Get Out

It’s the Fourth of July so you’re probably going to do one of two things.  You will either celebrate with food and friends at someone’s house or celebrate with food and friends in a public space.  Here are two ideas for you if you decide to do the latter.

#GO4THDTLA

Grand Park is proving that it is indeed the “park for everyone”.  They promise 4 stages, 30 food vendors, 1 big mural project and fireworks.

If you like Country, Blues & Bluegrass (nothing more American than those genres) you can check out LA duo Skin & Bones on The Backyard Stage

 

For those that don’t need to hear traditional American music  can enjoy Producer / DJ and co-founder of MoreHouse Records, Evan Landes aka Groove Junkies on The Frontyard Stage

Smokey Robinson

 

For those that want the full blown American birthday blowout, then of course you need to be at The Hollywood Bowl with Smokey Robinson and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Expect to hear some John Phillip Souza from the Philharmonic and expect to hear this song from this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician.

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Best albums of 2015…so far

Keep Calm 2015 Taking OverAs I was compiling my favorites from the past 6 months, I realized they all reminded me of different artists that I already loved.  I guess it was the familiar mixed in with the new that made these albums so fun and familiar and yet so varied/

Bob DylanShadows In The Night” I’m even surprised I liked this enough to put it on a favorite list but Dylan is so sincere and he can really sing the hell out of these songs.  I hear something different in his phrasing with each listen

Reminds me of: Frank Sinatra

Calexico: “Falling From The Sky” The band find their happy place and it makes for a winning blend of Indie rock and Americana music

Reminds me of: Vic Chesnutt and M. Ward

Courtney BarnettSometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit”  The current Queen of Indie Rock certainly deserves her crown.  This collection of brilliant guitar play and witty lyrics gives me hope for the future of rock and roll.

Reminds me of: Nirvana

D’AngeloBlack Messiah” Hallelujah! D’Angelo is back after being MIA for 14 years.  The voice is still there, the biting lyrical content is there as is the forceful music arrangements.  Stunning!

Reminds me of: Prince

Hop Along: “Painted Shut” From the City Of Brotherly Love comes a fiery voice from Frances Quinlan that breathes life into each song like her life depends on it

Reminds me of: Nirvana

Jessica Pratt “On Your Own Love Again”  Jessica As vicious as France Quinlan sounds is how delicate and fragile Jessica Pratt sounds on this album.  But don’t be fooled there’s some power behind these songs that is revealed the more you focus in on each listen

Reminds me of: 70s Laurel Canyon

Kacey Musgraves: ‘Pageant Material” Is she saving Country Music from itself.  No. But it is refreshing to hear someone with a unique pop/country point of view

Reminds me of: 70s Country Music

Sleater Kinney: “No Cities To Love” All I can see is welcome back!

Reminds me of: Sleater-Kinney

Speedy OrtizFoil Deer” A rock band that’s not afraid to jam out their instrumental breaks.  It’s a quirkier Sonic Youth and it adds up to something new and exciting

Reminds me of: Pavement


TorresSprinter“.  Torres was 1 year old when PJ Harvey’s first album came out but it’s clear that PJ had a huge influence on her.  So much so that she teamed up with PJ collaborator Rob Ellis and it makes for a thrilling album.  It might have PJ’s fingerprints on it her Torres lyrical fearlessness makes it very personal

Reminds me of: PJ Harvey

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The Decline Of Western Civilization

The Decline Of WEstern Civilization Collection

As a music fan based in LA I am so thankful that two documentaries exist.  One is The Decline Of Western Civilization and the other is The Decline Of Western Civilization: The Metal Years.  The former is about the punk rock scene in LA in the late 70s and the later follows the hair metal scene that exploded in LA some ten years later.  There was still a huge generation gap and most adults did not understand nor wanted to understand these genres of music.  Enter Penelope Spheeris, a producer of Albert Brooks films and SNL shorts.  And as she explains it, she found the LA punk scene fascinating.

