The Blood Arm
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The Blood Arm

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The best kept secret in music


Local quartet the Blood Arm are sloppy-punk sweat-slingers who do it in a darkly manic manner — wallowing in the noir cesspit of L.A. the same way the Doors or the Plimsouls used to: coolly observant but always self-conscious of their place among the burnt-out stars, criminals, fires and freeways (in fact, like two of the Doors in particular, members of the Blood Arm are budding actors and screenwriters). Singer Nathaniel Fregoso has the crazy/pompous front-guy shtick down, and spazzy guitar shredder Zeb Luketyde and sassy keys maven Dyan Valdes provide plenty of snarling attitude. But when they play nice and come together (with drummer Zach Amos) on songs like the Sonics-ish “Bad Timing,” it’s a deliberate juggernaut, driving and sputtering in fine form and precision.

Wendy Gilmartin
L.A. Weekly 01.22.04 - LA Weekly

The Adored, Ashbury, The Blood Arm at the Key Club

On a crusade to "save our kids from a doomed life of oversized clothing and urban music," longtime nightlife/music tastemaker Joseph Brooks (of Bang!, Makeup and a zillion otherclubs that made L.A. cool long before today's kids were even born) offers Ruby Tuesdays, an all-ages, free, live-rock weekly. Ensuring maximum exposure for the acts he deems worthy, three bands become residents each month, and April's trio of talent brims with style, swagger, and most important these days, a sound that's both fresh and familiar. Like The Adored, who make prancey, dancey Buzzcocksesque pop slop; or Ashbury, whose Joy Division-style murk-rock festers and seeps with anxious keyboards and dramatic vocals; and The Blood Arm, boldly amped yet tonally blase' art-core with attitude (their signature single is called "A Brilliant Debut"). All three local bands, in fact, have a hair-o-gance that fits in quite nicely with the Strokes/Interpol/Rapture-buzzster lot, so see them for free while you can.

Lina Lecaro
L.A. Weekly 04.09.04 - LA Weekly

Bomb Romantics
(no label yet)

Local pop hounds with a rather charmingly bellowing lead singer, entire warehouses of slam, vim & vigor, of course, then these amazingly memorable hooks à la the entire history of good pop including Motown, rolled up into a big rocking ball and smoked (as if some serious study of the form has been undertaken; or are younger musicians simply smarter than they used to be?). Some might call it charisma, but see for yourself at their numerous shows around town. Why, yes, they will be huge.

by John Payne - LA Weekly

First things first, if you're not from the US (and let's face it, most of you aren't) you may have trouble getting hold of this. You're not going to find it in your local branch of HMV however hard you try. So, why, we hear you cry, are we reviewing it? Why would a UK based music website be telling you about an album that you probably can't even listen to?

Easy. 'Bomb Romantics' is the best debut album we can remember hearing in a very, very long time.

Sure, you're running off names in your head already. You can take your Oasis, Strokes, and White Stripes and shove them somewhere the sun don't shine. Forget your precious Libertines and Franz Ferdinands, because they don't even come close. LA's The Blood Arm mix Doors style retro cool, back room blues, raw guitars and rawkus piano with an ear for a good tune. They're a genetic hybrid of everything good about today's music scene, with all the bad bits taken out.

It's criminal that the entire world hasn't discovered this hidden gem yet. 'Do I Have Your Attention?' doesn't even need to ask. Kicking off the record with a bang, it's a statement of intent - a full on assault of everything The Blood Arm are about, and an anthem in waiting. 'Opportunity Knocks' follows it up with a swagger that most bands take years to develop, and we all know how amazing 'Can I Unwind?' is - the track having topped our own Buzz Chart a few weeks back.

Every track deserves its own roll call here. 'How We Were Eaten By Wild Animals' has charm and punch to spare, while 'Hey Girl!' shows a more sensitive side to the band; is there anything they can't do?

To find faults with 'Bomb Romantics' would be like the people who complain about winning too much money on the lottery. If there is any justice, if anyone ever paid attention to us - they'd get The Blood Arm over here as quick as possible. Quite simply, a brilliant debut.

