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..

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Julie Ruin Drop Limited Edition 7" Track

In 1997 legendary Riot Grrrl pioneer Kathleen Hanna released a solo album under the name‚ “Julie Ruin” with the intention of forming a band to perform the songs live. In 2010 she built her dream team who quickly learned the songs and then recorded their own debut album titled Run Fast. Fans rejoiced as the band dominated stages around the world from NYC to Australia in support of Run Fast. Following Kathleen’s collaboration on Mykki Blanco presents Gay Dog Food this fall, they can celebrate once again with the news that The Julie Ruin is back in the studio working on new material.

The band has released the song “Blueberry Island”, a track featured on the forthcoming digital release of the soundtrack for the IFC bio pic about Kathleen called The Punk Singer. It will also be made available as a limited edition 7” single featuring the “Right Home” (YACHT Remix) b-side via the Federal Prism Pop Up Store.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Anna Donigan of PINS

PINS, in a recent Facebook post, revealed that bassist Anna Donigan was struck by a  car, injuring her leg and damaging her bike.  The UK band hopes for a speedy recovery in time for next year's shows. Here's their post via Facebook:

"Please send lot's of love and kisses to Anna. 2 nights ago she was hit by a car leaving her bicycle and leg in a tangled mess. She is hoping to be on two feet again in time for next years shows but won't be joining us on Saturday at The Castle."


Monday, December 15, 2014



I love this song, showing Nicki Minaj's more vulnerable side.  Listen to this new song from Nicki Minaj featuring Skylar Grey which she performed on today's Ellen.  This beautiful song is called "Bed of Lies" and it's off her new album The Pinkprint.  "Bed of Lies" which was the fourth single off the album tied her with Madonna and Dionne Warwick for the third most entries among women on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

"Bed of Lies" 

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Yesterday, the brother/sister duo known as The Broods announced that they will be returning to the States for their very own headlining tour.  One thing this announcement confirmed is that they will not be performing at SXSW, which I'd hoped, which takes place between March 17-22.  Looks as though they'll be on the east coast and Canada during that week. 

The Broods just released their debut album Evergreen after breaking out in a big way earlier this year with the hit EP.  Evergreen hit #1 in the charts in their homeland of New Zealand.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Head over to iTunes Radio at this LINK right now to stream Charli XCX's new album Sucker a week early!!  It drops December 15th and includes hit songs like "Boom Clap," "London Queen" and "Break the Rules."

"Breaking Up" by Charli XCX off her new album Sucker.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


House United

House United, hailing from Nashville, Tenn – has debuted their first album Made of Matches and it  has the feeling of listening to a veteran band who has been playing for years.   Led by 16 year-old lead singer Carmel P. Buckingham and backed by an explosive band consisting of Brandon Adams (guitar), Joe Gregory (bass) and Austin Arnold (drums),  House United uses igniting and inventive arrangements to present  their thoughts of destruction and loss.

In a time that the art of the album has been lost with most contemporary rock albums feeling unconnected with a bunch of songs thrown together to make an album, House United is bringing back the concept album with Made of Matches - a rock opera that unifies their record with a single theme revolving around a central story of love and heartbreak.   

Setting the tone  is their first lead single "Catastrophe" a rock ballad which plays loud and soft, with Buckingham crooning over an unhealthy relationship, over a love she admits is wrong when she sings "I've made the mistake of letting you in...But I'll do it all over for a love like we've had..Sorry I fell for a perfect catastrophe."  That, in turn, leads to dealing with the intense emotions of falling in love in their  single "Emergency."

In the fast power rock "Stay Alive," Buckingham admits finding love is no fairytale and is willing to fight to work it out until there's the quick realization that love is a delusion in "Girls Who Can't Have Fun" as she sings "Love is for the dreamers searching for the one."

The turning point rears its head in "Phoenix,' the rousing arena-ready rock anthem with shout-along choruses and spewing guitars. Even though emotionally hurt and bruised, Buckingham roars confidently like a phoenix rising from the ashes.   And with aerial guitar riffs that evokes hope, the whole album swells to a rising close in "Who Am I. " Once dependent and broken, Buckingham's journey through insecurities, broken relationships and heartbreak has led her to become stronger, wiser and more independent.  Rather than telling someone, she seems to be affirming to herself "I will be happy. I stood for something...Who am I if I had to hide." 

"Emergency" from the debut album Made of Matches by House United. 

