Category: The Even Greater Depression

Vibe to cease publication


Vibe magazine will cease publication, according to a report on the AOL-owned site Daily Finance.

Founded in 1993 by Quincy Jones and Time Warner, Vibe has been a general interest music magazine that covered politics and current events as well as hip-hop and soul. Called by some -- well, Wikipedia -- "the black Rolling Stone," Vibe was bought by the Wicks Group in 2006. Its circulation, reported to advertisers at 818,000 earlier late last year, had fallen to 600,000, the New York Times reports.

Although the magazine had already implemented cost-cutting measures, including layoffs and a four-day work week, staff today were told that its run was over. Editor Danyel Smith sent this sad note to Gawker:

Read more on The Times' Jacket Copy.

KMVN 93.9 FM does the hustle into that good night


The mausoleum for L.A. radio stations is getting awfully crowded this year. Starting April 14, the disco-leaning station (and most recent home of popular host Rick Dees, pictured) KMVN "Movin 93.9 FM" will pack up the rayon and spangles for good. At that point, Grupo Radio Centro, the Mexican radio firm, will assume control of programming and marketing, with a clause to buy the station outright within seven years. The $7-million deal means 93.9 will flip to a Spanish-language format, and Dees is currently out of a regular morning-show slot.

"These have been challenging times in media, and this is just the best move for us," said Jeff Smulyan, CEO of Emmis Communications, the company that had operated KMVN until the deal. "The hardest thing is that it had been trending up in ratings, and we think the world of Rick, but it's the right decision for us now."

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Echo Park and Silver Lake male showgoers: Be wary of muggings

Spaceland For all you single males planning on flying solo to shows in Silver Lake or Echo Park in the near future, you may want to consider taking a burly friend along with you. According to Councilman Eric Garcetti's blog, there's been a recent spate of 10 robberies targeting lone men around the intersections of Sunset Boulevard and Alvarado Street in Echo Park and  Hyperion and Rowena Avenues in Silver Lake, each of which is close to several popular neighborhood music venues, including The Echo and Spaceland.

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'Jonesy's Jukebox' runs out of nickels

Jonesy, sans jukebox

It's come to this -- a Sex Pistol drives a Prius. On a recent crisp afternoon, Steve Jones, the guitar architect of London punk in its primacy, zipped down Hollywood Boulevard in his shiny white hybrid Toyota, which is customized with a rooftop image of her majesty Queen Elizabeth, a safety pin jutting from her lip. And you thought punk rock was dead.

Even with the distraction of nubile young tourists strolling up the Walk of Fame, Jones was in a melancholy mood. You see, like so many people in America these days, the 53-year-old rock star turned radio DJ is looking for a job.

"It's weird not to have somewhere to go," Jones said. "And wherever I do go next won't be the same, I know that."

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Your field guide to local hipster music aggregators in a post-Indie 103.1 world

That's 'Jonesy,' for you not upside-down people

So, now that Indie 103's gone from the airwaves and all you cool kids have pressed up "1/15/09: Never Forget" car decals depicting Jonesy riding a bald eagle (each crying a single globular tear), it's time to consider where to turn next. Indie had some irreplaceable stuff when it left this mortal coil: Henry Rollins' deadpan trolls through the noise underground, Joe Escalante pitching as your one-stop hipster divorce shop. But it was most useful as a universally agreed-upon filter for local bands. Even occasional spins validated that a band had earned a certain degree of cache that the freaky echo chamber of the blogosphere couldn't quite match.

We obviously hope that you'll take the occasion of Indie's terrestrial demise to re-up your Pop & Hiss subscription (checks payable to me, we can work out installment plans). But if you're smack in Indie's demographic of frequently car-bound Eastside dilettantes, here's a cheat sheet of worthy, less-obvious places online, on air and (anachronism!) on paper to help you separate the wheat from the chaff in the world of striving L.A. musicians. Servicey! It's chockablock with conflicts of interest and surely missing some must-reads, so add to it in the comments.

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Welcome to 2009: Songs about disaster


Ah, the comforts of song.

But sometimes we don't want songs that comfort. We want music to blare aloud our fear, trouble and pain, so we don’t have to go through the emotional exertion of doing it ourselves. Instead, we can take an artificial but cathartic plunge into life’s grimness, and come up feeling momentarily purged.

For example, I can say from experience that Lou Reed’s “Berlin” album has an antidepressant effect. Taking a mud bath in this most sordid of rock operettas brings me relief because,  however badly things are going, they’re not as bad as this. Just be sure to apply sparingly.

So -- our little rag is in bankruptcy court, the American automobile industry -- heavens to Chuck Berry, could be motorvating over the hill for good -- and it has become increasingly clear that Chaos Theory, rather than representative democracy, is the underlying principle of California state government. Can you understand why I started thinking about songs of disaster?

Here’s a list of them, in no particular order of preference. The criteria: the problems of a few little people, or some other small subset of society, don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy category, no matter how disastrous their outcome. We’re dealing here with  songs about the Big Ones -- the kinds of disasters that don’t just rock your world, but nearly everybody’s.

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Knitting Factory is just giving it away to anyone these days

The Locust at the Knitting Factory

Hey there, you perpetually broke L.A. ska, hardcore and backpack rap kids! If you get thee to the Knitting Factory in Hollywood on Monday at 6 p.m., you can get an early taste of what the Obama administration has for the rest of America: free stuff just for showing up! The plucky club is offering gratis pairs of tickets to a whole slurry of its forthcoming shows, and more than a few are worth a Red Line trip: the Adolescents, P.O.S., Tim Barry of Avail and a Mike Park/Kevin Seconds/Jesse Michaels triple bill among them (where you can plead with Michaels to think about an Operation Ivy reunion).

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In which we ponder Brokencyde's 'Freaxxx'

Freaxxx, all

If you've accessed the Internet today you've probably been pointed to this already, but we'd be remiss not to direct Pop & Hiss readers in the direction of something so luminously exalted, aesthetically impenetrable and so deeply reinforcing of the Internet generation gap as Brokencyde's video for "Freaxxx." (We'd post it here, but there are liberally autotuned f-bombs abounding.) The "Albucrazy"-based band has done for MySpace emo what some think Soulja Boy did for hip-hop: turn their career into a kind of macro-performance art that exists so far beyond the tropes of irony and sincerity that to ask "are they kidding?" is like trying to peel an onion to get to a perceived central core that, in the end, does not exist and renders all attempts to reassemble the pieces futile.

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Hey, downtowners: Safari Sam's wants you at the Regent, for free


For all you music fans sweating out the plummeting values of your downtown loft spaces: The latest incarnation of Safari Sam's feels for you. Downtown-centric blog Angelenic pointed us toward a nifty deal from the club, which recently relocated from its dicey east Hollywood location (where a few passersby met untimely fates) to the Regent Theater on Main Street. For the next six months, Angelenos who live in ZIP Codes 90013, 90014, 90015, 90017 and 90021 can get into any show for free with proof of address.

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