Note: Though you can't pick up 'Bomb Romantics' in the shops, you can order it from the band via Paypal. If you know what's good for you, head over to, and get yourself a copy of the best album you'll hear this year. - This Is Fake DIY

Arm Ready To Pitch
by Kevin Bronson

Is naming your first single "A Brilliant Debut" anything like calling your novel "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius?" The Blood Arm already had a reputation for kicking swingers' cosmos off the bar before a July-long Monday residency at Spaceland, and now it has a self-released CD. "Bomb Romantics" isn't as brooding as a four-song demo from last year - though mop-haired singer Nathaniel Fregoso still likes to pour his broad, well e-nun-ci-at-ed tenor overtop of the gentle piano, skritchy guitar and tribal drums. Fregoso is chuffed by the big turnouts at the Mondays so far -- they are free -- and hopes to catch the eye and ear of A&R soon. He went to Princeton High School in North Hollywood, met pianist Dyan Valdes at UCLA and pulled together the band with guitarist Zeb Carlisle and drummer Zachary Amos. Now they're out and, hopefully, off, preceded by their manic stage presence and songs about "love lost and gained." - LA Times

LA Weekly loves them, Franz Ferdinand loves them, and Ambitious Outsiders adores them. The Blood Arm is not only considered one of the few bands with a ferocious rhythm, they are one of the few bands with strategies that has laid them on the map. The Blood Arm took a moment to chat with AO about their characteristics, how time is their challenge, their upcoming album "Bomb Romantics" and their self-written biographies.

AO: How is the upcoming album "Bomb Romantics?"

Nathaniel: It's good. It sounds great. It sounds kind of what we are playing right now, all the new songs that sound like we recorded live, very raw.

AO: Very Raw?

Nathaniel: Very raw, it's like a live show.

Dyan: We really made it a point to record the songs with not too many takes, we did one or two takes for per song and recorded it, we were determined to get everything recorded in four days, we did the basic tracking for eleven songs like in 5 hours. So we wanted to sound just like a live show.

AO: Do you think people will get a better experience listening to the Blood Arm live or not live (through the cd)?

Nathaniel: Well I think the album you can listen to and really enjoy, it's not just something we did carelessly. But a sign of a good band is that they can play live, perform live, be able to have an exciting show that you can watch and not get bored of, and it's captivating. And I think we tried to do that, we try to bring a lot of energy and I think it came across in the album.

AO: The Blood Arm is described as a "Los Angeles band" How do you describe that?

Nathaniel: We are all from LA, and right now there really isn't many strong Los Angeles bands and I think we are really trying to promote that along with our music. It's very organic, part of this city, this is where we live, we experience things and we just want it to be about LA, put LA back on the map. There are New York bands and there are rock bands with no strong LA force.

AO: What characteristics define the Blood Arm? The Blood Arm is a band that...
(Moments of deep silence with the sound of the Adored in the background)

Nathaniel: What do you think? (to other band mates)

Zachary: (directed to AO) What did you think when you heard us?

AO: What I have heard is "The Blood Arm rips the stage."

The Blood Arm: Energetic.

Dyan: Energetic.

Nathaniel: Energetic.

Dyan: Energetic and urgent, there is some sense of urgency, something very driving about it.

Nathaniel: Restlessness.

AO: Because you are from LA? Does it come with the territory of being from here?

Nathaniel: Maybe it does, I don't know, maybe the heat, the changing weather.

AO: You should be crazy by now then.

Nathaniel: Yeah, exactly.

(During the period of interview, the Blood Arm, along with the Adored and Ashbury, initiated Filter Magazine and Indie 103.1 new Ruby Tuesday at the Key Club. Every month three different bands play for free every Tuesday.)

Dyan: Ashbury we never played with, but I think we all represent this new LA rock scene and I think it's really exciting.

Nathaniel: Something needs to happen on the West Coast.

AO: Where does The Blood Arm want to head from here?

Nathaniel: We are going to release the album and do some gigs.

AO: On what label?

Nathaniel: We are going to self release it and see if something happens, if someone picks it up, we are going to sell in on our website and through our live shows. We are going to tour, do some New York days, maybe some San Francisco and just build a fan base. People who like the album can come see our show. We are already writing new songs, we always want to keep it fresh and productive.

