Unpacking the layers of Laurel Canyon’s new music video for “A Man About Town”

Author: Jason Lee

A man about town / invited us ‘round / said not to freak out / stay inside the house / ’til it was all over…

Taken from the band’s self-titled debut LP from earlier this year on Agitated Records, Laurel Canyon’s “A Man About Town” has been bestowed with a brand spanking new music video (conceived, directed, edited & produced by Lola Daehler) released just today, a song described elsewhere as “Bleach-era Nirvana on a Magical Mystery Tour” which pretty much nails it re: grungy, thrashing riffs ‘n’ riddims crossed with psychedelic squalls of feedback and immersive, pedal-assisted buzzsaw guitar supported by a baseline that bounds ahead like a bouncing rubber ball so in other words we’re talking a nice Indica-Sativa hybrid of a song…

…and that’s not to mention Laurel Canyon’s “secret spice,” namely, their knack for writing Merseybeat-worthy pop melodies which if you removed the dirty sonic scrim draped over “A Man About Town” it’d be damn near to nearly being a Mod-era single by The Kinks, especially the earworm refrain “LAST TIME I WENT / I NEVER CAME BACK” delivered with the same armpit-stained fervor as Ray Davies at his most paranoiac and oh yeah almost forgot to mention the Mod-ish suit jackets and dark shades the LC’s always wear in public cuz these gents are certainly dedicated followers of fashion

…and while the name Laurel Canyon may seem a bit counter-intuitive for our featured band—the namesake LA neighborhood is best known for spawning sensitive, literate singer-songwriter types like Joni Mitchell and James Taylor—it starts to make more sense once you consider Charles Manson famously took up residence at Dennis Wilson’s Beach Boy bachelor pad in the vicinity of Laurel Canyon during the summer of ’68 jamming together and wrecking havoc in general which resulted in both a Manson-penned Beach Boys song (!) and to the Tate–LaBianca Murders of 1969 which talk about your American Dream and American Nightmare wrapped into one…

…a dynamic captured in filmmaker-bassist-vocalist Lola Daehler’s music video for “A Man About Town” which even though there’s no bloodshed involved still manages to match the song’s propulsive energy and askew perspective (qualities shared by Lola’s own band Homade) with camerawork that’s as dynamic as the music itself with much panning, zooming, and “swerving to-and-fro” to use a highly technical film term not to mention some cool hand-held shots produced by the LC’s themselves…

…whilst highlighting classic American tropes of amusement parks, turtles on the pier, hanging out on neighborhood stoops, red vinyl jackets and yellow acrylic nails, beachcombers searching aimlessly for precious metals but finding nattily-dressed rock bands instead, wayward youth smoking jazz cigarettes and skateboarding and shotgunning Blue Raspberry Slush Puppies, and finally rock ’n’ roll concerts on the beach but sans Frankie or Annette (or anyone for that matter!) to shake their stuff on the sand…

…which is just as well cuz when the beach band played by Laurel Canyon make a brief excursion inland it seems to upset the local Coney “townies” as portrayed by various Laurel Canyon associates and hangers-on (just funnin’!) with a brief chase sequence ensuing and, most tragically of all, the tragic waste of a perfectly good Slush Puppy so you should probably stop wasting your time reading this writeup and get to viewing the music video cuz it’s as sweet and tart and musically slushy as one of those blue brain-freezing novelty drinks…

Laurel Canyon, “A Man About Town,” out 9/27
Director, Editor, Producer: Lola Daehler
Director of Photography: @lluk45
Assistant Camera: @bowling.a11i
Color: @nickdaukas
Babe: @orangebananasontheroof

Bandcamp Bio:

Formed in 2019 when Nick and Serg met through a mutual friend. After connecting over a shared interest in both Arthur Rimbaud and The Stooges, the two began to rehearse together in Serg’s garage.

By October 2020, Serg and Nick began composing original songs together as Laurel Canyon.

Laurel Canyon Album Bio:

Strap yourself in people, we have here the debut full length from Philly’s [now unofficially New York’s?] Laurel Canyon. After some online EP releases, and a (now) sold out 7” with Savage Pencil screened artwork, Agitated Records is excited to announce the release of their self-titled album! Guitars are drenched in an Asheton worshipping haze and pummel, melded alongside a Velvets chug and mid-to-late 80s Pacific Northwest guttural / primal howl…this is American primitive music at its most powerful. Pigeonholers beware, this album takes its cues from all the most potent places…Funhouse, Loaded, Green River, early Sub Pop, all providing valid reference points.

In amongst this over-amped harmonious murk are 10 visceral and catchy pop songs practically screaming for attention, the core members of Serg, Nick, and Dylan have created a beast of a record.

Some tracks were recorded with Steve Albini, some with Bryce Goggin and all were mastered by Howie Weinberg.

The band played 40 chaotic shows in 2022 alone from New York City to Los Angeles, where they opened for Agent Orange and Strawberry Alarm Clock on two separate occasions at the Whisky a Go Go.

Recommended to fans of: The Stooges, Screaming Trees, Tad, Fluid, The Velvet Underground, Mudhoney, The Birthday Party

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