Boris – Love & Evol

Another essential release from heavy rocks heroes

October 3rd, 2019
Lex Voight
Category: Review, Staff Pick

Boris are an institution. There are no other bands I can think of with the kind of impact that the Japanese noise-rockers have had over the course of the last nearly 30 years. The band is a constant evolution, responding to every whim or fancy that one of its three (still original) members take an interest in. Boris, as a project, is one of the purest forms of artistic expression as their collective oeuvre seems a fully exploratory outlet of its members’ wonts.
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Babymetal is coming to LA!

Metal Galaxy is dropping next week!

Lex Voight

Everyone’s favorite anti-idol j-pop metal-stars are touching down at the Forum for the release of their new record. BABYMETAL is coming through the Forum on 10/11 for their first US headlining arena show with no support, bringing all of the synchronized dancing and pyrotechnics you can possibly hope for while melting faces.
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Jurassic Park In Concert @ Hollywood Bowl

David Newman leads a dino-mite event

August 18th, 2019
David Fisch

Film director Steven Spielberg kicked off the unofficial start of the “summer movie event” when he released Jaws in 1975, and he has since perfected and dominated the fan-centric movie-going phenomenon every few summers with a tentpole release. In 1993, the “summer movie event” was Jurassic Park, and just like Jaws before it, it has become an entertainment mainstay that has its housing on the screens of everywhere from backyard barbeque parties to rooftop poolside lounges. It is tailor-made for the outdoor viewing experience, as its breezy thrills, iconic lines, meme-ified shirtless Jeff Goldblum, and impressive visuals can envelope and entertain viewers across all generations as they bask in the cool and calm nights before the workload begins once again toward Fall. Let’s also not forget that the roars of a T-Rex echoing throughout and the Velociraptor’s hushed brustling through the bushes would make anyone’s hair raise.

But the key ingredient, as with most, if not all, of Spielberg’s projects, is the score by John Williams. Spielberg is a master of evoking emotion visually with close-ups of expressions and lingering shots of familiarity, but it’s Williams and his penchant for motifs and themes that elevate these moments with overwhelming emotional resonance. With Jurassic Park, he provides the audience with a little bit of everything: tenderness, hijinks, tension, excitement. This is all brought on with rolling bass drums ramping up the moments a character has to escape or French horns to coronate us into the large and unexplored vistas of Isla Nublar or piano to symbolize the importance of togetherness in trying times.

It’s simply hard to imagine any other composer in Williams’ place, as he quite literally creates the world of Jurassic Park in the context of his orchestrations. I’ve heard and seen performances of the “Theme to Jurassic Park” on countless occasions by Williams himself and by Gustavo Dudamel, who is the musical director of the LA Phil Harmonic, but I had yet to see the film with the score performed in its entirely to the film onscreen. For fans of the film like myself and anyone who happened to grab a ticket this past weekend in Los Angeles, they got to witness just that with the LA Phil Harmonic lead by David Newman, who has once before been tasked to bring the best of Williams, and witness it at the Hollywood Bowl, which is the class example venue for the outdoor “summer movie event” experience.

For films exhibited in this nature, the music score is extracted from the film so that the orchestra can perform it, and though sometimes it’s a little hard to discern the score as it is in the film from one performed live (unless you’ve studied the film repeatedly and know every minutiae of the cues and have written a biography about it), this was a case in which I was able to focus on all of the little details in the performance. Specifically, it was interesting to see that the scene educating the characters about dinosaur DNA – a cartoonish anthropomorphic DNA strand explaining how the park could have even been conceived – was a part of the score at all, involving frolicking brass for a flying mosquito and fast-paced string stabs and xylophone as the DNA code overwhelms the screen. It’s not a part of the film I think about having been scored (it’s not technically a part of the soundtrack release), but it showcases just how much every musical component of the film has to be conceptualized.

What’s also fascinating is seeing how much of Williams’ score there isn’t. Arguably the most compelling sequence of the film – the entrance of the T-Rex – is virtually devoid of any scoring, allowing the dread of the T-Rex’s booming thuds and the torrential downpour of rain to soak the viewer in before the imposing T-Rex roar enacts the first realization of terror. Though seeing an orchestra taking a break during these moments isn’t captivating, it brings to a point how important it is when the music does cue up again when the film requires it. It’s a testament to the analysis and brilliant direction of Mr. Spielberg and his studied collaboration with Mr. Williams.