Made of Matches also showcases the band's ability to cross musical genres.  "Emergency" and "New Hampshire"  echoes the punk attitude of Paramore and Tonight Alive, "Who Am I" whispers My Chemical Romance.  "Fallin" borrows from reggae while "Out of Time" hints at sunny pop with the likes of Sara B areilles. But it's their more vulnerable songs like "Come Back Home" that hits the hardest.  Over teardrop piano this sweeping ballad recounts the heartbreak of a broken relationship and showcases House United's talents transitioning from bruising rock to vulnerable tunes in a heartbeat.

Considering House United has been a band for less than a year, they have accomplished in their first album what most bands strive to accomplish by their third or fourth album.   Their aptly named debut Made of Matches, right off the bat, holds your attention with an aggressive sound balanced with the tenderness of Buckingham's radiant vocals, unleashing bruising rock with dramatic flourish.  And it's going to be exciting, to say the least, to see what the future holds.  Made of Matches could be the spark that rockets House United into the stratosphere. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014



SOOOOOOOO excited about this news. Wolf Alice just announced that they are touring the U.S. for the first time.  Earlier this year, they made their stateside debut at SXSW, playing a few dates.  Now, they return this January performing in Los Angeles and New York.

Tickets go on sale this Friday but the Los Angeles show at Bardot's School Night is usually free with RSVP.  Can't wait!

Wolf Alice announces U.S. tour dates.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


photo via
Sydney-based songstress Gabby Huber is well known to Australia's larger music community for her previous endeavours as a band member, touring and playing abroad as a keyboardist and vocalist. 

Now, after several years of quiet and careful craft, she is stepping into the world as Maples with her debut single 'Stars', and now, its accompanying music video. Check it out below.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014


pic via

Wow.  Check out the new trailer for Warner Bros. movie "Pan" starring Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, Garrett Hedlund as Hook and Levi Miller as Peter Pan.  Also starring Amanda Seyfriend, Rooney Mara and Cara Delevingne, the trailer uses the song "I Believe" by Christina Perri off her second studio album Head or Heart which dropped in April.

PAN is set to hit theaters summer 2015. Check out the trailer below.

"I Believe" by Christina Perri (lyric video)



Yesterday, the delux reissue of Paramore's 2013'S self-titled album was released with an accompanying music video for "Hate to See Your Heart Break" featuring former Civil Wars singer Joy Williams.  

Check it out below.


Monday, November 24, 2014



Billboard just premiered the newest song from The Bangles' upcoming compliation album Ladies and Gentlemen.  It's called "The Real World" and it's part of a collection of early demos covers and live tracks.

Ladies and Gentlemen drops Thanksgiving day. Check out the song at Billboard right HERE

Sunday, November 23, 2014


On Thursday, Sky Ferreira took to the Belasco Theater in Downtown Los Angeles with Cherry Glazerr as part of her West Coast tour.  

For someone who makes a living as a model, gracing magazine covers across the globe while also pursuing a musical career performing in front of thousands of people, Sky Ferreira is sure self-consious about herself.  

Each time, I've seen her perform live, she has played in near, complete darkness except for a lone spotlight and quick strobe lights that gives you a glimpse of the enigma that is Sky Ferreira.  Her songs are really good. Just check out her recent album, Night Time, My Time that dropped last October and 2012's Ghost EP. It's packed with dark, sparkly, indie-pop melodies that showcases her talent in writing.  But it seems like she doesn't have the confidence in her music, partly ashamed that no one will take her seriously from transitioning from model to singer that bleeds into her low-energy stage presence.  

Maybe she's still trying to find her genre.  She's dabbled with a variety of sounds earlier in her career - from pop  ("Obsession") then synth-dance with 2009's "One" and also some hard rock like "Red Lips" and even covering Hole's "Asksing For It."  

Personally, I like her dark, moody side - the side that gave us "You're Not the One," "Sad Dream" and "Lost in My Bedroom" - all songs that came off her last two albums. But honestly, it'd be nice to, at least, see her during her live shows but you know what? If she keeps writing gems like these then I wouldn't mind is she performs in the dark.

Sky ends her west coast tour next week at San Francisco's The Independent before she heads back into the studio to work on new record. 


Friday, November 21, 2014


Lexus' Pop-Up Concert Series final installment came to a close Monday night featuring Tegan and Sara at the Orange County's Fair & Event Center.  A free show powered by Pandora, the Pop-Up concert was part of a series of four shows put on by Lexus to connect loyal fans to today's top musical acts which included Magic!, Nico & Vinz and Kongas.  

