King Salamander Built a Lounge Around Their Sound

Categories: cool classics

Courtesy of King Salamander
The 21st century hasn't been kind to lounge acts. The glory days of natty strangers sipping cocktails in velvet-and-smoke-filled rooms are long gone, replaced by patios packed with Pabst drinkers and e-cig puffers.

One local band, however, won't let this era go without a fight. Orange County's King Salamander is bringing the lounge vibe into the present with Salamander Lounge, a new album out on iTunes September 26.

"Salamander Lounge plays like a story, from beginning to end," says King Salamander mastermind and frontman Sterling Musk. "It's a concept album about this lounge, and the whole album takes place in it. The characters come to life, the decor, the atmosphere, the environment, the history is all in there."

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What Makes a Good Amy Winehouse Tribute Band?

Categories: cool classics

Performers in a tribute band always seem like they have big shoes to fill. But when you choose to take on the vocals and style of Amy Winehouse, the shoes are only part of it. Big soul, big voice, big band, big hair...there's a lot more that goes into recreating the magnetic presence of the late, English soul singer. She was a classic artist in a modern era with songs that are still part of today's pop lexicon, even four years after her death. This is something singer Mia Karter understands very well. A year and a half ago, the seasoned vocalist and Winehouse fan took her adoration and talent to the next level.

Donning the "Back to Black" singer's trademark beehive hairdo and stepping on stage with a team of ace musicians, she became the centerpiece of the Amy Winehouse Experience, which plays a wide range of the singer's hits, deep tracks and favorite cover songs. While it might be easy to write this off as a gimmick (especially in the wake of the Amy documentary released last month) those thoughts are quickly dispelled when Karter talks about her reasons for starting the band, her dedication to honoring Winehouse's iconic, short-lived career and her commitment to authenticity (anyone who would take 2-3 hours before sound check to get into costume is definitely the real deal). We recently spoke to Karter before the band's gig at Harvelle's in Long Beach on Saturday.

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The Zombies Rise Again in Santa Monica

Colin Blunstone of The Zombies (photo by Scott Feinblatt)
It might seem ironic that the 50 year-old band The Zombies would perform at Santa Monica Pier as part of the Twilight Concert Series. However, to suggest that the band is nearing the end of its life would be inaccurate given the brilliance of its performance and the enthusiasm of its reception. Indeed, moans of disappointment rang out over the Internet as numerous people realized that The Zombies had been in town, and they had missed the opportunity to see the band. Such is the strength of their music, and the years have not diminished it.

Though the band is currently pared-down (no pun intended) to two of its original five members, those members happen to be Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone. Founder / lead songwriter / keyboardist Argent spoke with the Weekly last week about his inspirations and creative process. On stage, he is simply on fire. When he's not standing up from his keyboard station to set up various songs or encourage collective hand-clapping, he is making his Hammond organ and Kurzweil keyboard sing as if their electronic lives depended on it. As he revealed in his interview, this has always been his approach to performing and recording -- to put his all into every performance so that the music has a life of its own.

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Joe Strummer's Ford Thunder Bird is Being Sold on E-Bay

Categories: cool classics

Joe Strummer may never have gotten his hands on that brand new Cadillac he sung about on London Calling, but The Clash's late frontman did have a taste for fine automobiles. The gorgeous ride you're staring at is a 1963 Chalfont Blue Ford Thunderbird. Strummer bought it in 1987 for $4,200. Now in the possession of the Beverly Hills Car Club, it's being auctioned on E-bay. If you're a true boss, you can check the link out here and try your luck in the bidding war. The vehicle will be on sale for 9 more days--bidding started yesterday--with the final day of the sale falling on Strummer's birthday, Thursday, August 21(Strummer would be 62 on this day).

Of course we could go on about how special the car is all on its own-- an original California double black-plate Bullet body style T-bird. But c'mon, you mostly wanna know if Strummer (who passed away in 2002) ever actually drove the thing. Yes, as a matter of fact he did.

