Ah, nothing bespeaks summer quite like drinking an overpriced bottle of domestic beer at an indie music dive bar. And that’s where I found myself last Friday. Relax Bar has become a local fave amongst heavy indie rock fans, and it (gratefully) stands in stark contrast to the celeb spotting glitz clubs just a mile or so up Hollywood Blvd. The talent on display was an Athens, Georgia band called Music Hates You, which kicks out heavy, quasi-metal riffs underneath coarse, hard-hitting vocals. I spoke with lead singer Noah Ray after the gig. He talked about the current scene in Athens compared to other areas of the country and answered my question about how he’d change the indie music scene at large, which you’ll find similar to the sentiments of Tacoma, Washington band Highlight Bomb.
Last time I went to the Make Music Pasadena Festival was in 2008 to see L.A. faves Dengue Fever. I trekked back to the event this year to see another amazing local act called Warpaint. There are many others who accurately describe the band’s sound, so I will refrain from doing so in detail here, but I will say that Warpaint manages to capture an authentic Southern California sound, but not by trying to blow life into the corpse of west coast alt metal or raw-veggie-eating folk rock. And that last sentence may make little sense until you check out their recent EP, ironically titled Exquisite Corpse (don’t let the Emo name fool you). In the video below, I was regrettably a little too close to the speakers to capture distortion-free sound (there’s much to be desired from my camera’s auto gain control — you hear me Panasonic?), but I caught great interviews with all members of the band, asking them about their recent experience playing in Europe and how they would change the indie music scene.
Costa Mesa band The New Limb played an outdoor set on June 11 as part of the monthly Friday Night Sessions in Downtown L.A. The free event features indie bands on the second Friday of each month. Catchy, unique songs make up most of New Limb’s current slate. Oddly, the group played a couple of cover tunes also, which I’ve viewed as necessary only when a band’s current songs blow, and that’s really not the case with these guys (and one girl). The video below features clips from a cool tune called “Ebb and Flow.” There’s a short interview with lead singer Joey Chavez also, where he makes a valid point about the potential pitfalls of indie music.
As a supplement to the main blog, I recently set up ShoutNote extensions on Tumblr and Posterous, which will contain shorter re-edits of existing videos as well as general indie music info from other sources on the Web. Check them out (they currently both have the same content), and if you have a Tumblr or Posterous account, you are welcome to follow or subscribe.
Lead singer Cassie Ramone from Vivian Girls didn’t evade my camera this time. When the group was in town back in late 2008, I spoke with Katy and Ali, bassist and drummer from the all girl trio. Vivian Girls emerged as part of the Brooklyn music scene over the past few years, along with other indie bands such as Yeasayer and MGMT. Among my favorite tunes from V Girls are “Second Date” and “Lake House.” A clip from the latter song is featured in the video below. The interview took place on the legendary burgundy leather couch at The Smell in Downtown L.A.
* Update: Check out an extended interview with lead singer Cassie Ramone here.