“Night Skiing” by L.A. Takedown

On their new album II, set for release on May 12 through Ribbon Music, L.A. Takedown combine the moody grandeur of a film score with pure, pop melodies. Led by Los Angeles-based composer/multi-instrumentalist Aaron M. Olson, the seven-piece band delivers a guitar-driven take on synth-pop that’s inspired its own genre. “Bjorn Copeland of Black Dice once described L.A. Takedown to me as ‘Baywatch Krautrock,'” Olson recalls. “I found myself saying, ‘Well, you know…it’s not not that-works for me!” At times ethereal and frenzied, groove-heavy and narcotic, II is lush with harmonized guitar leads and inspiration from the likes of King Crimson’s Robert Fripp, Japanese composer Tori Kudo, and Nigerian musician King Sunny Adé.

Though L.A. Takedown began as a home recording project and experiment in film scoring, Olson eventually assembled a live band that soon took on a life of its own. The follow-up to L.A. Takedown’s 2015 self-titled debut, II is the first release featuring the full band, which includes keyboardists Ryan Adlaf and Jonah Olson, guitarists Miles Wintner (Girlpool) and Stephen Heath (Paul Bergman), drummer Mose Wintner, and bassist Jessica Espeleta (Weird War, Love as Laughter). L.A. Takedown recorded the album at a home studio in Van Nuys with producer Shane Stoneback (Sleigh Bells, Cults, Vampire Weekend), a process that Olson describes as “seven goofballs eating snacks and watching Columbo and making music.”

“We live in a world where we’re so inundated with all these pieces of pop culture that they just become part of us,” Olson says. “I like to try to find new ways to present things that are already familiar to everyone.”

The new video for “Night Skiing” sees a driver (played by Stephen Heath, one of the band’s three lead guitarists) stranded in the desert after his car has broken down. He wanders the landscape in search of help only to find a dirty man (played by Olson) in a van who gives him a mysterious pill that transports him to an epic desert jam session.

Wed. May 17 – Oakland, CA @ Starline Social Club
Fri. May 19 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
Sat. May 20 – Vancouver, BC @ Cobalt
Sun. May 21 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza
Tue. May 23 – San Francisco, CA @ Swedish American Hall
Thu. May 25 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
Fri. May 26 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater

1. The First Thing…
2. Heatwave
3. L.A. Blue
4. The Valley
5. Bad Night at Black’s Beach
6. City of Glass
7. Blue Skies (on Mars)
8. Dose
9. Us
10. Night Skiing
11. The Most Crucial Game
12. The Last Thing…