Showing posts with label Southern California. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Southern California. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SoCal powerhouse singer/songwriter Tim Matson stops at Hotel Utah and my living room

Tim Matson in my living room. photo by Shelli Owens

It's one of those romantic things to have a touring musician stay in your house on their way through. And it's even better when you actually enjoy their music and they happen to record a video in your living room. This is Tim Matson, my roommate's cousin. She sent me a link to his music a few weeks ago and his cover of U2's "40" (or "Psalm 40") blew me away. I'm happy to be a new fan.

With his unique brand of spirituality (à la U2), Tim's thick, gravely voice seems to come from somewhere beyond his throat. He's touring without a band right now, so the focus is on his voice and the simple accompaniment.

Tim has just made his first tour stop in San Francisco and is onto Salt Lake City, Denver, Austin, Tennessee, Florida and then back to the Bay before he returns to Los Angeles.

For more touring info, visit Tim's facebook page and tumblr blog.

Check out my examiner.com article covering his show at Hotel Utah on Sunday night.

This is Tim's cover of "Wagon Wheel." The song was suggested by a fan a couple days ago, Tim learned it and recorded this video in my living room. Wagon Wheel was originally performed by Bob Dylan and Old Crow Medicine Show.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Los Angeles, California Mix


Made this for my Australian and English cousins that will be cruising across my home city and state for the next month. Enjoy guys!

Happy to make any of you a copy. Let me know!

1. California - Low
2. Hollywood Freaks - Beck
3. Old School Hollywood -System Of A Down
4. Hotel California - Gipsy Kings
5. California Girls - The Beach Boys
6. Back To California - Carole King
7. Hollywood Babylon - The Misfits
8. California - Frank Sinatra
9. Going to California - Led Zeppelin
10. California Dreaming - Mamas and the Papas
11. I Remember California - R.E.M.
12. Hollywood Love - Raya Yarbrough
13. Hollywood Swinging - Kool & The Gang
14. Say Goodbye To Hollywood - Billy Joel
15. California - Joni Mitchell 16. Hollywood Kids - The Thrills
17. Under The Bridge - The Red Hot Chili Peppers
18. Santa Monica - Bedouin Sound Clash
19. Free Fallin' - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Made some changes to the New York Mix, it's MUCH better now. I'll post it soon.

Monday, December 15, 2008

NPR: Ozomatli and listener favorites of 2008


Ya Se Fue! Ya Se Fue!

I love NPR.  It's really the only radio station I listen to on a regular basis.  I used to listen to the radio a lot in high school, but now I usually just like to listen to my own music. But sometimes I really do find really terrific community radio that I like, but I have to actively go out and find it.  

NPR and it's regional affiliates, are the only stations I can stomach. It makes me feel smarter. Anyone else feel that way?  I know you do.

I also tend to think I have much in common with other folks that support National Public Radio. After working for KUT in Austin I have great respect for the folks that are in charge of the music programming.  I also know that their music tastes tend to be more under the radar than, say, oh, Top 40 radio.  But that's no surprise.

SO, first and foremost, I want to direct you to a KQED's (NPR Bay Area affiliate) interview with Ozomatli.  In the interview the men of Ozomatli share many of their political and social views, poke fun at each other and play some tunes live.  

Last Thursday I saw Ozo play a reunion show with rapper Chali 2na (also of Jurassic 5) at the Fillmore in San Francisco. They put on an absolutely awesome show. I've seen them now probably 5 times in the last 10 years all over the country and have enjoyed them every time. Los Angelian based Ozomatli plays music that is somewhere between hip-hop, Mexican dance music and funk.  All I know, is that it's a massive dance party every time they play.

I was a little concerned about the show since I haven't been too excited about some of their newer tracks ("Don't Mess with the Dragon" and "Saturday Night"), but they whipped out the old tunes with great energy and passion ("Cumbia de los Muertos,"  and "Super Bowl Sundae").  They ended the show, as they do every show, coming into the audience, playing in a drum circle, and leading folks out into the lobby as the show ends.  This last show was complete with breakdancing chickens and giant Ozomatli balloons.

Anyway, if you like Ozo, or are interesting in getting to know one of the best under-appreciated bands of the last 15 years, check out this hysterical interview.  These guys love what they do, and they love each other, which always adds to the enjoyment and chemistry of a live show.

Also, today NPR released a list of NPR listener picked best music of 2008.  NPR's website has clips from each of these tracks, so if you are interested in what you may or may not have missed this year, check out this list. I believe there is a podcast to download as well. I haven't heard all of these bands, but most of them are pretty darn good.  I've hilighted some of my personal favorites.

