Listen to the Band: Mothers Sons

Categories: bands we like

Mothers SonsFor Mothers Sons, the craft of mingling a fiery brand of folk rock with a shot of blues and poetic observation has earned them a growing buzz in cramped clubs and bars all over Orange County. Hailing from Fullerton, the band is a worthy edition to the growing movement of American Roots Music sweeping the local music scene.

Tonight the band will be playing a record release party for their independent "Griot" EP at the Continental Room for a home town crowd. With lead singer/guitarist Rob Rowe at the helm, the band is poised to hit audiences with enough gusto and vintage rock riffs to make mamma proud.

OC Weekly: Who's in the band and who does what?

Rowe: Danny sings backing stuff and switches between lead and bass with Kenny. Jona does all of the percussion and a bit of shouting and I sing and play rhythm. Danny and I mostly work together as far as getting the initial ideas or parts of a song together. But often nothing is clear until we all get together and work on it.

OCW: What motivated you to start the band?

R: I met a girl in high school that wrote songs. I remember listening to her sing in her room and being really moved by it. I already played a little, but that's what led me toward the realization that writing songs was the right outlet for a big portion of my creative energy.

OCW: Who are your biggest influences and why?

R: Garages full of shit, heads full of nothing, the reproductive habits of useless morons, the cultural vacuum they create, how overvalued human life is, etc . You might laugh but I'm dead fucking serious and in fifty years you'll see what I mean. Those are the things that get me worked up enough that I have to sit with a guitar for a few hours and make things right for myself.

OCW: What's the best thing that's happened to your band? What's the worst?

R: The best was when Danny joined. We'd been looking for "Mr. Right" for a while. He came in and we could just be on our way and learn to write better together.

The worst for me was when I ate too much Thai food before a show. I got heartburn, almost threw up every time I opened my mouth to sing, got hit on by a married woman and lost my phone. But the worst for the band was probably wasting six months working on a song we never finished. Every time we worked on the damn thing we hated it more.

OCW: There are millions of bands and solo artists creating music now. Why should people listen to you?

R: Because many of those millions only talk about girls and parties or tell a bunch of banal stories. I for one don't tolerate having my time wasted by some dude crying into his own mouth or some high school dropout mumbling his half-written song about his own antics. I'm not so full of myself that I think my feelings are important to you and I have a respect for your time.

So I'm issuing an opinion, but not so that you'll agree with me. Because even if you don't agree with what I think then you've found out something about what you think, and to me that's the objective. Art should be precise enough to make you think. That's not to put down feelings. A wrecking ball is better than a nail for the right job, but I'm trying to be constructive.

Listen to the band:

Club Life : Busy Work Wednesdays at Detroit Bar

Categories: DJ culture

Tonight, before you waste another Wednesday, we suggest that you sweat out your hump day frustrations with the boys from Busy Work at Detroit Bar. Conducted by DJ Dan Sena, GMO, Clifford Lidell and Rock Berry, this weekly audio romp delivers an all-night mix of techno, house and hip-hop that has become a staple at this Costa Mesa culture cove. The DJs start spinning around 9 p.m and by the time you look down to check your watch, it'll already be Thursday. Tonight's as good a night as any to come down and check it out for yourself. And in case you didn't notice the flier...two-dollar beers can make any Wednesday night special.
busy work

Matt Costa Releases Second Single

Categories: vids

The Malloys, the brotherly director-ly duo who've worked previously with artists like the Kooks, Jimmy Eat World, Cold War Kids, Santana, the White Stripes, Will Ferrell (?) and others, have teamed up once again with Huntington Beach's Matt Costa for the video to his second single, "Cigarette Eyes," off his sophomore album, Unfamiliar Faces.

The video was shot in a single take and even features a couple cameos from Costa's drummer, James Fletcher, who also plays drums for the Costa Mesa-based Satisfaction.

The embedding for the video on YouTube has been disabled, but you can check it out by clicking here.

