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Filmmaker Jonathan Demme possessed a rock 'n' roll spirit

For good reason, several of pop music’s greatest visionaries — Neil Young, David Byrne, Bruce Springsteen, the Pretenders — turned to filmmaker Jonathan Demme when they wanted to put their work on a big screen. It wasn’t simply because of Demme’s estimable film resume, which includes “Silence of...

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  • Sylvia Moy, Motown songwriter who wrote hits for Stevie Wonder, dies at 78

    Sylvia Moy, Motown songwriter who wrote hits for Stevie Wonder, dies at 78

    Sylvia Moy, a prolific Motown songwriter who is credited with energizing Stevie Wonder’s career with a string of early hits, has died at the age of 78. Moy, who died Saturday at a hospital in Dearborn, Mich., was one of the few — and perhaps the first — female songwriters and producers at Motown...

  • 'American Epic' documentary on birth of recorded music to premiere May 16

    'American Epic' documentary on birth of recorded music to premiere May 16

    “American Epic,” a star-studded three-part music documentary exploring the birth of the recording industry and its impact on world culture, will premiere May 16 on PBS as a joint venture between the U.S. public broadcasting system and the BBC in Great Britain. Actor-producer Robert Redford, who...

  • Mastodon and the therapeutic power of the concept album

    Mastodon and the therapeutic power of the concept album

    Things are about to get very loud at Amoeba Records in Hollywood, where it’s a full house of head-bangers as the band Mastodon steps onto a small stage. The quartet immediately thunders into action with “Sultan’s Curse,” an onslaught of electric guitars and muscular beats. The walls shake and a...

  • The 10 best performances we caught at Coachella

    The 10 best performances we caught at Coachella

    With more than 100 performances — plus outlandish visual experiences and even a tiki bar — the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival can overwhelm even the most die-hard of music fans. But now that all the desert dust has settled and the crowds have departed, at least for the first weekend,...

  • A king shares his crown as Kendrick Lamar brings 'Damn' to Coachella

    A king shares his crown as Kendrick Lamar brings 'Damn' to Coachella

    The first time Kendrick Lamar appeared at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, in 2012, he was months away from releasing his major-label debut, “good kid, m.A.A.d city.” Nobody was yet calling him the most important rapper alive, as he’s regularly described these days, but his impressive...

  • Bigger size, more stars: How Coachella's expansion affected the fest

    Bigger size, more stars: How Coachella's expansion affected the fest

    “Don’t be scared — I’ve done this before,” Lady Gaga told the massive crowd gathered for her Saturday night headlining set at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. And, sure, this was hardly the Super Bowl halftime veteran’s first experience before a live audience numbering in the tens...

  • Beyond the headliners, Coachella's scene offers plenty to sample

    Beyond the headliners, Coachella's scene offers plenty to sample

    Music remains the primary mission of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, but for those who venture beyond the three top-billed headliners — Radiohead, Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar — there was plenty to see, do and hear. Below, just a few highlights from the 2017 edition of the fest. Future...

  • Fans reckon with a Beyoncé-less Coachella

    Fans reckon with a Beyoncé-less Coachella

    Shortly after the Goldenvoice-produced Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival revealed that Beyoncé would become the first woman to headline the fest in about a decade, the world found out she was pregnant — with twins. How, then, would arguably the biggest pop star in the world handle a major...

  • Lady Gaga's Coachella performance was an absolute thrill — until it wasn't

    Lady Gaga's Coachella performance was an absolute thrill — until it wasn't

    Lady Gaga, to quote one of her many hits, was on the edge of glory. Headlining Coachella on Saturday night in front of the weekend’s biggest crowd so far, the pop superstar gave as thrilling and complex a performance as any I’ve ever seen at the annual desert festival. It was wild but controlled,...

  • Coachella returns bigger and brighter than ever, but some fans miss the ol' days

    Coachella returns bigger and brighter than ever, but some fans miss the ol' days

    When Radiohead’s sound cut out a few songs into its Friday night headlining set at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, one fan watching the performance on the main lawn was spotted putting her head in her hands and wincing. “This feels like the election,” she was overheard saying, alluding...

  • Radiohead fought the machines at Coachella — and the machines won

    Radiohead fought the machines at Coachella — and the machines won

    Of course it happened to a (relatively) old-fashioned rock band. After hassle-free performances all day by dance and hip-hop acts whose music relies largely on programmed elements, Radiohead ran into serious trouble with Coachella’s sound system not long into its headlining set Friday night on...

  • California Sounds: Who are Kendrick Lamar's 'Damn' collaborators?

    California Sounds: Who are Kendrick Lamar's 'Damn' collaborators?

    When the Grammy-winning artist Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio album, “Damn,” arrived Thursday night , his legions commenced celebrating the Compton rapper’s lyrical chops and acrobatic turns of phrases. But they also started poring over the album credits and liner notes: Lamar’s wordplay is equaled...

