Canadian Alessia Cara made her highly anticipated Los Angeles debut at The Troubadour. Signed to Def Jam records based on her Soundcloud page that included covers of Lorde, The Neighbourhood, Sam Smith and Justin Bieber, this show marked Alessia's first headlining gig.


Ahead of their June 9th release of their upcoming album Wild Nights, UK's PINS have released their new single "Young Girls." Also, they just announced their U.S. summer toiur which kicks off June 13rh in New York.


Zella Day has released her debut album Kicker and she celebrated with a sold out show at LA's famed Troubadour last week.


Last Saturday, over 150 bands made their journey to downtown Pasadena to take part in Make Music Pasadena (MMP), billed as the largest free, all-day music festival on the West Coast.


Winter's new album Supreme Blue Dream is the ideal soundtrack to your summer..

Saturday, September 29, 2007


KILLOLA "I Don't Know Who"

Dont'cha just love this song and Lisa's voice?! How could you not!?

Check out PICKSYSTICKS past review of KILLOLA'S show HERE.

THE SPORES @ Spaceland

Molly McGuire – bassist/vocalist/puppeteer
Greg Biribauer – guitar/keys
Kenny Pierce - drums

It was only fitting that my first experience with The Spores was at The Spaceland in Silverlake. And an experience it was. It’s as if you stumbled upon a lone fuel stop in deep space. Someplace that only, if you were lost, would you dare enter to ask for directions and fuel up.

Inside, snake lights trim the stage and instruments. In the corner is a tall ominous black box. The crowd slowly starts to move towards the front of the stage. It’s only when the lights dim that the ominous looking box finally comes into play. Out of the darkness appears the Preacher, a puppet that, of course, preaches religion! Like a twisted children’s morning show, next up is another puppet, Tito Zzorro, a DJ busting out mad beats and singing, “Check it out! Can you Dig it??” I don’t know what to expect next but I know that tonight is gonna be one crazy ride.

Complete with paper mache puppets opening the show to captivating visuals The Spores took the stage in exciting electro-punk fashion. With glowing light rings on her fingers, front-woman and bassist, Molly McGuire lashed out on her bass as Greg Biribauer kept it rich with his guitar and synthesizer. Think of the electric sound of Garbage with the industrialized, machine-heavy sound of Nine Inch Nails and you get The Spores. Take for instance their song, “(Don’t) Kill Yourself.” Certainly their most radio-friendly song and currently getting heavy rotation on the radio in Los Angeles, The Spores prove that they can marry both their electric sound and bass driven tunes with heavenly melodies. But listen closely to those heavenly melodies and you soon realize the irony in this happy sounding song – an obvious dig on celebrity culture she sings:

“…kill yourself / your true fans will follow … kill yourself / I'm bigger than ever / I'd do it for you / would you do it for me? / one day it could be / bigger than ever…”

The Spores, fronted by McGuire is a fresh new band, mixes the theatrical with electronic/ dance beats. Listening to their tracks online, it’s hard to imagine that this trio can translate these rich arrangements to a live setting. But last Monday, they did just that. Their new album “Doom Pop,” best describes The Spores, having that post-apocalyptic feel where hope is lost - like a space-age Mad Max where it’s kill or be killed. In the case of The Spores, they play thrusting forward, rolling over anybody that stands in their way not having a care in the world.

The Spores is a band unlike no other, blending theatrical imagery with electro-pop music. It’s as though they were using music as a soundtrack to their performance art. Starting next week, The Spores begin their European tour in support of their new album. Check out their new album or if you’re across the pond anytime soon, be sure to check ‘em out!

For fun, here's the video for "(Don't) Kill Yourself" ENJOY!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

THE DONNAS debuts on Billboards 200!

photo by Zloz

The Donnas return to the top 200 at #89, having sold 7,600 copies of their new one, Bitchin'

The album was released last Tuesday. The Donnas are currently on tour so check 'em out!! Click on the image for tour dates and information!!

