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After being championed by Mayor Eric Garcetti this spring, the inaugural Made In America music festival took over Grand Park and surrounding streets this Labor Day weekend, attracting some 34,000 people on Saturday and 37,000 people on Sunday to downtown L.A.

With entrances on Temple and 2nd Streets, the Marilyn main stage was situated facing west on Spring Street at the steps of City Hall, and the Dylan stage to its left at Spring and 1st Street, each with huge screens on either side. The stages swapped acts back and forth so the music was constant from 2:30 to 11 p.m. each day. The James Dean stage was set up near the fountain by Grand Avenue, and two more screens were set up a block back on Broadway, with another in the beer garden on Hill Street, so in addition to hearing the show from blocks away, you could also watch it. And if you didn’t get there early enough, you probably would be.
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Video: Hobart W. Fink, ‘The Fight / We Lie’

by Kevin Bronson on September 1, 2014

Listening to Hobart W. Fink’s debut full-length “Back and Forth Forever” can be like being a fly on the wall while your coupled friends duke it out over how the laundry was folded. The relationship tensions on the aptly named album run much deeper than that, though, as principals Jayk Gallagher and Lauren Lakis trade off vocals and harmonize in some of rock’s fine traditions (think X, Sonic Youth and the Pixies, or lesser-known but nonetheless intelligent agitators like Eleventh Dream Day and Sons & Daughters). That Gallagher and Lakis (with bandmates Noe Santiago and AJ Brown) set their makeup/breakup to tasty indie/punk/’90s alternative licks make the audio voyeurism even better. Which brings us to the quartet’s new video for “The Fight/We Lie.” How is a fractious couple like a children’s party? We’ll suck our thumb on that question for a bit, while we try to visualize the mythical character that is Hobart W. Fink. Meanwhile, fight on.

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Happy first of the month:

► George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe highlight the lineup at the Long Beach Funk Fest, going off at the Queen Mary. There’s plenty more, including Katdelic, the Meters Experience, Delta Nove, Music Man Miles Tackett, Subsuelo and Dam-Funk (DJ set).
Jesse McCartney visits the House of Blues behind his new album “In Technicolor.” We’ll leave it to you to process the image of McCartney smoking a cigar in the video for “Superbad.” (Hey, he’s 27 now.)
KCHUNG Fest (a benefit for the Chinatown-based AM radio station) goes off at Los Globos, with MNDSGN, Chrome Canyon, Anenon, Geoff Geis, Axed Crown, Itasca, Kitchen Hips, Heathers, Los Angeles Police Department, oe, So Many Wizards, Muna, Sex Stains, Generation Landslide, American Grizzly, Vex Ruffin and Plague Vendor.
► Long Beach’s Fathers & Suns kick off their residency at the Silverlake Lounge, supported by Heaps ‘N Heaps, Magnastic and New Maximum Donkey.
► Colorado ex-pats Bones Muhroni have the residency at the Satellite, supported tonight by Criminal Hygiene, Frogtown and Northern American.
► And Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian will do a signing and host a premiere party for his new soundtrack to the film “God Help the Girl” at Origami Vinyl (3 p.m.).

Also:
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The Week Ahead: Sept. 1-7

by Anna Acosta on September 1, 2014

Incoming: Long Beach Funk Fest (George Clinton, Karl Denson), Jesse McCartney, KChung Fest, Bear in Heaven, Whirr, James David, Glen Martin, Stiff Little Fingers, David Gray, Leslie Stevens, Strand of Oaks, Zachariah & the Lobos Riders, Shiny Toy Guns, OK Go, City & Colour, Neon Trees, WAZ, Mother Falcon, Kins, Brian Wright, Senses Fail, Dwight Yoakam, Diane Schuur, the Rentals, Phantogram, Elvis Costello, Atmosphere, Burt Bacharach, the Baseball Project, Viza, the Record Company, Together Pangea, Colin Hay, Coheed & Cambria, She Keeps Bees, Yuna, Calico the Band, Sex Helicopter, Tyrone Wells, Kimbra, the Walcotts, Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas

Above: That’s the video for David Gray‘s “Beautiful Agony.” The track is off is his album “Mutineers,” which he’ll be supporting with a stop at the Greek Theatre on Wednesday.

Our staff picks of the week:

@KRBronson recommends: Brooklyn’s She Keeps Bees [see "Owl"] visits the Satellite on Saturday night; the duo of Jessica Larrabee and Andy LaPlant have a new album, “Eight Houses,” on the way Sept. 16.

@Seraphina_L recommends: If you’re in the mood for heavy, loud shoegaze then San Francisco bay area-based post-rock band Whirr might be your best bet. The quintet plays the Echo on Tuesday in support of their forthcoming album “Sway.” ACxDC and Sad Actor support. 

After the jump, the week ahead:

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L.A. Buzz Bands Show, tonight at 9 on KCSN

by Kevin Bronson on August 31, 2014

KCSN2014NEW-500Holiday weekend? What holiday weekend? I’ll be engaged in my regular Sunday labor tonight when the L.A. Buzz Bands Show convenes at 9 o’clock on KCSN (88.5 FM, streaming at KCSN.org). I’ll have music from forthcoming releases by Sneakout, Black Hi-Lighter, the Fontaines and the Luxembourg Signal, along with new tracks from Dear Boy and Daniel Ahearn. There will be segments previewing some upcoming free concerts — Hunter Hunted, the Moth & the Flame and DWNTWN from the lineup at Tarfest (Saturday, Sept. 20) and Beat Club and the Singles from the bill at the Chinatown Moon Festival (Saturday, Sept. 13). I’m also going to revive the weekly “Flashback Track” — and for this one I’ll rewind 10 years to an obscure song from 2004 that still holds up awfully well.

