Category: Jenny Lewis

Jenny Lewis cancels West Coast tour, including Bridge School gigs

Jenny Lewis

Jenny Lewis, who released a batch of mellow rockers last year with her sweetheart, Johnathan Rice, on the duo's debut, "I'm Having Fun Now," announced on her Twitter account Monday night that she's canceling her upcoming West Coast tour due to a family emergency. Her publicists followed up with a formal announcement Tuesday morning, stating that Lewis would be rescheduling the October dates on her solo I Heart Cali tour, many of them already sold out.

Here are the dates affected:

Oct. 15 -- Pappy & Harriet's, Pioneer Town, Calif.

Oct. 16 -- McCabe's, Santa Monica

Oct. 17 -- Largo, Los Angeles

Oct. 18 -- El Presidio Chapel, Santa Barbara

Oct. 20 -- Henry Miller Library, Big Sur, Calif.

Oct. 22 -- Bridge School Benefit Concert, Mountain View, Calif.

Oct. 23 -- Bridge School Benefit Concert, Mountain View, Calif.

Oct. 24 -- Swedish American Music Hall, San Francisco

Oct. 25 -- College of the Sequoias Theatre, Visalia, Calif.

For the annual Bridge School Benefit Concert, organized by Neil Young and his wife, Pegi, Lewis is withdrawing from a lineup that includes Santana, Eddie Vedder, Dave Matthews, Beck, Mumford & Sons and Arcade Fire.

No further information is available about the nature of the family emergency, but the announcement stated that Lewis hopes to reschedule dates shortly.

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-- Margaret Wappler

Photo: Los Angeles lovebirds Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

Blake Sennett says Rilo Kiley is no more: 'There was a lot of deception ...'

For fans wondering what might become of the beloved L.A. indie-rock quartet Rilo Kiley amid the act's recent couplecore collaborations, solo ventures and fledgling labels, guitarist Blake Sennett has an answer -- the band's done for, and it's not a happy parting.

In an interview over at Spinner, Sennett gets surprisingly candid about the status of the band and its reasons for splitting. "There was a lot of deception, disloyalty, greed and things I don't really want to submit myself to," he said. He didn't point specific fingers, but conceded that he didn't really like the band's last album, the funk-infused "Under the Blacklight" and that bad vibes simmered for some time after.

In lieu of any new Rilo Kiley material, fans keeping up with their new projects have their hands full. Singer Jenny Lewis has a well-regarded solo career and new venture with boyfriend Johnathan Rice as Jenny and Johnny; Sennett's project the Elected just released a new album, "Bury Me In My Rings"; bassist Pierre de Reeder's Little Record Company has a residency at the Satellite all month with acts including Heidecker & Wood and Nik Freitas; and drummer Jason Boesel released a solo album, "Hustler's Son," last year and is an in-demand session drummer for scads of acts (and attended this year's Cannes with girlfriend Kirsten Dunst).

-- August Brown

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Coachella 2011: Jenny & Johnny's dirty love songs

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“This is a love song” said Jenny Lewis, introducing the song “Just Like Zeus” from her new project with collaborator/boyfriend Johnathan Rice under the name Jenny & Johnny. Alas, for romantics, it was a love song “dedicated to Jumbo’s Clown Room,” the East Hollywood striptease club.

For fans of sickly neon and tattooed stripper dilettantes, it was the sweetest mash note of the weekend so far. Jenny and Johnny may be one of indie rock’s first couples, but their love songs come riven with images of drawn knives, venomous snakes and Hollywood vice pits.

Images from the 2011 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival

Their music draws from a well of Evan Dando/Juliana Hatfield '90s slacker rock, but livened up with classic country grace and meticulous harmonies. “Big Wave” rode a thicket of distorted guitars and doo-wop catcalls; Rice’s more harrowing “Animal” made up for its severe Israel-Palestine musings with a more haunting declaration: “If you lose your fear of God, you are an animal at heart.”

