Thursday, December 9, 2010

Restaurant Review: T.O.T.

I just wanted to give a quick heads-up to all you food fans in L.A.-land to try out a cool new place in Little Tokyo.

While perhaps you can say we were all biased from being exhausted from a solid twelve hours of moving, and as such would give massive praise to any food and any beer regardless of quality, I would argue in this case that the reverse is true. That is, leaving this restaurant, far from being merely full and drunk, our battered bodies and weary minds were all nourished and a bit more at peace. The place in question is known as T.O.T. or more thoroughly, Teishokuya of Tokyo on 2nd in Little Tokyo (downtown Los Angeles).

To start, we ordered three appetizers. With the way that most Japanese appetizers focus on simplicity of ingredients they can often be quite telling of the general skill of the kitchen team. The potato croquette was a stunningly geometrically perfect oval-structure lofted of fried panko and mashed potatoes. The veggie tempura was, in that great, luxurious way that seems to elude all but the most noble of tempura, "dainty." And the gyoza were, in general consensus, some of the best any of us have ever had with thin, perfectly crisp golden skins and wondrously flavorful filling. Based on my magic "Japanese Appetizer Criteria Scale" we were going to be in for a very tasty meal.

As for the main dishes, they have a wide range of dishes including excellent ramen with pleasantly textured noodles, fat & slurp-happy udon covered in a massive treasure trove of goodies, creative but rooted sushi and rice bowls (including some set of salad greens that were both aesthetically pretty and really tasty), a tangy & light sukiyaki bowl, plates fanatically moist and lush cutlets among many other choices. Will any item excepting perhaps the gyoza stick out as the absolute best or most innovative of any place in the city? Nah. Was every item from the kitchen made with that little extra un-namable artistic quality were you can tell the people who work at the restaurant adore food, and more specifically their food? For sure. Could you call that magic ingredient love? Just maybe...

Whatever the case, coupled with a small but decent selection of sake, beer and even wine (note that the sake mostly only comes in half bottles, so that is why it seems expensive) T.O.T. combines a tight & diverse menu that is sure to have an option for everyone with really passionate execution and a wealth of flavors that will settle your soul like a clear autumn evening.

PS: They don't really have desert other than the du rigueur ice cream mochi so wander around Little Tokyo, get a coffee and a pastry somewhere and maybe wander to the Blue Whale afterward to see some jazz!

Teishokuya of Tokyo
345 E 2nd Street
Los Angeles

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jazz Tonic Photos

Hiya all! I'm in the middle of moving to a place with a bigger studio in downtown L.A. but I figured I'd take a few minutes to share a couple photos with you from my recent projection artwork with the Jazz Tonic event on December 1st.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tonight! December 1st! Jazz Tonic!

My art at the Jazz Tonic show tonight at Broadway Bar! 9PM! 830 South Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90014-3202! Full info at

Monday, November 29, 2010

This Wednesday, Dec 1, Jazz Tonic

Hi everyone! I just wanted to that I'll be debuting a couple of new projection pieces during Broadway Bar's Jazz Tonic monthly event, December 1st. Featured will be a piece called "You Will Know Me By My Work," a randomized series of black and white poetic video sketches that investigate the area around 8th & Broadway downtown (the old theatre district) that wobble somewhere between the ambient music of Eric Satie and the 1960's concrete-poetic film. The other piece is a projected reworking and re-twining of the "Apartment Homes Fakebook" photo series ( and the long poem "Bar Poem." Aside from my work, there will me wonderful combination performances of DJs, poets and live jazz musicians. Thanks!
Eron Rauch

More Info:

Wednesday at 9:00pm - Thursday at 2:00am

LocationThe Broadway Bar
830 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA

Created By

More Info
"Where DJ Culture Meets The Jazz Lounge..."

The Broadway Bar
830 S. Broadway
Downtown LA 90014

9pm - 2am

21+ NO COVER!!

$4 Drinks all night long!

Top Shelf DJ's are joined weekly by guest Jazz Musicians and Poets.


On this edition of Jazz Tonic

Jazz Tonic Returns on monthly basis!

And with a Jazzy Vengeance with the Maestro himself,

Scott K

plus an opening set from


Poetry and music from birthday girl


Live artist projections by

Eron Rauch and Fleeting Projects

a special appearance by


and the 40th Birthday Celebration for Jazz Tonic founder and resident DJ

Mixmaster Noah Massey!


Also don't forget!

