Posts Tagged ‘Fiona Apple

08
May
12

I stumbled In On Slow Motion Addict to find Myself in the Middle of Tigermending

I stumbled upon Carina Round through an invitation from my friend Karen Sundell. She was partnering with Heidi Margot Richman for Carina’s EPK and showcase at Bordello’s for the release of Slowmotion Addict. I had come from Helms Bakery in Culver City in a sustained rush to capture this moment with this raven haired beauty with a bob hair cut, knit cap and Flapper-ish inspired gear holding the stage down with presence, grace and rare talent. I walked in ready to capture the moment with my new smart phone with snippets of low quality video and photos. Carina was crooning Downslow, a mix of Betty Boop, Mazzy Star and PJ Harvey. I was a smitten kitten! Soon, I was huddled near Karen and Heidi while we all riffed on her sound. Bordello’s provided an intimate environment for this showcase/press junket/debut of Carina’s latest work, Slow Motion Addict. Lina Lecaro from the LA Weekly was in attendance with whoever represented The LA Times and People Magazine. There were yummy treats and delicious beverages provided making the event special and chic. After a polished lively set from Carina and crew, they joined us. Her, they and we were chumming about and we were all offered introductions to one another that was then followed by a video interview of Carina by Karen and Heidi for her EPK. She was a complete doll: all bright eyed and lively; so very excited for her new release. I have to say I became a fan!

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Over the last 5 years Carina has taken up roots here in Los Angeles to establish herself as a force in the Singer Songwriter genre. She regularly sells out Hotel Cafe. She hooked up with Maynard Keenan of Tool to become a foundational part of Puscifer‘s sound. At the same time she found time to release an EP called Things You Should Know. To add to it all this she formed an Alternative Country band with Justin Rutledge, Dan Burns and Zac Rae called Early Winter. So it appears with that much talent she finds herself with many fingers into lots of different pies!

Carina has effectively grown, morphed and recreated herself to emerged with a new sense of maturity and confidence that has delivered to us her new offering, Tigermending. The album is a powerful force that embraces dark and bracing themes with lush dense soundscapes that both challenge and delights the listener. It’s an impressive work that bares repeated listenings to completely grasp the direction and concept driving it. It isn’t as bleak as The Cure‘s Pornography but it is as dense and upon many listenings Tigermending has the effect like The Beat‘s Wha’ppen? had on me when I first encountered it. Both Pornography and Wha’ ppen? were watershed and defining recording that built both bands reprutations.  Both served up powerful driving messages that infect your soul. This is the kind of company Carina Round’s Tigermending finds itself in from many listenings.

With the release of Tigermending Carina wasted no time in bringing her live performance of the new album to those of us here on the west coast before she heads out on the road with Puscifer later this year. I caught her second public show at The Satellite in Silverlake. She had a show the night before in my old stomping grounds in San Diego at The Casbah. This night she was accompanied by Sam Stewart, son of Dave Stewart & Siobhan Fahey, and Claire Acey, both of Nightmare and the Cat, singer/songwriter Sierra Swan is the daughter the singer/songwriter Billy Swan, Matt McJunkins of A Perfect Circle and Zack Rae Keyboardist for Gnarls Barkley and Alanis Morisette. It was quite a stunning group of talent in one intimate club! This all explained the line I found outside The Satellite at 9PM. Not customarily the time for lines start outside this club in Silverlake.

The night kicked off with High Duchess a two piece in the mold of The White Stripes laid out a solid opening set. Then they were followed by the keyboard rich Anna Wayland, who is reminiscent of a more emotionally charged variation of Berlin who beefed up the crowd with their own fan base. Aaron Lariviere of Walking Sleep jump started my brain with the Berlin reference.  Then the room changed dramatically as both Matt McJunkins and Billy Howerdel of A Perfect Circle who acoustically preformed two songs as Child or The Child, before Carina and her band occupied the stage. The crowd was mesmerized in a static formation for this short set. The set was so short that I couldn’t weasel my way in for a good shot. After all I was there for a riveting performance of Tigermending.