Last Night: Black Keys and Grand Ole Party at HOB

Categories: live review

Better than: A ride on Space Mountain

black keysAnyone who’s seen The Black Keys at least once knows that a packed house filled with blues and body heat usually comes standard. And as I swung open the door to the House of Blues to find an audience crammed in like a can of sardines, I knew I was at the right concert. Last night, The Black Keys stopped in Anaheim during their U.S. tour, brining with them Grand Ole Party, a three pack of big beat rockers from San Diego.

By the time I got a good look at the stage, the show was in full swing with all eyes fixed on Kristin Gundred of Grand Ole Party. The band’s sound was a powerful puree of pop energy fueled by sharp beats and the boundless talent of Gundred who sang like a pro while playing drums. As I walked around, I heard whispers of people trying to put their finger on the band’s sound. Bands like Rilo Kiley, No Doubt and Yeah Yeah Yeahs were being tossed around quite a bit, which I pretty much agree with. But, Grand Ole Party definitely brought a much more mature, dark and cynical side to their music than the bands used to describe them. Not to mention Gundred’s voice had a lot more range and power than any of those bands.Grand Ole Party
Backed by guitarist John Paul Labno and bassist Michael Krechnyak, GOP powered through most of there set and did their best to win over the crowd. One thing that definitely stalled their momentum was a never ending battle with Labnos busted guitar strings that even brought things to a dead halt a couple times. I couldn’t believe he was going through strings so fast, it’s not like he was chugging metal riffs all night.
But once they got back on track, the band finished strong with the song “Look Out Young Son” as Gundred’s voice carried all the way through, quivering with power and emotion. Hopefully, since the tour is just starting, the band can work out the bugs in their performance early so they can really rock out the rest of the tour. Honestly, I can’t wait to see them when they come around again.
The body heat in the crowd gradually started to accumulate as more and more fans filed in to watch the down and dirty blues rock of The Black Keys. Even as a duo, I’m always surprised at the explosion of sound that comes from the stage when they play.
Finally after about a 30 minute wait, the curtains parted once again, producing Pat Carney riding his drum kit high on a raised platform with the scraggly bearded Dan Auerbach beside him. The crowd swelled up their praise as the duo launched into their set classic Keys style, with merciless drumming and guitar antics. I noticed that they gave the fans some great blasts from the past, including the balsy guitar work of “The Breaks” a track from their first full length “The Big Come-Up”. Over the course of their set, the band delivered big riff in their arsenal. And it always gets me how after every song, Auerbach and Carney give the crowd genuine thanks for coming out to see them. That kind of humble “awe shucks” attitude is probably one of the things I like most about them, especially after seeing row after row of rock stars prance around stage like the crowd should be lucky to see them.
Auerbach delivered some great stuff from other albums like “Set You Free” and Everywhere I Go” from the “Thickfreakness” days, “Till I get My Way” from the “Rubber Factory” album and also some newer gems from the Danger Mouse inspired effort “Attack and Release”. I liked how the band improvised on the song “Strange Times” by cutting out the keyboard parts on the chorus in favor of keeping things strictly drums and guitar. After shredding for about an hour or so, the band left the stage momentarily and came back for an encore, blasting us with a couple more songs, finally concluding with “Psychotic Girl” to the wild applause from the crowd. In the sweaty darkness, the feeling that comes from watching that kind of reckless abandon on stage is the stuff that makes every kid want to pick up a guitar.

Critics Notebook

Personal Bias: Chick singer/drummers are awesome, even if they do wear Brittney spears microphones while they play.

Random Detail: I ended up seeing a bunch of people I knew at this show, even though I went by myself.

By the Way: If you can catch Grand Ole Party live…you should.

Last Night: Black Francis @ Detroit Bar

Better Than: Watching the Olympics.

Download: "Threshold Apprehension" from the official Black Francis Myspace page.

I would estimate that sixty percent of indie/alternative rock bands formed in the last ten years would directly cite The Pixies as an influence. Who can forget the closing credits of Fight Club with "Where's My Mind?" by the Pixies playing in the background. The enigmatic leader and voice of The Pixies stopped by the Detroit Bar with his alter ego, Black Francis for a rollicking good time.

