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Randall Roberts

Columnist

Randall Roberts is the pop music critic for the Los Angeles Times, where he covers genres including pop, hip-hop, rock, EDM, country, folk and international sounds. Prior to becoming the pop music critic in 2011, he was The Times’ pop music editor. His work has been honored by the L.A. Press Club, the National Assn. of Black Journalists, the James Beard Foundation and others. His 2009 story, “On the Road to Burma: Ozomatli, Unlikely U.S. Diplomats” was included in the “Best Music Writing 2010” anthology. Roberts has been a radio and club DJ, worked music retail as an indie and EDM buyer at a major Midwest record store, and remains a steadfast believer in the supremacy of vinyl.

Recent Articles

  • Highland Park collective Soulection lands on Apple's Beats 1 station

    Highland Park collective Soulection lands on Apple's Beats 1 station

    Among the key offerings of the newly unveiled Apple Music platform is Beats 1 radio, which debuted this week with around-the-clock music and dozens of artist-programmed shows from high-profile artists including Pharrell, St. Vincent, Elton John and others.

  • Neil Young's in protest mode on 'The Monsanto Years'

    Neil Young's in protest mode on 'The Monsanto Years'

    At this point in his career, Neil Young has traveled so many paths that his oeuvre is its own game of Choose Your Own Adventure. Need some acoustic-based comfort? Head to "Harvest." Hardened introspection? "Tonight's the Night." "Trans" works well for new wave moods. "Get Back to the Country" delivers...

  • The Grateful Dead jam in mostly perfect harmony in Santa Clara

    The Grateful Dead jam in mostly perfect harmony in Santa Clara

    The VW buses were supplanted by Ubers. Marijuana was more often vaporized than burned. And bright iPhone screens replaced Bic lighters during "Morning Dew." But the music was nearly the same: the Dead, jamming in (mostly) perfect harmony. No Jerry Garcia hologram necessary.

  • Grateful Dead in Santa Clara, Night 1: A rainbow of bliss

    Grateful Dead in Santa Clara, Night 1: A rainbow of bliss

    On Saturday night in Santa Clara, Calif., the Grateful Dead opened the first of a series of farewell concerts with one of the band’s most recognizable songs, “Truckin.” To a capacity crowd of Deadheads giddy to find themselves once again before the altar of their favorite musicians, the band that...

  • Thundercat continues his run on 'The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam'

    Thundercat continues his run on 'The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam'

    Thundercat, "The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam" (Brainfeeder). "Them Changes," the searing funk track from Los Angeles bassist Thundercat, features a crawling rhythm and a freaky bass line both dirty and distorted. At just more than three minutes, the song is drenched with black-power energy and...

  • Throwbacks: Summer reissues of strange surf music, gay proto-punk, 'Robocop' and more

    Throwbacks: Summer reissues of strange surf music, gay proto-punk, 'Robocop' and more

    Songs of the summer are usually contemporary, of-the-moment concerns, the kind that will embed themselves into time-place memory banks for decades to come. But in an era in which Today’s Hits and unknown pleasures exist side by side, both equally accessible via your favorite platform, why the insistence...

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