Live Review: The Mars Volta at UCI on 01/30

Categories: live review

Fighting your way into the center of the pit at a Mars Volta show is no easy task. Hoards of O.C. hipsters and prog-rock junkies found that out the hard way as the L.A.-based eight piece thrashed and howled on a stage erected atop a basketball court (of all places) at the UCI Bren Events Center on Wednesday night.

The energy in the crowd and in the stands was primed for an explosive two and half hours as every inch of the indoor stadium was quickly over run with clamoring shouts, fidgety clusters of mop-headed fans, pulsing house music and a gathering storm of chronic mist.

The band took the stage, horns blaring to their "Fist Full of Dollars" and there was a massive buffalo rush toward the stage. The black curtain that backed the stage dropped like a skirt, revealing a twenty foot tall naked woman bound at the wrists, a snake dressed as little red ridding hood and something that looked like a devilish muppet with a huge corn cob stuffed up its ass. . .yeah, that's what you call a real stage show. All told, there were four backdrop changes throughout the show, each backlight acid trip more insane-looking than the last.

Seconds after strapping on his guitar, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (guitar, musical composer) fired the first chords of "Roulette Dares (The Haunt of)" from their first album De-Loused in the Comatorium (2001).

With the crowd sparked and lit with frenzy, vocalist Cedric Bixler Zavala did his nastiest as the closest thing to a long-haired Latino James Brown you will probably ever find.

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Bill Cosby: Hip Hop artist?

Categories: say what?

I just found out that Bill Cosby is making a hip hop CD. Which proves just one thing: Now anybody - and I mean anybody - can put out an album. If it's a good album is another matter. What is it with famous folk crossing out of their celebrity niches and into the music realm? This has been going on since William Shatner's did his version of "Rocket Man," which I'll admit, I loved. Hey, it might be a good thing. Who knows maybe Scarlett Johansson's new CD, "Anywhere I Lay My Head," will be brilliant. But I somehow doubt it.

Cosby's album, "State of Emergency," is supposed to harshly criticize drug abuse, black-on-black crimes and other issues in the black community. I don't know if Bill Cosby really understands the problems black youths face in our society, or, if he does, that anybody will listen. . .but I'll probably pick his CD up anyway.

P.S. I really just want to know if he can spit. It's been a long time since his pudding dayz. Eh, decide for yourself if he's a worthy MC:

KCRW, Now with Even More User-friendliness

Categories: radio

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Extraordinarily popular Santa Monica-based radio station KCRW 89.9 FM is introducing a new cutting-edge media player that, its publicist claims, “will empower online listeners to make KCRW their own.” (Does that mean we have to make the coffee, too?)

KCRW’s Director of New Media, Anil Dewan, explains that “The player allows [listeners] to access playlists, subscribe to podcasts, embed content on blogs, buy a CD from an artist or a book of the author being interviewed, and share links to their favorite programs with friends.” Rumors that, for a nominal fee, a KCRW intern will come to your home and alphabetize your CDs and LPs have not been confirmed. Yet.

But, seriously, this upgrade looks like it will be very beneficial. You can preview the media player here.

View the complete press release after the jump.

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Paper Thin Walls at Detroit Bar on 01/30

Categories: live review

Perhaps you’ve heard of Paper Thin Walls. Their upbeat Indie-pop song "Light Bright" has received air time on both Indie 103.1 and KROQ. Or, you may have read about them in the OC Register. If not, well, that’s unfortunate. Not to worry, though. They have a few gigs coming up where they’ll be playing music from their current EP, “Wake Up.”

They did just that last night at the Detroit Bar and were met with enthusiasm - one guy, in particular, found it necessary to yell “I love you, Maya!” during the downtime in between nearly each and every song. It seemed strange at first. However, on second thought, such attention is probably common considering Maya's the drummer in an otherwise all-male band.

The four 20-somethings that make up PTW - Sergio Garcia, vocals; Adam Babashoff, bass; Adam Castilla, guitar; and Maya Tuttle, drums - can be found practicing most nights out of the week. Having completed their first EP, they've begun working on their next. As long as they stick to the lively sound and catchy guitar riffs that make "Wake Up" worth listening to, PTW should be set.

