Los Angeles is a veritable treasure trove of music of all shapes, sizes and genres. Granted, not all of it is great music but that’s why we’re here. So we’re giving you five Los Angeles-based bands/artists of varied musical make ups and why they’re worth your precious time even if you don’t live in LA.
What: Just a little Los Angeles blue-eyed soul on the indie side of the street.
Why: April saw the release of their debut album, Human Nature, featuring the single “Sleeping At Night,” a slam-dunk of a funky good time worth shaking your shimmy to. Which brings us to this latest single, “Relentless.” Something about “why people don’t dance at shows” according to Nolan and if you’re not dancing with the horns, the groove and the retro soul buried within this song (or at least shaking a body part), you may be in need of an adrenaline shot, Pulp Fiction-style.
Who: Jon Arman, Jack Rose, Johnny Fontana and Scott Ruth
What: Four tuneful guys injecting a little modern sunshine into a retro sound.
Why: It’s a sound that harkens back a few steps yet makes fresh grabs at the present. So when you listen to their Don’t Be A Drag EP and think that you hear shades of early Rolling Stones under layers of modern psych/garage rock, then your ears are in good shape. It jangles, gets punky, favors good, old-fashioned distortion in all the right places and – holy cow – does guitarist Jack Rose have some technical chops. Seeing them live as an opening band to a room of unfamiliars showed just how well they hold their own.
Who: Jack B. Franco, Jon Fredrik and Justus Dixon
What: If Bono had smoked a pack of Camels and joined the swaggering rock band across the street that liked to dance.
Why: Even while catering to a mid tempo stomp of a pace, there’s an urgency – a sense of capturing the moment – and bringing it home in a solid hook with Raw Fabrics. They’re a band young in literal and chronological years (at the most, each gentleman is 22 years old) while the band, itself, is only two. Yet what we have here is a band who has the wherewithal to tap a fellow notable for producing Blur, the Smiths and Kaiser Chiefs (Stephen Street) for this track. Well played, sirs.
What: Self describing what she brings to the musical landscape as “Prince and Kate Bush do happy hour.”
Why: Under the moniker of White Sea, Kibby has a lot of weapons in her arsenal. Co-writing, arranging, singing and providing instrumentation on M83’s Grammy nominated album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming and world touring: yes. She can remix the shit out of any song (and has done so for the likes of The Naked and Famous, Britney Spears, Lorde and more). But as herself, her alter ego White Sea, Kibby has come into her own as a performer having released a drop dead gorgeous, synth-based solo debut album this year called In Cold Blood. A modern record reminiscent of all things excellent of 80’s synth/pop and showcases Kibby’s flair for the theatrical if not downright dramatic – lyrically and vocally. Between her mid range and impressive falsetto, there’s this high note that she hits in “Future Husbands and Past Lives” that simply crushes the nervous system into one massive goosebump. Yes, it’s an album recorded in the wake of a bad breakup and, well, aren’t difficult times usually the spawn of amazing art? In White Sea’s case: absolutely.
Who: Devlin McCluskey, Christopher Spindelilus, Alex Moore
What: Suffer the little children of rock and blues.
Why: Feast your ears on a wretched soul being grudgingly extracted from its human form. Pretty sure that’s what is happening when McCluskey opens his mouth. See their album Electric Ahab for further and see the Dead Ships live to have your senses blown.