What a week it was in the world of pop music. Quite a few new singles dropped; records were announced, and people besides Taylor Swift did things too. There were at least a dozen notable artists who each gave us another three-minute reason to stay on YouTube, so we’ve chosen a few to review as objectively as we can. Let’s get started.[via The Wannabes]
TAYLOR SWIFT, “SHAKE IT OFF”
The Story: Tay doesn’t fit into any stereotype. She’s a dork! She just likes to have fun and remind everybody that it doesn’t matter how much you hate her, she’s laughing all the way to the bank.
Execution: Perfect. The audience gets the point and sides with her in the first few seconds.
Cons: It’s insanely obnoxious, and she’s shown how much she doesn’t fit in before. And yes, many people (myself included) have expressed their disdain for her music, but it doesn’t change the fact that the most popular girl at the party is complaining that she’s so out of place.
Pros: She has never looked better than she does in that black outfit. Mad props to her stylist. Girl looks FLY. Also, this is an official, long-overdue break with Country music. She’s finally admitted herself to the world of Pop.
Overall Score: 6/10
NICKI MINAJ, “ANACONDA”
The Story: Nicki Minaj wants you to see her butt. For it is large. And she is quite capable of moving it rapidly.
Execution: Very well done. I have done what she’s told me to and stared at her ass for three minutes.
Cons: I don’t really understand the necessity of kitchen scene. It’s a simple message; there’s no need for excess props. Just shake it.
Pros: THAT DRAKE SCENE. If you can watch that scene without laughing, you possess no sense of humor. She’s all up on him, which is funny enough, but after throwing her legs around him and grinding, she gets annoyed when he tries to touch.
Overall Score: 7/10
GERARD WAY, “NO SHOWS”
The Story: Gerard Way is a singer who’s making his intergalactic debut on a space late-night talk show. This is not explained further.
Execution: Fine I guess? It’s so difficult, because he was the frontman for My Chemical Romance, one of the most dramatic bands of the generation, but this is just dull. I don’t know if he’s trying to go as far from MCR as he possible, but man. It’s just so mediocre. It looks like a pre-“Thriller” music video.
Cons: Mostly everything. The song isn’t even that great. And it would be so much better if he’d just upped the vocals a bit. Also, the fashion looks like a mix of Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century and a bad ’70s lookbook. I wanted to love this so much.
Pros: He’s making music! And this is announcing an album, so hopefully the whole thing won’t be as beige.
Overall Score: 2/10
HAIM FT. A$AP FERG, “MY SONG 5″
The Story: It’s an episode of the fictional “Dallas Murphy Show,” an imitation Jerry Springer-type show hosted by Vanessa Bayer.
Execution: Spot on. The sisters were able to pull in a few famous friends, and the added A$AP Ferg verse fits better than I could’ve dreamed.
Cons: I am not a Haim sister. That is a major con.
Pros: It’s hilarious. It’s not the best HAIM video, but it’s almost impossible to beat “Forever” and “The Wire,” so you can’t hold those against them.
Overall Score: 9/10
In the midst of failing bookstores and proclamations that print is dead, The Museum of Contemporary Art is proving just how pertinent books can be. This weekend, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA is hosting the LA Art Book Fair, a three-day event which will feature more than 250 booksellers, artists, antiquarians, and publishers from around the globe.
The Fair, which is a counterpart to the NY Art Book Fair, begins Thursday evening followed by an opening-night after party. And for those who claim they don’t like reading, know that it’s not just books. There will be art exhibits such as Fabulosity, which is described as, “an exhibition of ephemera and photographs by Alexis Dibiasio surrounding ’80s and ’90s New York Club Kid Culture,” and DJs will be providing music the whole weekend.
There’s an entire subsection dedicated to magazines not only made in America, but also produced internationally. And although you can easily fill a full day just browsing through all the available writing, there are events ranging from panels about feminism to screenplay readings to lectures on pop culture.
Make sure to check out what you want to attend before going, because no one person can squeeze in everything.
Thursday, January 30, 6–9 pm
Friday, January 31, 11 am-5 pm
Saturday, February 1, 11 am–6 pm
Sunday, February 2, 12 pm–6 pm
Carly Jo Morgan has two weeks left of her pregnancy, so naturally now is the best time to showcase her thoughts and ideas on becoming a mother — and more power to the artist/curator/doula extraordinaire, because “The Mothership” show at Dilettante is a brilliant compilation of art.
The group art show Morgan curated features the work of thirteen female artists, and it proves how differently people see the idea of motherhood. The artists come from all walks of life and show that being a mother isn’t purely wiping off jam-covered hands. It’s a spiritual experience, which Morgan described to the New York Times as divine, but a little bit sci-fi.
