Highlands Are Happy to See the Return of '90s Shoegaze

Categories: tomorrow

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Brendan Burdzinski
Highlands specialize in using mammoth guitar swells, mesmerizing rhythms and rippling vocal delay to tear a hole in the universe big enough for you to walk through. It's probably why the title of their shoegazing, sophomore album Dark Matter Traveler (released in June) seems so fitting. In the tradition of '90s shoegaze predecessors like Slowdive and Ride, Highlands places an emphasis on creating gigantic songs that wind, bend and blend into each other seamlessly. And as always, the journey to the end of the album is a scenic one.

Over the summer, guitarist/vocalist Scott Holmes, along with guitarist Stephen Edmunds, drummer Chris Figlewicz and bassist Beau Balek worked on perfecting the task of bringing the headphone experience of Dark Matter Traveler to life on stage. Before you catch them tomorrow as part of the lineup for Long Beach Psych Night at Alex's Bar, we spoke to Holmes about fighting through the growing pains of their second album, the return of some of the biggest bands in the shoegaze scene, and the story behind the compelling artwork they chose for their album cover.


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Tommy Chong's Still Got More Weed Than He Can Smoke

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I usually take anything given to me by a naked lady.
It's almost hard to believe that iconic pot humorist and marijuana advocate Tommy Chong started off as an R&B guitarist in the 50's. Since hooking up with Cheech Marin to create the legendary duo "Cheech & Chong," everything fired up leaving him with a resume that includes box office breaking films, hit comedy albums, and even Grammy nominations and an award. Your chance to see this celebrated man is rolling up fast as he's recording his podcast "Chong & Chong" along with his son (and special guests) at the Ontario Improv July 24th. We talked to Chong before his Improv gig and quickly realized that if you like to get high on life and with the laughs, tickets need to be grabbed fast for this smoking hot evening!


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Paula Bel: "People Tell Me They Wish They Could Say What I Say. Especially Women"

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Michael Schwatrz
Truth be told, people think I'm pissed or I'm angry but I'm really just passionate about what I say.
We all know that the ability to sugarcoat things is not a virtue in the comedy business and comedian Paula Bel certainly doesn't mind unloading her issues and pet peeves whenever she steps to the mic. Before her upcoming gig at the Brea Improv on March 12th called "Hell in High Heels," we took some time to talk to Bel to see where her brutally funny and fearless as fuck comedy style comes from. And we don't want to blow her cover BUT...she is actually a total sweetheart... and a total badass!


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New Politics: Foreigners Winning Over Stateside Fans One Show at a Time

Categories: tomorrow

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Imagine you're an indie rock band. You're looking for opportunity, so where's the best place to move, at least in 2009? Williamsburg in Brooklyn, of course! At least that's what Danish-bred New Politics thought. In their quest for rock stardom stateside, the band found out the hard way that life in the Big Apple is far different than in their home city of Copenhagen.

"When you pour your heart and soul into music and throw it out there and see a response, it's really humbling."

Though they inked a deal with RCA Records, New Politics' uneasiness about living in a new city resulted in a culture-shocked debut effort. Grappling with the difficulties of assimilating into American life, New Politics showed potential, but the album was so nondescript it didn't make much of an impression on fans or critics.

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Alice Cooper Raises His Dead, Drunk Friends in Costa Mesa Tuesday

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Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
Alice Cooper at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles in June 2013
"Well you know, we've always been just this side of Broadway," Alice Cooper says, explaining the seemingly odd choice to play at the posh Segerstrom Hall on Tuesday. The Costa Mesa opera house is a place where you're more likely to see Wicked and Les Mis than a rock and roll giant and shock rock pioneer like Cooper. But to hear Cooper rationalize the choice, it makes sense. "For some people, this is as close to a Broadway show as they ever get."

And theatrical, an Alice Cooper show is: the elaborate stage setup fills with a pyrotechnic rain, Cooper still dons his signature heavy black eye makeup, and acts out the lyrics with the hubris of a carnival barker, and amidst costume changes, leads his band of misfits with a cane, riding crop, and fencing sword--all before getting his head guillotined, of course.

