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Oct 2010 08

by Nicole Powers

“You can’t keep a good dog down.”

– John Lydon

John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) says he doesn’t like tattoos, but try not to hold that against him. If I’d been calling in on behalf of a golf magazine, he’d probably tell me how much he’s offended by the sport. Not because he’s disagreeable — he really isn’t — but because first and foremost, above all else, the OG punk rocker is a provocateur and contrarian.

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Oct 2010 06

by Blogbot

It’s debatable whether Die Antwood is plain special or a bit special-ed if you catch my drift. And that’s kinda the point. It may be shit, it may be genius, it may be carefully manicured shit genius, or it may simply be genius shit. As founding member Ninja says, “Is this Die Antwoord fucking terrible, like fucking retardedly the worst thing ever or the most amazing thing in the entire universe?”

The subject of much (BoingBoing-fueled) speculation and a bizarre music vid – Enter the Ninja – which spread like Ebola over the interwebs, it’s been hard for even the most curious to decide either way. But this month the elusive Cape Town rap/rave meets “zef-so-fresh” trio (comprised of rapper Ninja, vocalist Yo-landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek) will finally drop their pants and show us what they’re made of. (For the record: District 9 director Neill Blomkamp “fucking” loves them, and Davids Lynch and Fincher are said to be fans.)

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Oct 2010 05

by Nicole Powers

“Restraint means more to me now.”

– Jake Shears

When Scissor Sisters first burst forth with their debut self-titled filthy gorgeous album in 2004 their brand of hedonistic dance was too hot for mainstream America to handle (the CD was even pulled from Wal-Mart’s shelves). It was a different story across the Atlantic in the U.K. however, where the band were welcomed with open arms – and notable record sales. There the release spawned a total of five Top 20 singles, and became the country’s top-selling album that year (and the 9th biggest seller of the decade). The band’s follow up full-length, Ta-Dah, released in 2006, also fared much better outside of the U.S. It went straight to the top of the U.K. album charts, and the first single, “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'”(a collaboration with Elton John), also hit the number one spot – and stayed there for four consecutive weeks.

The wide chasm in reception and record sales between the two continents – the Scissor Sisters’ first two albums each sold in excess of 3 million units across Europe – can easily be explained when looked at in the context of cultural attitudes. The more liberal Europeans have been dancing continuously since the ’70s and dance-based music is ingrained in the fabric of European life. In America however, seizing on the opportunity afforded by AIDS, the disproportionately influential Christian right whipped up a frenzy of anti-dance “disco sucks” hysteria, stopping the party in its tracks and creating a deep-seated prejudice against the genre as a whole that remains prevalent to this day in significant pockets of society.

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Sep 2010 30

by Nicole Powers

““I like my crotch.”

-Tommy Lee

Tommy Lee gives good phone. He’s the consummate professional when it comes to interviews. Don’t be fooled by his easy going charm and natural flirtatiousness; Behind it lies a disarming intelligence and an instinct that knows exactly how to perpetuate and sell the rock & roll myth we all want – and need – to buy into.

It’s not that he’s is being insincere – far from it – it’s well documented that the drummer-turned-multi instrumentalist walks the walk as well as talking the talk. However, all rock & roll shenanigans aside, when it counts, Lee seriously has his shit together – like on the designated press day for his new Methods of Mayhem album, A Public Disservice Announcement.

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Sep 2010 27

by Fred Topel

“Buddha didn’t stop struggling with women until enlightenment.”

– Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons sat all by himself at NBC’s party on the rooftop of the Beverly Hilton hotel. Well, not totally by himself. The young girls he came with were talking amongst themselves, and celebrities kept stopping by to meet him (hence the photo opp with Jimmy Fallon).

The Oxygen Channel, an NBC cable arm, is producing a documentary on Simmons’ business. Running Russell Simmons shows the viewer what it takes to maintain Simmons’ multi-faceted life, by following the assistants who coordinate all his endeavors behind the scenes. It is scheduled to premiere Nov. 2.

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Sep 2010 24

by Nicole Powers

“We’re willing to put our balls on the line.”

– Chester Bennington

It’s been over a decade since Linkin Park released their debut album, Hybrid Theory, which spawned the breakout, radio-friendly crossover hits “Crawling” and “In the End.” The SoCal rock/rap band, whose vocal interplay between singer Chester Bennington and rapper Mike Shinoda became their sonic signature, have come a long way since then.

But though Linkin Park’s subsequent full-length offerings, Meteora (2003) and Minutes to Midnight (2007), were solid performers, they failed to match the excitement of the band’s initial release. Consequently, when we were invited to a special laser listening event a week ahead of the street date for Linkin Park’s fourth studio album, A Thousand Suns, we weren’t sure what to expect. However, the album – and its presentation – quite frankly, blew us away. And, judging by the reactions of those gathered at Hollywood’s Music Box Theatre, we weren’t the only ones who felt that way.

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Sep 2010 22

by Brett Warner

Few bands manage to perpetually frustrate their fans the way Weezer does. With each new album, singer/songwriter Rivers Cuomo – a semi-secret musical genius, we’ve been instructed to keep in mind – continues to disappoint a very vocal legion of cynical, skeptical, and especially jaded twenty-to-thirty somethings with one word on their tongues: Pinkerton. No other album in rock history (save maybe Sgt. Pepper) gets tossed around as much; you won’t find any Weezer album review after 2001 that fails to mention it. The 1996 proto-emo classic was a commercial flop upon its release, but word of mouth and the band’s 5-year hiatus lifted it to cult classic status. Its supporters tend to hail the album’s intensely personal lyrics: a smorgasbord of frustrations aimed at groupies, lesbians, Asian girls, and Cuomo’s various other insecurities. Weezer’s latest album Hurley (their first on independent label Epitaph Records) has gotten some choice positive reviews, many comparing its rougher, lo-fi sound to Pinkerton’s – but still, many rock fans seem unwilling (or unable) to give the band another chance. To them, the deeply confessional tone of Pinkerton’s songs has been replaced on post-millennial Weezer records with sarcastic, ironic, sophomoric humor – when in actuality, Weezer have never been ironic. They are quite possibly the only completely honest, agenda-less band to come out of the ’90s alternative boom. So why the shift in general cultural opinion of the group? The reason why Weezer continues to frustrate listeners is because they draw attention to the generational shift between X and Y listeners. Throughout this significant transition in social attitudes, Weezer have remained remarkably consistent – we’re the ones who’ve changed.

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