Mummies of the World at the CA Science Center

"Mummies of the World, the largest collection of mummies and related artifacts ever assembled, is now one of the most popular museum exhibitions to ever open at the California Science Center. This one-of- a- kind exhibit, with naturally and intentionally preserved mummies and artifacts dating back 6,500 years, is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Throughout September, Mummies of the World is offering student admission into the exhibition for just $10 with their student ID. Embark on a journey into the extraordinary world of mummies and mummification at the California Science Center today. California Science Center is located in Exposition Park adjacent to the USC campus. Enter discount code COLLEGE at www.californiasciencecenter.org or present your student ID at the Science Center Box Office this month. Don’t miss it!"

The View From Nowhere 2nd Year Anniversary Show (DOWNLOAD)

"The View From Nowhere" - Spinning an Eclectic Mix of House Music & Electro, Spanning the Most Soulful to the Most Distorted 2nd Anniversary Episode The View From Nowhere 2nd Year Anniversary Edition Featured on KSCR Radio (http://kscr.org,1560AM) Air Date: 07-01-2010 8pm-12:00am Location: Underground Café In Studio Guests: DJ Soca (http://twitter.com/djsoca), Joker Pace (www.jokerpace.com) Number 9 (http://clubsoda.fm), Glitch (http://myspace.com/levonproduction) Info: This episode marks two important milestones. First, the View From Nowhere celebrates 2 years of musical bliss with its anniversary edition. Second, after 26 years, KSCR is moving from its original location to its brand new studios. Thank you to everyone that has supported the show. Music Sounds Better With You. - VFN Right Click and Save As to Download: Part 1/2 (VFN Mix) DOWNLOAD Part 2/2 (DJ Soca Mix & VFN Finale) DOWNLOAD Tracklist VFN/WDPK Intro Willy Wonka – Pure Imagination Intro (WDPK Bootleg) Annie – Anthonio (Fred Falke remix) Alexander Pope – Eloisa to Abelard (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) Deadmau5 – Strobe LCD Soundsystem – Get Innocuous (Soulwax Remix) (sample) Pryda – Balaton Pryda – Frankfurt Tyler Durden – You Are Not Your Job Ray Mang – Look Into My Eyes Joel Goodson – Time Of Your Life (Risky Business) Mario Basanov – Do You Remember (Arithmatix Mix) House of House – Rushing to Paradise Dennis Ferrer – Hey Hey (DF’s Attention Vocal Mix) Sébastien Tellier – L’amour et la Violence (Boys Noize Euro Mix) Bingo Players – Get Up (Diplo Remix) (sample) Crookers – Gypsy P Yolanda Be Cool & Dcup – We No Speak Americano Simian Mobile Disco – It’s the Beat (sample) Paul Johnson – Summer Heat Gary’s Gang – Do it at the Disco Gramophonedzie – Brazilian Gramophonedzie – Why Don’t You Roy Davis Jr. – Rock Shock (Thomas Bangalter “Stop Start” Mix) Bag Raiders – Shooting Star Grum – Can’t Shake This Feeling PNAU – Baby (Breakbot remix) Bag Raiders vs. Sammy Bananas – Fun Punch (feat. Carrie Wilds) Armand Van Helden – I Want Your Soul Pointer Sisters – Dare Me (Diizy’s Party Edit) Crydajam – Playground Freemasons feat. Amanda Wilson, Axwell – Love On My Mind Daft Punk – Rollin’ and Scratchin’ (sample) Pryda – Wakanpi (DJ DLG Re-Edit) Siriusmo – High Together (sample) Eric Prydz – Pjanoo Yazoo – Don’t Go Yazoo – Don’t Go (Bailey & Rossko Mix) Chic – I Want Your Love (Holic Aftermash) Scenario Rock – Skitzo Dancer (Justice Remix) (sample) Phoenix – Lisztomania (Classixx Version) DJ Soca LIVE In-Studio Mix Londonbeat – I’ve Been Thinking About You Metro Area – Miura Simian Mobile Disco – Hustler Technotronic – Pump the Jam Presets – This Boys In Love (Lifelike Remix) Slam - We Doin' This Again? Denis Naidanow feat. Tyree Cooper – Wonderland Dragonette – Competition (Ocelot Remix) Basement Jaxx – Romeo (Ryback remix) Tyree – Video Crash Mylo – Drop the Pressure (Rex the Dog Remix) Klaxons – Gravity’s Rainbow (Soulwax Remix) Ali Love - Secret Sunday Lover (Tom Neville Remix) Dusty Kid – The Cat Fukkk Off - Rave Is King (Original Mix) Josh One - Contemplation (Alex Neri Road Trip Remix) Audion – Mouth to Mouth The Paradise – In Love With You Alan Braxe – In Love With You (Axel Le Baron edit) Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You Chuck Roberts – My House (Let There Be House) Mylo – In My Arms (Tocadisco Remix) Fantom – Faithful Ugod – Ugodzilla (Yuksek Remix) MSTRKRFT – Easy Love Russ Chimes – Mulsanne Together – Together Daft Punk – Around the World (Kid Dub Remix) Daft Punk – Around the World (Original) Da Mongoloids – Spark Da Meth (Bangin Like A Benzi Mix) FEATURED ARTIST: House of House - Rushing to Paradise www.myspace.com/house0fhouse © DuoPhonix "The View From Nowhere" is a weekly show airing on KSCR Radio in Los Angeles

KSCR - Live From Miami - Winter Music Conference 2010

One week of the year, music lovers from all over the world descend upon Miami for the largest music industry gathering of its kind, the Winter Music Conference. Frequented by those in the dance & electronic community, the WMC is host to a myriad of artists, DJs, record label representatives (A&R), producers, promoters, radio and media professionals.

