Pop & Hiss
The L.A. Times music blog
Set times announced for downtown's Made in America Festival

This weekend will bring the first Los Angeles production of the Budweiser Made in America festival, a two-day concert event co-founded by Blue Ivy Carter's father, Jay-Z.

The festival, born in Philadelphia in 2012, expands to the West Coast at Grand Park downtown for two days beginning Saturday at 2 p.m. Featured performers include Kanye West, John Mayer, Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons, Juanes, Iggy Azalea, YG, Rita Ora and a few dozen others. 

Made in America has just released the set times for the event's three stages, which it has curiously dubbed the Dylan, Marilyn and James Dean stages. Potential Saturday highlights include summer breakout star Iggy Azalea, who goes on early, 5:45 p.m. She'll follow the fantastic Canadian rock band Metric. Later Saturday, among others: Sublime with Rome (6:30 p.m.), Kendrick Lamar (7:15 p.m.), Afrojack (8:35) and Imagine Dragons (9:30).

West's set on Sunday night starts at 9:45; he goes on after Mayer, whose set falls at 8 p.m.  Earlier in the...

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The reviews are in for Kate Bush's first concert in 35 years

Until Tuesday night, the English singer Kate Bush hadn't performed a concert in 35 years. To say that the Brits, and the world of Bush fans, were excited is an understatement. To read the pre-concert coverage, it's as though Bush had not merely decided to perform again after so long, but that she'd been resurrected to do so. 

Bush, whose rich, lovely pop music stretching back to the late 1970s has drawn legions of devotees, returned to the stage of London's Hammersmith Apollo for the first of 22 concerts under the umbrella title "Before the Dawn," making up for lost time with a typically grand gesture. 

A day later, the world is still turning, fans are prepping for night No. 2 and the reviewers are assessing Bush's return. How was the concert, deemed "the cultural event of the year" by the Daily Express, received? With both awe and a little bafflement. 

For the former, the Guardian's Alexis Petridis offered a perfect five-star review, writing: "For someone who's spent the vast majority...

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Calvin Harris, Zedd, Knife Party headline HARD Day of the Dead

Just when you thought the summer festival season was winding down, here comes HARD's Day of the Dead rave. 

Coachella smash hit Calvin Harris, pop-savant EDM producer Zedd, beat-scene titans Pretty Lights and Knife Party and scores of others will play at this year's festival on Nov. 1-2.

Like other events traditionally held at Los Angeles State Historic Park in Chinatown, this installment has relocated due to renovations at the park. This one will set up at the Fairplex in Pomona.

This year's lineup has some eclectic acts. House and techno heroes deadmau5 and Eric Prydz will play a collaborative set on Saturday. Deadmau5 has headlined HARD events by himself, and Prydz is coming off a new installment of his acclaimed EPIC live show series.

The L.A. R&B singer Ty Dolla Sign will also play HARD, a wholly new setting for him. But this eerie EDM fest is one where his spooky, nihilistic club tracks should fit in nicely. 

Other highlights from down the bill include Jamie Jones, Rustie, Benoit...

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Basement Jaxx endures, hits new peaks on 'Junto'

Back in the EDM stone ages, when producers carved beats out of boulders, two teams reigned supreme when it came to international house music: Daft Punk and Basement Jaxx.

While commercial EDM in the late 1990s was lapping up the progressive house sounds of Sasha & Digweed and Paul Van Dyke, the helmeted Parisians Daft Punk were working with a minimalism inspired by early Chicago tracks and dropping warning shots like "Da Funk" and "Around the World."

Across the English Channel in Brixton, Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton were upping the stakes with wide-eyed, explosive house jams such as "Bingo Bango," "Red Alert" and "Get Me Off" -- in fact, pretty much everything on Jaxx's classic first two albums, "Remedy" and "Rooty." 

It's hard to believe it's been 15 years, both because those body-belters still sound great and due to Basement Jaxx's return-to-form new album, "Junto." Thirteen songs that strive for peaks as high as a flooded dance-floor rocking "Where's Your Head At" at full...

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Prince to release two new albums on Sept. 30

Prince is set to release not only the long-promised “Plectrumelectrum” album on Sept. 30 with his new ThirdEyeGirl band, but a second new studio collection called “Art Official Age,” which is being described as “a classic Prince album.”

Both efforts are the first reeleases under his new contract with Warner Bros. Records, the label that brought him to prominence in the late 1970s.

The artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince has set up an incentive for fans to order early, offering “instant grat” tracks from each album that can be unlocked with a pre-release order over a new "Art Official Age" website created to support both albums. The albums also will be available on Amazon.com and at iTunes.

A statement on the releases issued Monday further noted that “The album releases will also be marked by a series of very special events taking place globally, to be confirmed shortly.” Details on what those events might consist of were not included.

"Prince is one of just a...

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MTV Video Music Awards 2014: Best and worst moments

In the days before the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, the drama for pop-cultural fanatics was endless.

Among the story lines: A boa constrictor bit one of Nicki Minaj’s dancers during rehearsals for the show, Iggy Azalea took a nasty spill during her performance at a VMA benefit concert and former Death Row honcho Suge Knight was one of three people shot at an unofficial pre-awards party thrown by Chris Brown.

Inside the Forum in Inglewood on Sunday, the audience buzz was mostly focused on what Beyoncé had planned and if anyone could top Miley Cyrus’ defining moment of irreverence at last year’s show -- a foam-finger-enhanced performance that kept us talking all year.

Here’s a few moments that stood out.

