Welcome to yet another wonderful semester of TSL’s music column, a land of plenty where good tunes of all sorts are never in short supply. Whether you’re into pop, grime, hip-hop, jazz, noise or whatever weird thing you found on Bandcamp last night, I’ve got something for you!
In the past, I’ve played around with writing about off-campus events and scenes in addition to covering the constant flow of shows that happen around the 5Cs, but it’s always felt a little off. I love going to shows on the weekends (I’ve already been to three just this semester), but it seems as if other students are rarely aware of the events I find most intriguing.
Why gush about some show that no one went to? If it was going to be so good, why didn’t I tell you all before it happened? It’s in that spirit that I present to you the first of a monthly series of concert calendars to help you get more familiar with the acts and venues that make up L.A.’s lively underground music scene.
2/13 – Pharmakon @ Jewel’s Catch One
Hands down, there is no better act to see on a Friday the 13th than Pharmakon. I had the (dis)pleasure of seeing her open for The Haxan Cloak at the now-defunct venue Church on York early last year, where the low ceilings and claustrophobic, smoky energy only added to her brutal onslaught of noise and screaming. After touring the world with last year’s incredible Bestial Burden LP, she finally returns to Jewel’s as a proper headliner, ready to inflict aural damage on anyone willing to show up. (As an aside, the past year has seen Jewel’s become the go-to venue for outré sounds in L.A. If you consider yourself a connoisseur of weird, check their calendar immediately).
2/14 – Kenji Takimi @ TBA
Cancel your Valentine’s plans (or maybe just admit you never had any), because Far Away, the closest thing L.A.’s got to a proper party collective, is bringing in one of Japan’s best disco selectors for a rare extended set that will keep you bleary-eyed into the wee hours of the morning. Takimi, who runs one of Japan’s best labels (Crue-L), has remixed everyone from Cut Copy to Sebastien Tellier and has stocked his record bag with goodies just for you. Along with early sets from L.A.’s very own Magic Touch and Cooper Saver, it promises to be one of the best nights for house music in this city all year. If you can dig it, just make sure to RSVP on their Facebook event to get the secret location.
2/22 – HTRK + Tropic of Cancer + DVA Damas @ The Echo
Sometimes lineups are just perfectly conceived. This is one of those times. Presented by L.A.’s resident post-punk/new wave experts, Part Time Punks, this night promises unfathomably-deep vibes. First, there’s the headliners, HTRK, who dropped one of last year’s best records in the form of Psychic 9-5 Club, a moody, dubby take on trip-hop meant for late nights and broken hearts. Then there’s Tropic of Cancer, who dropped her fantastic debut slab of cold synthpop Restless Idylls on the darkest-of-dark London labels Blackest Ever Black back in 2013. Finally, openers DVA Damas, members of the long-running Downwards lineup, doled out similarly dark atmospherics on their first record, Nightshade.
2/25 – Kindness + Pell @ El Rey Theatre
Save the most accessible for last, right? It’s a shame that this show’s going down on a Wednesday, because Kindness’ expansive, optimistic grooves are what Friday nights are made of. With his live shows backed by a full band, his modern take on that rich, late-’70s sound is sure to fill up the cavernous El Rey with good vibes aplenty. Combine that with Pell, the New Orleans-based rapper who made ripples with his psychedelic Floating While Dreaming mixtape last year, and you’ve got the recipe for one hell of a night.
Gage Taylor PO ’16 is majoring in media studies and philosophy. He is the electronic music director for the 5C radio station KSPC, and his first concert was *NSYNC.