The most honest scene in The Metal Years is Ozzy cooking breakfast and telling the absolute truth about the rock and roll lifestyle these kids wanted

The amazing news is these films along with Part III that follows the gutter punk lifestyle of homeless teenagers is now available for the first time on DVD and Blu-Ray.  Getting music rights is a true nightmare, but the footage is truly amazing and this is well worth the wait.

Watch it and wonder what ever happened to that Wet Cherri guy


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Best singles of 2015…so far

Image result for 2015 music

There was so much good music that sometimes the good ones escape our notice.  Here are ten songs that did not escape my notice and were played repeatedly during the first six months of 2015.

 
Beck “Dreams” Beck picks up the tempo and I rediscover my love for Beck dance music


 
Alabama Shakes “Don’t Wanna Fight No More” The song showcases not only lead singer Brittany Howard amazing vocal prowess but the entire band’s talents at creating a hard-hitting blues/rock jam
 

 
Florence + The Machine “What Kind Of Man” Florence Welch created a brilliant song to feature the pop grandeur of her vocals.  It’s an epic song from an epic singer
 

 
Tame Impala “Let It Happen” The Australians create a pop song that doesn’t forego their hippy tendencies and come up with almost 8 minute dance/rock masterpiece
 

 
Wolf Alice “Moaning Lisa Smile” Miss the 90s? So does Wolf Alice, but this song launches them into something more than a 90s retread, cramming catchy hooks and heavy guitars into a 3 minute pop song.
 

 
St. Vincent “Teenage Talk” If this was slice of brilliance was left off of  St. Vincent’s flawless album from last year imagine what her next album might sound like.
 

 
Benjamin Booker “Wicked Waters” A new indie rock guitar hero is here and this song is the perfect showcase.
 

 
TV On The Radio “Happy Idiot” TVOTR keeps on churning indie pop gems and this song sounds just as fresh as their first single did more than ten years ago.
 

 
Kacey Musgraves “Biscuits” Clever wordplay in a deceptively simple song.  If you miss Natalie Maines sassiness you will have a new favorite in Kacey
 

 
Mark Ronson – Feel Right ft. Mystikal Perhaps the greatest funk song of this century

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Free Music Friday

It’s the first weekend of summer so let Best Coast‘s indie beach babe Bethany Cosentino create the perfect mixtape for your summer weekend, courtesy of Spin.  I also recommnend spinning their new album, California Nights.  Enjoy!

Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast

Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast

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Get Out

Ed Sheeran at 13

Ed Sheeran at 13

For anyone that’s tried to do an elevator pitch or tried to make a cold call, you have a vague idea as to what it’s like trying to busk.  It’s not easy but like everything the more you do it, the easier it gets and there’s no one that does it better than Ed Sheeran.  Tonight, Ed will be playing the 2nd of two nights underneath the stars at the Hollywood Bowl in front of an adoring audience but here he is doing what he does best and making a connection and winning over a crowd that is busy trying to catch their trains.

In 2010, there was a notorious website called ChatRoulette, an online chat website that paired random people from around the world together for webcam-based conversation.  It might at first sound charming and a way to connect with another person from around the globe but in all likelihood if you signed on you would not see a face but you would immediately know the person on the other side of the screen was a man (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).  It really was a game of roulette.

And somehow Ben Folds turned this service into something wonderful and proved that music can soothe the savage beast.  Ben is playing on Saturday at The Greek Theatre. Take a chance and go to the show.

Ben Folds 2015 Tour

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Taylor Swift The Closer

Taylor Swift Time Magazine Powerful CEOJust call Taylor Swift Kyra Sedgwick because she played The Closer to a T.

Taylor Swift’s Tumbr post entitled “To Apple, Love Taylor” laid out the rules that Apple was playing by for their upcoming launch of their streaming Apple Music service.  The rules were basically we’re treating our customers to three months of free music so all artists should also accept zero payment for three months.    It sounds crazy when you think about it but apparently all the major labels agreed to these terms.  It shows the power that Apple now holds.  But indie labels began to grumble and threatened to withhold their artists from the service.