Hello From Reno started the evening with their infectious brand of power pop tunes and stacked vocal harmonies that were influenced by such bands as The Kinks, The Smiths and most likely The Pixies. Matt Roveto (Guitars) channeled various Brit Pop guitar gods with ringing notes from his Rickenbacker guitar. I particularly enjoyed "All About You" which reminded me of "Girl Afraid" from The Smiths.

I knew prior to the show that Black Francis would stick primarily to his latest two solo albums "Bluefinger" and "Svn Fngers." "Bluefinger" is a concept album primarily centered around Dutch artist Herman Brood. "Test Pilot Blues" from the "Bluefinger" album had Black Francis weaving his tightly spun song craft as he tangled the audience in a web of screaming musical notes and catchy riffs. "She Took All The Money" has another trademark catchy chorus as the crowd happily sung along to the fact that "She took all my money, and hung me out to dry!" while Black Francis wailed away on his harmonica. A small bouncing mosh pit started to break out in front of the stage as the pace of the evening accelerated.

"Captain Pasty" barely clocked in less than three minutes as it was a barrage of furious guitar downstrokes making me realize that the song could have easily fit on a Pixies album. Black Francis continued to pay tribute to Herman Brook with a knock down drag out cover of "You Can't Break a Heart and Have It" that was twisted in a typical Black Francis matter. While it takes talent to sing in key, I was impressed Black Francis could scream in key as he often would often change his singing style. "Threshold Apprehension" was one of the highlights of the evening as Black Francis reached into the stratosphere for some upper register singing notes. I know Black Francis is critically lauded for his songwriting abilities but I am starting to think his vocal abilities are under appreciated. The chants for encore were deafening as the band walked off the stage. But in true rock and roll fashion, Black Francis left the crowd wanting more. I know I did.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: I have a Fender Telecaster guitar just like Black Francis.

Random Detail: David Henderson not only plays the drums for Hello From Reno but also plays in Goon Moon which features Jeordie White of Marilyn Manson fame.

By The Way: Black Francis is heading out for a short tour of Australia.

Photos from the show coming soon.

Last Night: Juju Beats Festival @ Oak Canyon Ranch

Better than: Going on an all night bender of Red Bull and Dance Dance Revolution at the neighborhood arcade

After its long-time hiatus, the legendary Juju Beats Festival swarmed the lawn of Oak Canyon Ranch in Orange. The party stretched until after 3 am, with freaky beats, bouncing bodies and insatiable neon party animals.

Our sorely missed music editor Dave Segal mentioned in his last column at the Weekly that OC hadn’t satisfied his taste for Techno and “fucked up sounds”, and he’s probably right. But had he stayed in town a little longer I’m sure he would have been salivating over the prospect of 4 stages flashing behind the turn table wizardry of beatsmiths like DJ Dan, The Glitch Mob and Jason Blakemore. Not to mention the 68 acre sprawl filled with lakes and trees tucked behind a maze of canyons and dark roads.

Unlike most inner city raves, Juju Beats didn’t even wait for the sun to set, as cars charged through the dusty makeshift parking lot around 4 p.m. As I darted down Santiago Canyon, a flash back of Coachella came over me as waves of beat up old Hondas packed with kids rocking pink rimmed glasses and Mad Hatter lids passed me on the highway.

By the time I shuffled into the front gates, the festival was kicking on all cylinders as I walked to the “Bumble Bee Love Swarm” Stage to catch a set by dynamic duo Jeno and Garth. Right away, I was glued to the blazing lights and cartoon foam plants that seemed to sprout in front of the turntables. Before I knew it, I was absorbed into the hypnotic dance party in the center of the crowd. But if there’s one mistake you could’ve made last night at Juju Beats (besides taking E from some creep posted next to the barbeque sandwich trailer) it was staying in one place for too long.

Each stage was spread out to let each stage throw it’s own party simultaneously while wanderers like me batted back and forth discovering new sounds. One stage where I definitely felt some raw underground energy was the Drum’n’Bass tent that hosted the maniacal styles of London’s own Crissy Criss and Kenny Ken, who kicked a non stop flurry of Jungle and Grime behind an avalanche for tongue twisting toasters and emcees. The bass rumbled so low that snapping pictures next to the stage almost cost me my hearing.