Beyond the conference, surrounding Miami is home to an array of events across the city, including the Ultra Music Festival. Whether you’re sitting down for some authentic Cuban food, or enjoying a nice cohiba poolside, it’s nearly impossible this week to avoid the infectious sound that is the house beat.

KSCR’s own DJ Ahmar aka VFN recently returned from “The Magic City” with a grab bag of promos and new music.

Click Here to view the photos through our friends at Club Soda. Photos taken the weekend of March 26th at the Winter Music Conference, as well as Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Florida.

Big thanks to Paradax RecordsBeatportRVNG IntlThe Opium GroupX-MiX Productions and countless others that make Miami as legendary as its reputation has earned.

The View From Nowhere” airs Tuesday nights from 10PM to Midnight, right here on KSCR.

KSCR January Event Giveaways!

When In Rome – Movie Premiere (1/27)

Often times, the expression “When In Rome” is misused by powerful celebrities like Ron Burgundy.

  Well, we here at KSCR are not in the business of misinforming. Instead, we have Red Carpet Tickets for the Disney movie, “When in Rome” starring Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Veronica Mars) and Josh Duhamel (Transformers) that we’re looking to give away!

Trailer:

 

The Premiere is on Wednesday, January 27th at 7:00pm. If anyone is interested, please respond via the blog or the KSCR Twitter with your name and e-mail address no later than Monday morning (1/25). 2 pairs of tickets to the red carpet premiere (actors will be there) await for the first listeners to respond. But it doesn’t end there, there are also another 5 pairs of tickets for runner-ups for an advanced screening so hit us up!

 

Drew Carey Benefit Show at The Hollywood Improv (1/24)

 

Movies not your thing? Well then, how about a comedy show at the legendary Hollywood Improv this Sunday (1/24) with Drew Carey (Whose Line Is It Anyway?, The Price Is Right) and 6 other really funny comedians! All proceeds will be donated to Relief International in aid of Haiti. Enjoy an evening of laughs while raising funds for a great cause!

 

 

Again, reply either to this message with your name and e-mail address or via the KSCR  Twitter.

 

And finally, since KSCR loves music, why not end this post with an appropriate song?

 

When In Rome – The Promise

 

Get Ready for Another Great Season of Programming here at KSCR.

Over and out.

 

The View From Nowhere 12-08-2009 (DOWNLOAD)

"The View From Nowhere" - Spinning an eclectic mix of House Music & Electro, spanning the most soulful to the most distorted 

Featured on KSCR Radio (http://kscr.org,1560AM) Air Date: 12-08-2009 10pm-12:00am

Photo Credit: http://www.ivetthcser-parsons.com

 

Announcements: WORLD PREMIERE TRACK: Venecy - Black Sail (Piste) (http://myspace.com/venecy) Etienne De Crecy DJ set @ Control Fridays (Avalon Hollywood 12/11) Photography & Event info Courtesy of Club Soda (http://www.clubsoda.fm) Ticket Giveaways Courtesy of INfamous PR

Right Click and Save As to Download: Download: Part 1/1

Tracklist Grandmaster Flash – The Message (pre-show track) VFN/WDPK Intro Junior Boys – Bits & Pieces Pryda vs. PNAU – Baby Bug Stockholm LCD Soundsystem – Get Innocuous (Soulwax Remix) Kraftwerk – We Are the Robots (sample) Telex – Moskow Diskow Force of Nature – I-Iight Modern Talking – Cheri Cheri Lady Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill (Ashley Beedle Edit) Plastique De Reve – Lost in the City Yazoo – Situation (Hercules & Love Affair Remix) Evil Nine – They Live! (Breakbot Remix) Randy Newman – I Love L.A. Klaxons – As Above, So Below (Justice Remix) Venecy – Piste / Black Sail (http://myspace.com/venecy) Rubies – I Feel Electric (TieDie Remix) Erol Alkan & Boys Noize – Waves (Chilly Gonzales Piano Remake) (Interlude) Phillip Glass – Opera “Einstein on the Beach” - Knee Play I Astrolabe – Leave the Station (Pelifics Remix) (sample) Aphex Twin – Vordhosbn Efterklang – Step Aside Ghosthustler – Someone Else’s Ride Morgan Geist – Detroit (c2rmx1 by Carl Craig) Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso – Partouze (Funkagenda Remix) David Bowie – Let’s Dance (Glitch’s 2083 Edit) (http://myspace.com/levonproduction) Paul – I Feel Change (http://www.myspace.com/impaul000) Guns n Bombs – Riddle of Steel (Classixx version) (http://myspace.com/classixxmusic) Midnight Juggernauts – Into the Galaxy Space – Running in the City

 

 

     

Featured Artist: VENECY (http://myspace.com/venecy)

 

 

Disclaimer: If the respective artists wish to have these uploads removed, please contact publications@kscr.org and content will be taken down.