Zebastian: Yeah, we want to get these songs out and then focus on writing more and more songs.

Dyan: We recorded the demo almost exactly a year before the album, to the day, so we would be back at the studio a year later with another album

Nathaniel: Our goal is to try to release something every year at least. I don't think we believe in the perfect studio album and spending three years on songs, ten songs, it doesn't make sense you just have to keep writing songs. A sign of a good band is that they have 60 songs they can choose from.

AO: Will you continue the same formula if you get a good reaction from this upcoming album, keeping it live?

Nathaniel: I think we will record the basic tracks live.

Zachary: The idea of a song being time dependent is something that is happening as you are playing it. If you break up a song and record it over a week or two weeks you lose that feeling that is occurring as you are playing it.

AO: I was on your web page and reading each of your bios and I am trying to decide whether to believe it or not, are the bios true? (Giggling for a moment)

Nathaniel: There is some truth in everything.

AO: (To Dyan)... so you are a child prodigy?

Dyan: Yeah, can’t you tell? I am a crazy genius.

AO: So there is some truth to those bios. So what makes the Blood Arm, the Blood Arm?

Nathaniel: We all listen to a million types of different music, but the thing we toss around is the Doors meets the Fall. We kind of have the same line up as the Doors, except we have piano instead of organ, same esthetic as the Fall.

AO: What does the Blood Arm like to do on stage?

Nathaniel: Excite people and get them interested in our music and music and to really make a connection with the audience. It's so rare to go to a show and be a little under whelmed.

Dyan: A lot of times when you go to a show and you are just watching the band, I think we really like to engage the audience, really make people feel like part of the experience. When we play a show I totally feed off people's energy, I would like to think it's like one whole thing that is going on and we are just part of it.

Nathaniel: The crowd reacts in a certain way and we react to that, I think all of that is already there present in a room when you go see a rock band... it's just bringing it out and that is what we do...or try to do.

AO: What's the worse reaction the Blood Arm has received?

Zachary: At a show or in a review?

Nathaniel: At a show, it's a bummer when there are like three people, but nothing too bad, no tomatoes have been thrown at us.

Get a shot in the vein with the Blood Arm this week playing along with Sons & Daughters and Franz Ferdinand:

-Fri. June 4th at the Grand Ballroom in San Francisco
-Sat. June 5th Scalped tickets for the sold out show at the Avalon
-Sun. June 6th at the Wiltern - Ambitious Outsiders

Air, Dizzee Rascal, Nellie McKay, TV On The Radio To Perform At Shortlist Awards

Awards shows are nothing without performances, and the Shortlist Music Prize ceremony is mostly an excuse to have a great concert. This year is no exception: Air, Dizzee Rascal, Nellie McKay and TV on the Radio are scheduled to perform at the Shortlist ceremony at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood on November 15. More performers — both Shortlist finalists and acts associated with them — are expected to be announced.

The event will be broadcast on MTV2 on November 20 at 9 p.m. ET.

Along with the four confirmed performers, the 10 Shortlist finalists include Franz Ferdinand for their self-titled debut, Ghostface for The Pretty Toney Album, the Killers for Hot Fuss, Loretta Lynn for Van Lear Rose, the Streets for A Grand Don't Come for Free and Wilco for A Ghost Is Born (for video and sound clips, photos and more, check out "Shortlist Prize Finalists: A Mixtape From The Stars").

Now in its fourth year, the goal of the Shortlist Prize is to "honor the most adventurous and creative albums of the year across all genres of music," according to its mission statement.

"The Shortlist is decided on the merit of the music rather than on industry criteria, so it's not based on marketing or sales or anything like that, which is pretty cool," Franz Ferdinand singer Alex Kapranos told MTV earlier this month. "I really appreciate the eclectic nature of the nominations: We've got people like Loretta Lynn on one side, then Dizzee Rascal and the Streets on the other, and Wilco there as well."

The winner is determined by a panel of musicians, music journalists and music-business executives (the "Listmakers"), who each nominated their seven favorite albums and then winnowed down the initial "Long List" of 73 albums to a "Shortlist" of 10 finalists (for the Long List, see "Franz Ferdinand, Killers, Wilco, Ghostface Make First Round Of Shortlist Prize").