Oh, and there’s a birthday greeting in there somewhere too. After the jump, the playlist:

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Here’s the music menu for the final day of August:

► It’s Day 2 of the Made In America festival, with Kanye West, John Mayer, Steve Aoki, Rise Against, Chance the Rapper, Juanes, Weezer, Nipsey Hussle, Cypress Hill, Mutemath, SZA, Rita Ora, Scavnger Hunt, Classixx, Borgore, Terraplane Sun and more. It’s all happening at Grand Park in downtown L.A., and your set times are here. Above: “I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore,” by Chicago punk rockers Rise Against, who released their new album “The Black Market” in July.
► Long-running San Jose metal band Sleep plays a sold-out show at the Troubadour, supported by Last Days of Ancient Sunlight.
► At Los Globos, there’s barbecue and Burger Records — OFF!, the Garden and Cherry Glazer head up a lineup that includes Jacuzzi Boys, R Stevie Moore, Gary Wilson, the Abigails, White Fang, Lovely Bad Things, the Blank Tapes, Colleen Green, Adult Books, Beach Party, Girlpool, Wax Children, the Buttertones, French Vanilla, Palm Reader, Sultan Bathery, Los Creaters and NO-FI. It gets started at 2 p.m.
Linus Young finishes up a free residency at the Bootleg HiFi, supported by James Alan and Wistappear.
► And it’s the last of four sold-out Ty Segall at the Echo. Jack Name and Prettiest Eyes open.

Also:
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Gallery: Ty Segall at the Echo

by Kevin Bronson on August 30, 2014

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How many times has Ty Segall played the Echo anyhow? Betcha he’s lost count. Betcha this current run of sold-out shows — Friday night was the second of four — rank as some the best. Segall worked himself, and the crowd, into a frenzy on Friday with songs from his new album “Manipulator” and the rest of his vast catalog. And at one point, he motioned to photographer Carl Pocket [top photo], asking to borrow a camera, and then snapped an image of the crowd. Wand and Endless Bummer opened.

Photos by Carl Pocket, courtesy of the Echo

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Happy Labor Day weekend:

► Made In America, the 2-day festival spearheaded by Jay Z’s Roc Nation and sponsored by Budweiser, kicks off today in downtown L.A.’s Grand Park with Imagine Dragons, Kendrick Lamar, Iggy Azalea [that’s her video for “Black Widow” featuring Rita Ora above], Afrojack, Sublime with Rome, Metric, Capital Cities, X Ambassadors, Dr. Dog, ZZ Ward and more. [See set times here.]
► World-renowned rumba flamenca and pop band Gipsy Kings stops by the Greek Theatre. Special guests featured include Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo.
► Prolific film composer, conductor and pianist John Williams headlines the Hollywood Bowl.
► If you’re still set on looking for an outdoor show, but want something more chill then Cheers Elephant at One Colorado in Pasadena might be your best choice.
► Jason Mraz headlines the Pantages Theatre in support of his latest album “Yes!” Raining Jane supports.
Banda MS, whose specialty is traditional brass-basead Mexican Banda music, take on Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.
Ty Segall plays the second night of his four-night residency at the Echo this weekend. Also on tonight’s bill: Zig Zags, Vial and Shark Toys.
► And KAV [check out "Dance In Panic"] plays at the Satellite with friends Man With No Shadow (record release), Bonfire Beach, Dark Furs, Batwings Catwings, Josh Ostrander (of Eastern Conference Champions) and Josiah Mazzaschi (of Light FM) joining in on the fun.

Also:
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Stream: Paw City, ‘The Catalyst’

by Kevin Bronson on August 29, 2014

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Those familiar with Michael Orendy’s rapturous albums as Frankel may have been surprised two years ago when he unveiled Paw City, the new electro-rock project undertaken with his wife (and member of Earlimart) Ariana Murray. The first Paw City EP, released in June 2013, straddled the line between catchy and wonky (think: Grandaddy), and now a long-in-the-works second EP, “Panic Test,” will be out Sept. 9. Recently remastered and renamed after a brief release to Bandcamp earlier this year, “Panic Test” again finds the band bending notes and toying with expectations; the raging synths on “Count Me In” sound like pumped-up Rentals; the loud-soft dynamic of “Someday I’ll Feel” and “Spiral Eyes” suggest both are two songs packed into one; and “The Catalyst” is a darned-near-ready-for-five-remixes dance-floor number. All that’s missing is reckless use of vocoder, and for goodness’ sake, let’s hope it stays missing.

||| Stream: “The Catalyst”

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“I’m still trying to make sense of it all,” Daniel Ahearn says of the past two years, which have seen the end of the L.A. singer-songwriter’s marriage, his growing into his new role as father, the birth of a new musical project with Mindy Jones and, in general, a spike in his songwriting career that has found his work matriculate into film and TV. As you’d guess from the title, Ahearn’s new EP “The End of Romance” wrestles with the former, in very direct fashion. The four-song meditation, the first of a series of EPs Ahearn plans to release between now and February, features spare, meticulously produced songs highlighted by Ahearn’s silky voice. In the great tradition of break-up albums, it’s shorter than most, of course, although as drop-dead beautiful as any. About eighteen minutes to reflect, before moving on. The title track was recently featured on the TV shows “Chasing Life” and “Pretty Little Liars,” and some of Ahearn’s tunes appear in Mark Webber’s new film “The Ever After.”

||| Stream: “Don’t Know What You’ve Lost” and “the End of Romance”

||| Previously: DA & The Jones: “Could’ve Had It All;” “Break My Heart.” Also: A conversation with.

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