  • Our 3 instant reactions to Kendrick Lamar's startling new album

    Our 3 instant reactions to Kendrick Lamar's startling new album

    After weeks of feverish anticipation — and just days ahead of his headlining performance at this weekend’s Coachella festival — Kendrick Lamar released his new album, “Damn,” on Thursday night. The record is the acclaimed Compton rapper’s official follow-up to 2015’s “To Pimp a Butterfly,” a searing...

  • Coachella hasn't had a lot of Latin music. That changes this year

    Coachella hasn't had a lot of Latin music. That changes this year

    Since it emerged out of the alternative rock scene in 1999, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has featured many acts spanning hip-hop, folk, EDM, pop, heavy metal and classic rock. Yet one style of music has long been underrepresented on the grounds of the posh Empire Polo Club in Indio:...

  • Chris Stapleton premieres 'Broken Halos,' first track from 'From a Room: Volume 1'

    Chris Stapleton premieres 'Broken Halos,' first track from 'From a Room: Volume 1'

    The first track from Americana singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton’s widely anticipated sophomore album, “From a Room: Volume 1,” surfaces today with the premiere of “Broken Halos.” Stapleton wrote the song with Mike Henderson, his former bandmate in the avant-bluegrass band the SteelDrivers, and...

  • Why Hans Zimmer is bringing his Oscar-winning film music to Coachella

    Why Hans Zimmer is bringing his Oscar-winning film music to Coachella

    Hans Zimmer’s natural habitat is a dark, windowless room. As one of Hollywood’s most successful film composers — with scores for dozens of movies stretching from “Interstellar” and “The Dark Knight” back to “The Lion King” and “Driving Miss Daisy” — the 59-year-old Oscar winner spends untold hours...

  • Country queen Loretta Lynn to release new album highlighting her own songs

    Country queen Loretta Lynn to release new album highlighting her own songs

    Country music pioneer Loretta Lynn turns 85 on Friday, and she’s marking the occasion in a big way, with two sold-out performances this weekend at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and word that she’ll release a new studio album in August. “Wouldn’t It Be Great” is the latest product of...

  • Last of the record men: Seymour Stein looks back on 50 years of Sire Records

    Last of the record men: Seymour Stein looks back on 50 years of Sire Records

    Seymour Stein tried to executive produce this article. “Don’t put it like that,” the cofounder of Sire Records told me in his gruff New York accent on a recent afternoon. “I’m talking too much. If this appears, I’ll kill you.” Stein, 74, was sitting in a cushioned chair at his daughter Mandy’s...

  • Coachella's second hottest ticket? The Palm Springs Air Museum

    Coachella's second hottest ticket? The Palm Springs Air Museum

    If the peak-hour Coachella crowds can sometimes feel like a war zone, they still won’t compare with the ambience awaiting fans at two of the music and arts festival’s pre-parties. The Palm Springs Air Museum has emerged as the (second) hottest ticket in town during Coachella week, on the strength...

  • Vince Staples wants you to look with him, not at him

    Vince Staples wants you to look with him, not at him

    “L.A., y’all having a good time tonight?” Vince Staples asked, and it wasn’t clear what answer he was searching for. The 23-year-old rapper from Long Beach had come to the Fonda Theatre on Tuesday night for the first of two concerts to finish a lengthy North American tour. In a way, the run of...

  • TV veteran Norman Lear to receive 2017 Woody Guthrie Prize in L.A.

    TV veteran Norman Lear to receive 2017 Woody Guthrie Prize in L.A.

    Television producer, writer and social activist Norman Lear will receive the Woody Guthrie Prize, which is awarded annually to an artist who “best exemplifies the spirit and life work of the Oklahoma singer, songwriter and folk music provocateur.” Lear will receive the award at a ceremony May 12...

  • J. Geils Band founder dead at 71

    J. Geils Band founder dead at 71

    John Warren Geils Jr., the founding guitarist behind the ’70s and ’80s rock powerhouse J. Geils Band, died at his longtime home in Massachusetts on Tuesday. He was 71. Donald Palma Jr., the chief of police in Groton, Mass., confirmed Geils’ death on Tuesday night, saying in a press release that...

  • South L.A. band gives voice to Trump-era fury

    South L.A. band gives voice to Trump-era fury

    Even among the wave of young, rules-smashing punk acts today, the band F U Pay Us is something new. The South L.A. band’s serrated hardcore is acerbic but spiritual, ferocious yet meditative. They’re also — as four black, largely queer young women — in constant dialogue with punk’s history and...

  • Coachella promoter would gladly book Kate Bush — if only he could

    Coachella promoter would gladly book Kate Bush — if only he could

    No, Paul isn’t dead, but yes, Kate Bush would be more than welcome to perform at the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival any time she’d like. Goldenvoice chief Paul Tollett set the record straight Tuesday about a couple of erroneous reports that surfaced just days before the 2017 edition...

  • At the World of Dance competition, swagger matters almost as much as spin moves

    At the World of Dance competition, swagger matters almost as much as spin moves

    The World of Dance Tour attracted thousands of dancers and fans to the Pomona Fairplex grounds. The competition event has grown into a worldwide phenomenon.

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