Recently, Radio Free Silver Lake spent a long weekend taking in a slew of new music from all over the world at Culture Collide. The best music festivals deliver moments when excited fans, fresh from seeing a band for the first time, run into friends in a taco line or a crosswalk and ask, “What did you see? Who do you like? What are you going to see next?” Culture Collide, which took place last month in venues along Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, is an event that is exactly the right size for discovering music. The lineup is rich with talent, tickets are affordable, there’s good food, and it’s easy to navigate and friendly. With all of these stars aligned, the experience was a chance to discover new bands and artists, to share finds and get excited about music all over again.
The fifth annual Culture Collide in Los Angeles is an international music festival of bands and artists from more than 20 countries and includes a conference, Culture Collide Creative Summit, presented by Filter magazine. The event took place in locations along Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park October 16-18 this year. Venues included The Echo, Echoplex, Taix, The Church, Lot 1, and the outdoor Culture Collide World Stage, located at the Taix parking lot. There were excellent performances from new finds like indie rockers Autostrad from Jordan, The Kokoro (Israel), and bands we’ve seen before including headliners Cloud Nothings (USA) and hometown favorites like Haunted Summer and the Bixby Knolls. Here are our discoveries (and rediscoveries) from the festival.
1. Dune Rats (Australia)
The most energetic set of the festival came from Dune Rats, a pack of skate rats from Brisbane, Australia who could go toe-to-to with any So Cal skate punks on brashness, sweat and pure party energy. They made the walls and low ceilings of the Taix Champagne Room shake with their bounding and sprinting across the stage. Think FIDLAR or the Orwells.
2. Takeoffs and Landings (Peru)
Straight up indie rock made a strong showing at the 321 Lounge at Taix, emerging from places as unlikely as Peru. Led by one-woman ambassador of cool, Takeoffs and Landings injected fresh raw energy into that radiated throughout the festival.
3. The Oaths (Mexico)
Effervescent electro pop in English and Spanish, Oaths created a tonic of upbeat keyboards, guitar and drums that is buoyant and fun, a throwback to 1980’s dance pop. It’s a youthful take on other Latin electronic acts, like a Nortec Collective that leans more heavily on the “-tec.”
4. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (USA)
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are more rediscovery than, strictly speaking, a find. Veterans of earlier Culture Collides they are constantly reinventing themselves after being labeled early on as a so-called “blog band,” that broke out based on social media following rather than a conventional marketing and public relations strategy. Nine years after their debut album their sound is tight, road tested and super pro. This year’s Little Moments album provides material to draw on for a big orchestral sound.
5. PINS (UK)
Pins are a guitar, bass and drums foursome from Manchester, UK that play a spare, clangy, reverb-filled garage rock and channeling 70’s New York dirty old downtown vibe.