For the final installment, free tickets were snatched up in minutes to see the twin sisters from Canada.  Fans lined up early to get a prime position inside The Hangar to watch the duo perform their last show in California this year before heading back into the studio to begin recording their new album.  

Tegan and Sara
Tegan and Sara performs during the final installment of the Lexus Pop Up Concert Series Powered by Pandora.
photos by Picksysticks
During their 15-year career, Tegan and Sara's loyal fans has helped them sell over a million records worldwide.  But it was their 7th studio album Heartthrob, released in 2013, that propelled them into the mainstream infusing their indie-rock sounds with pop in hits like "Closer," "I Was a Fool" and "How Come You Don't Want Me." 

"Our last two years has been so incredible for us. We obviously tried something really new and different and yet a lot of our old fans have stuck with us and we have so many new people who are listening to Tegan and Sara," said Tegan Quinn.  "What's really cool is that Sara and I; our number one goal throughout the last 15 years is just to make music we really enjoy making."

Tegan and Sara mostly performed songs off their 2013 breakthrough album Heartthrob, opening with "Drove Me Wild," a song Tegan has to abruptly stop because, as she said, she was distracted by all the dancing and the brand new cherry-red 2015 RC 350 F Sport Lexus off to the side.

Lexus Pop Up Concert Powered by Pandora feat. Tegan and Sara
Lexus Pop Up Concert Series Powered by Pandora feat. Tegan and Sara.
photos by picksysticks

During their 50-minute set, although hey did pepper the night with some oldies, like "The Con," "Alligator" (2009's Sainthood) and "Living Room" (If It Was You, 2002), the night  showcased more of the new and the future of their music and music in general.   

The event, powered by Pandora, is playing a big part connecting fans to their favorite artists like Tegan and Sara.  Over one million people has made a station with their name and their songs has been spun over 3.5 million times on Pandora.  

"We think the future of music, whether you like it or not, is going to be online...and it's going to be playlists and sharing and streaming and digital," Tegan said.  "I just really want to say that Sarah and I really embrace the future of music. we think the future is terrifying but also kind of cool." 

And with that, Tegan and Sara closed out their set with their hit "Closer" off their newest album Heartthrob. 

And with that, before launching into their closing song "Closer," Tegan and Sara teased  a new record coming out in 2016.   And with a career spanning over a decade, Tegan and Sara are sure to continue their global dominance.

Lexus Pop Up Concert set list (Nov. 19th):  Drove Me Wild / I Couldn't Be Your Friend / Monday Monday Monday / Back in Your Head / I Was A Fool / Alligator / How Come You Don't Want Me / The Con / Living Room / Closer 

Monday, November 17, 2014


Tegan and Sara

Tegan and Sara will release a very special 10th Anniversary edition of their breakthrough album So Jealous, entitled So Jealous X, on December 23rd on Warner Bros. Records.

Said Tegan and Sara: "Because So Jealous changed the course of our sound, our career and most importantly our lives, we didn't want to just re-release the record. Instead we wanted to re-ignite the fire that inspired us to make the record in the first place and hopefully allow it to reach a whole new audience."

To that end, So Jealous X comes with a 110-page hardcover book that looks back at the album through photos and written recollections from Tegan and Sara, their band members and crew, and industry colleagues. It features essays, original journal entries from the time period, never-before-seen photos, a catalogue of merchandise, and tour posters and laminates in addition to the music. The three discs feature the original So Jealous album and a 22-track bonus audio CD that includes five new electronic remixes, three cover songs from artists Tegan and Sara love, plus five B-sides and nine demos from that time period. It also includes a DVD of a live concert and other tour documentaries that Tegan and Sara released in 2006 called "It's Not Fun, Don't Do it!" 

So Jealous X is currently available for pre-order in several different configurations here.

Having just wrapped a tour with Katy Perry, Tegan and Sara are currently out on their final headlining run of 2014, before breaking to begin writing the follow-up to Heartthrob in 2015.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Seriously, you have to listen to this newest single from Screaming Females. It's called "Ripe" and its filled with mutated guitars and driving, high-octane drums.  That's the power that drives this New Jersey trio led by thrasher extroidinaire Marissa Patermoster.  

