“Chicano Batman is a L.A.-based band, but is known for a less local style of music: a hybrid of tropicalia, psychedelia, and soul. Tropicalia is a style that originated in Brazil and fused more avant-garde sounds of rock and roll with traditional Brazilian (and thereby African) rhythms. The era of soul and jam-style psychedelia upon which they also draw was concurrent with tropicalia, in the ’60s and ’70s. All of this combined gives their sound a retro feel, but through a distinctly Latin framework. Since the release of their self-titled debut album in 2010, they have drummed up attention when opening for major acts like the Alabama Shakes, Jack White. Along the way, they have released another two albums, an EP, and a couple of singles, their success seemingly cemented when they played Coachella in 2015. Their third album Freedom Is Free was released earlier this year on their new label ATO Records, so catch their new tunes and distinct sound” at their second Coachella showing.
Mitski is a Japanese-American singer-songwriter and indie rocker. As a child she moved frequently; when her mother was pregnant she lived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but wanted her unborn daughter to have a Japanese passport and flew to Japan to give birth. As a baby, Mitski moved back to central Africa, and then shuffled between a number of Army bases (in Malaysia and China to name a few) before landing in Turkey when she was 18. She ended up graduating high school early and turned to songwriting as a way to direct her attention. Her music is a reflection of her cultural upbringing and her inability to enmesh herself in any one experience: “half Japanese, half American, but not fully either.” She eventually moved to New York where she transferred to SUNY Purchase to study at their Conservatory of Music; for her junior and senior projects she created her first two albums, Lush and Retired from Sad, New Career in Business, released in 2012 and 2013 respectively. The latter record featured a full 60-piece orchestra that drained her but piqued interest in her work. This exhaustion influenced her critically acclaimed third album, Bury Me at Makeout Creek, which was released in 2014 on Double Double Whammy and recorded in home studios rather than her highly professional set up at school. It was praised by publications like Pitchfork, NME, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times. In 2015 she was signed to the independent label Dead Oceans, and released her fourth record Puberty 2 in June 2016, to further critical acclaim. The album was featured in the top 25 of year-end lists by Rolling Stone, SPIN, and Entertainment Weekly. It also found commercial success, “landing on Billboard’s alternative, rock, independent, and Heatseekers albums charts, while the single ‘Your Best American Girl’ hit the streaming charts.” She has been touring since then, playing at SXSW and now her debut Coachella!
When you Google the French rap duo PNL, you’ll see headlines like this: “This Video Proves Why PNL Are The Most Famous Rappers You Haven’t Heard Of Yet,” “PNL have topped the iTunes chart despite refusing to sign a record deal or do interviews,”PNL Are The French Rappers You Need To Know Immediately,” “Reclusive French rap duo shoot to top of iTunes chart,” and “French Rap Duo PNL Will Change The Way You Think About Hip-Hop.” PNL stands for Peace N’ Lovés, which translates in French slang to Peace N’ Money, and is an independent cloud rap group comprised of two French-Algerian brothers, Ademo and N.O.S., from a Southern suburb of Paris. Both brothers had attempted solo rapper careers, but came together in 2014 to form the duo. Two of their three record releases reached SNEP (or French RIAA certification; their second album Le Monde Chico is certified gold with over 50,000 copies sold in France, and their third album Dans la légende is certified Triple-Platinum with over 300,000 copies sold in France (and over 400,000 across Europe). Since they’ve let the music speak for itself they have built a sense of mystique which is part of their brand. They have a social media presence, with an Instagram filled mostly with memes, music recommendations, and pictures of fans with their records. Their Facebook and Twitter accounts are mostly devoted to updates about their music. But their big claim to fame is their YouTube account, which features over 20 videos averaging at least 25 million views per video. While they have mostly isolated themselves from the media, the often violent struggles of living in the projects (that they’ve dubbbed “le Zoo”) in their hometown as an immigrant family feature prominently in their lyrics. Their stories, tempo, and style are disillusioned and their use of slang and Arabic adds further mystery to their music. Make sure to catch this very rare live performance at their Coachella debut.
“Sampha is a British singer, songwriter, keyboardist, and producer who has worked with SBTRKT, Beyoncé, Kanye West, Drake, Frank Ocean, FKA twigs, and most recently Solange on her critically acclaimed album A Seat at the Table. As a solo artist, he had previously released two EPs on Young Turks and remixed artists from Prince to the xx, but dropped his debut full-length album Process on February 3rd. Process has quickly received its own universal acclaim from music critics for its emotionally tumultuous lyrics and the alternative R&B/electronic style currently being played with by collaborators like FKA twigs. If you’ve already heard (and liked) Sampha on other artists’ records, be prepared for beautiful new sounds and powerfully dark styles in his solo work, where his “fragile and expressive vocals” are put to hauntingly good use. Process allows you to fall deeper into his world, where you experience the uniquely weighty sonic universe he crafts for himself while musing on the ‘process’ of human self-discovery.” Don’t miss the chance to hear this record live (and fingers crossed, some surprise guest performers) at his Coachella debut.