Lila Roo wears her “For the Canyon” headdress at the Grand Canyon
Those two adjectives exemplify the work of the twelve artists Morgan brought into the space with her. From a Native-American-inspired headdress to modern geometric work, “Jazz Riff #1,” the show speaks to all who appreciate art. The recently-opened exhibit also featurs works by Lita Albuquerque, Gemma Bayly, Amanda Charchian, Diana Garcia, Dana Louise Kirkpatrick, Fay Ray, Lila Roo, Alia Shawkat, Elena Stonaker, Jacqueline Suskin, Lola Rose Thompson, and Jasmine Albuquerque.
“The Mothership” will be on display at Dilettante through mid-February.
Admit it. We’ve all made the same excuse. We would go out and get cultured, but it can get expensive—it’s $15 dollars to get into LACMA, and that’s before parking costs. So every once in a while, the museums of LA team up and offer a day where even those drowned in student-loan debt can go stretch their minds. It sure beats sitting at home. This Saturday will be a free-for-all at 20 LA museums, so in order to make the most of it, we’ve done the research for you. Without any more buildup, here are three museums we highly recommend.
If you’ve ever realized that you just spent more than an hour watching a panel of the actors on you favorite TV show, you have some experience with The Paley Center for Media. So instead of lying in your bed switching between tabs and listening to the behind-the-scenes jokes on Mad Men, hit up the Beverly Hills museum. There you’ll find relics from television shows from the past fifty years and consoles to watch your favorite shows or listen to radio shows. And with more than 90,000 programs, the Paley Center has Netflix beat by a long shot.
Science hasn’t proven it yet, but Angelenos know we live in the greatest state in the union. The Pasadena Museum of California celebrates our home and the history behind it. Right now they have three exhibits, most notably Flora Kao: Homestead, a recreation of the shacks our predecessors inhabited in the late ’30s. The walls are projected onto hanging canvas, so the dilapidation and rebuilding over time can be shown. The other current exhibits are Serigrafia and Picturing Mexico: Alfredo Ramos Martinez in California. Serigrafia highlights Latino culture in California with screen-printed images, while Picturing Mexico shows a Mexican’s experiences in California in the 1920s.
MOCA is one of the most well-known museums in the city, and for good reason. Right now it’s hosting two exhibitions in addition to its permanent exhibit, and both—Room to Live and Bob Mizer & Tom of Finland—are worth experiencing. There’s so much to see at MOCA, you could easily get lost for hours, so make sure to give yourself enough time.
For a complete list of Saturday’s free museums, check out MuseumLA’s website.
There’s no other way to put it—Haim is cool.
Este Haim started the show by patting KROQ DJ Ted Stryker’s butt and said, “I’ve always wanted to give you a little love pat. And I got it. It’s been my Christmas wish since I was maybe 12 years old, since I heard you play ‘Pretty Fly for a White Guy’ on KROQ.” That moment, the audience knew they were in for an afternoon of entertainment.
Haim, which also includes Este’s sisters Danielle and Alana (along with drummer Dash Hutton), spent the next hour proving that they’ve got the talent, sense of humor, and the support necessary to make it in the industry. The win-your-way-in event began with Stryker moderating a Q&A session that proved to be so much more than expected. The girls freaked out after being told that Mark Hoppus, singer and bassist of blink-182, not only knew who they are, but also asked them a question via Twitter. Asking “What’s your favorite blink-182 song” ended with the girls singing three-part harmony to a few bars of “Josie,” which the crowd seemed to love just as much.
After answering a few questions from the audience, the real show began. The band played selections from their debut album “Days Are Gone,” including “Forever,” “Honey & I,” and of course, “The Wire.” All three have vocal chops, and they harmonize and play their respective instruments perfectly. Throughout the show, the audience learned more about the band than any Q&A could produce. The most apparent thing about Haim is their sisterly bond. After referencing “Arrested Development” to each other and pausing between songs to discuss Danielle’s Canadian-beer shirt, the connection that only sisters can have was on full display. And much too soon, after an extended version of “Let Me Go,” the sisters closed their performance with all three pounding it out on their own drums.
The entire event is streaming until midday on Thursday, so watch it on repeat until then.
No disrespect to vegetarian readers, but this post is not for you.
It’s for those of us who will go to a fancy restaurant and order the cheeseburger. For those who leave the bars before last call to get to In-N-Out right before closing. For those who think of a medium-rare patty with a slice of cheddar cheese as the ultimate in culinary experiences.
From Sunday, January 12 through Saturday the 17th, Pasadena is continuing the holiday season. It’s cheeseburger week, and Pasadena restaurants are going all out. So before you head over to their website to vote in the Cheeseburger Challenge, here’s a day-by-day breakdown of burgers you need.
