrote “Don’t Worry Baby” for her as a follow-up to “Be My Baby” but that her husband wouldn’t record it because he wouldn’t get all of the royalties. She also played her version of Johnny Thunders’ “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory” as the second-to-last song of the show before coming back for a short concert that featured “Baby, I Love You” (also great for a Ramones fans like me) and “Be My Baby.” So rad. If she ever makes it to your neighborhood, don’t miss her. Spector’s voice is a national treasure, her story is the history of cool music, and her perseverance is inspiring.

The next evening I dropped by the Satellite to catch the latest free #scionrockshow. To be honest, I wasn’t familiar with the lineup but the previous two installments of the series featured rippers Fu Manchu and Lecherous Gaze and you can’t go wrong with the LSDJs (featuring homie Don Ngueyn) spinning records. It would be lame not to go–especially since it’s right down the street and free!

Openers from Memphis The Dirty Streets were real cool, sounding a little bit like Rod Stewart singing for ZZ Top. Heavy-duty hooks and licks with zero ego and tons of soul on a sweaty little stage in front of practically no one–probably not the band’s dream show but I get to shows early precisely for moments like that.

Indian Handcrafts were amazing. The duo from Canada attack their instruments like hungry animals, albeit ones with chops for miles, snapping with massive riffs and the gnarliest of drums–not to mention back-and-forth vocals. I loved the “Bruce Lee” song and the fact that knob turner Toshi Kasai was there to support (and show their Melvins connection) is more proof of their badassery. They’re still on tour so see them now!

A legend and two bands that I’d never heard on back-to-back outings–both providing a musical education and rad night out. Seeya at the next shows, probably Quasi and then Wire

 

 



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Battle of the Release Parties: Aziatix vs. Best Coast

This week I attended back-to-back music release events for Aziatix and Best Coast. Weird! For the former, I crossed a velvet rope along with invited guests and journalists. For the latter, my Kindergartener daughter and I sat on the sidewalk for a couple of hours with fellow fans outside Amoeba to attend the in-store concert. K-pop vs. indie rock. Massive production value vs. lo-fi. Lil’ Wayne vs. Kid Cudi. Making charts is something I really enjoyed and miss about working on Giant Robot magazine, so I figured this was as good an occasion as any to dust off the old format… Enjoy!

Links that actually work:
www.toyota.com/corollaready

www.amoeba.com/live-shows/detail-2760/

 



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Show reviews: Guitar Wolf, Coathangers, Earthless, Joy, Bulletins, Best Coast, plus David Choe

It doesn’t suck to live in California, where you get to see bands like Best Coast play free record-release shows at Amoeba. Yes, the brand-new EP is as amazing as the RSD 7″ led us to believe, perfectly combining honesty and polish, and the new songs sounded great live. So did favorites like “The Only Place,” “Crazy for You,” and the closer, “Girlfriend.” The place was packed and stoked and so was Bethany, who made a point to repeatedly thank all the fans and friends for being there. Watch the set at the Amoeba site when you have the time!

Afterward there was a record signing where Eloise got to give Bobb and Bethany band portraits that she drew while we were in line. I’ll occasionally run into Bobb at shows or the market, and he is not only the most talented musician and producer but one of the raddest guys. Glad Eloise got to see him in action and say hi. Hopefully next time we’ll see him over donuts in Highland Park! (more…)



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Reviews: Deltron 3030 at Fingerprints, Red Hare and Coliseum at The Satellite (plus eating out with Dirty Beaches and SISU)

After a 13-year-long hiatus, the Deltron 3030 super group has reunited for a full LP, some festival shows, and… a couple of free in-stores? Pretty damn cool that the heroic trio of Dan The Automator, Del The Funky Homosapien, and Kid Koala would play a Long Beach record shop. But after a long day of travel and press, they had to eat. Good thing Berlin is connected to Fingerprints.

