Our music picks for 2015

Here are the top picks–at least from some members of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin publication–for 2015 albums. Any questions, comments or hate please respond in the comment section.

David Allen (columnist):

1. Kamasi Washington: The Epic (Brainfeeder)

2. Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (Mom + Pop)

3. Iris DeMent: The Trackless Woods (Flariella)

4. Jeffrey Lewis and Los Volts: Manhattan (Rough Trade)

5. Adele: 25 (Columbia)

6. Sleater-Kinney: No Cities to Love (Sub Pop)

7. Beach House: Depression Cherry (Sub Pop)

8. Yo La Tengo: Stuff Like That There (Matador)

9. Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color (ATO)

10. Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment: Surf (free download)

Runners-up: Nellie McKay: My Weekly Reader (429), The Bird and the Bee: Recreational Love (Rostrum), Boz Scaggs: A Fool to Care (429), Joan Shelley: Over and Even (No Quarter), Cecile McLorin Salvant: For One to Love (Mack Avenue)

Liset Marquez (Rancho Cucamonga, Claremont and Upland reporter):

1. Jamie xx: In Colour (Young Turks)

2. Adele: 25 (Columbia)

3. Leon Bridges: Coming Home (Columbia)

4. Florence and the Machine: How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (Island)

5. Odesza: In Return (Counter)

6. Tame Impala: Currents (Interscope)

7. Beach House: Depression Cherry (Sub Pop)

8. Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color (ATO)

9. Other Lives: Rituals (PIAS)

10. Boxed In: Boxed In (Nettwerk)

Wes Woods II (Culture/entertainment reporter):

1. Future: DS2: (A1 Recordings, Freebandz and Epic Records)

2. Kamasi Washington: The Epic (Brainfeeder)

3. FKA Twigs: M3LL155X (Young Turks)

4. Vince Staples: Summertime 06 (Def Jam Records and ARTium Recordings)

5. Oddisee: The Good Fight (Mello Music Group)

6. Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color (ATO)

7. Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (Mom + Pop)

8. Tame Impala: Currents (Interscope)

9. Ty Dolla $ign: Free TC (Taylor Gang Records, Pu$haz Ink and Atlantic Records)

10. Jamie xx: In Colour (Young Turks)

Runners-up: Mountain Goats: Beat the Champ (Merge Records), Beach House: Depression Cherry (Sub Pop), The Game: Documentary 2 & 2.5 (Blood Money Entertainment and Entertainment One Music), My Morning Jacket: The Waterfall (ATO Records and Capital Records),  Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment: Surf (free download)

Interview with Paul Van Dyk, who is set for Dreamstate in San Bernardino

Below is an email interview with superstar DJ Paul Van Dyk, set to perform at Dreamstate in San Bernardino, that I was not able to use because of time limitations. For more information on the sold-out Dreamstate festival, head to http://www.dreamstateusa.com/losangeles/.PaulvanDyk2015-3

Q: What is your name and where do you currently live?

A: Hello, my name is Paul van Dyk and I live in Berlin

Q: You will be a headliner at Dreamstate USA in San Bernardino (and congratulations on that), which is being advertised as “your trance destination.” What is the state of trance right now compared to the past? Does it feel like a resurgence (or maybe its popularity never went down)?

A: Everyone has their own take on that. For me, it feels like the popularity has remained far closer to ‘constant’, than ‘resurgent’. I do get though, more and more, the vibe from other people see it as resurgent. There’s lots of different ways to gauge that, but with trance-specific events like Dreamstate selling out in 4hrs, I do see where people are getting that feeling from.

Q: What do you think of the concept of the all trance “Dreamstate USA” lineup in San Bernardino and San Francisco?

A: It’s a very positive move. It’s giving something to the U.S. scene that’s been consistently enjoyed by people on other continents for well over a decade. That can’t be a bad thing.

Q: Your Facebook lists your genre of music as “advanced electronic music”. Do you try and distance yourself away from the trance label (and if so, why)?