But this "Raise the Dead Tour" offers fans a new act, something never seen before at an Alice Cooper show (which after 50 years of playing is really saying something): cover songs.

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Comedian Josh Macuga Talks About Working With Famous People

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Cyrus Roushan
I am fearless on a dance floor.

Comedian Josh Macuga is a busy man, handling his business on the stand-up stage, hosting a podcast, acting and doing a live talk show. Even with this packed schedule, Macuga isn't too busy to donate his time to a great cause. Tonight, Macuga performs at the Irvine Improv, with proceeds from the show benefitting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

We spoke with Macuga about his career and charity work.

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Jim Breuer's Top Five Head Banging Heavy Metal Classics

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Kelly Hartmann
Priest was my first love and still to this day, I just never get sick of them.

Jim Breuer, a beloved comic and heavy metal connoisseur, has entertained us with immortal SNL characters (Goat Boy!), cult classic films we can't seem to get enough of, and through his laugh out loud hilarious stand-up comedy. But it's high time we hear about something new in Breuer Land. Well peeps, the wait is over. Thanks to EPIX, his first ever stand-up comedy special for the channel, "Jim Breuer: And Laughter For All" will be premiering on June 7th at 7pm.

Metallica puns aside, we knew when it came to nailing down a list for the "Top Five Head Banging Heavy Metal Classics," there was no one better to give us insight than the comic best known for rocking the fuck out. Now if only this list were done in video so we could all see him bang his head along with the tunes...


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Five Must-See Artists at Beyond Wonderland

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Matt Oliver / OC Weekly
Steve Aoki with Travis Barker at Beyond Wonderland 2012

This weekend, Insomniac takes its fourth journey down the Alice & Wonderland-themed rabbit hole to Beyond Wonderland Music Festival, held at the San Manuel Amphitheater after the city of San Bernardino complained from previous wonderland events at the NOS Events Center. Don't be fooled by the new location however. If anything, it means a new venue for Insomniac's CEO Pasquale Rotella to curate into a magical world filled with art installations, performers, rides and some of electronic dance music's biggest stars including David Guetta, Steve Angello and Afrojack. For fans excited to roam the hills of the San Manuel Amphitheater and discover its new found home, we have put together a list of five must-see acts amidst all of the heavy dose of spine-rattling basslines.


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Maceo Plex: The Deep House Dark Horse of Beyond Wonderland

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After falling in love with electro in his native Miami, Eric Estornel began deejaying in the early 90s. Like most EDM enthusiasts he later got into techno and began making house beats in 1996. He moved his family to Dallas where he made a name for himself as a local DJ, but it wasn't until he fled to the European dance music scene that things started to take off for him four years ago. He released an LP on the infamous Crosstown Rebels label and his appeal has since skyrocketed. Tonight, going by his DJ moniker Maceo Plex, the soulful, underground producer is headlining the official Insomniac Beyond Wonderland pre-party alongside Maya Jane Coles at Exchange LA and playing the Crosstown Rebels Rave stage at Beyond Wonderland Saturday only to make his way back to Miami for his Ultra Music Festival debut on Sunday!

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Myndset is an Old School DJ With New School Head Gear

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Myndset

There are some local artists who are destined for the lime-light, even if Orange County doesn't always have much to offer in that regard. This is something Myndset learned early on in his career as a hip-hop DJ. At the time he went by a different moniker and played every major club in OC feeding the masses their weekly dose of top 40 and hip hop beats. He felt hip hop was getting stale and was drawn by the sounds of electronic music - something that hadn't reached the popularity it has now and which he says "feed his soul." He enrolled in OC Weekly's DJ competition to play at Ultra Music Festival in 2008 and won, landing himself a coveted spot at one of EDM's biggest festivals in the world.

"That was one of the best days of my life and such a cool experience, Myndset says. "I was like it's there for the taking if anyone wants but I can do this. So I practiced the shit out of my routine and brought out all my tricks as a true turntablist." Yet the biggest thing he gained from that experience is that you can make it as a traveling DJ (something he had always dreamed of) and the world was his oyster with hard work and perseverance.


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