Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I'm Lazy. Enjoy Another Sample. Blah.


It is April 25th, 3:02 pm, and I am finally getting to what we ostensibly came here for: the music. We have traversed the sprawling grass expanse – on weekend leave from its day job as polo field – and now I’m standing in the middle of the Gobi Tent, smallest of the three giant white tents which dominate the South-East corner of the grounds, which means it’s still about half the size of a football field. On stage, the band Battles is doing their sound check – an even more complicated process than normal, given the thicket of guitars, MacBooks, keyboards, and amplifiers through which the band members are scurrying, plugging in a cable here, testing an effect pedal there, tuning this, tweaking that. A truly genre-defying group, Battles have been a favorite of mine since I first heard their robot-circus-instrumental-indie-math-rock (I said they were genre-defying) in high school, and their latest album, Mirrored, has been on heavy rotation on my iPod over the last month. No one else in the B.C.P. crew knows much about them, but we’re here at my behest, and I’m a little nervous as the set kicks off, wondering if my new friends are gonna like my taste in music… wondering if Laura will get it, and there goes the drummer, pounding away, his white polo shirt – buttoned all the way up – and black slacks shockingly out of place on his muscled, sweating frame, jaw clenched, neck bulging, as he just absolutely wails the holy living shit out the snare. That pounding, unceasing juggernaut of a beat holding everything together, as guitar riffs are looped and layered, vocals are distorted, crescendos of sound build and burst over and over again. Battles is as unique a band as we’ll see all weekend, and the smiles on Cody and Alice and B-Don’s faces affirms my decision to drag everyone out here, the bonds of friendship are slowly growing stronger as the lead singer, Sideshow Bob hair emitting a sweat halo, loops a guitar riff, leans into the mic, and exhales a haunting chant…


Drummer finally stops moving, tilts his tomato-red face towards the heavens, and drops his sticks. My ears are ringing, and everyone’s grinning, as we turn to each other and try to process what we just heard.



My ear drums are fucked. WHAT? WHAT DUDE? That’s right. This is the inevitable result of a adolescent passion for death metal, and a concordant disregard for any parentally recommended safety measures. Like ear plugs. Well, it might not have been inevitable – WHAT? WAIT, WHAT’D YOU SAY? – I mean, people mature, and it was no sure thing I’d maintain my death metal allegiance, right? Right! I didn’t – I moved on, to the fat bass and screeching synths of electro, house, drum & bass, dubstep, techno, fidget, and the like. From that point on I would eschewing the ear plugs for concerns of fashion rather than urges of rebellion, but my poor tympanic membrane couldn’t tell the difference – only that it was losing its ability to register a whole new segment of frequencies at the high and low end of the scale. Combine that with the drugs, and the fact that, once the damage started to set in, I naturally began turning up the volume at home – in my ipod earbuds on the way to class, on the subwoofer at my friends’ house parties – and soon I was that guy. Impossible to talk to on the phone. Mumbler extraordinaire. Often seen headbanging while riding my bike to class, music so loud that the friendly cries of “hello” and “fuck youuuu” bursting from my friends’ lips fall on ears that are, while not deaf, certainly working on it. That guy next to you in lecture, tinny noise spilling from the hood of his black zip-up – I’m sorry, I’m sure it’s annoying. I know it’s annoying when I’m on a plane, a bus, or a train – because I’ve had people, many times, tentatively tap me on the shoulder um excuse me could you please turn down your headphones and while my instinct is to go UM, NO, FUCK OFF, my desire not to get my ass beat, by man or by karma, restrains me. So I turn it down for a little bit, and as soon as I’m back in the open air, feet hitting the pavement, getting the city under me, the volume’s back at full blast, and I’m back in my head, in my world. It’s a tradeoff I’ll take.

I hope you like it (no one is reading this, but that's cool!). Coming as soon as I get some more coffee, that Trouble & Bass Party recap thing. And why Shaq to the Cavs is more meaningful in the abstract than in the concrete world of playing basketball. And the beauty of grilling Carne Asada. I got ideas, son.

Oh yeah, happy birthday to my good friend Alex Carillo. Tonight I am further delaying my writing to go celebrate it, as he further delays working on our comic adventure collaboration. As soon as we do something, you'll see it.


- Dan

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

From The Grave: Eli Escobar at Temporary Spaces

Figure 1: Eli (Ell-Ee) Escobar

Hi. So. Looks like this blog isn't dead, even if it is floating in the purgatory that is blogger.com - possible move to wordpress pending, I'll be sure to notify all 2 of you if that happens. As part of my Life Plan, this space is now going to include all sorts of my writings - music reviews, concert/dj recaps, stuff that people are interested in, etc. I hope this is pleasing to you. At the very least, I'm gonna be posting on a bi-daily basis for the forseeable future, as a way to release the creative stagnation that living at your parents' place foments. It would be all to easy to sit on the couch for the next month. but, WE CAN DO BETTER.


