Touché: Alex Lilly and Bram Inscore always knew they should’ve started a band in high school. They were cohorts and jazz band dweebs as teens in San Francisco. And though they shuffled through the typical high school high jinks together, they never got musically curious with one another until Touché. Both classically trained musicians and composers, Bram and Alex have had the fortune and fun of playing with their modern idols. Bram toured on bass and keyboards with Beck, Thurston Moore, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Sebastien Tellier and is currently playing with Twin Shadow. Alex played keys and sang back-up with the Bird and the Bee, Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe, is a member of The Living Sisters and toured her own creative outfit, Obi Best. In Bram’s prefab studio in the east hills of LA, the duo teamed up to write, record and produce their genre-bending album, “It’s Fate.” Their close but combative friendship naturally led to a competitive writing process. What emerged were anthemic pop pieces darkened by the desires of the human heart and sharpened by some personal politics. They have a task every time they write music together - to find the place where their psyches overlap. This territory, as it turns out, holds some fairly hallucinogenic and esoteric ideas, but the themes are as classic as those you would find in a Sci-Fi love story - lust, obsession, human inadequacy, fate and the struggle for control.
White Dove: On their forthcoming album, “The Hoss, The Candle,” White Dove’s delicate and haunting songs, find a more celestial and hazy sound. Shedding their former name Monster, a monicker founder Alex Johnstone has carried since highschool, 2012 finds White Dove completing their first fully collaborative album at Kingsize Sound Labs in Los Angeles with producer Dave Trumfio. Multi-instrumentalist Jack Long… and bassist Carl Harders joined Johnstone in 2009 for a tour of France in support of a 2005 self-titled LP. Originally released on The New Black, and repressed by Le Jardin Collectif, this album drew comparisons to Mojave 3, Galaxie 500, Big Star and Cat Power. “The Hoss, The Candle” again puts Johnstone’s voice and songwriting front and center, this time supported by the melodically spry guitar lines of Long and the cool bass lines of Harders. Keyboards and pedal steel round out the record, an album that reflects the groups interest in 60s and 70s rock à la Fleetwood Mac and late era Beach Boys with hints of cosmic American music.
Ben Lear: Ben Lear graduated from NYU with a degree in Music Composition. Traditionally a songwriter, Ben began school with little interest in orchestral music. However, his private instructor, Broadway music-director, Joe Church (The Lion King, In The Heights), encouraged Ben to learn the fundamentals. Before long he was entranced by the orchestra and recognized an opportunity to apply its colors in his own music. In the spring of 2009, Ben began his first large-scale work: Lillian: A Folk Opera, a song-cycle written for a small orchestra and band. Ben Lear has spent the last year producing his debut album as well as working closely with the non-profit world as a young, environmental spokesman. Last November, Ben performed at Plastic Pollution Coalition’s TEDx event in Santa Monica. He was subsequently invited on a three-week, sailing expedition run by 5gyres. In March and April 2011, the team sailed from Chile to Easter Island, collecting 60 plastic samples in the previously un-studied South Pacific Gyre. He has also recently performed for the UN, shot and edited an upcoming 3D music video, and started writing an indie-music blog for the Huffington Post.
What is Desert Nights?
Desert Nights is a weekly gathering at The Standard, Hollywood, hosted by KCRW’s DJ Valida. Every Wednesday, Valida curates three acoustic musical acts to perform a set in the Cactus Lounge. The vibe is warm and intimate, evoking an impromptu jam in a musician’s living room. The music begins at 7:30pm, it’s always free and always a good time. Guaranteed.