Dirty Projectors, Wye Oak
What few critics there were of Dirty Projectors' 2009 magnum opus, Bitte Orca, took issue with the LP's idiosyncrasies. As thrilling as those songs were, they clearly weren't written for anyone other than main brain David Longstreth. But on new album Swing Lo Magellan, that same savant-like genius lifts up his voice to sing, without any irony, "There is an answer, I haven't found it, but I will keep dancing till I do." Fitting that the track is called "Dance for You," because this new set plies more traditional songcraft in a brutally successful stab at accessibility. The herky-jerky editing of the past has given way to fluidity, the flurries of Afro-inspired guitar plucking replaced by emotive electric squall, the Reichian choir vocals ditched for soothing harmonies and soaring leads. Finally, art-pop that actually makes good on the second part of that handle. --Chris Martins
This year deserved praise has been heaped upon Frank Ocean's debut Channel Orange, the Flaming Lips' blood vinyl project and Beach House's Bloom. Meanwhile, works like The Shins' Port of Morrow and Passion Pit's Gossamer have been seriously overhyped.
Lost in the shuffle have been five superb but underappreciated releases, below, some of which you may have seen in your peripheral vision and deserve a longer glance.
"I'm going back into my own little world now," he says to the small, invite-only audience with a shy smile. "See you later." Then he straps on a guitar, triggers one of his samplers, and the band launches into "Make It Home" off of the group's recently released second album, thefearofmissingout.
For all the seriousness of today's rock, a good joke is often in order -- especially if it's a poop joke. Jack Black, one-half of seminal frat rock act Tenacious D, isn't too far removed from his goofy School Of Rock character in real life. He cautions that those who come to see them tonight at the Wiltern won't leave with clean pants. "When we come out onstage and the lights shine, it's like witnessing us come back from the dead," he tells us. "People are just shitting themselves."
In the back lounge of venerable Mid-Wilshire Irish pub Tom Bergin's, West Coast hip-hop supergroup La Coka Nostra members Daniel "Danny Boy" O'Connor, 43, and George "Slaine" Carroll, 34, take their seats at a table covered with creased white linen.
"I'll take a Jameson on the rocks," Slaine tells the waitress. Meanwhile, Danny Boy stares at the shamrocks splayed across the ceiling walls in an adjacent room. Next to him sits a cop friend and Slaine's girlfriend, porn star Cadence St. John. Danny Boy, seven years sober from alcohol and meth, orders a 7UP. He sips it slowly while perusing the menu.
Massively popular Dutch DJ and producer Tiësto has just announced that he will play the Staples Center on Saturday, October 20.
More details, the announcement trailer, and ticket information below.
See also: Our Fiona Apple slideshow
It's hard to be a Fiona Apple fan sometimes. Half a decade can go by between tours, and the notoriously reclusive singer-pianist has released only four albums since emerging as a teenage phenom in 1994. Apple's latest album, The Idler Wheel . . ., is her first full-length work since 2005's Extraordinary Machine, and she hasn't toured widely in six years.
At least her L.A. followers have had the chance to catch Apple's occasional sets at Largo at the Coronet over the past few years. But as much fun as those surprise shows have been, with Apple letting her hair down and romping it up with informal covers by the Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly, she generally pulls only one or two originals out of her deep paper bag of tricks. The demand to hear her own songs has only grown to the point where her more fanatic fans were ready to practically explode by the time the singer and her four-piece band finally walked out on the Palladium's large stage.
Better Than...flying across the country to see Deftones in sports arenas on the East Coast next month.
For a band whose lyrics are ridden with angst, Saturday night's Deftones show was filled with smiling faces, from the stage to the crowd.
The Troubadour is a far cry from the sports arenas the group will be playing next month with System Of A Down. But the cozy confines of this show led to one of the more communal atmospheres we've seen in a heavy music show.
Toney is talkative, with a kind voice. When he speaks about his past he doesn't make excuses, acknowledging that he knew his philandering ways were wrong, but puts it in the context of something he calls "The Men's Code." In short, the Men's Code is a rationalization of infidelity, a bundle of misconceptions about relationships that males are taught at an early age. Two of his personal codes were that it was okay to have affairs if they weren't under his own roof, and that it was okay to sleep with women in the cities he toured through as a musician.
The South rises again in the form of Big K.R.I.T. ("king remember in time"), a marvelously dexterous rapper-producer from Mississippi who insists that it's "Cool 2 Be Southern" on his debut full-length CD, Live From the Underground. He has produced key tracks by Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y and collaborated with the likes of Big Boi, Chamillionaire, Joi and David Banner, but his own music is dizzyingly diverse and hard to pin down to just one style. "I Got This" recalls Big Boi's rapid-fire delivery on OutKast's "Bombs Over Baghdad," but Big K.R.I.T. segues into cool soul grooves like "Porchlight," the slinky R&B of "Hydroplaning" and the kinky funk of "What U Mean," as well as such stranger spells as the contemplative idyll "Rich Dad, Poor Dad." The former Justin Scott also can kick up a ruckus on such songs as "My Sub (Pt. 2: The Jackin')," and he trips the light fantastic on the spacey tune "LFU300MA." He throws a hell of a get-down live, the sort that's guaranteed to rouse even the most blasé city slicker. --Falling James