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Band Round-Up: Eastside L.A. Edition, part one

A handful of awesome Eastside L.A. bands: Aushua (photo by Angi Welsch), Best Coast, Correatown, Downtown/Union, Le Switch (photo by Charlie Chu), Manhattan Murder Mystery (photo by Laurie Scavo), and Marvelous Toy.

A handful of awesome Eastside L.A. bands: Aushua (photo by Angi Welsch), Best Coast, Correatown, Downtown/Union, Le Switch (photo by Charlie Chu), Manhattan Murder Mystery (photo by Laurie Scavo), and Marvelous Toy.

This is a continuation of my two-part “Silverlake Band Update – part 1 and part 2” with bands that I’ve listened to or heard of since then and wanted to give a nod to. Note that these aren’t “new” bands – most have been together for at least a few years now – but they’re newish to me, as most just perform around the Los Angeles area or the West Coast – plus the fact that I’m a hermit and I don’t get out much. If there’s anyone I haven’t gotten to who I should know about, please let me know!

Also, three more blogs to check out: (newish) This Ain’t A Scene and (not so new, but I forgot last time): Surfing On Steam and When You Awake, a very cool place dedicated to the country, alt-country, folk & roots scene.

A bunch more really good L.A. bands…

Part One: Aushua | Best Coast | Correatown | Downtown/Union | Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros | Leslie and the Badgers | Le Switch | Letting Up Despite Great Faults | Manhattan Murder Mystery | Marvelous Toy

Aushua

photo by Angi Welsch

photo by Angi Welsch

Actually from Santa Ana, but they regular perform in the L.A. area. Aushua are: brothers Phil Newyear, Eric Newyear, and Lee Newyear, and their friend Nathan Gammill. To me, their music sounds incredibly expansive, soaring, and searching. Their debut EP was No Harm Done (2008), and they most recently released a 6-track EP Limbo, made up of songs taken out of pre-production from their upcoming full length. It’s also available on their official site.

MySpace | official site | Facebook | Twitter

Best Coast

Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast (and friend)

Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast (and friend)

Hazy, gauzy surf pop, perfect for a summer day, from Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno (plus a drummer for live shows). Currently winding things up at SXSW, then a big tour starting West, moving East (but no Boston, unfortunately), Canada, Midwest, then off to Europe. They have a few 7″ singles out, and plan for a full-length album sometime this year.

MySpace | official site | Facebook | Twitter

Correatown

Angela Correa of Correatown

Angela Correa of Correatown

Exceptionally pretty, thoughtful and contemplative dreamy indie pop. Lead singer and guitarist Angela Correa (who has an amazing voice) is joined by Mike Corwin (guitars), Rob Poynter (drums), Joanie Mendenhall (keyoards, vocals), and Jenni Tarma (bass). She cites a wide variety of literary, bluesy, folksy and country influences, all of which there are delightful hints of in their music. Their most recent recording is Spark. Burn. Fade. (2009).

MySpace | official site | Facebook | Twitter

Downtown/Union

EastsideLA03_DowntownUnion-

Quirky, fun, noisy, garagy, just plain good rock ‘n’ roll. With fantastic-sounding guitar licks. And did I mention fun and quirky? Which should come as no surprise, as the core duo of Bo Bory (vocals/guitar) and Jeff Electric (drums/vocals) are often joined by Andy and Joey Siara, when they’re not too busy with The Henry Clay People. Joey and Andy are both on D/U’s 2009 album Aurora Ahora. Other notable musicians join them in a revolving cast, including John and Adam from Seasons, who I also plan on covering in this “roundup” – coming up in part two.

MySpace | Facebook

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

EastsideLA03_EdwardSharpe

A handful of the Eastside L.A. bands are hugely successful now, and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros are one of them. This is a band I’m still becoming familiar with, so just a quick intro: they’re led by Alex Ebert, lead singer of Ima Robot, who is joined by an ensemble of performers, including singer Jade Castrinos, jazz drummer Josh Collazo, pianist Tay Stathairn (Dawes), and actress Nora Kirkpatrick on accordion and vocals. Others who have performed in the band (whose names I recognize) – Anna Bulbrook on violin and vocals (The Airborne Toxic Event) and Aaron Embry on keyboards and vocals. Musically, they’re a heartfelt, celebratory, 60’s flavored folk-rock ‘art project’ with lush instrumentation and uplifting lyrics, and have been compared to both Arcade Fire and The Mamas and the Papas. No small feat. They’ve released the Here Comes EP and their full length debut Up From Below last year, and are currently touring in Australia, which will be followed by festival appearances at Coachella, Sasquatch, Bonnaroo, and Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Yowsa.

