Phantogram Laughed Through the Dark Times, Now They Party With Rap Stars

Categories: Bands We Like

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"We toured the country multiple times, just the two of us," says Josh Carter, one-half of electropop duo Phantogram. "We'd sleep in Wal-Mart parking lots. Playing for five people every night was a success then. The first time we sold out Bowery Ballroom--that was a huge success. It's constantly building, and for that, I'm really grateful."

Vocalist Sarah Barthel looks back on those early days fondly, when she and Carter were forced to grind it out. Their highest point, she says, was their first tour. "We realized we were going to tour, and it was the smallest tour ever," she says, laughing. "We went to Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pittsburgh, and we played in front of the other band, but we were so pumped--like, it was great, so crazy. We had to sleep in our car that night, but it was awesome because we were doing it."

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For Fucked Up, Everything is All Right

Categories: Bands We Like

Toronto-based hardcore outfit Fucked Up never expected their band to go very far when they formed in 2001, let alone all the way to Brazil. A few weeks ago, they played São Paolo for the first time, opening for Dinosaur Jr. For singer Damian Abraham, it was a landmark moment in a career filled with critical acclaim and accolades. Even if they were only there for a total of 27 hours.

"One of the goals of the band when we started was to play in Japan and Brazil," he says. "It was great to walk in the same footprints of the bands I love. When we said, 'One day, we'll play Brazil, one day' . . . Getting to go down there was a check-it-off experience for this band."

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Little Daylight Are Seeing Brighter Days on Tour

The trio, in their synth-poppy glory
I first saw Little Daylight when they were opening for Marina and the Diamonds in Seattle. At that point, they didn't even have enough original music to really fill a set list, but their live performance was amazing: Nikki Taylor's vocals were hypnotic and engrossing, and Matt Lewkowicz and Eric Zeiler rocked the stage like they owned it.

Now, one and a half years later, the synth-pop trio from Brooklyn have an EP and an album worth of material to work with and are headlining their own national tour in support of their latest release, "Hello Memory," a studio length album full of the modern indie electro pop that made their name as well as more 80s-influenced synth ballads. Tomorrow, they'll finish their tour with a show at the Troubadour.

I had a phone call with Nikki while she was having lunch to discuss everything they've done thus far.

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Warpaint - The Observatory - August 9, 2014

Aimee Murillo
The Observatory

LA quartet Warpaint came out once again to cast their melodious spell at the Observatory Saturday night before their upcoming European tour later this month. It's been a while since they've played in Orange County, unless you count their show last October at The Glass House. Even members Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman, while feeding the audience with banter in between songs, expressed their joy at returning to OC. "Sahnta Annaaa," Kokal's and Wayman's pronunciation simply rolled off their tongues. "We always love playing here."

Buzz band no more, the group have toured extensively in the last few months honoring the release of their third album Warpaint. Keeping up with their free-flowing, experimental style of psych-rock, Warpaint retains their ethereal melodic harmonies but adds new instrumental flourishes in the mix, including piano synthesizers and drum machines. The resulting album stems on a slightly divergent path away from their previous songs, especially on the song "Disco/Very," that has a danceable beat, yet their hypnotic vocals and psychedelic grooves still maintain a familiar vibe for fans.

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Teri Gender Bender is Trying Hard Not To Believe in Curses Anymore

Categories: Bands We Like

Violet Felix
We're used to hearing musicians talk about improving their ability to lose themselves on stage in an effort to slash, burn and entertain. It's rare to hear one say they think they might be overdoing it a bit, especially when it's someone whose nihilism fans have grown to love. Since she was a teenager, Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes was one of those performers possessed by the music, and the curse of frustration and rage she says gave her the impulse to douse herself in pig's blood, cut off her bangs and swing from rafters in front of a crowd. Just talking about some of the old feelings of red eyed adrenaline make the 25 year-old woman born Teresa Suárez, feel jittery over the phone.

And while there's still plenty of string-snapping punk energy in her latest album Cry is For the Flies (released digitally in May, physically in September via Ipecac) she says the music represents a far more tempered version of herself. In choosing to embrace new projects (like Bosnian Rainbows) and happier emotions, Suárez has finally started to control some curses that plagued her mind as a performer for so long. Notice we don't say she let go of them entirely. Anyone who has seen her perform knows that a visceral element of haunting, raw power will always be part of her repertoire. We recently spoke to Suárez before she and her drummer Lia Braswell return to the Observatory to open for her good friend and mentor Omar Rodriguez Lopez who has reunited with his bandmate Cedric Bixler Zavala of the Mars Volta to perform as Antemasque.

