Backstage at HARD with Skrillex, Fatboy Slim, Riff Raff, Soulwax, Rusko, Gaslamp Killer and More

Posting this nearly a month late because it’s taken that long to recover. HARD Haunted Mansion, Los Angeles’ premier Halloween (don’t-call-it-a) rave found yours truly crawling through the catacombs of the historic Shrine Auditorium with photographer Erik Voake on a quest for some truly exclusive content for SPIN. Diametrically opposed to the common sense of all involved, we were allowed into the artists’ dressing rooms to witness pre- and post-game rituals, most of which involved copious amounts of booze (duh). The article appears as a photo gallery on, so here it is indexed for easy access:

Breaking Out: Grouplove (+ Live SPIN Session)

I’m always the happiest when I can bring something local to the pages of SPIN. Though Grouplove’s constituent players are from all over the map, and they met on a small island in Greece, they call Los Angeles home and we’re happy to have ’em. There’s an element of the blindly treacly in their songs, but just as beauty in music doesn’t equate to dullness, happy doesn’t always mean it sucks. Besides, there’s a decent amount of dark creeping through their stuff, so, you know, sharpen your sweet tooth or lay flat. Read the piece here, which includes footage of three songs performed at the SPIN offices. Gruesome video after the jump.

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Raver Madness: Electric Daisy Carnival (and the Dance Music Industry) Fights for its Rights

Sharing this here a bit belatedly (it’s from October’s issue of SPIN), but it’s no less relevant today than it was a couple of months back. In a music industry (#whatindustry?) that has been in a constant state of tumult for more than a decade, the business of dance is booming. We’ve all heard that old “DJs are the new rock stars” chestnut a gazillion times, but it’s never been truer. Actually, it’s also misleading — rock stars had chart hits and huge record labels backing them. These guys commission their own jets to shows where thousands of kids await their favorite songs that have never been played on the radio. This article is, on a macro level, about the love-hate relationship that the mainstream has with rave culture. On a micro level, it’s about Los Angeles, Electric Daisy Carnival, Sasha Rodriguez, the nightly news and millions of dollars. (via SPIN)

Beauty With Teeth: Superhumanoids

The ever-sharp Nitsuh Abebe recently made the argument in his Why We Fight column that beauty in music, often maligned as the hallmark of generic appeal, needn’t be linked to dullness every time. In a world where Kurt Vile and Cass McCombs exist, it’s a point that’s hard to deny. Not that I’d want to. I’ll happily chase your No Ages, Wavvess and Fidlars through the garages, basements and vegan outposts of Los Angeles till the day I die, but I’ll never stop swooning to the pretty stuff, and there’s a lot of it going around locally these days.

Expect future posts on folks like Luke Rathborne and House of Wolves, over whom Jeff Buckley’s ghost looms large and glorious, but for now, I just wanna give love to Superhumanoids, who are currently recording their LP debut to be released next year. That’s their recent EP, Parasite Paradise (Hit City U.S.A.), streaming below, but do yrself a favor and hit the jump to watch their videos, which are also rare and pretty and sometimes a little strange. Toothy beauty.

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Smashing Pumpkins Lean on Classics in L.A.

Don’t front. You know it’s a good lead: Quasar, /ˈkwāˌzär/, noun: 1. “A massive and extremely remote celestial object, emitting exceptionally large amounts of energy, and typically having a star-like image” (Google). 2. The name of the new song the Smashing Pumpkins opened with at their sold-out tour kickoff at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre. 3. Useful shorthand for describing Chicago alterna-rock legend Billy Corgan with (or without) his band.

Read it at SPIN. Set list below …

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My First Time at the Smell, with Mount Eerie

Mount Eerie (Phil Elverum, Microphones) filled my head with fog.

Alert: confessional time. (Isn’t that what blogs are for? No, silly, that’s what they were for in the early aughts.) The A.V. Club is, um, blessed with a very, er, active readership. Check out the comments sections on my reviews for a glimpse into their troll-like wonderful ways. They also get to ask us questions, which is really great, and a recent query sent us flipping back through our memories to find one of our “best shared cultural experiences.” Lots of great answers over here.

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Review: Local Natives’ Debut LP Gets Some Last Minute Love from the A.V. Club

Your head may explode too when you hear 'Gorilla Manor'.

Every year, The A.V. Club rounds up a handful of the albums they skipped over in the preceding 12 months in an attempt to make good, critically speaking. It’s a fun feature — a “sorry we missed you” of sorts — that gives the writers a chance to repitch the records that kept us going through the hard times (like, say, when we had to review Black Eyed Peas’ new one).

Here’s a snippet of my digi-ink on Local Natives’ Gorilla Manor:

At first, L.A.’s Local Natives just looked like a West Coast response to others’ great ideas—a sun-baked indie mash-up as potentially unsatisfying as the raw vegan snack that description makes it sound like …

Uh-oh. Could go anywhere from there. Read more via The A.V. Club.

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