But most of it was otherwise genial. Lewis is one of the best wise-crackers in rock, and clearly her mod-Stevie Nicks fashion vibe informed the dress code for about 99% of the women in attendance. But to take the two of them together was like watching an indie rock version of “The Thin Man.” They’re a couple, clearly in love, trading boozy barbs while investigating the mysteries of the heart. Or having a lark with this never-less-than-winsome side project. Likely both at once.

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Album review: Jenny & Johnny's "I'm Having Fun Now"

-- August Brown

Photo: Jenny and Johnny perform Saturday at the Coachella Vallley Music & Arts Festival in Indio. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Same difference: The Watson Twins get louder, livelier on 'Talking to You'

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The Watson Twins have always been about creating a mood. Skilled in the art of the harmony, the Los Angeles-based duo have specialized in a more meditative brand of Southern soul, one in which their two voices have been locked in a back-porch slow-dance. With the release last week of "Talking to You, Talking to Me," the identical siblings have started to shift their focus to the groove.

Still best known for their pairing with Jenny Lewis on her 2006 effort "Rabbit Fur Coat," Chandra and Leigh Watson have steadily gone from backing artists to leading women, releasing now two full-length albums under their own name. The act's last was a quiet affair, and with limited exceptions, 2008's "Fire Songs" was about the close vocal shadowing of unhurried acoustic arrangements. 

From the outset, "Talking to You" has different goals. Its opening track "Modern Man" launches in a rhythmic trot. With electric guitars that trail and haunt the beat rather than lead it, the Watson Twins recall Linda Ronstadt, opening with a timeless pop sound that carries on the Laurel Canyon tradition. 

"Leigh and I knew we wanted to make a record that really relied on the rhythm section," Chandra told Pop & Hiss last week. "We really dug into the drums and the bass, and that was the focus of each tune. I feel like the record has two sides. There’s an upbeat, indie-pop kind of sound, and then there’s a soul, R&B side of the record. What we hope ties them together is that they all rely heavily on the rhythm section."

Like the stylistic leaps the twins' pal Lewis took on 2008's "Acid Tongue," the Watson Twins show off the more lively aspects of their influences on "Talking to You." Parts of the new album, such as "Harpeth River" and "Midnight," have a bluesy cabaret feel. Elsewhere, "U-N-Me" and "Savin' You" capture a more classic rock sound, the latter with a brisk, rootsy symphony that would make Jeff Lynne proud. 

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Coachella 2009 Day 2 report: Fleet Foxes, Jenny Lewis get trippy and soulful

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For a brief time on Saturday night, one side of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival sounded like a war zone. Air-raid sirens and jarring, inconsistent beats dominated a set from electronic globetrotting artist M.I.A. Meanwhile, across the festival grounds -- the three-day event has five stages of continuous music -- a more peaceful, relaxed setting could be found, where artists such as the Fleet Foxes and Los Angeles' own Jenny Lewis toyed with more rootsy, traditional sounds.

Coachella's paradise-in-the-desert setting has the ability to enhance the right band's appeal, providing a striking backdrop to better get lost in the music. It was easy to guess that the dizzying harmonies of Seattle's Fleet Foxes would be a good fit.

Singer-guitarist Robin Pecknold noted that the band "doesn't feel super comfortable at these things," referencing the large festival gathering.  And honestly it was hard to imagine that bassist Christian Wargo felt comfortable in that knit hat as the temperatures rose above 90 degrees. But otherwise, the band seemed at ease during its set.

It's folk-rock with a psychedelic bent. "Ragged Wood" had a coda that came out of nowhere, a sudden '50s-influenced guitar that placed the band in another time or era. But there was little that was retro about the band's performance. One need only have witnessed "Your Protector," where a flash of a church organ gave way to an echoing rhythm and a near fantastical swirl of harmonies. There's plenty of adventurous music at the three-day event, but little in the first two days had gotten as trippy as this.  