Special Live guest Musicians

Weekly Resident DJ
Mixmaster Massey (

Spin All Forms Jazz

Cool Jazz, Acid Jazz, Jazzy House, Jazz Funk, Jazzy Soul, Latin Jazz, Abstract Jazz, Jazz Fusion, Jazzy Hip Hop, Jazzy D&B, Straight Ahead Jazz, Jazzy R&B and…

Resident Poet
Jazz Poet AK Toney (
plus special guest MC’s and Poets!

The beautiful "Visual Tonic" is by Mixmaster Massey & ifloz

Live audio broadcast live on the web by Astronaut Disco

For more about Jazz Tonic check out the official website!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fabrik Magazine Art Walk

Hi! To get you excited about the upcoming Jazz Tonic event, I wanted to share a few shots from the installation I put together for the Fabrik Magazine Art's District Walk last month. Both this installation and a portion of the upcoming projection project will feature work from my"Apartment Homes Fake Book" project.

Also, since fashion designer Melanie Chorak was cool enough to let me install in her more open loft, here's a couple shots of tests of her new line of lingerie!

Remember remember the First of December! Jazz Tonic!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Show Announcement! December 1st: Jazz Tonic

Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you all know that I'm going to be debuting a new video projection piece as part of December 1st's Jazz Tonic event at Broadway Bar in downtown Los Angeles. The Jazz Tonic events, run by Mixmaster Massey, are a chimera night of live jazz fused with turntables fused with poetry. Always unpredictable, occasionally genius, they have invited me to produce a video work to accompany the night's melange. The piece I'll be showing is called "My Work Speaks for Itself" which is a pair projectors overlaying black and white films of my walks around the area near Broadway bar (8th and Broadway) with other photographs and video clips blended in. The details again!

Event: Jazz Tonic
Date: December 1st, 2010
Time: 9:00PM PST
Location: Broadway Bar
830 South Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90014-3202
(213) 614-9909

Hope to see you there for some jazz, art, and a gin martini!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hello Kitty Small Gift VIP Party!

I got lucky the other week and was able to take Callie to the Sanrio 50th Anniversary VIP party. I thought I'd share a couple of photos with all of you! There were a ton of food trucks (I have to say that the prime rib and mac & cheese grilled cheese sandwich was pretty fascinating), much in the way of free booze, particularly if you learned to ask for two drinks, no ice, then poured them into one real-sized glass, and even an indoor ferris wheel, which looked to be celebrating an anniversary near that of Sanrio.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cosplay & Photography

Hi! I just wanted to make another quick post to announce that Mechademia issue 5 is out, and featuring an article I co-wrote with Christopher Bolton (at Williams College) that is a primer of on the myriad practitioners, forms and uses of costuming & photography in fan communities and fine art. It's a great article with a good number of glossy full-color plates. The only caveat I have is that we somehow missed the fantastic German art photographer Oliver Sieber's extensive work with cosplay fans. Next time, Oliver, I promise!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Art walk in an hour and a half!

Los Angeles Art's District Walk TODAY (Oct 23)! I'm just about to head out and buy beer, JUST FOR YOU. And the map is online for you to find out where I live. Oh noes! 1PM - 6PM.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 23rd - On the Art Walk!

Hi everyone! I just wanted to invite you all to drop by my studio this Saturday October 23 from 1PM to 6PM to take a look at some of my work in process. I am a part of the Fabrik Magazine Art's District Walk in Los Angeles. On display will be a cool installation of the Apartment Homes Fake Book project, including some really massive xeroxes as well as the debut of the second book. Let me know if you want to drop by — I will have beer.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Triptych Part Three

While it is still early in rainy Sunday Los Angeles, and my lust for coffee remains to be satiated, I thought I would finish up the triptych I had posted earlier this week. For this final installment I want to highlight my long-running beer nerdery. Though wine and cocktails have been my focus for the past years, anyone who has been around me since those sweltering Chicago summer nights and skin-achingly cold Minneapolis winter afternoons will know my first romance was beer. Helped along by the good punk-otaku sirs of Pyschommu Gaijin I was exposed to hundreds of the worlds finest beers (and many a world-class hangover along with at least one hallway boxing match at 4AM). At last tally, I've easily tasted well over a thousand different beers from tallboys of Shlitz to Trappistes Rochefort #8.
The beer I am reviewing today is Mikkeller's "Beer Geek's Breakfast" which is an strong Oatmeal-Coffee Stout. At 7% it isn't a true imperial stout, at least by the insane standards of current American craft brewing, but it is very well balanced beer. The head is thick, foamy and the color of espresso and the nose is absolutely glorious. Rich smells of iced coffee, soy sauce, vanilla bean dominate. Underlying it all is an earthy note, almost the smell of the tree bark in a forest after a rain. Hints of smokiness lend it just a waft of Islay scotch.