Riding After Midnight: Late Nights and Bikes in LA

Midnight Ridin' (Judas Priest reference in the title there...) 12:30 AM, Saturday night.  I was debating between going straight home after leaving my friend's place and stopping at another friend's for a party...just for a second...maybe one drink... Seriously, just one.  Oh COME on, quit judging me... I was riding down 29th Street on my Bianchi road bike when I decided to call my friend to see if her shindig was still going on, so I stopped at 29th and Menlo.  As the call started to go through, I noticed a mass of 40 to 50 bicycles approaching with little lights twinkling like diamonds.  I knew those bicycles had to be the Midnight Ridazz... * * * * * * * * * * Midnight Ridazz = a party on wheels.  Power in numbers, in two wheels we trust.  Riding with friends and having a beer without ever stopping at a bar (or stopping in general).  Just looking for an escape on a cool weekend night in LA.  Dancing to music from a sound system pulled by a bike trailer--one hand in the air, the other on a brake lever (or maybe you don't have brakes, you fixie hipster--yeah, I went there). And the journey itself is the only destination. Midnight Ridazz started one night in 2004 when a group of eight friends in Echo Park were bored and decided to make a bit of an event out of their usual trip to the bar.  They biked through Downtown and surrounding areas on a tour of local fountains. The group of friends turned into a mass of people in a matter of years, almost exclusively by word of mouth.  With the growth of cycling between 2004 and 2008, especially road and fixed-gear cycles, the group exploded; eight people became (in some cases) eight hundred, and rides couldn't be organized by a few people. Now, anyone can organize their own ride on the Midnight Ridazz website and see who else is organizing theirs.  Typically the rides are 20 to 40 miles at a slow to medium pace, often taking place in Echo Park, Downtown, or Hollywood--many times, all of these places in one night. The explosion of alternative bike culture around the United States has spawned an entire culture around late night rides.  Midnight Ridazz isn't the only late night ride in Los Angeles anymore.  Besides the dozens of smaller rides throughout the week, there are major staples in the diet of late night LA rides. Monday, there's the now-legendary Wolfpack Hustle: unless you're mad into lycra and have Tour de France aspirations, this is probably the fastest ride in the United States.  Tuesday, Bicykillers in the San Fernando Valley--don't ask me the details of the ride, thems Valley folk.  Wednesday, the Koreatown Forge and Gorge: pedal reasonably fast, eat shittons of food--what more in life is there?  Last Friday of every month, Critical Mass: arguably the largest and most famous ride because it takes place all over the world on the same day: young, old, hipsters, business people...all out for a slow-paced joyride throughout their respective metropolises.  The Saturday after the third Friday of each month, C.R.A.N.K. MOB, a self-proclaimed "monthly bike ride dance party masquerade carnival sextravaganza": more party than ride, but it's all the same in the end, really. But of course, there's the classic ride: the Midnight Ridazz Friday night rides. * * * * * Spoke Cards Come to think of it, my first ride was a Midnight Ridazz ride.  The "Mother of All Rides" in mid-March was a glorified scavenger hunt.  Two people dressed in egg costumes hid throughout a moderately-sized section of Hollywood.  Four groups, each with about a hundred to two-hundred riders, went on a hunt for the "eggs."  Once found, the winning groups got spoke cards: collectible momentos as proof of going on a ride, to be proudly displayed in the spokes of your bike wheel. (And no, it's not like putting baseball cards in your spokes when you're a kid because you wanted your bike to sound like a motorcycle.)  From there, the four groups converged and sped through all parts of Hollywood and surrounding areas: The Grove at Third and Fairfax, Hollywood and Highland, and Melrose. As I made my way through the massive pack of riders, the music changed: one person slung a ghetto-blaster over his back, playing the best in electronica at the time (Digitalism!), then another bike pulling a sound system blasting guilty pleasures (Journey? Foreigner...dear God).  I talked to strangers--elated to be on the ride, excited to meet me and anyone else.  There were moments of pure speed.  Heading South on La Brea from Hollywood toward The Grove is a slight downhill.  We picked up speed, gunned passed cars, cheering all along the way. If you asked me why this first experience got me so hooked on bikes, it would be hard to put it in words.  I think part of it is the innate human desire for the thrill of velocity, the lust for a bit of controlled danger.  Good music blasted from trailers throughout the mass of 5-600 people had lots to do with it.  But I think most of it had to do with the beauty of human congregation in pursuit of noble goals.  Simple goals.  Share the speed, the feeling of exclusivity, the collective ownership of the road for at least one cool night.  A few miles.  A few hours in an alternate, irreverent reality. Most cars we encountered that night honked in approval, and drivers cheered out their windows.  You can't help but holler back.  And smile. And maybe that's what it was...I couldn't stop smiling that night as I cruised through those potted-and-pitted Hollywood streets. * * * * * * * * * * The twinkling lights and bikes approached and stopped at the same corner I was on, 29th and Menlo.  What a strange place for a group of riders... ...what a strange group of riders. Some cyclists were in full Viking suits (yes, with horned helmets), some with puppets, others in shiny metallic jumpsuits.  I approached the group and asked someone (who turned out to be Ryan, the ride organizer) about the ride... Me: Hey, what ride is this? Ryan: Midnight Ridazz, Robots ride! Me: Where we going? Ryan: Dunno, but we're gonna party, come with! The Robots ride, it turned out, was an off-shoot of Midnight Ridazz.  Like C.R.A.N.K. MOB, it's more like "party with a bit of riding" than "riding with a bit of party."  Fine by me. We biked through The Row, and not surprisingly, ran into many Greek parties and people.  Most were appreciative.  One was a douchebag.  He took his bike (a beach cruiser, but not that it REALLY matters in the end) and threw it into the street for the express purpose of fucking somebody up.  Unfortunately, somebody did fall as a result of it.  Well, one of the Robots riders didn't take that so well...Fist + Face. We ended up on the USC campus at McCarthy Quad and Leavey Library.  The promenade in front of the library, so often frequented by students looking for a smoke or phone break any other day of the week,  filled with people looking for a beer and dance break.  After everyone had their fill of dance and drink, we rolled out to the LA Coliseum, where just hours before, it was populated by tailgate parties for a USC football game: middle-aged men recalling their college days to the dismay of their wives and embarrassment of their four-year-old children. Once there, we went down to the bowels of the Coliseum's underground parking structure.  We carved through the parking lot ramps and got to the lowest level in the parking structure, where dancing, drinking, and debauchery continued. It seems maybe as though we were in Hell...so far beneath the earth, with so much vice.  But to everyone there, it was Heaven.