The song is off their upcoming sixth studio album Rose Mountain which drops February 24th via Don Giovani and the video is very direct, letting the music the center of attention, with the band just sitting and standing there staring towards the camera. At first it looks as though it was a photograph of the band until you notice tiny movements and blinking.  

Formed in 2005, Screaming Females is singer/guitarist Marisa Paternoster, bassist Michael Abbate and drummer Jarrett Dougherty. The band has performed alongside Dinosaur Jr., The Julie Ruin, Titus Andronicus + more and just wrapped up a national tour with PUJOL.

"Ripe" by Screaming Females

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Allison Weiss

On November 10th, on the last day of their tour, the passenger van carrying Allison Weiss and her band was blown over by heavy winds while travelling from Denver to Salt Lake City. 

Below is her statement regarding the incident:


I want to preface this by saying we are safe and we are so lucky. 

The Allison Weiss band jokes about being the tamest band on the road. We rarely party. We go to bed early. We always drive slow and we ALWAYS wear our seat belts. I'm a worrier, you know? It's in my blood. I'm constantly preparing for the worst case scenario, going over the what-ifs in my mind like some kind of religious ritual. We all hear the stories, all bands do. We knock on wood and hope it doesn't happen to us, knowing in the back of our minds that in this business it's probably inevitable. You can plan all you want, but when the moment hits, all you can do is hope for the best. 

Yesterday around 10:00am my band and I were traveling from Denver to Salt Lake City. It's a notoriously treacherous stretch of highway and we were braced for bad weather, but when a huge gust of wind hit our 15 passenger van and sent us over a patch of ice, there was nothing we could do. 

I heard Liam yell "Oh no" and I tried to go totally limp (I heard you're supposed to do this instead of bracing yourself). The van hit the median and rolled twice, at least. Fear shot through my body. Here I was on my last day of tour with four incredible people who have dedicated their time and energy to back me up on stage every night and in this moment I had no idea if they were okay. One by one we yelled to each other "Everyone alright?! Is everyone okay?!" My glasses were gone. I couldn't see. I scrambled around completely blind as the snow came through the windows and I felt my head pounding. Someone found my wallet. My phone. My glasses. Pete's phone. Liam's laptop bag. All the doors were jammed but we got outside, and I immediately went back in to get everyone's personal belongings. It all happened in about 30 seconds and the next thing I knew we were hustled across the highway to the cab of a semi truck that stopped to help.

pic via
I'm sitting here now, it's 7:07 am in Laramie WY. My Fest wristband is replaced with a new bracelet, one that says Allison Amling Weiss and my birthday and the name of the local hospital. I have a staple in my head where the doctor patched up a gash I got when I hit the side window. Pete, Liam, and Will are shaken up but okay. Kailynn suffered a small back injury but nothing serious. We are so lucky. We are SO lucky.

Our van, The Gator, is totaled. We had just hit 100,000 miles on this trip. I felt a sense of adventure when it happened a week ago. I couldn't wait for the next 200k. I pictured me and that van, sailing off into the sunset on tour after tour. The Gator was gonna take me to new territories. I'm sad, but it's just a van. It's a thing. We're all walking and talking and breathing and laughing and sighing. We're okay.
I don't know what this will mean for my touring future. I know we'll keep pushing on, but for a small band like myself, this is a huge hit. We've already incurred medical bills and hotel costs, insurance deductibles and the like. We haven't even had a chance to check out our gear yet, and the idea of trying to find a new van makes my brain hurt... or maybe that's the staple...

I've always been able to survive because of the people who follow me and who love my music. This tour has been incredible. The people I've met who sang my words with me every night, completely understanding the songs I wrote alone in my bedroom, those are the people who have kept me going. You are the ones who have allowed me to keep doing this. 

So I come to you now asking for help. If you can spare it, I set up a Paypal donation button where you can send us a few bucks. If you haven't heard my music before, for the next 72 hours my label No Sleep Records is putting 100% of our Bandcamp sales towards our recovery. There are more links below, for my web store and individual records on Bandcamp. Every dollar counts. Your support means the world to me and my bandmates.

To all the bands who are touring this winter, PLEASE be safe. Drive slow. Wear your seat belts. Not everyone ends up as lucky as we did.



Donate on Paypal:

Allison Weiss Online Store



Fergie's new video, a remix of her current single "L.A. Love (la la)" is a love letter to her hometown, celebrating everything that makes Los Angeles great - from Venice to South Central to Hollywood and downtown.  

