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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A trio for theremin, piano and voice - COURTESY OF SEAN MICHAELS
  • Courtesy of Sean Michaels
  • A trio for theremin, piano and voice
The sound of the theremin is the sound of another world — of the UFO landing or the spirits speaking or the mystery that won’t ever let itself be solved.

You’ve heard it even if you don’t know you’ve heard it, whether in the opening credits of some black-and-white sci-fi film (The Day The Earth Stood Still) or a Shostakovich composition or a song by the Pixies or the Rolling Stones. (And the theremin sound-alike in the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.”) It’s that lonesome, warbling tone that’s come to signify a sort of pure sad strangeness at the edge of popular music. If you’re a certain sort of person, it might be the most powerful thing you’ve ever heard.

If so, you’ll understand the point of this Wednesday’s Moving Through Space Toward You at Largo at the Coronet, a celebration of the strange and even tragic sound—and history—of the theremin, with performances and dialogue from experimental indie band Califone, composer and thereminist Eban Schletter and more.

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FRASER JONES
  • Fraser Jones
Sitting outside Angel City Brewery in the Arts District, Marcus Haney shakes his head in disbelief. A makeshift photo gallery is being set up by his team of interns, displaying four years of his improbable career as a concert photographer and documentary filmmaker.

The Arcadia native had nearly completed his junior year at USC in 2010 when he decided to do something that would change his life: Attend Coachella. He was broke and had no ticket, but the girl he liked at the time was heading to Indio, so he had no choice but to attend. After placing an ad on Craigslist offering a ride to whomever could paid for gas, Haney and his new pal Acid Chris hit the desert hoping to get into the festival.

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her — confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,

I have been in an up and coming band for a little while now. I love playing with them and we are killing every festival and moving up in the world. We are finding success, good things keep coming and the potential for it to just get bigger and better is all there.

So I am left wondering why the fuck the leader of the band forgets to do shit like bring merch to gigs? Or say the name if the band during the gig? Not follow up on great opportunities? Not write a set list and stand around looking stupid trying to figure out what to play next? Gets super high before gigs and forgets the easiest changes?  

I understand that some of these things aren't big deals. I just feel like I'm a professional. I want to play that way. I want the show to be that start to finish. We have some nights where we murder the set in a good way. The crowd is freaking out and loving it. Other nights that are just duds because the main guy doesn't seem to care or thinks it's OK to not give 100% when there aren't as many people at a gig. 

Yours truly,
Petey

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Monday, July 21, 2014

ANDY HERMANN
  • Andy Hermann
Bob Log III
The Echo
July 18, 2014


About five songs into his set, Bob Log III lifted a shot glass full of Scotch and addressed the crowd. “Who wants to get weird?” he hollered.

Things at the Echo had already gotten pretty weird. Bob Log III is a self-described one-man guitar party who churns out Delta blues on a vintage archtop guitar while playing drums with his feet and singing into an old black telephone handset glued to the glittery silver crash helmet that obscures his face. For this show, he was wearing a tight black jumpsuit spangled with quarters, which made him a look a little like a skinny cross between Evel Knievel and Johnny Cash.

When he started playing, thumping a bass drum with his right foot and a cymbal and tambourine taped to the floor with his left, the beat threatened to drown out his breakneck slide guitar licks and distorted, blues-howl vocals. It was like hearing a techno remix of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The crowd, an unlikely mix of Echo Park hipsters, Inland Empire punks and Hollywood bros, went apeshit.

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T. Rex Battles Daylyt/Spawn - CRAIG BARRITT / GETTY IMAGES FOR WATCHLOUD.COM
  • Craig Barritt / Getty Images for WatchLOUD.com
  • T. Rex Battles Daylyt/Spawn
On Saturday, July 12, Total Slaughter became the first battle rap offered by means of traditional terrestrial pay-per-view carriers. The event was headlined by mainstream recording artist Joe Budden, who stepped in against battle mainstay Hollow da Don, and also featured the long-awaited rematch of one of the all-time great battles in Loaded Lux vs. Murda Mook.

But the biggest story of the night seems to be Watts rapper Daylyt, who showed up for the battle dressed head-to-toe in an elaborate Spawn costume. After two fairly straightforward rounds of rapping, he spent his third round feigning a seizure, as he ripped the latex from his body, stripped down to his boxer briefs, mimed defecating on the stage by dropping a candy bar, then proceeded to eat it.

Was this good for battle rap?

