Sweet Zola Jesus

We ran into Nika Roza Danilova (Zola Jesus) and found her to be as sweet as she is talented. She’ll be performing in LA for the first time in quite a spell at the downtown Geffen Contemporary at MOCA on August 17 (with Active Child and a DJ set by Ariel Pink) as part of the ‘Play MOCA’ free music and art series.

The string of Friday shows in August kicked off this past week with another of my favorite LA chanteuses Io Echo, and label-mates Salem. The series (curated by Iamsound and Io Echo) will conclude with Cults and Lord Huron August 24th. The events are free, but you need to get a ticket here.


Bring on the Dancing Lobsters

By Mark Sovel

It has been my honor the past four years to be asked to bring together the music lineup for the Port of LA Lobsterfest in San Pedro and each time it is a thrill to see the event taking shape. Though there are still finishing touches to be put on the schedule, promoter Jim Hall and I want to let the proverbial crab out of the bag on some of the artists we have on the bill this year.

Friday September 14

Saint Motel onstage with fans during their triumphant sold-out show at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by ellenwood)

Saint Motel It’s a return engagement for Saint Motel, hot on the heels of their sold-out show at the El Rey and the release of their full-length album “Voyeur.” I recall the first time Saint Motel played my Check One Two night at the Viper Room back in the Summer of ’07. When I saw them loading in potted plants, lamps and living room furniture I knew we were dealing with something out of the ordinary and their hard work with creative videos and crafty songwriting over the years has earned them a place of prominence in the LA music scene. 2012 is the year Saint Motel will win over the States.

Races – Having just put on a smoldering performance at the legendary Troubadour, Races launched out on a cross-country tour (with buddies Saint Motel) in support of their album “Year of the Witch,” which was landed by the respectable indie label French Kiss after their “Big Broom” EP release by Jaxart. It’s rare and compelling to see a group hit the scene so fully formed and stage savvy after a relatively short incubation.

We are very grateful that Saint Motel and Races wind up their road-trip with a spin on the Lobsterfest stage Friday Sept 15, with more bands to be announced.

As has been the recent tradition, Friday night it is named the KROQ “Locals Only” stage, and we thank them for their support.


Saturday September 15

 Dum Dum Girls – What else do we need to say? It’s Dum Dum Girls topping off a Saturday that will be a full-fledged rock festival event, even if the lobsters miss the plane from Maine. We could not be happier to be welcoming the Girls as they are ratcheting up for the launch of a new EP titled “End of Daze” (Sept. 25).


 JJAMZ – Are you uncrumpling a tenner as we speak? (Yes, that’s the price) Dum Dum Girls will be preceded by all-star pop rocksters JJAMZ. That’s Z (The Like), Alex (Phantom Planet), Jason (Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes) Ok, we’ll quit name dropping and save you a spot on the large green Lobsterfest lawn.

Having just melted the blue and silver backdrop during their Satellite residency and with release this month of the album “Suicide Pact” on Dangerbird Records, JJAMZ are primed for what we humbly like to call “the Lobsterfest Bump”


  NO – I know, “Shut Up!” right?

They are on fire and we feel fortunate to have NO playing on Saturday.

Sunday Sept. 16

 The Blasters– It’ll be a homecoming of sorts in more ways than one for Downey’s Phil Alvin. Late June brought news from Valencia, Spain that Blasters front man Phil Alvin had been rushed to the hospital for unknown reasons, forcing the sudden cancellation of their entire European Summer tour. Not that a hole in the throat is GOOD news, but rumors of a heart attack or stroke were shortly brought under control when the news was released that Phil had suffered a severe allergic reaction and became unable to breathe due to swelling of the throat. Doctors saved him from a flatline situation by performing a tracheotomy in his throat to allow him to breathe. We are all thankful for his recovery and look forward to welcoming the Blasters back home to San Pedro.


