DESTROY LA!


Wiki Updatin’

Posted in Uncategorized on May 7, 2008 by

So check this out: 

Sam Spiegel
I added the part about Amanda Blank and Maya Arulpragasam (M.I.A.) towards the end of the entry. It’s so shocking to me that they wouldn’t have updated that themselves since these to artists are getting big buzz in the blogosphere. M.I.A. is practically a household name at this point and will most likely draw more listeners than anybody else on that roster.

Hype Machine Pentad

Posted in Uncategorized on May 7, 2008 by

Who: People who love and work in the music industry.
What: A MP3 blog aggregator that functions as a google search for music.
Where: Here
When: Anytime
Why: To stay in the loop on what its hot right and what will be later.

Diigo Slide Show

Posted in Uncategorized on May 7, 2008 by

 

 

This slideshow was really helpful in getting me to become familiarized with Diigo in a way that I had yet to, and was a good refresher for what I had already learned. I think the next class that comes in would benefit from being linked to this slide show, that way when they’re home and having a had a hard time remembering exactly how to use the application they can just toggle through the presentation and fill in the blanks in their memory.

 

I love how in-depth this presenter went with their slideshow. They try and go through every function that Diigo can provide, they even cover the blog this feature. Not only is it informative, it’s also user friendly. They go out of their way to include little statements like “it’s just like you would do on paper” which makes the whole process familiar and simple. Two words I like to use when I’m talking about learning some fancy new Web 2.0 tool.

 

What I don’t get about a tool like Diigo though is why they haven’t yet partnered up with a browser like Firefox so that it could come automatically with the software and therefore exponential increase it’s reach and usefulness. I think that if the application was widespread it could be used much more effectively. Although then there’s the problem of controlling the amount of tags on one page, but that could be fixed by utilizing the group system that they have now. I wish I could see the tags that have been put on a page by people I don’t know if I chose too though, or perhaps browse through the different groups on the Diigo site and be able to just view what they’ve tagged. It just seems like it can be used as a widespread communication device and not be as insular as it is now.

It’s All Hype Pt. Deux

Posted in Uncategorized on May 7, 2008 by

The Hype Machine is a tool that can really be helpful for someone working within the music and party industry. It’s great for keeping your fingers on the pulse of what is cool. The sites editors do a great job of selecting the blogs that they feature, all of which are run by cool bloggers. I’ve learned about more cool new bands this way than any other. I don’t even know how people figured out what new music there was to listen to without the advent of the Internet and music blogs. I guess at that point the music scene was a lot different from how it is now. Before having a garage band meant playing with your friends in the garage, but now even the most untalented hacks can put music up on the Net that sounds relatively polished and has the ability to garner fans.   

The site lets you log in so you can use its Dashboard feature. This feature on the site allows you to review the tracks you’ve recently listened to a well as any updates that have happened on any of the blogs that you’ve favorited. This makes finding music even more convenient. What I love most about the site is how you can personalize it to get you’re a stream of content that you’ve designed through your use of the site. As you continue to seek out music and get introduced to new blogs your stream of information continues to expand.

It’s really important to keep in the know if you want to be able to stay relevant in an industry that is based on what the populous wants.  I get asked every day at work if I know some band or other, or if I think a remix or performer would appeal to a young crowd or not. It’s important that I not only know what people like, but what the artists actually sound like and which demographics they’d appeal to most. Hype Machine emphasis on the blogs themselves and not just MP3s also comes in handy because the bloggers usually provide useful information that can get you acquainted with the artists they’re featuring.

For example, my boss is planning another party and said he wanted LA Riots to play, but the planner wasn’t familiar with the bands demographic and concerned that they wouldn’t be a big enough draw for the kids to come show up and party. So she asked me about what I thought. Now, I don’t really listen to LA Riots myself, but through my searches on Hype Machine I’ve been able to see that they appeared on Steve Aoki’s new album, and remixed HeartsRevolution, as well as J.U.S.T.I.C.E. I also know that their remixes have been pretty popular and appear on music blogs a lot. This pretty much means that they’re popular with the people who are into the whole Dim Mak and French House music scene.