Cuddly Album Cover

So I got to thinking about the Boy Least Likely To again because it occurred to me that their second album was supposed to have come out this summer, and I must own my own copy of “A Balloon On A Broken String” an example them at their very best, all sweet glockenspiel-synth pop and adorable heartfelt lyrics. Unfortunately, that bit about the album coming out this summer was apparently all a lie. I can’t find any evidence of it anywhere. However, rumor has it that their soon to be iconic cartoon characters, which adorn all their albums, will take three dimensional form as knit stuffed animals.

 

 I could not be more pleased about this.  A pointless bit of trivia to some, I can’t help but be fascinated by album art and other forms of packaging/merchandising of bands. And this is so cool; the charming, childish and somewhat creepy creatures drawn for the band by Jof Owen’s brother, Tim. And the reason this is so perfect is because their music has been described by those who ought to know (Rolling Stone) as sounding as if, “all your childhood stuffed animals got together and started a band." And soon they will be! So check ‘em out. If you like adorable critter country pop, they’re pretty much the only band working that genre right now.

Boy Least Likely To

http://www.myspace.com/theboyleastlikelytouk

We're Down With High Culture, Are You?

I was surprised and touched by the number of men scattered amongst the still predominately female crowd at Ground Zero, silenced and awed as they stared up at the stage where the lovely speaker gestured at the screen as cheery, colorful slides sped by. Dressed chic in all black, with black lustrous fur and incomparable thick, black rubber skin. She was a Guerilla Girl, appearing at USC in her full badass regalia of head to toe black and the iconic rubber gorilla mask. As she turned her head to address the audience, we could see flashes of glittering red from behind the cut out eyeholes; either wicked glasses frames, or the flames of her ardor for activism burning in her eyes. Whichever, just seeing one of the founding Guerilla Girls on the stage was one of the coolest things I’ve gotten to do at USC, or, y’know, ever.

 

The Guerrilla Girls are a band of female activists who work through art and anonymity to protest the under representation of women and/or minorities in the art world, Hollywood and politics. Through posters, billboards and biting wit they’ve been working since 1985 to redress wrongs and be “the conscience of the art world.” The anonymity is key; all members assume the name of dead female artists, and never appear without their masks. When asked how they settled on this particular persona, she answered: “We decided to be anonymous from the beginning… you couldn’t hate what we were doing because you hated us. Then we realized we needed an identity. One of our early members was a terrible speller, and during one of our meetings she was doodling GO-rilla girls the animal as opposed to GUE-rilla girls the freedom fighters… it confounds expectations and pushes people’s buttons.”

 

She entered the room after the lights were turned off and the bar closed the curtain to business, and broke the ice by handing out bananas on the way to the stage. The presentation then started with a PowerPoint talk covering the history of the Guerilla Girls activism, a sort of lite intro into what they were all about. It covered them from the beginning, when they were a small band of outsiders and renegades in New York, going out late at night to plaster the city with posters and stickers to the present, with their posters hanging in the TATE permanent collection, and shows at contemporary galleries around the world from Shanghai back to New York again.

 

Not that the recent somewhat ironic embrace from the art world has dulled their acerbic commentary any. At the recent opening of the Eli Broad gallery at LACMA, the Guerilla Girls protested the under-representation of women artists and artists of color at a tax supported museum, whose mission is purportedly to “educate a culturally diverse population.” When the curator of the Broad collection claimed that Cindy Sherman has forty-nine pieces on display, the Guerrilla Girls responded with another letter, pointing out that there were only four female artists out of thirty, and one black artist out of thirty. These numbers don’t coordinate with the number of women artists, and of artists in minority groups just in the Los Angeles area. It runs into the problem of museums, as elucidated in the Guerilla Girls activity book, as “places where rich people put their stuff.”

http://www.guerrillagirls.com/posters/dearestelibroad.shtml

 

Not that they are limited to the art world; they have pointed out similar failings in the Hollywood system, and especially recently in the problems of government. My favorite is the “estrogen bomb” a poster and billboard campaign to bomb the various houses of government with estrogen pills to chill them out. They approach everything with a sense of humor; “communication is really important to us… if you don’t have a sense of humor we cannot speak to you.”

 

It was in that swinging sense of humor that she ended the presentation by getting a guy into skirt. There’s a cool story behind it, of course: the New York Times published an article and accompanying photo entitled “Arnold Glimcher and his Art World All Stars;” all of which were white men. The Guerrilla Girls did a responding poster entitle Hormone Imbalance Melanin Deficiency, catching the attention of Village Voice art critic Betsy Hass. Hass called Glimcher to ask him about his collection, and the skit was a re-enactment of the transcript of that telephone conversation. The guy from the audience was called up to play Hass; the Guerrilla Girl took on the role of Glimcher. It was both funny and disturbing, especially Glimcher’s lines—“we only represent artists who fit into our program,” and the suggestion that they continue the conversation “maybe over lunch.”

 

For the Guerilla Girls, it’s not a matter of men versus women, but of enlightened human rights and equality for all, and for not settling for tokenism. Their verve and jocularity were refreshing and inspiring, especially in the recent political and social climate, which considers the battle for equal rights basically won, and demonizes feminism. And their attraction isn’t an isolated phenomenon. They apparently receive tons of mail, especially in response to one of their earlier posters “Advantages of Being a Woman Artist” from female artists, most of which tend to be musicians, saying that this is the story of their lives.

 

By the end of the talk, the general excitement was such that the news that the Guerilla Girls weren’t looking for any new members, that in fact they preferred to stay small, and so didn’t solicit members in any way cast a tangible pall of disappointment over much of the room. She advised us to “find your own crazy way to be an activist… Speak out against what you think is wrong. The art world is a very f*cked up place.” She ended with this call for more activism, with undertones of addressing the type who make up the USC community especially--young people with all the advantages of education. The most important thing is to be active; after all “you wouldn’t be paying attention to a woman wandering around in a gorilla mask if it wasn’t attached to a body of work.”

