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California Sounds: Mia Doi Todd tackles 'Midsummer Night's Dream,' Winnetka Bowling League premieres 'On the 5' video and Louis Cole celebrates 'Time'

California Sounds: Mia Doi Todd tackles 'Midsummer Night's Dream,' Winnetka Bowling League premieres 'On the 5' video and Louis Cole celebrates 'Time'
Mia Doi Todd (Glynnis McDaris)

Mia Doi Todd, “Music for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ ” (City Zen). The Frogtown-based singer-songwriter’s new album doubles as the soundtrack for the recent L.A.-based film adaptation of the Shakespeare play and features Doi Todd collaborating with a host of Angelenos.

The artist, who has distinguished herself as a true L.A. original through her appreciation and understanding of folk music from across the Americas, showcases her versatility across the soundtrack through songs with electronic producer Dntel, singer Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio, composer-arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Swedish prog-rock band Dungen, singer-poet-actor Saul Williams and others.

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In fact, in the film, Williams plays King Oberon and Doi Todd plays Queen Titania, and they duet on two songs for the soundtrack. The lovely “Philomel, With Melody” draws its title and lyrics from a song that fairies sing in the second act of Shakespeare’s play. Doi Todd’s duet with Adebimpe opens the record with excerpts from Act 1 — “Four days will quickly steep themselves in night/Four nights will quickly dream away the time” — which they transform into a mid-tempo, piano, flute and percussion-driven curtain raiser.

The thrilling collaboration with Dungen sounds teleported from early 1970s Krautrock-era Germany, with Doi Todd singing excerpts from an Act 1 conversation between Helena and Hermia. If it all sounds a little pretentious, harnessing classic verse in service of new music, Doi Todd and friends do it with a wonderful looseness by tracing resonant phrases, lines and couplets from Shakespeare’s most hallucinogenic work, and guide those tidbits with melodic and rhythmic grace.

Winnetka Bowling League, “On the 5” (RCA). An undeniably anthemic pop song about the thoroughfare connecting Southern California and our less fortunate citizens to the north, “On the 5” is the first song from pop songwriter Matthew Koma’s new outfit. Best known for his work on hits for EDM artist Zedd, Koma (or to your gossip-loving friends, Hilary Duff’s boyfriend and father to their new daughter) aims at the essence of West Coast pop music by not only name-checking the Beach Boys’ album “Pet Sounds” but also adding layers of Brian Wilson-esque harmonies to accent “On the 5.”

The “On the 5” video, which The Times is premiering, is centered on a recently jobless dude in the middle of what could be either a breakdown or the best day of his life. Directed by Zack Sekuler, it finds our hero rolling through the Valley, swimming in the Pacific, dancing shirtless in mini-mall parking lots on Ventura Boulevard and gesticulating wildly in time with the music. An L.A. song through and through, it certainly sounds like a hit.

Louis Cole, “Time” (Brainfeeder). In early August, the multi-talented, multi-platform artist celebrated the release of his debut for the lauded Brainfeeder imprint at the Lodge Room in Highland Park with a raucous, kinda-sorta choreographed concert that suggested a future on much bigger stages.

Known for being one-half of the synth-funk group Knower, a member of virtuosic bassist and label-mate Thundercat’s band and the creator of fantastic viral videos for his projects, Cole led an ensemble that showcased an eight-piece horn section, a killer rhythm section, dancers and his own skills on drums and keyboards and guided them through songs from “Time.” (Warning: The below video contains profanity.)

It was quite the display, but that’s to be expected. Cole obviously loves being on stage, and “Time” proves it. These 14 tracks merge synthetic funk, hip-hop, indie soul and a love of life. Songs including “Weird Part of the Night,” “Freaky Times” and “After the Load is Blown” possess chops and wit. And despite the title, “When You’re Ugly” isn’t about trolling or negativity. It’s about facing down criticism with unflinching, stubborn determination. This sentiment is also delivered through a video, shot in the industrial streets of Vernon, where Cole and a band of misfits move to the music. As the display is concluding (spoiler alert!), Cole is struck by a speeding car while his team watches. It’s one of many such videos on Cole’s YouTube page.

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