On the first sip, everything is way to tight. The flavors seem hidden. 95% chance the beer is too cold being straight out of the fridge. I could swear there was a weird plasticy off-note. Though this should be the lesson to take from this triptych if nothing else: Yes, different beers have different temperatures where they taste best!

Letting the glass sit out for even 5 minutes, the beer came alive. Soft cocoa flavors, hints of soy, and a very long finish. Grassy overtones, molasses undertones. These forest-y, vegetal notes are probably the most unique aspect of this beer, though they are extremely subtle. Woody sasparilla flavors with lingering notes of chocolate coated coffee beans. Large but not intimidating, filling mouthfeel (basically exactly what the term implies - how the physical characteristics of the beer feel in your mouth). In structural terms, this beer is very akin to a good Merlot. A bit velvety, quite expressive, but not overwhelming or flashy. This beer would pair quite well with food.

At $11 for a 500ml, this beer isn't cheap, but it is certainly worth checking out, especially for those of you out there who are getting burnt out on big IPAs. Also, they have a great Northern European design sensibility for their label design. Thanks to my roommate's cat, Mochi, for being my beer model!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 23rd Art Walk

Myself and a couple other artists will be participating in the Fabrik magazine art walk of the downtown Los Angeles Art's District/Little Tokyo area on October 23rd. Massive xeroxes, installations, lingerie and beer to be had! Stay tuned for more details!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Okay, so I missed the triptych... Part Two.

Those of you who have been following my blogging for a while know an old feature I used to run was called "Triptych", which was literally, three unrelated things that I found inspirational. At a more macro level, that is how I envision this blog — as a public sketchbook of sorts. A place where you can turn to for some quirky inspiration when you have a bit weekend afternoon boredom. A place that when you feel run down you can find something small that is new and creative to recharge your batteries. A place that you can poke through and make a random association to help you out of a rut (a bit like Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies cards). Well, I might have jumped the gun with posting exclusively about Botch's "We Are the Romans" album because I had a perfect triptych thrown my way this weekend. So here is part two...

Part Two: Cemitas Poblanas
If you are like every other local in Los Angeles, you have very didactic ideas about your preferred taco. And are willing to fight over the proper burrito. Willing, nay, EGER to try cabesa (stewed head meats) at what your friends colloquially call Taco Zone, owing to it's proximity to Auto Zone, at 3AM. But you know, standing in line, feeling restless, sometimes you need to mix it up, try something new, break out of your asada, carnitas, or chorizo comfort zone. A Cemitas Poblanas is your savior.

A Cemitas is a style of sandvich from the Mexican state of Puebla. It is basically a sesame seed topped roll with crispy fried Milinesa (thin pounded beef steak), rich chipolte chiles in adobo sauce, sliced red onion, fresh feta-like cheese, a bitter Mexican herb called papalo, and (for those of you who aren't allergic) thick slices of avocado. This is one serious flavor bomb. This is the 16% Aussie Shiraz of sandwiches. Deeply smokey, extremely spicey, layered with savory fried meat, piquant onions and cooling avacado this beast reeks of too long in the sun, too much mezcal and strips the taco ennui away. Will your local taco place have on the menu? I'm not sure, it was a special at Tacos Por Favor in Santa Monica, and it is rumored there is an amazing version served by a truck on Venice in front of the Smart and Final store.

Here are two other places to try that I read about:

Cemitas Poblanas Elvirita

3010 E 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90063
(323) 881-0428

Cemitas Don Adrian
14902 Victory Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91411
(818) 786-0328

Part Three to come soon!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Little Weekend Listening

Hiya all! I was listening to some newer hardcore/post-hardcore bands this morning in the studio and after a few albums I was feeling rather blasé about the genre. As a comparison I grabbed my old warhorse album "We Are The Romans" by Botch and was instantly, and once again, dropped by it's unparalleled ferocity. From the recklessly explosive breakdown and subsequent all out manic return on the first track, it's clear why this remains one of the top albums in this genre of extreme music.

This is serious angry music with direction. Contorted, slithering guitars, relentless percussion, massive distortion and gut wrenching bass figures. And huge cathartic metal-core influenced breakdowns. This is not some whiner copying Bob Dylan going on about suburban ennui and how much they wish their life was like an 8-bit video game and how much they can't get their relationship right. This is music to smash something you thought you loved, and erect new art in it's ashes. This is music to sweat, dream of the suburbs burning and create. Perfect weekend music. Crank this one up to bug the neighbors. Taste it at:

Monday, October 4, 2010

About My Art, Pt. 2 — In which I realize I am being far too general.

