The Resurrection of Refused is Good News for the Revolution!

Categories: Bands We Like

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Dustin Rabin
Rumors of Refused's death are greatly exaggerated. The Swedish hardcore punk band wrote their own epitaph in 1998 after breaking up telling the world in a final communique that "Refused are fucking dead." The incendiary leftist group arose from the ashes for a reunion show at Coachella three years ago and toured after the festival. But no new musical manifesto followed. That is, until now. Vocalist Dennis Lyxzén and his co-conspirators returned without warning in April to announce Freedom, their first album in 17 years.

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Hiatus Kaiyote Do Some Future Soul Searching

Categories: Bands We Like

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Wilk
Hiatus Kaiyote have been described as "future soul," but all sorts of nonsensical names could be concocted to describe their genre-mashing style: alt-funk, indie jazz, Afro trip-hop--take your pick.

The Melbourne, Australia-based band's first album, 2013's Tawk Tomahawk, earned a Best R&B Performance Grammy nomination for the song "Nakamarra" and praise from elite artists such as Questlove, Erykah Badu and Pharrell Williams. Choose Your Weapon, the follow-up released May 1 on Sony imprint Flying Buddah Records, is somehow both twice as long and twice as interesting. We spoke with drummer and producer Perrin Moss about the new album and the band's current American tour, which includes a May 21 stop at the Observatory's Constellation Room. (Note: Some answers have been condensed for clarity. All answers should be read in a pleasant Australian accent.)

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John Brown's Body Have Boston Roots, Kingston Souls

Categories: Bands We Like

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Heather Ainsworth
In the backdrop of Orange County's sunsets, surf and palm trees, reggae music is a staple, and East Coast act John Brown's Body are worthy of any beachside playlist. The octet has been bridging the sounds of Jamaica with modern reggae for nearly two decades, snagging fans worldwide with live dubs, layers of brass and a solid rhythm section. On Wednesday, they'll fill the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano with their trademark future-roots sound.

"I love touring here," saxophonist Drew Sayers says of Southern California's reggae-friendly crowds and atmosphere. "The roots of our identity are definitely in upstate New York, Boston and New York City. But people in Southern Cali definitely have their own thing going. There's special vibes coming from here, and it lends itself well to what we do."

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Joel Gion Finds Inspiration Outside of Brian Jonestown Massacre

Categories: Bands We Like

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Amanda Boe
Before his late night set at Austin Psych Fest last Thursday night, Joel Gion didn't know what to expect. Playing with Collin Hegna, Dan Allaire and Rob Campanella, his bandmates in Brian Jonestown Massacre, the sold out show in downtown Austin was beyond what he ever imagined.

"They were a great bunch of kids who hung out 'till 2:30 a.m. for the show," he says. "It was great and they were really responsive. It was the first time I had people up in the front singing the lyrics, which is what we're accustomed to with Brian Jonestown shows, but now they're doing it for my music. It was super fun."

Gion is known to many as one of the longest tenured members of Brian Jonestown Massacre. The percussionist is probably most recognized for his role in the 2004 cult documentary Dig! a film he says is one of the last true moments in rock. Looking back at his role in the doc, he can't help but laugh.

"They're probably thinking who were these crazy motherfuckers," he says with a chuckle. "You can't really live that way in rock 'n roll and can't just get arrested. You don't know anyone who is doing that now or who is worth knowing because it ain't happening. It was the last time no one gave a flying fuck."

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Deap Vally's Julie Edwards Destroys Drums and Builds Female Equality at Desert Daze

Categories: Bands We Like

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Courtesy of Julie Edwards
By: Candace Hansen

Julie Edwards is the bad-ass drummer you wish would have played in your garage rock band in high school. Her cool, Bonham influenced grooves make up ½ of the DIY feminist blues-rock duo Deap Vally, but don't think she's just a drummer. Edwards is a songwriter, knitter, and part of the Moon Block collective that's bringing Desert Daze to Southern California this weekend.

Edwards has always been a musician; she played violin and piano as a kid, sang in musical theater, and even belted out some serious vocals as an alto in her school choir. Eleven years ago, Edwards picked up sticks for the first time after beating a friend to the drum kit in a rented rehearsal studio. She forged her drumming style while playing in the LA based 2-piece band The Pity Party, where she played keys and drums at the same time. "I learned to play drums 3-limbed," Edwards says, "I played keyboard with my left hand, and played drums with my right arm and legs; that informs a lot of my style [now], including my weak left arm." Since then, Edwards has developed into a dynamic, soulful, percussive artist. Her simple-yet-intentional, musical, and often linear grooves have the aesthetic of 1960's shuffles on acid.

