Nima Kazerouni might be the busiest person in East LA. Echo Park, Silverlake, Eagle Rock. Actually, throw Long Beach in there too. And San Diego. At the core of a slew of local bands including Pulse Out,Snaggletooth, and most recognizably the frontman of So Many Wizards, Kazerouni plays in venues all across SoCal on an almost monthly basis.
So Many Wizards’ unique brand of hazy, bedroom pop with a quirky edge has taken hold of the local music scene – never more so than over the course of 2011. They stole the show from Puro Instinct at one of the last Brand X LA Unheard concerts in April, and released a brand new 7”, a follow up to the band’s 2010 EP, Love Songs For When You Leave Me. There have been line-up changes and additions the result of which is a new lush, bigger sound, and one that Kazerouni is particularly excited about. Most recently, So Many Wizards has shared stages with a slew of other buzz bands, including Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Lord Huron, Real Estate and more. It’s only a matter of time before audiences across the country are just as familiar with Kazerouni’s playful falsetto, bouncy melodies and the name “So Many Wizards.”
It should be made an official rule: If you have never heard of (or even heard) The Parson Red Heads, you cannot consider yourself a fan of the local Los Angeles music scene. I’d even wager that 75% of the people living in the Silverlake, Los Feliz, and Echo Park know one of the past or present members personally. Of course, considering that at any one time they could have as many as 15 members on stage (though there are 6 core members of the group), that’s not as great of a feat. And with that many members, chances are even if you haven’t seen The Parson Red Heads as a whole, you will definitely have seen a past or present Parson out and about performing at different times with other LA bands like The World Record, The Idaho Falls, The Ghost Kings, Hungry Birds and up in Portland, Houndstooth, Old Light and Denver. They’ve even got a new side project, Dome, kicking into gear soon, which I’m told “will be heavy”…but I digress.
DJs have always fascinated me. It’s a job that seems so easy from the outside – how hard can it be to make a playlist and crossfade from song to song? – but just stand behind a really talented DJ for a few moments and you can’t help be overwhelmed by how much is actually going on. So many moving parts that all need to be perfectly balanced lest the flow be ruined. Being a DJ is an art requiring intense concentration, a delicate hand, and real musical sensibility.
For the next guest mixtape, get to know LA’s The World Record. Local fans might recognize brain trust Andy Creighton and friends from The Parson Red Heads (when they were in LA, all members of The World Record were also in The Parson Red Heads, now the line-up has some new faces), but with a new line-up, The World Record deserves attention in their own right. Hailed by Aquarium Drunkard as the “West Coast heir apparent to Big Star,” their last LP, Guitars Forever came out almost five years ago and received a plethora of favorable reviews. Since then The World Record has continued to gig around LA, taped a neat session with Little Videos, and had a song on both Gossip Girl and How I Met Your Mother. I myself used THREE of their tracks in a little film (shot in Silverlake, of course) that I music supervised in 2009, which is how I came to know Mr. Creighton. Below Andy discusses with me his mixtape, My Favorite Canadians, the definition – and value – of “sheer rockingness,” and spills a bit about what’s next for the band…
Like certain music blogs or labels, we all have those friends that we can turn to for a good band recommendation. More often than not, when those people tell you that a band is good – they are right. That is precisely how I became acquainted with Bay Area indie rockers, Picture Atlantic. Somewhere between winding down from a California tour this past August and pushing through the final stages of a brand new EP titled When Everything Is Numbers, band membersNik Bartunek and Ryan Blair were able to put together a gut squirming mixtape definitely evocative of their own raw, emotive sound. In it they reflect on the tricky part of growing up that I like to call “freshman year of life.” Rather than elaborate myself, I’ll let Nik and Ryan explain what they’ve called “22 Going On 40 – The Soundtrack For Growing Up.” And make sure to check out a couple of Picture Atlantic’s own tunes at the end of the article – a free download of “Muses” as well as a track off their new EP!