Category: Warpaint

FYF Fest 2012: Refused, Wild Flag, M83, Yeasayer booked

Carrie Brownstein of Wild Flag
Now in its ninth year, the independent-focused FYF Fest is returning to the Los Angeles State Historic Park and for the first time since moving downtown will expand from one to two days. The lineup for the Labor Day weekend fest is an adventurous mix of acts young and old, leaning heavily on punk and veterans of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Top-billed artists this year include the reunited Swedish punk band Refused, reunited local rock band Redd Kross, the trippy M83, indie-punk supergroup Wild Flag and electro-soul artist James Blake. 

Once again the FYF Fest is working in conjunction with Coachella promoter Goldenvoice. This marks the fourth straight year that FYF has been stationed at the Chinatown-adjacent State Historic Park, also the site of this summer's dance-focused Hard Summer. While FYF has long specialized in promoting punk and noise shows in and around Echo Park, this year's lineup was first unveiled on Santa Monica's non-profit KCRW-FM, a sign of FYF's growing influence on the local scene.

Other acts booked for the festival, which will take place Sept. 1 and 2, include the reunited Desaparecidos, the politically inclined scrappy punk outfit led by Bright Eyes architect Conor Oberst, and the global influenced music of Yeasayer. All told, more than 50 acts were revealed Monday morning. Among the highlights: hard-core act Quicksand, noise-pop aficionados Sleigh Bells, '80s revivalists Twin Shadow, electronic act Purity Ring, the patiently ambient rock of Warpaint and in-the-news punk band Against Me!

Weekend passes will start at $77 and will go on sale Friday via Ticketfly. FYF Fest is all-ages and will run from noon until midnight each day. Tickets will also be available at independent record stores in the L.A. area and select Chilli Beans locations. Visit the FYF Fest site for a complete run-down of outlets. 

Complete lineup and poster is after the jump:

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Live: TV on the Radio, Arctic Monkeys and more at Hollywood Bowl

Arctic Monkeys

For one of the last hurrahs of the summer, the Hollywood Bowl presented a mini-festival of nervy rock from a pastiche of traditionalists, visionaries and, most successfully, those acts that combine both impulses.
With five bands on the bill Sunday, Bowlchella was a night designed for those who’d rather brave a hipster occupation of Highland Avenue, marching with their canteens of Trader Joe’s Merlot, than a drunken army of them loose in the desert where a secret economy based on traded American Spirit cigarettes and after-party details thrives.
Once a crowd of fedora-wearing women and slinky men in black jeans were in place, the two first acts were dispensed with, offering no sentimental lingering. Chicago’s glam revivalists Smith Westerns played for 20 minutes, and then the local quartet Warpaint took to the stage for only five minutes longer, looking like the long-lost sisters of Jane’s Addiction circa 1995.
Working their occult chemistry, the ladies treated the audience to swirls of darkly sweet guitar bolstered by Stella Mozgawa’s tribal drums hit with mallets. They played a fine, if unremarkable, version of “Undertow” and then bowed out on a rotating stage with lacy flourishes stitched on to the end of “Elephant.”
The intensity picked up with Panda Bear and his knob-pushing sideman Sonic Boom, from the defunct psychedelic outfit Spaceman 3. Known to his parents as Noah Lennox, Panda Bear takes harmonies and vocal lines out of the Beach Boys scrapbook but then envelops them in dense thatches of electronic soundscaping that oscillates from tense to lulling. Think Brian Wilson riding the sine waves.
Playing disembodied cuts from his latest album, “Tomboy,” Panda Bear is the lone woodsman, but instead of his gorgeous vocal calls coming from an isolated forest, it’s the cry from where two vectors meet at the end of a video-game grid, unmapped and unexplored. Technology is the new rugged terrain and Panda Bear is one of its most restless pioneers, pushing forward but always with one eye cast back.
Making an abrupt but enticing left turn, the Arctic Monkeys walked out to the strains of Hot Chocolate’s “You Sexy Thing,” with little else but guitars and other instruments played by their forefathers in the British Invasion. Whereas Panda Bear and Sonic Boom blazed trails with some reverb gizmo dubbed the Ekdahl Moisturizer, the Arctic Monkeys wielded primitive tools but with timeless wit.
With the blue lights on his determined face, front-Monkey Alex Turner, in a pompadour fit for “West Side Story,” ticked through meters of insouciant lyrics that bounced off of the band’s pliant riffing. A history lesson of Western rock was touched upon; shadow licks from the Smiths, Metallica, the Pretenders and David Bowie were referenced and then broken down, smoothly recalibrated into something lively and unique to the band.
The contrast between Panda Bear and the Arctic Monkeys created an ideal vacuum for New York’s TV on the Radio to slip into. Once heralded as the progenitors of a new edgy future, the art-rockers have now stepped into a comfortable position as respected statesmen. The start of their set, dipping into older material, sounded a bit muddy and lax but once TVOTR dug into their latest album, “Nine Types of Light,” the energy and focus intensified.
TV’s music often carries an exciting tension between song momentum and experimental atmospherics, but in moments, that once-brooding undertow can seem predictable. One spirited stunt can help make it feel fresh again. Frontman Tunde Adebimpe asked the crowd, “Has anyone here ever felt overwhelmed by the darkness?” Then he paced the stage, demanding that the house lights fire up again and again, the drums thundering behind him. It’s easy to imagine TV on the Radio kicking through the darkness and finding the new light.
-- Margaret Wappler
Photo: Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys performing at England's V Music Festival in August, 2011. Credit: Joel Ryan / Associated Press