But if you felt like spinning your glow sticks to something less harsh, the Butterfly Oasis Stage was the place to get your fix of fairies, fire and flesh. DJ Dan was definitely the biggest crowd pleaser of the night, besides the endless circuit of half naked hotties shaking it cabaret style on the towers mounted at every corner of the stage. I also got discover a new favorite in Jason Blackmore. Though house and techno were never really my main musical obsessions, I’ve got to admit that I pretty much abandoned my responsibilities as a reporter” during his set in favor of rocking out.

As a newcomer to the rave scene, Juju Beats gave me a whole new respect for the neon party life. And although I you won’t see me sucking a glittery pacifier, covering my arms in Tall Mouse arts and crafts, or dancing in leg warmers any time soon, I’ll definitely by in line the next time this “musical and visual orgasm” rolls into town.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias: I'm a fan of any party where half naked girls playing with fire are present.

Random Detail: I came to the rave with white shoes...I left with green shoes.

By the Way: Hope everyone had a good time.

Listen to the Band: The Lost Art

Categories: say what?

The Lost Art
Since the release of his second album "Escape From Lala Land" on July 25, Technicalli artist The Lost Art has been making hip hop heads world wide wake up and take notice of his skills behind the mic. Boasting roots from the golden age of hip hop, Art has a knack for meshing together consciousness and cockiness in a style that is hard to ignore once you give it a chance. Working with local heavy weights like The Visionaries and LD and Ariano has definitely given him the proper skills of a seasoned fire-breathing MC.

01 Who's in the band and who does what?

LD and DJ Stimulus handle the production and of course I handle the vocals. We actually do have alot of live instrumentation with LD on keys and Lobsta (LD's brother) handles the bass lines.

02 What motivated you to start the rapping?

Poetry, writing in general. Watching alot of Def Poets on t.v. and seeing MC's reciting poetry from paper and then learning that these people were also makng tracks and then seeing that I can relate it to the music.

03 Who are your biggest influences and why?

Atmosphere is definitely a big one, Sugar Hill Gand, Rakim, The Roots ,Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, The Alkoholiks, Exhibit Hieroglyphics...I could go on for days. On a separate level, I'm also a classic rock fan. I love Jack Johnson, The hite Stripes, Eric Clapton, The Beatles Cream. The world is so much bigger than hip hop and what I want to do is put in my CD for people and they don't say "that's dope hip hop", I want them to be like "that's good music". That's what I aspire to because I want everybody to be able to enjoy it.

04 What's the best thing that's happened to your band? What's the worst
thing that's happened to your band?

Just getting to travel and get closer to the people I'm working with. You find out a lot about yourself when you're in close quarters with people you're working with. You learn alot about people, I'm mean even silly shit like who has gas or who's feet smell...just different stuff.

I've also been a big fan of the visionaries for a long time and LMNO is like one of my favorite MC's... and going from listening to him and following him, to get to work with him was a really big thing for me.

05 There are millions of bands and solo artists creating music now. Why
should people listen to you?

Because I'm crazy. Because I bring something the next person didn't, or maybe they did but I just present it a different way. You might like my voice, or a song that I have. I just urge people to take a listen, just one listen is all I ask. Download it for free and just listen. You might like it.

Make it Rain

Photobucket"Making it rain" is the act of wantonly tossing stacks of cash into the air. Normally this practice is performed in a club, and dancers clamor for the bills, pick them up, and then forever worship the rain man for the demigod that he is.

The concept is discussed ad nauseam on hip hop radio. Rhapsody lists a dozen artists with songs entitled "Make It Rain," including Atlanta snap music group D4L. As they so eloquently put it in their version:

Make it rain

I make it rain, ho

I make it rain

I make it rain, ho

Other emcees are equally vague when it comes to discussing the topic. Though everyone from platinum selling emcees to rappers unknown outside their own bedrooms claim to be practitioners, they never get into specifics. This leaves me with many questions about the ritual, including: Does making it rain tend to incite greedy riots? Do the folks picking up the cash have to pay taxes on their earnings? Is it against fire code?

