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?
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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.
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Now this is an entertaining way to spend laundry day. Neatorama pointed us towards The Sock Covers, a very clever Tumblr devoted to recreating famous and iconic album covers with, you guessed it, socks. Sure, it’s not high art, but it’s goofy and cute and irreverent in all the right ways — if a sock-version of Warhol’s iconic banana on The Velvet Underground & Nico doesn’t make you at least crack a smile, well, we just don’t know what to tell you. In addition, we have to say that we’re rather impressed by the anonymous author’s collection of socks. Click through to check out a few of our favorites from the project, and then head on over to The Sock Covers to see some more for yourself.
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The new Beach House record is out this week, and while we’ve always thought the band’s name was more wry irony than genuine summeriness — Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally’s music evokes the atmosphere of boarded-up resorts and empty beaches, as far as we’re concerned — we’ve got no doubt that Bloom is gonna be the soundtrack to many, many people’s summers. And, indeed, every summer needs a good soundtrack, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to take a look at some of our favorite indie summer anthems — songs that celebrate the sun, or just do a fine job of capturing the atmosphere of the season in all its complex, sweaty glory.
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As stoners around the country are no doubt only too aware, it’s 4/20 today, which means it’s time to smoke yourself into a coma in solidarity with fellow ganja-lovers around the world. For the last couple of years we’ve amused ourselves composing 4/20 mixtapes to soundtrack your smoking efforts, but this year we thought we’d do something different. We came across High Times‘ “Best 25 Pot Songs of All Time” recently, and we couldn’t help but notice they were all from before the turn of the millennium — mostly from the ’60s, predictably enough. We don’t buy stoner conservatism any more than any other sort of conservatism, so we thought we’d put together a list of 21st-century stoner anthems. Did we miss anything? Let us know before you descend into oblivion.
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Queens of the Stone Age are re-releasing their self-titled debut album at the moment, 13 years after it introduced the new project for ex-Kyuss guitarist Josh Homme and ex-Dwarves bassist Nick Oliveri to the world. Since then, of course, QOTSA have gone on to global domination, even after Oliveri left in mysterious circumstances in 2004.… Read More
With the success of True Blood and Twilight, anything with fangs is in style at the moment. But the “New Fang” everyone is talking about doesn’t vaporize at sunrise. It’s the single from Them Crooked Vultures, a raucous combination of Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age). As supergroups go, these guys would blow Monsters of Folk out of the building with their relentless rhythm-based rock.… Read More