Girlschool, Bootleg Theater, Girl Gang, KROQ, LA Record, and Origami Present
GIRLSCHOOL Field Day Weekend
Silentshout, A.W., The Bulls, Conway, Dead Sara, Gothic Tropic, Jade, Kat Corbett (DJ set), Kate Nash (DJ set), Kera and the Lesbians, Kim and The Created, Kitten, Lael Neale, Maria Taylor, Miya Folick, Nina and Louise from Veruca Salt, Nightjacket, Phoebe Bridgers, Riothorse Royale, Steady Holiday, White Sea
Fri. January 29, 2016 - Sun. January 31, 2016
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm
Los Angeles, CA
$15 - $20
GIRLSCHOOL strives to benefit or support a girl-positive non-profit organization at every event. Proceeds from this event will benefit Rock’n’Roll Camp for Girls LA, a non-profit empowering and nurturing young girls through music education.
More info: http://www.rockcampforgirlsla.org
*Line-up subject to change*
More info: http://www.rockcampforgirlsla.org
More artists TBA! Speakers, panels, and workshops TBA.
Set times TBA. Line-up subject to change.
Originally from a small town in Georgia, AW knew early on that their relationship with pop music wasn’t a casual one. Instead, it gave them endless butterflies and, no matter how many songs they listened to, they could never fill their Top 40 love tank. Whether they pressed their ear to the wall of their older brother’s bedroom to hear the latest Green Day song or played the radio while they were asleep so they could soak in the melodies through osmosis, the attraction was immediate and undeniable.
After high school, AW studied art at University of Georgia in Athens, but they soon started learning more about music by performing at local coffee shops than sitting in stuffy lecture halls. The plucky teen started developing a pretty impressive local following, playing larger and larger venues, until they ultimately decided to evolve their passion into a full-time profession. However, with heaps of ambition but little connection to the industry, what’s a kid to do? Um, do it themself, of course.
“When I was starting out, I didn’t know about finding managers or booking agents or any of that stuff,” AW says, looking back. “I wasn’t trying to find a record label. I knew what I wanted to do and I saw I could do it by myself without immediately having to rely on somebody else, so I’m gonna do it that way.” Whether driven by unbridled enthusiasm or indisputable impatience, AW immediately put pen to paper and managed to release three EPs and a debut full-length album (2009’s …Was Right All Along) before leaving Athens for Brooklyn. However, it was their second LP, 2013’s Say What You Mean, which really broke through the underground and positioned AW as an important new voice in the indie-pop scene, thanks to songs like “Making It Up” and “Wait For Me.”
After Say What You Mean, which was inspired by a breakup that nearly tore them apart, AW was left wondering, “What’s the point of anything because everything’s gonna end?” Sounds defeatist, but it’s also a real emotion that everyone goes through when a romantic chapter ends. However, AW took that skepticism and harnessed it into the music, saying, “I wanna be the person who writes love songs about real, legitimate relationships and not just fairy-tale endings.”
That air of relatability wafts throughout all the songs on New Love, which was inspired by their recent move to Los Angeles and, wait for it, a new love. The change in geographic scenery can be heard in “Golden Coast,” which was co-written with fellow pop-rocker Jenny Owen Youngs, and tackles the trepidation that often comes with making a major life change that’s necessary but nerve wrecking nevertheless. Then there’s “Back To Me,” which is the kind of hopeful pop song with upbeat melodies but heartbreaking lyrics about the one who got away and, sadly, isn’t ever coming back.
AW can’t wait to play new songs like “Who We Are” and “Good Way” live, which is totally convenient because they're likely to be on tour for the rest of the year. They're also excited to reconnect with their fans, continue to write irreverent pop songs, and possibly be a light for anyone who’s still figuring out their place is this big, bad world. “I started writing my music as a young person who was uncomfortable in their own skin,” AW says. “Life gets hard, love gets complicated, and, thankfully, we've all got our favorite songs to say the things we might not be able to say on our own. If you hear something in my songs that reminds you of yourself, then I'm doing my job right.”