A: Fans, media or anyone out there who refers to me as ‘a trance DJ’ or ‘a trance producer’, I have no problem with. The need to categorize is fundamentally human. Personally, I don’t need to box myself into anything more specific than the bracket of ‘electronic music’ though. I’ve worked for the freedom to produce what I like, when I like over a long period of time now. For me personally, constraining that frame any further is counterintuitive.

Q: How important has social media been in your career? I ask because you have been around since the early 1990’s when there was no real online presence.

A: Very important. ‘Revolutionary’ is not too big a word.

Q: Do enjoy social media?

A: Not so much enjoy as absolutely love it. It provides a barrier-free bridge between the people who follow what I do and myself… For an artist, you can’t get a better, more healthy ‘relationship’ than that.

Q: What piece of advice would you give younger artists?

A: Follow your heart, not the herd. Producing or play what feels really right inside, not what’s today’s trend. Once artists lose sight of that, they’re in great danger of beginning to chase their own tail. That produces a vicious cycle. Electronic music, by its nature, and over its history, has changed very fast. Once someone starts bandwagon-jumping a trend, they’ve unconsciously putting themselves on a road to obsolescence. They’re carbon dating their output and history’s not typically kind to those that have. Thus the best thing to do is to focus on what you, in your own mind, feels good and sounds right. That’s stood me well over the longer run.

Q: You were an active participant in Rock the Vote in 2004 and 2008. Why is voting so important to you and what do you say to people who don’t feel it is as important?

A: Voting is ones of the foundations of democracy. Freedom of speech and the right to vote are fundamental to making our society as fair and equal as possible. The thing is we are at the crossroads of where this world is going. There are many different ideas as to what should happen with this planet. If you go out and vote, you can have, at least a say in that. You are an importance, this importance is given to you by democracy and democracy is the best way for us all to live together on this planet. There are many countries in the world where people still don’t have any right to vote at all. So if you have the chance, go and do it.

Q: With “The Politics of Dancing 3” is there a message or anything specifically you want fans to get out of it?

A: There is, very much so. In Ibiza whilst DJing many a year ago, I watched Lebanese friends dancing with Israeli friends – without war, without anything in their minds other than treating each other respectfully. In 2015 the need for this type of diplomacy is even greater than it was in 2001. In a very personal respect I see what sort of potential electronic music has for uniting people who otherwise would not normally be united. It’s tremendously powerful in that way and that’s what ‘the politics of dancing’ really means to me.

Q: It’s been 10 years since the last “Politics of Dancing 2” record. Why do a third edition now?

A: Over the years many people asked if there would ever be another ‘Politics Of Dancing’. I’d thought about the idea myself and often. Three years back I finally decided ‘why not?’ If there was a project that we all still had so much enthusiasm for, that is requested by the audience regularly, and over such a long period of time, then really, what’s to stop it?

Q: Are Southern California trance audiences different than other audiences you perform in front of?

A: Not really, no. Back, a good few years ago, you used to see big, and I do mean really gulf-sized differences in how audiences reacted and responded at gigs. These days though, hardly at all – power of the internet, I think!

Q: With the San Bernardino lineup, is there any other acts you’re looking forward to seeing?

A: If I get the chance, I always like to catch what Ben Nicky, Giuseppe Ottaviani, Aly & Fila and Jordan Suckley are up to. Those guys never disappoint.

Q: What is next for you?

A: ‘Politics 3’ will still be very much the focus into 2016. The tour has been going for 6 months now and in that time we’ve reached 30 different shores with nearly 60 shows. There’s still many more to reach in the first half of next year though.

There are some new remixes of three of the album tracks out at the start of December too. I imagine they’ll all be getting dropped in San Bernardino next week.


More with The Beach Boys’ Bruce Johnston about potential reunion, his role in group

I spoke with Bruce Johnston, longtime singer/songwriter of The Beach Boys, in December for a preview of the group’s New Year Eve’s performance in Temecula and there were additional comments he made about a possible full reunion that did not make my final story.

