Deerhunter Concert at Lodge Room Highland Park

Atlanta’s Deerhunter stopped by Lodge Room Highland Park Thursday night to celebrate their eighth LP Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared? to be release the following day. The sold out crowd was calm, yet enthusiastic; the maturity fitting of a band that’s been around for 18 years. The merch table was remarkably empty. A hand-written note informed shoppers autographed vinyl was available for $30 (although, I think the guy in the front row with an entire tote bag of unopened records he brought to be signed had a little more in mind).

Keyboardist Javier Morales held an old school radio to the mic scanning through miscellaneous stations adding atmosphere to the shadowy stage before the others entered and they launched into “Lake Somerset” off 2007’s Cryptograms. In the time since Cryptograms, the genre-bending indie rockers have settled into a palatable pop sound, which serves as a stark contrast to the subject matter of the newest album. The next song in the set was Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?’s opening track and first single “Death in Midsummer”. It rallies a cry for blue collar workers laboring until they die. This tone of criticism for the state of the union continues through the LP. The press release for the album says, “Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared? forgets the questions and makes up unrelated answers…It comes home, restructures itself and goes back to bed to avoid the bad news.” And wouldn’t we like to do the same these days.

Earlier in the month, Deerhunter dropped “Plains,” the third single off the forthcoming album. The fleeting song is inspired by the similarly fleeting James Dean who spent the last summer of his life filming "Giant" in Marfa, Texas in 1955. As someone that’s spent time in Marfa, I can attest that the lyrics regarding the incessant trains passing through the city are accurate. Undoubtedly, Deerhunter founder Bradford Cox has experienced similar not only during his residency at 2018’s Marfa Myths festival, but also during the recording of the new album which also took place in the charming desert town. “Plains” was nestled into the middle of the set alongside classics like “Helicopter” and “Desire Lines”.

On the whole, Deerhunter’s set was roughly 50% new material with strategically placed crowd favorites off older albums. “Agoraphobia” and “He Would Have Laughed” ended the evening on a familiar high note for everyone in the crowd.

Shot for Grimy Goods. Click the photos to scroll through them big.

Middle Kids Concert at Echoplex

Australian indie rock trio Middle Kids wrapped up their US tour Friday night at Echoplex in Los Angeles. Touring their debut full length record released in May, Lost Friends, it seemed as if the Aussies had gained an entire venue’s worth of new friends.

With chops ranging from singer and classically trained pianist Hannah Joy to multi-instrumentalist and producer Tim Fitz to drummer Harry Day having studied jazz at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, their expertly and intentionally produced lo-fi sound has garnered them world-wide attention. They’ve even made a fan out of Sir Elton John who premiered their hit single “Edge of Town” on his Beats 1 radio station. For a group that has been around for a few short years, Middle Kids rise to popularity has been swift. In 2017, the year they released their debut EP, they toured in support of Ryan Adams, Bloc Party, Cold War Kids, and Coldplay.

Anthemic songs “Bought It” and “Mistake” riled the crowd, while the slower “Maryland” turned dancing bodies into swaying ones. By the time Joy arrived at her keyboard, the rest of the band having left the stage, everyone was enraptured. When she finished “Doing It Right,” (and when the guys finished their beer and Goldfish break - something Joy is jealous she doesn’t get to partake in) they played “Tell Me Something”. Arriving at the climatic single, “Edge of Town” turned the entire room into a massive sing along.

Shot for Grimy Goods. Click the photos to scroll through them big.

shallou Concert at the El Rey

On the first of two evenings in Los Angeles, shallou performed to a sold out crowd at the El Rey Thursday night. The second to last show of his Souls world tour was set to begin at 10:10. Perhaps due to the rain, the venue was noticeably empty until right before shallou took the stage at 10:30.

shallou took to social media Monday morning announcing a new single, “count on” feat. colin, would be released Thursday. Worked into the set early in the evening, the positive reception from the crowd made it obvious people were eagerly awaiting its debut. Not long after, shallou welcomed Cody Lovaas to the stage to perform “Find”, a track off Souls that is also a collaboration with Kasbo, who happened to be playing his own show in LA simultaneously.

One of a slew of successful bedroom electronic artists, shallou creator Joe Boston stands out among the masses by distilling ambience and emotion into downtempo house. With lyrics (and merch) touching on relationships and mental health, 100% of the proceeds of his debut EP All Becomes Okay going to the Environmental Defense Fund, and 100% of last night’s merch profits going to wildfire relief, Boston ranks among the most compassionate of producers, as well. He took a moment between songs to remind the crowd that despite all the awful things happening around the world that we can impart positive change if we come together.

This somber tone and heavy subject matter didn’t impact the vibe of the night. The crowd was alive and moving from the get-go. Upbeat, danceable versions of songs old and new kept things fresh yet familiar. Surprise remixes (such as “Shelter” by Porter Robinson and Madeon) and mashups (like the combination of “Midnight City” by M83 and “Late Night” by Odesza with his single “You and Me”) kept everyone on their toes.

Shot for Grimy Goods. Click the photos to scroll through them big. To see more shots of Shallou click here.

Pond Concert at The Regent

Psychedelic rockers from Perth, Western Australia, Pond, played a raucous show at The Regent DTLA Tuesday night. The crowd undulated for the entirety of the set; frontman Nick Allbrooks’ distinctive dance moves and banter from the band riled them up continuously. By the end of the show it had been decided, this was the most fun Pond had ever had wrapping up a tour.