The Bulls came to be when violinist and multi-instrumentalist Anna Bulbrook (The Airborne Toxic Event / Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) and guitarist Marc Sallis (The Duke Spirit) discovered their mutual love for 80's and 90's new wave and shoegaze during a chance meeting in the Mojave Desert. The Bulls premiered their debut single "Come Unwound," featuring Bulbrook's hazy vocals and soaring strings, on Consequence of Sound and the track received critical acclaim from blogs around the world. The song's accompanying, Kinbaku-bondage-inspired video was premiered by LA Weekly and received over 5,000 plays in its first week. A remix of the track by Morgan Kibby (M83 / White Sea) features the Grammy-nominated artist contributing her signature vocal harmonies and lush electro-orchestral arranging to create a new, cinematic musical landscape. In March of 2015, the Bulls were Alt 98.7's featured "Artist in Residence," which saw the radio debut of "Come Unwound." During the same month, KROQ started spinning the Bulls' still-unreleased song, "Small Problems," which will feature on the band's upcoming debut EP.
"A beguiling hybrid of dream pop and shoegaze. Warms the heart and shakes the bones" Consequence of Sound
"21st Century shoegaze at its finest" Diffuser.FM
"And we love it! … ethereal, female-fronted alterna-pop" PerezHilton.com
"Teetering between slacker shoegaze and delicate dream pop… They sound like they're gonna be on the up from here on in" The 405
"The duo have created a unique sound… all soaked in a shiny production with plenty of reverb" The Wild Honey Pie
"A remarkable debut song" ALT 98.7
Rolling Stone has praised her as ‘enthralling,' with Noisey calling her EP's title track a ‘high velocity kiss- off.’ Never shy, Conway chose to get out of her comfort zone and make whatever music felt good regardless of genre/style boundaries. Supporting tours for St. Lucia and Ellie Goulding in the US, and Charli XCX in London, she’s already hosted a Monday night residency at The Satellite in Los Angeles, and collaborated with AllSaints Clothing on a music video for her single “Attack”.
One thing astute listeners will notice is the heightened space and detail given to lyrics, like on "Mona Lisa," where there is a pause after Armstrong sings, "I'm so cold and lonely, I could be dead." The silence is fleeting, but enough to make the starkness of her lyrics stand out. That is a band growing more comfortable with themselves. "On this record I've noticed that I'm not hiding behind a lot of delay anymore, whereas the first record I was very self-conscious about singing, I'd never really done a record. And you will hear so much fucking delay and reverb," Armstrong says. "But I've become so much more confident as a singer. And I think, like Siouxsie's saying with her Morrissey, Smiths type stuff, we used a lot more of the twangy guitars on this record, which was rad, because we didn't necessarily overdrive everything and put a shit ton of everything just to get through the record." "This second record I definitely feel more time was put into it and we're much smarter. We're a little bit more grown up," Friday says. The first record was recorded largely in 11 days according to the band. The youth and freshness was definitely part of the appeal for fans, who saw the hunger in songs like "Weatherman," "Lemon Scent" and the powerful "Face To Face." On Pleasure To Meet You though they've mixed that zest with savvier songwriting and production. "Between the first and the second record and even now more on the third we're definitely getting into changing the key and what actually feels the best," Medley says. "'Do we want it dark? Do we want it happier?'" Dead Sara have definitely pushed themselves on Pleasure To Meet You, taking those new tricks to make a unit. "On 'Something Good' or 'Greaser' there are full three-part harmonies now. And that's something we never would've done on the first," Armstrong says. "So with that aspect we've grown into using everything we possibly can as a musician in a band. Because everybody can do their own thing individually, but there's something special about when we can use it all together for one purpose." Null agrees this is more of a band album. "Even though I think it's still varied song wise and the tonality of the record is more cohesive than the first record," he says. All of that cohesion and unity reach their zenith on the epic closer, "For You I Am." "It was a jam that we pressed record when we started jamming on it, just me sitting on one chord singing and then the band chimes in and we fucking finished. And the structure stayed the same. And the lyrics are almost exactly the same, but it was a moment where everything aligned and that's a rare moment," Armstrong says. "It was done so beautifully and Noah really understood that song, where we were coming from on it and how important that song was, especially closing out the record. Everybody in the band put their piece to it and shared it."