Making cameos in the video are L.A. icons such as Chelsea Handler, Tommy Chong, Wilmer Valderrama, Hilary Swank, Taylor Momsen, L.A. Clippers' Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan.  

"L.A. Love (la la)"  is her first new track since “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody,” which appeared on the platinum soundtrack to the 2013 film The Great Gatsby and has sold over 1 million copies worldwide. 


Monday, November 10, 2014


Ballet School

Ballet School is a band I've wanted to see for a long time so when they came to Bardot's School Night, a free concert every Monday, I knew I just had to go.  This trio from Berlin  had just released their debut album The Dew Lasts An Hour and it's filled with dreamy, saturated melodies like a rolling hillside overgrown with wild colorful poppies.  There's a an order over all this chaos and for some reason it works and it's beautiful.  Everytime I listen to their album, I feel like Julie Andrews running and twirling on that hillside.  The hills are alive indeed.

Bardot setlist (11/3/14): Gray / Ghost / Heartbreak Overdrive / Justify My Love (Madonna cover) / Lux / Heliconia / Cherish




Check out the juicy new video for "L.A.F." from New Zealand's Broods.  Saturated in super colors, 90s neon lights, the setting looks like it was shot at one of those photography studios where you take your high school senior portraits.  You remember? Lasers and terrestrial stars in the background while you don your letterman jacket along with your favorite prop - like a violin or your cat Mr. Bojangles.

The video is still great no matter how you wrap it. "L.A.F." is off their debut album Evergreen which dropped last month in the U.S. reaching to #7 on Billboard's Alternative charts while it topped the charts in their home country.

"L.A.F." official music video by the Broods.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


Gaela Brown

With stirring vocals and world-weary pathos, soul singer Gaela Brown holds your attention with her commanding stage presence.  Brown was celebrating the release of her first single "I"m Loving It" with a special performance at The Hotel Cafe last Monday. Her newest single, "I"m Loving It," has a rich and playful groove with a grand chorus that's sure to get you on your feet and dance.

Brown, who spends time both in her hometown in Tel Aviv and Paris, credits her musical styles from her upbringing where she was exposed to all types of musical genres including R&B, hip-hop, dance, classical, jazz, samba and African music.  

Gaela Brown
Gaela Brown performs at the Hotel Cafe.
photos by picksysticks
And with her wide range of musical genres to pull from, Brown can go from up-tempo dance ("I'm Loving It") to vulnerable, love ballad ("Since You Gone") and then easily transitioning to a samba inspired melody for  "What's Your Fantasy."  

And in a moment of improvisation, Gaela changed it up a bit with instruction to her backing band, ending the night with a jazzy rendition of Meghan Trainor's "All About that Bass."  

But it was her awe-inspiring song "New York City Blues" that highlighted Brown's powerful vocals where, even at her most minimalist, her soulful voice rises above whispering, acoustic guitars, proving that she can shine without the flashiness.

Currently, Brown is working on her EP to be released early next year via Can UFeel It Records.

"I'm Loving It' by Gaela Brown

Thursday, November 6, 2014



Lorde is curating the upcoming soundtrack to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 and she has recruited an all-star group of musicians to take part including Chvrches, Charli XCX and Ariana Grande. 

Today, she released the official music video for "Yellow Flicker Beat" which soared to #1 on iTunes' Soundtrack Top Songs Chart and has been viewed on Vevo over 5 million times in only two weeks since its release.    The Hunger Games soundtrack will be available on November 21st.  

Check out the video below and you can pre-order the soundtrack right HERE

"Yellow Flicker Beat" by Lorde

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


CHAPPIE official trailer starring the band Die Antwood and Hugh Jackman



Chvrches just unveiled their song for the upcoming Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack.  The song, called "Dead Air" showcases Chvrches signature synth-pop melodies layered over Lauren Mayberry's lush vocals and fits nicely with the Hunger Games theme of strength and survival with Lauren singing, "This is a call to your arms / To take on mind over matter / Replacing fist over fist / We are disappearing."

The soundtrack drops November 17th and the movie hits theaters on November 21st.  Listen to the song below. 

"Dead Air" by Chvrches

Tuesday, October 28, 2014



For five years, Culture Collide has been a staple in the Los Angeles music scene, giving artists from around the world a backdrop to perform for music lovers curated by music lovers.  Unique in a way that it doesn't get the headlines as it's more well-known cousins, Culture Collide is the music fest where you can see bands before they head out and play the likes of Coachella or Lollapalooza - ie: MØ, Icona Pop, Phantogram, CSS, Phoenix  and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - all alums who have had their early beginnings at Culture Collide. 

