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.

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The Icarus Line Rise Again With One Hell of An Album

Aric Lorton
The Icarus Line
When we talk about the dividing line between music and art, The Icarus Line's 2013 full-length Slave Vows and this year's follow-up Avowed Slavery are most definitely in the latter category. That said, these records ain't meant to be hoisted on a wall because the songs are present, immediate, primal and important.

And why shouldn't they be? Since 1998, the Los Angeles group has been creating a harmonious cacophony that would make Iggy and Nick Cave proud. You'd think being placed into that sort of rock royalty would render The Icarus Line a household name, but it hasn't. Instead, the band -- led by singer Joe Cardamone and featuring bassist Alvin DeGuzman, drummer Ben Hallett, keyboardist/saxophonist Jeremy Gill and guitarist John Bennett -- have been presumed dead by many since 2004's Penance Soiree, which might explain why Slave Vows sounds like a group with its back to the wall, swinging, not going down without a fight.

Slave Vows is a challenge, an artistic peak for a group uncomfortable with familiarity. You might love it or you might hate it, but you'll definitely have an opinion. And that's what makes for great art.

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John Waters' One Man Show Shits on Christmas, With Love

Categories: Artists We Love

Courtesy of John Waters
To some, the idea of John Waters taking on Christmas is downright confusing, sure to lead to such nightmarish results as when Jack Skellington tried to take over the holiday. What's the "Pope of Trash" got to do with Santa and snowmen and, Heaven forbid, little, innocent baby Jesus? But to many fans, this unholy union is nothing new: In his 1974 film Female Trouble, Dawn Davenport (played by the one and only Divine) yells, "I hate you! Fuck you!" and pushes the family Christmas tree over on her mother before running away from home after her parents don't give her her beloved cha-cha heels for Christmas ("Not on Christmas!"). Waters saves Bart and Homer from ravenous reindeer using a kitschy robot Santa (a.k.a. "Annual Gift Man"--and he lives on the moon!) from Japan in his guest appearance on The Simpsons. Hell, the man even put out a campy Christmas album featuring such yuletide classics as "Santa Claus Is a Black Man."

"I like Christmas, with no irony," Waters explains. "When I was a kid, I always liked Christmas, and it was a good thing. I don't have any traumas, though a Christmas tree did fall on my grandmother one year. But my grandmother thought it was funny--I made that part of my act."

And so Christmas continues to be part of Waters' act. For the better part of a decade, he has donned his gay apparel and entertained audiences who both adore and detest the holiday ("I speak to Grinches, too," he assures me) with his one-man standup show.

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8 Scariest Musical Halloween Costumes

Rob Zombie

Halloween is that awesome time of year where you can be completely creepy and simultaneously showcase your musical obsessions with costumes that turn you into your favorite singers and band members. So forget the sexy nurse and boring pirate costumes. Why not make yourself into one of the guys from GWAR? Or a fuck-all punk rocker who has possibly returned from the dead? Who needs a pimp costume when you can mix it up with old school break dance moves and some Jheri Curl?

Need a guiding light on how to incorporate your favorite musicians into your Halloween alter ego? Read on:

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For Rapper Hopsin, Winning Fans Is Easy. Everything Else Is Hard

Courtesy of Adapt Clothing

By Rebecca Haithcoat

Hopsin ran away in January. Deeply depressed, he was on tour in Fort Collins, Colorado, when he decided he couldn't perform that night. Other rappers might booze it up, pop a Xanax or bed groupies to cope. But Hopsin doesn't drink, do drugs or cheat on his girlfriend.
His only escape was to escape -- literally. So he removed his signature white, glow-in-the-dark contacts, tightened the strings around his black hoodie, switched off his phone and slipped out the back door of the venue.

"I pretended I wasn't Hopsin," the 29-year-old rapper says. "Something bad was going to happen at that show. I felt like I would've gone onstage and peed on all the fans or something."

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The Growlers' Hype Act Drag Queen DMTina is "Like American Idol on Acid"


By: Isis Madrid

Heading to Beach Goth this weekend? Been a while since you've caught the Growlers live? Well, brace yourselves because everyone's favorite jangly psych punk cowboys have a new hype act in tow and she's a full on tornado.

Read more: The Growlers and the Rise of Beach Goth

I was fortunate enough to see the already fabled DMTina in action this fall, and let me tell you, she is nothing short of a sloppy good time. Being in DMTina's presence feels something like swimming in a used ashtray full of whiskey; like barrel rolling down a beautiful green hill strewn with crushed beer cans; like picking the lint out between your toes and finding a five dollar bill.

