Shame Live at The Teragram Ballroom

Words and photos by Isabelle Jonsson

Hailing from London, Shame’s post-punk spirit and frenetic performance left me and my concert buddy in a daze, as it was nothing like our expectations from having heard just one of their songs. Their authentic London flair, pure enthusiasm and the charming demeanor of lead singer Charlie Steen as he talks with the crowd can persuade any audience into really embracing their music.

Shame will always be adored in the local music scene and welcomed in Los Angeles. Their shows are a wild ride and you won’t want to miss them the next time they’re in the U.S.!

 

 

Listen to Shame here!

Dog Days Tour at The El Rey

Photographs by Kayla Fernandez

Inner Wave, Bane’s World, and Michael Seyer kicked off their 6 week tour right in their hometown. A trio you should not miss!

Neon Indian Live at The Teragram Ballroom 

Photos and words by Kayla Fernandez

Hailing from Denton, Texas, Neon Indian (Alan Palomo) made his way to starry-lit downtown LA to perform a sold out gig at the Teregram Ballroom. Palomo’s endless energetic dance moves kept the crowd alive. From performing older hits like “Mind Drips” to covering Prince’s “Pop Life”, Neon Indian kept the audience on their toes. Palomo never missed a beat and carried that charisma throughout the entire set, inspiring the crowd to try and mimic his hip swaying dance moves. Having seen Neon Indian before, I can say this is the best I’ve seen him yet; he illuminated the room with laughter, cheers, and the audience’s echoes of his songs. 

Interview: Awkward Prom Dates

After only being together for roughly three years, southern California natives, Awkward Prom Dates, just released their third record, Hellvetica. The foursome made up of James(vocals/guitar), Eli(vocals/guitar), Nico(bass/vocals), and Parker(drums) delved into new waters with their release by composing songs with fast pace tempos and sudden interjections of slow melodies. While keeping true to their dreamy, shoe-gaze roots—a genre that seems to have taken the music community by storm—APD audibly progress as a band, and give their listeners warmly vague tunes that are reminiscent of any slow-motion dream to be had. With songs like, Everglade, I am instantly reminded of one of my favorite Cure songs, Fascination Street, with the eerie strums of each guitar string and synth backing accompanied by a shadowy voice. Even with three contributing vocalists, there is a fluidity among them all and a haunting rawness. Overall, Hellvetica is nine songs of pure ecstasy and emits prismatic effects throughout, making it a more than ideal listen for anything to mindless wanderings to a lover’s dream soundtrack.

We had the chance to sit down with the guys of Awkward Prom Dates ahead of their release, and chatted about all things music while also getting the scoop on some upcoming gigs promoting, Hellvetica.

LD: Eli and James, you guys were the founding members of the band what initially made you want to start APD?

James: We didn’t want to be a band at first; we just wanted to write songs for ourselves. We didn’t have any intentions of showing anyone.

Eli: Then I showed my friend, Chris, Won’t Stop and Marjorie, and he really liked it, so we started showing our material to more people. We needed to build more confidence before we put ourselves out there.

LD: How did you all meet to form APD?

Eli: James and I met in another band; after a few months, we got a manager who started to take control of the band and stopped us from writing original music so we could be more like a cover band. I wasn’t about that so I left, and then James left. From there, we started making music together on the weekends and that’s how we got to where we are. We met Nico and Parker at a backyard show last summer and instantly knew we wanted to recruit them from their band to our band. Then, over the next few months their band faded away and we brought in Parker, and eventually, we could bring in Nico.

LD: ‘Awkward Prom Dates’ is a unique name, how did that come about?

Eli: It took us a long time to figure out a name, and eventually my sister started throwing out names and Awkward Prom Dates was the product of that.

LD: You released two albums in the past year and you are about to release your third album, which is unlike the timing that most bands put out their material. Are you afraid that putting out that much material will leave you without much to explore in the future?

Eli: Sometimes, but the way we’ve always ran our music, writing wise, is casual and was born out of our love to write it. We never get bored. I mean, we’re going to take a break after the release of Hellvetica, but that’s not going to stop us from continuing to write and make new material.

LD: Do you guys write based on your personal experiences or the perspective of others?

James: [laughing] I don’t. If I wrote about myself, it’d probably suck. I’ll notice some patterns in my writing, where I’ll listen to a song and realize in hindsight that it was about a certain situation but never intentionally.

Eli: For me, we started writing with a concept in mind. More recently, I’ve delved into exploring lyrics on a more personal note; I feel it adds more emotion to the piece.

Nico: It’s hard for me not write based on personal experiences and I often do it subconsciously. Initially I think I am writing lyrics about something random, but I’ll go back to it and see it was something I was going through at the time.

