Dive into the Dreamy Surf-Noir Soundscape of La Luz

La Luz

La Luz’s ’60s girl-pop-surf-rock style will make you dream of sunny beach days, wherever you may be. La Luz is new to Los Angeles but not to the indie music scene. Formed in 2012 in Seattle, Washington, the band — made up of lead singer/guitarist Shana Cleveland, drummer Marion Li Pino, keyboardist Alice Sandahl and bassist Lena Simon — is popular among music critics. Their third full-length album, Floating Features, solidifies their place among the best indie rock bands. After releasing Floating Features, the band embarked on a world tour. Inspired by their relocation to LA, the record includes songs appropriately titled “California Finally” and “Walking in the Sun.” In an email interview with Crixeo, La Luz’s Shana Cleveland discussed the new album, Los Angeles and their telenovela-inspired video for “Cicada.” I read that “Weirdo Shrine,” from the previous album, was inspired by Charles Burns’ comic Black Hole. Was there an inspiration        …read more

We Still Live in a Yellow Submarine

Yellow Submarine

50 years after its release, the cartoon classic ‘Yellow Submarine’ continues to delight. Once upon a time — or maybe twice — the Beatles released a full-length animated adventure for children of all ages (especially 64). Inspired by their song “Yellow Submarine,” the auditory equivalent of a cartoon, the movie depicts a psychedelic voyage through time and space set to a soundtrack of classic Beatles tunes, some of which were written for the film. This summer, Yellow Submarine returns to theaters in a glorious 4K restoration with a fresh 5.1 surround sound remix of some of the Fab Four’s best songs. (Click here for tickets.) So take a musical trip with me to the magical undersea world of Pepperland. Just be careful not to press the wrong button or pull the wrong lever in the submarine. And always watch out for Blue Meanies! BACKGROUND In case you haven’t heard of        …read more

Jay-Z for Governor: Big Pimpin’ Up in Albany

I nominate another celebrity to run for governor: Jay-Z. The trend these days, apparently, is that politics and Hollywood are merging to create one giant superpower, reigning over us all in fandom and in governance. Ronald Reagan started the trend as the actor-turned-president. Since then, Dirty Harry Clint Eastwood won the mayoral race in Carmel, the Terminator was elected governor of California, Miranda from Sex and the City became a New York governor hopeful, and a former reality TV star was elected president of our nation. It seems previous on-screen appearances, fictional or otherwise, are good for the aspiring politician’s résumé. And so, I’ve now decided to nominate another celebrity as a New York gubernatorial candidate. My nominee appears on late-night television to comment on the country’s governance, writes articles on the justice system and quietly contributes to making the state a better a place. As a lifelong New Yorker who        …read more

A Brief History of Shia LaBeouf Doing Weird Shit

Shia LaBeouf

Ahh, Shia LaBeouf. You lovable scamp, you. People say you’re crazy, Shia LaBeouf. They say you’ve lost the plot. They tell me to stop writing you letters — that you’ll never respond. But I know you read them, Shia. I know you’re reading this right now, Shia. I know everything, Shia. I can read your mind, Shia. Oh yeah? Prove it, friend, is what you just said to your screen, Shia. Now you’re freaking out. You’re trying to trick me, trying to think completely random things to prove to yourself that you aren’t crazy and that I’m not reading your mind. But I am, Shia. Purple lemur in roller skates spinning gracefully on an upside-down Toyota. See? I’m in your head, Shia. Accept it. Embrace it. I’m not writing this article for my fans, of which there are plenty. No, I’m writing this for you. See, I’ve been watching you. Studying        …read more

M.I.A.: The Art of Defying the System

M.I.A.