Since this has become a pretty strong movement in L.A. over I was able to say “yeah, they’re cool” with some authority. I’d look at LA Riots on a flyer and assume that wherever they were playing had some cred. This is what makes a party successful or not, because the more people we get from that scene to show up to listen to someone they already like equals the more people around to listen to my boss’ new music. This leads to more fans and credibility for him and makes the whole event worthwhile. Throwing parties and hosting club nights is a real industry that I really want to work in so all this seemingly frivolous talk about parties and what’s cool actually means something to me long term. You’ve got to know what people want in order to supply it and be successful.

 So, the site is also great because not only does a search bring up blog posts with MP3s it also presents upcoming tour dates for the artist whose name you’ve searched. I can’t begin to talk about how important blogs are to the music industry right now and more importantly to underground music culture. It’s crucial to know what the cool kids are listening to now because it will inevitably filter into the high schools and the popular music scene. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re planning a large event and need to know which bands to book, have to figure out who would be the best name to attach to a remix for an artist you’re producing or if you’re trying to find a new band to sign, the Hype machine is a great tool for anyone in the industry.  

It’s All Hype

Posted in Uncategorized on May 7, 2008 by

Today I’m writing to let you in on a little tool that I’ve been enjoying for quite some time now.  The Hype Machine is a site that I’ve been obsessed with for years. As time has gone by the site has only gotten better, growing and expanding as a tool that allows its users to filter through the web’s musical frontier. The site is an MP3 blog aggregator. It can be best described as a Google search for music. The site has a search engine that combs through the sea of music blogs out on the net and retrieves tracks and posts that relate to the search topic. The site presents these results as a series of blog posts with multiple options specific to the site. These include the option to play the track, to link to the original post and blog, and even links you to venues through which you can purchase the track. The site does not host any of the files itself, most of which violate copyright laws; it simply points you towards the illegally uploaded files. This lets the site function legally even when you’re streaming an unreleased, copyrighted track.

The encouragement to purchase a track that the site gives is never abrasive and never direct, but according to site designer Anthony Volodkin it has garnered the site appreciation from unnamed record labels. I can see why a label would be happy that a site like the Hype Machine was in existence. It brings some sort of sanity to the chaotic jumble of music blogs that have taken the music industry by storm, revolutionizing the way people interact with music.

In the 21 years that I’ve been alive the way people share and listen to music has been constantly evolving. From the cassette playing and recording, to CD making and burning and now MP3 downloading and sharing, the sheer volume of music we are now able to accumulate has vastly grown. I don’t think I would be listening to about 60 percent of the music that I do if I had to buy and store CDs for every album I wanted. I don’t even think of music in terms of albums anymore. I had a conversation about this with my friend over dinner the other night. I think of music in terms of tracks now and will know an artists by a few different tracks that I like and never listen to albums all the way through. The most I get through are the 30-second snippets on iTunes. It’s probably because most albums suck all the way through. Few artists are capable of putting out a product that has the same quality as their main single all the way through.

Now that all the drama about file sharing and the Napster scandal has died down, it seems like the web won and record labels weren’t able to compete with the tidal wave of users that took advantage of the new technology that brought a bit of egalitarianism to the music industry which was turning out huge artists and capitalizing on just a few super stars. I remember my older brothers complaining about the rising prices of albums and how they could barely afford to keep up with all the musicians they loved.

Applications like Napster proved to be messy, with faulty files and viruses running amuck and often wasting a lot of time. The whole bit torrent thing that followed was just way too confusing for me. You need a password and you need to download separate software to then unlock the torrents that you’ve download. I don’t want to touch that hot mess. There’s also something that feels a lot shadier about using a bit torrent site. It’s like there’s a difference between downloading an entire album as opposed to a few select tracks. It still feels like you should be paying for an album, while receiving a single for free seems like it’s helping promote the band more than hurt them.

Sites like MySpace and the Hype Machine have lead to the expansion of the game of music distribution. Today it’s easier than ever to not only create music, but to get people to listen to it through networking and self-promotion (The more shameless the better).  You just have to look at the success of artists like Jeffrey Star and Cassie to see how people have been able to utilize the new environment that Web 2.0 has created for budding young artists. Hell, even I have a pop band and MySpace music page with a decent amount of listeners.