I will also add some tracks onto the playlist. If you feel like it, leave your favorite album of the year in the comments, either on this list or not.  I'd love to know what you've loved this year.

I would add Gnarls Barkley's The Odd Couple.


1. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes "White Winter Hymnal"

2. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend "A-Punk"

3. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago "Skinny Love"

4. TV on the Radio - Dear Science "Halfway Home"

5. Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs "Cath..."

6. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular "Time to Pretend"

7. She & Him - Volume One "Change is Hard" 

8. Coldplay - Viva la Vida "Lover's in Japan/Reign of Love"

9. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges "Evil Urges"

10. Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords "Business Time"

11. Sigur Rós - Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust "Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur"

12. Okkervil River - The Stand Ins "Pop Lie"

13. Beck - Modern Guilt "Chemtrails"

14. Kimya Dawson and Antsy Pants -  Juno (the soundtrack) "Tree Hugger"

15. The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely "Many Shades of Black"

16. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals "In Step"

17. The Black Keys - Attack & Release "Psychotic Girl"

18. Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst "Lenders in the Temple"

19. Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue "Acid Tongue"

20. Kings of Leon - Only by Night "Manhattan" 

21. Bob Dylan - Bootleg Series "Dreamin' of You"

22. Punch Brothers - Punch "Blind Leaving the Blind: 1st Movement"

23. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive "Constructive Summer"

24. Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping "Id Engager"

Again, please leave your favorite music of the year as a comment.  I'd love to hear it whether it's Britney's new album (you know who I'm talking to) or Poison Apple Pie.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Matt Alber: Hide Nothing, my small tribute to "No on Prop 8"

This video of "End of the World" is one of the most beautiful videos and songs I've seen/heard in a long time. I appreciate Matt Alber's similar sound to the vocal stylings of Rufus Wainwright, Duncan Sheik and Duncan O'Rourke (did I compare Greg Laswell to them too? I gotta get some new material). And, baby, can he sing!

Alber's debut album Hide Nothing is absolutely gorgeous. The aptly named album (purposely, maybe?) makes it unavoidable to mention the fact that the Los Angeles based singer/songwriter is openly gay. I know that the creative world is full of openly gay artists, but in reality, how many of them are well-known as gay when they are at the top of their game? (Ricky Martin coming out of the closet years after his peak does not count.) We need more! The general public needs more! This is one of the reasons why I secretly hope that Linsday Lohan is a lesbian (and isn't just going through a phase) and just comes out and and says it. One day, and soon I think, gay couples will be able to marry in any state they want. I really do believe that.

Anyway, Alber's website has streaming audio of some of his other tracks as well. Check out his falsetto on "Beotia."

The blog recounts his experience at "No on Prop 8" protests in L.A.

Alber was a vocalist in the San Francisco based vocal group Chanticleer. Check out his classical vocal stylings in his performance as a "Messiah" alto/countertenor soloist.

These runs are not easy people!



Hopefully we'll hear more from Alber in the near future.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Alternajazz Festival in LA this Thursday night!


The 11th Alternajazz Fest: created to showcase cutting edge jazz that bends the boundaries!

Thursday, November 20th at the Mint at 8pm, 6010 Pico Blvd.

Featuring Barbara Morrison, Raya Yarbrough, The Louis Taylor Quartet and the Brad Dutz Quartet.

Check out the website for more information here

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Distubia" cover by Kina Grannis




I'm sort of obsessed with this today.  This is Kina Grannis, she's a singer/songwriter in LA. She's got three albums of original music out, all of which you can buy on itunes, imeem, myspace and every other music distribution method out there. (I should check out imeem)

She's cute as a button, a good guitarist and has a lovely voice. I'm sure she's a decent songwriter, but that's not what interests me about her.

Like many folks out there, Kina posts video blogs on youtube.  Every Monday she records covers on garageband and makes her own videos with her Mac (I assume).  Before and/or after she performs she talks about random stuff, it's very youtube celebrity (and gives shout outs to all of her fans that have birthdays that week).  She's got over 33 THOUSAND subscribers presumably from all over the world.  In the world of modern day technology you can be famous from your bedroom.  And then maybe you tour,  but you might not. It's amazing.

This is Kina's cover of Rihanna's "Disturbia," wonderful pop schlock, that gets into your brain and won't go away.   I really enjoy watching and listening to Kina's video.  I think I just like that it's good and homemade.  It's hard for me to knock the songwriting skills of professional songwriters.  They are very good at what they do.  And when you hear an INTERESTING version of the song, you'll know why.