TV on the Radio and Arctic Monkeys headline Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 25


On Sept. 25, the Hollywood Bowl will host one of the largest bills of the season with five acts: TV on the Radio, Arctic Monkeys, Panda Bear, Warpaint and Smith Westerns. Call it a mini-Coachella for fans of au courant rock, except it won't be repeating itself a week later.

All the bands have released fetching albums in the last year or so, or have albums on the near horizon, with TV on the Radio's "Nine Types of Light" praised as a crystalline gem of "brilliant clarity" by Pop & Hiss' Chris Barton. The U.K. football-loving Arctic Monkeys will be releasing the rather bluntly titled "Suck It and See" on Tuesday. Closer to home, Warpaint, the favorites of Chili Pepper John Frusciante, released its Rough Trade debut, "The Fool," last year, garnering praise from England to the foursome's home base in Los Angeles.

Except for TV on the Radio, all the acts are Bowl newbies. Animal Collective's Noah Lennox, a.k.a. Panda Bear, will radiate the September air with his static-and-synth onslaught from "Tomboy" in what will be his only West Coast performance in support of the album. Despite all members being born in the '90s, Chicago's Smith Westerns raided the '60s for its bright, psychedelic pop-influenced album, "Dye It Blonde."

Tickets go on sale June 18 at or at the box office.


Album review: Panda Bear's 'Tomboy'

Dolly Parton and more coming to the Hollywood Bowl for the 2011 season

TV on the Radio's Gerard Smith succumbs to lung cancer

-- Margaret Wappler

Photo: TV on the Radio, courtesy of the band.


The women of Warpaint go for unbroke

Their atmospheric guitar rock has taken a while to catch on, but now at least one music publication has labeled them 'the new queens of the underground.'


After nearly six years on the local scene, Warpaint had little to its résumé: one EP, a rotating cast of drummers and a string of dead-end day jobs.

Stella Mozgawa, however, wanted in. A session drummer who had toured her native Australia with Devo, there was little doubt Mozgawa had the chops. Yet singer-guitarist Emily Kokal was skeptical, and there were five words she needed to hear first.

Mozgawa recalled how she leveled with Kokal, essentially asking the singer for the gig last fall at Silver Lake's Stella Café: "I said, 'I'm ready to be poor.'"

And thus, Mozgawa had said the magic phrase needed to gain entry into an atmospheric rock quartet whose future even an optimist would have likely deemed perilous.

