Desperately Seeking Music Equality: Looking Beyond Macklemore’s ‘Same Love’ Success
With the boulder bearing the image of an eagle in flight lording over it, the annual Eagle Rock Music Festival celebrates 15 years on Saturday by taking over the neighborhood’s business district. Featuring multiple stages, the day-long party will echo through the hills of Northeast Los Angeles with experimental electronic and ambient music, Americana, rock, global bass, jazz, blues and punk, as well as food and family-centered action. It’s an impressive and adventurous roster, featuring artists Bosnian Rainbows, Poolside, Boardwalk, Nguzunguzu, Dub Club and a few dozen others, and presents evidence of the vibrant music community that has blossomed in the area. Over the span of the festival’s life, Eagle Rock and its sister neighborhoods Highland Park and Atwater Village have become independent music havens, home to labels including Friends of Friends, Innovative Leisure, Stones Throw, Now-Again, Alpha Pup, Brainfeeder and others. Studios and indie biz offices dot corners, and no fewer than four fantastic record stores sell choice, expertly curated music. RELATED: The 10 Commandments of smartphone use during concerts Perhaps most important for the area’s long-term prospects, the proceeds from the festival will help fund the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, a nonprofit space near the corner of Eagle Rock and Colorado that programs art camps, after-school classes, workshops — one on the xylophone begins on Oct. 14 (!) — and concerts. Its mission is to ensure that the area remains an arts hub for generations to come. The space has long been utilized by taste-making promoters FYF for innovative gigs and represents the area’s dominant population with evenings of Latin American-focused music. Friday night, for example, the center will host the monthly “Noches de Trova,” which features Mexican and Latin American singer-songwriters drawing on bolero, ranchera, country, jazz, folk and blues music. Saturday’s music festival roster is all over the place. Those looking for heavy rhythm should note Nguzunguzu, whose tracks are typified by tribal, polyglot beats and psychedelic washes of synthetics. The smoother-grooved duo Poolside celebrates the more casual aspects of dance music, a team “inspired by California, mezcal, dancing, good food and friends.” The beguiling duo Boardwalk, which has an excellent new album out on Stones Throw, promises to be a highlight. INTERACTIVE: A festival for every fan SoCal’s yearly sonic lineup The biggest influx of fans will no doubt arrive for Bosnian Rainbows, though. The group was formed by At the Drive In and Mars Volta guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, and his devoted followers are legion. Born as Rodriguez-Lopez went on hiatus from the Mars Volta, the Rainbows features the shockingly charismatic lead singer Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes. A children’s stage will host, among others, the uniquely Angleno work of the Bob Baker Marionettes. An experimental stage will be headlined by the modern dance troupe/music ensemble String Theory.
Music Does Get Louder Every Year
“I wanted to raise my game, basically,” Tong said. “I’m established in the U.K., but I want to shake it all out and find out what I’m really made of.” PHOTOS: Concerts by The Times As Los Angeles has become a global destination for dance music, with local firms such as HARD Events and Insomniac getting tens of millions of investment dollars and new clubs springing up every few months, one thing that’s lacking is institutional memory. New York has a legacy of legendary clubs such as Paradise Garage; Detroit and Chicago have trademark sounds that helped form the dominant mode of pop music today. Los Angeles’ current bull market in mainstream dance music is relatively recent. It was built on big festivals such as HARD Summer and Electric Daisy, where young crowds came of age to contemporary house, neo-disco and dubstep. What it doesn’t have is a gatekeeper, a universally agreed-upon tastemaker whose acknowledgment can cement a career and put challenging new sounds in context. In England and around the world, Tong has filled that role since mainstream dance-music culture cohered in the ’90s. For producers, landing a track on his BBC show or his live mixes was a seal of approval that you’ve struck a nerve on dance floors. INTERACTIVE: A festival for every fan SoCal’s yearly sonic lineup His move to L.A. is a similar validation. The world’s most influential voice in dance-music media thinks the genre’s future is in Southern California. “I was around for all the earlier waves, when Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers all came to the U.S. and were embraced here,” Tong said.
