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February 16, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
One of Pop & Hiss' favorite performances at the Grammy Awards last weekend was Rihanna's hauntingly stark rendition of "Stay," in which the audacious dance-pop star showed a vulnerable side we haven't seen much since " Unfaithful " way back in 2006. Apparently, the English singer Jessie Ware liked it too: In a new cover of Rihanna's "Diamonds" recorded for the BBC, Ware does away with the song's strobing synths and thrusting beat and remakes it as a luminous after-hours soul tune not unlike the title track of her bewitching 2012 debut, "Devotion.
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ENTERTAINMENT
December 7, 2013 | By Gerrick D. Kennedy
Of all the narratives that can be spun out of the list of Grammy nominations, announced late Friday, came one head-scratching truth: The Recording Academy still doesn't quite know what to do with alternative R&B. When the academy announced it had added an urban contemporary album award back to the R&B field ahead of last year's nominations - an award for urban/alternative performance was discontinued after 2011  - the change bookended a game-changing year...
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 14, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
INDIO -- The frenzied festival atmosphere at Coachella -- where every musical act is always in competition with several others for showgoers' attention -- can lead to a bulking-up effect among artists otherwise inclined toward delicacy and refinement. Late Sunday afternoon, you could see it in sets by the English soul singer Jessie Ware (in the Mojave Tent) and the New York electro duo Tanlines (in the Gobi Tent). On record, each savors the infinite possibilities of the studio, detailing every groove with headphone-ready precision.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 3, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
The three long-haired sisters of L.A.'s Haim look as if they're from the 1960s, crib lyrics from the 1970s and prize musical tricks from the 1980s. Yet the trio's major-label debut, "Days Are Gone," may be the freshest-sounding album you'll hear all year. How does that work? Background and context both figure into it. Este, Danielle and Alana Haim grew up in the San Fernando Valley playing in a cover band, Rockinhaim, with their parents, who taught them to love -- and to study -- the timeless songwriting verities embedded in tunes by the Beatles and the Eagles.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 7, 2013 | By Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times
Even before the release of her debut album, the English singer Jessie Ware was attracting next-big-thing buzz with appearances on tracks by cutting-edge dance-music artists such as SBTRKT and Joker. But she wasn't born hip. "Growing up, I was the person told about things by other mates - the tastemakers," Ware admitted recently, adding that she also discovered music the way many teenagers did in the pre-YouTube era: through pop radio and MTV. "I copied every move from Jennifer Lopez's videos and studied every breakdown in Montell Jordan's songs," she said, referring to the R&B singer who hit No. 1 in 1995 with "This Is How We Do It. " "I wasn't at the forefront of new,  new  music.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 11, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
Join The Times' August Brown and Mikael Wood at 1:45 p.m. Thursday for a discussion of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which is to kick off Friday afternoon at the Empire Polo Club in Indio. Informally regarded as the first major event of the summer festival season, the three-day extravaganza will bring major pop and rock acts including Blur, Phoenix, the Stone Roses and Yeah Yeah Yeahs to the desert east of Los Angeles, along with such up-and-comers as Jessie Ware, Tanlines and Action Bronson.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 16, 2013
Coachella returns for its second act this weekend. Here, The Times pop music staff offers some lessons learned in the first weekend that will make the festival sound that much better the second time around. Grab lunch at Roc's Firehouse Grill. You can sit down, be waited on and there's air conditioning. If you're catching Passion Pit, walk to Local Natives right after. Don't miss Jurassic 5. Get to Major Lazer early, because the crowd overflowed the Mojave tent Saturday. Try not to get burned out by the back-to-back Brit pop Sunday, but Jessie Ware and La Roux are essential.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 3, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
The three long-haired sisters of L.A.'s Haim look as if they're from the 1960s, crib lyrics from the 1970s and prize musical tricks from the 1980s. Yet the trio's major-label debut, "Days Are Gone," may be the freshest-sounding album you'll hear all year. How does that work? Background and context both figure into it. Este, Danielle and Alana Haim grew up in the San Fernando Valley playing in a cover band, Rockinhaim, with their parents, who taught them to love -- and to study -- the timeless songwriting verities embedded in tunes by the Beatles and the Eagles.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 7, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
There's a moment near the end of the 'N Sync song “Up Against the Wall” -- it's from the boy band's 2001 swan song, “Celebrity,” if you don't recall -- where one of the group's members, suddenly overcome with his enthusiasm for the track's sleekly propulsive groove, cries out, “Whoo! 2-step!” It's not clear who utters the words, though my bet is JC Chasez, 'N Sync's most committed club-music fan. (His adventurous 2004 solo set, “Schizophrenic,” includes a cut produced by Basement Jaxx.)
ENTERTAINMENT
December 7, 2013 | By Gerrick D. Kennedy
Of all the narratives that can be spun out of the list of Grammy nominations, announced late Friday, came one head-scratching truth: The Recording Academy still doesn't quite know what to do with alternative R&B. When the academy announced it had added an urban contemporary album award back to the R&B field ahead of last year's nominations - an award for urban/alternative performance was discontinued after 2011  - the change bookended a game-changing year...