Hiya! Welcome to the second part of my reflections about my art process. One of the issues that I realized going through these notes and answers is that I seem to have a habit of talking far to generally about "my work". I suppose the lazy, rainy Los Angeles afternoon is the perfect time to reflect on my motivations for making art.

Last week I ruminated on my the way that my art evolves. This week I want to take up a more concrete topic of how I come to actually make my art. The question was:

"When do you make art? Is it at a regular time? Is it after a specific inspiration? What's on your mind?"

I am a very regularized, hard working artist. I wake up, work in the studio starting around 11AM, read some art theory while taking a quick break for lunch and a run, and a longer break to cook dinner (an important part of clearing up my head actually), and maybe go out and work another couple hours at the bar or before bed. One quirk is that I am not a home-body, I derive much of my vigor and inspiration from being out in the world, out amongst the urban swirl, or the uninhabited lands. Another quirk is that when I am shooting for a project I get up early or stay up very late (that is, I shoot almost all of my photographs from 10PM to 10AM!).

A big part of my production method is I make a million proofs, studios and tests, organize them, show them to friends, artists, have underground small shows, all the while making new photos, proofing more, having work-in-progress shows, re-shooting things, writing about the topic (often I end up writing academic articles about the topics I make art about) exploring the new topics making the work has raised.

Innumerable variations, contortions, long proofing and editing sessions, extensive research into ideas and topics as I go. Like a labyrinth, my process often feels re-treading the same area (both geographically and thematically) from every angle. That internal complexity of my work is why it usually takes four or five years to complete a given project, though two or three projects happen simultaneously with other projects and the work produced is very large in scope and complexity.

And perhaps I should have explained sooner, like a novelist has the novel, the "project" is the discrete unit of my art. Almost exclusively I build a body of work around and in response to a particular topic. While I produce individual pieces, they are like sentences and paragraphs to a larger written piece.

Akin to an essayistic structure, I try to worm and delve through the myriad of propositions and counter-propositions that the tension between these out-layers to the art world have when they are brought together in the same conceptual space. But I always see it as a two-sided conversation. An additive conversation - that both sides are furthering the complexity by participating.

As for my inspiration, I generally speaking cannibalize a topic I am intimate with (in the large number of senses of that word). Not only that but I seek out places in the periphery of art and culture. Place with differing valuations, modes, rituals and uses for art. Places where art has very high poignancy for the individuals involved but without a great deal of connection to the larger "art world." I search out topics and communities and subjects that I can build bridges and trails to. To facilitate the movement of ideas to and fro from the frontiers and repositories of knowledge. To in many ways examine and ponder the power and effects of art in our lives.

(Based on a series of questions presented in articles on Alan Bamberger's site at:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

About My Art Pt. 1

For those of you who follow me, you might know I am currently prepping to look for my first gallery representation for my art. On of the best resources I've found has been the archive of articles on Alan Bamberger's website at One of the ways I have been preparing myself and my work has been to write down some of the questions he mentions people might want to know about your art. I thought I'd share a couple writing exercises with you (exercises I did to get to know my own art better). I already realized that I don't mention photography enough, so it's been a good process for me even at this early hour. Here's my answer to the questions about:

"How does your art evolve? Are you intentional right from the start or does direction materialize as you work? "

There is an element of critical mass involved with the projects I produce. I have usually developed an intimate knowledge with a topic and the context/subculture around it. As my curiosity about how these cultural locations are connected in hidden ways to other cultural forces & histories overwhelms my straight-forward interest in the topic my art production begins. Often this means that I'm already in a project when I officially "start" a project.

Almost always that means I am producing my art from both the inside and outside of a topic. That I tend to produce in a outward trajectory after mastery of a topic. For instance, with the anime convention project I was a fan for a long time, starting anime clubs, watching any import or bootleg tape off Japanese TV I could get my hands on, even helping to start a convention, and as I reached a plateau where I started to be meta-critical of my own identity and goals in the subculture I found I had already been shooting photos at conventions as a way to occupy my boredom. I had already been writing essays and making comics about the weird, darker edges and anxious emotions that accompanied the fandom. It's more of a declaration of something that is already in process when I start a project.

Being an extremely production oriented artist every project evolves wildly during the process of completing it. I delve in to a topic with curiosities, mysteries, anxieties and frustrations and through an intensive process of work, revision, self critique, research and pondering (layered, repeated many times) the work evolves, goes in new directions, branches off, splits, flows in to other projects, other media, breaks apart and reforms in more nuanced and refined ways. A search to find and express in clear terms, not the truth of a topic, but a rather the nuances, ambivalences, incongruities and ambiguities of the world itself.

