The defining musical style of the state of California largely depends on who you ask and what their allegiances are. Is it the West Coast hip-hop that came out of South Central LA in the late ’80s and early ’90s, which blended racial consciousness and gangsta rap in a way that’s never quite been duplicated since? Is it the SoCal punk scene, from X to Black Flag to the pop- and ska-tinged punk that dominated the ’90s? How about the Laurel Canyon sound that blended folk and rock, and spawned some of the greatest albums of the early ’70s? Or the classic rock of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury in the ’60s, as led by the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane? Or maybe it was the dripping-with-excess hard rock and hair metal scene that took shape on the Sunset Strip throughout the 1980s. And what about The Beach Boys and the generations of surf-pop imitators they spawned? When we heard that Best Coast was releasing an album called California Nights this week, we got to thinking: What’s the quintessential California sound? Our list of quintessential California albums is an attempt — or 30 — to answer that …Read More
Queens of the Stone Age
And so, it’s New Year’s Eve, aka one of the days wherein society deems it entirely acceptable (and in fact, kinda obligatory) to get utterly blotto. When you think of it, waking up with a stonking hangover doesn’t seem like the most auspicious way to greet a new year, but if you’re gonna do it, you might as well have a decent soundtrack for the whole messy process. A few weeks back, we looked at the best songs about alcohol, for better or worse, and we’re revisiting the idea with a selection of anthems to getting irresponsibly wasted on, well, various substances. Have fun, and try to be somewhat responsible, eh?
It’s Friday, which means its time for our weekly retrospective of this week’s best new music. This round gives us previews of long-anticipated albums from embattled MC M.I.A. and critical favorite Oneohtrix Point Never, plus new raps from Rick Ross and Lil Ugly Mane in addition to the return of long-absent acts like New York synthpop act the Blow and the Pixies, who remain beloved despite their new material’s mixed reviews. All of them are available gratis after the jump to help aid your post-summer ennui.