Why does the music industry resist artists like M.I.A.? What kind of artist would you prefer: one programmed to perform or one with a strong point of view? Consider, if you will, how many young hopefuls have entered the entertainment industry with nothing more than a dream and a smidgen of talent. They get picked up by someone — a record label, an executive, some famed producer — and this means everything. Getting picked up means family and friends applaud you, enemies from school see your face on the cover of magazines, and a sizable paycheck is in your future. It also means your individuality will be slowly stripped away. “Do you want to be famous, or what? Lose the accent, dress this way, don’t say that, sing this, promote that, suck here…” Such “experts” style and media-train these young hopefuls within an inch of their lives this side of        …read more

A Sinner and A Saint: Meredith Brooks and the Lasting Legacy of ‘Bitch’

Meredith Brooks

Whether you’re in the shower, car or karaoke bar, Meredith Brooks’ ‘Bitch’ is still the perfect tune to sing at the top of your lungs. Remember that song that brags about being a bitch, a lover, a child and a mother? Good. Now, without peeking at the headline, do you remember who sings that song? Hint: It’s not Alanis Morissette, Sophie B. Hawkins or Paula Cole — although you’re forgiven for assuming any of those. Her name is Meredith Brooks, and while it may not ring a bell for anyone beyond music trivia fanatics, the song’s opening line, “I hate the world today,” might just do it. Rife with self-assured lines like “Take me as I am” and “Don’t try to save me,” “Bitch” is viewed by some as a feminist anthem. Others have seen it as justification for being an unapologetic a—hole, set to a mellow, catchy melody. For        …read more

The 5 Sexiest Songs by Prince

songs by Prince

The singer, songwriter, actor and sex symbol released more than 40 albums in fewer years. Here are just 5 of the most sensuous songs by Prince. More than 30 years ago, on a now-defunct late-night talk show, comedian Joan Rivers interviewed then-singer and actress Vanity about the man who quite literally made her who she was. Since the Prince gave the actress her name, a girl group, and a number-one song, Vanity made many talk show appearances in the mid-’80s. But an interview with the outspoken Joan Rivers was hardly ever just another celebrity interview. So when Vanity admitted she’d thought Prince was gay when she first met him, Joan’s candid response was hardly surprising: “That makes sense! The man weighs 100 pounds, and 50 of them are sequins,” she shrieked. “I mean, you would think he’s gay. He makes Michael Jackson look like a Green Beret!” The audience exploded with        …read more

Summertime Blues Are Here to Stay...On Your Headphones

summertime blues

Got a case of the summertime blues? You’re not alone, and these sad summertime songs are good company. Waves crashing on a beach, children jingling change as they run out to meet the ice cream truck, clinking glasses and laughter coming from a nearby barbecue… For many, these are the invigorating sounds of summer, the noises that wash away the dark memories of rainy, snowy days spent cramped indoors. Yet for some, no amount of sunblock or self-tanner can hide their summertime blues. The condition, though not technically a medical one, has impacted some of the most prominent pop-culture icons, from Lana Del Rey to the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson (yes, believe it or not, even the king of summertime fun can be a bit salty about the end of carefree beach days). Go into any club between June and September, and you’ll likely hear Lana Del Rey’s moody “Summertime        …read more

Josephine Baker: Entertainer, War Hero, Civil Rights Champion

Josephine Baker

It’s time to rediscover Josephine Baker, the world-famous entertainer who stood for equality. One of the most significant entertainers of the 20th century, Josephine Baker isn’t as recognized as she should be today, partly because it’s not easy to access the few films she appeared in. It is, however, time to rediscover her, as so many lessons learned from her life are at risk of being forgotten. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 3, 1906, Baker would emigrate and gain fame in Paris as a hypnotic dancer at the Folies Bergiere, and would go on to become a correspondent for the French Resistance during World War II, an ambassador for racial harmony as a mother to 12 adopted children she called the Rainbow Tribe, and a champion of civil rights who would eventually speak alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Born to washerwoman Carrie McDonald and vaudeville drummer Eddie Carson,        …read more

Rise of the Cardinal: Ghost's Comeback and Return to the Stage

Hard-rock sensation Ghost returns to the limelight with their Rats on the Road tour. The last few months have been very big for Satanic-tinted hard-rock band Ghost. After a substantial hiatus, a lawsuit and the resulting exposure of their previously anonymous identities, Ghost has come back with a new front man, single, album release date and tour. From magazine features to charts and lists, all eyes are on them, and it looks like Ghost is more than happy with the resurrection. And “resurrection” is honestly the best word for it, when you understand what’s been happening to the band since their last run promoting their Grammy-winning album Meliora with front man Papa Emeritus III. I’ll preface this with a spoiler alert — or something close to that. The front man and creator of Ghost has been forced out of anonymity, but many fans of the band like to retain his anonymity        …read more