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..

Sunday, January 31, 2010


With a loyal Los Angeles fan-base, The Happy Hollows looks to breakout in 2010. Self-releasing their album "Spells" late last year, Autumn Tone Records picked it up and just released it last week on their label guaranteeing a wider audience beyond the Los Angeles borders. If you haven't had the pleasure of hearing them, you probably have already but just didn't know it. The band and their song, "High Wire" were recently featured in a national commercial for latest Samsung commercial. They're also slated to perform at this year's SXSW music & film festival in Austin, Texas in March. And to top it off, The Huffington Post just profiled them in their "Best Bands in the US" feature. Read the whole article right HERE or click the photo below. And be sure to catch them when they perform March 12 at The Troubadour.

The Huff Post's Jonathan Kim also posted some Youtube vids of the interview with front- woman Sara Negahdari. Check out all of them HERE. Below is a short clip of Sarah talking about the L.A. music scene. And check out our past write-ups of The Happy Hollows HERE!


“When you see the Happy Hollows, there will be no doubt that you're witnessing something special.”
-- Huffington Post

"A pugilistic mix of stinging guitars, turbulent rhythms, and shouted vocals that alternates between childlike experimentation and ferocious firestorm. Spells is twisty and frantic, yet perpetually melodic.”
-- Los Angeles Times

“Flecks of heavy stoner fuzz and wafts of breezy modern rock blow in and out of Spells, but at its core, it's a ripper. Most of the credit goes to Sarah Negahdari; she's a powerful but economical guitarist, jutting in and out of the tracks like a jagged saw.”
-- Pitchfork

“A killer hybrid of Kim Deal, PJ Harvey and Emily Haines. Negahdari has the guitar chops, explosive energy and winning sense of humor that should make The Happy Hollows one of the more interesting bands of our new millennium’s next decade.”
-- Wired Magazine

“The Happy Hollows have a lot of weapons in their arsenal but chief among them is Sarah Negahdari and her Polly Harvey meets Kim Deal croon.”
-- Magnet Magazine

Friday, January 29, 2010


Audra Mae
Audra Mae performs at The Hotel Cafe
photo by picksysticks

I'm sure all of you have heard the great story of Susan Boyle and how she almost had the top-selling album of 2009 with her debut album, "I Dreamed A Dream," only to be beaten by Taylor Swift's "Fearless" album. Boyle's album sold over 3 million albums and is currently #2 on the Billboard 200 charts. But did you know that L.A.'s own Audra Mae co-wrote "Who I Was Born To Be," the only original song on Susan Boyle's album? Well, she did and I'd like to think that the only original song in an album full of covers had something to do all those sales! You can read the whole story at HERE but here's a short excerpt of the article:

"[Audra Mae] hooked up with the little-known Swedish production/songwriter trio Play Production about a year ago, and this summer they sent her the chords and melody for a song they said was intended for Boyle's album. I knew it needed to be a song that made sense for her to sing, so I went online and researched her and her life and found out how she got to be where she is, and it came from that," Mae said of the gentle piano ballad with the inspirational chorus "And though I may not know the answers/ I can finally say I'm free/ And if the questions lead me here/ Then I am who I was born to be."

"I knew it needed to be something that she could be proud to sing," Mae explained. "Almost like a mantra — and I'm thrilled that she liked it enough to put it on the album. The cool thing is that she symbolizes real talent above anything else, above a show with pyrotechnics, a hot body ... she's f---ing talented and it's really awesome to be a part of that."

Read the entire story HERE. Recently signing with SideOneDummy records, Audra's debut album is set to drop this March! Check out photos and read our past write-ups of Ms. Audra Mae HERE. And here is Susan Boyle singing "Who I Was Born To Be" on Oprah!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Nico Vega
photograph by Picksysticks / Nico Vega playing Sunset Junction last year.

L.A.'s own Nico Vega just announced their US tour starting next month. Kicking off the tour on February 16th in New York, the band will be playing up until the 26th with TSOOL until their gig in San Francisco for the Noisepop Festival.

Nico Vega performing the hauntingly beautiful "Wooden Dolls" off their latest album.
video by 405east

Nico Vega has spent a better part of the last two years hitting the road with Manic Street Preachers, Semi Precious Weapons and the Von Bondies but come this winter the band are set to team up with and support The Soundtrack Of Our Lives.

