January 06 2013

Desert Nights with Michael Runion & Z Berg, Ted Wendler, and Cristina Black

Los Angeles-Standard Sounds

Wednesday is right around the corner and you know what that means? Yes, another fantastic installment of The Standard, Hollywood’s Desert Nights! This week’s line-up is sure to have you tapping your feet and tipping your hat!

Michael Runion & Z Berg (of JJAMZ): We’re in for a treat...Two members of JJAMZ supergroup playing solo shows!

When asked, "What does your band sound like?" The most common, and unavoidable, question asked of a musician. One friend said we sound like Smart Pop. Another likened us to the West Coast Blondie. When people ask, I usually say "Have you ever been to Venice Beach late at night, when the cops have stopped patrolling, and you're not sure which shadows the drug dealers and pickpockets are hiding in, but the Ocean is loud and the Air is wet and you feel safe because you're with someone you know? It sounds exactly like that feels!" I don't actually say that, but it's definitely more fun than "A really good rock band. I think you'd like it."

Photo by VibeToThis

Ted Wendler (of Mansions On The Moon): Ted Wendler is an American singer/song writer born and raised in Iowa. After finding a guitar in his parents attic he taught himself how to play. By the age of thirteen Ted was writing and performing songs for his friends and family. He still performs some of these early songs today. Years later Ted found his “sound” during time spent in Montana and Alaska where he was inspired by the beauty of nature and the free spirit of the people around him.

"If you name the most interesting new recording artists to have emerged this year, the list probably encompasses only a small number of worthy candidates. One name that should ring a bell is Mansions On The Moon" - Hypetrak

Cristina Black: Often compared to Nico and Fiona Apple for her smoke-and-honey character voice, singer-songwriter Cristina Black maintains a cabaret-like propriety while drawing on the curious looseness of her former home, New Orleans. A classically trained harpist and pianist from age 4, Black turned to pop songwriting more recently when she took up baritone ukulele and began crafting uncommon confessional songs about things like love, money, death and disaster. Her debut album, The Ditty Sessions, is the result of a magical collaboration with an all-star Big Easy backing band that included Alex McMurray on guitar, Brian Coogan on keys and the late Alex Chilton (of Big Star fame) on bass. Standout track “Purple Houses” describes the anxiety of watching Hurricane Katrina swirl towards the Gulf Coast. The set also addresses drug addiction on “These Days”, infidelity on “All I Want” and the plight of the wealthy on the fan favorite “Drunk Rich People,” which was recently featured on NBC’s prime time hit Parenthood.


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.