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Music, West Coast Sound At This School, You Can Learn to Be a DJ

At This School, You Can Learn to Be a DJ

In the modern musical era, there’s never been a lower barrier to professional entry than there is to being a DJ. Get a cracked copy of Ableton or Traktor, illegally download MP3s, buy fake Twitter followers, practice in the basement for a week and you, too, can be booked. At...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Bonny Billionaire, the "Gangsta Hello Kitty," Demands Your Respect

Bonny Billionaire, the "Gangsta Hello Kitty," Demands Your Respect

It's an equatorially hot Wednesday afternoon on Melrose Boulevard when the "Gangsta Hello Kitty" meets the genuine article. Rapper Bonny Billionaire, the G.H.K. in question, is walking along the famous shopping strip, only to stumble upon a white pickup truck wrapped in an image of the famed Sanrio cartoon feline...…
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Music, West Coast Sound The DIY Grind and L.A. Roots 
of Atlanta Rap Star Makonnen

The DIY Grind and L.A. Roots 
of Atlanta Rap Star Makonnen

Until two months ago, Tuesday was the most neglected day of the week. It lacked the queasy terror of Monday, the euphoric potential of the weekend; it couldn’t even trump Wednesday’s rebranding as “Hump Day.” ILoveMakonnen changed everything. Even if the West Adams–raised, Atlanta-adopted rap crooner never records another song,...…
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Music, West Coast Sound What the Dodgers’ Players’ Music Says About Them

What the Dodgers’ Players’ Music Says About Them

In case you’re among the 63 percent of L.A. residents unable to watch Dodger games due to Time Warner Cable cupidity, L.A.’s oldest professional sports franchise has run up a small lead over the Giants in the National League West. So it goes when you have the highest payroll in...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Alexander's Greek Kitchen Is the Most Punk New Restaurant in L.A.

Alexander's Greek Kitchen Is the Most Punk New Restaurant in L.A.

The most punk new restaurant in L.A. might be Alexander’s Greek Kitchen, a 90-day-old storefront tucked into a strip mall in Vernon. This is a weird sentence to write for several reasons. A) There’s nothing inherently punk about a pork gyro dripping with tzatziki sauce, no matter how serrated the...…
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Music, West Coast Sound You Know Martin Starr, But Did You Know He Raps?

You Know Martin Starr, But Did You Know He Raps?

Before redefining the geek archetype as caterer and hard sci-fi screenwriter Roman DeBeers on Starz’s Party Down and computer programmer Gilfoyle on HBO’s Silicon Valley, bespectacled 32-year old actor Martin Starr spent his high school years bumping Tupac’s All Eyez on Me at obscene volumes through the streets of West...…
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Music, West Coast Sound What to Expect at FYF

What to Expect at FYF

In the 11 summers since it sparked its first mosh pit, FYF has morphed from a free and feral punk festival into a beloved August ritual within the L.A. music archipelago. Its 2014 lineup might be the strongest yet. Headliners The Strokes and Phoenix are signed to major labels, but...…
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Music, West Coast Sound DJ Mustard's Dominance is Moving Past Hip-Hop

DJ Mustard's Dominance is Moving Past Hip-Hop

The HARD Summer electronic dance music festival was only slightly different from the South Central high school pep rallies, West L.A. Sweet 16s and ’hood house parties DJ Mustard once rocked. The contrast between them and HARD, which took place earlier this month, was primarily shades of color, considering the...…
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Music, West Coast Sound DJ Harvey Bassett's Career Takes Unexpected Turns

DJ Harvey Bassett's Career Takes Unexpected Turns

If you’ve never heard of DJ Harvey, this isn’t the ideal way to learn. Theoretically, you’d be introduced while rolling in the predawn hours at an illegal warehouse party, with the British-born necromancer inducing euphoria through buttery transitions of techno, acid house, disco and rare grooves. After all, Harvey Bassett...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Cracking the Code 
of Clipping.’s Dense, 
Dystopian Hip-Hop

