Tuesday, April 29, 2014

New Release Tuesday 4/29/14

April 29, 2014


Damon AlbarnEveryday Robots (Warner Bros.)

Damon Albarn sure knows how to craft a catchy song, yet the British singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer's name might not be that familiar to you. His work at the helm of Gorillaz and Blur has made him a critical and commercial success, and with today's release of his first solo album, people will begin to associate his name with the brilliant compositions and the voice they will undoubtedly recognize. On Everyday Robots, which he co-produced with XL's Richard Russell, Albarn is more introspective and reflective on his personal life and history than he has ever been and seamlessly blends electronic beats with soulful vocals. Everyone will still find bits to relate to among the 12 tracks. You will find yourself clapping along with Albarn's collaboration with Brian Eno, "Heavy Seas of Love," smiling to "Mr Tembo" (a song about a little elephant he encountered in Tanzania) and shedding some tears during "You & Me."

The GoasttMidnight Sun (Chimera)
Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl first unveiled songs from the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger in 2010. SInce then, the New York modern psych-rockers have toured with the likes of the Flaming Lips and Tame Impala and release a new album today. Midnight Sun takes their compelling, postmodern-psychedelic sound further on lush tracks like "Animals," "Don't Look Back Orpheus" and "Moth to a Flame." Catch them perform as a five-piece band at the El Rey on May 17.

Rodrigo y Gabriela9 Dead Alive (ATO)
I can't remember the exact date when I first heard the Mexican duo, but I do remember instantly falling in love with the fiery energy of their fast, rhythmic acoustic guitars. It's been five years since Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero released new, original material, and 9 Dead Alive is a return to their roots, with stripped-down and minimalistic pieces that showcase their incredible skills. Just one listen to songs like "The Soundmaker," "Torito" or "Somnium," and I am instantly reminded of why I first became so enamored with them. See them set the Orpheum stage on fire a week from today (May 6) or at the Palladium May 7.

Strange TalkCast Away (Wind-Up)
Sometimes you just need to dance, and this debut album from the Aussie foursome is an ideal soundtrack to any party, be it a one-person bedroom dance session or at a crowded club. The 12 tracks received four out of five stars from Rolling Stone Australia, calling them "equal parts Cut Copy and Daft Punk with pinches of Eighties pop," and from the opening bars of its title track, Cast Away will have you moving. You'll also want to give "Young Hearts," "Climbing Walls" and "Morning Sun" a spin or two or three. Their May 14 show at the Echo is sold out, but you can also catch them performing at Bardot on May 12.

Also available – Alfie Boe's Trust; André Obin's Ways of Escape; Bas' Last Winter; Ben Watt's Hendra; Brody Dalle's Diploid Love; Chad VanGaalen's Shrink Dust; Chris Robinson Brotherhood's Phosphorescent Harvest; Dan Sartain's Dudesblood; Edward David Anderson's Lies & Wishes; Ex-Cult's Midnight Passenger; Floor's Oblation; Fu Manchu's Gigantoid; Howlin Rain's Live Rain; Johnossi's Transitions; Lindsey Stirling's Shatter Me; Maria Minerva's Histrionic; Miss May I's Rise of the Lion; Mystic Braves' Desert Island; Neighbors (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack); Nels Cline Singers' Macroscope; Old 97s' Most Messed Up; Olga Bell's Krai; Ought's More Than Any Other Day; Pigeon John's Encino Man; Pink Mountaintops' Get Back; Pixies' Indie Cindy; Ramona Lisa's Arcadia; Rebecca & Fiona's Beauty Is Pain; The Revere's Behold, The Sea Itself!; The Safes' Record Heat; Secret Colours' Positive Distractions Part II; The String Cheese Incident's Song In My Head; Stumbleine's Dissolver; Styles P's Phantom and the Ghost; Whitechapel's Our Endless War; Wye Oak's Shriek


In Stores This Week – Clean Eats by Alejandro Junger; Discovering Your Soul Signature by Panache Desai; Natchez Burning (Penn Cage) by Greg Iles; Sex Criminals Volume One by Matt Fraction


Film – Labor Day is Jason Reitman's adaptation of the Joyce Maynard novel of the same name about an escaped convict (Josh Brolin) who crosses paths with a 13-year-old boy (Gattlin Griffith) and his depressed mother (Kate Winslet); Fantasy horror film Escape From Tomorrow was shot guerilla-style at Walt Disney World and Disneyland; Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson and Brendan Fraser in Gimme Shelter

Comedy – Jim Gaffigan's Obsessed

TV – Hill Street Blues: The Complete Series; Godzilla: The Complete Animated Series; Mr. Selfridge Season 2; Star Trek Enterprise: Season Four

Music – The Allman Brothers' 40th Anniversary Show; The Milk Carton Kids' Live From Lincoln Theatre; The Rise and Fall of the Clash; Toto's 35th Anniversary Live in Poland

Also available –
Art Machine; Bad Country; The Best Offer; Dead Shadows; Devil's Due; Gloria; The Legend of Hercules; The Rocket; Seduced and Abandoned; Trouble Every Day

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Events for April 24-30, 2014


(T. Charles Erickson)


"Man in a Case" @ The Broad Stage (Santa Monica)
Perhaps you know Mikhail Baryshnikov from his dancing days with the American Ballet Theatre, his roles in films like White Nights and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit or on television as Aleksandr Petrovsky, Carrie Bradshaw's lover in the final season of "Sex and the City." The brilliant dancer, choreographer and actor is able to draw from his experiences in these art forms in this new production. Adapted from two Anton Chekhov short stories, Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar's "Man in a Case" fuses theater, dance, music and video. Running through May 10, this is a production not to miss.



In Theaters This Week
Paul Walker, David Belle and RZA in Brick Mansions; Steven Knight's Locke stars just one actor, Tom Hardy, who gives one of his best performances yet, in just one setting, his car; Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton are all involved with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau ("Game of Thrones"' Jaime Lannister) in Nick Cassavetes' The Other Woman. Also in theaters: From the Rough; The German Doctor; Last Passenger; The Quiet Ones; Walking with the Enemy

Two by John Hughes @ New Beverly Cinema (Fairfax)
It's been five years since we lost the director, producer and screenwriter whose films continue to impact adolescents today. Whether you're a troublemaker, jock, geek, princess or basket case, you can identify with one of the characters portrayed by the Brat Pack (Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy) in 1985's The Breakfast Club from Hughes. It's the 30th anniversary of the second Hughes' movie playing tonight, Sixteen Candles, which also stars Ringwald and Hall, along with Michael Schoeffling and Gedde Watanabe as the unforgettable Long Duk Dong. The double feature begins at 7:30 p.m. tonight and also runs twice tomorrow. 


Diane Keaton @ Wilshire Ebell (Mid-Wilshire)

I was just made fun of for watching The Big Wedding, but what can I say? I am a sucker for any rom-com (Annie Hall, Something's Gotta Give and, yes, even Because I Said So) starring Diane Keaton. She's a phenomenal actress – just watch The Godfather, Reds or Marvin's Room if rom-coms aren't your thing – but even more she's a woman who is comfortable in her own skin. In her new book, Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty, which releases next week, she discusses the notion of ideal beauty, its impact on her career and her role as an international style icon. Your ticket to her appearance tonight in support of the book includes an autographed copy.



