Monday, December 1, 2014

The Heavy Costs of Being an Indie Touring Band

Pomplamoose has blown the lid off of the world of the working musician with a detailed essay on their recent tour expenses. Read about it at!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pulp Ponder Life and Death in New Documentary

Jarvis Cocker reaches for the sky in "Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets."
Oscilloscope Laboratories

The Ramones were New York City. The Beatles were Liverpool. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were Los Angeles. These bands belong to their points of origin. Hometown reverence is in the very sinew of their rhythms, fashion styles and melodies. And like these legends that embraced the places of their births, Pulp have looked to Sheffield, England as their eternal home and ground zero for inspiration.

This fond nostalgia is the basis of Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets, a documentary by Florian Habicht. The hardworking, long-suffering Britpop tour de force reunited in 2011 and sought to capture the spark by returning to Sheffield at the end of the year-and-a-half jaunt around the world. On camera, puckish front man Jarvis Cocker speaks quite fondly of the humble squalor and quaint elderly folk who populate the city of 1.5 million.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Meet Hideout, the ‘Rookies’ Reaching for the Stars

Think of bicoastal indie rock outfit Hideout as the Intergalactic Postal Service. Like Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello before them, Gabe Rodriguez and Cory Stier pieced together their debut album in separate states. But unlike the earthbound romances of the Postal Service, Hideout relish in stories about alien abductions, and worship at the altars of Ziggy Stardust and Explosions in the Sky.

Brought together in their youth and through a slew of nascent musical projects around San Diego, Rodriguez and Stier charged forth with Hideout’s Rookie (Thrill Me) while both were on tour as backing instrumentalists for Cults.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Weezer Leave 'Everything' on the Stage in Los Angeles

Rivers Cuomo of Weezer performs at a 2014 concert.
Photo by Claudia Heidelberger/Creative Commons

The most exciting thing about Weezer concerts is their unpredictable set lists. You never know when a zany cover (Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”) or an obscure fan favorite (“Susanne”) is going to pop up. Even when a tour is designated to celebrate a certain album – as this one was in honor of the new, stupendous Everything Will Be Alright in the End (Republic) – rarities dapple the run-through.

With Everything finding its strengths in old-school Weezer sonics (fuzzy guitar assaults, nerdy cool lyrics), it was a pleasant shock to see the L.A. foursome strip back for the first part of their performance at the historic Belasco.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ugly Holiday Sweaters Go Haute Couture

The head-scratching popularity of bedazzled, crocheted winter wear has reached its apex. What was once the sole territory of cherubic Midwest aunties later popped up ironically at hipster holiday parties and at white elephant gift exchanges. Now high-fashion names like Anna Sui and Dolce & Gabbana have gotten in on the wonderfully chintzy act with their takes on the ugly holiday sweater.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

10 Best New TV Show Openings and Logos

The small screen just keeps getting more cinematic, with huge stars like Halle Berry switching their allegiance from blockbusters to binge-worthy episodics. The prestige doesn’t stop with the marquee casts— this season’s crop of new TV shows opens with some magnificent and iconic imagery. We’re batty for the intros to Gotham, How To Get Away with Murder and these eight other visual stunners, presented in alphabetical order.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Sound(garden) and the Fury of Creative Director Josh Graham

Josh Graham came into the light by exploring the darkness of humanity. His alchemical, occult-ish visuals earned him full membership into prog-metal fortress Neurosis, though he didn’t play a note with the band. He’s helped boost the stage presence of luminaries like Madonna and Jay Z, and for the past four years, he’s been an integral part of Soundgarden’s comeback. His most recent works are the mesmerizing projections for the Seattle group’s tour with Nine Inch Nails, adding a level of menace to already-guttural favorites like “Fell on Black Days.”