It’s a fun experience seeing any movie outdoors, but seeing a film made for the outdoor summer movie season, with the intricate sounds produced by a full orchestra, witnessed with thousands of adoring and newly-minted fans, right in the backyard of Hollywood itself, is something you just have to do.

For more info:

LA Phil
Hollywood Bowl

On Amanda Palmer and the Meaning of Music Heroes

Amanda Palmer fights for us all.

June 14th, 2019
Lex Voight

There is a war going on right now. For the world, for the environment, for our rights.

And we are losing.

We are losing ground every day. The rash of anti-choice legislation being rammed through state courts and the appointment of anti-choice judges by (republican controlled) senatorial appointment are just the latest and among the most egregious examples of our loss. But there are heroes in the battle for the heart of American culture fighting for us.
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Back to the Beach 2020 Wishlist

One of my favorite things to do after attending themed festivals is coming up with hypothetical bills for the next year’s iteration. Back to the Beach this year was an absolute blast–so much so that I am already fully planning on going again for next year’s. But who would make for a great show? Here […]

May 1st, 2019
Lex Voight

One of my favorite things to do after attending themed festivals is coming up with hypothetical bills for the next year’s iteration. Back to the Beach this year was an absolute blast–so much so that I am already fully planning on going again for next year’s. But who would make for a great show? Here is my wishlist.
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Premiere: Branson T. Anderson’s Moonshade

Roots songwriting from the desert

February 26th, 2019
Lex Voight
Category: News, Staff Pick

There’s a ramshackle charm to Branson T. Anderson’s music.

Folky with an eye for avant-pop songwriting, it’s the kind of music that seems like it developed in a kind of wonderful isolation, bits of forward-thinking arrangements lovingly scotch taped to a staunch traditionalism that somehow manages to be both exceedingly pleasing, while still being a challenging listen.
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Henry Rollins: Keep Talking, Pal

Hope from the hot animal machine

February 19th, 2019
Lex Voight

Growing up in DC as a quiet, angry, alienated teen with an encyclopedic knowledge of cinema and an obsessive interest in music, my discovery of the oeuvre of Henry Rollins, renaissance man, was something of a revelation. My first encounter of him was actually through the cinematic medium–popping up in bit parts like Bad Boys 2 or Johnny Mnemonic or a handful of other roles, knowledge of him happened almost through osmosis before a school administrator I was friendly with placed “Smile, You’re Traveling” in my hands.
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2018: The Year Emo Went Inward

Navel-gazing with the 00’s Emo crowd

January 20th, 2019
Lex Voight

Emo has always been somewhat of a inward-looking genre. From Rites of Spring, to Capn’ Jazz to American Football to the emo boom of the mid 00’s, the genre has seemingly always been identified by the feelings of the lyricist, acting as something of an avatar for the audience to project on to and through. But rarely, perhaps with the exception of the self-parodying song names of bands like Fall Out Boy or Panic! At the Disco, has emo gotten as obviously meta and self-legacy aware as we saw from 2018, for both good and ill.
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On Jeff Goldblum and the Myth of Hollywood

A joyful emcee and a night of jazz

December 26th, 2018
Lex Voight

Growing up, those of us who don’t live in or near LA are taught, through media, two opposing myths of Hollywood. The first is an unattainable dream–an olympian pantheon where heirs and heriesses mingle with publicly worshipped demigods. Where socialites and producers clink champagne glasses in ostentatious Gatsby-like homes. It of a world apart–above and away from the cares and worries of the real world, untouched and unsullied by plebeian influence. The other is the jaded nightmare of hollywood–the crabs-in-a-bucket competition, the horrors of the casting couch and backroom deals, the narcissism and desperate pandering. And both, while true in degrees, whats struck me most after living here for the majority of a decade is not witnessing either of these opposing worlds, but in the mundanity of the wide liminal space between dream and nightmare.
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