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See Monday: Lady Gaga - PHOTO COURTESY OF INTERSCOPE RECORDS
  • Photo courtesy of Interscope Records
  • See Monday: Lady Gaga
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Monday, July 21


Lady Gaga
STAPLES CENTER
Since she first burst onto the scene and into the hearts and minds of her little monsters, Lady Gaga has become a genre unto herself. Beyond her hit-laden catalog, featuring many of the biggest songs of the past half-decade, Gaga is known for her over-the-top onstage antics, making her one of the biggest live draws in music. Despite the lukewarm reception to November’s ARTPOP, the pint-sized singer remains a pop superstar and continues to take bold risks with both her music — eschewing Top 40 pop for a more electronic sound — and her ever-changing image. Love her or hate her, Gaga continues to buck trends by remaining one of the unique singers of her time. Also Tuesday, July 22. —Daniel Kohn

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Nita Strauss - COURTESY OF NITA STRAUSS
  • Courtesy of Nita Strauss
  • Nita Strauss
At age 27, new Alice Cooper touring guitarist Nita Strauss is younger than many of the fans in the audience. But gigs playing guitar with acts as diverse as reunited ‘80s rockers Femme Fatale, video game tribute band Critical Hit, and Jermaine Jackson – yes, that Jermaine Jackson – have infused her with plenty of necessary experience for the task.

During a phone conversation from a tour stop in Wichita, the Santa Monica native gives the most credit to her time with The Iron Maidens for preparing her for the theatrics of an Alice Cooper performance. The all-female Iron Maiden tribute act’s own live show is also loaded with plenty of pomp.

“If I had not had the experience of playing with the Iron Maidens, playing for Alice would be more of a shock,” Strauss says. “Obviously Alice’s show is a much bigger production overall, but with The Iron Maidens I was still getting chased by [Iron Maiden mascot] Eddie onstage and dealing with CO2 cannons for many shows.”

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Friday, July 18, 2014

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Reissues, man. Reissues.

Upon its release in...blabbity-blah blah. In the past couple of years, we've seen so many pointless reissues that the remains of good taste are spinning in their tiny tiny graves. It’s almost as if the current white on white contrast in contemporary music’s race to banality has left people screaming for newer, shinier copies of the stuff they either threw away or left to get flooded in their parents’ basement.

And given the merging of the nostalgia and histrionics industries into one giant nostalgionics industry, we've gotta hear about every single one of them from a dozen smarmy schmaltz-bloggers. "Four Tet's Rounds was playing in my dorm when we invaded Iraq and it changed my life because..." Yawn. 

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Kommunity FK - WES NAMEN
  • Wes Namen
  • Kommunity FK

Beyond the cruiser crowd on Whittier Boulevard and the neighborhood dive bars filled with old-timers, East Los Angeles boasts a mass of music lovers with a taste for the dark side. A new bar in the area is catering to this cool, creepster crowd, and a new night highlights the best bands in black.

Obscure Sundays had Rikk Agnew playing Christian Death songs last week. This week, the wicked vibe continues with seminal L.A. goth group Kommunity FK making a rare appearance. Singer Patrick Mata’s tortured tunes always hold up no matter who’s backing him, and with openers Texylvania and Experiment Perilous, this one will be a solid night of spooky rock and demonic dance bliss. DJs Rocco Horror, Virtigo, Dark Chrystal and Ralphie Nigmatic spin death rock, dark wave, industrial, goth and punk before, between and after bands.

Update: This show is now at Sage Restaurant & Lounge, 6511 Greenleaf Ave. Whittier, CA. 90601

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Josh Schwartz in Painted Hills - PHOTO BY SASHA EISENMAN
  • Photo by Sasha Eisenman
  • Josh Schwartz in Painted Hills
After releasing 2010's Painted Hills under his solo project of the same name, Josh Schwartz, former guitarist of iconic indie folk rock act Beachwood Sparks, received praise for the record; one reviewer called it "the soundtrack to the best possible hippie dream."

Shortly after, he also received news that he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease, which degenerates motor neurons that control voluntary movements and muscle power. 

Now 42, Schwartz has been battling the disease for close to four years. It affects muscles all over the body, making everything from playing music to eating and speaking a challenge. Now, in 2014, the daily struggle has taken its toll.

"We've had enough. We're just ready," says Allison Betzler, longtime girlfriend of the prolific musician.

Here's how you can help.

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    The Southwest Semifinals of the US Air Guitar Championship were held last Saturday at the historic Troubadour Club in West Hollywood. The event determined who would compete as regional representatives at the 2014 National Finals in Kansas City on August 9th. The colorful contestants (many of whom opted for elaborate codpieces) were judged by comedians Kristen Schaal and the Sklar Brothers. The top score was awarded to crowd-surfing guitarist Kingslayer, the mother of a teenage son who also competed wearing little more than an American flag bathing suit. All photos by Gustavo Turner.
  • Lucha VaVOOM @ The Mayan Theatre
    Lucha VaVOOM to The Mayan Theatre on Thursday night with a dose of their Sexy, Hot, Summer FUN! show to a packed house. With all the girls, guns and muscles what could go wrong? All photos by Timothy Norris.
  • The Best L.A. Concert Scenes of 2014 (So Far)
    With more secret shows, more once-in-a-lifetime performances, and more venues than any place else, there is no doubt that L.A. is one of the top places on the planet to see live music. Here are the best concert scenes of 2014 (so far).