Monday, 18 April 2011

LA Report: Body Parts, Tes Elations, Telematique

Ever since I booked my ticket to Los Angeles, I have been particularly excited about going to The Smell. This DIY super venue represents everything I love about independent music: courage to support the unusual, art, commitment and fun. So while others were baking in the heat at Coachella, I invested a lot of energy into convincing my host that we should go to The Smell instead of Brokechella, LA's alternative to Coachella. Needless to say, I won him over.

Of the bands on the bill, I had only really heard of Body Parts before. So we arrived not knowing what to expect. And were pretty impressed straight away: Telematique is a two piece playing the violin and the cello, using these instruments in their classic sense but also in alternative ways like strumming, knocking, etc. The music is very rhythmic but the female singing brings a softer side to it. I can very much see myself listening to this on a Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea. Hopefully, they bring out a record in due course.

I can see Tes Elations, the next band on the bill, having a future. Featuring two members from Upsilon Acrux, the band is mainly based around a cellist and a vocalist who is not shy to interact with the audience. The music is a bit post punk and very rhythmic. This was very much my thing and I was instantly taken in and recommend this group to anyone looking for new music of the genre. 

The evening was to end with the set of Body Parts, the band we mainly came to see. Interestingly enough, I was the least moved by this four-piece. They came across as incredibly nice people and brought along some great ideas like playing a drum stick solo and similar ideas. But musically, I thought them OK, not amazing, which came as a surprise to me since I really liked the two recordings I had heard before. However, when they covered Hounds of Love by Kate Bush, we made it our time to leave. I adore Kate Bush and I think nobody should attempt to cover her songs because there is just no way of getting anywhere near that voice anyway. But I am fond of the Futureheads cover of Hounds of Love and truly believe that unless you are some sort of musical genius you should stay well clear of that now that it's been done to perfection already. Maybe I'm a bit uptight here but it's really the way I feel about it. 

Nonetheless, Body Parts' set was enjoyable, Telematique and Tes Elations were pretty special and the evening was considered an overall success. I shall report again from my next Smell gig, which will be Abe Vigoda next week. I cannot wait!!

Wall at The Smell 

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