MySpace | official site | Facebook | Twitter

Leslie and the Badgers

photo by Zoe-Ruth Erwin

photo by Zoe-Ruth Erwin

Leslie Stevens of folk-rock/country band Leslie and the Badgers has a sweet, sweet voice, and with Charlene Huang’s gently gliding fiddle, along with drummer Travis Popichak, bassist Ben Reddell, Eugene Fillios (on pedal steel and mandolin), Joe Bourdet and Nicole Eva Emery (guitar, mandolin, vocals), they create a warm, friendly and yet city-sophisticated alt-country sound. Their latest release Roomful of Smoke, can be downloaded from iTunes. And check out this rave review on No Depression. Coming off SXSW, they’ll be playing a full U.S. tour, including, I’m quite happy to report, T.T. The Bear’s Place on May 16.

MySpace | official site | Facebook | Twitter

Le Switch

photo by Charlie Chu

photo by Charlie Chu

They can be low-down bluesy and soulful, with vocal-cord-grinding growling from lead guitarist/singer Aaron Kyle (“Monkberry Moon Delight”), and then sweetly rootsy and alt-country (“I’m Not On”). Aaron’s joined by Joe Napolitano on drums, Christopher Harrison on bass, and Josh Charney on wonderful honky-tonk piano/keyboards. Great vocal harmonies, and a superb sound. I really wish these guys would come East. Oh yeah, they’re immortalized on The Henry Clay People‘s wonderful song, “The Switch Kids”, which was written for them.

MySpace | official site | Facebook | Twitter

Letting Up Despite Great Faults

photo by Olivia Hemaratanatorn

photo by Olivia Hemaratanatorn

I stupidly missed these guys by six days, as they just played at the Middle East (yeah, I know, not terribly helpful, am I?), but I can at least give them a little mention now. Nicely dreamy vocals, with synth & guitar weaving sensuously in and out, and an upbeat rhythm, with a bit of electro here and there. Cool stuff. Lead singer/songwriter Mike Lee began writing songs a few years ago, but the band was only fully together in its current form (with Kent Zambrana, Chris Gregory and Rachel Koukal) since last year, when they released their debut full length album. They also have an EP called Movement (from 2006). I’ll keep an eye out for the next time they come around…

YOUNGER NOISE teaser from Christopher j Ewing on Vimeo.

MySpace | official site | Facebook | Twitter

Manhattan Murder Mystery

photo by Laurie Scavo

photo by Laurie Scavo

Ok, I can’t come close to capturing this band’s essence quite the way Ben “Mouse” McShane did in his interview with them last year, for Radio Free Silver Lake. So I’ll just say they have this wonderfully off-kilter and unique musical style with literary-inspired pseudo-philosophical lyrics that call for closer inspection. Matthew Teardrop, lead singer/guitarist; Katja Arce, bass; Laura Velez, drums/vocals/harmonica; G. Montez, vocals, percussion, guitar; Duck Dongo, bongos. I think. Their EP Skull is available from Only For The Open-Minded, and I believe they’re working on some new music for this year. These guys really need to come East as well. I mean, they all do, but them especially.

“Encyclopedia, encyclopedia… encyclopedia, give me the words to say when she walks away. I went to college, and I studied the verse of Shakespeare, and I read all his plays…”

Manhattan Murder Mystery – Parking Lot from Simon Cardoza on Vimeo.

MySpace | official site | Facebook

Marvelous Toy

EastsideLA03_MarvelousToy-4

Warm and friendly Americana, heartwarming harmonies, cool indie rock, intelligent and thoughtful lyrics, with a touch of humor and whimsy. “Waiting For The First” (awesome) has a more expansive, “orchestral” sort of sound. Nice. Marvelous Toy is: singer-songwriter Jordan Hudock, Ny Lee, Raymond Richards, Cody Hudock, and Franck Fiser. You can check out their All Is Quiet EP, and it seems there’s a new release “coming soon”.

MySpace | official site | Facebook | Twitter

[part two of this ‘Eastside L.A. Round-Up” coming soon…]

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