Definitely the best find of the trip,  Bruce Brown’s Barefoot Adventure #ost by Bud Shank. Only $4 and it sound amazing. Cool #jazz for good #surf

Definitely the best find of the trip, Bruce Brown’s Barefoot Adventure #ost by Bud Shank. Only $4 and it sound amazing. Cool #jazz for good #surf

REALLY stoked on this #cassette rack I snagged for $3 in Vallejo over the weekend. #hella #tapes (at Thee Most Awesome House)

REALLY stoked on this #cassette rack I snagged for $3 in Vallejo over the weekend. #hella #tapes (at Thee Most Awesome House)

Got a super generous package from @serioussam1980yadig today in the mail!  Mega stoked to give all these damn fine #folk #records a listen! Thanks Sam!!!

Got a super generous package from @serioussam1980yadig today in the mail! Mega stoked to give all these damn fine #folk #records a listen! Thanks Sam!!!

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Fleshies were one of the first bands I ever saw at 924 Gilman Street.  Seeing them, as well as the rest of the bands who played that night, The Blast Rocks!!!, The Blottos, and Gravy Train!!!!, and taking in the whole Gilman St. experience sort of changed my life forever.  As you can imagine, the band has always occupied a certain area in my heart ever since.

The above tune, “Fists Of Mercy,” has long been a favorite of mine by the band and really shows off just how much power they were throwing around right from from the get go. This particular recording comes from their debut release, a self-titled CD which was put out by S.P.A.M. Records back in 2000, and has since been re-issued on vinyl by Thrillhouse Records.  To me, it really captures the band in all of their dirty, gritty glory. 

I had the honor of seeing Fleshies play on several occasions back in the early 2000’s, as a teenager, and these recordings best exemplify how I remember this band sounding; the band is frenzied but tight, heavy and powerful, yet soulful and deep.  Parts of it are chaotic and sound like the song is almost about to fall apart, but every time they get close to losing it, they pull it back in and these passion filled, explosive sounds seem to just pour out of them.  One thing that becomes immediately apparent when listening to this is how intent everyone in the band was on giving these songs and their music everything they had in them.  Nothing is held back, and the energy is so strong, it’s almost surprising that it didn’t make the records warp.

The last time I encountered these guys was on my first day on the job at The Echo, watching over the band/VIP area of Fuck Yeah Fest 2007 (back before they decided to soften the festival to attract more people and change the name to just FYF).  Though I didn’t get to see them play, I told them about how their performance at Gilman affected me and they immediately became my best friends for the day, checking in on me periodically to make sure I had water and that everyone else was being nice to me.

To summarize, Fleshies are big winners in my book.  See them if you can, and at the very least, indulge yourself in their amazing musical stylings.

More information on Fleshies can be found at their Facebook.  Copies of the re-issue of the self-titled debut are sold out at Thrillhouse Records, but it looks like several copies are available on Discogs. Get it while you can!

TitleFists Of Mercy
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Ever since getting turned on to Joyce Manor's indie punk glory a few years back, shortly after they released their debut LP, I've both very much enjoyed, and deeply admired this band.  The group never ceases to amaze me with their fierce honesty and never shying away from being too exposing or open in their music.  While most musicians and artist seem to fear the idea of putting too much of themselves, the deeper parts of their personal lives and their identities, into their music, Joyce Manor seems to thrive on those things.  The result is a band that can deliver high energy, and sometimes, epic music, that feels as intimate and touching as an old friend telling you about their life; both their dreams and their failures.  The fact that they're able to deliver these stories in a form that is both musically innovative and accessible, as well as being catchy as hell, makes them that much more awesome.