"Here was Stella, who made money and made a living," Kokal said Tuesday at dinner with her bandmates at Hollywood's Sushi Ike. "We were really broke. I didn't want her to think that she could do this on the side. She had to commit. So when she said she was ready to be poor, we were cool."

If afforded time, the songs of Warpaint, which don't build so much as materialize, are full of lurking surprises. With intricate guitars that stress patience and ambience, perhaps it's no revelation that it's taken Warpaint, whose members range in age from the mid-20s to early 30s, nearly seven years to have anything resembling a career.

The band last year inked a worldwide deal with storied British independent Rough Trade, a label associated with dream-pop act the Raincoats and '80s alt-rock forebears the Smiths, among many others. Since aligning recently with the Beggars Group, a consortium of sorts of independent labels that includes Matador Records, 4AD and XL, Rough Trade has become increasingly active, and is doing so at a time when the Beggars Group has set its sights on Los Angeles.

"We were looking at a lot of artists to sign who are based in L.A., and we still are," said Miwa Okumura, an L.A. native who relocated here one year ago from Beggars' U.S. headquarters in New York City to open an Echo Park outpost. "There's a growing music community here. It's always existed, and I get that. But there's so much going on right now."

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FYF Fest: The must-see acts and the maybes, an hour-by-hour guide


The FYF Fest marks the unofficial close of the outdoor rock 'n' roll festival season in Southern California, bringing it to an end with dissonant guitars, vocal yelps, disaffected beach-bum punks and even a song or two inspired by the Civil War. Thirty bands and three stages, the all-day affair at the L.A. State Historic Park falls somewhere between a neighborhood block party and Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival, taking a smaller, more targeted approach to the multi-act bill.

Plenty of it is adventurous, and some of it is even a bit tuneless. Yet the celebration of the underground, the niche and the weird is also a bargain. Tickets started at $20 for early-bird buyers, and in the days leading up to the fest, now in its second year in Chinatown, have risen only to $30. 

Rare, indeed, is an affordable all-day fest that is as pridefully left-of-center as FYF. With a bill built for discovery -- as well as one that contains plenty of local heroes -- Pop & Hiss breaks down the must-see-acts and those you may want to investigate, time permitting. The hour-by-hour guide is below.

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Warpaint to release 'The Fool' in October (updated)

325t According to NME, Warpaint, our local practitioners of wooze rock, will be releasing their Rough Trade debut in October. "The Fool" will come out Oct. 26 in the U.S. (and Oct. 25 in the U.K.) with production by Jon Brion collaborator Tom Biller, who also recently manned the mix for the Liars' fantastic "Sisterworld" album.

The new record should be the crowning touch on a great fall for the L.A. quartet: They also snagged a high-profile opening slot with the xx, the current darlings of minimalist indie R&B. The two bands will be passing through the Hollywood Palladium on Sept. 22.

In addition to Biller's work, "The Fool" also features mixes from Siouxsie Sioux and New Order DJ-collaborator Andrew Weatherall, and Adam Samuels, who has worked with John Frusciante, a key advocate for Warpaint (he mixed their Manimal Vinyl EP, "Exquisite Corpse").

Track listing for "The Fool":

"Set Your Arms"
"Warpaint" *
"Lissie’s Heart Murmur" *

-- Margaret Wappler

*By the way, Pop & Hiss is very encouraged by any band that references its own name in song, as well as heart murmurs; we have one too.

Updated: We added the U.S. release date of Oct. 26.

Photo: Warpaint. Credit: Rough Trade

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Warpaint to open on the xx's major fall tour


The gauzy L.A. quartet Warpaint just landed one of the most plum opening slots on the fall touring circuit. In September and October, the band will warm up crowds for the xx for 10 dates across America and Canada, including a Sept. 22 stop at the Hollywood Palladium. The xx, we can confirm, are putting on one heck of a show these days, so bravo on that booking, Warpaint.

Hopefully, the sight of all those thousands of sad, black-clad kids will prod them to finish their much-awaited debut full-length with local producer Tom Biller for Rough Trade. Full schedule after the jump.

-- August Brown

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