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Friday, May 31, 2013

  • Credit: Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin

With her 2011 LP, Biophilia, Icelandic singer and performance art icon Björk turned her avant-garde eye on the natural world, using touch-screen technology to present a fantastical vision of Earth, space and all that lies between. She says it allowed her to express herself more fully than ever before. The critically lauded album was released with a suite of custom apps (conceptualized by Björk herself, of course) that were meant to provide a window into her creative process while educating audiences on the science of music and nature.

We spoke with Björk about her Biophilia live show, the children's educational program touring along with it and how the project is fulfilling her childhood dreams.

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Trixie Whitley
  • Trixie Whitley

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Friday, May 31

Trixie Whitley


As the daughter of country rock & blues musician Chris Whitley and the vocalist for Daniel Lanois' Black Dub project, Trixie Whitley pairs a youthful yet worldly outlook with big-lunged capabilities. Her debut solo album, Fourth Corner, showcases thick and rich vocal acrobatics, and features Whitley changing musical styles as often as she changes keys. Whether it's torch-song blues on "Never Enough" or rock-tinged blues on "Irene" (which is perfectly punctured by trip hop breakbeats), there is an inventive edge to Whitley's take on each genre. "Morelia" and "Oh, the Joy" set her voice to an R&B channel, with only hollow guitar strumming, classic organs and strings accompanying the crowd-pleasing ballads. No matter the style, Whitley maintains an inherently retro element that's guided by the supple voice that holds her music together. --Lily Moayeri

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  • Max Blau
Last September, Eleanor Friedberger flew out to Los Angeles with two goals in mind.

First, she met with producer Eric Broucek to discuss the songs they had recently finished recording for her sophomore effort, Personal Record, a 12-song collection that showcases her work as a burgeoning indie-rock songwriter (out June 4 via Merge Records).

But the main reason the musician, known for her work in Brooklyn-based art rock outfit The Fiery Furnaces, ventured to the West Coast was to create her new album artwork. She had two requirements for the record's front: Los Angeles photographer Moses Berkson would take the picture, and it would feature her swimming.

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See also: Henry Rollins: Rush Limbaugh Gets It Wrong, Again

Fanatics! I don't know why I keep thinking that each show we do is the best one yet, but I almost always do. This is an amazing line up of songs.

I know we have played the Prehensile Monkeytailed Skink track so many times on our show but I can't get past the vocal, it is amazing to me and so, we have to get into it one more time.

The Wire track is dedicated to Engineer X and the Young Will Bentley and myself. It's great track anyway but tonight, it's for the Big Three.

More Lightning Bolt, a great track, much different than last week's.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Father John Misty - CREDIT: EMMA GARR
  • Credit: Emma Garr
  • Father John Misty
Ever heard of ayahuasca? It's an ancient medicinal plant that has become trendy of late, particularly in Los Angeles.

It's not uncommon to overhear ladies at Soho House discussing their transcendental experience with the substance, which is consumed as a thick, almost chocolatey tea and comes from the Amazon, where it has been practiced as a spiritual ceremony for thousands of years. Ayahuasca is increasingly popping up in music, having been name-checked by everyone from Father John Misty to Alchemist to Ben Lee. What's the big deal?

See also: Father John Misty Just Quit Fleet Foxes: We Get High in His Van

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[Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here on West Coast Sound every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the awesomely annotated playlist for his Sunday KCRW broadcast.]

See also: Henry Rollins: Remembering Ray Manzarek

As I write this I am still out here in the rapidly rising temperatures of the D.C.-MD-VA area, shooting endless hours of history-focused content. We are working our asses off, girlfriend!

There is no getting out of it -- this is how these shows are made. When we are heading into hour 14, I check myself and realize that I am fine, actually. It makes me wonder if I am a valuable asset and perhaps might have a modicum of talent for this kind of work or if I am just really good at taking a beating and showing up again and again. Yes, it is the latter.

A couple of days ago, I was listening to Rush Limbaugh link Hawaii Five-0 to the horrible Cleveland kidnapping case and, predictably, to President Obama. Partway through his corny bombastics, I realized he was talking about me!

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Lee "Q" O'Denat - MAX BELL
  • Max Bell
  • Lee "Q" O'Denat
Lee "Q" O'Denat, is the founder of WorldStarHipHop.com, a site once known mainly for rap videos that is now synonymous with grainy urban street fights. (When one breaks out nowadays, you can bet smartphones will come out and someone will yell "World Star!")

Q recently came to L.A. for a round of press interviews, with outlets as hoity-toity as NPR's Marketplace, and, well, us. Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, he won't reveal how much his site is worth, but it's clearly extremely high-trafficked; he says he makes most of his money from rappers and their companies, who sponsor videos and ads. Indeed, those dollars that once made magazines like The Source as fat as phone books are now going into his pockets.

For our meeting we journey to the swanky Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. He shows up 30 minutes late, and we talk in a private cabana by the pool.

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From Tyler's Mountain Dew commercial
  • From Tyler's Mountain Dew commercial
Earlier this month Mountain Dew pulled its Tyler, the Creator directed commercial wherein a trash-talking goat in a police lineup (full of black men) taunts an assaulted women attempting to identify the perpetrator. Accused of both racism and trivializing violence toward women, it was another Tyler troll, and makes one wonder how it got past PepsiCo execs.

See also: Our Tyler, the Creator Cover Story

But while it may be the most controversial soda commercial starring a rap artist, it's by no means the most bizarre. Here's our picks for the top five weirdest soda commercials in hip-hop history.

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Photo Credit: Joe Lopez - JOE LOPEZ
  • Joe Lopez
  • Photo Credit: Joe Lopez
Ray Manzarek, co-founder and keyboardist for The Doors, died last week in Germany after a battle with cancer. He was 74.

See also: Henry Rollins Remembers Ray Manzarek

Manzarek's melodies were the musical backbone for many of the Doors' most classic tunes, and he was well-regarded as a producer as well.

But there were many sides to the man, and below, historians, players and Doors fans reflect on him.

Matt Sorum, Velvet Revolver, Guns n' Roses, The Cult

"I feel so blessed and honored to have known Ray and had the chance to play with him. The musical vibe was magical. The pure essence of loosing yourself in the music. He [once] said to other musicians on-stage during rehearsal, 'Hey man, there's no rush. It's only time, and you'll feel it when the time is right.'

It was an inspiring moment in my musical career. See you at the righteous jam in the sky some day Ray. Jim is going to be so happy to see you."

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Serrano Time

Selena Gomez's "Come & Get It" Video: A Thorough Dissection

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Wed, May 29, 2013 at 4:15 AM


I spent Memorial Day the same as most parents spent it: At the house of a family member eating barbecued foodstuffs and hoping that someone was watching my children as they doddled around a swimming pool. (They can't swim, obvs.)

It was mostly a good time, but it was definitely an edifying time. There were six children there (Serrano boys accounted for half), and each of them seemed, at one point or another, especially excited about teaching me something. The two best, but most nonsensical:

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