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ENTERTAINMENT
October 30, 2012 | By Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times
L.A. indie-rock iconoclast Petra Haden is tapping a childhood musical pastime in her new album coming out early next year, "Petra Goes to the Movies," which finds her singing classic movie themes. Not movie songs, but the instrumental themes from the likes of "Taxi Driver," "Rebel Without a Cause," "Superman," "A Fistful of Dollars" and, yes, even "Psycho" in mostly a cappella vocal arrangements. The album isn't the first time Haden has stretched the boundaries of vocals as an interpretive instrument.
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 28, 2014 | By August Brown
Back in the late '90s, when beloved singer-songwriter Elliott Smith was working on the soundtrack to "Good Will Hunting," he visited Sunset Sound studios with Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty. The two laid down a cappella tracks that Doughty said were intended for something hip-hop and electronic-inspired. The tapes then went missing and the collaboration never materialized. Until now. Today Doughty released the newly found and finished recordings under his beat-centric UUL alias, and they put Smith's tender whispers in a radical new context, to say the least.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 2, 1993 | BILL KOHLHAASE
So many people saw Stevie Wonder arrive at the Coach House Wednesday for Take 6's performance that the room was abuzz with the hope that he might join the vocal sextet on stage. And sure enough, Wonder made a brief appearance, adding his voice to the ensemble's encore of "Spread Love," with Sheila E. guesting on congas. But the evening's real news was "this thing behind us," as singer Claude V. McKnight III said early in the set.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 7, 2014 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
We're a touch late to the game on this, but recently, both Hall & Oates and "Ballin' Oates" have been popping up on shuffle with a mysterious frequency, so much so that it deserves mention. Hall & Oates? Dismiss them at your peril: The team long ago proved that its string of durable soul and rock hits in the 1970s and '80s could stand the test of time. How can you argue, after all, with "Maneater" or "Family Man"? Oft-critically maligned during their prime, Hall & Oates endure because the songs move forward through infectiously graceful grooves and catchy hooks.  Hence the joy of "Ballin' Oates," a recently issued set of renegade reworkings that pits the duo's hits against classic raps by, among others, Wu-Tang Clan, T.I. and Kanye West.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 10, 1992 | JOSEPH HANANIA, Joseph Hanania is a Santa Monica writer.
Sometimes, Harvard graduate and business consultant Adam Button calls Paul Sagawa, a former classmate and now a rival business consultant, and sings to him on the phone. Sometimes the singing gets so dynamic that a conference call results. The duo adds third-year UCLA law student Paul Luehr, inner-city high school teacher T. H. Culhane and fellow business consultant Jason Matthews--and the long-distance wires hum with yet another song. And every weekend, the five reunite.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 12, 2008 | Josh Getlin, Times Staff Writer
The deal Universal Pictures options Mickey Rapkin's "Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory," which chronicles the cutthroat -- but deeply human -- world of a cappella singing groups, and their fierce battles for supremacy. The players Actress Elizabeth Banks ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Spider-Man 3") and Max Handelman producing. Kay Cannon ("30 Rock" and "Baby Mama") writing the screenplay. Rapkin is repped by Farley Chase at the Waxman Literary Agency and on film rights by Howard Sanders at United Talent Agency.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 13, 2012 | By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
"Sweet Joe" Russell, who spent half a century harmonizing with the Persuasions, an influential vocal group widely regarded as the "kings of a cappella," has died. He was 72. Russell died May 5 in a Brooklyn hospice after a long struggle with diabetes, said his wife, Arlena. "If the Persuasions were a single body, Joe was the heart and soul," said David Dashev, who was their manager and producer in the 1970s at the height of their fame. "He had a larger-than-life personality combined with a genius voice.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 6, 2013
Rufus Wainwright is a virtuoso ironist, and he came right out of the gate with it at a recent Orpheum show. For the a cappella opener "Candles," he sang, "I tried to do all that I can, but the churches have run out of candles," while surrounded by dozens of lighted votives. When the lights kicked on, Wainwright was wearing gold pants and cheap sunglasses befitting a Serbian drug runner. Try as he might, be can't be austere for too long without winking. Wainwright's new Mark Ronson-produced album, "Out of the Game," was welcomed as a warm and spritzy return to form after a long stretch of operatic and quite serious records.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 7, 2014 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
We're a touch late to the game on this, but recently, both Hall & Oates and "Ballin' Oates" have been popping up on shuffle with a mysterious frequency, so much so that it deserves mention. Hall & Oates? Dismiss them at your peril: The team long ago proved that its string of durable soul and rock hits in the 1970s and '80s could stand the test of time. How can you argue, after all, with "Maneater" or "Family Man"? Oft-critically maligned during their prime, Hall & Oates endure because the songs move forward through infectiously graceful grooves and catchy hooks.  Hence the joy of "Ballin' Oates," a recently issued set of renegade reworkings that pits the duo's hits against classic raps by, among others, Wu-Tang Clan, T.I. and Kanye West.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 28, 2014 | By August Brown
Back in the late '90s, when beloved singer-songwriter Elliott Smith was working on the soundtrack to "Good Will Hunting," he visited Sunset Sound studios with Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty. The two laid down a cappella tracks that Doughty said were intended for something hip-hop and electronic-inspired. The tapes then went missing and the collaboration never materialized. Until now. Today Doughty released the newly found and finished recordings under his beat-centric UUL alias, and they put Smith's tender whispers in a radical new context, to say the least.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 5, 2013 | By Jessica Gelt
