With the release of their self-titled album in 2007, HEALTH, clad in tight jeans and neon t-shirts, solidified their place amongst hipsters and teens. But while the group quickly appealed to these demographics, they had alienated themselves from the mainstream, written off by many as musicians more concerned with style than music. Two years later, their new album, Get Color, exemplifies their newfound maturity as songwriters and renders them whole conceptually. Whereas HEALTH went completely over the heads of mainstream audiences, Get Color is a bit more accessible to the layperson. Its tracks are more discernible as songs, and for the most part, they are no longer just noise, proving that HEALTH are more than a group with just a distinct fashion sense. While still experimental, the songs now harbor more melodies and qualities found in traditional songwriting.
"I think we just got better at writing our songs," says bassist John Famiglietti. "We don't want you to only like [our music] because you're supposed to like it or you like it because it's cool. I don't want you to scratch your fucking head. It should be immediate... I think [the new album] just makes our music more effective." To drive this message home, the quartet recently come off a tour supporting Nine Inch Nails, and despite getting pretzels thrown at them in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and an equally terrible show in Jacksonville, Florida, Famiglietti has only great things to say about the experience. "Trent is just about the coolest dude there is, especially for being someone who's like pretty openly worshiped by all people coming to the show," reveals Famiglietti. "After [our] first show, Trent was like, 'Hey, I don't even know what the hell's going on up there... why don't you guys use all the screens behind you?' We used literally several multi-million dollar LED screens which were like 20 feet high, and infrared cameras were put on all of us... our shows went way better after we had this gigantic light show." BAND INTERVIEW CONTINUED BELOW

The Happy Hollows play slightly discordant indie rock that shines, thanks to witty and provocative vocals by frontwoman Sarah Negahdari. There's something off kilter and, dare I say, demented about her lyrics and delivery that makes repeated listens unavoidable. What the instrumentation lacks in complexity...

Robert Francis has just dropped his second full-length record, Before Nightfall, but it's his first on a major label. And as he spends a few days in New York City with his cronies from Atlantic Records, the frosty November weather is just another reminder that he's thousands of miles away from his hometown and inspiration: Los Angeles.
"When you're in a city like L.A. or New York... they're fast-paced cities that can tear people apart," Francis explains. At only 21-years-old, Francis not only chooses his words carefully, but each one exudes insight beyond his years. Insightful words combine with insightful sounds and vocals on Before Nightfall. The record steers clear of what other 21-year-olds seem to be peddling these days with vocoder voices and electronic beats. The music itself lends a fresh outlook on what can only be described as soulful alternative with a heavy helping of classic rock; National Public Radio (NPR) has already compared Francis to the likes of Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle. Francis' voice radiates an authentic, haunting sound that reaches not only into the soul of the listener, but into his own, as well. Every note drips with a drawling sadness of the past but simultaneously conveys an urgency to cultivate an optimistic future. A listener doesn't need to know anything about Robert Francis or his music to feel like he or she has been touched by his voice and his story. Before Nightfall takes listeners through a 12-track chronicle of Francis' love life. "It's centered around a singular relationship that was set in L.A. that haunted me and consumed my life for about five years," reveals Francis. While he has no problem identifying the inspiration for his new album, his boldness recedes when asked to identify who this muse is or the problems surrounding their relationship. "A lot of the record is about growing apart from the person you love," says Francis. "Time changes people, especially when you fall in love at an early age and you both are still growing and changing. The theme of 'Junebug' is the dissipation of a relationship. There's a lot of nostalgia on the record for better times." INTERVIEW CONTINUED BELOW

Rarely has one adjective so adequately described a piece of music more than the word "moody" describes The Color Turning's debut LP, Good Hands Bad Blood. If you are able to move pass the beginning track, "Slow as Passing Cars," with appropriately slow meandering guitars...

HEALTH's Get Color Record Release Show September 11th, 2009 @ The Troubadour - Los Angeles, CA
HEALTH's record release show for their newest disc, Get Color, marked my first time inside Doug Weston's legendary venue, The Troubadour. Once inside, I instantly understood why it has become such a historical part of Los Angeles; the venue is spacious yet still intimate, and the upstairs area is perfect for a relaxed bird's-eye view of the stage.
 

In the first few moments of listening to Sugarplum Fairies' Chinese Leftovers, the influences of Mazzy Star, Belle and Sebastian and Cowboy Junkies are unmistakable. Though the vocals of Silvia Ryder aren't exactly sultry, they have a steady depth. Nonetheless, they don't offer any surprises....

"When you're younger, you kind of freak out and want people to like you. I'm glad that I don't sound like I did 15 years ago." -- Ceci Bastida...

"Learning to hear differently is part of the progression. Your hearing evolves and the perception [becomes] more musical." -- Stephen O'Malley...

When it comes to pop music, bands can try to "defy convention" in a myriad of ways. Some reach for far off musical influences, seeking to add some contrived spice to their normally pedestrian songwriting. Some try to create jarring textures that say to the...

Recently, I was listening to a Leftover Cuties track when my mother, who barely knows anything about modern music, commented that the track was reminiscent of music from "the past." That blanket statement that might seem rather uninformative initially, but musically disinclined as she is,...