Review: Autolux – 'Transit Transit'

Image credit: Autopia

Six years in coming, it's needless to say that Autolux fans have been waiting for the 'Future Perfect' follow-up with the patience of a saint. Though always appeased by new songs at their live shows, I don't know if I'd consider that more torturous or a gifted taste of things to come. But, if patience is a virtue, indulgence is the tastiest sin.

'Transit Transit' delivers a balanced attack, showcasing all sides of the band and taking on the expert track placement of albums like Kid A or OK Computer where the mellow tracks are balanced out by the songs 'with teeth'. The album lacks no showcasing of Carla Azar's spectacular drumming, Greg Edwards' trance inducing and post-rock melodies nor Eugene Goreshter's gliding vocals and rhythm appurtenant bass playing.

Where 'Spots' and album closer 'The Science of Imaginary Solutions' (here Azar assumes lead vocals) take on the Radiohead feel that is synonymous with the afore mentioned albums yet, seemingly more in the vain of Thom Yorke's solo work with a textured, aural display that takes the listener out-of-body for a moment, songs like 'Census', 'Supertoys' and 'Kissproof' reaffirm that post-rock assault that Autolux listeners were first smitten by.

Even if it takes another six years for the next Autolux album, the band has produced an assuredly solid and satisfying follow-up to 'Future Perfect' while providing a blueprint for where they are headed but, also where they've been.

Rating: 9.4/10

Key tracks: 'Census', 'Kissproof'

VIDEO: Autolux - 'Supertoys' (Live @ From the Basement)


Show Review: LCD Soundsystem @ The Palladium

(photo courtesy of Ben Wener, OC Register)

For as much as LCD Soundsystem is a New York band, they are as much a Hollywood one with their Sunset Blvd. special ability to get hipsters and middle-aged men alike shaking their ass on the dance floor.

Bringing the party to the Palladium on Friday night, DFA label mates Holy Ghost! set the vibe with a handful of retro-dance tracks before the crowd energy swelled and LCD took the stage.

Starting things off with 'Us v. Them', the band was on a steady roll until one of Nancy Whang's keyboards died as 'Get Innocuous!' started to build. After aborting the song and retooling with a Wurlitzer, they launched into the track again treating us to a version that lent itself to an acid-lounge feel - it worked.

The rest of the evening saw the band equally visit all of their albums. Highlights of the night include an extended play cut of 'All My Friends' which seemed to re-energize the crowd, though there never seemed to be a lull all night. Additionally, 'Daft Punk is Playing at My House' turned the entire floor and the mezzanine area into a mega dance floor.

Ending the main set with the hypnotic 'Yeah' before a three song encore which included 'Losing My Edge', the night concluded with their favorite show closer 'New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down'.

Another great LA visit from James Murphy and gang that as always, left us wanting more.


Us v. Them
Drunk Girls
Get Innocuous!
Yr City’s a Sucker
Pow Pow
Daft Punk Is Playing at My House
All I Want
All My Friends
I Can Change


Someone Great
Losing My Edge
New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down

VIDEO: 'Daft Punk is Playing at My House' @ Palladium

(Thanks to weilub106 for the nice vid.)


Your Ten Desert Island Albums?

Inspired by something Bender said on Futurama, what are your ten desert island albums?

I'm sure this list will probably change next week but, here's how it stands as of today. And of course, I'm making it more complicated by trying to take into account my mindset and moods while being stranded on an island - don't overthink your own list.

QOTSA – Rated-R

While it's not my favorite Queens album, the variety on it seems like something that would give me an even slice of that robot-rock sound.

'Auto Pilot'

Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland
Good for both licking mysterious toads and eating random plants on the island.

Built to Spill - Keep It Like a Secret

This BTS album would pretty much make any list I was putting together for anything.

My Morning Jacket – Z
Yim Yames is coming with me to the island whether he wants to or not!

Radiohead - The Bends
Kid A or Hail to the Thief are probably my favorite albums but, like the Queens selection, the variety on this LP lends itself to well, life alone on an island.

'Planet Telex'

Pavement – Crooked Rain Crooked Rain
What's a desert island existence without some jangle-pop goodness? Plus, I can go insane singing 'I'm just a boy with a new haircut' over and over. Check annnnd check.

Smashing Pumpkins - Pisces Iscariot
By now, we're all sick of Corgan and his bullshit but, this album is amazing and way before he became too annoying to talk about, look at or listen to.

'Hello Kitty Kat'

The Beatles – Revolver
If you aren't taking your favorite Beatles album with you then, wow.

The Black Crowes – The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion
Just like Yim Yames, Marc Ford is coming with me to this goddamn island! But, this is the Crowes' best album, too.

The Velvet Underground and Nico – Self-Titled
Jimi, The Beatles and Velvet make up the holy island trinity.


Show Review: Japandroids @ The Echoplex

Brian King, (photo courtesy of sleepydoll)

I think my buddy Kevin described Japandroids best when he said 'time to watch two guys make four guys worth of sound'.

After sets by electro, grind-core rockers All Leather and rabbit-accessory clad surf(?) band NoBunny (who's set will forever lurk in the dark corners of my mind), Vancouver garage-rockers Japandroids took the stage to a warm, LA reception.


Starting things off with 'The Boys Are Leaving Town', the band ferociously ripped through their entire album and then some with my favorite track 'Wet Hair' being played a time and a half due to a 'we effed up' moment.

The crowd was extremely active and really hit their peak during the desert-groove track 'Crazy/Forever' starting a mini-mosh pit which saw several small, hipster girls get carried away in the swirl of humanity.