In my original story, I mentioned how The Beach Boys had a 50th anniversary tour in 2012. It featured a tour, the recording of the album “That’s Why God Made the Radio” and original members Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks famously returning to the group.

Johnston said he enjoyed the tour but described it as a “tense” environment in putting it all together.

“There was just a lot of people tense about things we didn’t have to do like stage lighting,” Johnston said. “I thought it was great. But the thing I really liked about the tour that other people didn’t like was it ended. That was one of my favorite things. I’ll tell you why. We agreed for 50 shows and then we did 73. The British media and others spun it around that Mike Love fired his bandmates. In the meantime, we went 23 shows beyond our agreement. My personal feeling was how long do you want to do it? You don’t want to go into the 51st year celebrating the 50th. That’s my personal point of view.”

As far as another reunion with all the original members, Johnston said it hasn’t been discussed.

“It hasn’t come up,” Johnston said. “I will appear on any stage that Mike Love will appear on. My focus has always been to The Beach Boys in this way. If anything like that (a reunion) happens, it needs to be everybody. But I have no idea. Honest to God. No has said ‘hey, lets do The Beach Boys 2018.’ So who knows? It’s a flattering question to ask. But I would be very unprofessional to give you any hope of that because the question has not been asked among the band. If everyone wants to be up there again, well sure, why wouldn’t you? Yeah, sure I’ll do it (then). But I have to do it from Mike Love’s point of view to have it happen. If three guys said ‘lets do it’ and Mike declined then I would decline. But the other three guys might not ask me.” 

Additionally, Johnston (who joined the band in 1965) said he has never wanted to be the focus of the group and is more than happy with his sideman role.

“I am so lucky,” Johnston said. “Are you kidding? I’m not one of those center stage guys even though I stand next to Mike (Love, co-founder and lead singer). My favorite song I ever wrote was ‘Disney Girls (1957).’ Then the spotlight is on me. I’m not a frontman. I’m excited about life but Mike’s a frontman. That’s the frontman. I get my little 15 minutes of fame and about three minutes singing my song. My real thing I love is songwriting. I have a Grammy. So I’m kind of covered on the attention part you asked about. I always tell Mike he does so much stuff. Like ‘you go be famous I’d rather be right here.’ I’d rather talk about Mike’s achievements.”

Johnston said he feels Love doesn’t get enough credit for helping to write the group’s songs because they get overshadowed by Brian Wilson’s efforts similar to how people think of legendary composer Henry Mancini’s 1961 Grammy winning song “Moon River” but don’t remember the lyrics were written by Johnny Mercer.

“I feel like Mike got skipped over,” Johnston said, adding Love wrote the lyrics to 1965’s “California Girls.” “I’m happy to talk about Mike. I have an amazing supporting role but he’s our boy.”

— Wes Woods II

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David Allen, Liset Marquez and Wes Woods list their best albums of 2014


header Hello everyone, The Inland Empire Music Now blog is back and a staff list of best albums in 2014 is an easy way to begin.  We’ll jump right into it.

David Allen:

1. Wussy: Attica! (Shake It)

(Video: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/saturday-sessions-wussy-performs-teenage-wasteland/)

2. Spoon: They Want My Soul (Loma Vista)

3. The War on Drugs: Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian)

4. Angel Olsen: Burn Your Fire for No Witness (Jagjaguwar)

5. St. Vincent: St. Vincent (Loma Vista)

6. Parquet Courts: Sunbathing Animal (What’s Your Rupture?)

7. Courtney Barnett: The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas (Mom and Pop)

8. Sturgill Stimpson: Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (High Top Mountain)

9. Loudon Wainwright III: Haven’t Got the Blues (Yet) (429 Records)

10. Various Artists: Role: New Sounds of Brazil (Mais Um Discos)

Honorable mentions: Rosanne Cash: The River and the Thread (Blue Note); Lucinda Williams: Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone (Highway 20); Tune-Yards: Nikki Nack (4AD); Jack White: Lazaretto (Third Man); Caetano Veloso: Abracaco (Nonesuch).