Often this means backtracking, trying numerous different medias, techniques, chance tactics, changing context, blank staring, and large amounts of production that is culled so as to see the many facades and facets of a project. I joke that my best working method is to attempt to make every mistake I can around the way to approach and produce a project. But really it's a fairly accurate assessment, in that I am trying to learn the edges and nuances of the topic, find where it breaks, find what drives my subconscious passion, the other's obsessions, the dark pathways that are at once a touch troubling but also have a twilight beauty.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Portfolio Descriptions Updated!

With the editing help of my friend Eli, I recently updated my art web site with better descriptions of my major projects. If you want to check it out, go to:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New Mix CD for the Shadows of Early Fall 2010

Hi! I finally finished up my somewhat odder than normal mix for the onset of Fall. A mix fit for the melancholy kiss of the fall warm winds and the lengthening shadows. My usual mix rules apply: all songs must represent what I have actually been listening to and grooving on, not some idealized version; and no "pure" songs from death metal, black metal, metalcore, hardcore, noise, free jazz or free improv. Let me know if there are any particular tracks you love and I'll happily post more about it!

Track Listing:

{Band - "Song Title" on Recording Name}

Warpaint - "Elephants" on Exquisite Corpse EP

Giant Squid - "Blue Linckia (Linckia Laevigata)" on The Ichthyologist

Broken Water - "Spore" on Whet

Thralldom - "Anticipation Of An Obituary" on A Shaman Steeing the Vessel Of Vastness

TYFT - "Pittles" - on Smell the Difference

The Angelic Process - "Weighing Souls With Sand" on Weighing Souls With Sand

The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation - "Erotic Love Queen" on Succubus

Ahab - "Old Thunder" on The Call of the Wretched Sea

Menace Ruine - "Sky as a Reversed Abyss" on Cult of Ruins

Boris - "Feedbacker pt. 3" on Feedbacker

The Ocean - "Ectasian" on Precambrian

Sleeping Peonies - "Dreamy Duskywings" on Rose Curl, Sea Swirl

Download it here!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Arshile Gorky at MoCA

A review of the Arshile Gorky retrospective at MoCA Grand Ave. in Los Angeles:

Memories, the legacy of forms, the biological essence of hand-work, a feeling of anxiety, obscuration and incompleteness, sexual formalism, Jungian daydreams of light, the everyday as alien, ritual & psychological mapping, the tense geography of paint, the latency of the psyche, draftsmanship and the annotation of art history, evocation of the resounding chime of the past, inner depths and archetypal ambiences, breathing, infusion and sublimation of art history, the noise of art history, nonsense groans, compositional space solutions, re-consideration of revelations, visual impressionist poetics, diagrammatical impulses, schematization of guilt, resonance fields of the emotional landscape, intent recombination of observation, precision choices of formal fields, My Blood Valentine, invented formal language, sex organs, the sun, holes, quick oscillations of the uncanny horrific and the uncanny effervescent, illumination and shadow, guilt and tradition, memory's growing veil, enacting the partially glimpsed, the intuited definitions of the hidden human, private color as controller, the harshness of the once-removed sexual being, progenitor-inspector.

(On view now until September 20th, 2010 at MoCA - 250 S. Grand Ave. Los Angeles CA.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Vs. Your Stereo Pt. 4

The final, if belated, post for those of you who's interest were piqued by the music scene depicted in Scott Pilgram!

  • Broken Water - "Whet" - (Fuzzy, arty rock and roll).

  • Dearhunter - "Microcastle" - (Dreamy, simple rock).

  • Warpaint - "Exquisite Corpse" - (Shimmering, percussive shoegaze - this band will be huge in a year or so!).

  • Ride - "Nowhere" (Massively influential shoegaze/rock band).

  • Party of Helicopters - "Please Believe It" (Poppy fun).

  • The Intelligence - "Deuteronomy" (Savy art-pop).

  • JR Ewing - "Ride Paranoia" (Stones-eqsue hard rock).

  • Alkaline Trio - "Goddammit" (Breakup-drinking-punk).

  • The Dirtbombs - "Ultraglide In Black" (Bass heavy, groovy blues rock).

  • Ride - "Nowhere" (Massively influential shoegaze/rock band).

