Giant Robot Store and GR2 News

1muffs2Last week, I went to see an in-store/record-release show by The Muffs at Amoeba. They played most of the great new LP and were as aweseome as ever–combining ultra-catchy girl group melodies with no-holds-barred punk rock attitude and out-of-this-world musicianship. So it was an honor to see one of my pictures printed full-bleed on the insert. Kim and Ronnie had asked me for the file but I wasn’t sure how it would be used or if it wound up on the cutting-room floor. My photography is far from great but the photo looks pretty damn good printed 12″ by 12″ and there is some poetry in the situation.

You might recall that Giant Robot mag was spawned in the era of punk rock zines. Before starting it, Eric Nakamura and I had both contributed to publications like Fear of Grown-Ups, Flipside, and Fiz, and he actually has had photos printed on Muffs 7″ singles. (So did early GR contributor Vicki Berndt.) The print version of GR has run its course but I still go to shows and take and share photos, so it’s very cool that one of them would be used by one of my favorite bands and I would join the esteemed ranks of Eric and Vicki. Thanks, Muffs!

2muffs1I went to some other shows, too… I think it was Pabst that sponsored a night of heavy music at The Echoplex. Deep Six band To The Point opened, featuring members of Fetus Eaters and Spazz. I only caught a few songs but their powerful brand of hardcore was straight-up, filler-free, and a perfect way to fire up the evening.


Next up was one of my favorite bands and the new-school kings of skate rock, The Shrine. Does anyone rip harder or have more fun onstage than the trio from Venice? And are there nicer dudes anywhere? So what could be better than having the homies practically in my backyard at a six-dollar show. No, they didn’t play “Symptom of the Universe” (Sabbath, of course). Yes, they sang, “The Duke” (by friend and supporter Chuck Dukowski). Friends on the East Coast and in Japan, don’t miss them when they head your way.


Continue reading
After following Milk Music for a while but never getting a chance to see them, I had mixed feelings about finally getting to catch them at a big place like the The Echoplex. But then I found out that the headliner was pretty interesting (Iceage) and the cover was still fair (15 bucks). If you stand right in front, it doesn’t matter how big the venue is, right? Of course, Milk Music were great. Doubly fuzzed rock ‘n’ roll with the stony riffs of Dinosaur Jr. and unedited power of Hüsker Dü, they sounded amazing live. Then they took it down a notch for a song that was “half written by someone else” that happened to be Johnny Thunders. Wow. Their first LP is impossible to find these days (being repressed as I type by Perennial Death) but they had a box of the new one which I snatched up. I’ve only listened to it a hundred times. The band said they came from Joshua Tree, which I thought was a joke, but I heard that they are indeed moving there from Olympia. Hopefully they’ll play Los Angeles more often as a result. See them when you can. When Iceage asked all the photographers to leave the space between the barrier and stage, I told my friend Ben that they are either totally punk rock or they’re assholes. Maybe it’s both? The young Copenhagen band’s first release mixed the angular sounds of Joy Division with the fay vocals of The Church, which they ditched for hardcore on their second (and superior) album. They ripped through their short set like well-dressed animals and walked off after less than 40 minutes. It was a statement more than a show, and they nailed it. INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL OF LOS ANGELES PREVIEW Next week the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles opens. I’m a big fan of the film fest, which is in its eleventh year, because they always come up with an interesting mix of arty blockbusters, lo-fi indies, and cool oddball documentaries. I was lucky enough to watch some screeners… Eega is doubly, maybe even threefold weird. The big-budget and unabashedly commercial flick starts off as a straight-up love triangle movie between a pretty girl (Samantha), a nice but poor guy (Nani), and a ruthless and rich man (Sudeep). Following a sweet courtship complete with sappy songs and dancing, the story takes a serious left turn when the businessmen offs his rival who is reincarnated as a housefly. That’s when director S S Rajamouli turns it up as the fly defends the naive love interest by creating spa accidents, causing sleep deprivation, and pestering the villain as he drives a motorcycle. The cg insect writes on the dirty windshield of a crashed car: “I will kill you.” It’s darkly funny and oddly sweet, and it wouldn’t work as well as it does if the escalating reactions of Sudeep weren’t at least as good as the special effects. Miss Lovely is an arty...
Continue reading

The only other time I put together a show was a San Diego Comic-Con party with Flattbush, Upsilon Acrux, and The Binges with DJ sets by Free The Robots way back in 2009. Looking back, that was a pretty rad lineup! So it makes sense that Bradley from Flattbush would facilitate my second-ever gig. He serves drunks at Alex’s Bar but also books shows now and then. This one came together at the last minute and I am very grateful to my friends who put themselves out there during the deadest part of the holidays to take part.

Continue reading

Crap. I arrived at The Echoplex at 9:15, just as Nails was breaking down. That’s too early, right? Man, I really wanted to see them. Kvelertak, too.

But I did get to see Torche for the first time since they toured with Boris, and the Florida band’s brand of sludgy pop gets better and better. For Halloween, they should totally be the powerful yet skilled post-Gretzy Oilers with Paul Coffey on bass, Mess on guitar, and Grant Fuhr on lead guitar and vocals. Can’t quite identify who the drummer would be, but possibly a Charlie Huddy type holding it down. The band balances bone-crushing mega riffs and lightning-fast and nimble fingers to meld the heaviest of grooves with the catchiest of melodies. What a bitchin’ live band. If the stage lighting was better I would have taken a lot more pics, but sometimes it’s nice to just rock out in front, anyway.

Continue reading

Wolves in the Throne Room at The Echoplex (January 26, 2012)

It’s about time I checked out some bands that I haven’t seen a million times before. On Thursday, I finally got to see Wolves in the Throne Room. The Washingtonians famously play ecologically inspired black metal on vintage gear by candlelight. Oh yeah, they also play a contemplative and mind-blowing blend of drone and thrash. Super dark, extremely heavy, and much more riff-oriented live than on vinyl. Who knew sage and smoke machines could go together so well? Sadly, after waiting in line outside for so long I only caught the last song by Chelsea Wolfe and totally missed Hive Mind with Harrassor.

Continue reading