This year’s Broke L.A. Music Festival (formerly Brokechella) is primed for its most exciting line-up to date. Initially created as an affordable alternative to the behemoth Coachella music festival, Broke L.A. has become a must-see event for in-the-know Angelenos. On April 23 acts like SKULS, Lex Lu, and Air Life will take the stage downtown, proving that Los Angeles is still mecca for great talent. Get to know ten of the acts you’ll see this week:
The aptly named synth-pop dance duo Disco Shrine is the creative brainchild of Tommy Nickerson and Jessica Delijani. The pair initially began working together in 2015 as an unexpected, upbeat outlet for the heartache they both experienced from recent end relationships. The origin of the band name is equally as sincere, spawned from a late night conversation about setting the mood when they play. The duo came up with an idea to place a shrine with a disco ball in front of the bass drum—literally a “Disco Shrine.” (Pictured: Left to Right – Jessica Delijani and Tommy Nickerson)
Writer-singer-guitarist-producer Taylor Dexter is the primary creative force behind the band Air Life. Originally a professional drummer, Dexter quickly tired of touring and playing music for other people; as a result, he left both behind in favor of fronting his own soul-pop band. Drawing upon varied influences from Michael Jackson and Chaka Khan to Anderson Paak, Kendrick Lamar, and Carly Rae Jepsen, Taylor Dexter has created his own distinct style and sound reminiscent of Mark Ronson and Little Dragon. (Pictured: Taylor Dexter)
L.A. native Lu (born Alexis Boyd) is a rapper, writer, and dancer who takes much pleasure in breaking the mold of how female MCs are defined. From her unique sound and unexpected sources of inspiration (like the Spice Girls) to her playful fashion sense and personality, Lex Lu defies being categorized. Initially starting her career at age 16 as a dancer touring with Missy Elliot, Lex Lu literally had a front row seat to observe how a true innovator can change the rules of the game. Coupling her past experience with a large dose of inspiration and support from her brother, she has made it her mission to innovate and leave audiences inspired by her music.
Originally from Miami, 19-year-old hip hop artist Kleber Jones is a multi-talented writer, producer, and MC. He also happens to be a graphic artist with his own clothing line, called Bred. At first blush many liken Kleber to Tyler the Creator (one of his early inspirations), but it quickly becomes apparent that the similarity lies more in the fact that neither MC is willing to conform to the stereotypical rapper archetype. With a sound inspired by the varied musical landscape of his upbringing, Kleber infuses hip hop, bossa nova (his family is Brazilian), punk, and rock sounds into a unique musical amalgamation all his own. His new EP, 2012, is the final product of his drive to learn and create music his way.
Tennis System is a sometimes ethereal, lo-fi psychedelic band with wide-ranging influences and tastes. Band frontman Matty Taylor and drummer Erin Tidwell cite the D.C. go-go music scene, hip hop, and rock bands like The Cure as influences on their sound. For most, those influences are not immediately apparent, but, according to Matty Taylor, his creative process usually involves listening to hip hop while writing. Tennis System’s eclectic influences become more obvious in their released cover songs, like the Beyoncé hit XO. (Pictured: Left to Right – Matty Taylor and Erin Tidwell)
SKULS is comprised of Seamus and David, middle school friends from the Bay Area who started off making beats and remixes together for their YouTube channel. Now in L.A. and all grown up, the pair have begun to make a name for themselves over the past couple years with an original release on Terorrythym and their popular RIPs. SKULS is currently working on new original tracks to give fans more of the grimy beat drops and and club-banging bass that have become the SKULS sound. (Pictured: Left to Right – Seamus and David)
Bianca Oblivion, DUCKY, and Suspect Bitch—each an accomplished DJ in her own right and together know as Club Aerobics—are some of the hardest working women in music. Together the trio manage the Club Aerobics radio show and record label in addition to their own individual music projects. Fun and upbeat (as their nicknames suggest), Club Aerobics makes music to get the crowd moving. (Pictured: Left to Right – Bianca Oblivion and DUCKY)
Los Angeles-based producer Street Fever creates an aural universe of underground, dark, compelling beats that extend well beyond the music to include his persona and visual artwork, resulting in an immersive world where he is the puppet master. Infusing industrial, goth rock, and synth sounds with imagery to match, Street Fever has cultivated a haunting sound that inevitably evokes a primal reaction from the audience.
Kid Bloom is a five-man group comprised of 19-year-old singer-guitarist Lennon Kloser, along with singer/guitarist/keyboardist Jesse Perlman, drummer Josh Conway, keyboardist Alex Canter, and Brad Bowers on bass. The band members describe their sound as “Sweet & Sour Psych-Pop,” an amazingly fitting (albeit tongue-in-cheek) description for the music as well as the five prank-loving dudes who make up Kid Bloom. Their sound has been described as “tunes that feel like the ’60s and ’70s in a fun house—deconstructing and reassembling pop elements seemingly on a whim.” (Pictured: Left- Lennon Kloser | Top-Right – Jesse Perlman | Bottom-Right – Josh Conway)
Indie-pop quartet DWNTWN (pronounced as “Downtown”) makes anthem-worthy music that’s as perfect for a summertime road trip along PCH as it is for a bout of nostalgic contemplation. At its core, DWNTWN’s music is folky, but the deeply personal and heartfelt lyrics by founding member Jamie Leffler coupled with the the manner in which founding member Robert Cepeda layers instruments and electronics results in the auditory bliss that encapsulates the DWNTWN sound. (Pictured: Left to Right – Chris Sanchez, Robert Cepeda, Jamie Leffler, and Dan Vanchieri)