But mostly I wonder – has anyone has made it rain, ever? I personally have never observed the practice, despite having attended hundreds of rap shows. In fact, the more I hear about making it rain, the more I'm convinced it's the bling equivalent of Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster.

And so as befits a legend, I recently decided to undertake my own Discovery Channel-style investigation. If making it rain does not actually exist, I would like proof. If it does, I would like to catch some of the money.

I begin my quest where any intrepid pseudo-anthropologist would -- YouTube. Within a few minutes I've uncovered a video of a rapper I've never heard of flashing wads of cash at a Chili's somewhere. But after a full half hour of searching I can't find proof of a single rapper making it rain. Perhaps that's because in each instance the cameraman has had the good sense to set down his equipment and make a mad dash for the cash?

But I will not be discouraged. When an opportunity arises to interview singer and Carson native Ray J, I decide to take the matter up with an actual rain man. Though his songs use both hip hop and R&B beats, he's definitely got the mentality of a bling rapper down cold. He's forever focused on his cars and his women, and in his hit song "Sexy Can I" informs us that

I make it rain in the club

Like…oh, ohh, ohh

Though I'm skeptical, I figure if anyone has the resources to make it rain it would be this man, born William Ray Norwood, Jr. He's got an admirable sales record, after all, as well as royalties coming in from shows like Moesha, in which he appeared alongside his older sister Brandy. But particularly lucrative has been the sex video he shot with socialite Kim Kardashian, the large-caboosed reality TV star and daughter of OJ Simpson's lawyer. He reportedly got a million bucks for its sale to porn company Vivid Video. (Kardashian herself got $4 million, but there's no word on whether she's gotten into the weather-altering business.)

Today at the Manhattan offices of his Koch record label he wears a white t-shirt and a red Los Angeles of Anaheim ball cap. He looks almost exactly like he does on his album covers, or, if you prefer, on the sex tape.

We exchange pleasantries for a little while, and then I set my chin in my hand to let him know it's time to be serious.

"Have you ever actually made it rain?" I ask.

"Oh yeah, we made it rain a little bit last night," he says, adding that the location was a Bronx club, at a show I strangely had no knowledge of. He adds, a bit defensively: "Everything I sing about is usually real."

The way it works, he explains, is that he gets 100 dollars worth of ones – or 1000, whatever – and tosses them out to the crowd using a palms-out, horizontal propelling motion.

Contrary to what I'd imagined, however, he says the folks in attendance never trample each other while grabbing the dough. "When you make it rain," he explains, "what's so crazy about it is that the money just falls on the ground. Everybody knows just to let the girls get it."

The last part hits me like a brick to the chest. Only girls are allowed to pick up the money? That sucks!

He adds that the first time he ever made it rain was at a Houston strip club when he was 20, and that his favorite part of the ritual is, "seeing the money going up in the air."

"If it's a 'rain storm,'" he concludes, "everybody's in there making it rain, and they like to get trash bags and buckets to put the money in there. It's crazy."

Yes, it does sound crazy. But maybe it's just crazy enough to be true. Although I'm still not totally convinced, his big brown eyes seem to reveal at least he believes he is telling the truth.

I say goodbye, making him promise to call me the next time he's going to make it rain, or at least send me a text message when there's a rain storm in the forecast. For the time being, I put my investigation on hold.

Worst Song Lyric Ever

Categories: music

Who would you imagine has written the worst song lyric ever? Jethro Tull? Billy Joel? Vanilla Ice? Rick Ross? Wrong, wrong, wrong, and, well, close but still wrong.

3 Doors Down, "Here Without You"

In fact, the pop culture perps are Escatawpa, Mississippi band 3 Doors Down, in the form of their 2003 hit “Here Without You.” Many would call the song “inscrutable,” but I have bravely attempted to scrutinize it.

It seems that, while “Here Without You” in fact contains the worst song lyric ever written, it has some stiff competition. Not just from the hundreds of millions of other songs ever written, but rather from other lyrics within the same song.

One hundred days have made me older/ Since the last time that I saw your pretty face

I'm not sure how familiar you are with the concept of time, lead singer Brad Arnold, but even a single day will make you older, and there doesn't even have to be a girl involved.