Twin Peaks (named after a restaurant chain, not the TV show) is a five-piece indie rock band from Chicago that was formed in 2010 while all of its members were still in high school. They were not naive to the music scene, however; founding member Cadien James’ older brother was the drummer for the band Smith Westerns, and member Clay Frankel left his previous band (Crash Hero) to join Twin Peaks. Their music style combines “60s garage rock and the 2010s garage punk sound,” or as Pitchfork says: the band “spends half their time as a chugging power chord factory and half as a winsome power-pop band.” This sound, though, has evolved over time, changing from purposefully sloppy garage-rock to fuzzy and punky psychedelia. Their debut album, Sunken, was recorded in 2012 James’ basement and released by the LA-based independent label Autumn Tone Records. They toured this record as seniors in high school. After four of the members attempted to attend college, they all dropped out and returned to Chicago to record their second album, Wild Onion. It was released in 2014 and quickly received major attention in the indie music scene, mostly through YouTube. Their top single “Making Breakfast” garnered over 500,000 views, and another track “I Found A New Way” had its video debut on Billboard and was featured on Nylon Magazine‘s site. Their third album Down in Heaven, which featured a new fifth member Colin Croom, was released in May of 2016, and the band has been touring off and on since. They’re live show is sure to be a killer jam session if I can deduce anything from their tunes and their relentless tour and festival schedule over the past couple years, so don’t miss them!
And for those of you still craving your big ticket fix, may we suggest genuine music legends New Order or Toots and the Maytals. They’re huge names we can’t help but fully get behind!
Toots and the Maytals
Coachella Party Preview
Whether or not you’re planning to attend the festival, there are a number of parties surrounding Coachella this year! Check out some of our picks below, consisting of both public and invite-only events. All parties are 21+.
Neon Carnival – Saturday, April 15th
Neon Carnival returns for its eighth consecutive (and reportedly final) year to the Thermal Airport. The invite-only dance party is known for being one of the most coveted afterparties for Coachella. Expect new games, carnival rides, plenty of Don Julio Tequila and celeb sightings! Leonardo DiCaprio, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande were among last year’s attendees. Invite Only
Winter Bumbleland – Saturday, April 15th and Sunday, April 16th
This year, the social and dating app Bumble, where “females make the first move,” is going to make it snow in the desert! Kendall and Kylie Jenner, and model/activist Ashley Graham are set to host two days of pool parties at a mansion in Rancho Mirage that Bumble will convert into a winter wonderland with real snow and ice. Invite Only (by use of the Bumble app)
The Knitting Factory’s two Southern California gastropubs—the Federal Bars in North Hollywood and Long Beach—feature a range of resident and one-off shows.
The Federal Bar in North Hollywood is excited to host another edition of KCRW’s Gary Calamar’s Mimosa Music Series on Sunday, April 30th with the rock band Jeremy & The Harlequins and singer-songwriter Louis Schefano. As always, the show is free and all ages so come on down for a bagel, mimosa and some great music!
Jeremy & The Harlequins’ debut album American Dreamer, released in 2015, sparkles and shimmers with the glamor of rock & roll’s past while simultaneously forging forward into the future with confidence. Out of the intention to produce music that is shockingly different, the five New Yorkers have managed to capture, with a beautiful, timeless zest, the sense and the sound of the city they call home.
After several years as an multi-instrumentalist who performed with a number of bands, Louis Schefano launched his career as a singer-songwriter in 1999. He has since performed under various monikers. His latest album Opposite Side of the World was just released in February and includes the bright single “Come to Think.” Buzzbands describes it as “a rhythmically tricky, ’60s-flavored jingle that adroitly buries its cloudy emotions behind a sunny melody… One thing for sure, it’s an easy song to fall for.”
Down in Long Beach, experience a night of reggae with Ethan Tucker, Animo Cruz, and Janelle Phillips on Wednesday, April 26th. Ethan Tucker’s trademark sound of acoustic roots and layered electric guitars combined with an unmistakable soulful and bluesy vocal, is a recipe which has garnered attention from some of his most popular contemporaries, as well as bonafide legends. Born in Olympia, Washington, Ethan has traveled the country with Jimmy Cliff, Buddy Guy, and The Wailers, as well as national support slots with musical peers Slightly Stoopid, G. Love, and Michael Franti. Ethan released his latest album Misunderstood in 2015.