She currently lives in Los Angeles and is working on her fourth full-length album.
After releasing a self-titled Kera & the Lesbians album in early 2016, Armendariz now is focused on putting out singles, preferring to treat each song as a discrete project. She's found the new process invigorating, especially since the hustle of being a full-time musician was starting to burn her out. She continues to perform regularly around town, feeling a greater sense of responsibility to stay connected to her fans and community since the last presidential election." - Andy Hermann LA WEEKLY
The all-killer, no-filler Kim House and her band have settled in and are taking her eccentric reputation to the next level. Bending over backwards, slinking through the crowd and switching from sweet to grunge at the drop of a bassline, the only thing that will get your eyes off her [wild outfits] is her potent and directed gaze, right into your soul. Good ol’ girl grunge that makes you want to take over the world, regardless of gender identification. (-Buzzbands LA)
From the first lilting note, Lael draws you into melodies strung with loss, regret, light and wit. Her songs embody a fascination with our world of opposites; darkness & light, love & ambivalence, beauty & grotesqueness, motion & stillness.
The title of her debut studio album makes a bold declaration - I'll Be Your Man. I'll Be Your Man is a journey - Lael's journey, and though oftentimes melancholic, it is anything but a pit of hopeless desperation. Her live performances show the audience that this angelic apparition on stage has the inner strength to experience life at it's essence, and the courage to share that experience with the world. Lael Neale has the voice of a woman, but the power of her words will convince you that she may just be your man.
"A hazy mix of psychedelia, lo-fi production, and folk with just the right amount of edge… there's a vulnerability to Neale's voice that sucks us in to the dark side without us even knowing it." - Culture Collide
"[Lael's] emotionally-charged performance creates a hushed reverence" - Phil Lang, BAMM.tv
"Neale writes deep and soul-baring folk music that has earned her appropriate comparisons to Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten with a hazy vocal quality that brings to mind Hope Sandoval." - Utne Magazine
"[Lael's] melodies are indelible, and her vocals are really interesting - they are light but on top of the melody: there are no jazz inflections, but there is something jazz about them [her voice] digs it's fingers in and punishes as it seduces" - Iman Lababedi, Rock NYC
"This record is a knockout and a wonderful listening experience; it's easy to get lost in its mystery and beauty." - Performer Magazine
"A woozy slice of psychedelia..." - Buzzbands.LA
Something About Knowing’s spirit of “coming home with confidence” extends from Maria’s personal and artistic peacefulness to the team she picked to surround herself with while making this album. She enlisted producer Mike Mogis, an essential creative foil on her first two records. Her brother Macey Taylor played bass on every song as well as keyboards and piano. And her old high school music pal Brad Armstrong co-wrote, played on, and recorded two tracks in his garage. “There we were back in his garage, only now we both had kids running around, it was really special,” Maria says. Longtime friend and collaborator Andy LeMaster mixed these two songs. Additionally, Maria recorded the track “This Is It” with Lester Nuby, and Daniel Farris—two trusted companions she worked with on her last two records—at home in Birmingham, Alabama.
Maria Taylor has released four solo albums and an EP, and has been lauded for her collaborations with artists such as Bright Eyes, Michael Stipe (R.E.M.), Moby, David Barbe (Sugar, Drive-By Truckers, Son Volt), and Crooked Fingers.