See also: Desert Daze Grows into the Anti-Mega Fest

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The Return of Faith No More is Beyond Epic

Categories: Bands We Like

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Dustin Rabin
Faith No More always make it okay to be weird. The band's sound--thrash metal spliced with funk, hip-hop, punk and loose shards of many other genres--is unparalelled. And whether or not their '90s radio hit "Epic" is what first grabbed you, the band had so much more to offer once you dug past the singles. After an 18-year hiatus from recording, eccentric front man Mike Patton, drummer Mike Bordin, bassist Billy Gould, guitarist Jon Hudson and keyboardist Roddy Bottum are at it again, releasing a new record, Sol Invictus, on their own label, Reclamation Records. We spoke to Bordin about the band's new chapter before their show at the Observatory.

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Pete Yorn Plays Things By Ear When He's on Stage

Categories: Bands We Like

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Andrew Youssef
Since the release of 2010's self-titled album, Pete Yorn has stayed busy. Between his work with The Olms, his collaborative project with J.D. King and happenings in his personal life that includes getting married, the singer/songwriter hasn't had the time to put his own solo work into consideration.

Yorn has been at work on his sixth studio effort, but at his own leisurely pace. That's why when he decided to do a quick, stripped down tour he calls You & Me, it was an exciting change from his work with his own touring band and other projects like The Olms and famously his work with actress Scarlett Johansson. Though there are a few songs that he'll play, the set is generally a free-flowing, freeform process where Yorn will take requests from fans and go deep into his catalog if he's in the mood for it. The requests have varied from night-to-night, with some deep requests leaving the singer to dig deep into his memory to remember how to play a particular track.


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Strung Out's New Album Pushes Them Forward Without Looking Back

Categories: Bands We Like

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Rick Kosick
Nostalgia is something many punk bands have been embracing, especially during the past year or so, as everyone from the Offspring to Taking Back Sunday have reissued their biggest records. But if someone told Strung Out's Jason Cruz his band was veering that direction, that person would likely incur his wrath. "I don't like looking back, and I really don't care too much to listen to old stuff," the singer says as he hangs out at a dog park near his home in Ventura County. "It's like hanging out with an old girlfriend; it's just hard to do."

That said, Cruz and his band mates have spent the better part of the past six years celebrating their ferocious early material, releasing a greatest-hits package and a box set, as well as going out on a couple of album tours under terms even Cruz begrudgingly accepted.
"It made me appreciate where we came from," he says, "and I need that every once in a while."


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Riding Along With Dengue Fever's Chhom Nimol in Long Beach's Cambodia Town

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Taylor Hamby/OC Weekly
Nimol demonstrates krama scarves
Before she became the lead singer of the internationally known rock band Dengue Fever, Chhom Nimol lived in a gritty neighborhood most people in Long Beach (not to mention the rest of Southern California) might not realize even exists. It's called Cambodia Town and it boasts the largest population of Cambodians outside Southeast Asia and France. The neighborhood is easy to miss, stretching along the north side of Anaheim Street between Atlantic and Junipero Aves.

With the recent release of the band's fifth album, the wonderfully moody and psychedelic The Deepest Lake--which finds the band at the height of their songwriting and performing prowess--we figured it'd be a great time to check out Nimol's old haunts.

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Social Distortion's Mike Ness Hit Rock Bottom Before Reaching the Top

Categories: Bands We Like

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Danny Clinch
Social Distortion--See Wednesday
Mark C. Horn
In the song "California (Hustle & Flow)" from Social Distortion's Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, singer Mike Ness professes, "Life gets hard and then it gets good / like I always knew it would."

Ness, the one-time Fullerton, California, street punk and lone surviving member of the legendary So Cal punk band Social Distortion, is as recognizable for living the life he portrays in verse, both the bad and good, as he is by the shades, tattoos, classic punk snarl vocals and cautionary tales.

In short, he has gone from survival mode, having been kicked out of his childhood home at 15, to living life on his terms as a the band's leader, owner of Black Kat Kustoms (est. 2003) clothing line and car and bike parts, and having a solid marriage, two sons, a ranch, and most of all, happiness.


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