Chelsea Handler @ The Forum (Inglewood)
While many can take offense or be put off by comments made by the comedian and the panel on her E! talk show, there's no denying that Chelsea Handler has made a name for herself by taking risks and always speaking her mind. "Chelsea Lately" is taking its final bow in the fall, but Handler will continue to entertain, whether it's on another show, on stage with shows like tonight's or through her bestselling books, three of which have reached No. 1. Her latest book, Uganda Be Kidding Me, was released in March, and in it she shares her adventures from abroad. Expect to hear several of those stories tonight at the Forum.


Lebowski Fest @ The Fountain Bowl (Fountain Valley)

Friday night's movie party with Jeff Bridges at the Wiltern is sold out, but you can still take part in the annual tribute to the Coen brothers' beloved comedy from 1998 by attending the bowling party tonight. Although the bowling alley used in the movie was demolished several years ago, the atmosphere created by the awesome fans of the film more than makes up for the stand-in location. Aside from bowling, there are costume and trivia contests and appearances by the real-life Dude, Jeff Dowd, Jim Hoosier (Liam) and the bowling adviser for the film, Barry Asher.


Desert Daze @ Sunset Ranch Oasis (Mecca)
The venue for Moon Block Party's annual festival is truly a desert oasis, with three lakes nestled within a picturesque 163-acre ranch surrounded by palm trees and mountains. Whether you plan on camping underneath the stars or living it up at a nearby resort, you'll need plenty of rest after taking in this year's incredible lineup. Acts include Blonde Redhead, the Raveonettes, Liars, Autolux, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Allah-Las, Mystic Braves and Deap Vally.

Black Sabbath @ Hollywood Bowl (Hollywood)
Heavy metal and the Bowl isn't a frequent mix, but there is no doubt that these legendary hard rockers belong on this famous stage. Their songs have been the soundtrack to moments in all of our lives. It doesn't matter if your first album was Paranoid or you just recognize "Iron Man" from the superhero movie, there is at least one Black Sabbath tune that means something to you. It's because the group crafts memorable songs, including "God Is Dead?," "Loner" and "End of the Beginning" from their latest album, last year's 13. It's no wonder that the band has sold over 70 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. Don't miss your chance to see them perform at a venue like the Bowl.



David J @ Los Globos (Silver Lake)
Bring your weekend to a close with an evening of the truly avant-garde with David John Haskins (aka David J) the producer, writer and bassist for Bahaus and Love and Rockets. The musician is poised to release his latest solo effort, An Eclipse of Ships, next month, and his sultry tour in support of the album stops at Los Globos tonight. Yes, I said, "sultry." In addition to unveiling songs from the new release, you can expect to feast your eyes on some burlesque entertainment from Olivia Bellafontaine. Ooh la la.



DWNTWN @ The Sayers Club (Hollywood)
The shimmery synth-pop stylings of this L.A. duo are exactly what you need to help you make it through the rest of the work week. They released a new, self-titled EP today, and although its songs like "Til Tomorrow" and "Missing You" are uptempo and upbeat, Jamie Leffler and Robert Cepeda formed the band at a time when they were both going through difficult breakups (Jamie's was with Robert's brother). Maybe you can relieve some of your own heartbreak and inner turmoil out on the dance floor at tonight's show.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New Release Tuesday 4/22/14

April 22, 2014


Asher RothRetroHash (Pale Fire)
It's been exactly five years since the release of Asher Roth's promising debut album, Asleep in the Bread Aisle, and this time has brought about many changes for the hip-hop artist. Not only has he relocated to Los Angeles from his native Philadelphia, Pa., he has also "experienced a transformation only achieved by spiritual growth." There is definitely a maturity and west coast influence, as well as an exploration into new and classic sensibilities, heard on tracks like "Tangerine Girl" and "Fast Life," yet his thought-provoking lyrics and smooth flow remain throughout RetroHash. Join him to celebrate the record's release tonight at the Troubadour.

BailiffRemise (self-released)
After dropping out of Berklee College of Music, vocalist/guitarist Josh Siegel returned to his hometown of Chicago and immediately placed an ad on Craigslist to find other musicians to start a band. The ad said: "Do you consider Radiohead to be soul music? Do you hear Muddy Waters in between the notes on the White Album?" Drummer Ren Mathew replied, and Bailiff was born. After releasing their 2011 debut Red Balloon, which introduced their progressive blues-rock sound to the world, they added New York transplant Owen O'Malley to the lineup, spent eight months of intensive songwriting with mentors Dan Smart and Jon Alvis and launched a Kickstarter campaign that raised $16,000 towards their sophomore release, Remise. And they continue to push genre borders with must-hear tracks such as "Helicopter" and "Shake My Heart Awake."

Neon TreesPop Psychology (Island)
Even if you're not a fan of alternative pop, "Animal" and "Everybody Talks" make getting up to dance and sing along pretty impossible. The Provo, Utah quartet of Neon Trees achieved multi-platinum status with those singles from their first two albums, 2010's Habits and 2012's Picture Show and are poised for even more success with the release of their third effort, Pop Psychology. The album's first single, the infectious "Sleeping With A Friend," was already Top 10 at Hot AC radio, No. 11 at Alternative, No. 19 at Triple A and No. 32 at Top 40 at the beginning of the month. I don't think anyone can resist a song with "ooh oohs" in it. If you haven't seen them perform live, you can find out what all the fuss is about on June 14 when they headline the Wiltern with Smallpools and Nightmare and the Cat in tow.

Also available –
Augustana's Life Imitating Life; Careful's The World Doesn't End; Death's III; Dwight & Nicole's Shine On; Dylan Shearer's garagearray; Eels' The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett; Fear of Men's Loom; Francesca Battistelli's If We're Honest; Hot Victory's self-titled; Iggy Azalea's The New Classic; Jerry Leger's Early Riser; Justin Rutledge's Daredevil; Keb Mo's Bluesamericana; Kelis' Food; Krokus' Long Stick Goes Boom: Live from Da House of Rust; Medeski Martin & Wood + Nels Cline's The Woodstock Sessions (Vol. 2); The Menzingers' Rented World; The Ministry of Wolves' Music From Republik der Wölfe; Modern Rivals' Cemetery Dares; Patrick Park's Love Like Swords; Pinky Doodle Poodle's self-titled; Sebastian Bach's Give 'Em Hell; Teen's The Way and Color; To Kill a King's Cannibals With Cutlery; The Whigs' Modern Creation


There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll by Lisa Robinson (Riverhead)
In the early 1970s, there were only a handful of journalists who were writing about rock 'n' roll, and Lisa Robinson was one of them. Name any of the influential musicians of the era – John Lennon, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Patti Smith – as well as modern-day superstars like U2, Eminetm, Lady Gaga and Jay Z, and Robinson has interviewed them all. She shares behind-the-scenes stories from those times and throughout her career as one of the few females in the field in this new book. From introducing David Bowie to Lou Reed and helping the Clash and Elvis Costello get their record deals, Robinson has so many amazing tales to tell, and she does so in There Goes Gravity.

