Monday, July 21, 2014

  • 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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  • 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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  • Photo courtesy of Interscope Records
  • See Monday: Lady Gaga
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Monday, July 21

Lady Gaga
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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  • 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


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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Fanatics! Thank you so much for checking out these notes. Before anything, I hope you are digging the summer, or whatever weather you're in and that these amazing songs we have lined up for you are just what you need.

A few highlights to note. The Calico Wall track in the first hour is a real gem. I don't know anything about them but what a track. Also, check the alt. Bowie track. I bought this bootleg CD in New York some time in the last century and it's a real find. I know there are some hardcore Bowie collectors out there. I wish I knew more about the rarer stuff because if there are more outtakes as interesting as the one we are playing tonight, I really want to hear them.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • Adrian Boot/Island Records
While reporting my recent L.A. Weekly cover story on Bob Marley's Legend, I spent a fair amount of time chatting with Dave Robinson, the founder of Stiff Records and the Island Records exec who put the compilation together. One of the many interesting things Robinson told me was that he thinks that it's possible that “Legend” wouldn't have been made under Marley's watch.

"Greatest-hits projects, the ones that really work, unfortunately work mainly because the people are dead," he said. "These kinds of artists, left to their own devices, would have a different greatest hits. A living artist will tell you that the greatest song he's ever written is the one he's last written."

Objectivity, he told me, is extremely important when putting together a hits compilation. No doubt. But, certainly, not just for hits compilations. And who's less objective than the artist?

Robinson's comments reminded me of a chat I had years ago with the head of a major independent record label (you all love the records they've released). A year prior, his label had released what I still believe to be one of the greatest album's in the label's catalog. But it didn't sell. At all. I mean that almost literally. So I asked him: what happened?

This label head was equally enthralled with the record and was incredibly disappointed in its abysmal sales numbers. He credited the commercial failure of the album to the opening track, selected by the band, the saddest of sad bastard music ever cut to tape – not indicative of the rest of the album, and at more than four minutes, a burden to suffer through. He thinks using the track to introduce listeners and critics to the band's sound (this was their debut) derailed the LP. I think he has a point.

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Latin Rhythms

Quintessential East L.A. Band Quetzal Celebrates 20 Years

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Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 3:30 AM
  • Courtesy of the band
Quetzal Flores and Martha Gonzalez were away from L.A. for almost six years — one in Mexico, four and a half in Seattle — before returning in 2012. They barely recognized the place.

“We did CicLAvia and I was like, ‘Whoa, what happened to downtown?’” says Gonzalez, laughing in the living room of their Alhambra house. “We’re bicycling through and all these clubs and these buildings fixed up ... It’s a mix of being really proud of being from L.A. and being sort of like, ‘Wait a minute, where are all the people who used to live here?’”

Flores and Gonzalez front Quetzal, a Chicano rock band of the sort that settles for calling itself a Chicano rock band because what they actually are is much more complicated. They’ve performed hybrid versions of son jarocho, ranchera, salsa — with more than a little Cuban, African and American rock ladled in for good measure.

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