Amino Cruz started out as a live roots jam band, and has grown to tour California with an energetic sound that captures the edgy surf, yet relaxed beach lifestyle that is Santa Cruz. Janelle Phillips is a rising female reggae artist. She recently worked with E.N Young from the San Diego Music Award winning band for “Best World Music,” Tribal Seeds. E.N is a producer with his own independent label, Roots Musician Records that released her EP, Lioness in 2015.
Venice Art Crawl Presents “Music Connects Us: Photography & Art Show”
The Venice Art Crawl (VAC) is pleased to present its 7th annual Anniversary Fundraiser event, Music Connects Us: Photography & Art Show on Thursday April 20th from 6-10PM. The event will take place at the Runway Playa Vista, transforming a 3,800 square foot space into an urban art installation. Over 70 local and international artists will be featured such as Miles Regis, Spaik, Plastic Jesus, Guy Webster, Balloonski, and more!
The VAC’s mission is to ensure that this historic artist community retains its iconic role as a driving force in American art and culture. Contributions for this fundraiser will support a high-spirited art event that happens four times a year: March 16th, May 18th, July 20th, and September 22nd/23rd. The VAC’s goal is to share, inspire, and promote collaboration within the Venice community through mixers and art events. The VAC is a volunteer run non-profit organization which is a committee of the Venice Chamber of Commerce.
Enjoy a night at the Runway, come mingle with new and old friends, experience innovative fresh art while supporting the Venice Art Crawl!
For The Record Vinyl Nights at The Lincoln
Every Tuesday, The Lincoln in Venice presents “For the Record,” a weekly series of audience-curated vinyl DJ sets. Guests can bring their own vinyl along and they will be spun by The Lincoln’s resident DJs along with themed DJ sets.
Next Tuesday’s event is Soul & Funk with DJ Jordan Blackmon, the guitarist from Toro y Moi.
The following Tuesday, April 18, Knitting Factory’s own Bruce Duff is bringing his collection of rock ‘n’ roll vinyl to The Lincoln. Joined by his DJ partner Kasey Bomber, his duo Shake Appeal will be spinning their stax o’wax consisting of glam, garage, punk, power pop, new wave, soul, funk, vintage and current records.
We encourage guests to bring their own vinyl to the party as well! Co-presented by DoLA.
Invite: Jesters of Destiny Listening Party
Today, April 6th, Knitting Factory manager Bruce Duff is hosting a listening party for his band Jesters of Destiny‘s third record The Sorrows That Refuse to Drown.
30 years ago, Jesters Of Destiny released their debut album Fun At The Funeral. A year later, they released the all-covers record In A Nostalgic Mood. Then, they quietly disappeared, with all the main participants going on to other pursuits. All these years later, Jesters Of Destiny are back with The Sorrows That Refuse To Drown, an all-new record of the kind of hard rock/metal that only they made. This poses the question: Why? Bruce Duff and Ray Violet, the co-band leaders and production team behind everything the band recorded, are as perplexed as everyone else. Check out the full story, as well as a preview of the album here at Bravewords and a story here at Popmatters.
The release party is the evening before the worldwide release of the record on Ektro Records, in both LP and CD format. It will take place at Kitten Robot Studios, where some of the album was recorded, and refreshments will be available. If you’d like to attend, check out the flyer below and let them know Knitting Factory News sent you!
Giveaway: Comp Drink at Power House Hollywood
The occasional shameless plug here. KFE newsletter editor and writer Henry Eshelman (me) was recruited to be one of the 20 PR experts on an online radio series called “PR Secrets Revealed” hosted by my friend, PR coach Heather Burgett. While many of the OTHER interviews will offer practical advice for people wanting to do their own PR, MY interview is a little…different. Ensuring I don’t talk myself out of a job, my interview is more of a free-form, goofier and (please God) entertaining look at my long years in the business from Studio 54 to Kardashian fragrances. I’ve been lucky enough to have had some remarkable adventures on my journey that I share with listeners; as I so often say, you haven’t lived if you haven’t scooped Liza Minnelli off the floor of a club and poured her into a taxi. Broadcasts start April 17th. Perfect listening between Coachella Weekend One and Mother’s Day.
And in a twist on the “listen to timeshare presentation, get free hotel room,” trope, we offer “listen to internet radio, get free drink!” That’s right, to prove what lengths you might go to to get a free drink, ANYone 21 and over who listens to my segment and sends us an email at email@example.com gets a free well drink at historic Hollywood bar POWER HOUSE, 1714 North Highland Avenue Hollywood. You will get a reply entitling you to one drink (per person), good for three months from April 17. Want to check it out? Sign up link HERE.