Liset Marquez

1. Damien Rice: My Favourite Faded Fantasy (Vector Recordings) (Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnzHOsiaJns)

2. St. Vincent: St. Vincent (Loma Vista/Republic)

3. RAC: Strangers (Cherrytree, Interscope)

4. Mr. Little Jeans: Pocketknife ((Sony Music, Australia)

5. Sylvan Esso: Sylvan Esso (Trekky/Partisan)

6. Frazey Ford: Indian Ocean (Nettwerk)

7. Benjamin Booker: Benjamin Booker (ATO Records, Rough Trade Records)

8. Zola Jesus: Tiaga (Mute)

9. Banks: Goddess (Harvest)

10. David Gray: Mutineers (Good Soldier Songs)


Wes Woods II

1. Run the Jewels: “Run the Jewels 2” (Mass Appeal)

(Video and caution explicit language) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuWQyfGa1yI

2. The War on Drugs: Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian)

3. D’Angelo and the Vanguard: Black Messiah (RCA)

4. YG: My Krazy Life (Def Jam)

5. Flying Lotus: You’re Dead! (Warp)

6. St. Vincent: St. Vincent (Loma Vista)

7. Spoon: They Want My Soul (Loma Vista)

8. Freddie Gibbs and Madlib: Piñata (Madlib Invazion)

9. Ex Hex: Rips (Merge)

10. Wussy: Attica! (Shake It)

Honorable mentions (and not in any kind of order): Damien Rice: My Favourite Faded Fantasy (Vector Recordings); Little Dragon: Nabuma Rubberband (Because Music); Big K.R.I.T.; Cadillactia (Def Jam); Caetano Veloso: Abracaco (Nonesuch); Mac DeMarco: Salad Days (Captured Tracks); Slipknot: .5: The Gray Chapter (Roadrunner) 

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments with your selections also.

Some quick Coachella 2014 act descriptions and thoughts

coachella2014The 2014 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival lineup was released Wednesday evening and here are some quick descriptions for each day:

Friday (April 11 & 18)

Atlanta hip-hop megastars OutKast and Minneapolis alternative rock pioneers The Replacements are absolutely HUGE gets (but not completely surprising as rumors have been out for awhile) while plenty of standouts in the undercard such as rock’s HAIM, electronic duo The Knife, indie pop’s Ellie Goulding, electrofunk’s Chromeo, indie rock’s Neko Case, soul singer Aloe Blacc (of Avicii fame) and even the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Other acts include Kate Nash, Anti-Flag, the Cult, Broken Bells and more.

Saturday (April 12 & 19)

English rock band (and Coachella veterans) Muse returns as a headliner with Coachella veteran rock act Queens of the Stone Age (from nearby Palm Desert) but the biggest buzz might be for New Zealand indie/art pop’s Lorde (known for massive 2013 hit “Royals.” Additionally, dub step’s Skrillex, singer Pharrell Williams, DJ Fatboy Slim, hip-hop’s Nas (as well as Kid Cudi), electro pop’s Chvrches, garage rock’s Ty Segall, electronic pop’s Pet Shop Boys … the list of talented acts goes on and on.

Sunday (April 13 & 20)

Canadian indie rock stars Arcade Fire returns as Coachella headliners as well as Los Angeles alternative rock’s Beck, Scotland electro house DJ Calvin Harris, a reunion of indie rock’s Neutral Milk Hotel and even English heavy metal band Motorhead. This doesn’t even take into account for new stars like Disclosure, veterans like Fishbone and rising stars like Chance the Rapper and Jhene Aiko.

Outside of OutKast, one can argue the headliners (and a good chunk of the acts actually) aren’t anything new but all three days look really interesting this year (at least initially). I would have liked to see David Bowie, Daft Punk, Black Sabbath, Beyoncé, Rihanna or Kanye West on the bill but you can’t have it all I guess. It seems like they tried to add some more hip-hop this year also which I approve of.

Festival passes for both weekends go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday but general admission passes for weekend one must be purchased as a shuttle combination, according to Coachella officials.

