These Were Our Most-Read Music Stories in 2015

2015: the year of Kendrick
2015: the year of Kendrick
Photo by Christian San Jose

Years from now, we'll remember 2015 as the year of the Paris attacks and the death of Scott Weiland. We'll wonder why we bought an Adele CD and subscribed to Apple Music. We might recall it as the year Madonna made out with Drake at Coachella, although Drake probably hopes we'll forget.

If we're lucky, we'll remember 2015 for other, better reasons. It was the year Kendrick Lamar, Vince Staples and Earl Sweatshirt put L.A. back at the center of the hip-hop universe. It was the year Kamasi Washington made jazz cool again. It was the year L7 reunited. It was the year of Straight Outta Compton.

Those are just some of the most compelling stories we covered over the past 12 months. Below, we present a chronology of those and others. A few of these things feel as if they just happened yesterday (well, because they did); others already seem dipped in the sepia tones of nostalgia. The "Blurred Lines" trial — remember when that seemed like a really big deal? We were so innocent back then.

January

The Smell turns 17. Alex's Bar turns 15. Venerable Burbank karaoke bar Dimples closes.

Coachella announces its lineup and people lose their shit because it includes Steely Dan.

Rock impresario and Runaways manager Kim Fowley dies. Like most media outlets, we write some nice things about him.

We also write a thing suggesting that CDs may actually be more high-fidelity than vinyl. It makes a lot of people very angry.

February

Beck wins the Album of the Year Grammy for Morning Phase.

Jazz saxophonist Zane Musa dies at 36.

Valley jazz club Upstairs at Vitello's becomes Sheila E's new venue, the E Spot Lounge.

After a change in format at his old station boots Art Laboe off the air, Dublab and others rally around the veteran radio personality.

Earl Sweatshirt
Earl Sweatshirt
Photo by Delfin Finley

March

Burger Records opens its first store in L.A. 

The "Blurred Lines" verdict screws Robin Thicke — and possibly the entire music industry.

We go to CRSSD, a new festival in San Diego, to see if EDM fans can really be convinced to leave their kandi at home (they can be). We also go to Burgerama.

We honor the 20th anniversary of Eazy-E's death.

Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly comes out. No one can say anything bad about it. Except us. Sort of. Earl Sweatshirt also releases a new album to near-universal acclaim.

Coachella: even more awesome than this guy
Coachella: even more awesome than this guy
Photo by Chris Victorio

April

Coachella! We cover the festival from every possible angle, but mostly our readers just want to know how the hell all those boho hippie kids can afford to go every year.

System of a Down play their first-ever show in Armenia — on the anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

May

Best Coast release their new album, California Nights. We celebrate by ranking every song they've ever recorded. Also out this month: Kamasi Washington's The Epic, which is amazing.

Tyler, the Creator seemingly announces the disbanding of Odd Future, then denies it.

The Rolling Stones play a "secret show" at the Fonda. U2 play several totally not secret shows at the Forum. L7 play their first reunion show in 18 years at the Echo.

Ambient trip-hop pioneer Michael Kandel of Tranquility Bass dies at 47.

Teragram Ballroom instantly became a major player in L.A.'s live-music scene.
Teragram Ballroom instantly became a major player in L.A.'s live-music scene.
Photo by Daniel Kohn

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June

DTLA dive Bar 107 closes, then decides to stay open. New rock club Teragram Ballroom opens to positive reviews with a Spoon concert.

Vince Staples releases one of the year's best hip-hop albums, Summertime '06

Art Laboe returns to the L.A. airwaves on his new home, KDAY.

Actor Christopher Lee dies. We celebrate his metal career. Jazz musician Ornette Coleman dies. We celebrate his jazz career.

July 

Apple Music launches and in doing so screws up many people's music collections.

Jewel's Catch One closes, albeit temporarily.

Huffington Post publishes a story detailing how the late Kim Fowley drugged and raped former Runaways bassist Jackie Fuchs. Lots of publications who wrote nice things about Fowley at the time of his death (including us) are forced to rethink their assessment of his legacy.

Straight Outta Compton: a summer blockbuster with no superheroes, unless you count Dr. Dre
Straight Outta Compton: a summer blockbuster with no superheroes, unless you count Dr. Dre
Photo by Jaimie Trueblood

August

Two teens die on the first day of HARD Summer, leading to a proposed ban on raves at county-operated venues, including the Pomona Fairplex, which hosted the event. Instead, HARD promoters cut a deal with the county forcing them to reduce capacity and raise the age limit to 21 at future events.

House of Blues Sunset Strip closes. Not everyone mourns its passing.

Dr. Dre surprises fans with a new album, Compton — which immediately makes Detox the greatest unreleased album in hip-hop history.

Despite years of delays and behind-the-scenes drama, N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton arrives in theaters and is an immediate critical and commercial success.

Frank Ocean cancels his FYF appearance. His replacement, Kanye West, reportedly causes a last-minute surge in ticket sales.

Macklemore opens the MTV VMAs with a live re-enactment of his "Downtown" video, filmed outside the Orpheum Theatre in downtown L.A. As with most things Macklemore does, everyone either loves it or thinks it's the worst desecration of hip-hop ever perpetrated.

September

As Nocturnal Wonderland celebrates its 20th anniversary, another EDM festival, One Tribe, gets canceled due to slow ticket sales.

October

As a public service, we put Ty Dolla $ign on the cover of our music issue.

Eagles of Death Metal's Jesse Hughes and Joshua Homme
Eagles of Death Metal's Jesse Hughes and Joshua Homme

November

Jonesy's Jukebox returns to daytime radio on KLOS.

Terrorists in Paris storm an Eagles of Death Metal concert. The band survives, but their merch manager is among the 89 victims killed in the attack.

Adele releases 25 and single-handedly saves the music industry.

Speaking of 25 ... that's how many years Downtown Rehearsal operated as one of the most popular band practice spaces in all of Los Angeles, before closing its doors at the end of November to make way for a Soho House.

Hollywood nightclubs King King and Circus Disco announce their imminent closure.

December

Scott Weiland dies while on tour of an apparent drug overdose.

The Grammys, uncharacteristically capturing the cultural zeitgeist, honor Kendrick Lamar with 11 nominations, the most of any artist this year. He also tops our list of the year's best albums by L.A.-based artists.

And Mötley Crüe (finally) goes out with a bang. But to read that story, you'll just have to check back with us in two weeks.

We wish you a safe holiday season and a raging (but reasonably priced) New Year's Eve.


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