Pop & Hiss

The L.A. Times music blog

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The week in Pop (& Hiss) and more

February 18, 2011 |  6:41 pm

Pop & Hiss strives to provide the best, most relevant and entertaining music coverage of the week. Hey, it's a goal, be nice. Sometimes we have some posts that hit the mark. Sometimes we don't and others do. Here's a quick look at some of the best of what Pop & Hiss and The Times had to offer this week, as well as some stuff we missed. 


From the ol' Pop & Hiss:

- Snap Judgment: Radiohead's 'The King of Limbs'. "The King of Limbs," which was abruptly made available for download via the band's website Friday, can be heard from several different angles. Fans and critics have already been registering wildly divergent reactions: Some think it's one of the band's best efforts; others find it too low-key or similar to previous work; a few consider it awfully doomy, and a few others wish it were less abstract. The stature and skill of this band allows for so many interpretations that even a decisively unpretentious work like this one sends listeners wide to find its headwaters.

- 'I've never experienced death that closely': Dum Dum Girls work through tragedy, move beyond lo-fi. If all had gone according to plan, the Dum Dum Girls would have been gearing up to release album No. 2 right about now and not a four-song EP. Yet what should have been a celebratory 2010 for the vintage-cool California rock quartet was instead one marked by extreme highs and lows.

- Listen, L.A.: Carla Bozulich will not be ignored: In a long and heartfelt e-mail addressed to The Times music staff, Bozulich listed her sterling credentials from life "in the van," her love for her home city and frustration at her place in its musical fabric.

The Civil Wars: Marching into the unknown: When John Paul White and Joy Williams perform one of the gentle, yearning songs they’ve recorded as the Civil Wars, they lean in toward each other, as if to get the weave of their harmonies just right. Williams might lift a hand to push back a strand of White’s shoulder-length hair.

Billboard Hot 100 notches 1,000th No. 1 single: From Ricky Nelson to Lady Gaga: Lady Gaga has snagged a piece of pop music history in landing the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 this week with her new single “Born This Way.”

- So you think you can stage a better Grammy telecast? Play the Pop & Hiss choose-your-own-adventure!!!!!!

- Dave Alvin guests on FX's 'Justified' on Feb. 23, debuts new song: The rural setting makes the show an ideal forum for an Americana-heavy soundtrack, but even roots-music fans might shake their heads in disbelief during the Feb. 23 episode “Harlan County Line.” 

Odd Future destroys 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon': Odd Future destroys 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon'

Hardbitten blues for the lovers of Los Angeles: Lucinda Williams at the Bardot. Clad in all black and standing at the center of a blood-red room, Lucinda Williams cracked a rare smile. “Sorry to be so dark on Valentine’s Day,” she said.

Pop & Hiss Premiere: Take's video for 'Begin End Begin (Take Remix)': In a local electronic scene so deep that it's often tough to keep track of, the impact of last year's spring album "Only Mountain" was partially drowned out by the maelstrom of attention lavished on the other Low End Theorists.

Loudon Wainwright III box set '40 Odd Years' coming in May; co-produced by Judd Apatow: Loudon Wainwright III, the veteran singer-songwriter whose songs over the last four decades have been characterized by black humor, inventive word play and witty observations about relationships, gets his own career retrospective when Shout! Factory Records issues the five-disc “40 Odd Years” box set on May 3. 

Gigswiz goes after concert ticket business, lures bands with cash bonus: Money talks. That's what Gigswiz, an online ticketing startup that launched this week at the New Music Seminar in Los Angeles, is counting on.

The Knux return (finally) with new single, 'She's So Up.' Verdict? While most of their rap peers flood the market with constant product, the Lindsay brothers have never released a mix tape

- See some music this weekend!

- Album reviews: Mogwai's 'Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will' | The Twilight Singers' 'Dynamite Steps' | Hayes Carll's 'KMAG YOYO' | Cut Copy's 'Zonoscope' | PJ Harvey's 'Let England Shake' | Bright Eyes' 'The People's Key' | Justin Bieber's 'Never Say Never: The Remixes'

- Oh, and the Grammys happened. Pop & Hiss had live coverage, and plenty of post coverage, including interviews with Lady Antebellum and Big Boi

From the Times' dead-tree format:

Ted Leo takes an extended solo: The indie rocker comes to L.A. on a tour of unusual venues (and sans the Pharmacists) 'to get out alone and clear my head.' Story.

- Perhaps you wanted a more business-driven take on the Grammy Awards? Ta-da!We have that, too, with a look at how digital sales of Mumford & Sons immediately took off. Story

- More and more and more and more and more GRAMMYS! Critic's Notebook: A night of bold moves and noisy risks at GrammysArcade Fire's unlikely rise

Good stuff to be had elsewhere!

Academia, Girl-Style Now: NYU’s Riot Grrrl archives finally opens...for the appropriately credentialed. From the New York Press.

- Chicago's blues label Alligator Records turns 40: An interview with founder Bruce Iglauer. From the Chicago Tribune.

- "These tickets were 40 bucks -- we are getting your money." That's one way to put it, as up-and-coming rock band the Smith Westerns talk to Spin about the drag of being an opening band, and plenty more. From Spin.com.

With Godspeed on Our Side: How did an experimental political punk octet become the hottest ticket of the winter? From the LA Weekly

A Soft Pop Chanteuse, Striking Delicate Poses: Vanessa Paradis, the French pop singer and actress, [made] her New York debut as a headliner at Town Hall. From the New York Times

Why Meg White matters: Each White Stripes album is—or was—a document of the weeks Jack and Meg spent on it, and of whatever they were inspired to do during that time. From the A.V. Club.

- Enough with Radiohead! What about the Britney Spears song? Ministry of Gossip handled that puppy.

- Los Angeles vs. Raves. Our reporters at L.A. Now have been covering this rather than us, so here are some highlights: Public health flier warning of dangers of Ecstasy at raves to be revised |  L.A. Coliseum manager quits over aide's ties to rave promoter

- And Finally: WHO IS THE ARCADE FIRE?**

Images, from left: Arcade Fire's Win Butler (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times); Odd Future performs on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (NBC / Screenshot of "Late Night's" website);  Radiohead's Thom Yorke (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times). 

**Not to be confused with "Who is Esperanza Spalding?"