Best: Opening with a “Bang Bang”

Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj opened the show with a performance that had Grande emerge from a spaceship for her electro-stomper “Break Free,” Minaj twerking in a jungle for “Anaconda” and then the pair united with Jessie J for ladies anthem “Bang Bang.”...

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FYF Fest: A fixed-up festival makes the music sound better

Anyone looking for evidence of the sudden turnaround on Sunday at FYF Fest should have been there for Darkside in the Sports Arena.

Just a day after fans pelted the festival with complaints of long lines and difficulty seeing shows in FYF's lone indoor stage, the floor was full for the NYC electronic combo. So were the seats upstairs -- a new addition as part of the logistical turnaround -- but overall there seemed to be space for anyone who wanted to be there. No one rushed the doors; it just worked.

As the duo of Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington played their noisy, Pink Floyd-for-the-dance-floor cuts, a huge spotlight refracted off a mirror in the middle of the stage, sending a beam of light around the arena. It showed thousands and thousands of blissed-out fans, finally getting what they'd paid for at FYF. 

The many crowd-control improvements weren't just relief for fans making their way around the festival's massive Expo Park complex. It made the music sound better.

From Blood...

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FYF Fest Day 2: Redemption through Flying Lotus, Haim and more

What a difference 14 hours made for the FYF Festival, which concluded its two-day run with a miraculous Sunday roster after crowd-control stumbles hobbled Saturday's equally hot batch of musicians. The festival's second day was one of so many musical epiphanies that it's hard to believe they occurred over one chunk of time. 

Gone were Saturday's frustrating lines around the event's big footprint at Exposition Park and the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Also resolved were capacity issues at the arena stage that shut the place down for a time on Saturday. The solution -- opening the balcony seating -- resulted in an oasis of beat-heavy, strobe-and-fog fueled bliss away from the masses from artists such as Darkside, Jamie xx, Kelela, John Talabot and Daphni. 

Logistics resolved, fans could focus on the frequencies coming from expertly engineered sound systems.

The results were at times mind-blowing. Whether it was New Orleans guitarist and singer Benjamin Booker schooling us with...

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MTV Video Music Awards 2014: Beyonce shows the stars how it's done

Who booked all the amateur acts to open for Beyoncé?

Amateurs, anyway, is what Beyoncé made a room full of stars look like when she closed the MTV Video Music Awards, broadcast live Sunday night from the Forum in Inglewood. Onstage for nearly 20 minutes, the singer moved inexorably through an ambitious, complicated performance that touched on most of her self-titled album from last year. When it was over, her husband, Jay Z -- the guilty party in a never-ending stream of tabloid reports about the unraveling of their marriage -- brought their 2-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy, to her, for a warm family hug. He brought a trophy, as well: the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, presented to Beyoncé in recognition of her impact on the form.

Finally, there was the name of an artist she might've recognized from her own league.

Would the production that preceded Beyoncé's mini-concert have seemed as lackluster without her to measure it against? It's impossible to say. But there's no denying...

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FYF Fest 2014: Twin Peaks, Joanna Gruesome keep things reckless

The second and final day of the FYF Fest began with an apologetic tone.

Promoter Goldenvoice was out to make amends Sunday after a number of attendees complained of waits of up to three hours to reach the main gate Saturday. Festivalgoers who arrived early Sunday afternoon were greeted with free water and new-found organization at the entrance. 

The bulk of problems that plagued the first day of FYF were largely corrected Sunday. In its first year at the expansive Exposition Park, FYF experienced a number of growing pains that marred Saturday, chief among them the inability to get inside the L.A. Sports Arena for much of the day. That stage was located on the floor of the basketball arena, with the stadium's seating roped off. Promoters on Sunday opened up the whole arena. 

Goldenvoice chief Paul Tollett, the architect behind the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, was caught chatting with fans early Sunday in the craft beer tent, discussing how organizers pulled an all-nighter...

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Chris Brown party shooting: Another chapter in the life of Suge Knight

When music impresario Marion "Suge" Knight and two others were wounded early Sunday at a pre-MTV Video Music Awards party for Chris Brown in West Hollywood, the shooting became the latest ripple in Knight’s imprint on the music world.

The Death Row Records founder and the two others were expected to survive the shooting at the hot spot 1Oak, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

R&B star Brown, who was celebrating his upcoming album “X,” performed at the club before the shooting. Partygoers posted videos on Twitter and Instagram of not only Brown but also the post-shooting chaos, during which partygoers could be seen ducking and screaming.

“It's disappointing that we as a society can't have fun or enjoy ourselves without any altercations sometimes,” Brown tweeted early Sunday morning.
The event at 1Oak, a nightclub in the 9000 block of Sunset Boulevard, was the second pre-VMA party Brown hosted Saturday night. An earlier party at a Beverly Hills estate packed in...

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FYF Fest 2014: Lines, lines and more lines mar great music

That low, collective moan going up across the tri-hipster area Sunday is the sound of aching feet, weary backs and dry mouths waking up after the first day of FYF Fest.

The kickoff at FYF's new location at Exposition Park was supposed to be exultant, as this year had far and away the best lineup in the fest's decade-plus history, and a prior partnership with Goldenvoice seemed to solve many of the fest's past logistical problems. Expo Park, with its concert-facility infrastructure and Metro access, made sense as a venue while the L.A. State Historic Park underwent renovations. 

But this year had some reminders of the 2010 FYF fiasco, when fans seemed close to open revolt and founder Sean Carlson sent out an apology email after the show.

Day 1 in 2014 was marred by complaints of hours-long entry lines (which organizers tried to quell by sending push notifications to fans' phones saying they were aware of the problem), half-hour lines for food and drink, and about a mile-long walk from...

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