We spoke to Alex Mars--the man behind the drag queen--about his stage persona, life on the road with the Growlers and what Beach Goth go-ers can expect this weekend.

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Kimbra's New Album is a Personal Galaxy of Tripped Out Sound

Categories: Artists We Love

Thom Kerr
Kimbra's sophomore album, The Golden Echo, is a joyride full of punchy beats and soaring vocals that careen through funk, R&B, and electronica. The New Zealand-born songstress continues to infuse her music with soulful flavor, but on her recent album she toys with an experimental brand of pop music. The Golden Echo exposes her willingness to pursue the unexpected, and while it runs the risk of alienating fans that revere her as an indie princess, it shows a tremendous amount of creativity on Kimbra's part. If her upcoming, sold-out show at The Observatory is half as interesting as her new album, Orange County is in for one hell of a ride.

Kimbra began work on The Golden Echo in 2013 after picking up two Grammy's for her work as the female counterpart in Gotye's inescapable, multi-platinum track "Somebody That I Used To Know." During the 18 month writing process for The Golden Echo she composed more than 70 songs, and ultimately whittled the stack down to 10 tracks for the standard release and 13 for the deluxe edition. The final product not only pays homage to '90s pop and hip-hop icons, it creates a feeling of being transported into Kimbra's personal galaxy of tripped-out sound.

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Thurston Moore Lights Up the Constellation Room

Thurston Moore Band (photo by Phil Sharp)
Thurston Moore
The Constellation Room

Sonic Youth has always had a cult following. Thus, it was appropriate that folks wanting to see Thurston Moore (the founder of the dormant group) perform at The Observatory had to endure $20 parking, walk a half mile, and shove through thousands of black-clad, sweaty, and drunk Latinos -- attending The Observatory's La Tocada Super Estrella Fest -- in order to cram into the venue's intimate Constellation Room, where they waited an hour and a half past the showtime for the music to begin.

Though one may think that this is not an ideal set of circumstances to experience one of the 100 greatest guitarists (according to both Rolling Stone and Spin), Moore's fans understand that when they attend one of his shows, they will have a transcendental experience which will eclipse any annoyances that may threaten to ruin their days. Moreover, the most profound moments of his art tend to occur when he and his bandmates abandon the realm of mundane existence, forgoing conventional ideas about tonality and diving into profound oceans of distortion and feedback. These excursions are difficult to qualify as anything but noise; however, emotional and spiritual communication often occur beyond the limits of human language, and it is in this domain that Moore has thrived for nearly 35 years.

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Wildcat! Wildcat! Vow to Never Get Old

Categories: Artists We Love

The video for Wildcat! Wildcat!'s "Mr. Quiche" is a must-watch. Tyler Rumph directed it for one of the first Los Angeles indie-pop outfit's tunes, and it features a giant feline-person realizing he is on the last of his nine lives, so he heads out to the LA streets to use up what are presumably his final hours: He break-dances, talks with strangers, buys goldfish. By the end, he's slipping into a forest, apparently to end his own life before the world gets to him first.

It's a sad, striking clip that syncs with the tonal juxtapositions of Wildcat! Wildcat!'s music. It's akin to experiencing a Ferris wheel ride as the park is about to shut down: There's all this brightness and magic, but there's all this darkness, as well as a sense of foreboding. Using sumptuous keyboard lines, carefully thumping drums and drifting vocals, the music rides a line between sunny and miserable.

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The Buzzcocks Kill at Bang! Festival

The Buzzcocks photo by Scott Feinblatt
Bang! Festival
The Observatory

Over time, the typical arc in the life of rock musicians reveals that they are no less whores than any other type of celebrity. Laziness and age beget compromise, and, of course, money makes people do crazy things. However, Saturday night at the Bang! Music Festival (hosted by The Observatory and sponsored by the Weekly), headlining punk rockers The Buzzcocks proved that they are just as full of piss, vinegar and spit as they were nearly 40 years ago.

Sandwiched between headlining acts Los Lobos and X, the raw punk energy of The Buzzcocks stood out. Each of the headliners was allotted a one hour set, and as soon as The Buzzcocks took to the stage, not a second was wasted. There were literally one to five second intervals between each of their upbeat, high-energy songs -- each of which was played appropriately loud. In fact, from the moment guitarist Steve Diggle slung the first of his guitars and strummed it, he ordered the sound man to increase the volume. It's hard to tell whether he was the culprit or an unheeded voice of reason in the off-balance mix of the first few songs in their set. From the first song, the band established a vigorous momentum, and by about the fourth song, the mix was appropriately adjusted, allowing for the discernment of the delicate timbre of Pete Shelley's voice.

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