PORTFOLIO

Posted in Uncategorized on May 1, 2008 by

I’ve always wondered how tourists must feel when they come to LA. I wonder what they think about the cluster fuck of architecture, the tiny skyline, and the thick pinkish cloud of smog that encases us. Where do you even go if you’re a visiting Swedish family of 5? Hollywood and Highland? Gross. Do you take taxis? It sucks, but you can forget about public transportation. I’ve lived here all my life and I still haven’t ridden a bus (Well, once, but I don’t want to talk about it). It’s taken me 3 years of living on my own to feel at home in this city, 3 years just to be able to connect all the different patches that make up its senseless sprawl. Sometimes I try to put myself in the mindset of an outsider and attempt look at the city with new eyes, usually when I’m stuck in traffic and trying to keep myself from just ramming into the car in front of me. It’s a calming exercise.This past week I was going east on the 60 (unfortunately), when my IPOD died. I had been listening to MGMT, which must have been partly to blame for the bout of melancholy I experienced upon passing a group of homes built into a hill. Random palm trees surrounded them, and the recent rains had made the grass look fresh and green. The walls that presumably were there to keep the houses from sliding down the hill were covered in graffiti and the homes themselves were very square, very white, very 80s. Now, I’m sure it really was the grossest thing, but with the afternoon sky was gold and pink I thought it was really beautiful.LA is kind of like what you’d get if a big, 70’s drag queen got transfigured into to a county, and that’s why I love it. That being said, this is probably one of the most annoying cities to navigate in the world. I’ve just begun trying to get any real sense of what it has to offer, but I’ve already learned a lot. For instance, best green enchiladas in the city? El Compadre on Sunset. There are two of them, so go to the one on the East side. No, you won’t see as any random celebs, but the service is so much better. The last time I went to the one across from Toi an idiot hostess took my name down, told me to wait at the bar for 20 minutes, and then 25 minutes later looked me dead the eye and told me she had never seen me before in her life. It was kind of funny, but not because it resulted in me eating at Cheebo, a joint I hate for its intense mediocrity.Just to clarify, I shop on the east side of Melrose. God willing one day this whole career thing I’m banking on will happen and I’ll be able to migrate over to west half (hopefully before the Alexander McQueen store opens this Spring, but the odds aren’t looking too good). See, I’m from the hood son, don’t my obsession with all things fashion related fool you.I’ve spent the past 3 years stuck studying in South Central. It wasn’t exactly the lifestyle change I’d imagined, but soon (after getting my car/Mac book/wardrobe stolen) I found myself moving in with my BFF and some random guy from Craigslist into a cute little apartment in Los Feliz where I now reside. So stop reading this blog now if you think that shopping means Robertson, that making art is being the millionth person to take party photos of skinny, pretty people (I get the impulse, so I only sort of hate you) or if you think music shouldn’t be as catchy as it is dirty.Now, before I piece out I’ll leave you with a good and bad list.

Good Things:

 

Midnight Juggernauts

 

Midnight Juggernauts

 

The Babysitter shake at No Place Like Home in Los Feliz

 

The Saturday line up at Coachella

 

Pumpkin pie pancakes at the Griddle on Sunset

 

Vagina Dentata (If you didn’t watch Teeth last month you deserve to find out what this is the hard way.

Bad Things:

Dieting for spring/summer clothes

 

Day jobs

 

Dario Argento being looked at as a serious director (what do you even say to that?)

 

Jack Johnson at Coachella

 

Fafi not being one of my friends : (fafi

 

L.A. LOVES L.A. UNDERGROUND

 

LA Underground

I’d like to draw your attention to L.A. Underground, a site filled with Los Angeles centric music news, without any of the lovely bullshit that runs other sites (like my beloved Scenestar). Maybe it’s because of their ravings about the depreciation of Coachella and the music industry remind me of my older brother or because of the fact that they’re always referencing venues and hot spots down the street from my apartment, but there is something about this writer that makes me feel at home on their blog.