Also available – Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy; Everybody's Got Something by Robin Roberts with Veronica Chambers; A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren; Pride Over Pity by Kailyn Lowry; Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze; The Target (Will Robie) by David Baldacci


Film – Bettie Page Reveals All is Mark Mori's documentary about the life and cultural impact of the pin-up model and includes audio interviews with Page, as well as interviews with Dita Von Teese, Hugh Hefner, Rebecca Romijn, Naomi Campbell and Mamie Van Doren; Evan Rachel Wood and Scott Speedman in Barefoot; Suspect stars Mekhi Phifer and Sterling K. Brown as social scientists posing as bank robbers; Bill Siegel's documentary about Ali's battle in refusing to serve in Vietnam, The Trials of Muhammad Ali

Comedy – Tracy Morgan's Bona Fide

Music – The King Family: Classic Television Specials Collection Volume 1

Also available –
Good Witch's Garden; Harold's Going Stiff; House of Good & Evil; Lies We Tell but the Secrets We Keep; Sorcerer; Tyler Perry's Madea's Neighbors From Hell

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Events for April 17-23, 2014




G. James Daichendt @ Book Soup (West Hollywood)

The art critic, professor and historian earned the name "Professor Street Art" once his investigation of the global phenomenon came out in 2012, entitled Stay Up!: Los Angeles Street Art. He continues to explore the subject in a new book centered on one of the world's most influential street artists, Shepard Fairey Inc.: Artist/Professional/Vandal. He presents and signs copies of this critical observation of Fairey's work and life tonight and also takes part in a conversation with noted guerrilla poster artist, Robbie Conal, who penned the book's foreword.


In Theaters This Week
Disneynature's Bears follows an Alaskan bear and her cubs; John Turturro directs Woody Allen, Sofia Vergara, Vanessa Pardis, Liev Schreiber and Sharon Stone in Fading Gigolo; Marlon Wayans, Jaime Pressly and Gabriel Iglesias in A Haunted House 2; Heaven Is For Real, staring Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly and Connor Corum, deals with a little boy's near-death experience of visiting heaven; Sci-fi thriller Transcendence stars Johnny Depp, Kate Mara, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy and Paul Bettany. Also in theaters: 2 States; 13 Sins; Antboy; Authors Anonymous; Kid Cannabis; Make Your Move; Small Time; Tasting Menu; That Demon Within

Richard Kelly @ Aero Theatre (Santa Monica)
American Cinematheque hosts a screening of the director's daring fantasy drama from 2001, Donnie Darko, at the movie theater that was used for scenes in the film. Afterwards, there's a discussion with Kelly and a showing of the film that Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal), Gretchen (Jena Malone) and Frank the rabbit (James Duval) watched in the theater: Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead. I mean, what could get you in the Easter spirit more than a giant, monstrous rabbit with visions of the future?


KTown Night Market @ Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools (Koreatown)

Not going to lie, this is the event I am most excited for this weekend since one of the things I love most about our city is the food and the myriad of cultures represented in L.A. cuisine. This multi-ethnicity is celebrated today and tomorrow with over a hundred food (more than 40 of them serving Korean dishes alone) and merchandise booths, carnival games, musical performances and a bar crawl. You can sample food from "Top Chef" Season 11 contestant Brian Huskey's upcoming restaurant Table 13, Ham Ji Park and Mama Musubi, in addition to Keizo Shimamoto's famous ramen burger. The event's Food Truck Alley features some of the city's best, including all the winners from the first three seasons of "The Great Food Truck Race": Grill 'Em All, The Lime Truck and Seoul Sausage Company.

The Singles (Joshua Hess)


Brokechella @ 590 Santa Fe Ave. (Downtown)
Just because you don't have fistfuls of cash for a ticket to a huge, corporate festival doesn't mean that you have to miss out on any the fun. For its fourth annual event, cARTel Collaborative Arts LA has expanded to a bigger venue, which means more art, music and comedy to brighten your day for just $10 presale or $20 at the door. Musical acts include the Singles, Hott MT, yOya, La Font, Earnest Blount, Raven Sorvino and many more on the fest's four stages. Added bonuses: You don't have to sit in hours of traffic or melt in the sun.
Record Store Day (Citywide)
It's the top day for any vinyl collector, with special releases available at all the independent stores you love in Los Angeles. From Record Surplus and Origami Vinyl to Gimme Gimme and Amoeba Music, vinyl aficionados shall flock to the shops for exclusives, reissues, giveaways and to socialize with their fellow audiophiles. Some releases to note include Deer Tick's Eel Bowel seven-inch, a Veruca Salt 10-inch, a new album from Thee Oh Sees and a limited edition split from Conor Oberst and Dawes.



Tribute to Harold Ramis @ New Beverly Cinema (Fairfax)

The film world lost a real gem when the comedic actor, director and writer passed away in February. Pay tribute to his cinematic legacy by heading to this double feature of some of his unforgettable work today or tomorrow. There's a screening of Stripes at 3 p.m. and 7: 30 p.m. today (7:30 p.m. Monday) and Groundhog Day at 5:05 p.m. and 9:35 p.m. today (9:35 p.m. Monday). Ramis co-wrote and starred in Ivan Reitman's 1981 war-comedy, Stripes, with Bill Murray as two friends who join the army. he directed and co-wrote 1993's Groundhog Day, which also starred Murray alongside Andie MacDowell as a weatherman who is forced to relive the same day over and over and over again.

Asher Roth (Brock Fetch)


Asher Roth @ The Troubadour (West Hollywood)

Nothing cures the post-weekend blues like dancing to some live music, and I can't think of a better way to spend a Tuesday evening than grooving to this hip-hop artist's tracks. The L.A. transplant (via Pennsylvania) releases his second full-length album, RetroHash, today and is celebrating with a release show at the Troubadour tonight. You'll find yourself swaying back and forth and clapping along to new songs like "Tangerine Girl" in no time flat.



Tron @ The Theatre at Ace Hotel (Downtown)

My favorite part of the old PeopleMover ride at Disneyland was the tunnel with scenes from the 1982 Disney film Tron. It felt like you fell into the video game just like in the movie and would see Jeff Bridges go whizzing by amidst the brightly colored lines of light at any moment. Cinespia is screening the film at 8:30 p.m. tonight at the gorgeous theater at Ace Hotel, and there will be vintage arcade games to play in the lobby, too.


The Science of Sushi @ UCLA's Schoenberg Hall (Westwood)
Molecular gastronomy has been part of the vernacular for several years now, and food remains an intriguing subject when it comes to science. Tonight's lecture features a scientist – molecular biophysics professor Dr. Ole Mouritsen – and a sushi chef – Morihiro Onodera of Mori, Katsu, R-23, Matsuhisa and Takao – talking about the Japanese food art form. Mouritsen uncovers the science behind sashimi, nori, sushi rice and umami, while Onodera shares his approach to sushi and details on his partnership with a rice farmer in Uruguay.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Release Tuesday 4/15/14

April 15, 2014


Ingrid MichaelsonLights Out (Cabin 24/Mom +Pop)
If you're a fan of "Grey's Anatomy," then you have undoubtedly heard music by the New York singer-songwriter; fifteen of her songs have appeared in episodes of the show. "Be OK," the title track from her 2008 album, is quite recognizable as well, from all the commercial spots it was used in. She continues to craft infectious melodies, such as lead single "Girls Chase Boys" and "Afterlife," on her sixth studio album, Lights Out. Usually Michaelson writes alone, but this time, she worked with co-writers on 10 of the tracks, which also feature artists like Greg Laswell ("Wonderful Unknown"), Mat Kearney ("One Night Town") and A Great Big World ("Over You"). See her perform the new songs, and all of your favorites, May 7 at the Wiltern.

