The Ting Tings >> Super Critical in 2015

The Ting Tings >> are back at it again in 2015 with a new album and mini tour of the US left coast. The UK duo's 3rd studio release will drop this coming Tuesday JAN-13 with Super Critical which features singles 'Wrong Club' and 'Do It Again'.

The Ting Tings >> Super Critical

With a new compilation of crisp, electric tracks, Katie and Jules ought to make big splashes from across the pond again like they did when their debut We Started Nothing hit US airwaves in 2008, when really they started everything.

Now they're set to kick off a set of shows in California this month to get Super Critical in select cities like San Francisco [Rickshaw Stop], Sacramento [Harlow's] and West Hollywood [Troubadour]. Hopefully, these aren't the only stateside shows in 2015. We're crossing our fingers for a full on album tour and some festival appearances.

marc

marc

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Best in SHOWz >> 2014

Wonder Showzen 2014 >> was absolutely remarkable and just like every other year in live music for me this series of concerts, parties, festivals and such, each had an identity of its own. Artists have continued to develop, galas have grown and newly discovered bands have come into fruition, making all events and even the most familiar of productions a whole new experience.

Chromeo >> Marquee TheatreI experienced more than 100 live performances once again and again can confidently state that the quality of this year's collections has been the best yet.  From the valley to Cali and from here to there I experienced many an artist for the first time [CHVRCHES, Tegan & Sara, Imagine Dragons, MS MR], 17th time [311], long-awaited [Outkast, Offspring, Panic! At The Disco], some I haven't seen in close to a decade [Kanye West, Less Than Jake] and even witnessed some making their own fantastic debuts [DeepV].

This year I basked in festivals across state lines like Life Is Beautiful, experienced new local galas like VIVA PHX take steps toward desert grandioseness and the valley's always hot tour stop at Warped. Staples like Sail Inn and Club Red in Tempe were put to rest while Crescent Ballroom and Marquee Theatre continued to assert their presence into the scene and old ones arose from the dead, reinvigorated from dormancy like the newly remodeled Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale.

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Net net 2014 was a superb year and once again I got to wander a music lover’s paradise. As always I had the blastest blast with my best friends, made a shit ton of new ones and even partook some of these gigs on the solo tip. It's far too difficult to decipher the best of 2014 because each were unique from the performance aspect, my variety of company and each experience was distinct for one reason or another. Thus, in lieu of choosing, I’ll salute all of the artists that took part in my phenomenal 2014 in a Flickr tribute and healthy shout-out list. Happy 2014, my friends!

311 x 2 A-Trak Against Me! Anberlin Arctic Monkeys B-Real Bad Religion Baauer The Black Keys Black Kids Broken Bells Chromeo CHVRCHES Counting Crows Cypress Hill DeepV DJ Noah Wylie Fitz & The Tantrums Foo Fighters Galantis The Gaslight Anthem Holy Ghost Girl Talk Imagine Dragons Jake Bugg Kanye West Kitten Less Than Jake Lionel Richie Little Dragon Macklemore Matt & Kim Method Man MS MR The Naked & Famous Nite Jewel Offspring Outkast Panic! At The Disco Pennywise Phantogram Pinback x 2 Priory RAC Redman Say Anything Skrillex Sleeper Agent Slightly Stoopid Snake Burner St. Lucia Tegan & Sara Tokimonsta Tranzit YACHT Yellowcard

marc

marc

 
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zLISTED >> Best Albums of 2014

2014 >> boasted a shitload of new music and amongst those plentiful releases was a plethora of greatness. Dozens of veteran artists as well as some rookies dropped albums each month which added up to a fuck ton of albums that I really dug. It was quite a challenge to put together this best of the best list but I fucking tried okay? So without further ado, in my humble opinion here are the best albums released in 2014. Ya dig?

