Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Two of indie hip-hop’s most compelling characters team up Wonder Twins style to activate this dynamic double-bill. Boston’s Mr. Lif is cruising in on the back of his fully realized new release, Mo’ Mega (Def Jux), which tempers his trademark high-minded microphone mediations with some of his most personal ruminations to date. Updating the Public Enemy manifesto of self-empowerment through boombastic beats, Lif’s lyrical dexterity is truly a wonder to behold. Def Jux labelmate Cage comes to the table with an unbelievably brutal back-story that powers tough-talking bomb tracks. From stories of childhood abuse to his own twisted tales of drugs, drama and violence, Hell’s Winter, the latest release from this self-described “recovering mental patient” is the sonic equivalent of a particularly heinous Harvey Keitel film as sound-tracked by El-P. Get ready to rumble, y’all.

(originally posted in the LA Weekly, July 2006. The pic of Mr. Lif ripping it up live is from his Myspace page. Word.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

EARLY MAN at the Whiskey, LA (Preview)

If you want blood, classic Midwest metal-heads Early Man bring it by the bucketful. This Ohio-bred duo of Mike Conte (vocals, guitars) and Adam Bennati (drums) invoke a gleefully evil heavy metal thunder that recalls the glory years of Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate and Metallica when they still mattered. Sharpening their battleaxes in New York City, Early Man landed on major indie label Matador, releasing a self-titled EP and the skull-crushing full-length, Closing In (both feature their signature song, stoner feel-good anthem “Death is The Answer”). EM’s unpretentious, denim and concert t-shirt-clad rawk is a demolition derby of blistering riffs and Conte’s maniacal, young Ozzy howl. Fleshing out the live show with a bassist and second guitarist, EM is sure to do major damage in the intimate confines of the Whiskey. Wolf who?

(Originally published in the LA Weekly, July 2006)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

RADIOHEAD @ The Greek, Los Angeles, June 29, 2006 Pt. 1

Section A, Row K seat 46. Two rows behind Slash, three seats to the right of Steven Bauer. Oh, starry night. The Big Dipper looms overhead...

The band sounds phenomenal. The new songs are strikingly brilliant: "Videotape," "All I Need," "Arpeggi" (which comes with a rapid-fire sub-rhythm somewhere between Aphex Twin and Timbaland), and stunner "Bangers and Mash," featuring our hero Thom Yorke on a drum kit which he summarily destroys by set's end. All welcome additions to the Radiohead canon. "Idiotique" rages with the energy of Underworld's entire catalog, which Yorke's conducts like his own private rave. "Everything in its Right Place" stands as one of their most timeless monuments, truly classic rock, no less evocative than "Baba O'Reilley." Yorke playfully chastises a fan for requesting "Creep," later muttering "'Creep' my ass," during the encore towards the persistent request maker, instead launching into the soulful new ballad "House of Cards." When they revisit "Pablo Honey," the hordes go customarily berserk. Flashbulbs pepper the crowd during a particularly grand performance of "Paranoid Android." They swagger and sway, jerk, sputter and flail. Radiohead have tapped into a particularly 21st century kind of anxiety, and in the process come to define more than just a moment in time. New iconic giants are go.