If Ted Nugent Met His 30 Year-Old Self, He'd Kick His Ass

Categories: Artists We Love

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Mary Bell
There's many things that can be said about controversial classic rocker Ted Nugent, but one thing you can't call him is dull. Having played over 6,500 shows in a nearly 50 year career, Nugent continues to maintain a rigorous schedule. This past week, he released, Shut Up & Jam, his first album in seven years. Calling himself "spiritually erect," Nugent says things couldn't be better, that is unless you count the pain he's been in since having his knees replaced in February. During the first half of our chat, there's a strange, clicking that sound, which Nugent half-heartedly jokes and says it's the NSA, calling out Attorney General Eric Holder in the process to stop listening to our call. There's never a moment that isn't interesting with the Motor City Madman, as you'll see for yourself.

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Pharoahe Monch's Artistic, Hip-Hop Approach to Dealing With P.T.S.D.

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Pharoahe Monch
After being a rapper for close to a quarter of a century, and 41-year-old rapper Pharoahe Monch still knows how to be creative and make progressive music. Late in 2013, Eminem declared his bars on 1994's "Bring It On" would "kill most rappers" and that he has "been ahead of his time since he came out," while a couple months ago Village Voice called him "The World's New Rap Therapist." His music is as critically acclaimed now as it was in the mid-'90s, and his discography is littered with Source accolades and acclaim from iconic establishments in pop culture such as Rolling Stone.

The Queens original laid the foundations for his career as one half of the revered duo Organized Konfusion before branching off on his solo career, where he has crafted four albums of his own. His latest, P.T.S.D., is an innovative, creative album based on post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. The album's most remarkable feat is channeling Monch's own, personal struggles with both issues and turning into something that's compelling and entertaining. It's the hip-hop version of observing a live action therapy session like you would a play or concert.

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King Buzzo's Solo Acoustic Project Is the Work of a Devilish Dylan

Categories: Artists We Love

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Speakeasy PR
If Buzz Osborne's solo debut, This Machine Kills Artists, sounds unlike any other acoustic record in existence, that's because it is. The 17-track album (released under Osborne's stage name, King Buzzo) incorporates a dark, brooding ambiance reminiscent of early Delta blues records blended with the sort of heavy riffs associated with Osborne's band the Melvins. That said, the disc isn't merely a drummer-less Melvins album because the material was written as a solo acoustic EP that soon grew into an LP.

Osborne plays June 12 at The Constellation Room. I caught up with the 50-year-old to inquire about how his solo set will differ from a Melvins show. He answered my questions and then some. Here is the result.

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New Projects Help Paul Oakenfold Refuse to Get Old

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Wobsarazzi
Walking into Paul Oakenfold's home studio in the Hollywood Hills, it's hard to not notice the vast amount of movie posters cluttering the walls. Strolling through his expansive compound, he casually points to one from the John Travolta/Halle Berry crime thriller Swordfish. "That film in the corner there is the one that made all of this happen, actually," Oakenfold says. Unable to pass up the opportunity despite his lack of experience, he remembers throwing himself into creating the score for the 2001 film. After its success, he started getting calls for more work in Hollywood, to produce scores and cues for films as varied as The Matrix and Shrek. As for his record collection, half of it still sits in "the garage," he says in his heavy British accent. Most of his wax is representative of the 50-year-old's eclectic tastes as a DJ--the thing most people know him for.

Revered as a legend in electronic music since his late-'90s album Tranceport, Oakenfold has brought the rave sound around the world, from Goa to Ibiza, through massive festival performances and by scoring hit films and video games. The three-time Grammy-nominated DJ, producer and artist is currently part of J├Ągermeister's Ultimate Summer of Music tour, which is also sponsoring Fall Out Boy and country's Eli Young on their respective tours. Oakenfold's 20 stops across the States will promote his latest masterpiece, Trance Mission, to be released June 20 on his Perfecto Records.

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How Brody Dalle Overcame Her Solo-Career Stage Fright

Categories: Artists We Love

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Before she hit the stage at Alex's Bar in Long Beach this past February, Brody Dalle was a wreck. Despite having played at stadiums and festivals, she paced back and forth with the anxious energy of a newcomer about to play her first gig. Yet in a sense, that's exactly what the veteran singer/songwriter was doing.

"When I'm not on tour and playing every night, I get a little bit nervous," Dalle explains over the phone. "When you're on tour, you get in a rhythm and you may have some not-so-great shows but you're playing every night. The Long Beach show was terrifying and I don't remember it."