So as always, feel free to hit me up for more recommendations. I'll have a new mix CD for the fall winds soon!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Vs. Your Stereo Pt. 3

Okay, so we're at #3 of 4 in my posts about music recommendations for folks who maybe liked some of the music in the Scott Pilgrim movie, but weren't sure where else to turn.
  • The Stone Roses - "The Stone Roses" (The classic album from this one-hit wonder).
  • No Age - "Nouns" (Ultra-lo-fi hipper-than-thou rock from the L.A. underground).
  • Mr. Gnome - "Deliver This Creature" (Edgy underground rock).
  • The Faint - "Dance Macabre" (Ironic, dancey, gothy).
  • The Breeders - "Pod" (A poppy, distorted, female vocal driven rock).
  • The Pixies - "Doolittle" (Uneven, but influential rock).
  • Aerial - "Put It This Way In Headlines" (Arty, witty, ironic rock/pop).
  • Dead Weather - "Horehound" (Blues-rock supergroup with Jack White on drums).
  • Unwound - "Repetition" (Angular art-punk).
  • Die Princess Die - "Lions Eat Lions" (Dancey electro punk).
Some of this stuff, as usual, is more accessible while other bands are a bit more "underground" in terms of being less immediately approachable. Let me know if there is anything you particularly liked!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Vs. Your Stereo Pt. 2

And here's the second post of four in response to Jenny's request for music that you might like if you liked the pseudo-indie from Scott Pilgrim!
  1. The Black Lips - "Let it Bloom" (Totally stripped down scuzzy 60's rock).
  2. The Ponies - "Laced With Romance" (Really stripped-down bar rock).
  3. Sonic Youth - "Rather Ripped" (One of their most accessible albums).
  4. Morella's Forest - "Ultraphonic Hiss" (Sugary but massive mid-90's shoegaze with tight pop songs.)
  5. Squirrel Bait - "Squirrel Bait" (Old-school proto-emo punk).
  6. The Icarus Line - "Penance Soiree" (Howling hard rock).
  7. Kill Hannah - "American Jet Set" (Gothy dancey rock from chicago).
  8. Liars - "Liars" (Jangly, dark and brilliant cutting edge indie rock).
  9. Stereolab - "Peng!" (Quiet/makeout music).
  10. Throwing Muses - "The Real Ramona" (Angular, strange).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Vs. Your Stereo

An interesting request occurred when I publicly expressed my deep disappointment in the "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World", I actually received a request to recommend some new albums to people who might have liked some of the indie rock in the movie. Once I started the list, the bands just kept coming and though I don't even like some of these bands, or haven't listened to them in close to a decade, there are bound to be a few gems in here for the Knives of the less-CG-world. In fact, there were so many bands you can expect four, yes, FOUR, posts of ten bands each for your amusement. In no particular order, with the {Band Name - "Album Title" (Comments).} format.
  • Spoon - "Transference" (Stripped down, but ocmplicated, rock).
  • Monotonix - "Where Were You When It Happened?" (Craaaazzzy).
  • The Apes - "The Fugue in the Fog" (Heavy indie rock with an organ).
  • Archie Bronson Outfit - "Derdang Derdang" (Jangly, dancey Lodon-sound rock).
  • SSM - "SSM" (Dirty electro-indie from the Midwest).
  • Pavement - "Brighten The Corners" (A classic album from the slacker-rock kings).
  • Darker My Love - "2" (New from Los Angeles).
  • Tapes 'n Tapes - "Walk If Off "(Great upbeat rock from this Minneapolis unit).
  • The Duke Spirit - "Neptune" (A darker, slower album with a female vocalist).
  • The Subways - "Young for Eternity" (Dancable british punk-inflected rock).
That's it for this installment! Let me know if you have any bands you recommend to burgeoning fans of indie and underground rock?

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Past!

Hello all! I just wanted to make a quick post because I realized while I know that I migrated my art blog from Livejournal to Blogger this year, many of you who read this (*cough*) might not know that there is a large archive of restaurant reviews, music and other art-related chicanery there. If you dig back far enough you can even find the first inklings of my SM Blues project plus many other posts that are likely to be embarrassing to me! Best!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Post - Rock That Doesn't Suck

Post Rock That Doesn't Leave You Feeling As Unsatisfied As Last Time You Looked At Sailor Moon Porn:

And So I Watch You From Afar - And So I Watch You From Afar

Metal tinged and played with a bombastic intensity and relentless innovation that makes me giddy. Not just a collection of riffs without vocals, these songs contort and explode over their lengths with many wonderful resolutions. Post rock that seriously goes somewhere.

