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[LIVE] Rodrigo Y Gabriela @ KCRW’s Apogee Sessions

Rodrigo Y Gabriela. I’d been hearing their names for years and probably like many of you, dismissed them thinking that instrumental acoustic guitar music wasn’t quite my thing. Then last week, upon my return from a 50 mile bike ride in Mexico (and mere hours before whatever was in that water caught up with me…) and in the perfect Cinco de Mayo mood, I got to see them live. And it changed everything I thought I knew about instrumental acoustic guitar music.

KCRW hosts these “Apogee Sessions” in recording studio in Santa Monica and it is an amazingly intimate setting to see music. I’d been lucky enough to see Vampire Weekend, Cold Ward Kids and Airborne Toxic Event there so wasn’t going to risk missing another great show. It was everything that the hype had promised.

Rodrigo and Gabriela are long time friends from growing up in Mexico and their guitars spoke and danced between each other like nothing I’d ever seen. The music itself is endlessly restless, shifting gears and genres multiple times in a song. They touch on all their influences, even giving their acoustic guitars some serious metal thrashing. Bt watching their fingers make all those sounds up close it something truly magical. I would highly recommend their live to show anyone. Although, you may not get the very special cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” that we got as encore. And you certainly wont get me singing along from the back of the room! (Relax, everyone else was singing too…)

Catch the whole set and interview tomorrow morning May 14th on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela’s new album 9 Dead Alive is out now.

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[LIVE] Vampire Weekend – Apogee’s Berkeley Street Studio for KCRW

Vampire Weekend are an institution. Or at least they feel that way to me. Looking at their name on my invitation to see them live at KCRW’s Apogee Berkeley Street Sessions brought back so many memories. The 2008 Los Angeles live show that left few concrete memories in it’s wake of dancing and fun. Two months later in Berlin they showed up to play ping pong at my all time favorite bar. (Ezra is pretty ace). There was the time a year an a half later when I pecked out my disappointed Contra review from the freezing winter hallway of Jagiellonian University in Kraków. More than most other bands, my Read more

[LIVE] The Cold War Kids – “Miracle Mile” + KCRW Berkeley St. Sessions

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The Cold War Kids haven’t given me much to write about since their awesome 3rd LP Mine Is Yours came out over 2 years ago. Thank goodness then for their new single “Miracle Mile,” a raucous piano-led ode their hometown of LA that gets stuck right in your head. Get acquainted above and then dive into the fantastic Berkeley St Session they did with KCRW that aired this morning. I was privileged enough to be there and it was a damn pleasure to watch these pros tear up the intimate stage setting.

If you have never caught one of KCRW’s intimate Berkeley St Sessions then this is a great time to start. Recorded live at Apogee’s exquisite Berkeley Street Studio in Santa Monica, bands are given an intimate setting to showcase new work as well as sit down for some conversation with a KCRW DJ. Jason Bentley did his best to get some stories out of the guys but frontman Nate’s mind was clearly more focused on the music. I think its always fascinating when such a powerful stage presence doesn’t translate to interview persona. But never mind all that because it’s immediately forgotten when the band is tearing through old favorites like “Audience” and new hits like “Tuxedo” or “Miracle Mile.” Watch the whole video here, catch some great photos here, and then get excited for new LP Dear Miss Lonely Hearts, out April 2.