15 >> Broken Bells After The Disco 

Broken Bells >> After The Disco

14 >> Chromeo White Women

Chromeo >> White Women

13 >> Little Dragon Nabuma Rubberband

Little Dragon >> Nabuma Rubberband

12 >> Die Antwoord Donker Mag

Die Antwoord >> Donker Mag

11 >> 311 Stereolithic

311 >> Stereolithic

10 >> Lykke Li I Never Learn

Lykke Li >> I Never Learn

9 >> The Black Keys Turn Blue

The Black Keys >> Turn Blue

8 >> Jack White Lazaretto

Jack White >> Lazaretto

7 >> Lana Del Rey Ultraviolence

Lana Del Rey >> Ultra Violence

6 >> Calvin Harris Motion

Calvin Harris >> Motion

5 >> Foo Fighters Sonic Highways

Foo Fighters >> Sonic Highways

4 >> FKA Twigs LP1

FKA Twigs >> LP1

3 >> The Glitch Mob Love Death Immortality

The Glitch Mob >> Love Death Immortality

2 >> Phantogram Voices

Phantogram >> Voices

1 >> Julian Casablancas + The Voidz Tyranny

Julian Casablancas+The Voidz >> Tyranny

Honorable Mentions >> St. Vincent [St. Vincent], Pharrell Williams [G I R L], Chiodos [Devil], Iggy Azalia [The New Classic], Deadmau5 [while(1<2)], Taylor Swift [1989], Royksopp & Robyn [Do It Again], Skrillex [Recess], The Gaslight Anthem [Get Hurt]

 
marc

marc

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Feelin Hirie in Santa Rosa [The Emerald Cup 2014]

The Emerald Cup 2014 >> For those who have been in a haze of one kind or another The Emerald Cup is the world's longest running outdoor, organic cannabis cup. In addition to judging the dankest herb for whatever ails you, this festival also provides speakers, workshops and vendors to get your lifestyle as green as it can be.

The Emerald Cup 2014

However, what brought me to the Santa Rosa County Fairgrounds December 13th and 14th was the music festival that accompanies this herbal celebration. Over two days, The Emerald Cup brought in more than ten different acts from the Reggae and World Music scene including heavy hitters Slightly Stoopid and Grammy Award winning Ozomotli.

[Related: Slightly Stoopid >> Summer Sessions]

Of the handful of other awesome acts joining in the weekend's festivities, one flower seemed to grow right before our eye and shine brightest through the cloudy weekend and her name is Hirie.

Hirie >> Emerald Cup 2014

Hirie played just as the sun was setting on Day 1 of the festival and her enthusiasm was just what was needed to get the understandably mellow crowd ready to party. The tiny and adorable Hirie took the stage at all of 5 feet tall in heels, but those in attendance could quickly feel her energy far exceeded her stature. With an upbeat, sweet and soothing voice she serenaded the crowd with pot-influenced lyrics of songs like ‘Higher’ and ‘Sensi Boy’. The songs clearly had sparked a note with the audience and everyone grooved to the vibes under her spell.

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Although clearly the star of the show this was far from a one-woman performance. Her band, complete with horn section and mohawk'd lead guitarist brought a deep multi-layered sound enveloping Hirie's sweet voice in deep waves of island tuneage. She closed out her set with a cover of Beyonce's ‘Drunk In Love’ [conveniently changed to ‘Stoned in Love’ for the Emerald Cup-ers] and with shout outs to smoke up her soundman behind the scenes. Clearly this pint-sized powerhouse was a perfect fit for The Emerald Cup and was a show I highly recommend to catch in the New Year. She'll be on the Tribal Seeds Winter Chillin' Tour so check out her FaceBook and Instagram to keep up to date with her as this flower continues to grow and blossom on the always cannabis friendly reggae scene.

Charles

Charles

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The 1975 >> Sex on Sunset [Hollywood Palladium]

The 1975 >> It’s Tuesday night in Hollywood. The theatre is packed to an uncomfortable level of what feels like negative personal space, causing me to run upstairs to watch the mob from above instead of being pummeled in it.  The main lights are off, the spotlight is on. The wannabe 90’s grunge crowd of post-Bieber adolescent girls is rushing the stage. The main band hasn't even come out yet.

