California

Music + Entertaining / Inspiration (and Ideal Playlist) for Parties All About The Vino

With the holiday season upon us, tips and tricks for parties and entertaining are everywhere.  Hostess gifts you can make yourself.  The perfect party pumps or sparkling dress.  Affordable dinnerware.  The right way to set a table or create a festive centerpiece out of yarn.  If I had unlimited funds and an apartment three or four times bigger I would host a party every weekend.

But what actually happens at the party?  After you’ve donned the outfit most flattering for your curves, and set out an expensive-looking (but budget-friendly) cheese plate.  The guests arrive.  How do you get people really chatting?

One idea absolutely perfect for this time of year: a wine tasting.  And I don’t just mean sipping a selection of excellent wines and discussing the smells and tastes, there are plenty of opportunities to be more specific and learn something too!  Perfect for those of us (me included and especially) who can barely distinguish a Merlot from a Shiraz, and have no idea what a “tannen” is.
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Guest Mixtape + Interview / So Many Wizards: Songs That Make You Wanna Stay In

By Amanda DK

Photo Credit: David Uzzardi

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.”

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Guest Mixtape + Interview / Picture Atlantic: 22 Going on 40 – The Soundtrack of Growing Up

Photo credit: Future Sounds

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 members Nik 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!

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America The Beautiful: Cowboys and Native Americans

I would like to start by dispelling the rumor that Los Angeles is 75 degrees at all times. This is absolutely not true. It’s a desert. Deserts get cold. Ask anyone who visits in December or January with only shorts and tank tops in their suitcases.  Future tourist, consider yourself warned.

…And I can’t really hate on the climate beyond that.

The weather here is still – for the most part – GORGEOUS. Even when the temperature drops to a whopping 40 degrees it’s usually bright and sunny without a cloud in the sky. Almost every day I hear that voice in my head that says, “it’s so nice out, you should play outside!” Then I remind myself that tomorrow is probably going to be just as nice, as will the day after that, and so forth. After being in Los Angeles almost three years you’d think the voice would die down, but something about being out here has made it grow instead.

The West has the best of every kind of terrain – ocean, mountains, desert – and from San Diego to Seattle to Salt Lake City every resident seems to know it. What California resident hasn’t hiked and/or surfed? Colorado, Utah and Montana are all known to have some of the best mountains in the world for skiing and snowboarding, not to mention Oregon’s Mt. Hood. The most famous National Parks can be found on this side of the country – Yosemite, Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon.  There are rolling hills full of vineyards in Northern California, and the richly colored painted desert in Northern Arizona.  And if you’re not convinced yet, look at this:

Who could see something like that through their window and not want to be outside?

You can catch Truth & Salvage Co. at the Hotel Café TONIGHT at 9pm. Buy tickets here.

The Ruby Suns will be at The Echo tomorrow, April 14 at 8:30pm. Buy tickets here.

And videos about two guys who want some very different things…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaNQ0vnLtDY]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HL_WvOly7mY]

Kind of funny, all things considered.

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