Playing an eclectic mix of new and old songs alike - the oldest of the old being “Don't Look At The Sun Or You'll Go Blind”, according to Pond - fans of every stage of the band’s career left satisfied. The theatrics were laid on thick, but never felt disingenuous. Allbrook whirled his flute like a baton twirler, then did the same with a microphone stand. At one point he used a toy megaphone to distort his vocals. And don’t even ask me how many times he crowd surfed or took a jaunt through the crowd. I stopped counting when I realized it would happen in more songs than it wouldn’t. These moves that could easily come across as contrived appeared to be more akin to involuntary compulsions produced from the music itself.

It’s impossible to discuss Pond without mentioning another Australian psychedelic rock act: Tame Impala. The member base of Pond may never be better articulated than it is in this Noisey article, so I’ll quote Tshepo Mokoena; “both bands are linked by a sort of incestuous revolving door of band members.” Vivid. Allow me to elucidate. Allbrook used to play in Tame Impala, and Pond’s drummer, Jay Watson, still does (while also juggling a third psych rock project, GUM). Whats more, current Tame Impala members Kevin Parker, Cam Avery, and Julien Barbagallo are all former members of Pond. Parker still lends himself to Pond, producing their albums. This dizzying kaleidoscope of who is who in what was entirely intentional. The original aim of Pond was a completely collaborative music project with anyone playing anything at any given time. However, much to the disappoint of the multiple concert-goers that asked me if Kevin Parker was in attendance, no such appearance occurred. Don’t worry, they didn’t need him there anyway.

Shot for Grimy Goods. Click the photos to scroll through them big. I had the immense pleasure of shooting Pond at Desert Daze; click here to see those.

Khruangbin Concert at The Wiltern

I haven’t shot any band more than I’ve shot Khruangbin. So, I wasn’t about to let their concert at The Wiltern Sunday night, their biggest headlining show I’ve ever been in the same city for, pass by without me. Spoiler alert, they fucking killed it.

Putting heavier disco beats on old songs, ramping up the Texas vibe with the addition of pedal steel guitarist Will Van Horn, and an outfit change before the encore, it was beyond apparent Khruangbin is having so much fun in this season of their career.

Huge thank you to Laura and the entire Khruangbin crew for having me out time and time again. Click the photos to scroll through them big; you might even catch a couple 35mm film shots in the mix. To see photos from other Khruangbin shows click here.

Petit Biscuit Concert at The Fonda

Well into the last leg of the Presence North America tour, Petit Biscuit played the first of two shows at The Fonda in Los Angeles Saturday night. The French Moroccan DJ and producer, Mehdi Benjelloun, had much to celebrate besides the sold out show. Not only was November 10 the one year anniversary of the release of Presence, it also happened to be his 19th birthday. The enthusiastic crowd took every opportunity to remind him, screaming and singing happy birthday at every lull in the music.

Born and raised on a musical diet of cello, piano, and classical music, Benjelloun was groomed for music composition from a very young age. The shift from classical music to light-hearted, downtempo house began at 11 when he got his first computer. At only 15, Benjelloun self-released the smash hit “Sunset Lover”. The self-titled debut EP that followed received critical acclaim deeming Petit Biscuit a wunderkind of French electro. This momentum continued with last year’s release of his LP, Presence, propelling him towards a coveted spot in Coachella’s 2018 lineup.

Petit Biscuit (translating adorably to “little cookie”) is known for incorporating live instrumentation and vocals to chill electronic. This generates a sonic landscape full of atmosphere. His onstage setup consisted of a guitar, launchpad, drum pads, and keyboards between which he rotated crafting each song. It was impossible to watch the set and not be reminded of another young French producer, Madeon. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Madeon was in attendance, taking in the show from a couch on the balcony.

Shot for Grimy Goods. Click the photos to scroll through ‘em big.

St. Vincent Concert at the Hollywood Palladium

St. Vincent stopped by the Hollywood Palladium Monday night as part of the I Am A Lot Like You! Tour. And by stop by I mean played a wild ass show in front of thousands of people and seven cinema cameras because they’re making a St. Vincent movie (!!!).

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Black Moth Super Rainbow Concert at Lodge Room Highland Park

Black Moth Super Rainbow made a second appearance at Lodge Room Highland Park Saturday night after selling out their Friday show. Supporting their May release, Panic Blooms, the Pennsylvanian act - singer Tobacco, synth players The Seven Fields of Aphelion and Pony Diver, bassist Steve SLV, and drummer Iffernaut - drew a crowd as eclectic as their names. There was even a young child sleeping along the wall.

BMSR sounds like listening to psychedelic electronic music under water. Their unique lo-fi sound conjures images of refracted sunshine dancing on skin below the surface of a swimming pool. This is largely due to frontman Tobacco (also known for his solo work) exclusively singing through a vocoder. But beneath this veil of summertime simplicity lies something darker. As with much of the best pop music, BMSR juxtaposes radiant and joyful melodies with dismal lyrics. The first true LP since 2012’s Cobra Juicy, Panic Blooms, continues this trend in their work. In fact, a press release announcing the album described it as an “f-ed up and bleeding account of depression and the shadow side of human frailty.”

And live in the shadows they did. Sandwiched between two layers of projection screens and shrouded in near total darkness, the musicians sole purpose was scoring the visuals. The drummer wore a ski mask; nobody ever addressed the crowd. It was purely music and the weird, projected world we lived within for the duration of the set. From video of an endoscopy and rotting teeth to more calming shots of the woods (until what appeared to be an anthropomorphic owl crossed towards the camera), attendees were forced to take in the visuals by Kevin Jackson. I doubt anyone minded.

Shot for Grimy Goods. Click the photos to scroll through them big.