The band recently released their third LP, Never Hungover Again, and as per my expectations, it totally blew me away upon my first, and successive, listens of it.  In addition to sticking to their guns and delivering a record of beautifully heavy hitting, truthful music, the band continues to push their sound into new territories.  While the songs still stay within Joyce Manor’s signature style of short, brief fluries of emotional sound and intensity, the band focuses on filling in these burst with fuller more lush arrangements and melody, adding a richness and depth to their sound that wasn’t there before.  Additionally, the overall production of the album is a bit more sleek and less lo-fi, adding a fullness and texture to the sound of everything on the record that previous albums lacked.  With Never Hungover Again, Joyce Manor execute a piece that shows the perfect balance of evolution and experimentation with tried and true songwriting style; something that keeps things interesting for old fans, while never losing what made them endearing in the first place which captivates new listeners everyday.

Though I’ve yet to see them perform all of these new songs in the live setting (but I’m gonna at the Beach Goth Party in October!!!) I have little doubt that they’re as sonically stunning in concert, if not more so, than they’ve ever been.  If you’ve not checked out Joyce Manor yet, I strongly urge you to change that in your life.

More information on Joyce Manor can be found at their Facebook.  Copies of Never Hungover Again can be picked up via Epitaph Records.

ArtistJoyce Manor
TitleHeart Tattoo
AlbumNever Hungover Again

Another Lolipop Records goodie that I picked up the other day comes in the form of the cassette re-release of Lolipop’s co-founder, Wyatt Blair's, 2013 album entitled Banana Cream Dream.  Blair is another Southern California musical entity who’s prowess in the recording studio is beginning to become as well known as his work as a musician and songwriter.  But, I gotta tell ya, as good as he might be as a recording engineer/producer, I’m sure it’s got nothing on his ability to write some of the hookiest, catchiest, bubble gummy power pop you’ve ever heard.

The above song, “Girls!,” is a prime example of what I’m talking about.  The tune absolutely stomps with enthusiasm, and as soon as it kicks in with that intro riff, it’s easy to imagine an entire room of kids and grown ass adults going absolutely, dare I say, BANANAS to this song.  With it’s unbelievably addictive guitar and vocal melodies and a rhythm section working over time to smash down on the beat, “Girls!” easily sold me on Blair’s songwriting abilities.

The rest of the album is equally memorable, with Blair and his band taking a rocket ride through everything good, amazing, and sugary about old school pop styles, all the while delivering it all with an honest heart and soul that’s immediately noticeable. 

It’ll be interesting to see if Wyatt finds enough time between working behind the scenes at Lolipop and long hours recording other people’s projects to put out some new material of his own.  When he does, you can bet I’ll be one of the first in line to snap the new tapes, or records, up.

More information on Wyatt Blair can be found at his Facebook.  Copies of Banana Cream Dream can be picked up via Lolipop Records and Burger Records.

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I’ve been on something of a cassette tape acquiring binge recently, and one of my favorites of everything I’ve snagged has to be Joel Jerome's Grandes Exitos! [Vol.7], put out by the fine folks at Lolipop Records.

Around Los Angeles, Señor Jerome is something of a local legend, having helped helm the wonderfully radical indie rock group that was, Dios.  In recent years though, Joel’s reputation as an astounding recording engineer, especially his work on Cherry Glazerr’s Haxel Princess and La Sera’s Hour Of The Dawn, has begun to precede his musical endeavors.  However, anyone who’s seen Joel live in the past year or so, followed his Bandcamp, or picked up this smoker of a cassette knows that the guy’s chops as a songwriter and performer are still as strong as they ever were.

Grandes Exitos! [Vol. 7] sees Joel making his way through eleven tracks of new material, some covers, some originals, which traverses a wide breadth of the rock and roll genre.  Yet, whether he’s delivering more intimate, acoustic numbers or fiery psychedelic marvels, all are imbued with an unbelievable amount of passion and energy which draws you back in for song after song. 

The above tune, “I See The Light,” written originally by Miguel Mendez (whom I know nothing about), shows not only what a powerful player Joel is, just wait for that guitar solo, but what an intelligent interpreter of other people’s songs he is.  I think it can be difficult for some folks to deliver songs written by others with the same level of heart and soul that they do with their originals.  However, Joel’s commitment to this piece is so deep, it hangs together seamlessly alongside tunes that he wrote himself.  In fact, initially, it was hard for me to believe this tune was written by someone else. Joel and his band’s performance of the song is so tight and fierce I just assumed it was something that had come from deep within in him.