Jason DeruloTalk Dirty (Beluga Heights/Warner Bros.)
Since blowing up onto the scene with "Whatcha Say" five years ago, Jason Joel Desrouleaux (aka Jason Derulo) has sold over 30 million singles, with five reaching the Top 5. The singer-songwriter continues to belt out the hits with his latest album, Talk Dirty, a reissue of last year's Tattoos. Along with familiar tracks like "The Other Side," "Marry Me," "Vertigo" with Derulo's girlfriend Jordin Sparks and the title song that features 2 Chainz, Talk Dirty includes guest spots from Snoop Dogg on "Wiggle" and Tyga on "Bubblegum," which was co-produced by Timbaland. See him perform for free at 7 p.m. tomorrow night (April 16) at Universal CityWalk.

NasIllmatic XX (Sony Legacy)

It's crazy that 20 years have passed since Illmatic was released, and the world was introduced to the poetic stylings of Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, otherwise known as Nas. The album has more than lived up to its name, and to commemorate the anniversary, a special edition with rare remixes, unreleased demos and freestyles hits stores today. Fall in love with tracks like "Halftime," "It Ain't Hard to Tell" and "The World Is Yours" all over again. Nas performs this Saturday (April 19) on Coachella's Outdoor Stage at midnight.

NEEDTOBREATHERivers In The Wasteland (Atlantic)
The South Carolina trio spent over two years touring after the release of The Reckoning in 2011, and as they captured the ear of many new fans and music critics, turmoil and tension also developed. After taking a break to reflect on what they wanted the future of NEEDTOBREATHE to be, Bear Rinehart, Bo Rinehart and Seth Bolt decided to return to the band's roots and musical simplicity for their new material, which became Rivers In The Wasteland. Songs like "The Heart," "Difference Maker" and "Rise Again" reflect this simplicity. They are doing an in-store at Fingerprints in Long Beach tomorrow (April 16), but if you can't make it, get your tickets now for their Wiltern show on May 6.

Also available – The Afghan Whigs' Do to the Beast; Alpha Consumer's Meat; Amps for Christ's Canyons Cars and Crows; A Pony Named Olga's The Land of Milk and Pony; August Alsina's Testimony; Banner Pilot's Souvenir; Big Sugar's Yardstyle; The Birds of Satan's self-titled; The Black Marquee's Sessions from the Hive – Vol. 1; The Both's self-titled; Brandon Michael Williams' The Pride of Titanic; Breathe Carolina's Savages; Chuck E. Weiss' Red Beans and Weiss; Dan Wilson's Love Without Fear; Deleted Scenes' Lithium Burn; Emmure's Eternal Enemies; Heartsrevolution's Ride or Die; Horse Thief's Fear In Bliss; Ian Anderson's Homo Erraticus; I'm Not the Beatles: The John & Yoko Interviews with Howard Smith, 1969-1972; Jack Bruce's Silver Rails; Jim Byrnes' St. Louis Times; Kris Orlowski's Believer; Krishna Das' Kirtan Wallah; Megafauna's Maximalist; Odonis Odonis' Hard Boiled Soft Boiled; Pharmakos' Nude; Plague Vendor's Free to Eat; Rodney Crowell's Tarpaper Sky; The Secret Sisters' Put Your Needle Down; Sevendust's Time Travelers & Bonfires; Shonen Knife's Overdrive; Sonic Avenues' Mistakes; Stanton Moore's Conversations; Triptykon's Melana Chasmata; Woods' With Light and With Love


Songs Only You Know: A Memoir
by Sean Madigan Hoen (Soho)

Many have said that music has the power to save lives, and such is the case for author Sean Madigan Hoen. In his debut book, Songs Only You Know: A Memoir, he shares scenes from his years as part of Detroit's hardcore punk scene during which his father succumbed to crack addiction and his sister fell into depression. Through it all, music was his salvation as part of bands like Thoughts of Ionesco. It is an honest look at family, growing up and a music subculture.

Also available – The Alchemist, 25th Anniversary Edition by Paulo Coelho; All Fishermen Are Liars by John Gierach; The Collector by Nora Roberts; The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman; Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown; The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther; Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out by John Calipari and Michael Sokolove


Film – Based on the book by journalist Martin Sixsmith, Philomena stars Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in the true story of Philomena Lee's search for her son; Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones in The Invisible Woman; Action/comedy Ride Along stars Kevin Hart and Ice Cube as future brother-in-laws; Ben Stiller directs and stars in this remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn, Adam Scott and Shirley MacLaine

TV – Anger Management: Vol. 3; Bletchley Circle: Season 2; Flowers in the Attic; The Gabby Douglas Story; Hell's Kitchen: Season 11; The Practice: The Final Season; Ripper Street: Season 2

Music – Billy Bragg's Live at the Union Chapel London; One Direction - In Their Own Words; Sunset Strip

Also available – Better Living Through Chemistry; Black Nativity; Boys of Abu Ghraib; Camp Dread; Copperhead; Date & Switch; Dead Sea; Free Ride; In the Name Of; Interior. Leather Bar.; Mobius; The Nut Job; Switch

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Events for April 10-16, 2014


Chromeo (Timothy Saccenti)


Chromeo @ The Fonda (Hollywood)
Before the Canadian duo of Dave 1 and P-Thugg head to Coachella, they're warming up with an L.A. crowd tonight at the Fonda. The self-proclaimed "Larry David of funk" and "most successful Arab/Jewish partnership" are poised to release a fourth studio album, White Women, next month, so expect to be treated to new tracks such as the ultra-smooth "Over Your Shoulder" and "Come Alive" featuring Toro Y Moi, as well as favorites like "Needy Girl."



Paul Taylor Dance Company @ Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (Downtown)
From the car radio to a conversation between to women waiting in line at the drugstore, no matter where I go lately, I keep hearing people talk about this show. It's no wonder, though. Paul Taylor is one of the foremost American choreographers of the 20th century, and he is still at the helm of this world-renowned modern dance company. They have performed in more than 540 cities over 60 years, and this engagement at the Music Center spans their vast repertoire. But the program is only here for the next three days, so make sure to get your tickets ASAP.


In Theaters This Week
Comedy Cuban Fury stars Nick Frost and Rashida Jones; Although there's still a month to go until the actual NFL draft begins, Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner star in Draft Day, about a GM out to rebuild his team; Jesus People, based on the Funny or Die series, stars Wendi McLendon-Covey, Mindy Sterling, Tom Bagley and Laura Silverman; David Gordon Green directs Nicolas Cage in Joe; "Doctor Who"'s Karen Fillan stars in the ultra scary Oculus; Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton are vampire lovers in Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive; Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman star in The Railway Man; Rio 2 features the voices of Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, will.i.am, George Lopez and Jamie Foxx. Also in theaters: Dancing in Jaffa; Hank and Asha; Veil of Tears


Charlie Parr @ The Satellite (Silver Lake)

The Minnesota country bluesman released a new album, Hollandale, at the beginning of the year containing five 12-string instrumental songs that were completely improvised. Portions of these songs are going to be played tonight, but they are guaranteed to not be played in the same exact way they were on the album or at any other performance. That's what's so great about this style of music, and exactly what Parr loves about it. I was fortunate enough to see him perform at a backyard party last fall, and whether he's strumming an instrumental or belting out a tune, his is a show not to miss.


