Monday, October 24, 2016

Now Playing @ The Listening Station: Black Hi-Lighter, Chicano Batman & Chelsea Wolfe

By Marni Epstein & Nathan Solis

Welcome to The Listening Station, The Eastsider’s dose of must-listens from local bands. Get to know your community by getting to know the music they are making. Feel free to let us know what Eastside bands or performers – in any genre- you are listening to by sending an email to [email protected] Follow Eastsider Music on Twitter for more stories and sounds from the Eastside music scene.

“Blonde Beats of Prey” – Black Hi-Lighter

With shades of The Faint about them, Black Hi-Lighter’s garage-punk meets new-wave sound makes for a glitterbomb of rock. The over the top posturing and diction of James Poulos’ vocals are instantly ear perking. After a fit of involuntary headbanging caused from this Highland Park ensemble’s unhinged style, you may well be wishing your head was jerry-rigged to a lever and pulley system. Poulos offers a candid and clever approach in his storytelling that shines new detail and memorable one-liners. – Marni Epstein

“Pomegranate Tree” – Chicano Batman

On the surface Chicano Batman could easily be dismissed as a gimmick – an East Los Angeles outfit posturing in frilly shirts fit for a second cousin’s quinceañera, and the name of a comic book hero.

After the cursory glance it’s all groovy, happening beats, thick bass lines and scant guitar chase sequences, all of it transpiring over hot roof tops. It’s a blend of tropical, Latin 70’s Afrobeat, and heavy leanings on the organ keys that could background a poetry slam or a psychedelic road trip to the coast. This independent group built their own studio, recorded a 4-track album and managed to get enough people on Kickstarter to foot the bill, which is how the world is able to listen to the wonderful “Pomegranate Tree” and the rest of the songs on Joven Navegante. They play this year’s Echo Park Rising in August. – Nathan Solis

“We Hit a Wall” – Chelsea Wolfe

Silver Lake-based Chelsea Wolfe just recently released the latest single, “We Hit a Wall,” from her forthcoming “Pain is Beauty” album. The beautifully dark malaise of her nordic influences are front and center with the low, drums and guitar in metered tandem. Like the poignant ticking of an abandoned metronome, “We Hit a Wall” casts a formidable and lonely siren call. In her typical style, slogging through the great musical mire with her cavernous vocals, Wolfe is able to mine great emotional depth as she slowly traces the steps of this unraveling. – Marni Epstein

Marni Epstein is a freelance writer and music journalist who has also worked in both the film and digital media industries. Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis stories, reviews and photos at Smashed Chair.

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