CHRISSY DePAUW @ The Temple Bar

photo by JMHebron/PICKSYSTICKS
It’s a rainy Friday night. I only mention this because it’s a rarity here in Santa Monica. I take refuge inside the Temple Bar on Wishire Blvd. Tonight, I’m here to see Chrissy DePauw, a regular here at the Temple Bar. Don’t know much about her other than what I’ve read and heard of her on her Myspace page. I like what I hear. So I’m actually looking forward to watching her live for the first time.

photo by JMHebron/PICKSYSTICKS

Inside, it’s cozy and intimate. A perfect setting for Chrissy’s all acoustic set. Listening to DePauw, you can’t help but feel like long lost friends, sitting down for a cup of coffee and catching up on life and love. Her songs are conversational, harmonies flowing out easily, often seeming like she’s telling you a story as you listen intently. Her songs touch you deeply because her lyrics are universal. Such is the case in her Sade-esque “Can’t Make Somebody Love You” in which DePauw sings of loving someone who doesn’t love you back... “…when it’s meant to be, it’s gonna be a two way street…” And in “We Always Want” she sings about falling out of love with someone. Chrissy’s songs are very personal and bare, often times dealing with hurt. So when Chrissy sings up on stage, it’s as though she’s using her music as an outlet for her emotions.

Chrissy DePauw is a fresh new talent. Simplicity at its best with a touch of soul! She’s definitely worth a second viewing…and third…and fourth. To see her upcoming shows or purchase her cd, check out her Myspace site here: CHRISSY DePAUW

Click HERE to see more photos!!!

photo by JMHebron/PICKSYSTICKS

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

MATHER LOUTH @ Taix 321 Lounge


Driving home after the Mather Louth show Thursday night with her music still in my head, I couldn’t help but conjure up David Lynch. You know the mood – a long dark stretch of road. It’s near empty but for the other few drivers willing to brave the night life of Los Angeles. Only when the city goes to sleep does another side of downtown dare comes to life. Fast becoming a popular gathering place for trendy locals, the scene this night was at the Taix 321 Lounge.


Mather Louth lists her influences as, “…memories of the desert…” and “…New York City…” And that’s how best to describe her - vast emptiness of the desert mixed in with complexities of a dark, nocturnal city. In such songs as “Marisel” and “ Parched” her sound and lyrics seeps a dark desire that hypnotizes you. Her voice? Sexy and mesmeric – like a narcotic of some sort. Backed by Jon Nilsen on saxophone, Randall Keith on stand-up bass and David Meadow on drums, Mather Louth’s music encompasses blues, jazz and rock.

Mather Louth is scheduled to play again this Thusday at the Taix 321 Lounge. If you wanna hear good music along with a fine glass of wine it’s well worth the price of admission – FREE! And stick around afterwards for Tulsa Skull Swingers. Their sound would best be described as Voodoo Rock! And imagine yourself stuck in a Tim Burton movie where the dead come to life to play one rockin’ show. Check ‘em out! And check out the review and MORE pics at 405east!

MATHER LOUTH Official Myspace Site
TAIX 321 Lounge Calendar

A FINE FRENZY on CSI:NY Sept. 26th

melinda dahl photography

Alison Sudol, aka A Fine Frenzy, will make her acting debut on the season premiere of “CSI: NY,” which airs Wednesday, September 26th @10pm, on CBS. Sudol will also perform two songs: “Almost Lover,” the lead single from One Cell in the Sea, A Fine Frenzy’s debut, and “Last of Days,” another track from the album. Check local listings for stations!