Toyota Grand Prix @ Long Beach Convention Center (Long Beach)

The 40th annual event speeds into Long Beach for three days of action-packed fun. Practice and qualifying rounds begin, while the Lifestyle Expo opens and a concert from Kinky round out today's activities. Saturday is the Pro/Celebrity Race (with the likes of Adrien Brody, Vanessa Marcil and Eric Braeden), a performance by Bad Company's Paul Rodgers, the TUDOR Championship and the Super Drift Finals. The big Indy race – with top drivers such as Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves – takes place on Sunday afternoon.



Cesar Millan @ Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center (Thousand Oaks)
Before her dog passed away, my friend was in dire need of help with him, and Cesar Millan was able to train the naughty behavior right out of her and her beloved canine. For years, the Dog Whisperer has been able to bring balance to dogs of all breeds and their humans on his television shows. This is your chance to see him and his famous four-legged companion Junior demonstrate techniques live on stage. Just in case you need assistance with your pets at home, there is going to be a Q&A session with Millan during the event as well.


The Grilled Cheese Invitational @ L.A. Center Studios (Westlake)
Eleven years ago Tim Walker created the grilled cheese competition between friends, and since then, it has grown into the largest cook-off in the country dedicated to the sandwich. Amateurs and professional chefs go head-to-head with their inventive takes on the classic sandwich. They're judged, and a champion is crowned. And, your ticket gets you in for a taste of these cheesy concoctions. Unfortunately, Walker has announced that this is the last invitational ever, so if you have never been to one before, don't let the opportunity pass you by.


Festival of Books @ USC Campus (South Los Angeles)
Even if you're not a book lover, you will enjoy this annual festival because aside from the author readings there are also art, celebrity, culinary, film, music and cultural events happening throughout the two days. Appearances include John Green (The Fault in Our Stars), Alicia Silverstone, B.J. Novak, Hugh Acheson, Terry McMillan, Mayim Bialik, Richard Lange and my favorite bloggers, the Fug Girls (Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan), who have also released two novels. New this year is the Festival After Dark on Saturday night with comedy, conversation and songs from Margaret Cho, Superchunk and Will Sheff.



"The Tallest Tree in the Forest" @ Mark Taper Forum (Downtown)

African-American lawyer, football player, actor, singer, political and civil rights activist Paul Robeson had such an amazing story. As the son of an escaped slave-turned-minister father and Quaker mother, he fought all odds to carve a place for himself and make a difference in the world. Obie Award-winning performer Daniel Beaty brings Robeson's story to the stage in this one-man show filled with inspirational words and songs.



Mike Sempert @ Hotel Café (Hollywood)
The songwriter and frontman of the Bay Area's Birds & Batteries is taking a break from the band and has relocated to Los Angeles. New songs sprouted in the months leading up to the transition in the form of an album called Mid Dream (releasing May 6 via Velvet Blue). Since he was preparing to marry his longtime love while making the album, it is a meditation on love and commitment, art and assuming the roles of adulthood. Sempert is celebrating the album's upcoming release with this show at Hotel Café, so expect to hear many of the new songs tonight.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Nightmare and the Cat

Django Stewart of Nightmare and the Cat at Cirque School in Hollywood



At Cirque School

5640-1/2 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles (Hollywood) 424-226-2477

A beautiful woman wears a colorful, sparkling costume as she gracefully dangles from a hoop suspended in midair. A muscly male acrobat deftly tumbles across the floor. Once a child has experienced the wonders of the circus, it's easy for them to become captivated by the images for life. This is definitely something that happened to Django Stewart, lead singer of L.A. band Nightmare and the Cat.

"I've always loved the circus. Since I was young, I have been wild and acrobatic, doing as many flips as I could everywhere," he confesses with a laugh. "I have to do a lot of running to keep up my cardio for singing purposes. I was trying to find different ways of staying fit that I wouldn't be bored by, something outside of my comfort zone. So I came here and immediately fell in love with it."

Django is referring to his favorite place in all of Los Angeles, Cirque School. Founded 10 years ago by former Cirque du Soleil aerialist and Pilates coach Aloysia Gavre, Cirque School began with four classes a week at a Pilates studio in West Hollywood. As demand for the classes increased, the school relocated to its current space in Hollywood in 2009.

"I love it here," Django gushes. "When you're sick of hanging out at bars and clubs, this is such a nice place to hang out. It's a good community."

When you step into Cirque School, you immediately feel welcome and at ease because of the friendly instructors and relaxed atmosphere that uphold the training center's vision of being "for anybody with any body." This is not to say their focus is anything but intense. Gavre has blended techniques from her Cirque du Soleil and Pilates training to create safe and fun programs that build physical strength as well as mental wellness. It's no wonder the studio is crowded even though it's the middle of the afternoon on a weekday. It's also why actors like Water for Elephants' Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz have trained at Cirque School.

Beginner's (101) classes are just $25 and focus on introducing you to floor exercises and working on your flexibility, stretching, aerial fitness and conditioning. As you progress, you can start learning tricks on different equipment, such as the aerial hoop, straps and fabric, acrobatic pole or Django's preferred apparatus, the trapeze.

"I had only taken a couple gymnastics classes in school and thought it was really fun. I think everybody finds it fun – bouncing around, doing flips and jumping on the trampoline. I just loved that; flying through the sky is one of my favorite things," he grins. "I was naturally inclined to the trapeze. I've been coming to Cirque School for almost four years now, working on the single-point trapeze. It's a dance trapeze where you can swing, spin really fast and and go around in a circle doing tricks. It's a lot more rhythmic and free so you can get into the music and do a lot more stuff than on a static trapeze."

When I ask if he's seen any of Pink's performances that have acrobatic elements incorporated into them, Django replies, "I need to see her show. I hear it's amazing."

"She's been in gymnastics since she was really young. I'm so lanky and English that it was really hard to build a strong core from scratch," he adds with a laugh. "I'm trying, but I think it's impossible."

While he has yet to incorporate any acrobatics into a Nightmare and the Cat show, Django has influenced one of his fellow band mates, bassist Scott Henson, to study at Cirque School too.

"Scott is amazing. In fact, he's really good at ground stuff, so he does a lot of acrobatics and Chinese pole," tells Django. "I'm trying to get more into that because, on the road, I'm only going to have the ground to work with."

Django, Scott and the rest of the group – vocalist Claire Acey, drummer Spike Phillips and guitarist Samuel Stewart (who is Django's older brother and his co-songwriter for the band's material) – just opened for Fitz and the Tantrums at a sold-out Palladium show and are preparing to hit the road on a North American tour with Neon Trees in May. Their debut album is also going to be released this summer (sometime in July), so there is a lot for them to be excited about.

As the sons of Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) and Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama, Shakespears Sister), music was always a part of the brothers' home life, but it wasn't until high school that it became anything more than a hobby for Django.

"I always sang and listened to a lot of soul music.The gospel singers in my dad's band were always these big black mamas who would babysit me backstage. I would listen to them sing and just fall in love. I always felt at home singing with them," he remembers. "Then one day in high school, I thought, 'all those kids are going to be lawyers and actors,' and I realized, 'Shit, I am a musician.' The only things I do really well are singing and playing piano. It was a realization more than a decision to be a singer."