LD: Do lyrics or music come first in the recording progression?

Eli: The music usually. Music almost always comes first and then we decide what goes along with it. For this album, it’s conceptual, so every song is from a different perspective but there are still personal ties to each one.

LD: While making each song, is it a collaborative process?

James: It used to be more collaborative. The way it would work is, Eli would write the lyrics while I would do the music but with time we started swaying in to different things. On this upcoming album, I would say we each wrote about half the album and then maybe collaborated on one song. In the future, we are planning to collaborate more as a group [Eli, James, Nico, and Parker]. Overall, our focus is putting the best songs on the record no matter who originated it.

LD: Parker, being that your 6 months new to the band, do you actively add to the recording process?

I contribute more to the live performances as the drummer; I like playing really loud and being energetic, so sometimes the sound changes a bit but we kind of just roll with it. It tends to get more collaborative when we are practicing.

LD: Your sound is very reminiscent of artists like Wild Nothing, DIIV and could easily fall into the shoe-gaze category. Do those musicians/genre have an influence on you, or when you first formed the band was that the sound you made instinctually?

Eli: For James and I, in the beginning, we set out to write a dream-pop album and that’s what we did. The newer stuff, we were trying to set out to make a shoe-gaze record, but we pulled inspiration from our older projects so it’s sort of one big melting pot. It happened for a reason because it’s the music we love and what enjoy playing.

LD: What artists specifically  inspire your sound?

James: Well, as far as the first album of ours, we borrowed sounds from Joy Division, keeping to the bare essentials—guitar, bass, drums, and raw vocals.

Nico: I remember when James and Eli first started out, James said to me a couple of times he wanted them to be as big as Radiohead but by way of their own sound; I thought it was very admirable.

LD: What can we expect from the new album, Hellvetica?

Parker: I didn’t really help with writing as much this time around, but I did give them some ideas as I was listening to the album. What I can say is that it’s different from the other two records, but if you liked the previous material, you’ll probably like our new release even more. We don’t stray too far away from our old sound, but on the new album we took the best aspects of the last ones and combined them.

Eli: I agree. The new record, Hellvetica, flushes out a bit of what we did on the second album and takes pieces from the first while exploring new avenues and going on a tangent of its own.

LD: Was there any band, album or song that made you realize that you wanted to learn and create music?

James: mmm… not really.

Eli: When I was little, I really liked the Red Hot Chili Peppers and I wanted to play bass and be cool like Flea. Overall, music really interested me and that spiraled into me learning a whole bunch of stuff.

Parker: Well, I have ADHD and as a kid I was always tapping on everything, so my mom just threw me into drum lessons and IT WORKED. I picked it up relatively fast and kept wanting to learn more. My favorite musician would have to be Dave Grohl.

Nico: I’ve been playing trumpet for 8 years now, and around my junior year I started really getting into John Coltrane. Hearing some of the stuff he did and getting into other artists in that genre, like Charles Mingus, made me want to pick up bass, as well the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

LD: Being that you are quite a new band, is it hard getting used to the feeling of performing in front of people?

Eli: At first. I really enjoyed our first show, but it took a while to figure out how to get a crowd going. Now, I deal with being awkward and having fun with that.

James: Performing versus writing songs is very different for me. I like writing songs and trying to articulate them to make them a masterpiece, whereas playing shows, I realized people want loud music they can dance to a sing along with. It varies for me; I’ll always get a bit nervous before a show, even playing in front of my grandma of all people.

LD: What’s your favorite song to perform live?

Parker: For sure, Black Blizzard. It starts off at a good tempo that’s fun to dance to, but then it picks up and gets really heavy.

Nico: My favorite to play live would probably have to be Loosen Up because I love the bass line paired with James’ vocals on it. Annabelle is fun too—I love the way the crowd responds to it.

James: Even though we’ve only played it twice, Night Ride, has always been one of my favorites. As far as right now, it would most likely be Annabelle, because towards the end, Eli sings and I can take a break.

Eli: For me, Annabelle is also my favorite. We all love Anabelle because that was the first song we played that ever had a mosh pit.

James: The thing about that song, is that we have a good energy in it. The first time we played it, I went in the mosh pit with my guitar, and when I got out, it was crazy out of tune and I had to play the rest of the song with it sounding horrible. I was cringing after we finished, but then I looked over at the guys, and they all said it was the best song we’ve ever played.

LD: If you could curate a festival, who would make up your dream festival headliners?

James: Radiohead, Paul McCartney, and Smashing Pumpkins if they play their old stuff.