Start your week on Sunday with a redo of the original, the reason we’re celebrating. Just for the week, The Counter has recreated the first ever cheeseburger—with tomato, cheddar, a fried egg, sweet sriracha sauce, and bacon, all served on an English muffin.
Monday: Roasted Portabello on Housemade Focaccia—with pepperjack, carmelized onions, roasted pepper aioli, oven-dried tomato, and arugula. Served at a/k/a An American Bistro.
Tuesday: Cameron’s Classic Kobe Burger—with Pueblano pepper, a fried egg, Applewood-smoked bacon, cheese, avocado, lettuce, onions, and tomato. The beef is grilled over mesquite wood, Served on an onion roll, with fries. Served at Cameron’s Seafood
Wednesday: The Southwestern—with cheddar and jack cheese, black beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, red onion, romaine lettuce, and housemade chipotle sauce. Served at CREPEstudio.
Thursday: Sandy’s Green Chile Burger—with roasted green chiles, melted Tillamook cheddar cheese, and lettuce, on grass-fed beef from Oregon. Served at La Grande Orange Cafe. Bonus: If you go between 3 and 7 p.m., you can wash your burger down with half-price beer, margaritas, sangria, and more.
Friday: The Lamb Burger—with tzatziki, feta, and shaved lettuce. Served at Kal’s Mediterranean Bistro.
And finally, Saturday. For your last day of the burger-binge (or you can keep going; we’re not judging), head on over to Slater’s 50/50, for a classic: The Old Timey. Served on white brioche with all natural, choice ground beef, American cheese, thick cut bacon, grilled onions, green leaf lettuce, tomato, and 1000 island dressing. Slater’s also has a wide selection of craft beers, so plan on staying a while.
Smallpools sold out the Troubadour on last Friday night. Yet as a group, the members have only four completed songs, and it’s been merely five months since their first live performance. We chatted with frontman Sean Scanlon the night before the show, so he could tell us their secret to such quick success.
LAC: Your live debut was Jan 13th, and five months later you’ve sold out one of the most iconic LA venues. Tell me about your ride.
Sean: It’s awesome. We first launched our first track, Dreaming, in May, and it’s just really crazy how great the response was and how quickly the song spread on the Internet. We’ve been offered great tours with these bands. It’s only been, what, eight months of band life, and we’ve already done a career’s worth of stuff.
LAC: What’s the group dynamic?
Sean: A lot of the ideas are inspired in a room when we’re all together. Anybody can start an idea—it can be Beau just playing a random drumbeat over Mike’s leads and I’ll come in with some chords or something. We’ll spend hours and hours in a room to just be really tight with our filter, and we’ll only pursue things as songs if we really, really like it. We could spend a whole day in the studio, and the last ten minutes have one part that we like. So we’ll record it and come back the next day and work on it some more. Everyone gets involved. We try and flesh out the skeleton—the song with some chords and melodies—and then it’s all on me to write the lyrics.
LAC: You all met in LA, but none of you are from here. So where’s home base?
Sean: Well I had known Mike (Kamerman, lead guitar) for a year, and we had been writing together in our hometown—he lived in New Jersey and I lived in New York—and we both moved to LA together. We live together; we’re roommates, and we met Beau (Kuther) and Joe (Intile) our drummer and bass player, here through some musical friends. We’ve been here close to three years now; we got crappy jobs and lived in apartments, and made a life out here even before the band had started. So we came out to LA to do music, kind of got suck into the grind of getting your feet grounded in LA, and then finally said “Enough is enough. We’re finally going to do this for real.” So yes, LA is definitely the hub of Smallpools.
LAC: How have previous projects made you prepared for what you’re doing now?
Sean: I’ve been doing music forever, in a ton of different projects, and I feel like those were not failures, but practice I guess, the working. They say 10,000 hours makes you an expert of something, and I’ve put in a lot of hours in a band and with the songwriting. All the guys in the band are kind of in the same situation; we all met at some dark times in our musical lives, and we’re all very lucky that this is the one that’s doing something for us. Even though it happened so quickly in the Smallpools world, it is something that we’ve all been working at for a really long time, so it’s really rewarding that it’s been successful thus far.
LAC: Have things slowed down or are they just getting started?
Sean: We’re heading out with Grouplove in a few months, but yeah, the Troubadour show is kind of the bookend of our touring for this year. I think we’ve toured as much as we possibly could on these four songs, so we have to hole up in the studio and get out some more jams to everybody.
LAC: That being said, you only have 4 songs released—about 13 minutes. How do you fill the time for a headlining gig?
That’s a great question; tomorrow is a headlining show. I think we’ll treat it as pretty laid-back. We’re going to play some new ideas and new songs. And we’ll definitely play the entire EP. We’ve got just one cover song.