Gordon and Post’s reunion eventually led to the pair reforming Veruca Salt with their original bandmates: Gordon’s brother, drummer Jim Shapiro, and bassist Steve Lack. This year, the quartet have been in the studio with Brad Wood (who produced their gold-selling debut album, American Thighs) recording new music. Two of those songs, “The Museum of Broken Relationships” and “It’s Holy,” will be released both digitally and on ten-inch vinyl, backed by a re-release of their debut single, “Seether,” for Record Store Day in April.
But before we get to more about that, let’s cut to the early ’90s. The seeds of Veruca Salt were first planted in Chicago in 1991, when Post and Gordon were introduced by a mutual friend (actress Lili Taylor) who thought the two should make music together. With Shapiro and Lack on board, the group hit the city’s thriving club scene at a time when local acts Smashing Pumpkins, Urge Overkill, and Liz Phair had begun to receive national attention. In 1993, Veruca Salt played its first gig in the neighborhood of Wicker Park, Chicago’s indie-rock epicenter, and soon released the “Seether” single on local label Minty Fresh.
Then everything went crazy. After a major-label bidding war erupted and the band signed to Geffen Records (home of Nirvana), Veruca Salt experienced a meteoric rise, doing everything a young band coming of age in the grunge era could hope to do. They toured with alt-rock royalty Hole and PJ Harvey. They released an album, American Thighs, which eventually sold a million copies worldwide. They scored features in Spin (which called American Thighs “a flawless teenage memory glass”) and Rolling Stone (who dubbed their music “heady pop confections laced with a dash of menace”). They recorded an EP, Blow It Out Your Ass It’s Veruca Salt, with noise-king engineer Steve Albini. They also played a hometown arena show in front of 10,000 people with Weezer, Hole, and Dinosaur Jr., kibitzed with Matt Pinfield on MTV’s 120 Minutes, performed at the UK’s prestigious Glastonbury Festival, and appeared on Saturday Night Live.
But trouble had begun to set in before Veruca Salt went into the studio in Hawaii to record their second full-length album, Eight Arms To Hold You, with Metallica/Mötley Crüe producer Bob Rock. “I just think we were so overwhelmed,” Post says. “We couldn’t appreciate everything that was happening to us. We weren’t grounded. We had been writing and singing together for some time before we even played a show, but we didn’t know what was happening to us. We didn’t have anyone saying, ‘All right, this is going to really mess with you guys.’” “Well, Vicki Peterson from the Bangles warned us,” Gordon says. “She said, ‘People are going to try to pit you against each other; they’re going to try to come between you. Management can be really divisive. Producers can be divisive.’ All that stuff. And we were like, ‘No, no, no, we’re best friends. That’s never going to happen to us.’”
In February 1997 Veruca Salt released Eight Arms and hit the road for an arena tour opening for Bush. Shapiro had left the group after the album was completed to pursue his own music. “Jim was the moral glue in the band,” Gordon says. “His leaving was big. We went on tour and all of a sudden we were exposed to drugs that we hadn’t seen since high school.”
Veruca Salt broke up in early 1998 when Gordon suddenly left the band. Though she and Post aren’t eager to give exact details about what led to the breakup, they will say that ultimately a lack of coping skills led to their implosion. “We understand that people want to know the gory details,” Gordon says. “Just watch the Fleetwood Mac Behind the Music. It was drugs and cheating and all that junk, and the two of us not talking about what was really going on. If it were Mick and Keith or something, Louise and I would have just had an old-fashioned fistfight and gotten back to work.”
The split took a heavy emotional toll on both Gordon and Post, who describe their sisterly bond as akin to that between soulmates. Each tried to sort out their feelings through music, Gordon on her first solo album, Tonight and the Rest of My Life, and Post on a subsequent Veruca Salt album, Resolver. Years went by without the two speaking. Then, in 2003, they began to very slowly mend fences, emailing sporadically. By 2008, both had married and started families and they began to lean on one another as new mothers. “We never talked about music, ever, in those years,” Gordon says. “It was all about our families. Nothing else. And we never met face to face.”