Poor Boy Blues

Looking for things to do this weekend that wont hurt you financially (as most events in LA tend to do)? This Saturday from 1 - 4pm, The Flock Shop, a cute little store in Chinatown specializing in graphic t shirts, jewelry, art, and funky clothing, is hosting an art show for local artist/illustrator Patrick Hruby. There will be complementary drinks and most likely a sale since they are re-opening their store. Here is the location ...it's in the same courtyard as the Grand Star Jazz Club. The Flock Shop is also located directly underneath Ooga Booga, a great place to find records by local bands (such as the ones playing at the Eagle Rock Music Festival) as well as amazing compilations of African/South American music. Not to mention, they have a huge selection or art zines, books, and clothing. Although the highlight of the store for me is these $10 cassette mixtapes ranging from french chanson to old school hip hop to funk to new wave hits that you have never heard before.  Also this Saturday, all of Eagle Rock (rather, Colorado blvd) will be glowing and vibing to a music festival from 5pm till midnight. Its free and over 60 artists will be performing- among them are Abe Vigoda, Earlimart, Crystal Antlers, Mika Miko, Pizza!, The Parson Red Heads, One Trick Pony, etc. more info. On Sunday night, the hilarious hip hop group hailing from Southern California, Sparrow Love Crew, will be playing at Cinespace in Hollywood with The Nights (they are great) and The Yelling. The show is 21+ but admission as well as vodka will be free between 9:30-10:30. Not everything in life is free but these events are and they are a nice way to support local artists. Not to mention great surprises lie ahead for those who haven't explored these particular areas of town. 

Comic Books Killed the Video Star

Comic books are the new music videos. Or the old music videos, come back to the new. They’re something, anyway. Music is having a more direct effect on comic books, to the point where comic books are starting to refer to themselves in music industry terms. For example, the anthology PopGun (which is awesome, by the way, and will appeal to both old lovers of comic books and neophytes alike) bills itself as “the ultimate comics mix-tape.”

PopGun

 

Musicians are finding a lot of success in the comic book world. Some admittedly are doing things of dubious quality (Courtney Love published a short lived series through TokyoPop which was incredibly underwhelming), but on the flipside we’re getting some really cool comics out of the music industry.

 

One of the most awesome things to come out of this are music/comic collaborations, wherein comic book artists and writers go back to musicians songs and adapt them into short comics. Tori Amos, for instance, has long been tangentially involved in the comic book arena (she wrote the intro for Death: The High Cost of Living) through a relationship with Neil Gaiman, the great author of the Sandman series. Amos has just published her own music/comic collaboration. Comic Book Tattoo, a massive book put out by Image Comics, is huge collection of comics based on Amos’s songs. It is so cool. Not everything in it is for everyone, but there’s at least one thing you will like.

 

Comic Book TattoBelle and Sebastian have done a similar thing with Put the Book Back on the Shelf. However, Put the Book Back on the Shelf just seems to be quirky for the sake of quirkiness -- indie just to be indie. I love Belle and Sebastian’s music, and when this book first came out, just the idea of it blew my mind. But since its sequel and the subsequent publication of Comic Book Tattoo, the shiny veneer of novelty has worn off. Hardcore fans will still like Belle and Sebastian's result, but bigger, more diverse anthologies like the aforementioned PopGun and Comic Book Tattoo are probably the way to go.

 

Put The Book Back on the ShelfBut for comic book nerds everywhere, our time in the spotlight is coming. We’re getting hip, my friends. Between awesome bands and Christian Bale, comic books are being drawn out of the basement and into the light. They’re claiming some of that cool that emanates around the music scene. Someday, someday soon, a sweet ass pen collection and a stack of Green Lantern issues will be as hot as a kick ass Fender Stratocaster.

My '07 Top Ten (Part 1)