The 1975 >> Hollywood Palladium

Then it happens. First walks out Adam Hann, who takes a last sip out of his red cup before putting the guitar strap over his shoulder, followed by George Daniel on drums and Ross McDaniel on bass. Lastly is Matt Healy, the English vocalist who stumbles on stage pounding a half-drunken bottle of red wine. Despite his impenitent level of inebriation, he grabs the mic and belts out his first couple of songs as if vocal muscle memory has surpassed his stupor. He nails every song, though can’t seem to speak beyond slurred sentences between sets.

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‘We want Sex!’ yelled the underage crowd as often as possible, especially when Healy walked off stage a couple times to what I presume was a vomit break. Whatever happened back there I will never know, though I must say it never affected his performance or the beauty of his Jon Snow-like locks of hair. I’m both impressed, and slightly concerned for his well-being. Maybe it was the young audience bringing out the maternal instincts in me, but I truly hope he takes care of himself before the band explodes even more. Considering Healy’s parents are known British actors, my guess is things can go either way.

The 1975 >> Hollywood Palladium

Seeing as The 1975 was virtually unknown a year ago, to selling out back-to-back shows in one of LA’s bigger concert halls [with Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift and Ellie Goulding among the audience], I can’t blame the group for handling the fame the way they are. Having seen them at Coachella earlier this year, I must say the level of innocence has dropped significantly over the months. But, hey, they’re young, they’re hot, and they know how to put on a good show. I’ll leave this part off with the fact that I’m proud of them, though I hope someone is looking out for their well-being.

The 1975 >> Hollywood Palladium

I was impressed that every song sounded on par with the album. This is truly a good live band, and not just a studio-created piece of pop crap. I loved that Healy played a pink guitar during ‘Girls’ and then got passionately involved with his song about well, him, titled ‘Me’. I got a good taste of ‘Chocolate’ and ended with ‘Sex’ [hmm, I’m starting to see a connection here]. Despite mistaking the mic for his wine bottle on at least one occasion, the band as a whole never missed a beat.

Confirming on stage that they will be moving to LA—or Los Angeleeese as I learned is the pronunciation in a Manchester accent—ahead of their second album release, I’m happy that the band still has plenty of energy to be producing albums often enough to keep the momentum alive. I definitely am looking forward to what’s next. Perhaps a duet, anyone? I’d be happy to make recommendations.

I’ll end with a quote from the one-and-only Matthew Healy:

‘How many of you have seen us play before?’ <woo!> ‘How many of you haven’t seen us play before?’ <WOOOO!>. ‘Welcome to the revolution! Just kidding, it’s me drinking.’

Danielle

Danielle

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Party RAC-ing with The Knocks in San Francisco [The Warfield]

The Knocks & RAC >> Sometimes you just need to say F it. Screw chicks and screw hanging with the homies. Sometimes you just need to dance like no one’s watching, Flashdance style. Luckily for me, last Saturday night The Knocks and RAC were kind enough to drop in to the Warfield and provide me that very dance party. A very young dance party where I felt like the creepy old guy who still cruises high school parties when he comes home from college for Thanksgiving probably 3 years after he should’ve cut that out. Regardless, heck of a fun night and here’s how it went down.

The Knocks >> San Francisco

Their opening band was called Speak and as a late arriving crowd tardily strolled in they played, what I considered teen pop rock reminiscent of a high school battle of the bands with a strong One Direction influence. That’s not to say they weren’t talented, the lead singer for one would come out later with other bands and add some strong vocal contributions. They just seemed young and serching for their own voice. Also some of the skinniest jeans I’ve ever seen. I’d even go so far as to call them anorexic jeans.

After they finished up The Warfield quickly filled to capacity almost simultaneously with The Knocks appearance on stage. I was starting to get excited as I’d never seen them before and didn’t know much about them but could feel the buzz in the young crowd.

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The Knocks is made up of two guys, B-Roc and Jpatt, and the anticipation grew as they wheeled out their equipment which can only be described as a jungle gym of keyboards, drum kits and DJ equipment. It was pretty wild; it like was one of those dueling piano bars in Vegas only hand made for the electronic age. Songs started slowly but they quickly both got up to speed adding a beat here a drum kit there, overlaying vocals and continuously adding more to what I guess you could call remixes. I was expecting almost a rap battle of sorts but it evolved more in to a jazz like compliation feeding off each other in a hip hop and electric inspired orchestra. Two female dancers appeared on stage about the 3rd song and the party was on from there. The tempo and intensity of the jams increased exponentially as did the pelvic thrusting and twerkin of the fly girls on either side of them. My favorite songs were 'Brightside' and 'Dancing With The DJ' which I guarantee most of you would recognize given a listen. They definitely got the crowd energy up and bodies moving, and had the building well prepped for headliner RAC.