Then in 2012, Gordon read that Mazzy Star had reunited and were performing together for the first time in 15 years at Coachella. “Something about that scratched my soul,” she says. “It gave me this pang of wanting to sing with Louise again, like really wanting to. I emailed her and said, ‘Hey, Mazzy Star are playing Coachella, shouldn’t we?’ And she said, ‘Maybe we should start with coffee.’”
The two met for dinner instead and wound up talking through years of unresolved pain and resentments, emerging from their teary, hours-long meal with hope. “Friendship was the most important thing there, but I couldn’t help but jump right ahead to playing music,” Post says. “I thought, ‘Now that we’re talking again, when do we start playing?’ I almost couldn’t differentiate between the two. It seemed like now we’d pick up our guitars and play, because that’s what we do.”
Post had been in touch with Lack over the previous years and broached the subject of a Veruca Salt reunion with him. “I said, ‘Would you consider possibly playing with the band again?’ He said, ‘I’ve been waiting for this moment for years. I didn’t think this would be my answer, but yes, I would.’” Shapiro, too, was on board, and in August, the four original members sat down together for the first time. “We went around the circle,” Post says. “Whoever had the floor was to make an apology for something, big or small. That was the running joke, but it was actually very profound.” Adds Gordon: “‘Steve said, ‘I’m sorry I threw a shot glass at your head in New Orleans, Nina.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m sorry I made you feel underappreciated in the band, Steve.’” Shapiro apologized for leaving the band. “Turns out it had bothered him for years,” Post says. “He had regrets, too.”
The quartet first played together in June 2013. “It was really exciting,” Gordon says. “There were moments where I could picture myself on stage for the first time in 15 years. Then there were moments where it was like, ‘Oh god, this sounds like shit. How could we possibly?’” It also became clear that the band didn’t want to just do an American Thighs reunion. “Nina and I started asking each other, ‘You got anything new?’” Post recalls. “We quickly began working on new songs we had been tinkering with on our own that we thought would be fun to play with Steve and Jim.”
Meanwhile, Veruca Salt had been contacted by Minty Fresh about a 20th-anniversary edition of American Thighs, which was first released in September 1994. “It was very timely,” Post says. “And we thought, ‘What if we were to release something new, too?’ I sent Brad a message saying, ‘Hey, we’re recording some songs for Minty Fresh for Record Store Day. How crazy is that?’” Post says. “’Original members and everything. Would it be any crazier to think that we might record it with you? Is that totally insane?’ And he wrote back saying, ‘AMAZING. I’m in.’ It was exactly the thing we needed to hear and we said, ‘Okay. We’re doing this.’”
The new songs pick up where Veruca Salt left off 14 years ago, with their sing-along hooks, melodic pop smarts, thundering sonic aggression, reference-packed wordplay, and angelic harmonies still intact. “Anyone who has ever sung in a group, whether it’s a rock band, a choir, or whatever, has felt that buzz when your voice is locked in with someone else’s,” Gordon says. “It’s the greatest feeling in the whole world. Louise and I have always had that. Starting in 1991, we would sit in my living room, and we would sing together, and it was just dreamy.”
Veruca Salt have been in the studio with Wood recording songs that they plan to release as an album later this year. “We didn’t know we were making an album with him, but it’s turned into that,” Post says. “It’s been a really cool journey of just writing together and discovering that we want to do this again.” They also plan to perform a series of live dates this summer, including a week on the west coast, a week in the Midwest, and a week on the east coast. “I cannot wait,” Gordon says. “There’s going to be love and tears. Our tears, the fans’ tears. It’s going to be incredible.”
“It’s miraculous to have this brand-new, beautiful chapter,” Post says. “We never saw it coming, and yet, here we are. To be able to reconnect and play with these dear friends of mine who are like my family . . . it’s such a gift. As meaningful as it is for our fans, it is that much more meaningful for us. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. Everything is where it’s supposed to be.”