It wasn’t long before Carina took the stage with the above mentioned indeviduals taking their spots to light into the new album. She started with, what I consider the bracing, Pick Up The Phone. I believe these feelings I have are generated by the many times I expected to get one of those unexpected “Pick Up The Phone” messages through out my life. Soon, her song The Last Time found it place on stage with the entry of Sierra Swan, who joined Claire Acey on backing vocals for this song only. Both songs are mid-tempo numbers with dryly treated lead vocals. But The Last Time connects on some level using influences from Maynard Keenan in its drive and rhythm. Likely, a gift picked up by working with Maynard. The interlude drops from the original theme musically, near the end of the song, where you find youself swirling in Sierra Swan and Claire Acey’s backing vocals. The sound of these women conjures up the ghostly feelings you get when listening to The Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Choir. That 30 seconds adds immense magic to the song before you’re hurdle back to earth, to be picked up by the mid-tempo drive the drums and bass provides bringing you back to the song’s course, then landing you effortlessly at the end. Carina pick you up once again Girl and the Ghost. I with found that Girl and the Ghost was vastly more optimistic and youthfully engaging structually, closer to fanciful, whimsical and boldly day dreamy, with a hint of pathos as it draws you in firing up the imagination. Mind you, the fans were focused and intrenched by this time. They had their spots and I was trying to find mine. Set Fire created a distant woeful feel combined with say, a quasi prophetic/psychedelic Siouxie and the Banshees aire to the song ala Kaleidescope. By this time I was able to push to the deepest part of the crowd where I wound up close to stage center. Weird Dream is oddly funky and arty in that David Bowie way, of say, Yassassin or Red Sails. The crowd was tightening as Carina and the band were finishing the set with The Secret Of Drowning. The Secret Of Drowning reminds me of being engulfed murky blue shades that are forced open with Carina’s vocal driving through opacity like  shards and shafts of light pouring around the listeners ears, who were  at this moment all were transfixed in those moments adding us a soft landing to the set. Soon the show came to its end. Carina’s fans at this sold out show responded with cheers and whistles as all from the stage filed quietly to the back room of The Satellite. And while the show was over there was plenty of time for everyone there to drop by, say hi and get a hug from Carina. I sauntered to the  table in the back for the meet and greet. I wanted to say hi and wish Carina my best. We shared a few laughs but I was a wee bit on the tired side, so I didn’t linger. It was a riveting show with some of the most talented musician in Los Angeles. Carina was completely on her game for this show! I can say from all the shows I’ve witnessed I can tell she has a new command and presence I haven’t seen before. She leaves you overwhelmed and transfixed. Carina is no longer playing the Pop music game, but she’s decided to gift her fans with an experience. It’s a fortunate incident for any and all who have a chance to witness it. Carina will be touring throughout the summer. You’ll all have your chance to witness the phenomenon for yourselves.

25
Mar
12

SXSW: Bounced in Austin On A Thursday With A Splash Landing Into Miles Davis House

As I sped down the road towards Austin away from Sherman in my rented red Ford Focus. The mile peeled away under the cloudy sky, clouds like white pillows or cotton balls rallied around me, billowing out in all directions under the wide open spaces of Texas: through the greenery of rolling hills of North East Texas, the towers and tangled express ways of Dallas that then gave way to Highway 35 and the arid flat lands of South East Texas that eventually opened to Austin. To say the least it’s a long drive to the largest Interactive/Film/Music convention in the world. The traffic thickened after Waco making it more a challenge to reach my destination in a timely manner. This was my third year at SXSW. Foursquare called me a sophomore, not knowing of my first outing 3 years earlier when I stayed with my gracious host Mary Kate. This year’s event loomed large and rather intimidating for me with over 120 RSVPs locked in and 5 artist I wanted to catch while I was “down in it” in Austin for the weekend.

I was fortunate enough to network through Christine, a social buterfly from Dallas, I had the pleasure to meet while having sushi in Silverlake with Doug and Johnny. We had made contact originally through Facebook. It so happened she popped in on us while she was visiting LA when we dined on tasty Sushi and enjoying multiple sake shots together. She’s a marvelous ball of fire and quite the conversationalist. I was working a number of Austin options that appeared to be on the fade when Christine came through and introduced me to Mike. Mike had opened his home to me for the few days I’d be staying in Austin. I would come to know as time passed and as this story unfold that Mike and I share some similar connections that go back to Dallas a city I lived in for 2 years. I arrived in Austin with all the deets to crash at Mike’s place and set up camp.

I set out from his place to find The Victory Bar & Grill where Karen organized and set up Miles Davis House. I finally deciphered the layout of The Victory Bar & Grill. Among the distractions set before me I decided to head down a long hallway that led into a large back room. It was dark and I immediately saw the stage to the left and booths to the right. I nested in the booths. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before I saw some familiar faces. Earl E. Gibson III (an exceptional photographer) and Erin Davis (Miles son), both came up to say hi and made me feel at home. Soon Karen was in the mix. We visited for a while and Vince Wilburn Jr. came up to give me a big old hug. Vince always puts a smile on your face. It was good to see him. Karen pointed out that Left Over Cuties were playing at the moment. I was amazed how much they had improved from the summer at El Cid and Sunset Junction party. I had arrived late and I had missed the only viable time to catch The Magnetic Fields, a band I yearned to see and the prospects for Fiona Apple were looking grim. While these unsatisfied expectations were on the back burners at the moment I couldn’t resist exploring The Victory Bar & Grill before I headed out. I landed outside where I met 2 young and talented musicians Alexandra Lee of Alexandra and the Starlight Band and Zachary James of Zachary James and the All Seeing Eyes. We all had a great little chit-chat. I got them to pose for a few shots and then Stuart Johnson, the drummer for Left Over Cuties, jumped in to add energy and kookiness. From there on the group shots explored their interpretations of Metal poses with all the gravitas of Rock gods. After all this passion I took the time to shoot a few shots of Vince and Erin outside The Victory Bar & Grill before I jaunted over to see Fiona.

