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Pop & Hiss

Pop & Hiss The L.A. Times music blog
Björk's 'Utopia' is a forbidding album about self-care

For Björk, and for her listeners, Utopia is not easily reached.

On her new album by that optimistic title, the adventurous Icelandic singer envisions a realm of romantic promise and civic cooperation — an untainted land with “bird species never seen or heard before” and with “the first flute carved from the first fauna,” as she vividly describes it in the album’s airy title track.

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Charles Manson's life as a failed musician, Beach Boys hanger-on and mediocre songwriter

Starting in the 1970s, not long after Charles Manson directed his followers to murder seven people over two bloody nights in Los Angeles, the convicted killer’s music and notoriety fueled a small underground industry.

The allure was centered on Manson’s only album, recorded in Los Angeles in 1967 and ’68 and issued a year after the 1969 murders.

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How the American Music Awards tried to combat toxic masculinity

At least this thing had its heart in the right place.

In an age of widespread awards-show overload, nobody looks to the annual American Music Awards — broadcast live Sunday night on ABC from the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles — for an authoritative diagnosis of what matters in pop music, never mind the larger culture that pop is supposed to reflect.

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Longtime country singer, songwriter Mel Tillis dies  at 85

Mel Tillis, the longtime country star who wrote hits for Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs and many others, and overcame a stutter to sing on dozens of his own singles, has died.

A spokesman for Tillis, Don Murry Grubbs, said Tillis died early Sunday at Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Fla. He was 85.

Grubbs said Tillis battled intestinal issues since 2016 and never fully recovered.

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LCD Soundsystem is a blast from the dance-band past at the Palladium

Instead of horns, they had synths. And rather than swing, they grooved.

But in terms of the service they were providing their audience, James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem weren’t so different Friday evening at the Hollywood Palladium from the old big bands that performed there in the 1940s.

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California Sounds: Miguel, Anna St. Louis and Lee Hazlewood

Miguel, “Told You So” (RCA). On this teaser from the San Pedro native’s forthcoming fourth album, “War and Leisure,” the rock ‘n’ soul artist born Miguel Jontel Pimentel rides a squiggly beat that recalls a Chicago acid-house track at half-speed.

The song features a chorus so catchy it’s a wonder no one’s harnessed the phrase before.

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