A thousand lice have made me colder/ And I don't think I can look at this the same

Okay, yeah, so he probably says "lies" or "lights" and not "lice" but none of those things make any sense anyway.

If you're watching the video, you'll notice that it chronicles Arnold's songwriting process, and he's laboring like a motherfucker. Like, "I need something that rhymes with 'face.' Hmmm. 'Ace'? 'Space'? 'Laced'? Drat, I can't come up with anything. Well, I guess 'same' is pretty close."

The miles just keep rolling/ As the people leave their way to say hello

That's some weak Bob Seger shit right there, and again, no sense does it make. "The people leave their way to say hello?" That's not English. The funny thing is that the morons who transcribe songs on the internet don't even know what to make of it. This guyhas it as, "The miles just keep rollin/ As the people either way to say hello."

But, as bad as these lyrics are, they pale in comparison to the song's next line, which just so happens to be the worst song lyric ever penned.

I've heard this life is overrated/ But I hope that it gets better as we go

Huh? Who told you "this life" was "overrated"? And, why, exactly, are you consulting people as to the quality of "this life," the way you would about a restaurant or movie?

"Excuse me, sir, sorry for bothering you, but I'm wondering if you could recommend 'this life.' I'm interested in potentially living it."

"It's overrated."

"Oh, really? Okay great, thanks."

Apparently, this wise oracle was consulted years ago, and Arnold has sadly found him to be correct. Still, he's holding out hope that "it gets better" as "we go."

Everything I know and anywhere I go/ It gets hard but it won't take away my love/ And when the last one falls/ When it's all said and done/ It gets hard but it won't take away my love

This is a subject/object nightmare. How can "everything" and "anywhere" "get hard"? And who is this "last one," and why is she/he/it falling?

Anyway, thanks for playing, 3 Doors Down. You've got the worst lyric ever. I have to say though, the song kind of rocks.

Last Night: Indian Jewelry @ the Phoenix Grille, UC Irvine

PhotobucketIndian Jewelry @ the Phoenix Grille, UC Irvine on August 9, 2008

Better Than: Losing $100 playing Hold ‘Em at the Indian Casino.

Download: Swans” from Indian Jewelry’s Myspace page

When the lights go down and the strobe starts flashing, it’s easy to forget that the Phoenix Grille is essentially a school cafeteria. During lunch hours they play mainstream pop music. But for a few glorious nights, they host some of the most original bands around, thanks to Sam Farzin’s Acrobatics Everyday.

Last night, Acrobatics Everyday brought Houston noise band Indian Jewelry to the UCI campus. Several arguably noisier bands, including XBXRX, Meho Plaza, and Sprawl Out, helped the audience acclimate aurally before Indian Jewelry took the stage (or the floor, rather).

First up was Sprawl Out from Costa Mesa, a trio that fashions their fast and aggressive garage sound from an electric organ combined with heavy bass and drums. Sprawl Out describe their sound as “gargling razor blades while getting head from an androgynous schizophrenic.” They played several short pieces, including songs about Doogie Howser M.D. and being afraid of AIDS.

Like Sprawl Out, Meho Plaza is also a trio, except they employ a guitarist and use a keyboard to replace the bass. The combination of screeching guitar licks, fuzz-filled artificial bass lines, and a charging rhythm makes Meho Plaza strangely catchy.

PhotobucketXBXRX were the only band to completely embody their music’s noise and aggression physically. With matching baby blue uniforms, the band threw themselves into the crowd while their punk rock permeated the air. The grinding guitar riffs fused with a drum rhythm as rapid and terrifying as machine gun fire.

By the time Indian Jewelry started their set, it was clear that the other three bands had more in common with each other than they did with Indian Jewelry. Of course, as a band, Indian Jewelry were not completely removed from the musical heritage that shaped the bands they played with. If they didn’t prefer the droning to the frenetic, there would be very little difference indeed.

Critic’s Notebook:

Personal Bias: I want to play at an Acrobatics Everyday show.

Random Detail: Phoenix Grille serves imported and domestic beer.

By The Way: Captain Ahab is playing at UCI on August 22 courtesy of Acrobatics Everyday.