Left to right: Dan The Automator, me, Kid Koala, and my pal Paul Kwon scarfing an early dinner at Berlin. How cool is it that there is a coffee house that serves high-end food connected to the record store? Brilliant and tasty, too. Del didn’t eat with us because he was busy practicing his ollies and had some cheese pizza coming to him. No artisan flatbread slices for Del. He’s a purist. (more…)



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Reviews: Lecherous Gaze and Hot Lunch at The Satellite, Bob Forrest’s Running With Monsters

Gotta love the free metal shows from Scion. Last week’s was right down the street from my house at The Satellite, and it was very much a Tee Pee records showcase with Lecherous Gaze (above) and Hot Lunch (below). Sweet! (more…)



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Dirty Beaches and SISU at The Echo, RAD at Permanent Records, Shizu Saldamando at VPAM

After circling the world once or twice and releasing a double album, 10″ soundtrack, and a bunch of digital mixtapes, Dirty Beaches came back to L.A. last Friday, teamed up with soulmates SISU as well as Chasms from San Francisco. The opening duo from San Francisco were raw and cool, like the swirling goth of Siouxsie meets the industrial tone of post-Dils, post-Rank & File Blackbird. (more…)



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Donut Friend by Mark Trombino (Drive Like Jehu) is open!

Just got back from Donut Friend, the long-awaited eatery from my friend Mark Trombino. He’s known by most for producing key albums for Blink 182 and Jimmy Eat World but also eternally loved by some others for his drumming with Drive Like Jehu and Night Soil Man. (Mark is on the right, and that’s my crew of Angelyn from Kumquat and Carlos from Music Friends on the left. They know him way better then me!)

Donut Friend is on York Blvd. in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, right next door to Scoops Ice Cream and between Gimme Gimme Records and Wombletown Records (way closer to the latter). Today was only its second day of operation, with soft launch hours of 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

When you walk in, you can’t miss the very yummy mural by another friend Saelee Oh. Mammals eating donuts, playing instruments made out of donuts… Wow. Then you turn around and see edible beauty in the form of baked treats that you get to trick out yourself.

Before and after. First, choose a donut to start with. I went with the glazed vegan. Then, select a filling, put stuff in it, and choose toppings. If you’re too hungry to think, there are suggested combinations all named after bands: Jets to Basil, Chocolate from the Crypt, Coconut of Conformity. Yes, there’s a Rites of Sprinkles T-shirt. Mine was the GBH (Greek yogurt, blueberry jam, and honey) with pistachio bits on top, and it was tasty.

You have to admire a guy like Mark, who has been in some rad bands and found success producing huge albums but chucked music altogether to follow his dream of opening the most awesome donut shop ever. Check it out at Donutfriend.com or facebook.com/donutfriend and then pay a visit to the shop:

Donut Friend
5107 York Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90042

Seeya there and please tell me if there’s crud on my mouth!



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Writer/co-director Matt Riggle on FILMAGE (Descendents documentary) w/ info on this weekend’s San Diego screenings


FILMAGE, the long-awaited documentary about the Descendents and ALL has been making rounds on the film festival circuit throughout 2013, and currently it’s hopscotching the country yet again with the help of cool supporters such as Vannen Watches (makers of the Descendents/Coffee Time watch) and Hi My Name Is Mark (Mark of Blink 182 appears in the flick). They are sponsoring three screenings at the Digiplex Mission Valley in San Diego on Saturday, September 21.

I was able to catch an early screening in Long Beach, and was not only stoked to see one of my all-time favorite bands on the big screen blasted though huge speakers but actually learned a lot about the road bumps they’ve encountered and suffering they’ve endured on the quest for ALL. It’s a worthwhile story to tell, and the band’s commitment to its craft (up there with The Beatles and Queen, says Robert Hecker from Redd Kross) and enduring a rough life (as some brushes with death) will appeal to audiences well beyond O.G. punks. I hit up writer/co-director Matt Riggle about the movie, its making, and its future.

MW: How did you get into the Descendents? A rad show, hearing the right song at the right time?
MR: I personally started with ALL’s “Dot” single then traced things back to Descendents. To me they were just so unique sounding. “Can’t Say” was the first thing I heard and it remains, to me, a shining example of a perfect song. I’d never heard a band with so many songwriters sound so cohesive. And they were so strong and melodic and funny without being a joke. I loved the look of their records, too–the covers, the sparse use of pictures, the consistent typesetting. And the fact that the drummer wrote great songs and produced was insane to me. It defied the laws that I thought were in place for bands. (more…)



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