This is the wonder of the internet and home technology. 

I love covers.  Stay tuned for more.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Shows: The Dodos and Greg Laswell


Got two shows coming up this week: The first is Greg Laswell at Cafe du Nord on Wednesday November 5th.  The second is the Dodos at Bimbo's 365 club on Thursday November 6th.

Since blogging last time about Greg Laswell, two of his tunes have been played on NBC's Grey's Anatomy, totaling three times now this season.  And as we have seen in the last decade or so, the importance of television exposure has overtaken radio, and Grey's Anatomy, love it, hate it or indifferent to it,  has been known to boost obscure bands into greater popularity. 

So congrats Greg and I'm looking forward to hearing you (and your full band this time) at Cafe du Nord Wednesday night, November 5th.  He'll also be on a small American tour, check out the locations on his myspace page.

On Thursday, I'm going to see the Dodos, a San Francisco band that has received international success.  I saw them at the Independent a couple months ago after being drawn to their strange child drawn album cover Visitor (by a special ed student who the Dodos played for in South Central, Los Angeles) and silly band name (formerly Dodobird).  I know, silly reasons to be drawn to a band, but something has to make me want to listen to them.

But what made me want to buy the album and to see them live again as soon as possible was their unique sound. While there are lots of bands these days that consist of the simple combo of guitar and percussion, it is the combo of the African inspired percussion of Meric Long and the country blues influenced acoustic guitar work of Logan Kroeber.  But I think it's really the percussion that I dig the most, their myspace bio states that the drumming plays a central role and helps bring out the syncopated rhythms of the acoustic guitar.  It is really special how these two instruments work together.

When I saw the Dodos last time, they had a third member playing auxiliary instruments such as the xylophone and a metal trash can.   It was awesome.  I want to play a trash can!

Check out this live performance of "The Season"



The Dodos are on an international tour! They'll be playing in the UK, the Europe (France and Denmark, wink wink), Australia and New Zealand in the next three months.  Check out their tour schedule on their myspace page or their website

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Greg Laswell: "How the Day Sounds"


The sad and melodic Greg Laswell has the honor of being my first entry for this new blog.  

If asked to describe his sound to folks that haven't heard him, it would  have to be like if Duncan Sheik was the lead singer of Coldplay.  With his painfully sweet lyrics, driving piano rhythms and subtle production quality, Greg's music got under my skin and "forced" me to buy his two albums and E.P. on amazon.

Just this evening, I had the opportunity to see the San Diegan native play a live set at the Cafe du Nord in San Fransisco.  Other than the loud German (could have been Austrian, not sure) girls talking loudly right behind me and talking flash photography, it was a wonderful show.

With just one other musician, an exquisite quitarist whose name I believe is Brandon, Greg played several songs off his new album Three Flights from Alto Nido,which I discovered was the location where most of the songs on the album were written.

I spotted Greg right before his set on the way out for a cigarette and had a nice quick chat with him.  Trying to not sound like a stalker (probably a good thing I didn't mention that I spent a good amount of time watching everything I could on youtube with him in it), I was able to share that this myspace fan site plays almost all of his music in its entirety.  He said he didn't mind as long as people were listening to it.  So you have his approval, don't feel bad that it's free, take a listen.

I first heard the song "How the Day Sounds" on the monthly Paste Magazine CD sampler, a magazine whose musical taste I greatly respect.  And like I said, I was immediately hooked. Because Greg produces as well as makes his own music, his recordings have a sophisticated yet subtle production quality to them.  At his show he described "How the Day Sounds" as the happiest sounding song he's ever written that actually isn't happy at all.  It ends with these lines:
I think I like how the day sounds through this new dawn.
And the lines have all been drawn,
I know where I belong.
Check out the the awesome video starring Greg, guitarist Brandon and great supporter of independent music Elijah Wood, who has his own label, dancing around a grocery store in hipster suits and hats with glass soda bottles. 

Moment to listen for:
The cool vocal echo effects on "way down" during the bridge, around 1:35.
From a long way down
It's well worth the time that it's taken to get here now


***UPDATE!!***  

October 24, 2008.  Greg's "And Then You" was featured last night on Grey's Anatomy (as annoying as the show is, I can't stop watching it and it DOES propel unknown artists into a new level of success). The album cover was also flashed for a couple seconds at the end of the episode.  It's of course become Greg's most popular songs on itunes.  

He's going back on the road, so check out his tour schedule. I already have my tickets back at Cafe du Nord on November 3rd in San Fran.

Congratulations Greg! I see big things happening for you in the near future!