Forgive the dorked-out shout-outs, but this week I’ll be giving thanks to the following music apps, without which I don’t know how I’d ever sustain such a life-consuming addiction: Songkick (concert-listings aggregator), Spotify (if ya don’t know about Spotify…shame), WillCall (similar to Songkick but less robot-y), KCRW (wildly influential LA radio station), Shazam (song identifier), SoundCloud (music sharing and recording app), Pandora (duh), Anchording (great for musicians who need quick reference to tablature), and yes, even iTunes (sometimes).
A sincere, hearty thanks to the folks behind these creations, for making it absurdly easy to be a music obsessive. And, of course, we’re super, DUPER thankful for bands who play during the holidays and entertain us when we’re bored rotten.
One of the most universally respected artists of the hip-hop world over the past 20 years, Nas continues to produce at artistically advanced levels. This year’s album, Life is Good, is one of the major triumphs of 2012, a fearless exploration of the modern man’s psyche. Nas has deep, poignant things to say on a regular basis, and his live shows are predictably transformative. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about Lauryn Hill, who still enjoys a cult following despite marginal output over the past decade and a reputation for being plain awful live. Hopefully Ms. Train Wreck actually shows up on time and figures it out. It’s been a rough tour so far.
Yes, the Joy Formidable will be onstage on Tuesday. But the real object of our attention here is the venue, San Francisco’s newest house of tunes. The Valencia Street concert hall is booking some impressive acts, with Beachwood Sparks, Fresh and Onlys, Marissa Nadler among the willing. But back to the Joy Formidable, a band that could fill an arena with its grandiose, ambitious rock statements. It's something along the lines of The Killers and/or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, always building varied amounts of righteous momentum, as if there weren’t any direction to go but forwards and onwards and skywards.
Need to work off some Turkey Day-related gluttony? Waddle on over to Ruby Skye after your binge eating session and let Mord Fustang lead your post-dinner cardio. Mord Fustang is a relative unknown, but the way EDM has been taking over the consciousness of the typical music fan, he’ll be rallying the masses any day now. Just, here…
Oh, and also:
Oakland’s best-dressed party-starters are Wallpaper, hands down. And yes, they write songs with titles like “(EXPLETIVE) BEST SONG EVERRR” AND “STUPiDFACEDD” and “I Got Soul, I’m So Wasted.” But don’t be fooled, there’s plenty of sophistication going on here. Frontman Ricky Reed brings the same style to his songs as he does to his wardrobe, packaging autotuned vocals with a million bells and whistles, sometimes literally. It’s all cheeky and kitschy and, well, Oakland. See for yourself…
The ridiculously prolific Compton producer known as DJ Quik (or David Marvin Blake to a few) has touched seemingly every corner of the hip-hop universe, influencing and producing for acts as big and diverse as Jay-Z and Whitney Houston and, holy crap, this can't be right — Shaq? The guy is a magnet for fun facts, really. Last year, in an effort to publicize his 2011 album Book of David, DJ Quik smoked out an entire weed dispensary in L.A. Innovative marketing at its finest.