Recently, it was announced that Joel has formed a partnership with Manimal Vinyl to get more of his material out onto physical formats, and I really can’t wait.  If this is only a small sampling of what Joel Jerome is capable of, then I think we can all rest assured that we’ll be having our collective minds blown over and over by this guy in the near future.

More information on Joel can be found at his Facebook.  Copies of Grandes Exitos! [Vol. 7] can be picked up via Lolipop Records.

ArtistJoel Jerome
TitleI See The Light
AlbumGrandes Exitos

I always like little surprises in my inbox, and last night, my good friend Vickki Acuna, who runs the radical Silly Face Music Blog, delivered one unto me.  The above gentleman is Bobby Halvorson, or as I’ve known him, Bobby The Echo Box Office Guy, and his brand of tune seems to fit somewhere into the rockabilly end of things. 

I’ll admit, as much as I’ve dug into psychobilly over the years, rockabilly never did a whole lot for me.  A lot of the bands in the genre can be a bit overly cheesy and more focused on perfecting their aesthetic recreation of the past than writing a good song.  However, Bobby’s music hit me a little bit different than most rockabilly and I think I know why.  Passion. There is soul and heart in this, and his other tunes, that gives it bright, enchanting energy that immediately draws you in and makes it difficult not to start tapping your foot and humming along immediately.  Though singing about looking for a lady is well worn territory, Bobby’s tune comes through with an urgency and honesty to it that really sounds like the guy is pouring out pieces of himself into the recording.  The performance captured here is powerful, and something that would make the perfect soundtrack to those lonesome, yet wild, nights, filled with cold beer and warm bodies.

If this is what I can expect from Bobby Havorson, then I definitely look forward to hearing a lot more from this guy in the future.  Hopefully he finds someone to put out some physical records too; he most definitely deserves it.

More information on Bobby Havorson can be found at his official site.  More songs of his can be found at his Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

If you’re in #LA, be sure to check out my inner feature in @ireadculture on everybody’s favorite classic #ska and #rocksteady promoter and DJ, Junor Francis!

If you’re in #LA, be sure to check out my inner feature in @ireadculture on everybody’s favorite classic #ska and #rocksteady promoter and DJ, Junor Francis!

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There are a lot of bands that do a lot of things for me, however, there are only a small handful that really take me somewhere else with their music.  Lenguas Largas is most definitely one of those bands.

Featuring a big line up comprised of drummers and guitarists, seven, or so, of them to be exact, the group has developed one of the most rhythmically hypnotic and texturally captivating sounds in the whole of independent music at the moment.  Their style weaves together the aggression and dissonance of punk rock, with psychedelia, and even hints of prog-rock in a way that when listened to or taken in live, is simply stunning.

Tunes like the one above, “Endless Sands,” from the band’s self titled debut, easily transport me to faraway lands; where desert dunes seem to roll on forever, and where the dry heat of the landscape puts sweat on my face and chaps my lips.  The song is as enveloping as a sand storm, and the driving rhythms combined with the masterful use of lush melody and subtle guitar effects only helps to more lavishly flesh out and draw the listener into the world the band creates with their music.

Even seeing them live in Santa Monica on Saturday, at times, when I closed my eyes, I left that room filled with my friends and strangers, and journeyed to lands vast and alien, and filled with the gorgeous, rich, and powerful sounds Lenguas Largas.

These guys have a new record coming out via Recess and Burger Records and are on tour at the moment.  Do yourself a favor, buy their music and see them immediately.

More information on Lenguas Largas can be found at their Facebook.  Copies of their self-titled debut, as well as their new album can be picked up via Recess Records and Burger Records.

ArtistLenguas Largas
TitleEndless Sands
AlbumLenguas Largas