Here's the CBS Press Release regarding her show:


"Can You Hear Me Now?" - Mac and the team find human blood on the crown of the Statue of Liberty, leading them on a race against time to save a famous musician from death at the hands of a vigilante, on the fourth season premiere of CSI: NY, Wednesday, Sept. 26 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Georgia Morrison...................... Hollie Stenson
Charles Price................................ Erik Fellows
Gate Agent................................. Korrine Salas
Flight Attendant.......................... Ingrid Walters
Kendall Novak............................... Bess Wohl
Damion Brock................... Kato James Bonner
Nova Kent.........................Alison Sudol
Morton Brite............................... Misha Collins
Lee Nakashima.............................. Chase Kim
Anthony Colton....................... Charlie Koznick
Marie Casimira............................. Minta Allred

YAY! If you haven't seen her yet or just want to watch her again, you can catch Ms. Sudol tomorrow night. Could she be a victim?? Or the suspect?? Tune in and find out!

Check out our past review of her show at the House of Blues!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007



The Donnas are on tour (with another LA local - Donita Sparks of L7) in support of their new album and will end their North American tour right here at the Roxy on October 27th!!!

you can purchase your cd here: The Donnas Myspace
here at their official store: "The Donnas" official store

Saturday, September 15, 2007


photo by Geoff Moore (

Check it out! Monsters are Waiting has a killer cover of the Stone Roses' "I Wanna Be Adored." For those of you who's seen them live, them singing this tune is one of the highlights.

Listen here: MONSTERS ARE WAITING "I Wanna Be Adored"

Friday, September 14, 2007

A FINE FRENZY @ The House of Blues

Vh1’s “You Oughta Know” tour came to the House of Blues earlier this week. On the bill was Seattle’s Brandi Carlile and Los Angeles local “A Fine Frenzy” fronted by 22-year-old Alison Sudol.

I was glad I got to go after being invited at the last minute. Screw going to sleep! I was in the mood for some good music and that’s what I got. Brandi Carlile headlined this night and she was the reason I actually decided to go. Her folk, alternative country sound is sweet and simple. Harmonies are pure all around. I’m sure she gets this a lot so I won’t make the comparisons with Melissa Etheridge. But I’m not writing this because of Brandi. No offense. She’s from Seattle. This is PICKSYSTICKS and I was enthused when I found out “A Fine Frenzy” was from Los Angeles (well, actually Burbank.)

Alison Sudol: Piano, Vocals
Stephen LeBlanc: Guitar, Bass, Keys
Daxx Nielsen: Drums, Guitar
Official site
Myspace Page

photo by Melinda Dahl

Don’t let the name fool you. A Fine Frenzy refers to the music. In a sense it’s a contradiction. Ordered chaos? But it’s neither. Think of it like an impressionistic Monet painting. Deep and layered. By itself, each brush stroke, like each note, doesn’t really capture the imagination. But with more carefully placed brush strokes, the painting comes to life. Take a step back and you start to see a beautiful landscape. That’s what “A Fine Frenzy” sounds like.

Alison’s ability to construct melodies that are haunting yet simple can be heard on “Almost Lover” and "Come on Come Out." Their debut album, “One Cell in the Sea,” is sure to get the Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlin comparisons. As much as we all want to categorize artists, in this instance, it’s really not fair because each artist does have their own sound. But what separates “A Fine Frenzy” from Tori and Sarah is the texture in which Alison is able to weave a rich arrangement of drums, bass, guitars and piano together with a little bit of soul. What category what that be in? Is there an impressionistic category? Oh well…just listen to these guys when they hit your neighborhood. Peace out!

I'll leave you a cool video of A FINE FRENZY singing "Almost Lover."

Thursday, September 13, 2007


In a city where live music is playing every night, it’s not too hard to find great music. Thursday night (9/6/07) at Safari Sams was no exception. I have to say that Safari Sams has got to be one of the best places to catch good music. Not only is it small and cozy with a DJ spinning great music between sets, it has, in my opinion, the best sound in Hollywood. This night brought out locals, “The Dollyrots,” “KILLOLA” and “Lots of Love.” First off:

Jessica: vocals, guitar, keys
JC: lead guitar
Blake: bass guitar
Phil: drums and cymbals

photo by JMHebron/405 east

Close your eyes and what you hear is something close to an early 1900’s vaudeville/cabaret style singer. Can you picture it? Sitting in a smoke-filled nightclub after hours as a singer stands center stage singing to no one in particular. Open your eyes and what you get is Lots of Love – a young quartet that sounds much older than how they look.