Electronic dance music is here to stay. What was once dismissed as the disco of the '90s has evolved through technology and a host of talented, determined DJs into a genre of music with as many subcategories as rock 'n' roll. That rich variety was on full display this past weekend at the annual Hard Summer festival, which attracted an estimated 70,000 electronic music fans over two days to L.A. State Historic Park in Chinatown. The stand-out star Saturday night was L.A.'s own Flying Lotus, who best represented the flexible future of EDM with his performance-based set of fluid a cappella raps juxtaposed with hazy, jazz-fueled riffs and hypnotic beats.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 6, 2013
Rufus Wainwright is a virtuoso ironist, and he came right out of the gate with it at a recent Orpheum show. For the a cappella opener "Candles," he sang, "I tried to do all that I can, but the churches have run out of candles," while surrounded by dozens of lighted votives. When the lights kicked on, Wainwright was wearing gold pants and cheap sunglasses befitting a Serbian drug runner. Try as he might, be can't be austere for too long without winking. Wainwright's new Mark Ronson-produced album, "Out of the Game," was welcomed as a warm and spritzy return to form after a long stretch of operatic and quite serious records.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 14, 2013 | By Amy Reiter
Oh, Hollywood Week, you cruel flirt. You fickle destroyer of "American Idol" dreams. You thing we have to go through twice this year. Last week we got the tempered highs and lows, the tense group dynamics, and the teary departures for the male "Idol" hopefuls as their throngs were whittled down to 28.  (Their ranks will soon be thinned further, to 20.) This week, we do Hollywood Week all over again with the girls. Sigh. "We're ready to slice and dice," Randy Jackson announced with what seemed like perverse pride on his way in for the quick-cut a cappella round.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 30, 2013 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
When first generation rapper Doug E. Fresh, former Roots beatmaker Rahzel or "Yo Gabba Gabba" rapper Biz Markie learned to mimic a hip-hop rhythm using only their voices, chances were they had little idea what they were actually doing with their mouths. "Beatboxing,” as it came to be known, includes laryngeal lowering and lingual retraction, labial approximation, velic raising (to seal the nasopharynx off from the oral vocal tract, of course) and rapid raising of the tongue dorsal.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 30, 2012 | By Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times
L.A. indie-rock iconoclast Petra Haden is tapping a childhood musical pastime in her new album coming out early next year, "Petra Goes to the Movies," which finds her singing classic movie themes. Not movie songs, but the instrumental themes from the likes of "Taxi Driver," "Rebel Without a Cause," "Superman," "A Fistful of Dollars" and, yes, even "Psycho" in mostly a cappella vocal arrangements. The album isn't the first time Haden has stretched the boundaries of vocals as an interpretive instrument.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 13, 2012 | By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
"Sweet Joe" Russell, who spent half a century harmonizing with the Persuasions, an influential vocal group widely regarded as the "kings of a cappella," has died. He was 72. Russell died May 5 in a Brooklyn hospice after a long struggle with diabetes, said his wife, Arlena. "If the Persuasions were a single body, Joe was the heart and soul," said David Dashev, who was their manager and producer in the 1970s at the height of their fame. "He had a larger-than-life personality combined with a genius voice.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 14, 2013 | By Amy Reiter
Oh, Hollywood Week, you cruel flirt. You fickle destroyer of "American Idol" dreams. You thing we have to go through twice this year. Last week we got the tempered highs and lows, the tense group dynamics, and the teary departures for the male "Idol" hopefuls as their throngs were whittled down to 28.  (Their ranks will soon be thinned further, to 20.) This week, we do Hollywood Week all over again with the girls. Sigh. "We're ready to slice and dice," Randy Jackson announced with what seemed like perverse pride on his way in for the quick-cut a cappella round.
NEWS
April 16, 1993 | JEFF PRUGH, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The song is so shamelessly outdated that it's easy to wonder if the lyrics had been carved into stone tablets. And the 40 fellows who sing, "Mary, You're a Little Bit Old-Fashioned"--barbershop style--hark back to a time that their elders warmly reminisced about, a time of rumble seats, straw hats and bicycles built for two, to say nothing of straight razors and shaving mugs. Just who do these mostly middle-age guys--called the Valleyaires--think they are, impersonating their turn-of-the-century vocal forebears and figuratively thumbing their noses at the contemporary clatter of rock and rap and heavy metal?
ENTERTAINMENT
December 23, 2009 | By Mesfin Fekadu
Imagine this: By day, you're a typical businessman, working the 9 to 5. Your nights and weekends, however, are spent sharing a stage with nine other guys just like you -- performing a cappella songs in small venues while recording an album for Atlantic Records. That was the double life for the members of Straight No Chaser, an a cappella choir of 10 men who formed in 1996 during their college years at Indiana University. They say their pursuit in music was experimental at first.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 12, 2008 | Josh Getlin, Times Staff Writer
The deal Universal Pictures options Mickey Rapkin's "Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory," which chronicles the cutthroat -- but deeply human -- world of a cappella singing groups, and their fierce battles for supremacy. The players Actress Elizabeth Banks ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Spider-Man 3") and Max Handelman producing. Kay Cannon ("30 Rock" and "Baby Mama") writing the screenplay. Rapkin is repped by Farley Chase at the Waxman Literary Agency and on film rights by Howard Sanders at United Talent Agency.
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