– written by Tracey Pepper, photo by Piper Ferguson
Bridgers has played her own brand of alternative folk all over Los Angeles, including the Troubadour, the El Rey, the Roxy, Genghis Cohen, Hotel Café, The Coffee Gallery Backstage, the Claremont Folk Festival and the Grand Ole Echo. According to LA-Underground, "Phoebe Bridgers' "Waiting Room" was the heartbreaker tune of the year. It's brilliant. She's something special." Music blog American Pancake says, "Phoebe's tender performance mildly freaks you out and breaks your heart at the same time…utterly beautiful."
Since graduating from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts in 2013, Phoebe has performed and recorded both in Los Angeles and Nashville. She has collaborated with friends and mentors including Terra Naomi, Rob Waller, Noah Gunderson and Chad Gilbert. Her latest project is a 7" limited release of three songs, produced by Ryan Adams, released on April 28 and available on PaxAm.
The two met in Boston while attending the Berklee College of Music, but their musical journeys never crossed until they found themselves in Silverlake. They soon began to find catharsis through their songs and their wails. Diaz grew up in Amish Country, home-schooled and without cable. Greene was born in Miami, shaped by the city's slick, loud energy. Diaz's cocksure guitar slaying and Greene's rocker swagger make for a dangerous elixir of musical chemistry.
Diaz and Greene cut an elegant little starburst of a demo tape and called it Riothorse Royale, later naming the EP "The Guest House." It's stripped down, skeletal, and intimate. It's incomplete and imperfect. But it's in those gaps we see its reach exceed its grasp. The EP melds together the sacred and profane; the grotesque and the gorgeous. It's frightened, desperate, and brave. Riothorse Royale didn't write songs, they wrote ghost stories. The sound is hypnotic, neurotic, narcotic. It's plush and sexy as hell.
Buzzbands LA describes the vibe as embodying "that certain Crosby Stills & Nash warmth" with a "metronomic pace [that] is almost trance-inducing."
Liz Phair is also a fan, recently tweeting, "My very favorite thing right now, esp.
Live: RIOTHORSE. Joy Division meets The Raincoats."
After years growing up playing in bands around Los Angeles, Dre recently began writing and recording for herself - on her own, in secret, developing a body of work about hidden desire itself. Establishing a sound defined by her featherlight voice floating above sweeping strings, her 2016 debut Under the Influence led to opening for artists like Mitski, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
Whereas the first record took us on a trip through the deeply personal, Dre’s sophomore album Nobody’s Watching zooms way out. What began as a concept record about two archetypal crooks developed into an exploration of universal themes like greed, fear and self-interest; the ugly and troubling edges of human nature. It’s a good time for that.
“I’ve been just as affected by our current politics as anyone, but it only takes one step back to realize these same figures have been present since the beginning of civilization. This record is sort of an anthropological way of unpacking all this discomfort for me.”
The narrative is most identifiable on album standout “Who’s Gonna Stop Us”, which creeps and charms like the characters it describes, as they set about turning trust into money. “Let’s teach them how to build a pyramid / Tell them if they keep it up, they can reach the top.“ However, judgement is reserved even for them, as hinted in the song’s bridge: “I used to try to be decent and kind / But time after time I would get eaten alive.”
Dre worked with producer Gus Seyffert (Roger Waters, Beck) to create a sound that echoes the narrative told on Nobody’s Watching. From the sunny and observant to the dark and critical, the tone ranges from levity to paranoia through layers of analog synths and chilling strings played by Dre herself. There are moments of cinematic intensity reminiscent of a James Bond score, yet the subtle tape hiss and creaking chairs remind us that this is an album made by people. It is warm and it breathes, in the way the human touch can both soothe and suffocate.
Nobody’s Watching is the natural next step for Dre and Steady Holiday, a project that builds worlds we wish to escape to or from. It’s an examination of the inner narratives we all share but keep in the shadows, where the characters may not always be likable, but they do what they can to survive - like we all do.
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