The passes with shuttle combination are $435.

All types of passes are available for weekend two (a general admission ticket is $375 with no shuttle combination), according to officials.

Additionally, the price you see is the price you pay, according to officials.

The festival is at 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio.

To purchase tickets or for more information, head to www.coachella.com

Our music picks for 2013

Here is our office’s music selections for 2013

Columnist David Allen

  1. Best Coast “Fade Away” (Jewel City)
  2. Bombino “Nomad” (Nonesuch)
  3. Vampire Weekend “Modern Vampires of the City” (XL)
  4. Bleached “Ride Your Heart” (Dead Oceans)
  5. Arcade Fire “Reflektor” (Merge Records)
  6. Neko Case “The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You” (Anti-)
  7. Girls Names “The New Life” (Slumberland)
  8. The Julie Ruin “Run Fast” (Dischord)
  9. David Bowie “The Next Day” (Columbia)
  10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Mosquito” (Interscope)

Journalist Liset Marquez

  1. The National,Trouble Will Find Me” (album)
  2. San Fermin, “San Fermin” (album)
  3. London Grammar, “If You Wait” (album)
  4. The Head and the Heart, “Let’s Be Still” (album)
  5. Guards, “In Guards We Trust” (album)
  6. The Avett Brothers, “Magpipe and the Dandelion” (album)
  7. Local Natives, “Hummingbird”(album)
  8. Vampire Weekend, “Modern Vampires of the City”(album)
  9. Arcade Fire, “Reflektor” (album)
  10. The Civil Wars, “The Civil Wars” (album)

Honorable mention:

  1. The Lone Below, “The Lone Below” (album)
  2. Valerie June, “Pushin’ Against a Stone” (album)
  3. Lorde, “Pure Heroine” (album)

Sports reporter J.P. Hoonstra (these are all songs)

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1IoPelxNtqydmFDexxTx1Xk2O6dsyOqz OR

1. The Strokes – Call it fate, call it karma

2. The Holydrug Couple – Paisley

3. Mayer Hawthorne – Her Favorite Song

4. Castle – Rotten Sushi / The Mushroom Of Course!

5. Tame Impala ~ Prototype [Outkast Cover]

6. Beautiful Eulogy – Release Me From This Snare (@beautifuleulogy)

7. Midlake – Provider

8. Phoenix – Trying To Be Cool (Official Video)

9. The Stepkids – Moving Pictures (Official Video)

10. Thundercat – “Heartbreaks + Setbacks”

Journalist Beau Yarbrough (songs)

1. “Party Kids” by Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside off of “Untamed Beast”

2. “The Sword by My Side” by the Thermals off of “Desperate Ground”

3. “Awkward” by San Cisco off of the “Awkward” EP

4. “Black Sheep” by Gin Wigmore off of “Man Like That”

5. “Holy Roller” by Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

6. “Delicate Cycle” by The Uncluded off of “Hokey Fright”

Reporter Wes Woods II

1. Kanye West “Yeezus” (album)

2. Valerie June, “Pushin’ Against a Stone” (album)

3. Vampire Weekend “Modern Vampires of the City” (album)

4. Run The Jewels “Run the Jewels” (free album)

5. The National “Trouble Will Find Me” (album)

6. Youth Lagoon “Wondrous Bughouse” (album)

7. Bombino “Nomad” (album)

8. Neko Case “The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You” (album)

9. Earl Sweatshirt “Doris” (album)

10. David Bowie “The Next Day” (album)

11. Thao & The Get Down Stay Down “We The Common” (album)

12. Pusha-T “My Name Is My Name” (album)

Honorable mention:

Chance the Rapper “Acid Rap” and Danny Brown “Old” because their voices annoy me but you can’t deny their writing abilities.

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Cary Brothers headed to Aloft in Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday

carybrothersRANCHO CUCAMONGA – Cary Brothers, a Los Angeles based indie and alternative rock artist known for the 2004 song “Blue Eyes,” will play an acoustic performance at 6 p.m. Saturday at Aloft hotel.

