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Funk-filled

Boney James, David Crosby, Pale Waves and Magpie Salute

Funk-filled

As clear and obvious as a pair of sandals and a tie-dye t-shirt

Terror, Lemon Twigs, Michigan Rattlers, Meteors

Hardcore and metal concerts have long been a staple at Soma, dating all the way back to its original locales around town, and people are still talking about the time that Terror played there in ...

Mr. Sensitive Guitar Guy

Langhorne Slim, Suffocation, Krisiun, Soreption, Mowgli's, Emily Kinney

If ever an act needed to be seen live to be appreciated for all they have to offer, that’d be Langhorne Slim, who treats every stage like a pulpit and leaves every attendee feeling born ...

Topping the Spotify charts in over 20 countries

Maggie Rogers, Pink Talking Fish, Beartooth, Film School

I was hearing about “Give a Little,” the poppy new hand-clapping earworm by 24-year-old Maggie Rogers, for several days before I finally gave it a spin. Fearing another Meghan Trainor/Cher Lloyd knockoff like “Dog Years,” ...

Expanding the dancefloor boundaries

Thievery Corporation, Jerry Paper, Prophet, Yndi Halda

For over 20 years, Rob Garza and Eric Hilton have been expanding the dancefloor boundaries of EDM as Thievery Corporation. Though early efforts were paint-by-number exercises in straight dub and acid jazz, their evolution toward ...

Giggling and gurgling as they frolic

Shonen Knife, Escape the Fate, Dia de los Deftones, Goblin

The very first description I ever heard of Shonen Knife, back in the mid-80s when they were still a cult-ish underground sensation, is the one that remains for me the most accurate. I was working ...

Long before American Idol, X-Factor, and So You Think You Can Dance

Swingin’ Utters, Gregory Alan Isakov, Dance With the Dead and Paula Abdul

For a while, it didn’t look like San Francisco punk rockers Swingin’ Utters would survive into the new century. Founded in the late 80s (though not named Swingin’ Utters until 1994), their glory days included ...

Re-imagining cinema soundtracks

Morricone Youth, Nina Nesbitt, Exploded View, Mutual Benefit

Although they’re usually considered a quintessential NYC art-rock band specializing in re-imagining cinema soundtracks, Morricone Youth actually has roots in mostly long-gone San Diego groups such as Rust, Creedle, aMiniature, Crash Worship, and one of ...

Soft and dangerous

In This Moment, Shortly, Birdtalker, Todd Rundgren

Few metal bands take their theatrics as seriously as LA’s In This Moment, who have been known to wear costumes themed to the music, with masked guests onstage enacting bits of scene-setting that make performances ...

Less whimsical and more muscular

Ceramic Animal, Dale Watson, Mat Kearney, Monster Magnet

To call Ceramic Animal mere psych-rock is to unfairly relegate them to the same paisley parking lot spinners who never figured out that Their Satanic Majesties Request was just the Stones mocking them and their ...

Styx returns to rock opera

Plus Alan Parsons, Greensky Bluegrass, the Lil Smokies, and Ghost

A little over 20 years ago, when a bunch of Hit Parader contributors pooled writeups for a 20 Best Debut Albums of All Time feature, I took a lot of flack for doing mine on ...

Sometimes you just gotta move to Austin

Matthew Logan Vasquez, Thrice, King Khan & The Shrines, Dawes, Dermot Kennedy

After a decade spent in the frontman slot of mainstream rock bands like the mostly-local Delta Spirit, as well as Middle Brother (featuring members of Dawes and Deer Tick), famous former neighbor Matthew Logan Vasquez ...

Guitars amble and shimmer, drum tracks roll out like bubbles

Covet, Patrick Sweany, Florence & the Machine, Troye Sivan, Clan of Xymox

Based around Oakland and San Jose, “adventure math rock” band Covet features Yvette Young and David Adamiak, who together make sounds best described as music to watch dragons and hobbits by while you test a ...

"Music that's made for having fun," plus other stuff

Eric Paslay, Daedalus, Anderson East, Honne, Shannon & The Clams

In an age where major labels seem the last and least likely place for new talent to develop, it’s a surprise when a big concern like EMI Nashville actually backs a winner that nobody saw ...

What does KOD mean to you?

J. Cole, Omar Apollo, Jade Bird, Timbiriche, and The Flatliners, plus Young Thug

J. Cole’s KOD Tour pulls into Viejas Arena on August 22, promoting a same-named full-length released in April with a title said to either stand for Kill Our Demons, Kids on Drugs, or King Overdosed, ...

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