It was a great year for the L.A. Weekly music section and our West Coast Sound blog. On the print side, we offered well-reported profiles, news stories, and essays that helped our readers better understand the music they love. On the blog we wrote compulsively-readable pieces that started conversations and offered up alternative takes on the conventional wisdom. (Five times a day!) We sought to get away from the insider-y, boring critical dictums awash in cultural bias found in most music writing. We specialized in the music that folks in L.A. are actually listening to — EDM, metal, hip-hop, Latin Alternative, K-pop — rather than the listless indie shit the New York critics keep insisting on. Here, then, are our most widely-read pieces of the year.
Our most popular print stories
By Jason Roche
Djent: Pronounced “junt,” it describes a new wave of bands incorporating elements of progressive metal, thrash and death. The name djent comes from the sound of the genre's standard rhythm riff. Examples: Meshuggah, Periphery
By Ben Westhoff
SNOOP DOGG: I think The Chronic was perfect, but a lot of songs could have been on it that would have destroyed the vibe. If they didn't come out, Dre did it for a reason. A lot of that shit was spontaneous. But I did [another] song 15 times before I got it right. Had a toothache at the time and couldn't spit it out. He was, “Do it the next time, I don't like how it sounds. Do it again, you had too much energy.” I'm like, this motherfucker is a precisionist.
And Jim Morrison's Kiss-Off to L.A.
By Jeff Weiss
With Morrison out on bail pending appeal, the only legitimate option is to head into the studio to deliver the final record on their Elektra contract. After that, an indefinite hiatus is certain — provided the band can capture something superior to “cocktail jazz,” the slander with which their longtime producer Paul Rothchild leaves them before quitting during early L.A. Woman sessions. The Doors return to their rehearsal studio at a crossroads, attempting to invent a new, Western blooz and reimagine a dissolute swamp as the concrete Delta.
2. R.I.P. MCA
By Henry Rollins
I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to tour with the Beastie Boys and watched almost every set they played on all those dates. Why not? You do your set and then you get to see the Beasties play? Best deal in town.
One thing's for certain: This maddeningly inscrutable white rapper is more entertaining than you are
By Jeff Weiss
“What separates him is his sense of humor. He's like Biz Markie in his goofiness or Kool Keith in the way he puts words together,” says his friend and collaborator Simon Rex, who raps as the sex-obsessed Dirt Nasty. “It might not make sense on paper, but it works because he commits so much to them. He also has an Eazy-E octave that really punches through beats. So much rap is middle of the road; not enough people are having fun. He's not afraid to be a clown, and he can actually rap and carry notes. Put a camera on him and you can't look away. When he wakes up in the morning to when he goes to bed at night, that's him.”
Our most popular blog stories are below
This listicle is deadly serious almost all the way through.
Our web editor's brain exploded when this one took off.
Some of these were actually really good.
The Spin Doctors fans really came out of the woodwork for this one.
This is it, the most widely-read post we've ever written, the one that came to define everything else we did this year, for better or worse. Everyone seemed to have strong feelings about it. A silent majority lolled, but the fragile sensibilities of many were offended by the use of the word 'hipster' or the inclusion of their favorite bands. Sadly, most missed the point. Above all, this was a call for the 99 percent of the music writers to stop scribbling about acts that only 1% of the population listens to. Happy new year!