Cracking the Code 
of Clipping.’s Dense, 
Dystopian Hip-Hop

No one could decipher Clipping. While recording last year’s Midcity, the noise-rap trio emailed feelers to friends and labels. The response was as meek as the music was loud. “Everyone wrote me back and said, ‘I don’t know who this is for,’ ” Jonathan Snipes reflects amidst the clutter of...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Jeff Weiss' Bizarre Ride Summer Mix 2014

Jeff Weiss' Bizarre Ride Summer Mix 2014

This column had ideas of its own. Originally I was going to break down the songs that defined this summer. But in the age of Pandora, Spotify, Sirius XM and Diplodocus-sized hard drives, do you need someone to tell you that Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” is the inevitable pick? You don’t...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Deru’s New Project Explores the Concept of Memory

Deru’s New Project Explores the Concept of Memory

“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” —Gabriel Garcia Marquez “Memories don’t live like people do.” —Beenie Man  Deru isn’t trying to recover memories; he’s attempting to remix them. From his basement studio in Silver Lake, the electronic...…
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Music, West Coast Sound DJ Dodger Stadium Will Remind You of Another Time

DJ Dodger Stadium Will Remind You of Another Time

To feel the maximum emotional indent of DJ Dodger Stadium’s Friend of Mine, seek similar circumstances to those that inspired its creation. Stream the album in your ear buds, and then abandon your car for several hours and stumble at twilight up Alvarado, Bonnie Brae or another artery of the...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Oil Heir Ned Doheny Should Have Been Famous Decades Ago

Oil Heir Ned Doheny Should Have Been Famous Decades Ago

Until recently, Ned Doheny never knew he’d been born three decades too early. The now 66-year-old man, who is undoubtedly the funkiest singer-songwriter from Laurel Canyon’s 1970s musical apex, had this epiphany shortly after being anthologized by Chicago restorationists Numero Group. “I apparently belong to a different generation,” Doheny says,...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Jeff Weiss Picks His Best L.A. Albums of 2014 So Far

Jeff Weiss Picks His Best L.A. Albums of 2014 So Far

In a recent New York radio interview, producer DJ Mustard offered simple advice to his East Coast brethren wondering how to regain relevance: All you need is a producer to develop a new sound. The wisdom is easier uttered than enacted, but it helps explain why West Coast gangsta rap...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Veruca Salt Returns

Veruca Salt Returns

During their 15-year musical estrangement, Nina Gordon and Louise Post frequently shared the same dream: They'd perform onstage together just like in the mid-'90s, when Veruca Salt became alternative-nation nobility with hit single "Seether." Except in these REM reveries, The Beatles replaced their other bandmates. "It'd be, like, "Holy shit,...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Who to See at the Inaugural Low End Theory Festival

Who to See at the Inaugural Low End Theory Festival

For the last eight years, Low End Theory has reigned as L.A.'s best club for people who hate clubs. The sound system is seismic enough to cause craters. The bookings are eclectic and progressive. The narcotic atmosphere helps lighten the onerous entrance lines in front of the Airliner in Lincoln...…
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Music, West Coast Sound George Benson's Jazz Refuses to Stick to a Script

George Benson's Jazz Refuses to Stick to a Script

It's been 37 years since George Benson brought his gypsy-nimble funk to the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood. Yet vivid memories remain of the three-night stand that birthed the platinum-selling 1978 live record Weekend in L.A. "My band featured the baddest young cats in America. We'd had so much success...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Beverly Hills High School Rap Television Show a Second Life

Beverly Hills High School Rap Television Show a Second Life

Beverly Hills was ostensibly inhospitable to boom bap. In the mid-'90s pop culture pantheon, 90210 was renowned for Dylan McKay and Cher Horowitz. The imagination conjured palm trees, Porsches and digital wardrobe selectors. The reality, however, was way less reductive. There was no Peach Pit, but there was Larry Parker's...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Disco Days: De Lux are Bringing Back the '70s Sound

Disco Days: De Lux are Bringing Back the '70s Sound

Disco can't die. The genre once crucified at a baseball game's Disco Demolition Night has achieved immortality usually reserved for Styrofoam cups and Carpathian sorcerer-kings. After rock critics gleefully wrote its obituary in the early 1980s, disco went underground, splintering and fusing into new wave, house, techno and funk. By...…
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