When it came time for their final song at Detroit last night, the drunk-on-PTW crowd was disappointed. Some guy, prolly that same Maya lover, demanded that the group “play on all night!” Sorry, mate. Said EP's only $5, take that home with ya.

For more info on the Orange County band and to check out up coming shows, go here.

Richard Devine Twists Knobs, Sows Chaos

Categories: audiophilia

Richard Devine is one of the most innovative electronic-music producers currently working. He's also one of those go-to guys whom gear manufacturers tap to demo their new products. So here is Devine at the latest NAMM in Anaheim, putting a few Livewire machines (the company's based in Pomona) through their wonky paces. Technology: it's inspirational. (Hey, I recognize those noises—it's how my brain sounds during deadline crunches...)



Photos: Ryan Adams

Categories: photos

Ryan Adams performs at UCLA's Royce Hall tonight. We don't have to go north to know it'll kick ass. Weekly web photographer Christopher Victorio caught Adams and The Cardinals at San Diego's Spreckles Theater on Jan 19 and said it "was one of the best shows I'd been to, and it wasn't the box seat I had in front of the stage."

Some snaps from the show:



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Getting Down to Bass Tacks with Krist Noveselic

Categories: Krist Novoselic

Ex-Nirvana/current Flipper bassist Krist Novoselic discusses his four favorite 4-stringers over on our sister paper Seattle Weekly's blog. Hint: They're all from British bands except one, the exception being Chaim Witz, that enterprising gent with the extraordinary tongue.

Here's another hint:



The 2007 Idolator Critics Poll

Categories: lists

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Two irrefutable facts about music critics: they have opinions about the shit they've heard over the course of a year and they're ever so lovable. Okay, maybe one irrefutable fact.

Anyway, music blog Idolator has tabulated the results of nearly 500 music scribes for its second annual critics poll, and the outcome may be of interest to the geekier readers of Heard Mentality. You can find my ballot here. Take notes, whip out your credit card and get purchasing, so as to help the terminally ailing music industry. It's good karma... and stuff.



Last Night: Papercranes, 8MM at Detroit Bar

Review by Reza Allah-Bakhshi

Papercranes, 8MM
Detroit Bar
January 27, 2008

Better Than: Watching Conan O’ Brien since he grew a beard and his writers went on strike.

Download: “What’s Left.”

It was definitely one of those nights where Detroit Bar was more like a lounge.

A lone DJ stood in the corner spinning remixed funk renditions of old classics like the Beach Boys' “Good Vibrations” while scattered patrons threw back a pint of beer or sipped on wine. It was all too fitting for a show that would start out with the ethereal Nu-Jazz trio 8MM and end with the tepid wall of sound that is Papercranes.

Unannounced, 8MM stealthily crept to the stage at 10 p.m., unbeknownst to most. But within the first few seconds of “You Know,” a swath of patrons came out of their alcohol-induced daze and made their way to the front of the stage to sway and swagger to the haunting voice of Julliete Beavan.


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Last Night: The Generators, Longway, The Unwanted Guests, Blacktop Idol at Surf City Saloon

Review by Reza Allah-Bakhshi

The Generators, Longway, The Unwanted Guests and Blacktop Idol
Surf City Saloon
January 26, 2008

Better Than: Your cousin throwing up all over your car after the show.

Download: “The Great Divide.”

Most people wouldn’t look forward to driving 30 minutes in a complete downpour to see a show they were only counting on being half interested in. Especially if they found out upon arrival that the camera lens they were supposed to be shooting the bands with was broken. This was the situation in which I found myself.

Add another hour-long trip back home to retrieve a working prototype Af Nikkor 50 mm lens for that Nikon Digital SLR and you could count on the poor soul partaking on this arduous journey being half-crazed by the time he actually started snapping away. I know I was, but figured my first gig with the respectable Weekly was worth it.

I had never been to Surf City Saloon, and with it being a rather new staple in the Orange County scene I was curious to see what kind of crowd coalesced. There seemed to be all kinds of H.B. slackers and punks but I chalked that up to the acts that were set to play that night. The venue had your typical O.C. dive bar vibe, but with one very big difference: a grinning owner named Jimmy who was insistent on ordering me and my buddy two rounds of whatever we where drinking.

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