Here are the upcoming tour dates:

Feb 16 2010 The Fillmore At Irving New York, NY
Feb 17 2010 The Note Westchester, PA
Feb 18 2010 Black Cat Washington, DC
Feb 19 2010 The Studio @ Warehouse Houston, TX
Feb 20 2010 Emo's Austin, TX
Feb 21 2010 Granada Theatre Dallas, TX
Feb 23 2010 Rialto Theatre Tucson, AZ
Feb 24 2010 The Casbah San Diego, CA
Feb 25 2010 The Glass House Pomona, CA
Feb 26 2010 The El Rey Theatre Los Angeles, CA
Feb 27 2010 The Independent - Noise Pop Festival San Francisco, CA

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Sarah McLachlan Video

Yeah, I know Sarah McLachlan isn't from L.A. but she's one of the reasons I started PICKSYSTICKS. And I will be seeing her later this year when Lilith Fair 2010 begins its tour. Check out the confirmed artists performing this year HERE!

Until then, enjoy Sarah's new song, "One Dream," which is being used for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics this February on NBC. "One Dream" is inspired by the athletes of the world as they strive to reach their Olympic goals. Enjoy the track's OFFICIAL music video and let it inspire you! "One Dream" is out now on iTunes and digital retailers everywhere.

Friday, January 15, 2010



So, I'm watching today at work (yes, I basically watch tv all day since I have one on my desk). And since I usually watch "Let's Make A Deal" & "Price Is Right" in the mornings, I knew that the Dollyrots would be performing on the show. I didn't know in what capacity but I was still anxiously waiting. It wasn't until the very end until Drew Carey introduced them during the second showcase and they started singing their new hit single! Yay. A co-worker started talking to me just as they started playing so I told him to shut up.

So, in case you missed it, here it is - earlier today on the CBS' The Price Is Right, The Dollyrots played their new single, "California Beach Boy" during a speical 'musical showcase.' It's pretty cool. Hopefully they'll have more 'musical showcases.' And you can purchase their new single on itunes or purchase the new single from Blackheart Records HERE!

Huh?! What the...? Where's my car?!

Rockin' out to The Dollyrots! I would be too if I was watching the Dollyrots!

The video from the showcase was apparently taken down but here are the Dollyrots performing "Because I'm Awesome" at the end of the show. Enjoy!

UPDATE: August 16, 2010 - Dollyrots' new album, "A Little Messed Up" will be released August 17. Click HERE to read about their Aug. 13th record release party at the Bootleg Theater that and cd review .

Tuesday, January 12, 2010



The Dollyrots unveiled a new song today from their upcoming album on the Blackheart Records label. Click the above photo or HERE to hear "California Beach Boy" and "Dumb which is the B-side song." You can buy it on vinyl and download starting today! Wow, this is just enough to hold me over until their new album comes out.

And get this, this Friday (January 15th), The Dollyrots will be performing on "The Price is Right." Luckily for me, I have a television on my desk so I can watch. The rest of you people better Tivo it! This Friday people!

And click HERE to watch and hear other new songs, "Om Nom," "California," and "Some Girls" that could possibly be on their upcoming album. This album is going to ROCK judging by these new songs from bassist Kelly Ogden, guitarist Luis Cabezas & drummer Chris Black.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Fine Frenzy, Colbie Caillet, Ke$ha, The Submarines, Sara Bareilles, Donna Delory and The Weepies

WOW! I'm so excited to see this year's list of artists confirmed for LILITH FAIR 2010! L.A. locals scheduled to perform are Fine Frenzy, Ke$ha, Sara Bareilles, Colbie Caillet, The Submarines, Donna Delory and The Weepies. This is going to be an incredible tour. Not only are my favorite local bands performing, I'm so excited to finally get to watch Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, Indigo Girls and Mary J. Blige - all who are on my wish list to see live. Others on the list that I've had the honor of watching live are Tegan & Sara, Zee Avi and Brandi Carlile - each worth the price of admission alone. So to watch this stellar cast of artists in one day is heaven! Check out their website HERE for more up to date information and to view more artists confirmed on the tour!

The first round of cities have already been announced with more to follow. Dates will be announced soon:

First Round of Cities:

* Atlanta, GA
* Boston, MA
* Calgary, AB
* Chicago, IL
* Dallas, TX
* Denver, CO
* London, UK
* Los Angeles, CA
* Minneapolis, MN
* Montreal, QC
* New York, NY
* Philadelphia, PA
* Portland, OR
* Seattle, WA
* San Francisco, CA
* Toronto, ON
* Vancouver, BC
* Washington, DC

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


3rd St. Promenade photo by Bayside District photography

So now that the holiday's are good and gone, I can finally catch up on some photos I've been meaning to post.

