By Kathryn Pinto
“10 Years” System Preferences (The
Until September, Ship Collective founders Earlimart hadn’t released a record since their work with Jason Lytle (of Grandaddy) on Admiral Radley. Earlimart’s Aaron Espinoza was also busy running his recording studio and record label The Ship. Before the release of System Preferences you were as likely to see Espinoza beardless and incognito stirring it up after the midnight sets at the Satellite with whomever had the moxie or ill fortune to challenge him in debate. The new album proves that Espinoza and bandmate Ariana Murray still have the slow burn songwriting fans fell in love with on earlier records.
2. The Hectors “Your Favorite Year" (upcoming self-released album)
The Hectors are the best kept secret in Los Angeles, at once one of the most serious bands around and the kid who takes one look at the music business and--bat and ball in hand--takes off down the block. This album exudes total reverence for their craft but punk rock in attitude and all else. The cool musical reference for these guys is some band on K Records sufficiently esoteric that you—and even I--have never heard of them. Just throw something more obscure than The Spinanes and Beat Happening on top of your standard Pavement and shoegaze references.
3. Sea Wolf “Old Friend” Old World Romance (Dangerbird)
Alex Church and his band return to the golden coast with Old World Romance. The sound is a warm rich amber glow, equal parts California sun and embers and low flame of a gypsy campfire somewhere in Eastern Europe. Church is as near and familiar as, “Yeah, Alex used to work here as a day job,” and as Hollywood distant as a guy who has a song on a Twilight soundtrack. Even on record Church is as soulfully shy as halting tangential talkstory at the merch table.
4. Calvin Love “Magic Hearts” New Radar (Autumn Tone)
Calvin Love (Red Cortez, Just An Animal) just announced the official release of his solo album New Radar on Autumn Tone records, Aquarium Drunkard’s label. Love picks up the threads of retro pop synth lines and danceable beats introduced in the outstanding (and gravely underappreciated) Lonely Hunter (see “Kamikaze”) from Just An Animal, although New Radar is anemically thinner in the rhythm section. It’s unfair to compare an econo jam of a solo bedroom project to a full band studio album, but the absence of live drums aches like a phantom limb. Nonetheless, Love seduces with upbeat charm and danceabilty.
5. Lonesome Heroes “Dakota Beige” Western Daydream (Self-released)
Austin’s Lonesome Heroes played not long ago at the Echo Country Outpost. The duo, a badass dobro player/ fourth generation Texan and a dorky guitarist from Brooklyn tour the United States with a vengeance, playing any kind of venue from Antone’s in Austin to Piano’s in New York to the Green Frog Tavern in Bellingham. The last couple of times the two played LA--at the Outpost with the Western States Motel and Oletangy John, and on a later date with the Far West--were some of the warmest, most unexpected, best show going experiences of my time in LA. There are certain places where the venue staff “loves on” a room--they cultivate a warmth and electricity that urges a band to play with a full heart and on top of their game. The Outpost is that kind of a room and the Lonesome Heroes could not be a better match for the space. “Dakota Beige” accomplishes the impossible: it takes a song about a van, about getting older and more frail and transforms it into something sexy and beautiful.