RAC >> San Francisco

I thought I was familiar with RAC, and by familiar I mean I knew 2 or 3 songs and had put them on shuffle on Spotify a few times. I could not have been more off or more pleasantly surprised and a ringing endorsement of why you need to see live performances to really understand someone’s music. I thought R.A.C. was a DJ. Whoops! Well I am not totally wrong theres is a DJ and mixing element to their music but when 5 people came out on stage with a full instrumental ensemble I was lost. Everything I’d seen on Spotify or SoundCloud always had said RAC Mix or RAC Remix but they actually perform the songs its not just adding beats over radio favorites. It’s kind of a cross between live DJ remixing and live band covers all with a unique light upbeat twist that makes you like songs you already liked even more. I know that might not make much sense, so you’re welcome. Now you’re exactly where my head was at as they started to perform. To confuse things even more they also have quite a few original jams that blend so well with what they’re doing its often hard to tell where one song ends and another begins. They started off with versions of Two Door Cinema Club’s 'Something Good Can Work' and their original single 'Cheap Sunglasses'. After that I pretty much stopped paying attention which song was which and got lost in the party with the rest of the twenty-somethings and danced my feet off as best a 31-year old white guy can.

Both The Knocks and RAC really brought their A-game and finished of the las stop of their tour on a high note. Whether it was all the teens rolling face, the couples sucking face, or me awkwardly dancing off beat, one thing all in attendence had in common was we had a blast and left with smiles on our faces. Like I said, sometimes you just gotta say F it, and dance!

Charles

Charles

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Method Man & Redman >> The Smoker’s Club in Tempe [Marquee Theatre]

Method Man & Redman >> puff puff passed through the desert on Wednesday for a killer show at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe. The Smoker's Club Tour was stacked on a bill that also featured B-Real of Cypress Hill and Mick Jenkins.

Method Man & Redman >> Tempe'Da Rockwilder' duo took stage shortly after a B-Real set which mainly consisted of B-Real verses from every Cypress Hill stoner anthem you know and love. Perhaps the intermission was only 15 minutes but it seemed damn near 15 hours in stoner time added to the anxiousness caused from never having seen Method Man and Redman perform together live in Arizona.

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Red and Meth crushed it. They brought it hard and raw as expected and it looks like they haven't aged at all since I first got into their collaborations. I remember like it was yesterday although it was almost 20 years ago when I was building my CD collection and spent my allowance on the soundtrack to The Show. Track 7. 'How High'.

How High? So high that I could kiss the sky. How sick? So sick that you could SUCK MY DICK!

They had the entire jam-packed Marquee crowd spitting lyrics in unison to all of my favorite co-created verses over the last few decades in addition to the solo tips they teased with sporadically throughout the show. Red threw in some gold nuggets from Muddy Waters and Doc's Da Name 2000 while 'M-E-T-H-O-D Man' was all over the place with his own productions and mad shit from his tenure with Wu-Tang. At one point, he led a tribute to the one and only Ol' Dirty Bastard by having us all sing along to 'Shimmy Shimmy Ya'. I've seen the entire Wu-Tang Clan as well as individual members do this live at shows before but the bonus this time when Meth incited a riot in the form of a hip-hop mosh pit that certainly rivaled some of the craziest ones I've ever been  a part of at any punk show.

[related: Wu-tang >> Coachella 2014]

Individually, Method Man and Redman are superb but as a duo they are even more spectacular. Snaps to them still bringing it the trillest after all these years and to hopefully doing it for another 20.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4..3, 2 murder 1, lyric at your door! Tical bring it to that ass raw, breakin all the rules like glass jaws!

Go get after this bill on tour if you have an opportunity this year. You'll have the fucking blastest blast. I promise.

marc

marc

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