To watch the performance, you must RSVP at http://www.pastemagazine.com/rsvp

For more information on the concert, head here: http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2013/07/cary-brothers-to-play-live-session-in-rancho-cucam.html?utm_source=PANL&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=130708

The song “Blue Eyes” was on the soundtrack to the movie “Garden State.”

The hotel, near the northeast corner of Fourth Street and Haven Avenue, is at 10480 4th St.

MUSIC – Stagecoach brings country stars to Indio including The Honky Tonk Angels Band

MUSIC – Stagecoach brings country stars to Indio

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, CA) – Friday, April 26, 2013
Author: By Wes Woods

The annual Stagecoach Country Music Festival makes its seventh trip to the Empire Polo Grounds this weekend with country superstars Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum and the Zac Brown Band, among others. The reunion of the Inland Empire’s The Honky Tonk Angels Band another attraction.

The festival, featuring nearly 50 country acts, follows just a week on the heels of the two-weekend Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, held at the same location.

“We all are obviously super grateful for this. You really don’t get a second chance in the music business,” said Kurt Ross, Honky Tonk Angels Band vocalist and Claremont resident, who added the group would play at 1:45 p.m. Saturday on the Palomino stage located inside the huge Sahara Tent.

Other acts include Hank Williams Jr., Trace Adkins, Jeff Bridges & the Abiders, Dierks Bentley, Rodney Atkins, Darius Rucker, Thompson Square, Lonestar and more.

Ontario-raised Ross said his band came out of the punk scene in 1988 and their early material consisted of cover songs and “goofing around.” Soon, though, the group was performing “smoking originals,” he said. “It works so well. The people would come and see us and it was so awesome. We were kicking out songs left and right.”

Eventually the group, which blended Americana, rock and Southern rock, broke up and Ross is now a production manager who has been working at the Stagecoach festival since its first year.

Ross said Stagecoach organizer Paul Tollett heard him sing vocals on the Unforgiven’s “Hang ’em High” at last year’s festival and asked him to put the Honky Tonk Angels back together.

Ross said he is looking forward to Commander Cody performing at the festival. “Absolutely. We love him. He’s right up our alley and Dwight (Yoakam) and Nick 13 from Tiger Army. A punk-rock guy country thing.”

The three-day festival will be broadcast on AXS TV. For information on the live telecast, go to www.axs.tv, www.facebook.com/axstvconcerts or @AXSTV on Twitter.

wes.woods@ inlandnewspapers.com @ClaremontNow on Twitter @IEMusicNow on Twitter

Stagecoach 2013: Katey Sagal and John Reilly go from acting to singing with different results

Stagecoach 2013: Katey Sagal and John Reilly go from acting to singing with different results

Posted:   04/29/2013 03:40:01 AM PDT
Updated:   04/29/2013 04:09:10 AM PDT


INDIO – Actors John Reilly and Katey Sagal had different results singing with their bands Sunday night at the Stagecoach country music festival.Reilly, who performs in movies and television under John C. Reilly, was a much stronger performer on the Mustang Stage performing a blend of Americana and folk songs and he would joke with the audience between songs.

“How about Riders in the Sky?” he said early on about the group who performed before him who wore elaborate stage outfits in the 105 degree weather. “They don’t sweat in those shirts. They must have sweat comptments in the back.”

Meanwhile, he performed songs like “Good Morning Captain” and a song he recorded for Jack White’s record label “Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar” while using a guitar with the words “Dewey Cox” written on it similar to his spoof movie “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.”

Sagal, however, waited a couple of songs to perform as she let her band The Forest Rangers take center stage. The band who also performs music for the television show “Sons of Anarchy” that Sagal is on sounded good, even performing a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground,” but the audience was restless to hear Sagal.

When Sagal performed, her voice sounded off and she was slightly off beat on the Tom Petty cover “Free Fallin.'” She recovered for the next song “Bird On A Wire” but still did not appear entirely comfortable singing to the beat.