SPIN’s 300 Best Albums of the Last 30 Years

SPIN-300-alt-640x427

READ IT AT SPIN

I went big for this, taking on 30 of the 300 albums. Click through this hulking document for my posts on (in alphabetical order, no spoilers): Arcade Fire, At the Drive-In, Beastie Boys, Beck, Belle & Sebastian, Björk, Bright Eyes, Broken Social Scene, Clipse, Cloud Nothings, Dirty Projectors, the Flaming Lips, the Fugees, Frank Ocean, GZA, Interpol, Jimmy Eat World, Justin Timberlake, the Microphones, My Bloody Valentine, Neutral Milk Hotel, Pixies, Portishead, the Postal Service, Radiohead, TV on the Radio, the Unicorns, Vampire Weekend, the xx, and Wilco. So many of my all-time favorites in here, and so many I’d never had the chance to write about.

Advertisements

Informer: A Brief History of White Reggae

White-Reggae-history-spin

READ IT ON SPIN

This one’s, ahem, a Labour of Love if you will (shout out UB40). It went live a few days after my D’Angelo review, and I was too embarrassed to post these two side by side. Four months later, I’m into it. Like so many lefty caucasians raised in 420-friendly families, I ingested a lot of reggae as a yout’ and, for a brief high school moment, thought I’d found saviors in 311 and Sublime. I still bump a lot of Jamaican roots, but the time has come to give dap to the odd phenomena of blond dreadlocks and fake patois (shout out Das Racist), plus the restless audio hybridizing of the ’90s. This list goes back to the very birth of white reggae in 1965, and ends in 2014 with that most irie and unexpected of recent hits, “Rude.” Peep it on SPIN.* Continue reading

Live in LA: Florence, Pumpkins, Black Keys, V-Weekend and More Rock KROQ Xmas

Florence wails from the heart of the Machine. (Graeme Flegenheimer)

Just before the Christmas holiday, shutterbug Graeme Flegenheimer and I ventured into the life-size kaleidoscope that is Universal Citywalk in order to reach the Gibson Amphitheater, stuffed to the brim, as it was, with copious amounts of both rock and roll. The occasion was KROQ’s annual Almost Acoustic Christmas two-night fete, and many wise men did perform. Social Distortion, Bad Religion, Cake, Smashing Pumpkins, Jimmy Eat World. There were younger faces too. My Chemical Romance, Brandon Flowers, Vampire Weekend, Florence and the Machine.

I wrote about most of ’em here, via Spin. Teaser below.

Continue reading

News: M.I.A. + Yorke Guest with Major Lazer, De La Rocha Mystery Shows, Best Coast + Kid Cudi

Major Lazer gets collaborative.

Quick bloggy bits from around the L.A. underground (and up). Share ’em.

  1. FEATURED: M.I.A., Yorke, and More on Major Lazer EP*
  2. De La Rocha’s One Day as a Lion Plays Mystery L.A. Shows
  3. MP3: Dâm-Funk Goes Gangsta with Compton’s MC Eiht
  4. Watch: Best Coast, Cudi, Vampire Weekend’s Batmanglij
  5. Free Download: Calexico’s ‘Live in Nuremberg’ LP

(all stories via West Coast Sound, via L.A. Weekly)

* M.I.A. guests with Diplo, her one-time lover and longtime producer, on his’ new EP as Major Lazer, while Thom Yorke remixes “Jump Up.”

News News: Ima Robot Reemerges, Frusciante in Swahili Blonde, Converse Collabo, Books!

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

We’re getting caught up on two weeks of intense blogging for West Coast Sound. Here’s a round of straight news (“news news,” if you will), with a little playful vitriol thrown in for good measure (ahem, Ima Robot).