Counting down from ten, here are the first five of my ten favorite albums from 2007. Rankings are always difficult after the top five, so the following feel a bit indefinite to me...but I tried: 10. Burial - Untrue I've just started listening to this, so there's not much I know about dub-step artist Burial. But with an impressive net score of 91 on metacritic.com, and a good first impression, I feel Untrue deserves to be included on this list. By just the artist, album, and cover art, you have an idea of what it sounds like. It's a bit like Massive Attack, but with the eerie darkness of Black Heart Procession and a hint of that Daft Punk flair (some tracks more than others). Untrue evokes a range of enigmatic moods that warrants repeated listens. 9. Robert Gomez - Brand New Towns Upon hearing Robert Gomez, the Elliott Smith influence is immediately obvious. While it's possible he may just have the unfortunate circumstance of having an eerily similar voice, Gomez is by no means a rip-off artist. While the songs have the beautifully vulnerable, melancholic feel and whispered vocals of Elliott Smith, all the ideas on Brand New Towns sound compositionally fresh. One never feels he's trying to fill the loss of Smith with himself. His music's more of a tribute than an ape-ing, for he creates his own agency. The songs have a bit more harmonic daring, and some are actually optimistic! Gomez is clearly talented, for Brand New Towns is remarkably consistent. There's nothing drastically innovative going on here in terms of style/genre, but Brand New Towns is a songwriter doing what he does best, and that's good enough for me. 8. Frog Eyes- Tears of the Valedictorian Frog Eyes is hit or miss for a lot of people. With their penchant for manic vocals, volatile harmonic movement, and raucous instrumentation, many find them difficult to listen to. Frog Eyes offers no relief for such individuals, as they continue to explode with unruly charm on Tears of the Valedictorian, which becomes obvious from the start on the ironically titled opener, "Idle Songs." What intrigues me about Frog Eyes is how they manage to create such brilliant, inspired motifs and lace them within a circus-like maelstrom of sound. It sounds spontaneous yet preconceived, primal but cultivated. It's intoxicating, and they champion this approach with "Caravan Breakers, They Prey On the Weak On the Old," one of my favorite songs of the year. While the album could be described as "more of the same," one does notice that many of the tracks are longer than usual. Whereas 8 of the 13 tracks on 2004's The Folded Palm were under 2.5 minutes, the 9 tracks of Tears of the Valedictorian run for an average of about 4 minutes. They feel more like movements then songs, as seemingly unrelated ideas are connected within the same song. That said, the style still sounds very Frog Eyes, but there are few bands out there pulling off songs of jarring grace so well. 7. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin It would seem that the positive response of Band of Horses' debut album, Everything All the Time, gave them the confidence to polish their craft, for Cease to Begin sounds more cohesive and mature. While the debut album had plenty of engaging themes, they were undermined by mediocre song structure. They would be approached too quickly, left undeveloped, or overshadowed by too much other, less interesting material. But on Cease to Begin, the core delight of the songs are carried through their entirety; you love them from start to finish. The best examples of this are the phenomenal "Island on the Coast" and "Cigarettes Wedding Bands." Cease to Begin has some down-tempo numbers, and while they are warm and professional, I would say they are the album's weakness, as they damage its consistency. Nevertheless, the album's highlights more than outweigh its setbacks. This album was surprisingly good, and I feel like an eye should be kept on Band of Horses' future output. 6. The Tough Alliance - A New Chance Another pleasant surprise from Sweden. The Tough Alliance sounds like Röyksopp and Junior Boys teaming up with Jim Henson. It's primarily vocals and synths/electronics, all wrapped in tangible fun. It's frisky, giddy, and high-spirited, but it avoids drowning you in sunshine and the obnoxiously saccharine, cloying nature of twee-pop groups like The Polyphonic Spree (sorry TPS fans) with variations in ambience and mood. "Miami," for example, is in minor, but still creates an energizing texture. Just listen to "Something Special," "First Class Riot," or "The Last Dance," they should put a smile on anyone's face.

Listen to Friends of Dean Martinez!

Anyone who's from Arizona, like myself, will most likely have the following reaction when they hear anything about Tucson: "Booooring...." Normally I would agree. Is there really more to Tucson than U of A? And yet, this listless city is the birthplace of one of the most underrated post-rock groups I know of, Friends of Dean Martinez. Now, the indie community has plenty of post-rock/instrumental artists to wade through...Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Do Make Say Think, The Album Leaf, Dirty Three, etc. And many of these groups have done very well, despite writing music completely antithetical to songcraft: prolonged, restrained, lyric-less and inaccessible opuses. For instance, Mogwai worked with Clint Mansell in scoring Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain, Explosions in the Sky composed the soundtrack for Friday Night Lights, Godspeed You! Black Emperor's "East Hastings" was featured in 28 days later. I guess there's this trend of post-rock music being integrated into films. And it works very well. That said, does Friends of Dean Martinez bring anything to the table in the face of these instrumental juggernauts? Absolutely. I wouldn't claim outright that they are better artists than the aforementioned groups, but Friends of Dean Martinez are by no means derivative or lackluster. And after 13 years and 9 LPs, they maintain that difficult balance of being innovative without compromising artistic identity. But they're still nameless, even within the underground circles of music enthusiasts. I don't really know why. Perhaps it's the cumbersome stage name they carry, which probably incites a "Who's on First?" scenario every time it's brought up: "Hey, have you heard of friends of Dean Martinez?" "Who? I don't know who that is. Does he have no friends or something? How sad." "No, they're a band" "Oh, what are they called?" "Friends of Dean Martinez" "No...like, what do they call themselves as a band?" *slap* But a lot of (in fact, most of them) post-rock bands have longwinded names. It might just be the misleading surname "Martinez," which initially made me think of a mariachi band (certainly not the case). Or it could be the fact that "Friends of Dean Martinez" sounds like one of those temporary support groups that play at local bars to raise money for a buddy in chemo therapy. Or it could be that Tucson stigma. Maybe everyone else just thinks FODM sucks. But I'm still going to try. Now, FODM does not have the operatic orchestration of Godspeed, the vicious dynamics of Mogwai, or Explosion's angelic guitar riffs, but they are champions of mood and sonic scenery. Their music is frequently described as evoking desert landscapes, but not in a pejorative sense. Some tracks may feel forlorn and desolate, but they carry an allure of tragic grace. Some songs are markedly sinister, while others are downright gorgeous. The group also has interest in hispanic culture, as evidenced by some of their more rhythmic songs and occasional, Spanish song titles. In addition, they clearly enjoy the retro feel (they have a whole album titled "Retrograde"), and as a whole, FODM can come off as ironic, but it's never destructive. Stylistically, FODM is pretty consistent. The tempo for most songs is pretty gradual; in fact, while some are rather sluggish and boring, the grave movement often contributes to an endearingly barren atmosphere. Instrumentally, acoustic and/or steel guitars are very common. Above all, a yearning slide guitar is usually center stage, stringing out a melody to tie a song together. In essence, most of FODM is pretty western sounding. Pianos and string sections are occasionally used, and FODM's later recordings feature more synth-work. On rare occasions, Friends of Dean Martinez demonstrate their versatility with a surprisingly disparate number, being either jarringly experimental or just mind-blowing. However, as with most post-rock groups, they require patience from the listener. But they may not be for you if you don't like subtlety. Unlike Godspeed, Mogwai, or Explosions, abrupt changes and extremes in rhythm or dynamics are rare. Their stability in is more like The Album Leaf. Anyway, if you have a hunger for more instrumental artists, or just feel adventurous/curious, give Friends of Dean Martinez a shot. Their latest album from 2005, Lost Horizon, which is on KSCR's new wall, was my gateway to their music. The latter half of the opener, "Landfall," is particularly phenomenal, but, like most of the album, is quite unlike the rest of their music. As of right now, their 2000 release, "A Place In The Sun," might be my favorite FODM album. It has good variety and some gripping, haunting tracks, although 2004's "Random Harvest" might be their most endearingly dark LP. I would suggest any of those three to start with.