Over 60 Bands from over 20 countries descend on Los Angeles for three days every October to celebrate music.  Held on October 16-18, Culture Collide celebrates and brings together musical acts from across the globe to perform in clubs and intimate venues in a five-block radius of Echo Park that culminates in an all-day block party to close out the festival.  

As usual, the contingency of female-fronted bands was strong, all traveling from places ranging from Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.K.

MØ kicked off Culture Collide at The Echoplex which also featured openers, LA's own Holychild.  's skyrocketing career has risen super fast, like a V2 rocket flying on all cylinders, since she released her first album last year. Since then, she's been touring Europe and the U.S. non-stop; even making her U.S. television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live.  

Described as a punk, hard-edged Grimes, the Danish singer's synth pop-songs are contrasting at times; from heavy and aggressive to soft and vulnerable.  But one things is sure, MØ's is quickly gaining a reputation for her explosive stage presence and she's known for getting close with her fans; this night she jumped and sang in the crowd and crowd-surfed twice!  

Just this past week, she performed on SNL alongside Iggy Azalea for her new song "Beg For It" and just this past month, she was featured in Swedish singer Elliphant's new video for "One More." Expect to hear and see more of MØ in the upcoming months.  

MØ’s opening act, LA-based Holychild are the new kids in town, livening up shows with their pop-dance tracks. Lead singer Liz Nistico, dressed as a cheerleader didn't need much to pump up the crowd in her cheerleading uniform. The hometown crowd danced and sang along as though Holychild were the headlining act.  

Los Angeles' Holychild cheers up the crowd. at The Echoplex during Culture Collide.
photo by picksysticks
Recently featured by Buzzbands LA as a band to watch, Holychild turned heads with their single "Happy With Me," set to marching beats and anthem-like choruses.  With bouncy pop-ness with real messages, this duo consisting of Nistico and Louie Diller are no fluke.  The EP Mindspeak isn't just an album which is forgotten once the summer is over.  Based on their performance on day one of Culture Collide, Holychild are here to stay.

Day two of Culture Collide treated fans with a mixture of electric-pop, acoustic and alternative rock.  Australia brought a strong contingency of artists including Banoffee who seemed tiny as she stood alone on the Taix stage surrounded by speakers and high keyboards.  But her sound was more than enough to make her stand tall, filling the room with her warm synth-pop sound.  Banoffee, also known as a desert pie filled with cream, bananas and toffee is exactly what the singer Banoffee (aka: Martha Brown) sounds like - sweet, sugary and it fills you up with happiness.  There's always room for pie or in this case Banoffee.  

Gossling, another Australian singer, played in Taix's Champagne Room. Bathed in saturated blue lights, Gossling's folk/pop melodies are highlighted by her  stunning and hypnotic vocals. She proves that songs can be dramatic and powerful with the simplest of melodies. Gossling's voice is the first thing that draws you to her; weathered and shiny to the point of showing rust - just like an aged wind chime gently blowing in the wind. It's peaceful and  relaxing but also pierces soothingly through the air which also describes another Aussie, Phebe Starr

Gossling performs in Taix's Champagne Room during Culture Collide.
photos by picksysticks
But instead of serene and calmness, Starr's songs soar, backed up by her own powerful vocals.  Starr showcases her sonic landscaping, layering a complicated web of sounds, marrying her synth, drum machine and vocal looper into a seamless track. And what she makes is something beautiful and modern.  It's like watching a live art exhibit transform and change shapes right in front of your eyes.  She's definitely colorful to say the least. 

Nina Persson

Nina Persson
From Australia, we travel north to catch Sweden's Nina Persson,  lead singer of The Cardigans, performing across the parking lot at The Echo Park Methodist Church which began to fill up with anticipation.  It's been nearly 10 years since The Cardigans released their last album Super Extra Gravity in 2005.  But those waiting for a Cardigans album were rewarded when Nina Persson released her solo album Animal Heart via End Records earlier this year. 

The Church was ideal for Persson as it made her performance feel like a religious experience especially when she sang her hit singles "Animal Heart" and "Dreaming of Houses."  She even made a comment about how quiet it was and wondered if everyone was afraid of angering a higher power.

The final day of Culture Collide started in the afternoon with a good ol' Aussie BBQ at The Echo featuring Australia's best artists.  