Aside from his father's backup singers, Django was enthralled by the voice and energy of James Brown. It was Brown's music that influenced Django to start playing the saxophone, and it was a young Django who contributed saxophone to the No Doubt song "Underneath It All."

It was during his high school years when Django penned his first song.

"Everybody thought I was some wild, bad kid in high school, so I wasn't really invited to people's houses because their parents didn't approve of me. I sat down at the piano one day and played up that character in a song called 'Do You Like the Taste of Trouble.' That was my first time writing lyrics. Then I got into Patti Smith, Jim Morrison, Velvet Underground and David Bowie, and it became more poetry."

From then on, Django kept writing songs. He and Sam both fronted bands in London and Los Angeles (Django James and the Midnight Squires and Blondelle, respectively) before coming together to form Nightmare and the Cat, which was named for a song by Anthony Harwood, in 2010.

"Sam is just so good at playing guitar and recording. I had always been great at singing melodies, writing lyrics, playing piano and singing them. Recording them is a whole other beast that I'm OK at, but Sam is just amazing at. As soon as he called me to write some songs together, I was like, 'Hell yeah,'" Django admits. "Also, I wish I could play guitar like he can, so having that in my band? Yep, I'll take that."

Although Sam had produced an album for Django's first band, Nightmare and the Cat marks the first time the brothers worked on songs together. Well, aside from some joke songs they created to test GarageBand when it first came out. They released their first music, a self-titled EP, in 2011 and just put out a second EP, Simple, last September. One of Simple's tracks, "Alvarado," immediately resonated with me since it's an ode to a neighborhood where the brothers have lived and where I currently reside. Django is thrilled when I recognize a landmark from a lyric in the song. And gets even more excited when I ask him to share some of favorite places to shop in the city.

"Wasteland is great. Jet Rag is a good one. My secret weapon is a place called Catwalk on Fairfax," he divulges. "These two amazing women have been hanging out with rock stars since the 1960s, and they've collected all these clothes since then. They'll pull out these velvet suits that Jimmy Page bought the brother of and throw them on me. They're such amazing stylists and immediately make me look like a rock star. They're teaching me some tricks. Other than that, I'm a magpie when I go shopping. Anything sparkly, that's what I'm drawn to, and I also wear a lot of black."

Aside from spending many hours at Cirque School and on the treadmill at the gym, you can also find Django grabbing a sandwich at the Oaks or his favorite snack (rice cakes with peanut butter and banana) at the grocery store. He is also a big fan of tattoo artist Mark Mahoney of Shamrock Social Club on the Sunset Strip.

"He is just the coolest dude ever. He's so old-school and looks like a proper greaser with an amazing coif all the time," he says. "Everybody in his shop is an amazing artist."

Django is also a huge fan of the producer of Nightmare and the Cat's Simple EP, Eric Valentine, whom they re-teamed with for their forthcoming debut full-length.

"We have a mutual friend who kept telling me to check out Eric's studio. One day Sam went down there, called me up and said, 'It's completely insane. It's amazing.' We looked Eric up, and it just so happens that he produced one of our favorite albums, Songs for the Deaf by Queens of the Stone Age, so we were in awe. This was before we were signed to Capitol, and he said he would like to work with us so we recorded a song of ours. Off the back of Eric producing that song and getting the EP out there, I think that's what got us signed. After we got signed, we knew we had to make an album with him. He's like a rocket scientist with music."

Nightmare and the Cat just released a new lyric video for one of the album's tracks, "Undercover," and it features characters from another avid supporter of the group and their music, L.A. artist Gary Baseman. The contemporary artist designed both EP covers for the band and often contributes images for their videos, photos and performances.

"Gary's a huge fan of good music. We were at a party one night, and we just started to jam. Gary is such an outgoing person. He put on one of his character's costumes and started dancing in the middle of the circle. He grabbed Claire and started slow dancing with her. He came up afterwards, introduced himself and said, 'I think you guys are really great.' That was before we even had our first show, so when we had our first show we asked him to come down. He sat there sketching all of the songs out and showed them to us afterwards, and we were amazed," Django recalls. "Since then, he's been a saint, really helpful and has always believed in us."

As Django and the rest of Nightmare and the Cat get ready to wow the rest of the continent with their live shows, I ask him to share some of the concerts that have left an impression on him.

"It's hard when you live in a city that has so many amazing acts all the time. I feel like the public gets a bit numb to them. When you play in Middle America, people freak out. Here, people are pretty zombie-esque watching their favorite bands, but I've seen so many incredible acts. Arcade Fire have always been so inspirational to me. I remember being 15, and my only friend in high school wasn't allowed to go out most of the time so I was always at gigs by myself. I saw this band called the Noisettes, and it really shook something up inside of me. The lead singer is this beautiful and crazy performer who wears really interesting outfits. She just lost her shit on stage, and I was like, 'Yes,'" he exclaims. "The band that first woke something up inside of me, though, was the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. My brother took me to a gig of theirs in London when I was 14 and then just ditched me in the mosh pit. I was just so excited and amazed. I felt like, 'I want to do that. I just want to do that so bad.'"

Nightmare and the Cat perform June 14 at the Wiltern. For more information, visit nightmareandthecat.com.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New Release Tuesday 4/8/14

April 8, 2014


The FaintDoom Abuse (SQE)
I have so many awesome memories tied to songs off the Faint's Danse Macabre and Wet from Birth albums, so I am always eager to hear new material from the Omaha foursome. After touring for a year in support of their last album, 2008's Fasciinatiion, they took time away from the band to regroup but eventually started making new music together last year, releasing a 12-inch called Preversions. These four songs became the foundation for their latest album, Doom Abuse. "We focused a lot less on the finished product of this record than we did on the spirit of it," comments guitarist Dapose (Michael Dappen). "The spirit was low-fi mixed with hi-fi, feedback and noise mixed with songwriting. There are some real consistencies in the songs, but it was really about a feel in general. Everything’s a lot faster on this record, it's more rocking. It’s like a punk rock record in some ways." Experience Doom Abuse live when the Faint head our way this summer for a three-night stand at the Roxy on June 6, 7 and 8.

John FruscianteEnclosure (Record Collection)
John Frusciante is one of my favorite contemporary guitarists, but in the time since parting ways with Red Hot Chili Peppers for the second time, he has immersed himself in synthesizers, drum machines, samplers and computers. Enclosure, his 11th solo album, is the culmination of his exploration into musical programming, with the entire record having been written, produced, performed and engineered by him in his L.A. studio. Songs like the over-six-minute-long "Scratch" are the confluence of his guitar mastery merged with technological elements. Frusciante's experimentation extends far beyond the album's nine tracks, though. On March 29, Enclosure was loaded onto a cube satellite called Sat-JF14 and launched into space aboard a rocket, and using the Sat-JF14 app, you can track the satellite's movement to find out when it's above your region to listen to the album for free using any iOS or Android mobile device. So cool.

NømadsFree My Animal (Mecca Lecca) 
The New York duo comprised of Nathan Lithgow (My Brightest Diamond, Inlets, Gabriel & the Hounds) and Garth Macaleavey (Inlets, sound engineer for the Philip Glass Ensemble, Joe's Pub and Le Poisson Rouge) unveil their debut album today. Free My Animal was completely produced, recorded and mixed by the two for a sound that is a blend of Nirvana and Fugazi with Death From Above 1979 and Queens of the Stone Age. Songs like "In the Mend," the title track and "Down in Out" are guaranteed to make your heart beat a little faster and your ears bleed. But the hurt is very, very good.