Music Review: Kenny Rogers offers something a little different on ‘You Can’t Make Old Friends’
By Associated Press, Kenny Rogers, You Cant Make Old Friends (Warner Bros.) Kenny Rogers enters his 75th year with an album that blends the familiar with the challenging, seeking new hits and pursuing new ideas even as he enters the Country Music Hall of Fame this fall. Looking for things to do? Select one or more criteria to search Kid-friendly Get ideas His age occasionally shows in the raggedness at the edges of his vocal tone. But Rogers always made the huskiness of his voice work for him, and that holds true through most of these 11 new songs. Impressively, he hits high, forceful notes when required, matching longtime duet partner Dolly Parton on the soaring passages of the wistfully sentimental title tune, which would have fit on any of his solo albums from decades past. On the progressive side, Rogers tackles the struggles of a Mexican immigrant on the Spanish-tinged ballad Dreams Of The San Joaquin; a jaunty Gulf Coast dance tune on Dont Leave Me in the Night Time, featuring accordionist Buckwheat Zydeco; and a complex narrative about fighting darkness in the modern world on Turn This World Around, a duet with young singer-songwriter Eric Paslay. He occasionally reaches too far, as in Merica, certainly the first patriotic tune to reference a spanked child and a drunken uncle. For the most part, though, Rogers proves he can still deliver the romantic ballads and dramatic narratives on which his reputation rests. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
According to the company Echo Nest, music is actually getting louder every year. Data scientist Glenn McDonald writes : We have the data, and it tells a fairly clear picture about loudness over time. The loudness of the hotttest 5,000 songs each year increased very slowly from the 50s through the 80s, and then more rapidly and steadily, all the way to the present day. Fast Companyexplains that its not just raw decibels that are important here : What do we mean, though, when we say that music is louder than it used to be? Cant you just turn down the volume if you choose to? Actually, its not really about how loud the music coming out of your headphones or speakers is, but the difference in volume between the quietest elements of a song and the loudest elements. In any media formatvinyl, cassette, CD, MP3, you name ittheres a maximum volume that an element can be, and that is not growing. Its the quieter parts of a song that are getting louder and louder, resulting in a dynamic range that has continued to shrink over time. And the curmudgeons might even be right that louder music (and louder everything these days) is bad for you. Its not just about hurting your hearing, but about stressing your body. According to environmental psychologist Arline Bronzaft, dealing with constant noise is more dangerous than you might think .
We’re used to seeing images of attractive white people as the faces of the movement for LGBTQ equality. We’re used to getting excited when another straight, white person says they support our equality movement, because it’s certainly better than the alternative. But forgive me if I’m tired of doling out cookies to everyone who isn’t a bigot. Most of these celebrities charge events a “nominal fee” to the tune of $10,000 or more as compensation for standing for equality, and much of their support goes to causes like marriage equality, which benefit well-off, white gay people most significantly. Queer recording artists who have been singing out loud before any major media outlet would have celebrated it, and who write about the wide range of issues that plague the LGBTQ community, truly represent the rawness of our diverse community. It would be nice if Macklemore and his crew could give them a shout-out and acknowledge that Macklemore’s ability to get his message out so beautifully had something to do with him being a white, straight, cisgender man. If you really want to do something about the equality movement in music beyond just watching the VMAs offer up a token moment of social awareness, you can start off by supporting out and proud LGBTQ recording artists whose songs and lyrics are the soundtrack to the equality movement. I just learned about OUTMUSIC – The LGBT Academy of Recording Arts (LARA). They have a Kickstarter campaign going on right now to help fund their music documentary film For Which WE Stand (One Queer Music Nation in the Visible), which is specifically about the history of queer recording arts. OUTMUSIC/LARA was forged by life partners Dan Martin and Michael Biello in 1990 and is now headed up by Diedra Meredith, who is rarely mentioned in the tokenized and selectively publicized “lists” of leaders in the movement for LGBTQ equality. This organization features a diverse group of queer artists who paint a much more vibrant picture of what LGBTQ life looks like, sounds like, and feels like. They support, honor, and celebrate recording artists like Nhojj, an R&B artist who became the first gay indie artist to reach the number-one spot on MTV’s Music Top 100 chart in 2010. Other artists they support include Christine Martucci, who also topped the music charts; Jamaican reggae fusion artist Diana King, who rocked her home country when she came out last summer; transgender rap artist Foxx Jazell; and multiple-Billboard-Top-5-chart-topping indie recording artist Jason Walker, whom record executives have referred to as very talented but “too gay.” My aim is not to cut down Macklemore but to raise up the artists who have been trying to get the message out all along. I want to see a more accurate and diverse picture of both the mainstream music and queer communities. The best thing we can do is to support the LGBTQ recording artists whose identities are conveniently utilized by artists like Macklemore and Miley Cyrus and avoid getting our struggle and plight caught up in mainstream award shows, which are really about profit and have no real interest in supporting queer people.