  Jail Weddings Perhaps their Twitter profile says it best. “A contemporary yet timeless 10-member-deep rock ‘n’ roll group well-versed in the sentimental sick joke.” Jail Weddings’ recent “Four Future Standards” EP is quite aptly named as the song “There’s Nothing Worse in the World (Than a Crying Girl)” has already become a current standard on my City of Night radio show. The songs are timeless and epic in a way that is far more sophisticated than the band’s self description. They will be dressed to impress, and I believe they will.



This is merely a taste of what is in store for the music portion of the 2012 Port of LA Lobsterfest and Music Weekend Sept 14-16 on the waterfront in San Pedro. I’ll be completing the lineup soon, and it will be released in the coming days. I always do my best to add surprises and construct a flow of music that will be as memorable as the atmosphere. What is most important, combining the musical performances with the surroundings I try to create an intangible life-affirming pleasance that is unique to this occasion. (Unless, of course, you are a lobster.)

If you’ve never been to this event, it may be difficult to understand, but there is a very unusual and special atmosphere at the Port under the sun and stars, in the open air amidst the mega-cargo ships and cruise-liners. Who could imagine an expansive green lawn to luxuriate upon while sharing music and food with friends? The USS Iowa is now berthed at the Port, which adds a new element of wonder for returning attendees.

Looking forward to seeing you there!



Check One Two TV – Episode 3 – Light FM

A third Check One Two TV video!? That’s officially a series in my book. Certainly this hasn’t been as eagerly awaited as the next True Blood or Entourage episode but I only mention them so that I might get caught up in the their google search results and get mad page hits. Did I mention that I party with the Kardashians whose fame and fortune came from their dad getting OJ Simpson a not guilty verdict even though he knew OJ was guilty? I just thought I’d throw that in so we can poach the douchbag search engine contingent and drive up our twitter numbers.

The truth is, we’ve already been viewed in 55 countries around the world and I’d like to say hello to our new friends in Senegal, Greece, Cambodia, Thailand and big love to our viewers in Norway.

This episode features new music from Light FM. There is already a very cool music video for this song that you can see here, along with other videos from Light FM and information on The Cave Studio where the band records.

You can see Light FM live at the Port of LA Lobsterfest in San Pedro, Ca. on September 17, 2011.
See you there!
Mr. Shovel


Thanks to these blogs and everybody who posted the Gliss video from the previous post.


Check One Two TV – Episode 2 – GLISS song premiere

I may not always have the good fortune to be able to “World Premiere” a new song with each new episode of Mr. Shovel’s Check One Two TV but so far I’ve been lucky.

Last week we premiered The Icarus Line’s blazing new song “All The Little Things” and to my pleasant surprise the video has been viewed in 47 countries around the world.

Now I have the privilege of giving you the first taste of new music from the band Gliss. I think fans will enjoy the steps they have taken into new territory.
Do yourself a favor and plug in some regular speakers or headphones instead of using the laptop speakers so you can enjoy the full spectrum of the sound on this track because it is huge. This stands as a general rule of thumb for all music listening.

Here’s the new official website for Gliss

These Check One Two episodes are done totally DIY and Lo-fi. See if you can guess how I achieved the lighting effects.
This site is meant more as a content creator for blogs than an actual blog itself, feel free to post away.

Thanks for poppin by,

Mr. Shovel


Thanks to these peeps and everybody who posted last weeks episode.


Check One Two TV – First Edition – The Icarus Line

I’m happy to present to you the first episode of Mr. Shovel’s Check One Two TV.

Lately it seems that everywhere I turn people are suggesting that I publish some sort of online music blog/site. Not one to ignore a whack over the head with a rubber fish called the universe, I set my mind to the challenge, bounced some ideas around and they evolved into what you will see and hear below.

DIY to the bone, for the fun of the creative process and the occasional collaboration with the artists I admire.

Today’s episode features the premiere of a new song from The Icarus Line’s album Wildlife (End of Aug 2011). Joining Joe Cardamone in the band is Annie Hardy of Giant Drag. 2 Shots – 1 take each, I hope you enjoy.

Thank you,

Mr. Shovel