"THE DEATH OF OINK, THE BIRTH OF DISSENT, AND A BRIEF HISTORY OF RECORD INDUSTRY SUICIDE."

Here is a fantastic blog about the fall of OiNK and its prophecy of music industry revolution It's a bit long, but a worthwhile read. There's a section in particular that I want to post below, for it yields understanding to the incentive and opinions behind many of us here at KSCR. "Unlike newspapers, record companies own the distribution and the product being distributed, so you can't just start your own website where you give out music that they own - and that's what this is all about: distribution. Lots of pro-piracy types argue that music can be free because people will always love music, and they'll pay for concert tickets, and merchandise, and the marketplace will shift and artists will survive. Well, yes, that might be an option for some artists, but that does nothing to help the record labels, because they don't make any money off of merchandise, or concert tickets. Distribution and ownership are what they control, and those are the two things piracy threatens. The few major labels left are parts of giant media conglomerations - owned by huge parent companies for whom artists and albums are just numbers on a piece of paper. It's why record companies shove disposable pop crap down your throat instead of nurturing career artists: because they have CEOs and shareholders to answer to, and those people don't give a shit if a really great band has the potential to get really successful, if given the right support over the next decade. They see that Gwen Stefani's latest musical turd sold millions, because parents of twelve year old girls still buy music for their kids, and the parent company demands more easy-money pop garbage that will be forgotten about next month. The only thing that matters to these corporations is profit - period. Music isn't thought of as an art form, as it was in the earlier days of the industry where labels were started by music-lovers - it's a product, pure and simple." Hopefully, the digital revolution will eventually banish money grubbing executives from recycling music as a disposable flavor-of-the-week. In addition, I suggest anyone who believes "indie snobs" are informed not by personal taste but by a self-righteous, just-for-the-sake-of-it rebellion to the "sheep" of pop culture, to read the above essay and then consider the common defense of mainstream music: "Popular music is popular for a reason. It wouldn't be popular if it wasn't good."

Rock & Roll & Mamograms

I love boobies. I mean, who doesn’t? Unfortunately for those of us who have them (or are avid fans of them), breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women. This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Keep a Breast Foundation is teaming up with local LA music community, Kiss or Kill, to present a month of concerts aimed at raising awareness and money to go towards breast cancer research. Kiss or Kill, a collective of local bands, has been bringing cheap, community-driven punk shows to the LA music scene every week for the last 5 years. This month they go pink, with every show featuring female artists and musicians (reminiscent of their former monthly “All Grrrrl Rock Riot!�). Proceeds from all the shows, as well as a limited release compilation album featuring all of the participating bands will go to benefit the Keep a Breast Foundation. Additionally, each of the women (including members of Bang Sugar Bang, the Mullhollands, Underwater City People, and more) will be having a plaster form made of their torsos to be customized by artists and auctioned off to raise consciousness and funding for research and treatment at an event in early November. Kiss or Kill is every Wednesday night at El Cid. Be sure to buy a "Boobies!" shirt! (Seriously, they exist!) Check out this promotional video from the accompanying photo shoot with Jessy Plume and Love Rebellion

The Artistic Plight of the DJ

A couple fridays ago, I attended the DJ Spooky Visions and Voices event at Ground Zero, primarily for a musical analysis assignment in one of my courses. Unfortunately, the event turned out to be more of a lecture than performance, but it sparked some interesting philosophical questions. DJ Spooky was clearly a very intelligent and educated individual, but I found myself disagreeing with some of his perspectives on art and ownership.Before continuing, I recognize that not everyone can DJ. Finding the right samples to mix together into a compelling track isn't a simple craft. And it can be impressive to hear two songs that, while seeming completely incompatible with each other in their original form, end up combined in an engaging, sonic latticework that makes you wonder: "How did he think of using those together?" And with an easier access to the world's music, globalization has opened up even more possibilities for DJs. That said, being a DJ seems to have artistic limitations in terms of self-reliance, in that most his work is usually, albeit complex, an amalgamation of original creations by other musicians. The DJ, then, to paraphrase DJ spooky, acts like "a filter." Various works come through him and are uniquely filtered to form a mix. But he also consistently referred to himself as an artist, and I guess where Spooky and I differ is in the degree of innovative artistry involved in being this "filter." For me, unless a DJ uses mostly his own material, it is a preponderance of external sampling that compromises a DJ's artistic independency. And this is because I believe art is significantly qualified by it being exclusive to its creator. If Bach had never existed, would another composer have come along and written the Well-Tempered Clavier, note for note? You'd sooner see Jessica Alba act well. One could argue, of course, that with all the variables a DJ works with when sampling and mixing a track together, his final product is his creative brain-child; the artistic lens of his filtering is exclusively his. To an extent, I would agree, but without those other innovations that lens would have nothing, or very little, to work with. Going back to the Bach example, if a DJ has sampled Bach in his works, then deleting Bach's music from history would critically fracture that DJ's music as well. Yes, in general, musicians are inspired by other musicians, and are therefore subject to some artistic dependence as well, but this relationship usually serves (if one isn't a flagrant plagiarist) as a creative motivator, a catalyst. Original recordings may inspire a DJ as well, but it's also the medium they work with. Rather than carve a new sound sculpture, they segment and combine pre-existing ones, however interesting that may be. I'm not saying that DJ's are rip-off craftsmen masquerading as artists, but after listening to DJ Spooky I wonder if some DJs may be giving themselves too much credit. What's peculiar is that DJ Spooky seemed to uphold a rather socialistic approach to music, in that it's more "of an exchange between people" than a stable item. In my opinion, this is rather inconsistent with labeling oneself as an artist, especially an independent one. I don't disagree that there's dynamism to pre-existing compositions, whether it be in interpretation, transcription, covers, etc. But there are also immutable characteristics that make "Bohemian Rhapsody" what it is: "Bohemian Rhapsody." And I don't recall DJ Spooky ever explicitly calling himself any kind of visionary or innovator (in fact, for the most part he was pretty humble), but it seems hypocritical to suggest individualism by planting your stage name on your oeuvre and then suggest collectivism by asking, as he did when referring to copyright law and the transfer of digital memory, "who owns memory?" If one is to embrace both this perspective of personal "filtering" and no concept of intellectual property, can't I just edit the tags on my iTunes library to say they're my own? Unfortunately, this has already happened to some degree with common P2P file sharing programs like Kazaa or Limewire. Tracks are frequently labeled with the wrong information, and become shared so rapidly that the genuine data might be in the minority. Would we really want this to exacerbate to a point of complete musical solipsism? DJ Spooky said in the Q & A that copyright laws "stifle creativity," which is very understandable if you embrace his philosophy. But, while I don't at all advocate a totalitarian control of intellectual property, I think copyright laws give musicians some dignity for their creations. I may even go far enough to say that they can be helpful reminders of how special music is.