Pirate Ship Quintet - The Pirate Ship Quintet EP

Striving for a deeply cinematic quality, this debut album shows a massive amount of promise. They are able to incorporate almost lullaby-like passages of simmering mystery with an excellent sense of musical structure into larger structures of cathartic group playing, they retain a sense of melancholy even at their peaks.

Sgt. - Stylus Fantasticus

This album walks a fine line between being very classical and very jazz with exquisite instrumentation and complex compositions. A shimmering clean texture and an operatic scope. Really fantastic percussive work underscores the soaring melodies and excellent group playing which gives all of the players a voice even when they are in backing rolls.

Mono - You Are There

Probably the most typical of the albums in terms of being "post-rock" but the dynamic tension and instrumental interplay are operating with a level of perfection and gracefulness that puts it on a whole different plateau of that tension between chamber music composition and shivering wind-blown peaks of the distorted-grandiose that most post-rock seeks after.

Last of the Juanitas - "In the Dirt"

Post-rock, but dirty and punky-quirky like John Spencer meets the Minutemen. Short, funky, raw with a few sparse vocals that lend an aura of desperation.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Three Music Lists: Doom, Dirge, Blackened, Folk, Ambient, Experimental

So, while lately I've been listening to a ton of death metal, really, my [metal] heart lies with experimental black metal and funeral dirge. I was at Villain's Tavern with friends last night drinking whiskey and we were talking about a few of our favorite bands. I wrote up a trio of lists of current mind blowing music for him, but you might want to check these out as well!

Dirge, Funeral Doom and Shoegaze-Doom Metal:
Ahab - "The Call of the Wretched Sea"
The Angelic Process - "Weighing Souls With Sand"
Esoteric - "The Maniacal Vale"
Evoken - "Antithesis of Light"
Dirge - "Wings of Lead Over Dormant Seas"

Folk/Traditional Influenced/Inflected/Inspired Black Metal:
Windir - "1184"
Moonsorrow - "Verisakeet"
Kroda - "Towards the Fimaments"
Drudkh - "Autumn Aurora"
Primordial - "The Gathering Wilderness"

Experimental, Strange, Wondrous, Frightening, Avant Black Metal:
Fauna - "The Hunt"
Blood of the Black Owl - "A Banishing RItual"
Trist - "Hin Fort"
Thalldom - "A Shaman Steering the Vessel of Vastness"
Negura Bunget - "'N Crugu Bradului"

Just a couple notes about each of the three groups of music. Firstly, these are very specific lists made in response to very specific queries about the extreme artistic fringes of music. In group #1, you will find a complete absence of anything you could rock out or head bang to. They are the slowest, most ambient, atmospheric of an already slow genre. The bands can get huge and overwhelming, but never with riffs (ala Electric Wizard). Grouping #2 is in response to the vastly overwhelming amount of complete crap that occurs when you mix metal and folk instrumentation (I'm looking at you Eluvite). They are extremely artistically serious bands who happen to incorporate some traditional melodies and/or instruments. The music is not by any stretch light or ironic. For list #3, all rules are void. Yes, technically they are all "black metal" band but these are bands know no boundaries. You are likely to get a serious mind-fuck out of listening to them. They are the bands that I go to when I need really serious artistic inspiration. Bands that scorch everything else from your mind. All they share in common is that you have to approach the whole album as the piece and you need patience and many listens to start to find the idiosyncratic nuances buried within.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

SM Blues Portfolio

Hiya all! I spent most of today totally revamping the SM Blues portfolio on my web site to reflect some of the massive progress I've been making on the project in the past months. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a long-form photo documentary on Santa Monica apartment architecture, accidental urban planning and the small melancholic poetics of contemporary Los Angeles living. It was shot over the course of the past 5 years on various repetitive walks in the vicinity of my old apartment/haunt on the West Side. Check it out!

Callie Cravings

My girlfriend and fellow partner in related adventuring has started a blog to chronical her whimsies and wisdom at She has a great intro to tea already and more cool content is sure to follow! Also, you can visit here to see silly photos of her occasionally!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Underground and Strange Music For Your Weekend!

I've been digging through tons of new music in the last six months. I was feeling rather dulled by the dirge of the same music I had listened to for a few year. I was serious enough to totally revamp my library with new, challenging and strange albums. I wanted to a share a few of them today!

First off, we have The Snowman with their truly ingenious album "The Horse, the Rat and the Swan." It is a dark, utterly eclectic and finely crafted studio album. Combining all sorts of melancholic and otherworldly sounds into memorable songs is a rare art and this album never flags in bringing you in to a world of mystery and shadow. Clanking pianos, reverb drenched guitars, folk percussion, electronics and random noises weave in and out with sometimes soft sometimes harsh vocals. I haven't been this impressed with a rock album taking off in it's own uncompromising direction since since "Saint The Fire Show" by Fire Show. An art equivalent might be Jean Tinguely's kinetic sculpture.

