OnlineRock Blog

31 May 2011

Watch Jake Troth's music video for "Material Things"

Okay, kids. Time to update you on an artist to watch for this summer, if you haven't already caught the fever.

Mixing catchy electronic beats, light and happy whistling, easy-to-follow claps, lyrics about modern materialistic delusions and vocal reverb, Jake Troth is here to add his sound to the mix of modern pop tunes. Echoing the hip stylings of MGMT, Passion Pit and Vampire Weekend, his single "Material Things" is practically already jumping into college playlists everywhere. Your soul may not experience any deep expansion after listening, but it's catchy and fun, and it makes you want to whistle along. You just might catch yourself singing along to lyrics like "No, you're not a measure of what's in your pocket/ But it's certainly a pleasure just to buy a gold locket."

Watch the video, which is quite entertaining, and watch for Jake Troth's compilation of singles called Just Let Go out June 16th. Talk around town is he'll have an EP out during summer.

Here's what Jake says about the song you just heard: "Material Things' is a love song. It's about the love of the world I grew up watching on television in the 80s. The ridiculously expensive and lavish lives of those people I always wanted to be. The songs short length is derived from the short attention span of pop culture, and it's melodies are as intoxicating as any cocktail. Beneath the patent leather and rhinestones though, there is an honest confession of what it means to be truly overtaken by this beautifully destructive disease: materialism."


30 May 2011

Lightning in a Bottle music fest wraps up

Right about now, around 4 p.m. on Memorial Day Monday, weekend campers, artisans, musicians and hula hoopers are slowly dissembling camp and filing away into their cars or trucks, saying a satisfied and earthy goodbye to the 11th annual Lightning in a Bottle music and art/mind and body experience. To those free spirits who spend every September in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, Lightning in a Bottle may be Burning Man's southern California cousin. Spanning four days from Friday May 27 to Monday May 30, Lightning in a Bottle was held for the second straight year in luscious Oak Canyon Ranch, Irvine. This very green festival hosted an array of electronic musicians, craftsmen and artisans, fire dancers, hula hoopers, energy workers, yogis and anyone aspiring to lift their soul or expand their consciousness through music, dance and honoring Mother Earth by partying upon her - in a responsible fashion, of course.

Pretty Lights on the main stage cranking out beats for thousands.

This year, main acts included Pretty Lights, Thievery Corporation, the Lucient Dossier Experience, Baths, Paper Diamond and many more. Lights, spectacles and costumes were in no scarcity at this desert party. Mind and body workshops, chanting, yoga, meditation and eco-consciousness were all built into the theme of the party, too.

Watch this video and join us in our envy as we wish so desperately we could have been there and been so free. Unless, of course, you were there.

Who said spectacular electronic music hippie fests were dead? Started just over a decade ago by a small group of underground L.A. artists and eco-conscious individuals, Lightning in a Bottle has grown into a huge desert party that still upholds the ideals that started it.

Here's their website for all the info. Who's going next year?

24 May 2011

Saint Motel Rocked Judgment Day At The Roxy

By Lauren Lloyd

As the long hand of the giant projected clock behind Saint Motel’s set neared midnight on Saturday, May 21, 2011, AKA “Judgment Day,” I held my breath while witnessing the onstage commotion. Something about the tenacity in Reverend Childs’ voice as he preached to the audience alarmed me.

“The moment of truth is here!” he bellowed. “Are you one of our believers or not? Who’s with Jesus?”

Saint Motel, the sweaty reverend, a man dressed as “Jesus” and the audience counted down, and nothing happened.
"Jesus" and Reverend Childs await an end that doesn't come.

“I’ve spent over forty years studying the Bible, figuring out when Judgment Day is,” says Reverend Childs in Part One of Saint Motel’s Judgment Day series on YouTube. Adding, “So when people ask me what’s going to happen if they wake up on May 22nd, uh, all I have to say is they won’t.” And then he unwraps and starts sucking on a large frozen treat.

His reaction as the clock struck midnight was anticlimactic and incredibly disappointing. A brief expression of defeat consumed his face and body as he lowered his arms; he then turned and walked offstage. And we all woke up on Sunday alive sans assessment.

Surprisingly zero Judgment Day protesters or advocates barked outside of The Roxy Theatre during Saturday night’s festivities. And the audience paid no mind to the possibility of being “raptured.” Fans arrived for the music, be it the opening bands – Queen Caveat, The Hundred Days, Vanaprasta – or the headliner, Saint Motel. All three openers impressed.