Eli: Gorillaz, My Bloody Valentine,

Parker: Twitch, Space Dot [James’ side project], and Nico Alter Ego (insert heavy sarcasm)

James to Parker: You just blew my mind.

Nico: Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Growlers, and Miles Davis.

LD: With the upcoming release of your new album, do you have any gigs lined up?

Eli: We currently have one we’re about to start promoting, but for now it’s under wraps.

James: We’ve got a lot more planned, so stay tuned.

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NE-HI’s Electric Visit to DC

Review and Photos by: Sara Valenzuela

NE-HI delivered an amazingly energetic performance at the DC9 this past week. Being a Monday night concert, it was an absolutely kicking way to start the week.

 

NE-HI are a Chicago based rock band created in the warm summer of 2013. The foursome, made up of Alex Otake (Drummer), James Weir (Bassist), Jason Balla (Guitarist), and Mikey Wells (Guitarist) started as being in their friend’s film that summer and it took off from there. They continued making music and since then have toured around the east coast and Midwest of the US, with bands such as Twin Peaks and Car Seat Headrest. They are currently finishing out their current tour (tickets available here). Beyond their venue shows they’ve done festivals such as Midpoint, Pygmalion, and North Coast Music Festival. Also, they’ll be making an appearance at Pitchfork Music Festival this July.

 

With dreamy DC natives Makeup Girl opening the show, NE-HI’s performance did not disappoint the DC crowd. The Chicago band gave us a phenomenal performance that woke up us from that frigid Monday night and left everyone in a buzz. Proving their mastery in live music, they have set their ground as one of the best rising American rock bands today.

 

Check out NE-HI’s latest album, Offers, on Spotify!

 

Keep up with them on Twitter and Facebook!

 

The Drums at The Glass House

By Kayla Fernandez

The Drums kicked off their tour in Pomona this last Wednesday night. The sold out show was a beautiful sight to see and front-man Jonny Pierce’s  stage presence was electric. His unique dance style leaves the crowd in awe, which makes The Drums one of the best live bands today. Keep an eye out for their new album ‘Abysmal Thoughts’ coming out June 16th!

A Night With Temples

A Music Lover’s Guide To Sick Days

By Rachel Perkins 

I’m currently working my way down the /mu/core essentials listening list – it’s a mighty task, but I’m enjoying it. I’ve discovered some great new favourites, given some obscure albums a go and found a fair few hidden gems among genres I’d usually ignore. Recently I’ve been feeling awful and fighting off a cold, and whilst I love discovering new music from this list, there are days that I just don’t want to put up with Brian Wilson, Joy Division or even Bjork. When I feel like crap I need music that is comforting; I need music to warm my heart and drive out the winter blues.
So here’s some recommendations for background music for your sick day. I’m not a doctor, but music is certainly good for the soul. Put on a record and rejoice in music’s ability to transform you.

All of my album choices will warm you up from the inside out. Recommended intake would be with a good book to read, lots and lots of layers and a big fuzzy blanket to cuddle up with. Maybe even throw in some snacks and a hot chocolate for good measure.

A WALK ACROSS ROOFTOPS // THE BLUE NILE

The Blue Nile are a Scottish band whose genre falls between the broad horizons of folk and pop. My first recommendation is their debut album. Released in 1984, this is their most critically acclaimed release and whilst largely ambient it carries with it plenty of 80s charm (which is totally what you need for a pick-me-up). The album uses your mind as a canvas, building up a beautiful nighttime city-scape among it’s typical of the decade synths and Paul Buchanan’s crooning vocals (‘I am in love… I am in love with you’). The highlight is, undoubtedly, ‘Tinseltown in the Rain’, which shines with optimism of a new life for old lovers. The bass line is infectious and carries the dark mood through unsuspectingly catchy instrumental breaks. At 38 minutes, this album is short yet carries with it plenty of emotion. It’s subtly romantic, eerily beautiful and moments away from being the soundtrack to a John Green movie. You’ll listen to this album once and forget about it.. shortly before coming back to it when you need a good cry.

Listen to it here !

 
ELBOW // THE SELDOM SEEN KID

Everyone knows this album, or if they don’t it seems to suddenly come back to them when prompted with the standout track ‘One Day Like This’ or ‘Grounds for Divorce’ (which, I swear to God, is the music for every video game trailer going). Most music fans will know Elbow is sort of ‘The Northern Radiohead’ which is mildly true if you’re into the simplistic pop rock of ‘Creep’. The Seldom Seen Kid is perfect for those who enjoy the softer side of alternative rock – it won’t stick in your head as much as Imagine Dragons or Foster the People but it will impress you in its cleverly crafted, witty ways. Ultimately it can be a tad boring and edges a wee bit too much on the safe side, but it’ll also grow on you with each listen and has moments with incredible vigor to get you off your feet and tapping your toes.