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I left the Victory Bar & Grill to arrive near  the Austin Texas Central Presbyterian Church where a host of showcases were taking place besides Fiona Apple’s. One of the brutal truths of SXSW is if you arrive too late for a show, YOU ARE TOO LATE! No badge, no connections, no begging will lift you through the threshold to magically transport you to the center of the action. I came upon the badge line first. An exceptionally long line to arrive at 10 minutes after 8pm. Fiona was on at 8pm. I knew all was lost. But to make sure I cruised over to the wrist band line to see my hopes utterly dashed upon the steps of that Presbyterian of the church. This was a tough blow, although, I think of Fiona Apple as a nice second to say The Shins or The Magnetic Fields. Having 3 and 1/2 hours sleep under my belt I decided not to squander my flagging energy waiting in a line: a line that I’ll never see the virtue of being inside the sanctuary to see the barefoot chanteuse. I decided to hit South Congress to do something more than snack as I had The Boiling pot earlier on my arrival. I love downtown Austin but I’ve longed over the last few years to get a grip on what South Congress is all about. So I headed to yet another axis of the SXSW experience on South Congress. I wanted tacos! I found a spot near Home Slice Pizza and Güero Taco Bar. Güero’s is always crowded and that’s year after year at this time. As I walked to the corner to cross the street bands were blazing out the Rockin noise at Home Slice with a Boho crowd clustered around the popular pizza joint listening to music and eating copious amounts of pizza. Once across the street and inside Güero’s I found the place full but the bar area was available. After some thought I figured it was in my best interest, time wise. to plug into the bar. I sat next to 2 gentlemen in the middle of their meals and waited to be served. One of them decided to ask me if I were press. I was surprised by the question because I always try to keep that stuff on the down low. Then it dawned on me that I was wearing my Fader Fort Presented by Converse Press wrist. So I admitted I was press. We spoke in between my ordering and eating about his love of Punk Rock. He told me he followed the Ramones like a deadhead would follow The Grateful Dead. His friend to the left of him endorsed the comment and I laughed at the idea. Our conversation continued in-between my bites. The tacos were nice Tex-Mex fare, the red beans were, well, red beans and the Mexican rice was the worst I had ever eaten. So I passed on the rice. The guys bid their adu and the weight of possibly missing Semi-Precious Weapons were taking their toll in my mind on my drive to catch some new exciting bands.

I sped over to The Victory Bar & Grill just in time to catch Semi-Precious Weapons in search and destroy mode. I don’t think I’ve seen more action on stage since Wendy O’Williams of The Plasmatics or Michael Monroe of Hanoi Rocks. Thankfully, Justin Tranter can’t lactate like Wendy did: although, he played with his nipple while on stage. But the show was amazingly messy. Everyone in the group was jumping , crawling, crashing, playing , singing, spewing liquids as if they were a bunch of crazy monkeys on speed. I said on my Facebook fan page  as a comment they put on a show, show, show! The fans, yes the fans, were  as out of control as the band blew up and played off the crowd. You could honestly say their fans were as much of the show as the band. The fans were giving out the energy and the Semi-Precious Weapons were giving it right back at ‘em! This eclipsed into over 20 minutes of magical mayhem of performance by the group. Later I headed outside. Semi-Precious Weapons geared up for  more photo opportunities with Erin and Vince by Earl. Karen and I had time to catch up as the Semi-Precious Weapons were in interviewed by Beta Records TV. Karen with Erin and Vince’s help put together this ambitious all day event for Mile Davis Estates with a host of new talented acts. All the while interweaving the legacy of artistry and innovation Miles Davis represents and carries on by his son Erin and his nephew Vince with these new breeds of entertainers. Miles Davis House shook The Victory Bar & Grill for a history making SXSW inaugural that sets a great foundation for next year’s blow-up event in Austin. We sat there for a while and talked about the day at hand, when Greg my roomie from last year, pulled up on his bike and joined in the fun. It was nice to see my homeboy after such a long time. Then Karen then had to run. Greg and I had a bromance drinking beers and yakking about all that had happened in the last year. Greg still had party left in him but it was after midnight and the fade was hitting me pretty strongly. I had only three and half hours of sleep and a 6 hour drive under my belt I felt it was time to melt into my digs. In Austin you got grab your sleep while you can when you’re playing in the SXSW Hipster Olympics.

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