Lots of Love, according to their website, was formed by singer/songwriter Jessica Fleischer in the summer of 2005. Their first show was in August of last year and since then their songs have been featured on MTV’s dating show “NEXT.”

photo by JMHebron/405 east

Fronted by Jessica (vocals, guitar, keyboard) this band certainly has a unique sound – a sound that will, at first, keep you interested just enough until it catches you and reels you in along for the ride. Rounding out the group are Phil on drums, Blake on bass and JC on guitar. Their playful sound mixes in old vaudeville with poppy beats. But the treat in Lots of Love is listening to their lush melodies. This group is young and their sound fun but it’s Jessica’s voice and lyrics that show Lots of Love’s maturity as a band who can play and write great tunes.

Lisa Rieffel: lead vocals
Dan Grody: drums
Mike Ball: guitar/vocals
Johnny Dunn: bass guitar/vocals

photo by JMHebron/405 east

KILLOLA, an in your face, hard rock new-wave band took the stage in electrifying fashion! Driven by power guitars and high octane beats, KILLOLA energized the crowd with their new-wave rock and screaming vocals by the spark-plug of a lead singer, Lisa Rieffel who, if not for the confines of the stage, would’ve broken loose like a caged phoenix.

photo by JMHebron/405 east

Even when Killola’s raw and powerful performance seemed out of control and frenzied, they seemed in control at all times, managing to keep themselves from boiling over onto the crowd. So when they played their power ballad, “I Don’t Know Who,” we finally got to see them slowed down and take a breather. And what they showed us was that they can also weave beautiful, vibrant melodies without straying from their pulse-pounding foundation. Killola’s performance at Safari Sams was a roller-coaster ride from beginning to end. So when it ended and I finally got off, I wanted to hop on for more!

Kelly Ogden: Vox/Bass Guitar
Luis Cabezas: Guitar/Vox
Chris Black: Drums

photo by JMHebron/405 east

THE DOLLYROTS brought this night to an exciting end with punk/pop rock at its best! With a commanding presence on vocals and playing bass, Kelly Ogden belts out her catchy lyrics so effortless that you’ll find yourself singing along with her AND, not surprisingly, along with the entire crowd. Recently named as one of BLENDER Magazine’s “Hottest Women of Rock,” Kelly just makes it look so darn easy and fun - all the while as she handles and abuses that bass guitar. Take for instance, “My Best Friend’s Hot.” Kelly’s pop-anthem lyrics are catchy and Luis Cabezas guitar riffs contagious. Don’t shy away from them for their bubble-gum poppie sound, evidenced by the fact that they get played on Radio Disney and a recent Khols commercial where pre-teens lip-sync to their single “Because I’m Awesome.” Live and on stage they are complete raw, energized, punk and it shows. This was the first time I’ve seen them play live and they did not disappoint. Currently The Dollyrots are on tour in support of their new album, “Because I’m Awesome,” which was released in March. Catch ‘em if you can.

photos by JMHebron/405 east

Here's a video of The Dollyrots performing, "This Crush" from their new album "Because I'm Awesome" at Safari Sams.

(for more photos and reviews of this show, check out )

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Tegan and Sara @ Amoeba Records

(Originally posted July 25, 2007: Ok! I know they're not from LA but they played here recently. Every once in a blue moon I'd like to feature bands that I really really like. So sue me!)