Phebe Starr, Gossling and Banoffee were on hand to perform under The Echo's disco ball whom I saw the day before.  (All were so good I wanted to see them again.)

Aussie Banoffee performs at The Echo.
photo by picksysticks
Rapper and hip-hop artist Tkay Maidza was another Australian I didn't want to miss out on.  After overhearing a few excited fans the day before talking about Tkay's upcoming show at The Echo, I knew  I needed to watch her performance.  And I wasn't disappointed.  She mixes out of this world, starry, electro-beats and rhymes with infectious energy. And get this. She's only 18. Being this talented so young, there's no telling how far she can go.   Complex recently premiered her new animated video for "Switch Lanes" which is off her mixtape Switch Tape. 

Tkay Maidza
Australia's Tkay Maidza stormed the Echo with her electric energy.
photos by picksysticks
No Sinner from our neighbors up north were hard, unapologetic and just badass - especially lead singer Colleen Rennison who has a weathered yet powerful voice that's sounds like she's lived a lifetime’s worth of pain.  The only thing is, she's only 26.  So when you listen to her sing, the rawness in her voice, the hurt, the pain, the yearning you hear will just blow you away and you try and imagine where, deep in her gut, she pulls her energy from.  

No Sinner
No Sinner, from Vancouver, is good ol' classic blues/rock.  Heavy and guitar driven, No Sinner started at the Champagne Room with Rennison belting out her vocals.  She didn't care, nor did she notice, a near-empty room while she performed.  But that didn't last. Curious people outside couldn't help but hear the Joplin-esque vocals coming from inside.  After a few songs, the Champagne Room at Taix was nearly filled with people jamming along with No Sinner.  

Every year, Culture Collide ends the three-day fest with a block party outside complete with a large Ernie Ball stage out in the parking lot.  This year, bands from eight countries would play on that stage including Takeoffs and Landings, the five-piece band from Peru.  

They just formed late last year and have yet to release an album so Culture Collide attendees are fortunate that they will the very first to see this group play live.  Their sound? More like alternative rock with a dash of shoegaze as evidenced by their wall of sound with mysterious synths ever present in the background.  Takeoffs and Landings, consisting of Dennis (guitar), Sergio (guitar), Christopher (drums), Naama (vocals), and Christian (bass),  were one of the few bands I actually saw twice during Culture Collide. They were that good.  Currently, they're recording their first album which is set to drop later this year. 

Takeoffs and Landings
Alternative rockers  Love X Stereo from Seoul, Korea.
photos by picksysticks
Danceable Alternative Rock best describes Love X Stereo. Based out of Seoul, Korea, Love X Stereo sounds like a blast from the past, fusing 90s sunny, alternative rock with a more modern dance-pop beat.  K-Pop this isn't .  Love X Stereo is made up of Toby (guitar), Sol (bass) and Annie (vocal and synth) who uses electro beats to drive their songs forward.  And because of this,  their infectious songs created a buzz that had the music industry talking.  That, in turn, gave them the opportunity to  share the stage with KDMS, Asobe Seksu and, soon after, were awarded  featured spots at SXSW and New York's CMJ Music Marathon. 

PINS from Manchester
photo by picksysticks
And finally, all the way from Manchester, was the all-girl group PINS. I call them UK's version of the Dum Dum Girls.  Both have attitude.  Both prefer the dark look in their wardrobe. But where the Dum Dum Girls are more dark, dreamy and moody, PINS are more heavier on the dark and moody with piercing guitars but with pop undertones, the unpolished sound of PINS projects a rawness and truthfulness in their songs.  They call it 'dark-pop.'  And on the strength of their debut EP LUVU4LYF, PINS were able to tour Europe and followed that by releasing their full-length album Girls Like Us a year later to critical praise. 

UK's PINS closing out Culture Collide on the last day.
photos by picksysticks
This year, Culture Collide, which was born out of Filter Magazine founders Alan Sartirana and Alan Miller, saw some big changes.  Filter folded this summer and the two co-founders decided to go separate ways.  Sartirana left to start another music and culture magazine called Anthemic while Miller stayed on to continue Culture Collide brand. Now in it’s fifth year, Culture Collide continues to grow, adding two festivals in San Francisco and New York.  And although the two original founders split ways, Culture Collide will always be a music celebration for music lovers put on my music lovers.

Culture Collide Photo Gallery
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