Also available –
Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks' Enter the Slasher House; Black Label Society's Catacombs of the Black Vatican; Brown Shoe's Lonely Beast Part One; Chuck Inglish's Convertibles; Colourmusic's May You Marry Rich; Consider Me Dead's Young at Heart; EMA's The Future's Void; For the Fallen Dreams' Heavy Hearts; Ghetto Ghouls' self-titled; Haley Pharo's self-titled; Highasakite's Silent Treatment; Incan Abraham's Tolerance; James Durbin's Celebrate; Joan Osborne's Love and Hate; Martina McBride's Everlasting; The Mary Onettes' Portico; Menew's Mother Nature; MercyMe's Welcome to the New; OFF!'s Wasted Years; Ratking's So it Goes; School of Language's Old Fears; Sleepmakeswaves' In Today Already Walks Tomorrow; SoftSpot's Mass; SoMo's self-titled; SZA's Z; Teebs' Estara; Thus Owls' Turning Rocks; Todd Terje's It's Album Time; Tweens' self-titled; Whalers' Submarine Sun


The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan (Scribner)
If you're ever in need of inspiration, all you have to do is read the final essay – which shares the same title as this collection of her work – Marina Keegan wrote for the Yale Daily News in anticipation of her 2012 graduation. Her words are even more moving when you take into account that the 22-year-old writer, poet and playwright died in a car accident just five days after Commencement. Her family, friends and teachers, like author and editor Anne Fadiman who also penned the book's introduction, chose the best of Keegan's fiction and nonfiction stories and essays to include in The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories. This is a wonderful collection by a brilliant young woman who was full of so much talent and promise.

Also available – The Blender Girl by Tess Masters; Can't and Won't by Lydia Davis; The Chopped Cookbook by Food Network Kitchen; Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace; The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead by Charles Murray; The Death of Money by James Rickards; The Divide by Matt Taibbi; Face the Music by Paul Stanley; In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen; Love Life by Rob Lowe; Miracles Now by Gabrielle Bernstein; My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz; The Truth About Retirement Plans and IRAs (paperback) by Ric Edelman


Film – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second in Peter Jackson's trilogy adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy masterpiece, stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen and Richard Armitage in the continuing adventure of the hobbit, wizard and group of dwarves; Tracy Letts' dark comedy, August: Osage County, transitions from the stage to big screen with an all-star cast led by Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper and Ewan McGregor; Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone go toe to toe in Grudge Match

TV – The Amazing Race: S13; Earthflight: The Complete Series; Lizzie Borden Took an Ax; Moonshiners: Season 2

Music – Artaserse; The Bobby Darin Show; Don't Ask Me Questions: The Unsung Life of Graham Parker and the Rumour; Justin Bieber's Believe

Also available – Back in the Day; Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses; Best Night Ever; Black Coffee; Cavemen; Cocaine Cowboys Reloaded; Marilyn & The Senator; Men, Money & Gold Diggers; My Fair Lidy; My Name Is Paul; Nurse; Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones; Snake & Mongoose

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Events for April 3-9, 2014


Ahh... Youth! (Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts)


Mike Kelley @ The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (Downtown)

A couple of months ago I was interviewing a musician who had studied art at USC under a protégé of Mike Kelley, and as we walked through MOCA we kept coming across posters announcing this exhibit. The Detroit transplant who attended CalArts (and eventually became a faculty member there), was a prominent fixture of the L.A. art scene from the mid-1970s until his suicide in 2012. The museum brights together over 250 pieces by the artist that incorporate found objects, painting and collages into thought-provoking and inspiring works of art. If you have yet to explore Mike Kelley's creations, this exhibit is the perfect opportunity. Admission is free on Thursday nights, but if you can't go tonight the exhibit is running through July 28.



In Theaters This Week
Steve Coogan in Alan Partridge; Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson reprise their Avengers roles in Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Dom Hemingway stars Jude Law as a larger-than-life criminal; Inspired by the true story of an African-American go-go dancer, Frankie and Alice stars Halle Berry and Stellan Skarsgård; Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac: Volume II; Under the Skin stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien who preys on human males. Also in theaters: 10 Rules for Sleeping Around; Afflicted; Alien Abduction; In the Blood; Island of Lemurs: Madagascar IMAX; Jinn; On the Other Side of the Tracks; The Players; The Unknown Known

Nicolas Cage and Werner Herzog @ Aero Theatre (Santa Monica)
American Cinematheque is holding a tribute to Cage with screening and discussions throughout the weekend. Tonight is a double feature of 2009's The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans and a 30th anniversary screening of Birdy. Acclaimed German director Herzog, who directed Cage in The Bad Lieutenant, and the actor participate in a discussion between films. Saturday's films are two of my favorites starring Cage, Adaptation. and Raising Arizona, while there's a screening of Joe and a discussion with Cage and the film's director, David Gordon Green, Sunday night.


Pigeon John @ The Roxy (West Hollywood)
Born John Kenneth Dunkin, Pigeon John grew up in Inglewood and began carving a place for himself in the underground hip-hop scene performing at open mics at places like Good Life Café. The world was exposed to his ability to meld hip-hop and pop with "The Bomb" off his 2010 effort, Dragon Slayer. After going through a divorce and other experiences, he's ready to release a sixth album, Encino Man, on April 29. Hear the new tracks live tonight when he shares the stage with the Grouch & Eligh, Eliot Lipp and DJ Fresh at the Roxy.

Jim Jefferies


Kevin & Bean's April Foolishness @ Shrine Auditorium (South Los Angeles)

Just when you thought you were safe from April Fool's hijinks. The L.A. radio personalities have always been big supporters of local comedians, so it's no surprise that their annual stand-up showcase is being headlined by some of the city's funniest. Australian transplant Jim Jefferies, Patton Oswalt, Adam Carolla, Tim Minchin, Doug Benson, Eddie Ifft and Taylor Williamson are joined by the always- entertaining Reggie Watts and the musical stylings of Mike Relm. All proceeds from the evening go to Fisher House and Cedars-Sinai's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.


Taco Madness @ Grand Park (Downtown)

Whenever I ask Angelenos what they miss most about Los Angeles when they're away, their answer inevitable involves Mexican food. No other dish exemplifies L.A. street culture like the taco. Find out who is going to be crowned winner of this year's Taco Madness, from noon to sunset at Grand Park. Dance to music from DJs like KCRW's Mario Cotto and Travis Holcombe, see some art curated by DoArtFoundation, grab a drink at the beer garden and eat yourself into a food coma with tacos from Mexicali, Mariscos Jalisco, Guerrilla Tacos, Carnitas El Momo and many more.



CicLAvia @ Wilshire Boulevard (between Grand Ave. & Fairfax Ave.)

CicLAvia bans cars from an L.A. thoroughfare for a day (from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.), transforming it into a safe place for cyclists, walkers, rollerbladers and skateboarders to cruise the city. This particular route is along iconic Wilshire Boulevard, a six-mile stretch from Downtown to Miracle Mile. There are activity hubs at various points with fun activities, art, music, food and crafts for the whole family to enjoy. The forecast predicts a sunny Sunday with a high of 80 degrees, so it's going to be ideal weather for a walk/bike/skate through town.