"...begging 'ocean please, help me drown these memories'
all I need to hear is that you're not mine you're not mine... "

So goes the lyrics from "Hop a Plane" from Tegan and Sara's fifth album, "The Con" which brought them AND me to Amoeba Records in Hollywood for their record release party. It was a packed house! A couple years ago, I caught them at the Wiltern opening up for another band and they certainly didn't dissapoint. When I mentioned to my friend we should get there two hours early, he thought I was nuts!! So did I but I really wanted to see Tegan and Sara up close. When we got there, to both of our surprise, the place WAS PACKED! (Did I mention we got there two hours early??) Uh…yeah…we walked around a few minutes and eventually found a spot upstairs looking down at the stage AND the madness!

Here's Tegan and Sara performing "Speak Slow" from the show.

Touring around for years in small clubs and venues, Tegan and Sara's fifth album will no doubt win them more fans and airplay – much to their pleasure OR displeasure. Tegan and Sara built a committed following during their early years in the indie-rock circuit with simple melodies and soft, catchy lyrics. As they tried to find their place and voice, their earlier songs, more often than not, mirrored their youth, growing up as two twin sisters from Canada. And their ability to weave memorable harmonies over toe-tapping rhythms are, no doubt, their strengths. Last years radio-friendly "Walking the Ghost" introduced them to the commerical masses and soon, their songs were heard on televison shows.

On their latest album, "The Con," Tegan and Sara has matured. The music more full and layered. Their lyrics more deep and powerful. Their strenghts can still be heard but times it by 10! My favorite? Or should I say my favorite new song, which I think will be everyone elses favorite new song is "Hop a Plane." A departure from most of their acoustic sounding and melodic songs, this song flat out ROCKS. They'll get a lot of haters out there for being too Poppy. But this song, with 1 min 45 sec running time, it's catchy chorus and electric hooks down to it's drum beats sort of borderline punk. (The beginning starts off like Rancid's "11th Hour.") And I like it!



Monsters are Waiting, 8 mm @ Safari Sams

(Archive post originally posted on March 31, 2006)


For those of you who know me, for the past few years, I've been listening a lot to girl-fronted bands.Thursday night, Safari Sams hosted "Monsters are Waiting" and "8mm" - both local bands AND both with girl singers. Again, for those who know me, I've also been broke for what seems like FOREVER. So it some coaxing from a friend to get me to go especially since I find out that 'Monsters' wouldn't take the stage until 11:45pm!! Ugh. . Fortunately, the cover was only $10. I decide to bring my camera and after a quick stop to Starbucks, we head down Sunset towards Hollywood. Now, this would be the third time I've seen "Monsters." The first two they opened up for "Stellastarr*" and I dug their sound. I dug their lead singer, Annalee, even more! Their songs "Last Goodbye" and "Fascination" are on a heavy rotation on my IPOD.

photo by JMHebron/PICKSYSTICKS

The next band was "8MM" who didn't take the stage until 12:35 am!! By this time, the place was nearly empty and the caffeine in me is doing it's job - almost too well. Honestly, I didn't know much about this band but their sound was surprisingly good and completely opposite of 'Monsters.' They're moody with a smokey sound..

photos by JMHebron/PICKSYSTICKS

All in all, it was a good night of music. Didn't get home until almost three and and got up at 5am for work. Sleep is WAAAY underrated. TGIF!


Saturday, September 1, 2007


Waiting in line for Smashing Pumpkins at San Francisco's The Fillmore.
Welcome to PICKSYSTICKS, a blog site that spotlights the best indie bands in Los Angeles - they just happen to be fronted by women! Unlike their counterparts, these chick bands shell out a different feel and sound that only these gals can emote. They can also rock as hard as the next guy often with more raw energy and emotion than most guy bands. But, through the music, what separates girl bands is that they also have the ability to let us hear their vulnerability and show us their passion. Whether it be punk, acoustic, rock, or electronica, in a diverse city such as Los Angeles, you can find anything to please your musical tastes on any given night. If your cup of tea are girl bands then PICKSYSTICKS is the place to be. Check out these bands and you’ll realize, through this ‘angelic hard-rock,’ why L.A. is called the City of Angels.