Dressed in all white, guitarist/vocalist Brian King was his usual energetic self, 'exploring the space' and taking many of his normal drum-kit perches as he and drummer David Prowse traded vocals over most of the set.

Concluding at a peaked energy level but noticeably drained after really given it all out and leaving it on the stage, Japandroids thanked everyone for coming out and ended things.

As my buddy Randol said, it is nice to see that not all bands feel compelled to play an encore especially with the performance level these guys put out. He was right, too. An encore would have seemed like taking the foot of the throttle. I'm glad they took us all off the cliff.

VIDEO: Japandroids - 'Wet Hair'

Website: www.japandroids.com


No, not THAT Genesis...

We don't often speak about those bands where the drummer has moved from behind the kit to handling lead vocals. Probably because this doesn't always work out to the best of circumstances.

I suppose, as of recently, I could name a few successful kit-to-mic transitions with The Stills and Band of Horses, the latter of who's formation resulted in this move. But looking back, of these movements, Genesis is the band that always comes to mind.

While being a late comer to the Peter Gabriel prog-rock sound of it's earliest incarnation, I always hated them because Phil Collins was a douche and not just because of that Lion King song. I remember being a kid and hearing 'Hold On My Heart' on several of those in-store 'muzak' radio stations and even with not having a well-developed musical pallet at that time, I still knew it was trash.

But, I can thank my buddy Jason for sharing the story of Genesis, not THAT Genesis. So, enter the 'classic era' of that band:

Phil Collins is the drummer, totally spaced on some, from the looks of it, very good drugs. Peter Gabriel is a twentysomething, stud frontman wearing insane costumes while reciting lyrics about the first hermaphrodite who lived on Mount Ida.

Case in point:

(Gwar, eat your heart out.)

The band records, releases and tours on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. During the tour, Gabriel tells his band that he's leaving, something they say they knew was coming.

Deciding to carry on as Genesis, Phil Collins becomes the drummer/lead vocalist. And, needless to say, he wasn't dressing up in any costumes. Initially, things sounded great. If you weren't aware, Collins does a great Gabriel impression...

Because of the extra vocal duty, the band brings in a second drummer (quite a spectacle to watch because, Phil Collins is actually a stellar drummer despite his other douche-y qualities). After this lineup, the band began to shift again and after a couple lineup changes, the three-man, 80's carnation that I grew up despising was upon the world.

And, after all that, my point - Peter Gabriel is it. Look at the pictures, watch the vid and go get an album or two.

It's a compact and biased version (only to Phil Collins) but, it's my blog.

Genesis Live in Shepperton '73 - 'Watcher of the Skies'


Review: Future Islands - 'In The Evening Air'

If it means anything, this was the first album I had heard in a while that made me want to come out of a writing 'hiatus'. Well, that and a break from classes.

Future Islands is a synth-pop band (they use the term post-wave) that explores the darker regions of early Killers and TV on the Radio territory. Lush-soundscapes fill the tracks while still allowing breathing room for the songs to flex.

On the opening track 'Walking Through That Door', the synth hook is immediate. Lead vocalist Samuel T. Herring sings with a controlled urgency that juxtaposes against the reeling squeal of the key-laden chorus. Each track has it's own personality yet, the cohesion binding everything together is strong.

'Long Flight' displays a bit of a tribal influence to the percussion but, the drive stays true to a dark-corner disco sound. Spanning the track, an echoed, steel-drum line leads the rhythm. Some sound motifs reappear on later tracks without becoming repetitive. This is especially true with the third song, 'Tin Man', which I see as being the playlist single that brings in the new listeners. 'I am the Tin Man', Herring proclaims over a buzzing wave of fuzz and rapid fire guitar attacks before ceding to it's conclusion, burning out with a ferocious blast of sound.

Setting up a hazy dreamscape, the title track, rather than going the usual route of setting itself up as a lead single instead acts as a break in the album. 'In The Evening Air' is a short one-minute (and 15 second) intermission that creates a buffer between the album's two sides without breaking up the familiarity of sound. It leads into 'Swept Inside' which is reminiscent of Arcade Fire's 'Rebellion (Lies)' with it's anthemic, driven bass-line. But, a sped-up drum tempo makes it a great, mellow dance track.

If you love 80's music, 'Inch of Dust' will be your song. Conjuring some Bowie vocals over a simple and drawn out bass-snare drum beat, the band always makes sure to pepper in little bursts of electronic rain drops before pushing the throttle again.

'Vireo's Eye' returns Future Islands to the epic sounding intro lines that may be their best selling point for new fans. While not fully bringing the album out of the clouded atmosphere, the track opens things up for a moment of sunlight.

The final song is the culmination of the LP – the way a solid one should conclude. A great dance groove and textured sample driving the bass and vocals while somber lyrics keep 'As I Fall' grounded before it melts away, leaving the last two minutes to deconstruct the composition into a moaning, brooding section of strings.

Rating: 8.9/10

Key tracks: 'Tin Man', 'Walking Through That Door', 'Swept Inside'


There has been some slight underground buzz that this is an early contender for album of the year and, while still early, I can't say it's unwarranted. But, while this isn't the band's first album, it's definitely going to be their 'coming out' one.

If you're in LA, they are playing at an art space on Melrose called Sync Space on 5/21 -and let's face it, seeing an artsy band at an art compound is always cool. Right?

'In the Evening Air' is out on Thrill Jockey on 5/4.

MySpace: www.myspace.com/futureislands

'Tin Man'


A cold, rainy day in LA (what?)...go with it.

Queens of the Stone Age - Better Living Through Chemistry (live at Rock AM Ring 2003)