LAC: What’s the cover?
Sean: It’s a New Radicals song, it’s called You Get What You Give. It’s a good one. When Mike and I first moved to LA, we’d drink a lot and go out to karaoke and sing that song together. It got a really great crowd reaction, because everybody knows the song, but they kind of forgot that it existed. So once it starts playing, they’re like “Oh crap, I know that song,” so we thought we’d play it live.
LAC: And as you’re still making a name for yourself, what do you want Smallpools to be seen as?
Sean: I think I would like Smallpools to just be known as “those guys who just know how to write a quality song that I want to listen to and tell a friend about.” We don’t need a lot of gimmicks or craziness, we’re just four dudes that take a lot of time to write really good songs and perform them, have fun, and then meet everybody—just a lighthearted experience.
Ditch the queue at Starbucks. Think Tank Gallery has transformed its space into a coffee bar in order to showcase the best coffee that Los Angeles has to offer. They’re proving what we already believed—that there’s no such thing as too much of it.
This Saturday marks the end of a three-week stretch of coffee-based events in an exhibit created with the legal stimulant. But before dregs are poured out, get down to the gallery to experience some of the city’s best cups while being entertained. Yesterday, guests were surrounded by Avi Roth’s caffeine-filled artwork, and learned that there can be more to a morning cup o’ joe than its use as a legal stimulant, with LA Coffee Club hosting an Intro to Coffee class. Guests learned how a seed turns into your morning mug through a hands-on brewing class.
Tonight’s event is for the more experienced java artists who think they have what it takes to be crowned champion in a Latte Art Tournament. $5 gets you in to the winner-takes-all tournament, but we beg you, no more cats. Create something original, and the pot may be yours.
But while attending these and other events, remember that the art is what brought it together. Roth’s Coffeegraphs were created solely by using the drink in many of its forms. He describes the unique process on his site as “the process of applying coffee grinds and coffee by-products as organic pigment without a binder to solid and porous surfaces by way of staining, layering and water burning.” And it’s beautiful.
At 9 p.m. on Tuesday, the only sign that Danny Bobbe, Jon Perry, Greg Katz, and Harlow Rodriguez—more commonly known as LA Font—would soon be onstage is Bobbe restringing his guitar. They’re in the green room of The Echo, waiting to play their album-release show, drinking a PBR. The past year has been spent creating eleven tracks for Diving Man, their sophomore LP, released Nov. 19. Now, to commemorate its finish, LA Font took over The Echo, disco balls and gold-jumpsuit-clad dancers in tow. But before they hit the stage, we got used to their dry sense of humor while discussing their views on their music, each other, and Justin Bieber.
LA CANVAS: Tell me about the new LP. What separates it from your first, The American Leagues?
GK: We tried harder. That’s definitely true. That’s the most succinct way I can put it.
DB: We tried like ten times harder. We didn’t have any Internet content when we started off as a band, so we wanted some YouTube videos. So we went to a studio with some videographers to create some YouTube videos. And it was all low-lit and all the footage came out really, really crappy, and we didn’t want to use any of it. But the tracks we recorded—all eleven of them—they were okay. So we made our first record and it turned out okay. But the new record, we had four days, so it was four times as good.
JP: Well and there was a decent amount of prep with a good producer.
GK: Yeah, Eric (Palmquist) is the dude. Without Eric, it would have sounded the same as the first one.
LAC: And what’s the group dynamic as you’re writing?
DB: Well I’m leader, and I don’t really care about anyone else. I’m captain, and CEO, and Chairman of the Board. I’m VP too. I’m Sarah Palin and Rob Ford and Justin Bieber and Rihanna.
GK: It’s an honor to be playing with Justin Bieber. With his rippling abs, his incredible songwriting talent, his…pants. Also his very brotherly relationship with Usher.
LAC: I’ve been listening to Diving Man, and I heard that it’s autobiographical. It’s quite the sad song. I like it, but how’s life going?
DB: Ha. Things are going pretty well now. You know, life has its ups and downs, but you caught me at a bad moment. But, overall things are cool, and we love it out here.
LAC: So how’d you decide to create this show to celebrate the release of the LP?
DB: It’s definitely a home court advantage, playing at The Echo. It’s the best venue, the best neighborhood that we all associate ourselves with. We also have our practice space around here.
LAC: Got any pre-show rituals?
DB: Well right now I’m changing these stings. You’re not supposed to change them at the last minute, but if it’s between having your guitar go a little flat or breaking a string, we’re gambling on the guitar going a little flat. But no, the real ritual is making Greg write out four set lists, one for each member of the band.
GK: I look forward to it. This one got custom art.
JP: I see that. I like what you did with Fine Lines. It’s a cocaine nose job. That’s clever.