I live a few blocks from the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. So, at the height of holiday shopping season, I braved the crowds to do a little last minute shopping of my own.

3rd Street is one of my favorite places to go to. Aside from the movie theaters, the weekend farmer's market, book stores, and coffee shops, 3rd Street is world-renown for its street performers. On any given day you can witness amazing performances from group dancers, circus acts and magicians. But for me, what's special about 3rd Street are the musicians that branch out along this five-block stretch of shops and restaurants. It's an inexpensive place to enjoy music as you shop or, if you like, sit on the sidewalk and listen to original tunes from talented singer/songwriters. Oh, and show your appreciation by buying their CD or dropping a few bucks in their guitar case. For only a couple dollars, you're basically saving yourself from spending the $10-$15 cover charge that you normally would spend (plus drinks) just to watch them at a nightclub.

Rachael Cantu
Rachael Cantu performing at The Apple Store
photograph by picksysticks

On this brisk evening, a sign outside the Apple Store invited people to watch a special performance from local favorite, Rachael Cantu. Filled with moody melodies and soulful arrangements that I like to describe as Hope Sandoval/Sarah McLachlan-esque, "Run All Night," Rachael's first album, was a mature and fulfilling debut of indie/folk rock that's filled with soul and heartbreak.

Rachael Cantu
Rachael Cantu performing at The Apple Store
photo by picksysticks

If her first album was a dark, threatening storm in the distance, then her second, "Far and Wide" would be the sunlight breaking through those clouds. On "Far and Wide," her second studio album, Rachael proves her songwriting versatility with a blend of colorful and upbeat melodies but manages to keep that feeling of vulnerability and raw emotion in her powerful vocals that made her first album stand out. Check out her resume! Considering she's unsigned and self-released her latest album, Rachael Cantu has toured with BB King, Pat Benatar, Peter Frampton, Tegan & Sara, Ben Lee and Ryan Cabrera. And if you're a watcher of ABC's Private Practice, then you might have recognized her song, "Devil's Thunder," in one of the episodes. Not bad for being unsigned. Rachael is currently on her US Tour which will swing back around to the Hotel Cafe on January 19th. Be sure to check her out!

Chelsea Williams
Chelsea Williams performing at Santa Monica's 3rd St. Promenade
photo by picksysticks

The weekend was much warmer as you can see from the pics. And it didn't take long for me to hear the soothing sounds of an acoustic guitar playing and satin voice singing off in the distance. A regular on most Saturdays (usually between Santa Monica Blvd & Wilshire), Chelsea Williams' voice is hypnotic and her rock lullaby songs? Infectious. Try walking a mile in her shoes and it's hard to imagine that she performs on the street for a living. For over two years, four days a week, Chelsea has been carrying her own P.A. system, pushing it through parking garages, setting up and dismantling her gear, three or four times a day. Selling over 50,000 CDs on her own, she's made fans literally one step at a time. Just head over to 3rd Street one weekend and if you happen to catch her playing, then notice the amount of times people basically stop shopping and listen. Performing a blend of covers and original songs, Chelsea's simple and catchy melodies highlights her silky, weathered voice. Recently she recorded a remake of "Winter Wonderland" for "Snow 2: Brain Freeze" for ABC Family and is available on the compilation, "Songs to Celebrate 25 Days of Christmas," which you can purchase at Amazon, The Disney Store and Barnes & Noble. If you can't watch Chelsea play on 3rd Street, then you can catch her at Molly Malone's in Hollywood when she plays on January 13th.

Chelsea Williams
Chelsea Williams performing at Santa Monica's 3rd St. Promenade
photograph by picksysticks

Amy May
Amy May performing at Santa Monica's 3rd St. Promenade
photo by picksysticks

Another singer performing on 3rd Street this very same day was the talented Amy May. Originally from the United Kingdom, Amy spent her summer in Los Angeles to get inspiration and write songs for her upcoming album.

Amy May
Amy May performing at Santa Monica's 3rd St. Promenade
photo by picksysticks

With her absorbing and spellbinding voice which is framed by her bare and humble melodies, Amy hypnotizes in songs like "Real" and "Stormchaser" from her latest album, "Right Right Now." With her stint in L.A. over, Amy is scheduled to go to Thailand and Cambodia to do more performing and gain more inspiration for her second album. I can't wait for that to come.

Just walked over to 3rd Street yesterday (Thursday, January 14th) and who was there? Amy May! She's still performing in front of an appreciative crowd.

Amy May performs "Real" on Santa Monica's 3rd St. Promenade.