“So the chaos of Coachella weekend has arrived again. After attending a few times, we’re more reluctant to watch big shows like these via YouTube than make an effort to drive out to the desert. And we wouldn’t dare go into all that chutzpah about how Coachella was “so much better in 1999″ although we will say there sure was a lot more room to do the centipede back then. “

This blogger reminds me of every 26 year old I’ve met in a bar in Silverlake since I’ve moved up here. I like the familiar use of trendy cultural references, without going overboard and suffering from the Juno effect. Formatted with just two columns, the site makes for easy reading. While displaying a healthy littering of photos, the blog is still all about the writing and commentary. I can appreciate that while this blogger isn’t afraid to comment on their subjects, they usually keep the anecdotes quick and painless while focusing on information of past and upcoming concerts, festivals and release dates.There tends to be three parts to a blog that focuses on music and art: Text, images and .mp3 links. I don’t know whether Mark the Cobrasnake started this trend, or just capitalized on something that was already happening in the clubs, but wide angle, flash photography is to this generation of scene kids what high contrast/saturation photography was to the 90s.

randoms

And i’m sick of having to scroll down pages of it to get to any information on a music blog. Some blogs are built up almost exclusively by these photos, (check out KidPaparazzi). L.A. Underground has none. Maybe that’s why I like reading L.A. Underground so much. The layout and photos featured on a blog becomes a part of its voice and like a blogger’s writing, have the ability to attract readers for the same reasons that different writing styles do. There’s something about the utilitarian photographs this blogger uses that makes me feel at ease. By utilitarian I mean they’re actually photos of the artists and not of meth chic hipsters. I get enough of that nonsense all up in my face when I go out at night, I don’t need to see it while I’m just trying to find out when Patrick Wolf is playing next.

Patsy

Skimming through the blogroll on L.A. Underground has linked me to so many great sites. It’s important to look at the media a blog is linking too in order to find their voice as well. A blogger’s taste is probably the most important thing about an art and entertainment blog. What music they think is relevant leads to which bands they cover and the more often that a reader finds themselves agreeing with a blogger’s taste the more likely they are to return to the site.Repeated columns like “Los Angeles Loves…” (which typically features a new, up and coming artist) also help to build up a blogger’s voice and a reader’s sense of familiarity with the writer. I think that when doing something like an art and entertainment blog it’s important to take into consideration whether you’re writing for a lay audience or a savvy audience. You should think about this when you’re deciding what to link to and what background information to include on an artist.L.A. Underground can be appreciated by almost anyone, but can also be enjoyed by the hard to reach, jaded hipster geriatric set. This is in large part due to the blogger’s focus on reporting actual information rather than just entertaining their own opinion. The tone of the blog is like that of a resource page, something like a custom made CitySearch. Overall I think the voice of the blog comes across as informative and approachable, skipping style for substance.

 

SO THERE’S THIS BLOG I LIKE

 

I want to start this blog off with quick rant, why don’t the iphones come ready for Flash? I was driving around Los Feliz with my roommate looking for a Taco Bell last night and couldn’t access their website to get to the store locator. In the amount of time it took for us to find one I had sobered up (wasn’t driving) and I couldn’t even enjoy my meal.

Scenestar

There are multitudes of blogs about the L.A. music scene, but in my opinion the Scenestar manages to shine brighter than most. Check the site out for yourself and soak in the spread of perhaps one of the most put together scene blogs I’ve come across. This blog is a great source for Los Angeles based music news, album and show reviews and pre-sale info. The site is run by Oscar, a resident of Los Angeles in his late 20s, and a few of his friends. All of who, from what I can tell by stalking them on Myspace, either have a heavy interest in music or work somewhere in the industry (like radio). You can find at least one new post on the blog everyday: sometimes more, sometimes less. The blog has an authority of 22 on Technorati and has yet to be favorited by any one. But I have a feeling though that this probably says more about the people that read the blog than the blog itself.With a great layout and killer photography, someone like me doesn’t stand a chance against the urge to check it for updates. I just want to keep clicking on everything because it’s so…nice looking.