Galaxy vs. Chivas USA @ StubHub Center (Carson)

The MLS season is in full swing, and it's time for the first SuperClásico of 2014. Although neither squad is high in the Western Conference standings, it's still early in the season, and a match between the two is always exciting. See Carlos Bocanegra, Dan Kennedy and Adolfo "Bofo" Bautista take on the Galaxy's Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Juninho, all starting at noon today.

Walking Shapes (Courtney Rodwell)


Walking Shapes @ Bardot (Hollywood)
The New York City fivesome is set to release a new album, Taka Come On, this week and performs a set at Bardot tonight in anticipation. Their sophomore release is hauntingly beautiful, with buzzing, psychedelic guitars, a heavy bassline and visually evocative vocals. Seeing them live in such an intimate space is going to be quite an experience.



Free Cone Day @ Ben & Jerry's (citywide)
Hooray, it's one of my favorite days of the year: Free Cone Day! Head to your local scoop shop (Union Station, Universal CityWalk, Burbank, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks or the Howard Hughes Center) and pick up a free ice cream.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

New Release Tuesday 4/1/14

April 1, 2014


Caught a Ghost Human Nature (+1)
"Blues musicians used to say you caught a ghost if you gave a good performance… like you were possessed," informs Jesse Nolan. The singer-songwriter/producer at the helm of the L.A. trio, which is rounded out by vocalist/percussionist Tessa Thompson (whom you may recognize from "Veronica Mars," "Cold Case" or "Copper") and drummer Stephen Edelstein, is a fan of music from all eras, and Caught a Ghost succeeds in continuing to carve their own niche of electronic soul with their fantastic debut album, Human Nature. Electronic noises snap you to attention before a choir bursts into the chorus of opener "No Sugar in My Coffee." Then, piano keys are tickled and paired with pulsating drumbeats, horns and soaring vocals in "Sleeping At Night." Other standouts include the title track, "Time Go" and "Connected." Make sure to join the band as they celebrate the album's release with a show at Bootleg Bar this Friday, April 4.

Christina PerriHead or Heart (Atlantic)
The singer-songwriter has such a knack for crafting songs that not only tug but completely yank out your heartstrings, leaving you bleary-eyed and breathless (see: "Jar of Hearts" and "A Thousand Years"). She continues to infuse emotion into every measure of the 13 songs on her sophomore full-length, Head or Heart. First single "Human" is by far the standout ballad, while the more uptempo "Burning Gold," co-written with Kid Harpoon, and "I Don't Wanna Break," co-written with fun.'s Jack Antonoff, are quite infectious. The L.A. transplant (by way of Philadelphia) embarks on a North American tour in support of the album this week, and it stops at the Wiltern on May 17.

Dan CrollSweet Disarray (Capitol)
The Liverpool native is testament to the saying that you can never judge a book by its cover. One shouldn't be fooled by his slim build, glasses or sensitive songs, Croll is a rugby fanatic whose career in the sport was thwarted by a broken leg, a former nightclub doorman and he resides above a strip club. Not sure if you would be more surprised at those facts or that the extremely talented singer-songwriter graduated from the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, has worked with fellow Liverpudlian Sir Paul McCartney and won National Songwriter of the Year from the Musician's Benevolent Fund. His highly anticipated debut album, Sweet Disarray, is finally available today, and there are several folk-meets-electronic gems sprinkled throughout the tracklist of 12, including "In/Out," "Compliment Your Soul," "Can You Hear Me" and the gorgeous "Home." He visits Los Angeles on Friday, April 4, for a set at the El Rey.

Kaiser ChiefsEducation, Education, Education & War (ATO)
Education, Education, Education & War is the Kaiser Chiefs' first effort since founding drummer and chief songwriter Nick Hodgson left the band in 2012. The Leeds-based fivesome (fronted by "The Voice UK" coach Ricky Wilson) unveiled a few of the new songs, like first single "Coming Home" and the explosive "Misery Company," from their fifth studio album at shows last year to high praise. Written in London, Los Angeles and Nashville, the 10 tracks were recorded in Atlanta, Ga., and mixed by Michael Brauer (My Morning Jacket, Coldplay) with producer Ben H. Allen III (Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective, Deerhunter). A global enterprise that will undoubtedly please Kaiser Chiefs fans the world over.

Also available – Adanowsky's ADA; A.J. Ellis' Bury the Devil; Architecture in Helsinki's Now + 4eva; Austrian Death Machine's Triple Brutal; Band of Skulls' Himalayan; The Body's I Shall Die Here; Chevelle's La Gargola; Chiodos' Devil; Cloud Nothings' Here and Nowhere Else; Fartbarf's Dirty Power; Hank Williams III's Ramblin' Man; Inventions' self-titled; Jamaica's Ventura; Jon Langford & Skull Orchard's Here Be Monsters; Lacuna Coil's Broken Crown Halo; Leon Russell's Life Journey; Mac DeMarco's Salad Days; Manchester Orchestra's Cope; Matt Andersen's Weightless; Maximo Park's Too Much Information; Mike Dillon's Band of Outsiders; Mike Oldfield's Man on the Rocks; Mobb Deep's The Infamous Mobb Deep; Nickel Creek's A Dotted Line; Pattern Is Movement's self-titled; Power Take Off's This is Late; S. Carey's Range of Light; Saintseneca's Dark Arc; The Singles' Look How Fast a Heart Can Break; Smoke DZA's Dream.ZONE.Achieve; Split Single's Fragmented World; Steel Panther's All You Can Eat; Thievery Corporation's Saudade; Timbre Timbre's Hot Dreams; This Is Your Life (Ronnie James Dio tribute); The Used's Imaginary Enemy; White Hinterland's Baby


Carla's Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World by Carla Hall (Atria)
Regardless of cultural background, two people can find common ground quickly and easily when it comes to a talking about food. From Southern Peach Cobbler and Greek Baklava to German Double-Mustard Potato Salad and Indian Chile, Pea and Coconut Chutney, the "Top Chef" alumna and co-host of "The Chew" guides you in recreating some of her favorite comfort dishes from around the world. In this follow-up to Cooking with Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You, her 2012 cookbook debut, she shares recipes, stories and seasoning tips to transform your average weekday dinner into a scrumptious meal with ease.

Also available – 8 Weeks to SEALFIT by Mark Divine; The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook by America's Test Kitchen Editors; The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison; Flash Boys by Michael Lewis; Frog Music by Emma Donoghue; I've Got You Under My Skin by Mary Higgins Clark; John Wayne: The Life and Legend by Scott Eyman; The King (The Black Dagger Brotherhood) by J.R. Ward; The Last Pirate by Tony Dokoupil


Film – The ever-classy news team (played by Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner and Christina Applegate) returns for more antics in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; 47 Ronin stars Keanu Reeves as a former slave who joins the group of samurai intent on avenging the murder of their master; John Cusack, Robert De Niro and Crispin Glover in action crime thriller The Bag Man

Music – A MusicCares Tribute to Neil Young

TV – Action: The Complete Series; Broadchurch: Season 1; The Client List: Season 2; Finding Bigfoot: Volume 3; Psych: Season 8

Also available –
At Middleton; Emulation; Four Seasons; L'Immortelle; Inspired Guns; Knights of Badassdom; The Pirate Fairy; The War Wagon; When Jews Were Funny