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In Defense of Sublime

Categories: Bands We Like

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By: Bree Davies
I thought I would have to wait until the 20th anniversary of Sublime's 1996 self-titled mainstream breakout album to write about how fundamentally misunderstood and judged Sublime is. I have so many feelings, probably too many, about a band whose legacy is beaten up almost as much as Insane Clown Posse's (who are possibly the most DIY music-makers on the planet, by the way) by people who tend to lean toward the appearance-based criticism that often bashes music embraced by the working class.
But then the A.V. Club published Jonah Ray's scathing take down of "What I Got" as part of its HateSong series, and I was handed my Sublime platform.

See also: Five Songs That Prove Why Sublime Still Matters

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Weezer - Del Mar Race Track - August 2, 2014

Tina Dhamija
Del Mar Race Track

Weezer rode into Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar Saturday night to a rowdy audience of old skool fans who were ready to party and make every last dime spent on the babysitter for the night count. And in the spirit of the band's forthcoming album Everything Will Be Alright In the End and its first single Back to the Shack (released last month), Rivers and the crew gave us a set that really did take us back to the strat with the lightening strap.

Opening the show with Jonas, front man Rivers Cuomo made it clear that he was there to shred on his signature trusty Fender Stratocastor. Weezer played a nearly two-hour long set that never failed to keep the crowd rocking out and singing along. In fact, that is what most Weezer shows are -- a giant, '90s nostalgia sing along. And speaking of '90s nostalgia, the setlist the band performed played like your favorite Weezer playlist.

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1994, Beer, Weezer

Bleeding Through's Brandan Schieppati Offers the Band's Final Words Before They Disband

Categories: Bands We Like

For the past 15 years, OC's Bleeding Through has been one of the hardest working metalcore bands on the planet, with seven full-length albums and years of relentless tours. Despite more than a dozen revolving band members and several mishaps, some nearly fatal, the band forged on, playing in front of hundreds of thousands collectively and sharing the stage with such acts as Slayer, Hatebreed, Danzig, AFI, HIM, Comeback Kid and Cradle of Filth, among many others. The band's ferocious blend of traditional hardcore and symphonic black metal elements bridged the gap between extreme metal and metalcore. But, sadly, Bleeding Through have decided to call it quits for undisclosed, personal reasons. After several "final" tours, the band recently embarked on its last string of West Coast shows, including back-to-back performances at Chain Reaction.

Lead singer and founding member Brandan Schieppati spoke with the Weekly about Bleeding Through's legacy, favorite local venues and his other career as a personal trainer through his gym, Rise Above Fitness in Huntington Beach.

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Kitten's Chloe Chaidez Young Career Shows Maturity and Cat-Like Reflexes

Categories: Bands We Like

Hana Ardelean and Jennifer Szilvagyi
At an early age, Chloe Chaidez knew she was different from other kids. While her friends were playing with toys and learning how to play the recorder, Chaidez was drawn to the raw power that music afforded her. What she didn't realize when she started playing bass at 10 was that her love of this creative outlet and her ability to harness an immense talent would become a full-fledged career.

Chaidez was born to a punk-rockin' father who played drums in LA underground outfit Thee Undertakers. Her dad blared classic rock and punk, but the young Chaidez was also drawn to the sounds of David Bowie, Sigur Ros and Band of Horses.

Now 19, the singer/songwriter has a vast musical knowledge that goes beyond her years as a player. Her music has been described as fusing genres as far-ranging as new wave, R&B, and '80s dance pop. This diverse sound has allowed Kitten to open for the likes of No Doubt, Paramore and Charli XCX.

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The Dwarves and The Queers - Alex's Bar - July 16, 2014

Ryan Ritchie
The Dwarves
The Dwarves and The Queers
Alex's Bar

As far as Dwarves shows go, last night's at Alex's Bar was fairly uneventful. And by that, I mean no one got naked, stabbed, punched or vomited on. Then again, the self-proclaimed best band ever (seriously, they have a song called "The Dwarves Are Still The Best Band Ever") ditched their infamous on-stage debauchery sometime in the mid to late 1990s, so if you went to Long Beach looking for sex and violence, you were probably let down.

That said, the current Dwarves -- singer Blag Dahlia, guitarist The Fresh Prince of Darkness, bassist Chip Fracture and drummer Gregory Pecker -- still fucking rule. Of course, the absence of long-time guitarist HeWhoCannotBeNamed was sorely missed, but anytime a naked man in a wrestling mask isn't somewhere, absences will be sorely missed.

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