Face

In a way the Scenestar is a lot like what I hope Destroy L.A. can grow up to be. The type of bands covered might not be the same, and there’s the lack of any news relating to any of my other subjects, but I think that all in all it’ll be a good site for me to look to in the future for inspiration. The site does a great job of keepings its readers updated with important music related news and I think it’s awesome that it generates media of it’s own, whether it be interviews or photographic coverage of shows. The blogger’s insistence on doing their own interviews elevates it to a level of professionalism not found very often in music blogs. I would say that this blog relates to journalism more than your average opinion or persona-based blog. However, I feel like the lack of opinion and personal voice within the blog posts might be alienating some of it’s readers, or at least it doesn’t give them any reason to comment with their own opinions.

Photo

The updates are short and sweet, only a few paragraphs, and the interviews are plentiful. They are also full of links that can get you more acquainted with their subjects. Their readers are L.A. residents who love music and go to music events, but the writing is very accessible. I can imagine any number of my friends who work in the music industry reading it, as well as my teenage niece.This site is a great place for me to go to and check if there are any music events coming up that might be of interest. All in all though I feel like the range of bands covered by the Scenestar puts out is much broader than that of Destroy L.A. It’s like they’ll just talk about any band that’s playing a show in this city. I want my blog to be something more like a boutique. My blog is more about a certain lifestyle and indirectly about how the Internet and the expansion of media has made it possible to learn about obscure artists, musicians and designers from all over the world. I’m really interested in self-promotion and using the web to advertise, brand and sell your work. While I’ll try not to beat this topic over anyone’s head in my posts, everyone who I highlight has risen from obscurity to fame by use of the net and word of mouth.I can’t begin to tell you how reliant I am on the Internet for cultural information, it’s almost the exclusive source of music, art and movie related news in my life. So often I’ve been researching an artist that interests me only to find their Myspace eventually and find a friend of theirs that’s equally amazing. It just seems like the world is getting smaller and smaller as we keep finding new links between everything. I like that.

The Hype Machine

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2008 by
 

The Hype Machine functions as a type of net you can use to drag in MP3s from the blogosphere. Its search engine comes in handy mostly when you’re looking for alternative/indie music that is on the verge of becoming big or about to be released.  The site is also a great source for finding dance music and remixes. Well it is mainly used for underground, fringe music scene; it’s also a good site for more popular music that is getting attention because of a scandal or an impending release date.The Hype Machine is navigated by a toolbar located just below the site’s header. The first tab you can select takes you to an about section, the most important part of which reads:

“The Hype Machine follows music blog discussions. Every day, thousands of people around the world write about music they love — and it all ends up here.

Our MissionThe Hype Machine is here to make music discovery fun and get artists paid.”

The next tab takes you to Hype radio and section of the site that plays a random selection from any of the tracks that the site is currently linking to.The next tab, Popular, shows you a listing of which music tracks have been currently searched for and downloaded. This option is cool for letting you know what’s popular right now and what other people think is cool. It gives you suggestions of what you should download. This is handy when given the state of oversaturation the music industry is facing. When time is money its helpful to know what you should try out from a sources that is a little more trustworthy than something like Rolling Stone.After that tab comes the Spy option, this lets you see what people are currently downloading and searching for. After that is a tab that takes you to a list of the blogs the site currently links to. Then comes the contact us section which is pretty self-explanatory.The next section of the site involves the Dashboard, which I will discuss in a later post.
 

Observations

Posted in Uncategorized on March 27, 2008 by

Has anyone else noticed the stream of kick-ass bands that have been pouring out of Australia’s electro scene? The release of Cut Copy’s new album, In Ghost Colours has brought the matter to my attention recently. I love the direction the band has taken their sound, moving away from the 80′s dance pop retread of Bright Light Neon Love and embracing their inner rock stars. I say that “Strangers in the Wind” is the Beyonce of the album, with steel pedal guitar conjuring up musings of what Fleetwood Mac would sound like had they come up in this generation.


Van She and Midnight Juggernauts are quickly following in the wake left by CC. After appearing on everybody’s bands to watch list in 2008, the two groups have continued remixing and performing, developing their sound. Everyone is still waiting for Van She to release and LP, Midnight Juggernaut’s Dystopia was on all over music blogs in ’07. You can catch all 3 bands at Coachella this year. I’m so stoked.


