Mitchell Hillman listens to more local music than just about anyone else in the Valley. He shares his picks for best new music in his column, Right
Playboy Manbaby - "I'd Like To Meet Your Parents"
Last month Playboy Manbaby release
Harper & The Moths - "Somebody's Watching Me"
On Halloween Harper and the Moths release a five-track collection of '80s hits called Mixtape. Later that same day they released a video for one of the best covers found on the collection, Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me." The band achieves a sense of homage while maintaining its musical identity. It should come as no surprise then that the video for "Somebody's Watching Me" achieves the same goal, using the original MTV hit video as its roadmap. They re-enact every nearly every moment of the video, but they use members of the band and add their own style. Harper Lines never gets as weirdly ghoulish or creepy as Rockwell did in the original, but his vocal here is freakishly great, not to mention Kelsee Ishmael's work in place of Michael Jackson on the orginal. Harper and the Moths are always a class act, and this video on top of the entire Mixtape is utterly smooth. The next move for this crew is a brand new original release headed our way before the end of the year.
W.A.S.H. with HotRock SupaJoint - "Light Em Up"
It seem like this was a match made in heaven, and certainly the sensible fusion between W.A.S.H. and HotRock SupaJoint seems like it was a long time coming. It's a mad dance number courtesy of Ducky and Puddles with the comedic weed genius of HotRock, who admits in his flow that he's never before recorded a dance number. It's awkward and brilliantly hilarious, as is the video, where the trio hit Castles & Coasters after getting blazed in their ride. They romp through mini-golf and the arcade, get a little improvised fencing in, as well as some air hockey. At least by the time they get to the second drop HotRock is on top of it, and by then the song has embedded itself permanently in your mind. It's a pretty awesome combination, and it's yet another example of W.A.S.H. being the mischievous masters at their brand of over-the-top debaucherous EDM. 2017 better hold a W.A.S.H. album or EP at the very least in its future. This ducky duo has been putting single after single out for a year and a half, I just want them collected in one place, one slab of total W.A.S.H. dance party.
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Weird Radicals - "Sleepwalker"
"Sleepwalker" is the final single of the year from newcomers Weird Radicals, and this brings them to five songs released in total without playing a live show as of yet. Once more, it's a stunning track of pure power-pop enjoyment. This is the kind of song Monkees songwriters Boyce and Hart would have been proud to write, and it's definitely Weird Radicals' most Beatlesque track so far. With previous nods to The Beach Boys this seems right in line, and with each single released by the band is becoming more confident in its sound. Clearly their adoration for the pop sound of the '60s and '70s is guiding them and beautifully so. Their quirky indie spark keeps them from sounding too much like a revivalist act though. At the same time the guitar work going on here is mesmerizing and reminiscent of when the shoegaze bands listened to their Beatles albums and became Britpop. "Sleepwalker" sounds like what would happen if you took the vocal hook of Rod Stewart's "Pretty Flamingo" for the last half of the chorus and set it inside a psychedelic pop group from 1966. Each successive song from this crew blows me away further and I am eagerly anticipating their continued releases next year. This is ideal music for fans of The Beatles, Big Star, and Elephant Six Collective.
Luau - "Keep Talking"
If you scored a cassingle from Luau in the last month or so, you've already heard this song as the other side of their debut track "Anchor." Luau's been doing some pretty great things this year, but most of it has been with their engaging live show, though they keep anticipation high with the promise of the forthcoming Gone EP. This band pretty much had me at their demos early on, and with this second single they're really showing off their stuff. This is layers of guitars and a fascinating vocal that will keep your ears attentive for every second. I keep playing it back to back with "Anchor" because I can't figure out which song I enjoy more, and I'm curious if both will be on Gone. Luau is Evan Hallock (vocals/guitar), Eric Thompson (guitar) and Jon Collins (bass). While the music is majectic, it's Hallock's vocals that just do it in for me. There's a new breed of male vocalists in town, and Luau is right up there with El West and The Sink Or Swim in that regard. I have a feeling that this is another band that you'll be hearing a lot from next year and especially after they release their debut EP.