August 5, 2013 |
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.
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.
February 14, 2013 |
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.
January 30, 2013 |
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.
October 30, 2012 |
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 |
"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.