Top Picks for NYE 2016 in Los Angeles!

15 Film Picks (5)
by Tom Nguyen

When I’m considering where to spend New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles, I look for 3 things:

  • Great live bands or dance music we typically cover on this site.
  • It won’t break the bank (Some free, most under $40).
  • Whether big or small events, I’m looking for good vibes, not pretentiousness.

If you’re looking for the same, here are my recommendations (in order of cost) all across LA: Downtown, Silver Lake, Hollywood, Mid City, Santa Monica and Long Beach: Continue Reading →

Chicano Batman: Pizza Party for Fans & New Single to celebrate their Aug. 28 Homecoming show!

Don’t worry if you missed out–I asked about their new single for you.

Chicano Batman. From right to left: Gabriel Villa, Eduardo Arenas, Carlos Arevalo, and Bardo Martínez.

Chicano Batman. From right to left: Gabriel Villa, Eduardo Arenas, Carlos Arevalo, and Bardo Martínez.

by Amanda Wang

(LOS ANGELES) — It’s August 18th, a bright Tuesday on the Westside. For SoCal band Chicano Batman, the year has had in store for them the spoils of Coachella and opening for Jack White. Next up is a grand homecoming on August 28th as headliners at the El Rey. Though they’ve just wrapped up their tour with Alabama Shakes, Chicano Batman celebrates by throwing a humble kickback with pizza for their loyal Angeleno fans.

Pictured with Jack White.

Pictured with Jack White. Photo: David James Swanson.

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Tinariwen returns to LA with New EP! Oct. 18 Moon Block Party and Oct. 25 The Luckman CSULA

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Our Tuareg blues and soul brothers, Tinariwen, returns to Los Angeles with 2 shows! They are touring the West Coast this month, and will play the Moon Block Party on Saturday, October 18, at the Fairplex, Pomona and Saturday, October 25, at The Luckman at CSULA. Their music and shows are always a soulful, transcendent experience for me and if you’ve never seen them live, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to let them take you on a sonic journey to their desert home.

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Hollywood Bowl Summer Season Picks!

JanelleMonae Who doesn’t love the iconic Hollywood Bowl, the premiere outdoor summer venue in LA? There’s something for everyone from an eclectic lineup of global talent from different genres, to great jazz and classical music. On top of that, it sits up near the picturesque Hollywood Hills and is one of the only venues where you bring your own food and wine and enjoy a picnic with your favorite music under the stars! I’m especially a big fan of the KCRW-sponsored World Festival concert series there each season! The Hollywood Bowl Summer season starts Sat., June 14 and runs through Sun., Sep. 28 and here are my picks: Continue Reading →

Laura Mvula and KING at El Rey Tue Sep 17


Wow this show just snuck up on me — I only found out about it tonight thanks to the ever-connected Wamuhu of PriMo Arts. We last saw Laura Mvula at the Bootleg Theater and the UK soul and gospel singer had us instantly mesmerized with her exquisite voice and beautiful melodies, with songs ranging from the upbeat Green Garden to the intimate, haunting She. Not too long ago, Laura was answering phones as a receptionist and sending out demo tapes and the rest is history — she’s burst upon the music scene with her debut album Sing to the Moon released earlier this year.

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Selah Sue and Bushwalla at El Rey Mon Aug. 26!


Here’s a tip for discovering new music from abroad before it hits US shores — get to know travelers or even host one in your home! It was 2 years ago, I was taking a Belgian CouchSurfer named Julie on a surf trip during her summer internship in LA. While listening to music during the car ride, I joked that I never heard of any good music coming from Belgium. Being a musician herself, she personally took offense, plugged her iPod into my car radio, and proceeded to school me…in the ways of Selah Sue

Wow I was immediately hooked from the opening guitar riff and her distinctive voice and cadence as she sings and raps in a blend of soul and reggae. I immediately drove home and youtubed her, finding this live performance very early in her musical career:

How does such a young girl with piercing blue eyes from a small Belgium town channel such ragga soul and command such emotional depth? Coming from a non-musical family, a music career was far from any of her thoughts as a teen. Learning to play acoustic guitar at 15, Selah Sue simply wanted to write songs as a way to deal with her teenage anxieties. “I had all these worries and depressions that I wrote down, it was a way of structuring my thoughts,” she writes on her bio. Many of her songs touch on her insecurities and coming out of her shell through her music.