Dalle's status as a solo artist is new, but she's been in bands since she was a teen in Melbourne, Australia. Regardless, on that night at Alex's, she had the jitters. She worried she'd forget lyrics or guitar chords. She had to be cognizant of the crowd and feed them some witty stage banter to show them that she was feeling their good vibes. She claims to be shy, but when you see her plow through her set, you'd think otherwise.

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Our Top 10 Songs By Underrated Soul Legends

Categories: Artists We Love

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Darondo--RIP
Great soul songs conjure hazy images of smoke-filled clubs, sweaty suit-and-tied horn sections shuffling through dodgy choreography, and singers so viscerally passionate you're afraid for their blood pressure. While groups like Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings have revived the genre, dusty stacks of record store vinyl (and the web) still contain more than six decades of emotional, evocative, energizing soul songs that have been all but ignored since the dawn of disco. These tracks are just a sample of artists that never got the attention they deserved, or were quickly forgotten after a moment in the spotlight.


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J Boog Resembles a Rapper, Radiates Reggae

Categories: Artists We Love

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With his sleeve tattoos, backward baseball cap and penchant for oversized T-shirts, J Boog more resembles a member of Action Bronson's crew than a rising star of reggae.

There's a strange kind of disconnect when watching his videos, too: sans dreadlocks and a rasta knit hat, you can't believe this huge, tough-looking guy is singing, sweetly and smoothly, over R&B-infused reggae grooves. His most famous song, "Let's Do It Again," could've been on the soundtrack of an Adam Sandler rom-com, filled with "ooh baby"s and words such as "lovers" and "paradise."


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Alice Cooper is the Last of the Hollywood Vampires

Categories: Artists We Love

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Nothing fazes Alice Cooper anymore. After spending the past 45 years on stage, why would it? Yet as the shock rock icon soldiers on, he carries himself with a poise and a degree of exuberance you'd expect from an up-and-comer more than half his age.

That doesn't mean he isn't staying busy. His syndicated radio show, Nights With Alice Cooper, allows him to spin tunes new and old, and keeps him up to date on what's happening in hard rock, even if he generally isn't thrilled with the music scene today, outside of Irish rockers The Strypes.

"It's odd to me now that what the state of rock is now with young people, that I don't get it!" he laments. "They're trying so hard not to be rock stars and I look at it like if you're in a rock band, why do you want to look like everyone else in the world? Why would you put an accordion or banjo in your band? C'mon!"

Super Duper Alice Cooper was recently unveiled at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this month and in true Alice Cooper form, the documentary strays from the norm.

"These guys were very creative," Cooper recalls. "They wanted this documentary to be as theatrical as Alice is. So they put in this Jekyll and Hyde reference and that is exactly right because I'm me and there's Alice the monster. Then they had interviews with my friends, but weren't going to show them. And they did a great job and made it fun to watch."

See also: Alice Cooper Raises His Dead, Drunk Friends in Costa Mesa


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Irene Diaz Sings About Burning Love With Somber Style

Categories: Artists We Love

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Miguel Morales
Singer/songwriter Irene Diaz is often described as a modern torch singer in the making, spilling rich, dark puddles of lovesick emotion with every note. Her lyrics are from the Nina Simone school of songwriting--words that demand deep contemplation, preferably over Jameson and a cigarette at 3 a.m. "Torch singers are very dramatic," she says. "My writing and performances can be very dramatic as well."

To enhance the drama of her songs, the LA-based Diaz's 2013 debut EP, I Love You Madly, begins with the sound of a spinning film reel before segueing into "Crazy Love," a sparse ukulele ballad steeped in her sultry, haunting vocals. From there, the theme of unrequited love and destructive relationships takes on various forms, from a clanging piano interlude to an acoustic lullaby to the dark notes of a defiant ballad. No matter what she's singing, each track weaves into the other until the sound of a halting film reel signals the end of the EP. "I wanted to make it something that people can listen to all the way," Diaz says.

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Expansion Team Soundsystem are SRH Fest's Hip-Hop Kings

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This Friday, SRH Clothing brings their annual SRH Fest to the Observatory. Considering SRH's cult following among local bros, the bookings of ex-Kottonmouth King Johnny Richter and suburb-friendly artists like Mickey Avalon and Unwritten Law shouldn't come as any sort of massive surprise. But, there's also a booking that brings something more artistically-stimulating to mind: underground LA hip-hop dons DJ Babu & Rakaa Iriscience's Expansion Team Soundsystem project.

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