Vanaprasta best impressed, entrancing and stimulating the crowd with their unpredictable tempos and unique stage presence. Unlike Saint Motel, who actively engages the audience, each of the five Vanaprasta members perform within their own worlds, rarely conversing with each other. Cameron Dmytryk, guitar, jumped into the crowd (without guitar) during one song, and Steven Wilkin, lead vocals and keyboard, bent down on his knees a couple times to wail to the front row. Side note: Wilkin strongly resembles Joaquin Phoenix during his I’m Still Here days.

Saint Motel, an indie rock/pop band from L.A., commands attention during their shows. A/J Jackson, lead vocals and guitar (and keyboard on “Puzzle Pieces”), stepped onstage wearing a white shirt that read, “End of World 100% Guaran-Ti,” spelled out in thin black tape. His back read, “Project Caravan.” Was he mocking the cause? Probably. A. Sharp, lead guitar, was born to strum six strings and was happily consumed by his performance. It was also his birthday. The bassist, Dak, danced with his instrument while belting out backing vocals. While drummers are practically invisible in some bands, Greg Erwin is not. He smiles, mouths the lyrics and stands up to clap and beat his sticks.

Saint Motel at the Roxy.
Attendees definitely knew and loved the power pop music, singing and dancing along to every tune. But there was one very noticeable and unforgettable fan – The Super Fan. She shrieked and squealed constantly while glued to the front of the stage.

Aside from their individual dynamics, Saint Motel builds an experience for the audience. Each mic was strapped with a small video camera, capturing a slightly overhead angle of each musician. Projected behind Erwin was black-and-white footage inter-cut with random video, possibly their self-produced music videos. The “Jesus” man, who was rather convincing in his fatherly garb and long brown mane, a man wearing an Iron Man mask, and a blonde sidekick dressed in a resplendent gold shirt and black daisy dukes hopped onstage during one of the last songs and showered the audience with condoms. The point of these offerings remains unclear, and so does Jackson’s performance involving a lighter, which he then tossed into the audience.

White LED lights hung from the stage’s back wall, adding a nice, warm touch to their set. It was sort of like Christmas, but instead of waiting for Santa Claus and presents, you were waiting for the apocalypse.
The night entertained; the event underwhelmed. The music rocked.

Lead singer A/J Jackson sports an end of the world homemade tee.
Bassist Dak smiles sublimely.

A/J rocks out.

Saint Motel gets crazy onstage.

23 May 2011

Lou Reed on tour in UK, adds new date

Lou Reed, legendary frontman of psychedelic shoegazers The Velvet Underground, will be on tour with his band this July in the U.K. They just announced a new show at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Friday July 1st. Right after, they will mosey on over to The Hop Farm Music Festival Saturday, July 2nd and the London HMV Hammersmith Apollo, Monday July 4th. They'll also be in France and Italy shortly after.

Tony Diodore has just been confirmed as Reed’s new guitarist, who will join the current line-up of Rob Wasserman (bass), Tony Smith (drums), Kevin Hearn (keyboards), Ulrich Krieger (sax), Sarth Calhoun (processing, fingerboard continuum) and Lou Reed (vocals, guitar).

After singing, playing guitar and writing songs The Velvet Underground, Reed went on to a varied solo career, producing both hits like "Walk on the Wild Side" and an obstruction of mainstream success with Metal Machine Music, a double LP of recorded feedback loops that some call an exploration of sound and some call noise.

From an album of ambient meditation music called Hudson River Wind Meditations to a duet with Brandon Flowers of the Killers, then on to contributing to Gorillaz' Plastic Beach and embarking on a tour with the band from Metal Machine Music, with a documentary about his 100-year old immigrant cousin in between (called Red Shirley), Lou Reed did not stop the magic that was sparked in The Velvet Underground. He is quite surely a complex, multi-faceted and dynamic musician and artist, and what his live shows now will bring can only be imagined or experienced.

For tickets, go ahead and click on either or

For a full list of tour dates, go here or to find out more about Lou Reed's goings-on in general, visit his soundscape of a website.

18 May 2011

The Vespertines EP and Live Review Combo Platter

By Tim Rosini

We here at OnlineRock have a secret, which from this point forth becomes kind of redundant because we're going to tell you in detail what that secret is, and how cool it sounds. When we tell this secret we are going to ask you, the reader, to do the exact opposite of what one would normally do after revealing a secret. Tell everybody. This secret, which, isn’t really a secret in the first place, but more of a fact, won’t be kept for long - so here is our factual secret for you… prog/jazz rock group, the Vespertines are really awesome.