And the rest is destiny: playing open mics in high school and posting her music on Myspace garnered her an instant growing fan base and offers from music producers, which she rejected early on because she wanted to write and sing her own songs. Selah Sue saved the songs she wrote as a teen, like Raggamuffin, for her self-titled debut album released in 2011. Julie left me a copy before she returned to Belgium and I’ve had it on repeat ever since.

Selah Sue writes songs like an old soul, influenced by the funk, soul and reggae rawness of her idols Lauren Hill, Erykah Badu and Bob Marley. Her stage name is in homage to Lauren Hill, whose daughter is named Selah.

I’ve also read she’s a very private person. I finally got to see her live at last year’s UCLA Jazz and Reggae Fest which I believe was one of her first performances in the US. After her set, as she walked offstage to the artist area, I and another “early adopter” who knew her music screamed at the top of our lungs “SELAH SUE” to get her attention and motioning her to come over. I think we were too eager and scared her away, as she shyly retreated away. She played acoustically that day without a backing band and she’s at her most introspective and vulnerable on songs like Mommy, when it’s just her and her guitar.

I’m really looking forward to seeing Selah Sue again and seeing how quickly she’s matured as an artist at just 24 years young on a sky-rocketing trajectory. You may have already heard her voice and not known it.

I know I’ll be ready tomorrow for my spoonful of Selah Sue’s intense soul-baring music tomorrow at the El Rey Theatre., with Bushwalla, the self-proclaimed Original Gangster from Cleveland. It’s an all ages show at 8pm and tickets are just $17.

Tara Priya: Exclusive Interview


I’ve been pretty crazy about Tara Priya since discovering her music on Facebook. She’s very active there and on Twitter and Youtube, where she was unbelievably responding to every user comment until her most recent video Who You Do hit a million views! Now there’s no going back…Tara is on a hot trajectory with her retro-soul feistiness and is busy as ever, but she still found some time to grant me an interview. Thank you, Tara, for sharing such a personal, candid side of you with your fans!

http://youtu.be/fXSrbOJ38q4

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Alice Russell with Shafiq Husayn Saturday May 4


(Update 4/25/13: Here are other opportunities to see or hear Alice Russell:
Wed May 1: US TV Debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Thu May 2: Free in-store performance at Amoeba Records in Hollywood
Fri May 3: Live on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic on 89.9FM or stream online. You can also preview her new 5th album To Dust now here. She’s starting her US and Europe tour for the new album and here are her other show dates.)
LA, you don’t want to miss Alice Russell‘s show in LA on Saturday, May 4! I saw her the first time at ArtDontSleep‘s That 70s Soul show and they are partnering with Spaceland for this show to be held at the First Unitarian Church, which is a very fitting venue for this spectacular UK soul singer who grew up singing in gospel choirs. There will be an opening performance by Shafiq Husayn featuring The Dove Society and Dj sets by Seano. Get your tickets now! You can also catch Shafiq Husayn this Saturday, April 28, at the monthly THIS event at NOLA’s in downtown.

facebookevent2 Continue Reading →

Pravini US Tour and Exclusive Interview

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Pravini, soul singer and songwriter from Netherlands, will be touring the US from April 19th to May 4th with 4 stops in the LA area. I was intrigued by Pravini’s eclectic fusion of soul, hiphop, Indian and South American rhythms and in researching her diverse heritage, I learned that there has been a strong, thriving East Indian community in Suriname, a former Dutch colony in South America, since the 1800s. Many emigrated to Netherlands, where Pravini was born, and she has really broken boundaries there and put a spotlight on the rich, diverse talent of the Dutch-Indian-Surinamese community. Pravini is excited to be performing her new music in the US and was gracious enough to grant me an interview, so enjoy her new single Move Me to Tears and read on! Continue Reading →

Centric Happy Hour Tour featuring Cee Lo Green protege V. Bozeman March 22

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(UPDATE 3/20/13: There are still a few tickets left so better hurry!)
The CentricTV Happy Hour Tour is halfway through its free concert tour of 10 cities nationwide in 4 weeks, featuring R&B, hip hop and soul singers in intimate shows with complimentary cocktails and soulful cuisine. They stop in LA on Friday, March 22, at the Playhouse in Hollywood with a special performance by V. Bozeman, born right here in South Central Los Angeles! The first time I heard of her was when I saw this exquisite (and not work-safe) video of Timothy Bloom‘s ‘Til The End of Time. Continue Reading →