New Feature (!): Shit I Done Went To.
1. Monday June 22 - Eli Escobar @ Temporary Spaces (Fountain & Normandie. East Hollywood whaaaat).
My first attempt to get out of the house and into LA, during this long summer of discontent. My and JT PESOS rendezvoused at his place, in the BH (the one time I didn't mind driving out there... thank god for the lack of traffic on a Monday night), to drink absolut and san pellegrino. very bourgeoisie, and not tasty at all. The objective, a sloppy drunk, was only acheived for like 45 minutes. Should just drove straight to the venue, and avoided the late, semi-inept taxi experience - one more reason to hate LA - and used the cash on overpriced drinks. Although, $6 for a Red Stripe is pretty par for the course, and I guess I should just be used to it by this point. Anyways, once arrived at Temporary Spaces - an aptly named venue, just an unmarked door on a corner, its significance belied only by the bouncer and list-girls out front, we alighted from our gas-guzzling chariot, and approached the disconcertingly unpopulated corner. No lines here. This vaguely amateurish vibe is in no way dispelled when Pesos starts chatting with the list girls... only to discover that they went to high school with his little brother. What the fuck? Can you work the door at a club when you're 19? It's not like we're 30 or something, younger siblings' friends should be neither seen nor heard when heading out...

Anyways. Upon entering the place, there is nobody up in my face, because there are hardly any people in the bar. A smattering of hip-hop hipsters - big white tees, clark kent glasses, tight pants, fly nikes, maybe a sick LA hat, you know the deal - and like 3 semi-beat blonde chicks at the bar, some people posted up along the walls on stools and in booths. Despite the lack of a social atmosphere, I gotta give props to Temporary Spaces in and of itself: it's the kind of bar that is my shit, all dim, color filtered lighting, big varnished wooden bar with brass accents, a wide variety of fine whiskeys lined up behind, simple leather seating. Six bucks later, I'm sipping on a Red Stripe, and six minutes later, I'm heading to the men's room. Upon exiting the commode, I bump into Trevor, a.k.a. DJ Skeet Skeet, the promoter of this fine event, and decide to act like I know him and give him a holla. Skeeter and I discuss our shared appreciation of Eli Escobar's old school NY house excellence, and our shared concern about the disconcerting lack of people in the place: He is "legitimately kinda pissed, to be honest." I commiserate, then realize... it's time for another beer!

"Another Red Stripe... yeah... you guys take credit? Sure...what the fuck? $20 minimum? Sheeeit... yeah, do it" Well shit now I need to buy at least 3 more beers tonight. I gotta start carrying more cash on me. Or drinking more beforehand. Or having a lower tolerance for the booze. Or SOMETHING. Anyways, Pesos spots everyone favorite bearded fat man (and Harvey Feinstein look-a-like), DJ Thee Mike B, resident @ Dim Mak's Banana Split Sundaes (Sundays... duh... at Bardot). Dude is cool enough, I suppose, and suggests that Skeeter should chill out, that "this place always fills up after midnight anyways." And he only sounds moderately like a pretentious dick when, while discussing how awesome Eee-lye Escobar is, he informs us that it's actually pronounced Ell-ee. Whatever.

An hour later, sure enough, Mike B was right, and the place is close to packed - the cigarette smoking "patio" (dungeon might be a more appropriate word) might be the densest concentration of second-hand smoke in the greater LA area (I'm still coughing), and the dancefloor is popping. Unfortunately, at least by my standards, it's popping to some new DJ, Eli is done, and it's all dancehall - that funky island shit. Which is cool, you know, for like a song or two, mixed in a Diplo set or something, but isn't really my steez. Still, watching the territorial conflict, between a white hip-hop hipster and an African (dude was dark) slickster (suit jacket, fancy pants, etc.) for the right to assert their male dominance by dancing with a fine-as-fuck Erykah Baduh look-a-like is pretty hilarious. Let's just say the white guy has a decided handicap due to his inherent (lack of) dancing ability. Despite this compelling battle, I've just finished beer number four, which means I've finally broken through the chains of the credit card minimum charge that have been holding us here. It's time to go home.

Waiting outside the bar for a cab, stupid LA cabs, where the hell are they when you need one... oh here comes one oh wait it just drove past us what the fuck - "Yo, that motherfucker didn't pick you guys up cause you black!" opines the esteemed african-american gentleman standing outside with us, while his compatriot chuckles. "Yo, it's cause he could tell we're Jews yo! - we're the other black!" And with everyone outside laughing, we snag the next cab, and we're off. Till nex time.

- Dizzy Dan