Saved from the wilds of Oregon
She doesn't sound like a person who would give up — not when Aja Volkman sings, she doesn't. But eight months into her one-year trial balloon in Los Angeles, "I had gotten to point where I couldn't stand L.A.," the 26-year-old says. "I thought about moving back to [Portland] Oregon."
But drummer Mikey Pena spotted Volkman at one of her "nerve-wracking" singer-songwriter gigs and signed on to work with the vocalist. Now, with guitarist Rich Koehler, they form Nico Vega, a rock trio anchored by Volkman's old-school vocals.
"I'm a big fan of husky and raspy voices," says Volkman, whose list of heroes starts with Tina Turner and Janis Joplin and whose delivery suggests that pair and perhaps Johnette Napolitano. "Rich is a big funk fan who's into modern rock and doing something different. I'm happy there's somebody pulling something different out of me."
Nico Vega, which plays a showcase-release party tonight at the Troubadour, rocks with a classic approach that hints at, but never dives into, '80s revivalism. The trio is self-releasing its EP "Choose Your Words Poorly" — not that they figure to remain unsigned for very long.
"But don't ask me any questions about the business end," Volkman says good-naturedly. "I don't want it to interfere with my writing."
Hate everyone but Get Set Go
It's about time for Mike TV and the other members of Get Set Go to get on their marks. After a Kiss or Kill night show Friday at Little Pedro's Blue Bongo and another performance Monday at Mr. T's Bowl in Highland Park, the L.A. band — whose second album, "Ordinary World," came out last month — hits the road for a two-month tour across the country.
The new album is a 21-song, 79-minute indie opus: straight-ahead rock and lilting melodies juxtaposed with alternating vulgar and stick-your-head-in-the-oven lyrics about depression, drug use, unsalvageable relationships, mortality, poverty, homicidal fantasies and, oh yeah, suicide (which is also a song title). "Grey's Anatomy," which has used Get Set Go's music before, just licensed the track "I Hate Everyone."
The album was culled from more than 60 songs, most written during the singer-guitarist's self-described "tumultuous" 1 1/2-year period leading up to last June's recording. "I realized that whenever I was writing a song that made me feel uncomfortable that it should be one that we could consider for the record," Mr. TV says. "If they made me cringe at the thought of people hearing them, then they definitely went in."
Touts: British electro-rock quintet the Capes (think Maximo Park meets the Futureheads) are in town for two shows, Monday at Star Shoes and Tuesday at the Key Club.... Hey, is that Rancid playing a Tuesday residency next month at the Echo? You bet.... Particle's show Friday at the Fonda Theatre will be filmed for an eventual DVD release.... The advance copy of the album has been in and out of the CD player for weeks now, but there's still no firm release date (July is a possibility) for the debut by the Adored. The quartet plays the Willowz residency on Monday at Spaceland before heading off to the U.K. for dates with the Buzzcocks.... And Reggie and the Full Effect (tonight at Chain reaction, Friday at the Troubadour) gives you your money's worth. The opening acts for the band are Fluxuation and Common Denominator — the comic alter egos of the headliners.
-- Kevin Bronson, with Frank Farrar
Stream Nico Vega's "Rabbit in the Bag" at www.myspace.com/nicovega.