I Worked on an Anusha video last week. I loved the wardrobe girls. The hours were ridiculous and the male models were a bit disappointing. As I filled in graves with the video director at 5 in the morning after a 20 hour day I discovered that perhaps production just isn’t for me.


The Bloody Beetroots performed at Blow Up! LA yesterday in down town. The venue was big and hot, unfortunately most of the people were not. Their set was fun though and I danced off the days calories with my friends, not paying much attention to the sketchy crowd around me. Rhonda was fun last week from what I can remember. Jeremy Scott was pretty good on the turn tables. I’m still obsessed with his Right to Bear Arms collection. How dangerous is it to have a party night within walking distance of your apartment? It’s a major health risk.

Mighty Max Holds Up

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 11, 2008 by

Mighty Max

My obsession with Blingee is out of control. For those of you that are still living in the dark ages of plain Myspace profile pics, check it out.

Onto some coverage of the haps in LA. NASA at La Cita was awesome. These dudes are they’re really funny and fun and they totally bring that energy to their DJ set. I really like the space too, even though everyone ditched the place for PYT, I still think the size is more manageable. I just hate the layout at Jimmy’s. I couldn’t make it to the Cut Copy after party last night, ironically enough because I had to update my blog on the music scene in LA.

Diplo at Crash Mansion last week was too big to be intimate and not crowded enough to be intoxicating. Does that make sense? That place is just too big. I just couldn’t get into. That could have also been because I had a crazy fever and going out was a really bad idea.

I almost tripped over Ben from Felicity at a party in the hills the Friday night. He was just lying on the floor, but how hot is he still? I had a good time, a DJ whose face I was trying to place the whole night was playing fun tracks (I think he also spins at PYT) and the rub-on tattoos were plentiful.

Out with the BFFs

With the school work, work work, internship work, art work and nightlife I feel like I barely have time at all to just sit and take a breath. It was a nice change of pace to spend Saturday night watching early 90′s cartoons.

Speaking of which, if anyone who is reading this remembers a live action movie from the mid 90s about samurai rats who control the elements, or anything that even closely resembles that please give me a shout out. I know I couldn’t have made the whole thing up in my head. The mystery is eating me alive.

Shop at Scout

Justice at the end of the month!!!

Peace Out.

WACK!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11, 2008 by

There’s this great tool called Zotero, if you’re anything like me and you suck at bibliographies, this is a great way to organize.  Here’s an  example of a resource I pulled up using USC Library Catalog.

Butler, Cornelia. WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2007. 10 Mar 2008.

This book chronicles the uprise of feminist art in the 70s. It accompanied an important exhibition at LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I first came in contact with this reading in a gender studies course. The books holds significance in this world as a marker for the presence of females in the art world.

WACK! explores how feminism wand the struggles women faced in the second half of the 20th century was reflected in the art that was produced in that era. It presents the work of important and influential artists from the period, artists such as: Chantal Akerman, Lynda Benglis, Louise Bourgeois, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Judy Chicago, Mary Heilmann, Sanja Ivekovič, Valie Export, Lucy Lippard, Ana Mendieta, Annette Messager, Alice Neel, and Yoko Ono.

The art that is covered in WACK! ranges from painting photography, sculpture, film, video to installation. The collection features some of the Untitled Film Stills of Cindy Sherman, an artist that has be profoundly influential in my work, as well as that of countless of artists all over the world.

The art that is covered in this book is relevant to my subject because it invokes the fire of revolution. It is a testament to the women who pushed the boundaries of the art world, a field dominated by white men. This is actually a very topical issue even today. The opening of the BCAM building for LACMA was greeted with open criticism from feminist artists due to their over representation of white, male artists.

I feel like one of the great things about Los Angeles is the diversity that exists within this city and that exists in the art and music world. I believe that it is important that in my work I help promote this aspect of Los Angeles. It is disturbing how many of the worlds most recognized contemporary artists come from a same fraction of our population.

Peace Out