This year's 22 Listmakers include John Mayer, Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba, Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, Norah Jones, the Roots' Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, the Cure's Robert Smith, System of a Down's Serj Tankian and the Dixie Chicks (see "John Mayer, Chris Carrabba, ?uestlove, Norah Jones Sign On For Shortlist Prize").

"To get some acknowledgement from [the Listmakers], people that we look up to and respect, that's pretty important," Kapranos said. He and Franz guitarist Nick McCarthy mentioned fellow Glasgow band Sons and Daughters, British outfit Bloc Party, L.A.'s the Blood Arm and New York-based sibling duo the Fiery Furnaces as current personal favorites (the latter band's debut LP made the Long List).

The nominated albums must have sold less than 500,000 copies in the U.S. by the end of the prize's eligibility period (this year, between July 1, 2003, and June 30, 2004). Franz Ferdinand and the Killers' albums have both since exceeded that total.

A compilation album featuring songs from all 10 Shortlist finalists, as well as Long List nominees Ryan Adams, Café Tacuba, Jem, Muse and Secret Machines, is due November 2 from Razor & Tie Records.

— Jem Aswad - MTV

DIY's favourite new discovery of the last twelve months, LA's The Blood Arm may finally be starting to get the recognition they deserve. Franz Ferdinand have been singing their praises to anyone who will listen (which, coupled with their love of t'Chiefs makes us wonder if someone might actually be paying attention), and the band are finally coming to the UK next year.

If you think some of the new bands around are special, you haven't heard anything yet. You can read more about The Blood Arm on DIY in the next couple of weeks. - This is Fake DIY

Who are the artists' artists of the year? From Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand to the R&B singer Jamelia to the chanteuse Françoise Hardy, the stars reveal to James McNair the records that have been the soundtrack to their past 12 months

24 December 2004

Alex Kapranos, singer, Franz Ferdinand

Bomb Romantics by The Blood Arm

The album we've been listening to this year is by the Los Angeles guitar band The Blood Arm. It's called Bomb Romantics, and it's only out as a limited release at the moment. We've played with them a couple of times in LA and they are highly original and innovative. If there's any justice they'll get the acclaim they deserve in 2005. - The Independent

"Oooh, the Blood Arm they're a band from Los Angeles that we saw the first time we were over there. I don't think they've ever played over here and I don't think you kind find of any their records over here, but they're amazing. You know when you go and see a gig and you see a band for the first time and your jaw drops, you're totally excited because it's something you've never seen a band do before, and there's only a few bands you see in your lifetime who make you feel that excited, and for us, the Blood Arm are one of them." – Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand on Lamacq Live on BBC Radio 1 - BBC


4 Song Demo
released September 2003

Bomb Romantics
self-released June 2004

"A Brilliant Debut" EP
to be released February 1, 2005
on Echo Park Records


Feeling a bit camera shy


Suffocated by the snobbery of Silver Lake (the Williamsburg of the west), LA's music scene has suffered recently, and while there's a list as long as Sunset Boulevard of good bands, there have been few great ones. But the Blood Arm aren't just great, they're amazing. Friends of Franz Ferdinand and Junior Senior and feted by Rodney on the Roq, the band's Doors-meets-Fall rattle is matched by a ferocious rhythm that gets even the most jaded Angelenos dancing, and TBA doesn't forget to pack in the pop either – who has the huevos to title their first single "A Brilliant Debut" and fit in the catchiest keyboard solo since A-Ha's "Take On Me?" Live, singer Nathaniel Fregoso is rarely onstage, preferring to climb into heating ducts and kick hipster drinks off the bar; guitarist Zeb Carlisle is fabulous, his short, inspired riffs spazzy and jazzy; drummer Zach Amos is flawless, able to kickstart the party and then add backing as the songs build; and keyboardist Dyan Valdes binds it all together while also managing to break every boy's heart. Most importantly, the Blood Arm is what every other band in LA right now isn't: they're good looking, they're nice, they're not Scientologists, and they actually look like they're from LA, not New York.