Cue Taylor and the intensely personal relationship she has with her fans.  KISS may have their Army but Taylor has her “Swifties” (okay, clearly not as cool as KISS Army but you get the idea).  When Taylor speaks, her fans listen and there are many of them.  So many in fact, that Taylor Swift made a 700 BILLION DOLLAR COMPANY blink with a simple essay.

 

How much Apple will pay to the artists is still up for debate but all I know is Taylor Swift is one of the most powerful CEOs around and can get things done.  Who knows where she might set her sights next?

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New Music Tuesday

Bro-country is such a big thing that in now has it’s own Wikipedia page.  But there is hope for those that are growing weary of songs about taking your girl with the cut-off jeans on a Friday night to the creek on your flat-bed truck with guns, tobacco and God by your side.

Kacey Musgraves "Pageant Material"The good news is there our slight cracks in the bro-country formula from the likes of Maddie & Tae’s #1 hit “Girl In A Country Song”, Brad Paisley has spoken out on the genre saying ” There are phrases that are totally cliché that we as songwriters owe it to ourselves to not use again”

And now Kacey Musgraves has a new album out called “Pageant Material”.  And while the album won’t change Nashville, she does look at the world with such a fresh perspective that it can give you hope for the future of country music. Welcome back!

Lately  Jeff Tweedy has been a a winning producer streak.  He help shape Mavis Staples last two records, he produced his own Tweedy project with his son Spencer and now he’s taken on Folk Music legend Richard Thompson.  Until you see Richard Thompson play live you don’t realize what a truly gifted guitarist he is. What you hear when you listen to his music is how amazing he is as a lyricist.

Beaknik Walking has both the deft guitar playing with a simple jaunting beat that seems light weight at first but when you dig into the lyrics there’s something ominous going on. I don’t think the “pot” he’s referring to in Amersterdam is the food pantry.

Amsterdam, where good things come in threes
Ease your troubled mind and shoot the breeze
Take the path down to the mill
I’m going to get my fill
I’m going to eat till the pot runs dry

Tweedy and Thompson come together to make “Still” and prove that good things do come in threes.

Richard Thompson "Still"

Richard Thompson “Still”

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Bitch, I’m Madonna…and that’s sad

Bitch, I'm Madonna

Imagine throwing a party for yourself and everyone was half your age and the only way to get attention was to literally throw your body or crawl on your fours into everyone’s way.

Everyone’s comparing Taylor Swift‘s cameo filled new video to Madonna‘s cameo filled video but while Taylor’s video has people her own age in which she has shared experiences, Madonna’s is filled with people half her age whose experience is remembering her when they were children.  At this point there’s almost no difference between a Madonna party and a Hugh Hefner hosted Playboy mansion party. I believe Chris Rock is the only other 50 year old in Madonna’s video and he’s still nearly 7 years younger than her.   Her kids at the start of the video are closer in age to the vast majority of people in this video.  She’s like the band KISS, heavily made up and still singing about teenage lust.

Madonna is free to follow her muse and say she’s just covering ground 50+ year old men have done for decades but that doesn’t make this video any more satisfying to me.  Madonna is still making good music and lyrically she sometimes writes as an experienced woman of a certain age, but this song and video just rubs me the wrong way.

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Father’s Day Playlist

Jackie Greene - Back To Birth Vinyl

Jackie Greene -- Back To Birth

Jackie Greene is expecting a brand new album in August called Back To Birth and the timing is perfect in the week leading up to Father’s Day as the website PopMatters premiered a new tune from Jackie.

“This is a song I wrote for my dad as a Father’s Day gift some years back before he passed away,” says Greene to PopMatters. “It’s a pretty emotional song for me. I hope other fathers out there will enjoy it as much as my dad did.”

Jackie also created a pretty good Spotify playlist that covers the wide spectrum of Dads that might have (un)fortunately raised us. Enjoy!

 

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