We’re guessing you want to know why? Don’t worry, we’ve done our homework and can back-up our claims. Hailing out of the Long Beach music scene, the Vespertines consist of lead vocalist/trumpeter Vanessa Acosta, lead guitarist Alex Kater, bassist Kyle Cavaness,and drummer Chris Walker. They have been honing their skills recently touring, recording and playing shows in their local scene in Long Beach. Their debut EP, Gravity Optional, consists of four scintillating tracks that are just snack sized samples of the musical flavored feast the Vespertines are cooking up to unleash on the world.

Having listened to their EP, and having had the great pleasure of seeing a live show performed in their own backyard at The Blue Café in downtown Long Beach, we are eagerly anticipating the next musical step from this talented foursome.

A combination of jazz, funk, and progressive rock, the Vespertines have created an energetic blast of sound that will keep the listener guessing and anticipating with glee the next note, change in tempo or explosion of frenetic harmonies that remind this reviewer of bands like The Mars Volta, a faster paced Circa Survive (with a chick lead singer), or a jazzier, more experimental version of Incubus (again this recipe calls for a sexy female lead singer).

Their four song EP clocks in at almost 25 minutes and includes blistering solos, soulful heartfelt lyrics, and a bass/percussion section that fits so snugly together you’d swear it was the eight

armed God Shiva providing the beats and grooves. The very first song “Lepers and Leopards” provides a soulful and silky intro from all members, coming together with a head and hip swaying groove as Acosta shows off her powerful yet silkily vulnerable voice. You won't get lost in the groove for too long with the Vespertines - they are a tricksy bunch. Just when you think you have found a nice cruising altitude they flip the hypersonic switch and unleash a fury of changes and blasts of progressive funk that will confuse the body about whether it should be dancing around the room or head banging to the grooves.

Having the chance to see a Vespertines show, we were able to see how each musician fit into the musical puzzle. One can tell the time and effort put into creating this type of musical landscape. For all the changes and twisting crescendoes, each member seemed perfectly comfortable in their own world on stage. Acosta swayed and strutted around the stage chiming in with her jazzy siren-like voice, mesmerizing the appreciative crowd into a hypnotic state. Cavaness and Walker kept the pulsating and complex rhythm steady as ever, allowing Kater to explore the fret board like Alice in Wonderland, and make no mistake with their EP, one can get lost even within this four list set. "Pendulum" is an eight minute binge of melodic changes slowly harmonizing and then exploding into separate atmospheres, painting a vivid musical picture, especially given the limited landscape of the aforementioned four song track list.

“Collapsible Spheres” showcases the Vespertines ability to groove as well as Acosta’s talent on jazz trumpet. Overall, as we said, this is only the beginning for the Vespertines. Through a very valid source we at hear they are recording right now (check out their website). So hopefully, a full length debut will be forthcoming from this up and coming group. For those of you who don’t know about the Vespertines, their EP is available to download on their webpage, along with listings for upcoming shows in the Southern California area.

17 May 2011

Stripmall Architecture EP out today

Feathersongs For Factory Girls Part II is the debut EP out today from dreamy electro pop artist Stripmall Architecture, and quite feathery they are. Vibrant in the San Francisco music scene, this duo combines trippy electro-twangs, drip-dropping beats and wispy female vocals, and they've gathered quite the loyal following. If you like Lykke Li, The Knife or Bat for Lashes, you will probably dig their sound.

Listen to the 5-song EP for free online from their website, and find out more information about their live shows. It looks like they have two shows coming up in the Bay area.

San Francisco Weekly said of them, “Does the mention of a band somewhere in-between Sigur Ros and the Cocteau Twins make those little hairs on the back of your neck tingle? If so, you owe it to yourself to check for Stripmall Architecture’s show."

We also like this description from Seattle's The Stranger: "Rebecca Coseboom's voice flutters around your head like a silky scarf and the whole is like a sonic manifestation of a romantic swoon…"

Kind of other-worldly, kind of skin-tingly, here is a video they made for a song not on the EP:


Here is also a free download of a new song a lot of us here can relate to, called "We Are Not Cool."


