Future User: Rage Against the Machine Bassist Tim Commerford's Futuristic New Band!

Categories: Albums we like

Dana Klein
Jordan Tarlow and Tim Commerford
A masked man began appearing in politically charged music videos nearly half-a-year ago. The band he fronted called itself Future User. Its music mixed prog rock sounds with EDM providing a backdrop for visual critiques of police brutality, torture at Guantanamo Bay, NSA spying and GMO foods. But who was this mysterious propagandist? A fourth video, "Mountain Lion" came roaring last month when, suddenly, Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford appeared...and lit himself on fire!

More »

The Dodos Are the Most Underrated Indie Band In the World

Let's call the Dodos the most underrated indie rock band in existence. Since Meric Long and Logan Kroeber started producing their ultra-catchy, intellectual folk songs (all syncopated rhythms and entwining melodies, natch) in 2005, every album they've produced  has been better then the last. The fact that they don't have fans as rabid as Animal Collective's is a mystery. Currently  touring last year's Carrier  and on the verge of dropping their sixth album, Individ (which drops Jan. 27.), the Dodos perform at Alex's Bar on Dec. 14. Consider yourself lucky that you can still catch their intense, high-energy show in an intimate setting; cancel your Sunday night plans and make the show your early Christmas gift to yourself. Singer/songwriter Meric Long talks about how the Dodos ended up making Individ  so soon after Carrier and what it was like having Brigid Dawson (Thee Oh Sees) and Minna Choi (Magik Magik Orchestra) on their latest set.

More »

Vince Staples Brings Reality Back to Gangsta Rap

Categories: Albums we like

Carlo Cruz / Red Bull Content Pool

Vince Staples isn't trying to be hard when he tells stories about his gangbanging past. He also doesn't care much for smoking weed, wearing bling, banging bitches or clearing out his bank account to make an Instagram video.

Instead, Hell Can Wait -- the 21-year-old Long Beach emcee's anticipated debut Def Jam EP -- dropped this week as a "Fuck the Police" for the new generation. It's filled with all of the ballsy storytelling, truthful street depictions and silky poetic verse that has been missing from gangsta rap for over a decade.

"Back in the '90s, music used to emulate the streets, but now the streets emulate music," Staples says.

More »

The Natives' 'Last Of The Natives' Released Today on Porch Party Records

Categories: Albums we like

The Natives
Senay Kenfe (left) and Garreth McDaniels

With a message planted in the conscious lyrics of late 1980s New York hip-hop and beats stuck firmly in diverse-as-hell Long Beach, The Natives is The International City's contemporary answer to groups like A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul.

Though The Natives' new album--Last of The Natives, out today on Porch Party Records--doesn't even begin to touch the original Native Tongue Posse's timeless knack for layered sampling (nor is there a chorus on the whole thing), it still follows DNA strands through two generations of musical evolution, giving Afrofuturism a lyrical update over splayed out electronic beach beats that could only be rap fodder for SoCal kids.

More »

The Album is Not Dying, Despite What You May Have Heard

Categories: Albums we like

From the Shangri La art
Tell this guy about the death of the album.
By: Michael Corcoran

"The album is dying in front of our very eyes," Variety columnist and music business know-it-all Bob Lefsetz wrote recently based on weak LP sales, including Katy Perry's Prism, which sold only about 220,000 copies in its first week.

"If your plan is to increase your audience, spread the word and make money, suddenly the album just isn't working anymore," he continued. "We've turned into a nation of grazers. And the artist's job is to constantly be at the smorgasbord. Not to deliver one big meal that is picked at and thrown away, but to constantly provide tantalizing bites to the public."

As if Bob Lefsetz knows anything about "the artist's job."

More »

Puig Destroyer: Kicked in the Balls But Keeps on Going

Categories: Albums we like

Friday night's 9-0 ass-whupppin' of the Los Angeles Dodgers by the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of the NLCS dashed the World Series hopes for our neighbors to the north, and essentially closed the books on another baseball season in California.

The shell-shock of Dodger Nation could be felt all the way down here in Angels Country, as surely more than a few Angels faithful turned their sights towards Chavez Ravine at some point last year with their beloved Halos plumbing the depths of the AL West for much of the 2013 season. Because apparently, unlike Chicago, where you're either a Cubs fan or a Sox fan, you can get behind both SoCal MLB franchises without incurring excessive acrimony for crossing over. As a Midwest transplant, this is something that I was shocked to learn.

I was hipped to this dynamic by former Thrice drummer and OC lifer Riley Breckenridge, who released a project EP this summer titled Puig Destroyer, a grindcore tribute to Los Angeles Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig, a freakishly fast and powerful outfielder who defected from Cuba last year and signed himself up with the Dodgers at $42 million over seven years so as to say, ¡en tu cara, comunistas!

