Kraftwerkin’ Day and Night was going to be the title of a section of my record collection, but it swelled into a behemoth of synthesizers and I had to change the game plan. Now, Kraftwerkin’ Day and Night is a blog section dedicated to the day-to-day activities of one lowly freelancer (that would be yours truly) who listens to things that sound like Kraftwerk while trying desperately to make a name for herself. I’m posting these updates because I get a ton of questions about working freelance. Maybe this will help. Maybe it will be entertaining too. I don’t know.
I work from a home office deep within the confines of Greater Hipsterville. Every day, I sit at a desk cluttered with Sanrio and San-X stationary. It’s totally kawaii. Unless I have to go out for an interview, I wear my freelance uniform. That’s yoga pants, a band t-shirt, a hoodie and Target socks decked out in funky patterns. When I run outside, I slip on Chuck Taylors. They don’t necessarily match my socks. Today, I’m wearing a Nine Inch Nails shirt that I bought when the Downward Spiral tour came to Los Angeles. Yes, that was 18 years ago, but there are no holes in the shirt, so it’s okay.
Crowd-funding platform PledgeMusic is gaining a lot of steam with musicians. Helen Marnie from Ladytron just raised the money for her first solo album through the site. LCD Soundsystem and Esthero are getting closer to their goals. And, today, Chris Corner made waves by hitting his goal in less than one hour of clicking his campaign live. The news came via a press release earlier this afternoon.
Corner is the mind behind IAMX. He’s also a former member of Sneaker Pimps. (And, for you Mighty Boosh trivia buffs, he appeared on the cover of Mod Monthly in “Jungle,” aka the episode with the Mod Wolves.) Right now, he’s working on his fifth IAMX studio album. Corner, who typically self-produces IAMX, is working with Jim Abbiss in the studio. Abbiss’ credits include Sneaker Pimps debut album, Becoming X, as well as albums from Editors, Temper Trap, Ladytron, Arctic Monkeys and Adele. There will also be a behind-the-scenes documentary accompanying the release. You can see what he’s doing in the video above and related footage available on his YouTube channel. Continue reading →
Back in 2009, I did a small post for LA Weekly on this dude called SFV Acid. I think I found him on MySpace or something. I loved his music, as well as the fact that he, like yours truly, was from the Valley.
SFV Acid, aka Zane Reynolds, has a new EP on the way and is getting a lot more ink than he was back in 2009. This is incredibly exciting. I can’t help but feel a sense of 818 pride while listening to his new mix for Fader and reading the accompanying interview. This bit hits close to home:
I mean, I wasn’t aware of like, the utter hatred of this place until I started doing club nights and stuff. But people from LA, the hipsters or whatever you want to call them—the young people in LA do not want to come out here for any reason. I guess that’s how it’s influenced me—it’s like you live in the Valley, or you live Pasadena or maybe Pomona even, and you end up knowing all of LA county because you live outside of it.
In this game, a well-stocked Rolodex means getting first dibs on records instead of rifling through crates once they’ve been picked over. Osamu Ueno, an independent record buyer, says he moonlights for a Japanese buyer as its eyes and ears in San Francisco—for a 10% finder’s fee. Mr. Ueno wouldn’t give details, fearing prices of mentioned CDs would rise, but he offered this: “When you find these CD titles, they’re usually in the clearance sections for 99 cents.”
Much of what the Japanese want goes for higher prices. Collectible artists in Japan include female pop singers like Patti Page, whose “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window” was a 1950s hit, and 1980s teen idol Debbie Gibson. A “Doggie” record-single goes for $5 in the U.S. and $30 in Japan, while Ms. Gibson’s LPs can fetch $200 on eBay. The Japanese “like sugary sweet pop,” collector Alec Palao says.
But some things, like privately pressed novelty records, are “rare for a reason,” says Mr. Vague, the Long Beach dealer. “No one wanted them in the first place.”
$200 for a Debbie Gibson album? I wonder how much someone could get for the cassettes? And by someone, I mean me, if, in fact, I can find my copies of Out of the Blue and Electric Youth on cassette.
Miki, Yumi and Kei from The Akabane Vulgars on Strong Bypass (Photo: Liz O.)
We weren’t quite sure we would actually find The Akabane Vulgars on Strong Bypass, playing live in some hidden corner of Pasadena and we are pros at finding bands in spots that are not the Troubadour or whatever. We’ve spent a lot of time searching for music. We’ve driven blindly in the pre-GPS days, waiting for the bass to shake our car. We’ve wandered through neighborhoods where they only sign of life was the sad shell of a gentlemen’s club. We’ve stumbled into backyards and even made our way through a maze of storage units. Anything to find the music. This time, though, our inner party compass, and all external means of mapping locations, were failing.
On this particular night, the quest to find the band led us to what my perennial partner-in-crime, Carlos, and I would consider uncharted territory. We were in Old Town Pasadena. This isn’t the sort of neighborhood we would ever associate with music we like. The streets are clean and lined with mall stores. There are crowds of people pouring in and out of restaurants with large shopping bags hanging from one arm and small children clinging tightly to the other. It’s family friendly, two words we will never associate with music and good times. Continue reading →
I can’t believe it’s been more than a decade since The Faint released Danse Macabre. This wasn’t the band’s first album, but it was definitely their landmark album. I was a resident DJ at Bang! here in Los Angeles back in 2001 and quickly became obsessed with playing so much of Danse Macabre. “Agenda Suicide” and “Glass Danse” were biggies, as was “Your Retro Career Has Melted.” “Let The Poison Spill from Your Throat” might have gotten some play too. Then there was the fantastic Thin White Duke Mix of “The Conductor” that was really popular at this electro party I did called Transmission.
True story: I randomly ended up DJing at The Faint’s stop at the Troubadour while they were touring with Danse Macabre. Somebody I had never met called me up that afternoon and asked if I would do it. Even weirder was that I was scheduled to interview them for Outburn magazine that same night. So, I ended up DJing the show and interviewing them. At that time, it was one of the most exciting work days I had ever had.
Turn-of-the-century flashbacks aside, this is a phenomenal album and one that rightly deserves an extra-special release. Go ahead and check out the free track available via the above widget. The remastered, deluxe edition comes out on October 30. The Thin White Duke mix of “The Conductor” is on the bonus disc, which makes this absolutely worth your while. Here’s the tracklisting, per a recent press release. Continue reading →
Recently, I was invited to a screening of The Odd Life of Timothy Green at Disney’s studios. It took me a little while to get together everything I wanted to say about the movie. The following might contain spoilers, I can’t say for sure since I don’t really know what constitutes a spoiler. Continue reading →
I’ve neglected blogging, and a lot of other stuff too, because I’ve had my nose buried in some freelancing that has nothing to do with the things I write that you might actually read.
Somehow, in the midst of that, I managed to spew four stories that you did read. At least, I think you’ve read them because you’ve been tweeting, sharing on Facebook and all that good stuff. I want to thank you for that. Continue reading →