16 May 2011

The Kills Live at the Musicbox, Los Angeles

by Tim Rosini

With the recent release of their latest album “Blood Pressures” The Kills are currently touring America before heading back overseas. was lucky enough to be at their show in Hollywood at the Musicbox in Los Angeles.
The Musicbox, located right off route 101 on Hollywood Blvd, provides a perfect atmosphere for a band like the Kills. Dim lit chandeliers, Victorian age décor, and architecture give the inside an English rustic look. The paintings on the wall also give off an 18th century English air. The balcony overhang seemed cozy enough to relax and enjoy the show from a higher atmosphere, while also providing enough room to pick out a spot and head bang away.
For those of you who know the Kills and their music, you know the two person duo of Jamie Hince and Allison Mosshart puts to great use a drum machine on every one of their tracks. As they entered the darkened stage and took their places, I could already feel the frenetic energy through the cheering crowd. Mosshart seemed ready to let loose as she frantically paced the stage, stalking her microphone like an animal ready to pounce at the drop of the beat and crunch of guitars. The drum machine kicked into gear and Hince began the intro to “No Wow." The steady beat with Mosshart’s tireless energy and soulful croon kept the crowd cheering and desperately wanting more. Playing almost all of their songs off the new album, the highlights of the show were: Satellite, Future starts slow; Hear is a beating drum, U.R.A. Fever, D.N.A, and Baby Says. Their timing was perfect in every song, and for just two people the fullness of sound was nothing short of spectacular. Mosshart was tireless with her sexy energetic stage presence, bounding around during every song, while keeping in perfect timing and tune with Hince and the drums.
If Mosshart provided the voice and energy, Hince was the mastermind of the music and backbone to every sound the band produces. His hypnotic chugging riffs and soft harmonic vocals provide the necessary ingredients to make these two as successful and musically skillful as they are.
After the last number, the crowd refused to be swayed that it was the end, (or they knew the set list called for a three song encore). Either way, the energy never died down from “No Wow” to the last song of the regular set, “Sour Cherry”. Sure enough, Mosshart and Hince came back out to complete the three song encore and provided the perfect musical bookend to a great night of music.
For those of you who are fans of The Kills, I highly recommend seeing them in concert. Their sound is very high quality and playing live takes nothing away from Mosshart’s voice or Hince’s playing. The songs sound very similar to the album versions, and with the lively energy provided by Mosshart (I don’t know how she wasn’t either sweating profusely or out of breath) and the steady, perfected timing of Hince’s musical ability and backing harmonizing vocals, the Kills make for a great live show.

13 May 2011

Dave Stewart will release solo album, The Blackbird Diaries June 28

Eurythmics fans may be excited to know, co-founder of Eurythmics, Dave Stewart, is set to release a solo album called The Blackbird Diaries at the end of June. It features many prominent musicians and was a very different type of songwriting for Stewart. He has been known for pop-rock hits such as "Here Comes The Rain Again" and "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)," but this album gives him the room to rock free and explore some more intimate and personal tales from his own life. Rooted in rock, country and blues, The Blackbird Diaries is more story-driven and autobiographical, told through rich and detailed lyrics of love conquered and love lost. Stewart has enjoyed a 30-year long career that encompasses more than 100 million album sales, a Lifetime Achievement Award with Eurythmics partner Annie Lennox, numerous awards for songwriting and producing, as well as a history of scoring films, but this is a whole new endeavor that should be very promising.

It's set to feature all new material, some of it in collaboration with other major musicians, including duets with Stevie Nicks, Martina McBride and Colbie Caillat. Bob Dylan co-writes a track on this album, and it also features The Secret Sisters, along with a stellar assortment of musicians, including guitarist Tom Bukovac, drummer Chad Cromwell, bassist Michael Rhodes, steel guitarist Dan Dugmore and Mike Rojas on piano.

Dave remarked on the creation of the album, "This was my favorite time ever in the studio. I wrote most of the songs on the spot and recorded all of them in one incredible session lasting 5 days and nights."

Be sure to watch for the album, due for release on Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 from Weapons of Mass Entertainment/Surfdog Records/Razor and Tie.

Here's a sneak preview of The Blackbird Diaries tracklisting:

1. So Long Ago
2. Beast Called Fame
3. Magic In The Blues
4. All Messed Up (featuring Martina McBride)
5. Stevie Baby
6. Cheaper Than Free (featuring Stevie Nicks)
7. The Gypsy Girl and Me
8. One Way Ticket To The Moon (featuring The Secret Sisters)
9. Bulletproof Vest (featuring Colbie Caillat)
10. Worth The Waiting For
11. The Well
12. Country Wine (featuring The Secret Sisters)

Along with the album, Stewart also made "an unusual film...that not only features all the musicians and performers, but also gives away some of my writing secrets, which involves both a well known fortune teller and hypnotist who allowed themselves to be filmed in session with me."

Here's the trailer for the film:

You can download an mp3 of "Magic in the Blues" here or visit Dave Stewart's website.