Ceci n'est pas une pipe.

I generally wouldn't consider myself an 'arty' person, being unable to sketch out any figure even vaguely resembling any object that belongs in the physical realm of reality. And I am most definitely incapable of distinguishing a Raphael from a Picasso, much less a Dali from a Magritte. So imagine my consternation when I learned that I had to visit an art exhibit at LACMA with my class, attendance absolutely compulsory. I proceeded to take everything that happened on Thursday as a sign from the gods that I should feign fatal illness--even sudden death and swift resurrection, if need be--in order to avoid that dreaded trip. A broken nail, a wrong order of coffee at Trojan Grounds, our ride that refused to shift into reverse gear... believe me, I tried. But I ended up at LACMA with my classmates anyway, along with throngs of other college students. (LACMA held a College Night on February 8, which offered free entrance to all college students from 8-10 pm along with a reception in their central court. Free food!) Large motifs of pipes and a man in a bowler hat greeted us everywhere, and before I knew it, I was slapped with a "See it at LACMA!" sticker and ushered into a room. I'd been curious to find out what, if anything, lay behind that ubiquitous pipe and its enigmatic tagline, "This is not a pipe." What could it possibly mean? That the picture of a pipe, which clearly appeared to be a regular tobacco pipe, was not representative of a pipe? That it was a tobacco pipe, but not a plumber's pipe? That it wasn't a pipe, just because the artist labeled it so? Was it making a statement about meaning, labeling, impression, visualization... what was it about? As it turned out, the answer surprised--no, delighted--me, and sent tingly sensations down my spine! Who'd have thought that I, the biggest art-moron on earth, would have found something of such intense interest in an art museum? The picture of a pipe is not a pipe, precisely because it is a picture of a pipe. It is nothing more than a visual representation of the object itself. And... ...? So where's the punchline in that, I hear you asking. But that's exactly what Plato said about art, that it's an imitation of reality! And Aristotle! And Kant! And there was even an exhibit of Foucault's paper on Magritte's pipe! Do you sense how excited the philosophy-geek in me is! Viewing an art exhibit could actually be an intellectual experience for me, instead of the stumbling-about-in-the-dark-like-an-ignoramus that I'd anticipated! For the rest of you who're interested in the very art of it, however, here's a brief overview. The exhibition features not only Magritte's works, but those of other modern artists that have been influenced by, or referenced his works. The layout is pretty cool as well, as the works by other artists (such as Martin Kippenberger, Andy Warhol, Vija Celmins, etc.) are interspersed among Magritte's, so you can visualize their similarities with the pieces placed side-by-side. The exhibition also follows Magritte through his various changes in artistic style and content, ranging from his Surrealist works, which saw him juxtaposing random and often contradictory elements that defied the conventions of reality, to his later method of meshing together less-random objects in an attempt to highlight the relationship between them. He also explored the relationship between seemingly conflicting words and images, challenged traditional ideas of "good" painting during his vache period, and questioned social influences on the subject of individualism and identity. No, it wasn't too bad after all, was it? In fact, it was even worth that half a minute of indignity when three of us had to hop out of the backseat to push the car out of the driveway of a parking structure, with the rest of the world watching and judging us for the stupid college kids that we were. Lessons learnt:
  1. Don't fear the unknown! Plunge headlong into the unknown!
  2. Figure out how to drive stick before venturing out into the menacing streets of LA in your friend's car.
Caught the irony/contradiction? Good. (Sidenote: eighth blackbird played at the Leo S. Bing Theater on Jan 31. If you're interested in finding out how music can, too, be Surrealist, check it out at their website!)

Magritte and Contemporary Art The Treachery of Images Los Angeles County Museum of Art November 19 - March 4

Featured Artist: Jennifer James Wright

I'm pleased to introduce LA-based, Santa Fe-bound painter and printmaker Jennifer James Wright. She has a knack for creating whimsical and expressive illustrations that expose a childlike, literary reality. I asked her about her favorite music artists and their significance. She said, "Music is pretty crucial when I'm trying to get into the creative frame of mind--moments where one idea bursts into a million, and that creative way of thinking completely takes over for a bit." Of her own perspective about "elevated" art, Wright says, "Smart design/art is what really catches me. When I can immediately recognize a smart solution in some sort of art piece, that's what really sinks in, or what I'd consider 'elevated.'" Ogle on the Bandwidth front page, or hit up Wright's site for more.