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  • Guns N' Roses is back. But where are Axl Rose's snake hips?

    Guns N' Roses is back. But where are Axl Rose's snake hips?

    You knew where you were. You were in the retirement home, baby. At least that's how it felt when Axl Rose, the sneering frontman who once used similar language to welcome listeners to the jungle, was wheeled onstage for the first full-scale concert in a much-hyped reunion tour by his influential...

  • Can't we just let Adam Lambert be Adam Lambert?

    Can't we just let Adam Lambert be Adam Lambert?

    “American Idol” introduced us to Adam Lambert, but it’s also what’s kept us from really getting to know him.In 2009, this former San Diego theater kid struck the televised singing competition like a bolt of originality. He was sensitive but macho, showy yet deep-feeling. As a vocalist, he could...

  • How Gwen Stefani dug deep for her brutally honest new album

    How Gwen Stefani dug deep for her brutally honest new album

    Sixteen years ago, Gwen Stefani of No Doubt sang about wanting "a simple kind of life." That's not how things turned out. Sure, No Doubt — the Anaheim ska-pop band that blasted off in 1995 with the zillion-selling album "Tragic Kingdom" — continued its straightforward ascent for a few more years,...

  • Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band revisit 'The River' in L.A.

    Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band revisit 'The River' in L.A.

    In the pursuit of the things that matter most in life, “half measures avail us nothing,” states an adage that Bruce Springsteen seems to have had in mind when he made “The River,” the 1980 double album he’s revisiting on his new tour, three dozen years down the line. It’s perhaps his most ambitious...

  • Live review: Julien Baker is young and miserable yet transfixing in Eagle Rock

    Live review: Julien Baker is young and miserable yet transfixing in Eagle Rock

    Amid all the sound and fury and botched James Bond themes at the Oscars last weekend, there was small concert in Eagle Rock that made a far bigger impression with much, much less. Julien Baker is a young (born 1995) singer and guitarist from Tennessee, whose music recalls both the high points of...

  • Before the Oscars, guitarist Bill Frisell celebrates the sound of Hollywood

    Before the Oscars, guitarist Bill Frisell celebrates the sound of Hollywood

    At the Academy Awards on Sunday, pop stars including Lady Gaga, Sam Smith and the Weeknd are expected to perform some of the tunes vying for this year’s original song Oscar before a television audience in the tens of millions. The veteran jazz guitarist Bill Frisell was doing basically the same...

  • At Fleetwood Mac Fest, a complicated band is celebrated simply

    At Fleetwood Mac Fest, a complicated band is celebrated simply

    Shimmering pop tunes, bluesy rock stomps and folky intimations of the occult: Every aspect of Fleetwood Mac’s multifaceted sound was represented when more than two dozen artists -- including Courtney Love, Mark Ronson and Carly Rae Jepsen -- gathered Tuesday at the Fonda Theatre to pay tribute...

  • Super Bowl 2016: Beyoncé gets the halftime win with Coldplay's blessing

    Super Bowl 2016: Beyoncé gets the halftime win with Coldplay's blessing

    For a band that’s been called wimpy for the better part of two decades, Coldplay showed some remarkable chutzpah Sunday night in the halftime show at Super Bowl 50. Sure, frontman Chris Martin was his usual heart-on-sleeve self, starting the performance with a few lines from Coldplay’s ultra-sensitive...

  • With 'Anti,' Rihanna shows the strength in vulnerability

    With 'Anti,' Rihanna shows the strength in vulnerability

    You can’t name your album “Anti” without inviting your audience to think about what you oppose. So what is Rihanna standing against on her eighth studio record? A smoothly choreographed product rollout, for one. After repeated delays, “Anti” finally appeared online Wednesday night, first in an ...

  • Sia wastes an opportunity on the ordinary 'This Is Acting'

    Sia wastes an opportunity on the ordinary 'This Is Acting'

    A year and a half ago, Sia transformed a serious liability into an undeniable asset. So why does her new album make waste of her success? An Australian singer-songwriter with a flair for fitting confessional lyrics to sleek electronic beats, Sia built a respectable following in the late 1990s and...

  • Jennifer Lopez gives all she's got -- and more -- in Vegas

    Jennifer Lopez gives all she's got -- and more -- in Vegas

    “Vegas, there’s a new girl in town,” Jennifer Lopez announced during a sold-out show at Planet Hollywood's Axis Theater on Friday. Judging from the dazzling two-hour spectacle the multi-hyphenate entertainer has produced for her debut Vegas residency, Lopez’s proclamation felt more like a warning...

  • John Mayer hops aboard the Dead & Company train at the Forum

    John Mayer hops aboard the Dead & Company train at the Forum

    The members of Dead & Company had been chewing on the taut boogie-rock groove of "Bertha" for a good long while at the Forum when John Mayer looked over at Bob Weir in search of a little guidance. Are we done? Mayer seemed to be asking with his eyes. Or do we keep going? Weir took his hands off...

  • Seal is single and ready to mingle at the Ace Hotel

    Seal is single and ready to mingle at the Ace Hotel

    Seal understands where he fits into pop music in 2015. Standing onstage Monday night at downtown's Theatre at the Ace Hotel, the British singer was reflecting a bit on the 25 years since he broke out with a pair of hit singles — “Killer” and “Crazy” — that presented him as the (very handsome) face...

  • Quincy Jones loves jazz and jazz loves Quincy Jones at Monk Institute gala

    Quincy Jones loves jazz and jazz loves Quincy Jones at Monk Institute gala

    Along with his thanks, Quincy Jones had words of warning when he accepted an accolade from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. The veteran musician, arranger and producer — whose six-decade career took him “from bebop to hip-hop,” as his friend Herbie Hancock put it — was onstage Sunday night...

  • One Direction prepares to disappear with 'Made in the A.M.'

    One Direction prepares to disappear with 'Made in the A.M.'

    Like clockwork, they arrive each November. We’re talking, of course, about One Direction albums. The British boy band, which formed on the U.K. version of “The X Factor” and quickly escalated to filling stadiums, has given us a new record every year since 2011. Now, right on time, comes the fifth — and...

  • Kendrick Lamar brings Kunta's Groove Sessions to the Wiltern

    Kendrick Lamar brings Kunta's Groove Sessions to the Wiltern

    The first time I saw Kendrick Lamar play live, at New York’s Roseland Ballroom in February of 2013, he was cresting rapidly after a major label debut, “Good Kid, M.AA.D. City.” He was ferocious, alone except for his DJ, but a bit overwhelmed by a crowd reaction that felt ahead of itself, as much...

  • 'Bob Dylan 1965-1966' opens window on a creative peak

    'Bob Dylan 1965-1966' opens window on a creative peak

    Editor's note: In what was considered a "radical" choice, Bob Dylan was announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature on Oct. 13, 2016. Read the story here. Among the many things Thomas Edison famously said, he remarked that “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration,” and he also...

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