Listen to it here!

 
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE // KINTSUGI

Much like the Japanese art of Kintsugi, Death Cab for Cutie’s latest release is a triumph for the days when you need to put yourself back together. Ben Gibbard and co. truly crafted medicine for the soul with this release, and if you weren’t persuaded by the hype when this album first came out I hope I can persuade you now! At its core, Kintsugi is a rock album but this doesn’t equate to it being void of charm. The album is pretty and sweet but also packs a punch with plenty of power chords.

This album will spark your creativity and get you ready to go back to work or school. It’ll remind you that whilst you might feel like hell, there are musicians out there creating music so wonderful that it adds a bit more meaning into your weary, run-down life.

Listen to it here!

 
KING CHARLES // LOVEBLOOD

King Charles writes funny and lovely songs about the funny and lovely women you wish you could be like. There’s bouncy piano, cute snippets of guitar riffs and lots and LOTS of hand clapping. To put a King Charles song on is like injecting pure sunlight into a room. Like a modern day Adam Ant, King Charles has plenty of originality (and not just in his music – he looks pretty out there, too).

Listen to it here!

 

 RADIOHEAD // OK COMPUTER

Okay, so I’m totally biased with this choice, but every list I write has to have at least one shout out to my faves. OK Computer is a classic 90s album that doesn’t mean to parade around its excellence but totally does and, in my humble opinion, is the quintessential feeling down-in-the-dumps album. This is not because it’s overly happy or poppy, but because I first listened to this album when I was 13, and it’s since quickly become my go-to comfort album. With each listen I discover something new to love about it among the tight knit production and, my favourite part, the traces of a dystopian concept. To me, it’s ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars’ for a new generation. Whilst you’re taking sometime to rest and relax, treat yourself to what is sure to become a new favourite. And don’t just take my word for it. Seriously, listen to it.

Listen to it here!

Hopefully these albums will help to brighten your day and put some pep in your step. If not, try anything by The Beach Boys – cause if that doesn’t make you feel brighter, I don’t think anything will.

September: Music You Need In Your Life

Is it us, or has the year gone by incredibly fast? This year has boasted an abundance of incredible new musicians and material, prompting us to pick out some of our favorites. While there have been several talented artists in recent months, Declan McKenna and Banes World have made such an impression here at Lucid Dreams. Hopefully you give these musicians some love and enjoy them as much as we do.

Read below for more info on the artists.
1. Declan McKenna

Singer/songwriter, Declan McKenna, is a Hertfordshire native, with musical abilities well above his ripe age of  17. You may recognize McKenna’s upbeat indie banger, Brazilwhich has amassed to somewhat of a summer anthem due to an incredible amount of radio play. More recently, Declan released a new single titled, Isombardwhich touches on US law and order during the age of the #blacklivesmovement. It is refreshing seeing young artists, such as Declan McKenna, who aren’t afraid to speak about today’s issues. Not only do his songs reveal poignant messages, but they are blissfully accompanied by lively composition. Isombard, for us particularly, has subtle Wes Anderson film vibes brought to you by a welcomed ping pong match between keys ands guitar. Being a musician is hard enough, but McKenna, who mind you is ONLY 17, has the extraordinary capability to relay a story along with seamless sounds. If we haven’t convinced you enough already to listen to this guy, give him the old follow on Twitter; his humor alone, will make you a fan!

Make sure to catch him on tour !

2. Banes World


Shane Blanchard, rather known as, Banes World, hails from Long Beach, California. Anyone who is  a sucker for soft hazy tunes to accompany woeful nights,  is bound to be smitten by Shane’s music; he epitomizes the essence of dreamy synth. A personal fave of ours is Valentine’s Cursebut we would highly recommend you start off with Still Lovely and float through the rest of his discography.With his uniquely composed synth pop tunes, there isn’t anyone in the game quite like Banes World. What makes the wistful songs even better are the endearing lyrics, and their notion to pull you in with a faint whisper. If you’re anything like us, and have a soft spot for the hopeless romantics, you most likely will find solace in his song, Gorgeous, in which he collaborated with artist,Temporex. In terms of similar sound, it is like if  Mac Demarco and Blood Orange had procreated, and he was their infamous love child. We COULD NOT go this whole post without being a little punny and also summing up how we feel about Blanchard, so here it is folks, “BANE’S WORLD. PARTY ON. EXCELLENT!”

Follow Banes World:

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