Later in the evening, Lewis put on a dazzling vocal display of her own, performing a set that drew heavily from her 2008 album "Acid Tongue." The songs show off her range and her easy, almost effortless vocal approach. She's conversational in "The Charging Sky," still one of the sweetest songs to grapple with religious confusion, and then elegantly soulful in "Pretty Bird."

Lewis, clad all in white, had fun with the crowd, acknowledging all the "beautiful women dressed in tiny clothes," and then took them down in the spunky "Carpetbaggers." If anyone took offense, Lewis surely won them back with a bare-boned acoustic take on "Silver Lining," a song she wrote for her non-solo gig fronting Rilo Kiley. Rather than the glossy pop of her rendition with her band, she slowed things down and transformed it into a downright heartbreaking cut.

The showstopper of the set was when she worked her way around the blues jam "Next Messiah." Lewis pulled out some grit when she needed it but also was ready to drop her voice to a whisper, allowing it lurk in the shadows of the groove.

-- Todd Martens

Photo of Christian Wargo, left, and Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Pop & Hiss goes to the movies: Jenny Lewis gets a dose of Disney optimism with 'Bolt'

BoltJenny Lewis
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Snaring one of two songs in an animated Disney film is not exactly a low-profile gig. But when one of the songs in the movie is a duet between teen sensation Miley Cyrus and actor John Travolta, it's not hard to predict which tune is going to get the headlines.

Just a few weeks after the release of her second solo effort, "Acid Tongue," Los Angeles' own Jenny Lewis has resurfaced with a song in "Bolt." While a vehicle for Cyrus, Lewis' song, "Barking at the Moon," shouldn't be overlooked. It's an effortlessly comfortable country pop ditty, one complete with animal references ("I may not have nine lives," Lewis sings in the opening verses).

"I was excited at the prospect of having a subject matter other than myself to write about," Lewis told Pop & Hiss. "My new record has a sort of a dark undertone, so I was excited to write something from the perspective of a dog."

If may at first seem an odd turn for the songwriter. "Acid Tongue" is a loose mix of country and blues-inflected songs, an album that comes equipped with a murder ballad, and a singer who is "drunk and looking for company" in the title track.

But as a child actor-turned-singer, Lewis found plenty to be inspired by in the Disney tale. "Given my experience growing up here in Hollywood, when it was explained to me that Bolt was a child-actor dog who kind of had a difficult time distinguishing between Hollywood and reality, I could immediately relate to that," Lewis said. "I’m Bolt!"

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Live: Beck and Jenny Lewis at Club Nokia

Beck_nokia_300 Many music fans get serious about pop through a love affair with a club. Whether it was a legendary spot or just the dive down the street from the dorm, such a place provides more than just loud sound and overpriced beer.

People get attached to the strangest things in clubs -- memorably awful bathrooms, decorously peeling wallpaper, a particular corner where the guitar feedback hits just right. And because these spaces are usually somewhat makeshift, converted from some other identity, like a movie theater, church or old man's bar, their shortcomings become part of their charm.

Club Nokia is the latest venue to open in AEG's "entertainment campus" L.A. Live; it opened Sunday with a double bill of Beck and Jenny Lewis. It might be the dream club for a new generation, but it doesn't exactly adhere to the old rules. This high-end destination is gleamingly new, with none of the endearing seediness of a historic venue. As part of a conglomerate, it can't have the underdog allure of a hole in the wall. It's also huge in clubland terms, with a capacity of 2,300 people -- more than quadruple what the Troubadour can hold.

The positives at this club don't have to do with aura. They're more basic: The sound is very good (though some patrons later expressed the opinion that it was too loud), the sight-lines superb, the bathrooms and bar space plentiful. Then there's the floor plan, which operates on a kind of optical illusion: The main floor is tiered, allowing for folks in the back to feel closer, and a large, extremely steep balcony puts others in a helicopter position above the stage.

The back of the club doesn't feel so bad when it's floating in the air. And the overhang the balcony creates above the dance floor is less oppressive and sound-muffling than some.

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