ENTERTAINMENT
July 10, 2013 | By Gerrick D. Kennedy
It's been impossible to escape Miguel's R&B gem “Adorn” -- not that we've dared tried to. Miguel's self-produced slow burner, with its subdued electro groove and his swoon-worthy emotive croons, was a sleeper surprise and launched the avant-soul singer into mainstream and critical success, earning the radio smash a Grammy along the way. But what could make one of the sweetest R&B love songs released in recent memory even sweeter?...
ENTERTAINMENT
June 7, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
There's a moment near the end of the 'N Sync song “Up Against the Wall” -- it's from the boy band's 2001 swan song, “Celebrity,” if you don't recall -- where one of the group's members, suddenly overcome with his enthusiasm for the track's sleekly propulsive groove, cries out, “Whoo! 2-step!” It's not clear who utters the words, though my bet is JC Chasez, 'N Sync's most committed club-music fan. (His adventurous 2004 solo set, “Schizophrenic,” includes a cut produced by Basement Jaxx.)
ENTERTAINMENT
April 16, 2013
Coachella returns for its second act this weekend. Here, The Times pop music staff offers some lessons learned in the first weekend that will make the festival sound that much better the second time around. Grab lunch at Roc's Firehouse Grill. You can sit down, be waited on and there's air conditioning. If you're catching Passion Pit, walk to Local Natives right after. Don't miss Jurassic 5. Get to Major Lazer early, because the crowd overflowed the Mojave tent Saturday. Try not to get burned out by the back-to-back Brit pop Sunday, but Jessie Ware and La Roux are essential.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 14, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
INDIO -- The frenzied festival atmosphere at Coachella -- where every musical act is always in competition with several others for showgoers' attention -- can lead to a bulking-up effect among artists otherwise inclined toward delicacy and refinement. Late Sunday afternoon, you could see it in sets by the English soul singer Jessie Ware (in the Mojave Tent) and the New York electro duo Tanlines (in the Gobi Tent). On record, each savors the infinite possibilities of the studio, detailing every groove with headphone-ready precision.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 11, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
Join The Times' August Brown and Mikael Wood at 1:45 p.m. Thursday for a discussion of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which is to kick off Friday afternoon at the Empire Polo Club in Indio. Informally regarded as the first major event of the summer festival season, the three-day extravaganza will bring major pop and rock acts including Blur, Phoenix, the Stone Roses and Yeah Yeah Yeahs to the desert east of Los Angeles, along with such up-and-comers as Jessie Ware, Tanlines and Action Bronson.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 7, 2013 | By Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times
Even before the release of her debut album, the English singer Jessie Ware was attracting next-big-thing buzz with appearances on tracks by cutting-edge dance-music artists such as SBTRKT and Joker. But she wasn't born hip. "Growing up, I was the person told about things by other mates - the tastemakers," Ware admitted recently, adding that she also discovered music the way many teenagers did in the pre-YouTube era: through pop radio and MTV. "I copied every move from Jennifer Lopez's videos and studied every breakdown in Montell Jordan's songs," she said, referring to the R&B singer who hit No. 1 in 1995 with "This Is How We Do It. " "I wasn't at the forefront of new,  new  music.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 10, 2013 | By Gerrick D. Kennedy
It's been impossible to escape Miguel's R&B gem “Adorn” -- not that we've dared tried to. Miguel's self-produced slow burner, with its subdued electro groove and his swoon-worthy emotive croons, was a sleeper surprise and launched the avant-soul singer into mainstream and critical success, earning the radio smash a Grammy along the way. But what could make one of the sweetest R&B love songs released in recent memory even sweeter?...
ENTERTAINMENT
October 18, 2012 | By Mikael Wood
Jessie Ware has already bewitched critics on both sides of the Atlantic with an impressive debut album, "Devotion," which came out in England (and, um, on the Internet) back in August. But now she's positioning herself to break in a bigger way. On Wednesday, the London-based singer announced that she'd signed in the U.S. with Cherrytree Records, the Interscope-affiliated boutique that's delivered top 10 hits from La Roux (" Bulletproof ") and Ellie Goulding (" Lights "). The label will release an EP, "110%," in December, shortly before Ware launches her first American tour.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 16, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
One of Pop & Hiss' favorite performances at the Grammy Awards last weekend was Rihanna's hauntingly stark rendition of "Stay," in which the audacious dance-pop star showed a vulnerable side we haven't seen much since " Unfaithful " way back in 2006. Apparently, the English singer Jessie Ware liked it too: In a new cover of Rihanna's "Diamonds" recorded for the BBC, Ware does away with the song's strobing synths and thrusting beat and remakes it as a luminous after-hours soul tune not unlike the title track of her bewitching 2012 debut, "Devotion.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 18, 2012 | By Mikael Wood
Jessie Ware has already bewitched critics on both sides of the Atlantic with an impressive debut album, "Devotion," which came out in England (and, um, on the Internet) back in August. But now she's positioning herself to break in a bigger way. On Wednesday, the London-based singer announced that she'd signed in the U.S. with Cherrytree Records, the Interscope-affiliated boutique that's delivered top 10 hits from La Roux (" Bulletproof ") and Ellie Goulding (" Lights "). The label will release an EP, "110%," in December, shortly before Ware launches her first American tour.
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