Music

Late Night Friends - 'What I Think I'm Not' (album stream) (premiere)

Los Angeles' Late Night Friends eschew a sunny Cali vibe for a greyer, heavier, northern British aesthetic that recalls '90s shoegaze.

Ride fans listen up. L.A.'s Late Night Friends have you covered with fresh, new, indie shoegaze heavily influenced by the cloud-laden skies of England and the swirling dance textures of modern British rock. Buzzbands.la is excited about the band, as is Daytrotter. Late Night Friends will be releasing their debut album produced by Steve Kille (Dead Meadow), What I Think I'm Not, this coming Friday, August 7th, and we've got the full premiere for you. Meanwhile, the band tells us about how the record came about...

"None of us really had expectations of making it big with our music. We've all been playing music for most of our lives and played in all sorts of projects. It is easy to become jaded, especially in a city like Los Angeles. What's special about Late Night Friends is that it is a bit of a creative sanctuary for us to create something authentic. We all come from different backgrounds and have different influences, but our love and respect for one another creates an environment where we can really pour our hearts out as we write together, without fear of judgement.

Our different perspectives shape the sound beyond what we're capable of producing individually and we're all proud of the result. Plus, it's just fun. We'd probably rather get together over a few beers and make some noise over going out, unless a good band is playing or something. It's even more fun when we can share the music with other people. Everyone we know has been so supportive and everything has come together swiftly and in a serendipitous manner for us to churn out a great first album. Since then, we've been writing like maniacs and already have enough songs to get back in the studio. We'll take our time, though. We are really just starting to enjoy the fruits of our labor and they're pretty sweet."

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

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From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

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This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

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Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

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Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

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