  1. FEATURED: Ima Robot: New Side-Project of the Magnetic Zeros?*
  2. John Frusciante in new indie super group Swahili Blonde
  3. Best Coast, Kid Cudi and a Vampire Weekender for Converse
  4. Flaunt Editor Kicks Off Publishing Imprint with Part Time Punks
  5. The Elusive Madlib Gives First U.S. Interview in Four Years
  6. (all stories via West Coast Sound, via LA Weekly)

* “Just as the Magnetic Zeros’ reputation begins to eclipse the fame of Ebert’s former group, he resurrects the early-aughts dance-punkish outfit.

News Roundup: Ryan Adams Sells Out, Tortoise Goes Gangsta, Lorn and Boys Like Us

Oh, indeed.

Quick bloggy bits from around the L.A. underground (and up). Share ’em.

  1. FEATURED: MP3: Black Beat Music from FlyLo Signee Lorn*
  2. Ryan Adams’ Sci-Fi Metal Concept Album Sells Out in a Day
  3. MP3: Tortoise Goes Gangsta with ‘Drums,’ Feat. Guilty Simpson
  4. V-Wknd Keyboardist to Debut New  Project in Highland Park
  5. (all stories via West Coast Sound, via LA Weekly)

* “Lorn is a beast on the beat machine — a former scratch DJ who clearly spent some time listening to the fathomless rap noir of D-Styles’ classic turntablist docuement, Phantazmagorea.”

COACHELLA 2010: Reporting from Day Two

Mike Patton, about to blow your house down, shot by Erik Voake

My personal OMG moment came on Day Two of the Coachella festival, when Spin sent me into the pit to cover Faith No More’s reunion set. A longtime member of the cult of Patton, I was flabbergasted when I began what I expected to be a slow approach to the front of the stage, and discovered the path clear. “I can’t fucking believe it,” was a common exclamation from my fellow devotees on the floor, but the crowd filled in eventually as echoes of the Freak King’s cries spread across the grounds. Faith No More slayed. Read all about it.

As on Day One, I contributed a bit to Spin‘s “Best and Worst Moments” feature as well. Click over to read some quick quips and bits on Dirty Projectors, Beach House, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, and Ezra Koenig.

News Roundup: Abe Vigoda, Michel Gondry + Mia Doi Todd, Salvador Santana, Intuition + Al Bundy

Quick bloggy bits* from around the L.A. underground (and up).

todd and gondry

Mia Doi Todd in her new Gondry-directed video

  1. Abe Vigoda Leaks Demo, Tours With Vampire Weekend
  2. Exclusive: Salvador Santana’s “Don’t Do It”, Plus Michna Remix
  3. Watch: Gondry and Mia Doi Todd Make Human Rubik’s Cube
  4. Watch: Rapper ‘Intuition’ Pays Tribute to Al Bundy
  5. (all stories via West Coast Sound, via LA Weekly)

*If you like it, then you better put a tweet on it.

Trip-Out Tuesday: Psychedelic Visions from Red Sparowes

Quick bloggy bits* from around the L.A. underground (and up).

Durlin Lurt's 'Him Jenson'

  1. ‘Him Jenson’ Releases Wild Muppets Mixtape [MP3s]
  2. Dâm-Funk Making LPs w/ Steve Arrington, Nite Jewel [MP3]
  3. Trip-Out Tuesday: Psychedelic Visions from Red Sparowes
  4. And The Top Radiohead Benefit Donor Is… Dangerbird?
  5. ASKA of Moonrats Collaborates Flea, Spike Jonze
  6. (all stories via West Coast Sound, via LA Weekly)

*If you like it, then you better put a tweet on it.

Trip-Out Tuesday: Psychedelic Visions from Red Sparowes

Live In LA: Vampire Weekend Kick Off Tour

Last night at Hollywood’s Henry Fonda Theater, Afro-pop preps Vampire Weekend kicked off what’s shaping up to be about a year’s worth of touring behind the band’s excellent new album, Contra. Photographer Andrew Herrold and I were there on Spin‘s behalf, documenting the moment for those who weren’t able to squeeze into the sold-out night. Read/look here.

Ezra Koenig's hair never broke rank. (Andrew Herrold)