We caught up with Riley, who's finally coming to grips with the end of the Dodgers playoff run, to talk about dual fandom in SoCal baseball, Puig's freakishness, and his latest musical endeavor, Puig Destroyer which, despite the Dodger's recent craptastic performance, is soldiering on to a new EP which will hopefully be out soon.

More »

Top 10 Emo Bands of the '90s

Emo wasn't always shorthand to describe Hot Topic pre-teens with black hair spending their parent's money on My Chemical Romance merch. In the 90's, emo went through a revival period looking back to bands like Rites of Spring and Embrace. Today, some music scenes are seeing a revival in emo music as well. Bands like Algernon Cadwalladar, Into It Over It, Tigers Jaw, and Snowing are creating the sounds of the latest emo revival. Like all good things, many emo bands are short-lived. All the bands on this list have either broken up and reunited or have just called it quits all together. Whether you call it post-hardcore, emo, screamo, emotive hardcore, or whiny-teenage music, emo will always be coming in and out of style. Here's our list of the Top 10 Emo Bands of the 90s.

More »

10 Rock en Español Albums to Listen to Before You Die

Categories: Albums we like
Cafe Tacuba: los reyes

Every Mexican I know has been laughing these past couple of weeks over Rolling Stone's lame attempt to get wabs to pick up their magazine--oh wait, you didn't hear about it? Where they did a double-cover featuring one in English and another en español--in the back, of course? Hey, Jann Wenner: Plessy v. Ferguson was found unconstitutional a while back, you know?

About the only thing that didn't outright suck was their list of the 10 greatest "Latin rock" albums of all time, and that's only because it was written by my good pal, Ernesto Lechner, who, next to Josh Kun and Enrique Lopetegui, was the best critic of the genre back in our salad days (and I wonder what their list would be?). But even Ernesto's list had to be partly watered down for gabacho tastes (seriously, che: Abraxas?), not just in the album choices, but in that title of "Latin rock," a title for a genre no one has used for a decade (the preferred choice for critics is "Latin alternative," although for the diehards, it'll always be rock en español)

Any 10-whatever-your-modifier list is always wrought with danger, but let me make a case for mine. It'll have some of the greatest albums in the genre, sure, but consider this a simultaneous list for gabachos who want to know what all the fuss is about the genre and for rockeros who need some self-reflection about a genre that once seemed poised to rule the world but is now stuck in a rut of reunions and Zoe ripoffs. This list won't include the pioneers ala Charly Garcia, El Tri, Botellita de Jerez and others because that's the advanced level, chavos: this is for the rookies. And definitely no Brazilians--that's another list. And so, let the second-guessing begin!
More »

10 Punk Albums to Listen to Before You Die


Coming up with 10 punk albums to listen to before you die is a lot harder than you'd think. For starters, it's a morbid thought, which makes you start asking yourself why in the hell you're thinking about punk albums when you're only gonna die, so who cares?

Second, the best material of many (if not most) punk bands is featured on singles, not full-length records. That's why you won't see Minor Threat on this list because even though they are punk rock royalty, their sole album (1982's Out of Step) isn't as good as their EPs. Or, on the flipside, you got a band like Red Cross, whose first EP is
unfuckwithable, but EPs aren't albums and therefore not included in this list.

That said, there are still plenty of full-length punk records that everyone should most definitely hear and more than likely own.

Here, in no particular order, are 10.

See Also:

*10 Jazz Albums to Listen to Before You Die

*Top 25 Greatest OC Bands of All Time

*Top 10 Band Wally George Band Interviews From the Hot Seat

More »

10 Classical Albums to Listen to While Studying or Writing

Categories: Albums we like
Philip Glass .jpg
Philip Glass 

In 1993, the famous book by Don Campbell, The Mozart Effect, convinced millions that listening to Mozart can have a substantial effect on cognition.  Now, the debate over whether or not music improves intelligence is filled with psychologists, neurologists, teachers, and musicians with so many different takes, it's hard to know the truth.  But one thing neurologists know for sure is that music "activates the brain regions related to attention, semantic processing, motor functions, and emotional processing," according to a study in Brain: The Journal of Neurology.  It also helps relax the person studying.  So before I get too nerdy, let me start.  This is a list for all those times you go to coffee shop and want to drown out the annoying couple playing crossword puzzles; this is a list for all those times you have a block, while you're writing your term paper or a poem; this is a list for anyone who wants to hear good music, while still memorizing the order of all the dead presidents, without being interrupted by lyrics.  These are my favorite songs to listen to while studying and writing.    

See Also:
*10 Jazz Albums to Listen to Before You Die
*John Coltrane's 'A Love Supreme': The Story Behind the Album
*John Harrington Incorporates Jazz and Jay-Z On Stop Time's New Album

More »