Their very name, their album art – photos referencing art and archeological artifacts, framed with stark serifed text – and oblique song titles – “Alta,” “Vesta,” “Onsra,” for example – may give off a sort of sterility or coldness, but in fact there’s a comfort and warmth, even a playfulness, to the pop of Fear of Men, even more so live, as evidenced at their show Sunday night at The Echo.
Fear of Men | fearofmen.co.uk
A sellout gig at the Echoplex on a weeknight where the choices in music around town are free and plentiful – Local Natives up on a Silverlake rooftop, Mayer Hawthorne at the Santa Monica Pier, Poolside at the Hammer – hints at the sort of fervor Mitski is stirring in certain quadrants these days.
It’s easy to be at least somewhat skeptical of alt outlet encomiums piling up for her new album, Puberty 2. She gives good interview, slipping into pull-quote-friendly think-piece-speak rather naturally. The pieces tend to touch on broader topics including things like race, gender and agency – not typical pop music chit chat. Paralleling the intellectualizing and contextualizing of her career and music, though, there’s her relatable everywoman Twitter presence – smart small observations, a comical voice, occasionally self deprecating, few caps – that has helps forge that deeply felt connection with her audience, supplementing her often diary like lyrics. Two strains of media – one verbose, one limited to 140 characters – come together around her and her music in a fairly novel way. She seems of, for and by these overmediated, overanalyzed times…
By rights, I should not be into Beach Slang, and not be here for their packed Troubadour show tonight. I’m too old, nor a hardcore scene elder, don’t skate, not all that angst ridden (more into existential despair these days) and not a particularly huge Replacements fan. And yet, suckered in by their excellent 26-minute debut record, its fiery energy, its smart cover art, and admittedly, just the all-around cool style of James Alex, I came out for the gig, and here I am, feeling it.
What’s another few days of waiting when your return is already 20 years in the making? Originally slotted as the first U.S. date of their comeback, the traditional club warm up before Coachella, Lush’s gig Monday night at the Roxy ended up as their “warm down” show, their last date of this initial West Coast/Coachella tour, shuffled back to the end after a visa snafu delayed their arrival.
Even before the first gloriously chorused chord is strummed, it’s clear the sell out room is won over. The love in the room is intense. A nice mix of well-preserved older scenester types and youngins pack the room to the gills. It’s almost bonus then, that the revered London band was able to rekindle their dreamy signature sound to great effect once again. The dueling guitars of Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson were right on point, the prior’s breezy vocals weaving through the miasma (though occasionally buried in the mix, wouldn’t have minded turning her up a bit). All in all, a tight, energetic set showcasing the wide range of sonics and song arrangements of their classic 4AD catalog.
Bringing the curtain down (well, almost: there’s still the matter of the final “secret show” on the 30th) on the 2015 edition of the popular, if slightly awkwardly titled, Red Bull Sound Select Presents: 30 Days in LA, Oxford U.K. rock outfit Foals throttled a sold out Wiltern with an electric set late Sunday evening. Grimes may have had the most buzz kicking off 30 Days in LA at the Mayan in sync with her new LP drop, but Foals were arguably the biggest get in this year’s slate of shows.