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Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014


For Smog, Dubstep Goes Beyond the Drop

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Fri, Dec 19, 2014 at 5:00 AM
Smog City at Hard Rock Live in Las Vegas - ADAM JAFFE
  • Adam Jaffe
  • Smog City at Hard Rock Live in Las Vegas
On a rainy Los Angeles morning, Daniel Johnson — Danny to pretty much everyone who knows him — is giving a tour of the downtown pad where he and roommate John Dadzie, aka DJ/producer 12th Planet, live and work. There are Pioneer CDJs hooked up to a club-style speaker system. Concert posters, including one from a Rolling Stones show that Johnson helped organize, hang from the walls.

In the back is a studio. On a normal day, producers will venture in and out of the room to work on new tracks. Right now, Dadzie is stretched out on a sofa, while ESPN plays on a TV behind the recording gear.

Together with Drew Best (who wasn't present at this interview), Johnson and Dadzie form the core of Smog, the party promotion team/record label that ignited L.A.'s fascination with dubstep. Saturday night, at downtown's Regent Theater, Smog celebrates eight years on the scene.

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  • Shelley Buck
  • Ryder Buck
Ryder Buck’s small childhood bedroom is stuffed with his favorite things. Neatly stacked throw pillows cover the bed, one emblazoned with the letter “R.” Two toy banjos hang on the wall, angled in toward one another. On his desk, a journal lies open, as if he’s just walked out of the room, leaving the last entry unfinished.

But Buck, a La Cañada native, hasn’t been here for over a year. Early on the morning of Oct. 27, 2013, the 23-year-old singer-songwriter was killed on the 2 freeway in Glendale, in a horrific accident described in an earlier L.A. Weekly story and made doubly tragic by the fact that he had just successfully overcome testicular cancer.

The tragedy cut his life short and, as far as his friends and family knew, it cut off any chance they had to hear his original music — which had been lauded by industry professionals — recorded and distributed.

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Brolesque Bingo dancer Jasten King - COURTESY OF SELENE LUNA
  • Courtesy of Selene Luna
  • Brolesque Bingo dancer Jasten King
We love an old-­fashioned, boobalicious burlesque show as much as the next gal (and guy), but sometimes it just feels as if it’s all been done (and undone) every which way it can be. Plus, the burlesque scene in general needs more fellas (gay and straight).

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  • Photo by Heidi May
[Every Sunday from 8 to 10 p.m., Henry Rollins brings an exclusive mix of songs old and new to listeners at 89.9 FM, KCRW. Visit KCRW.com for more information and to stream his show online, or peruse the Radio Notes archives to see past playlists.]


Fanatic! I hope this finds you well. As you might know by now, I am on the road and all the December shows are hopefully in KCRW’s computer and will roll out faithfully at the appointed time.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

  • Photo by Timothy Norris
  • Anthony Kiedis
When L.A. Weekly recently compiled our list of the 20 best songs ever written about Los Angeles, we discovered that the songs our city has inspired are almost as misunderstood as the city itself. Take, for ex ample, the fact that "I Love L.A.," which is blasted over the speakers after every win at Dodgers Stadium, is actually an ironic dig about how much L.A. sucks. (Blonde bimbos! Homeless people!)

But perhaps the most hotly debated song on our list is "Under the Bridge," which, ever since its release in 1991, has prompted countless investigations as to the location of the infamous bridge in question.

That mystery was purportedly solved in 2012, when Vulture writer Mark Haskell Smith (who, by the way, did not get the irony in Randy Newman's "I Love L.A.") claimed he'd found the bridge where RHCP singer Anthony Kiedis nearly gave his life away shooting heroin: in MacArthur Park.

But after doing our own research and consulting with countless drug and gang experts in Los Angeles, we found enough evidence not only to prove Smith wrong — but to definitively state where that bridge is.

Yes, we said it. We know where "the bridge downtown” is — and it's not where you think.

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Mystic Braves headline the Echo on Friday. - PHOTO BY HARRISON ROBERTS
  • Photo by Harrison Roberts
  • Mystic Braves headline the Echo on Friday.
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Friday, December 19

Fishbone, The Bots
“I cannot be me without everyone I see/I am a reflection of my whole community,” Angelo Moore declares on Fishbone’s recent song “Interdependent.” As Rocky George unrolls a superbly slinky funk-guitar riff, Moore concludes, “We’re intrinsically intertwined with our reality.” Fishbone calls upon that community for the local funk-punk band’s third annual Crazy Glue XXX-Xmas show, which also includes the funked-out New Orleans vibraphonist Mike Dillon (Les Claypool, Karl Denson), Weapon of Choice “rubbabox” maestro Lonnie Marshall and the accurately named tribute group Rap Sabbath. The new generation is well represented by L.A. duo The Bots, who gleefully smash through genre barriers, juxtaposing melodic-pop jangle (“No One Knows”), furious hardcore punk (“Northern Lights”), hard rock (“All I Really Want”) and metallic funk (“5:17”). Much like early Fishbone, The Bots find the connection between youthful punk rebellion and free-flowing, funky expressiveness. — Falling James

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  • Photo by Heidi May
[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.]

I am a week into my visit to Central Asia. Besides a two-day excursion into Tajikistan, I’ve been here in Uzbekistan.

The border crossing from Uzbekistan to Tajikistan was one of the coolest and strangest I have made.

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Lighting in a Bottle 2014 - PHOTO BY DANIEL ZETTERSTROM
  • Photo by Daniel Zetterstrom
  • Lighting in a Bottle 2014
Lightning in a Bottle, the Burning Man-esque alternative to more mainstream EDM festivals like EDC and Hard, has announced the dates and location for its 2015 incarnation.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Infrasonic Sound head mastering engineer Pete Lyman in front of his workstation. - PHOTO: THEIS DUELUND
  • Photo: Theis Duelund
  • Infrasonic Sound head mastering engineer Pete Lyman in front of his workstation.
When the vinyl resurgence hit the mainstream a few years back, major record labels were scrambling to meet the demand from new audiences craving music in a physical format. The only problem was that, while the music industry had engineered plenty of innovative new technology, the production of older formats such as vinyl remained largely unchanged.

Making a record still requires a lathe (a workbench-like apparatus that cuts the lacquer master plates) and a vinyl press, two devices as old as the format itself. In other words, in order to produce a record in the first decades of the 21st century, you need ancient equipment and the increasingly lost knowledge of how to operate it.

That’s where Infrasonic Sound comes in. The independent L.A. operation has been cutting records since before it was popular (again). And with vinyl sales up another 49% this year alone, business is booming.

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  • Courtesy of the artist
  • Charles Wright
[Editor's note: Weekly scribe Jeff Weiss's column, "Bizarre Ride," appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday. Follow him on twitter and also check out his archives.]

Before becoming a global anthem, the NBA’s theme, and the sampled loop of one of N.W.A.’s biggest hits, no one believed in “Express Yourself.”

In hindsight, it seems baffling that anyone could be unswayed by the delirious soul supplied by the horns of the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band or the inspirational shouts of its leader, Charles Wright. But that’s exactly what happened when Wright shopped his now iconic standard in the spring of 1970.

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