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What We've Learned From The Cure

Categories: cool classics

This is 25!
Twenty-five years ago today, the world became a safer, Cure-ier place as The Cure's immortal Disintegration album was released. A landmark album for the band and gothic alternative rock alike, it's maintained a position in pop culture's conscience as a downright daring masterpiece. In celebration of this feat, we at the Weekly have dressed in all black and recall five of the most important lessons we've learned in the 25 years since Disintegration

See also: Seven Things You Didn't Know About Smash

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Behind the Scenes of Gucci Mane's Early Recording Process


Picture this. It's the mid 2000's, and the south has been steadily drawing out the blueprint for street music in the 21st century. Records in Young Jeezy's early canon such as Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101 and T.I.'s Trap Muzik have all but literally set in stone the commandments for how music from 'hood should sound in this age. If you're a rapper and you want to base the part you play on what goes on in the trap, you have to be intimidating, you have to be true to your word, and most importantly your flow has to sound menacing over drums that resemble rattlesnakes and bass that blows out strip club speakers. And then, Atlanta's Gucci Mane & DJ Burn One release the the 25-track mixtape Chicken Talk and everything is turned upside down. Now, the playing field is spread wide open for levels of weirdness and eccentricity that don't usually come along with teardrop tattoos and cocaine trafficking.

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Fishbone to Play Yost Theater This Sunday

Categories: cool classics
Fans of ska, funk and reggae in Orange County should be excited for this Sunday. Fishbone, along with Long Beach Dub All Stars, C-Money & The Players Inc (from Slightly Stoopid) will be performing at the Yost Theater on the last date of their U.S. tour.

It's been a busy past few years for Fishbone. In 2011, they released their Crazy Glue EP and this year saw the release of their live album, Live at The Independent. On top of that, the Los Angeles-based alternative rockers were the subjects of a documentary called Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone, which was narrated by Laurence Fishburne and featuring testimonials from Gwen Stefani, Flea, Les Claypool of Primus, Ice T amongst others.

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For Ravi Shankar, There'll Always Be Sitars in the Sky

Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar has been an illustrious name since the mid-'60s, largely through his association with George Harrison and the Beatles, whose music was profoundly influenced by Shankar's mastery of the Indian classical raga form; his appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival and at Woodstock in 1969 further spread the impact of Indian traditional music throughout the Western worlds of pop, rock and jazz. (He's equally famed these days as the father of singer Norah Jones and sitarist Anoushka Shankar.)

To see and hear the 92-year-old Shankar perform is to witness a young old soul in a very pure state of transformation. It is, he says, the eternally rejuvenating power of the raga that keeps him alive and kicking. Herewith, Shankar discusses his life in music, and offers a tutorial in the nuts and bolts of his chosen form of expression, the raga.

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Shaq Retires From Basketball; Top Five Reasons He Should Revive His Music Career


Today NBA star Shaquille O'Neal posted on his Twitter account that "I'm retiring" and "Shaq ooout" today. On the video linked from his Tweet, he says, ""We did it. Nineteen years, baby. (I) want to thank you very much. That's why I'm telling you first, I'm about to retire. Love you. Talk to you soon."

The Boston Celtics have not announced the retirement of the 7-foot-1-inch center, who has won four NBA titles in 19 years. According to CNN, he is fifth on the NBA's all-time career scoring list with 28,596 points.

If this is official, does that mean his rapping alter-ego, Shaq Diesel, is coming back in full force? Sure there's a Greatest Hits CD out, but that was 15 years ago. Here are five reasons (not including this awesome one of him singing "When the Doves Cry.") Shaq should go back to doing music full time.

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Stevie Nicks' New Single

Categories: cool classics
Stevie Nicks is one of our very favorite rock stars of all time. During Fleetwood Mac's mid- to late-'70s golden era, she (along with the other band members) recorded plenty of material that never made it onto albums or solo releases, for whatever reason. "Silver Springs," from the Rumours recording sessions, is perhaps the best known of these orphan songs; it was finally recorded in full form for the Mac's 1997 comeback album, The Dance.More »