RECAP: TOUCHÉ AT THE ECHOPLEX

Earlier this month, Los Angeles-based duo Touché filled the Echoplex with the sounds of synth pop and art-rock. If the names of bandmates Alex Lilly and Bram Inscore ring a bell, it’s because these multi-instrumentalists are well known in the local music scene and have collaborated with many beloved artists like Twin Shadow and Beck. Pupils of Art-Ed, they excitingly and effortlessly showcased the mastery of brain, beauty and beat that night for the record release party of their first album, “It’s Fate.”

No stranger to theatrics, Alex appeared on stage in a superhero-appropriate ensemble of all black, outfitted in a studded bustier and costume cape. Bram sported an oversized windbreaker and grandpa glasses. Beginning their set with “Lock and Key,” and moving into “Everything He Wants,” Touché showcased the two-member band’s ability to sound like a four piece band, with Bram and Alex handling various instruments and vocals seamlessly. With its funky and syncopated bass line, Touché’s track “Bad Dream” had the audience dancing energetically. It was only appropriate, then, that during the song’s bridge, Alex dropped to her knees and shredded with an electrifying guitar solo. 

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The crowd’s energy really ignited, however, when saxophonist James King of Fitz & The Tantrums joined the duo on stage for a few numbers, which were in the vein of Yacht meets Talking Heads. Barbara Ruska of The Belle Brigade also performed with the group on drums. They shouted her out while declaring that the next song was for “all the ladies”, and then broke into “Men Change.”

The last song, “Snow White,” was my favorite. It’s a quirky and clever rendition of the classic fairytale, and fuses elements of funk, rock and jazz. The latter genre is especially apparent in the song’s chorus, with its jolting “zoots” that can be likened to works by jazz legends such as Duke Ellington.

Speaking briefly with Bram offstage, I learned he was ecstatic with the turn out and that “Big Fan” was his favorite song performed that night. An eerie and experimental tune, “Big Fan” is about an overzealous admirer. With such a great performance that night, we’re sure Touché will have plenty of inspiration for future stalker-inspired songs. Just kidding.

SONG OF THE DAY: JACQUES GREENE – “ON YOUR SIDE” FT. HOW TO DRESS WELL

Jacques Greene makes dance music that is undeniably soulful and contagious, but little is known about the young producer, except that he has a penchant for stirring R&B vocals and deep shuffling rhythms. Greene’s latest track, “On Your Side,” is laced with yearning falsetto vocals from bedroom-pop and experimental R&B singer, How To Dress Well. The two make for a beautifully moody combination in this title track which will feature on Greene’s forthcoming EP, available for digital release June 3, and physical release July 1 on Lucky Me Records.

Q&A: APHIDOIDEA COLLECTIVE

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If you havent heard of the name Aphidoidea, chances are you’ve likely seen some of their work. Born out of Los Angeles’ downtown arts district, the self-proclaimed “open collaborative think tank of design” has created some of the most stunning environmental and visual art installations to grace the best coast. The collective is the brains behind this past Coachella’s ‘Through the Cattails’ massive illuminated light sculpture, Burning Man’s ‘Crystalline Centrum’, and a long list of equally inventive and all-around awe-inspiring architectural installations. Next project on their list? Sitting down with the LAC team and entertaining our seriously ridiculous questions.

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So, what’s up? Nothing much, just prepping for a long year of work.

Can we get you something to drink? Sure, a redeye with a side of expresso.

Aphidoidea? What’s up with the name? We work collectively like a colony, plus we love tomatoes and hate ladybugs.

Coachella or Burning Man? A walk in the park or sand in everything? At least at Burningman you don’t get any tanlines. If you know what I mean…

Rock, paper, or scissors? Rock beats everything, whoever tells you otherwise if full of shit.

Do anything last night? Coming up with drawings for a piece we are submitting, exciting stuff.

How late did you stay up? Usually as late as it takes, but last night it was probably around 3ish. Long nights are part of the game.

Meals or snacks? Meals. AYCE KBBQ.

Your craziest installation to date? Burning Man 2012 had some of the harshest weather and dust storms, it was lovingly referred by some as Burnapocalypse 2012. So, being in the middle of the Playa in a whiteout trying to hold up our project from the winds was pretty crazy.

Who would you invite to your fantasy gallery opening? Jabba the Hutt, as long as we don’t get thrown in the rancor pit.

If life could resemble any film… It would be PRIMER meets BRAZIL meets JURASSIC PARK meets THE NOTEBOOK meets GREASE ends with HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN.

Who would you commission to create your portrait? Any one of those caricature portrait artists on the Santa Monica Pier. Gotta support the budding artists.

Your favorite hiding spot in LA? A long night at King Eddie’s Saloon followed by post last-call Chinese at Won-Kok in Chinatown.

Blue or black ink? Black, darker the ink, the deeper the hue…

An art project you most regret? We got stranded in the middle of the Yuma desert at night on some sand dunes for a lame independent movie prop. We ended up having to get picked up by a relative who lived in Calexico. Never a dull day.

Ever sit down in the shower? No, but now that you mention it, it actually sounds kind of cool. I guess it’s like taking a bath without brewing in your own dirty stew.

When was the last time you really froke out at someone? WTF is froke! Froke you! Lol. No, seriously, WTF is froke.

What was the first thing you said aloud this morning?  Coffee. Now.

Are you listening to music right now? Whatever Pandora thinks I like at the moment.

Your dream project? Anti-gravity museum.

If we gave you $50, what would you buy? With 5 of us @ $10 bucks each we would get the following: Cocoa Krispies & milk, beach ball & Tapatio hot sauce, a case of Monster energy drinks, a six-pack, and a bottle of cake flavored vodka.

Last 3 google searches? 16 gauge shear press nibbler, Camp Bisco, Froke.

Where can we catch your next installation? On the beach at Santa Monica’s GLOW event in September.

What are you doing later? Working on a scale model for a public art project in Colorado.

Can we come? Don’t know, do you get your hands dirty?

See all of Aphidoidea’s latest work here