Up next: Dirge wins the award for most aptly named with their double disc "Wings of Lead Over Dormant Seas". This is a very forward looking album that might get labeled somewhere between dirge metal, doom metal, post-metal. But names aside, this is an epic piece of art in album form (the last song is over 60 minutes long) that interweaves massive amounts of slowly evolving compositions of sub-bass, hazy guitar interplay and hints of twinkling electronics with brief moments of howled vocals highlighting a couple of bars every 5 minutes or so. Like I mentioned, the music evokes the exact image of it's album name. This is the soundtrack to the rays of light sliding around the edges of a thunderhead over the ocean at dawn. This is music that is the soundtrack to massive Richard Serra rusting sculptures or Robert Smithson earthworks.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A few wines to check out.

My brother recently made a request that I recommend a few wines for his anniversary dinner. His criteria was deceptively simple. Rhone blend or pinot noir with mineral-y and/or barnyard-y flavors around $40. Here's my the gist of my suggestions.

(Note: Sadly, most of my tasting notes have gone MIA having moved 4 times last year, but here are a few I remember fondly!)

First off, at your price point, most good wine shops in a half-decent city will be able to point you toward a fantastic bottle if you talk with them for a bit. The +/- $40 range is by far the best value to price area of wine. But if you're looking to go off the beaten path, I'll toss a few out.

Monterey is making some of the best, most firmly acidic and minerally Pinots in the world at the moment, I might suggest one of these three that I've tried:

But as long as you express a preference for a more refined, tannic French profile, you'll be able to find great Pinots all over that region.

On the funkier side, Doug Margerum is making the most fantastic syrahs out of various small batches of grapes from vineyards in the Santa Barbara area. Any of them are great but he's know for his "Uber" blend. Personally, I find a couple of his single vineyard offerings more charming (usually the best, and the one that provides the structure for "Uber", is

On the deeply powerful, funky and structured end from Napa, you can still catch the last vintage of Joseph Phelp's Rhone-style syrah blend Le Mistral, the first Napa-style Rhone-Blend. This vineyard and name were just sold, so who knows how the new one will fair, but I opened three bottles of this at a dinner party one time and it blew people away. This one will age for a while and pairs fantastic with rich pork and game dishes.

One of the most interesting wines from a classic Santa Rita AVA pinot producer is a *clone specific* pinot from Alama Rosa. All of their wines are fantastically structured. But this one is great for it's dark forest floor and mushroom characteristics. It's called 2008 Pinot Noir - Clone 667, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills

And just to offer up a very strange, but mind-blowing alternative white wine that may be well past your price-point, but worth looking for is the classic biodynamic Nicolas Joly Chenin Blanc. It is a white wine that decimates even good red wine in terms of flavor, body. length and food-friendliness.

Happy anniversary to David and Kate, and best wishes for the summer to all of you!

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Musical Journey, NOW MUSICAL FREE!

My love of contemporary underground music is vast. From black metal to free jazz, from post-rock to noise, complex and invigorating music informs and inspires much of my art (as do novels… but that's a post for another day). Being summer, perhaps now is a great time to while away a few of those late evening wine-siping hours updating your music library and bring a fresh perspective on your world.

Today I particularly want to feature two well established bloggers with a diverse and vast taste in current music. If you want a peek into the vortex of the hugely creative music scene happening right now all around you, these two are sure to pique your interest and get you inspired!

The first, and the one whom I owe my current obsession with discovering the wildest areas in the blank spots on the map of the current musical arts is This blog is interesting because over the last two to three years his tastes have evolved from a more traditional indie rock vibe into the more atmospheric ends of metal and post-rock/post-punk. Also, he features some interesting art cross-overs and fantastic "best of the year" lists.

The newer, at least to my eyes, is On this blog there is a focus on neo-folk, space rock, stoner metal and other really strange experimental indie albums. Occasionally some older, but important albums in the musical underground make an appearance. Download links to the albums are featured here so you can listen to them in full before you buy.

I know it's popular to make quick shuffles in or, but by no means can beat the trained sensibility and deep connections an experienced music reviewer can provide. The ability to explain why you might like an album that isn't like any album you've heard before. To provide insights and clues on what the music might be doing and how it might situate itself in it's art. They are both really accessible and entertaining so give 'em a read!