Pop & Hiss The L.A. Times music blog
Girlpool makes its move from L.A. to the 'Big' world

Sitting with her bandmate Cleo Tucker on the back patio of a coffee shop in Silver Lake, Girlpool's Harmony Tividad remembers the jarring contrast when the acoustic pop duo arrived in Philadelphia after uprooting their lives in their native L.A.

“It was nine degrees,” recalls Tividad, 19, sipping a soy chai latte. What would make them make such a change -- and in January, no less?

“Let’s see,” says Tucker, 18, momentarily lost in thought. “It was just sort of like a natural, ‘I grew up here, I want to see the world’ feeling.”

If that sounds precious, you’ve probably never heard a Girlpool song. Named for a particularly existential chapter in Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle”, the duo’s first full-length album, “Before the World Was Big,” out June 2 via Wichita Recordings, is a vociferously vulnerable effort that reflects on childhood (“I just miss how it felt standing next to you / Wearing matching dresses before the world was big”) while reckoning with the uncertainty of the future (“I was...

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Ciara, a fiery performer desperately in need of better material

Ciara appears to be at an impasse.

An R&B siren whose first introduction to listeners came through the stereo-rattling thumpers of 2004's "Goodies," Ciara has pushed out enough sweat-inducing grooves to score the perfect club or gym playlist. But she's never quite managed to become a standout in the pop conversation.

Perhaps she has remained on the edges because she doesn't indulge in provocative behavior that courts the gossip sites, or maybe it’s that her voice isn’t nearly as elastic as her slinky, high octane dancing, which has made her a singular performer in her own right. Although that breathy, sensual voice paired with intense choreography positioned her as the closest thing to the next Janet Jackson as we’ll ever get.

But what has continually held back her success is the material she’s been handed, and her performance at Club Nokia on Saturday was proof.

The tour, her first headlining outing in six years, is in support of her latest offering “Jackie” — an album that despite its...

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Low End Theory Fest roster to feature Fly Lo, Earl Sweatshirt, Thundercat, more

In the germinal stages of a musical movement, it's hard to know whether a particular sound will live for a month, a year or a decade. Whether a new scene will influence a neighborhood, a city or the world, whether the ideas morph into something bigger than the founders could have possibly imagined — all that stuff starts with a handful of kindred spirits converging at the right place at the right time and drawing the ears of music lovers in search of new ideas. It's a magical thing. 

The Low End Theory, a weekly beat music club that helped propel the careers of Flying Lotus, the Gaslamp Killer, Daddy Kev, Nosaj Thing and a few dozen others, has announced the lineup for its second annual festival, to take place at Shrine Expo Hall on Aug. 8. The roster, heavily focused on Los Angeles artists, confirms the creative magic at the center of the Low End Theory sound, as well as its evolution.

For its sophomore installment, the festival will include beat producer Flying Lotus, the dexterous rapper...

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TV on the Radio, Dwight Yoakam to play Annenberg summer concert series

Adventurous art rockers TV on the Radio and veteran country singer Dwight Yoakam are among the acts set to perform in the coming months as part of a free summer concert series presented by the Annenberg Space for Photography.

The Sound in Focus series will bring TV on the Radio to Century Park, next to the Annenberg's Century City location, on July 25, followed closely by an Aug. 1 concert featuring rap group De La Soul. Yoakam is to perform Aug. 8 on a rootsy double bill with the long-running L.A. punk band X, and Cold War Kids will round out the program with a show on Aug. 15.

Jason Bentley, music director of Santa Monica-based KCRW-FM (89.9) curated this year's lineup and will perform a DJ set before TV on the Radio's gig.

Tied to the Annenberg's "Emerging" photo exhibition, Sound in Focus "reflects the variety of topics and themes in the show," said Cinny Kennard, executive director of the Annenberg Foundation. Those topics, Kennard added, run from "the personal to the global" and...

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Primavera Sound 2015 wraps up longest party of festival year

It’s around 3 a.m. on the Barcelona waterfront, and Karl Hyde of Underworld is jubilant. He’s singing and bopping across the Primavera Sound stage while tens of thousands of fans watch him wrap up a full-album performance of his group’s 1994 techno classic “dubnobasswithmyheadman.” Though he spent much of the set behind a wall of synths and samplers re-creating his album’s analog thump, right now his performance is all human, just shouting vocals with plenty of room to move.

On the last full night of Primavera, that’s just about how everyone felt.

While you’re in the thick of Primavera Sound, it never seems to actually end. Concerts stretch through mornings, which blend into very late brunches and walks around Barcelona, which turn into drinks with friends at cafés in Gracia and ambles right back into the Parc Del Forum. So to know that this was the last late night of it added an extra edge. Because it seemed as if the party never ended all week, it’s hard to believe that it actually can.


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B.B. King's funeral draws hundreds in Mississippi

Hundreds of people filled a church in the Mississippi Delta for the funeral Saturday of B.B. King, who rose from sharecropper in the area's flat cotton fields to worldwide fame as a blues singer and guitarist who influenced generations of entertainers.

King was 89 when he died May 14 in Las Vegas. At his request, his body was returned to his native Mississippi for a final homecoming.

Amid rain, about 500 people filled the sanctuary of Bell Grove Missionary Baptist Church, a red brick structure that sits in a field off of B.B. King Road in Indianola. More than 200 people who couldn't get into the sanctuary watched a live broadcast of the funeral in the church's fellowship hall, many waving hand-held fans with a black-and-white photo of a smiling King hugging his black electric guitar, Lucille.

At the beginning of the service, family members filed past King's open casket, which had an image of Lucille embroidered on the padded white cloth inside the lid. Later, the casket was closed and...

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