Rage Against the Machine's The Battle of Los Angeles: Still Relevant 15 Years Later

Categories: hip-hop

Fist in the air in the land of hypocrisy.

By Gabriel San Roman

It was no coincidence that Rage Against the Machine released The Battle of Los Angeles on what's traditionally observed as Election Day in the United States in 1999. The 2000 election season was already in gear, with Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore setting up to spar -- but Rage struck first.

The band's third studio album claimed the top spot on the charts, and burned with unbridled rebellion fueled by Zack de la Rocha's radical rhymes and Tom Morello's experimental mastery on guitar.

In many ways, the world hasn't changed nearly enough in the past 15 years. Here's why The Battle of Los Angeles feels as urgent now as it did when it was first unleashed.

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Man-Cat Explains Why Musical Identity Doesn't Matter

Categories: Interview

Cease-and-decist orders do not bother Man-Cat.

Superheroes wear masks to protect their identity from the world. With local band Man-Cat, the group wears masks to represent its music under one identity.

It's not every day that you hear about artists wearing masks for the sake of removing identity. Sure, artists like Slipknot, Mushroomhead and GWAR all hide their faces on stage, but their identities are known and occasionally they're seen unmasked.

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6 Best Concerts in Phoenix this Weekend

Categories: Lists

Gavin Keen
Alvvays -- possibly the first band named for SEO purposes

We've got concert picks galore this weekend, and check out our comprehensive calendar for more options.

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Primus' Chocolate Factory Concert Was Insane

Categories: Last Night

Melina Dellamarggio
Primus' show pulled out all the stops, went all-out, left nothing in the tank, and went full-throttle.

There was a moment at the Primus concert last night at Orpheum Theatre when bassist Les Claypool left the stage and came back wearing a mask, joining the droning groove his bandmates Larry "Ler" LaLonde (guitar) and Tim "Herb" Alexander (drums) were maintaining. The audience gave a raucous cheer. At this point, the band was just performing in front of a bare curtain, and you got the sense that some in the audience thought the big reveal was coming.

Well, it didn't, not to take anything away from the first set of the Primus concert last night. The mask wasn't the only costume Claypool and company would don, and the best was yet to come.

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New Dance Night at Crescent Searches for Phoenix's Alt-Latin Audience

Categories: Latin

Chicha Dust

"A monthly exploration into Latin Rhythms across genres" reads the subtitle of Clandestino!, a highly rumored and now-realized Latin night at Crescent Ballroom. Does Phoenix have a "Latin Alternative" audience big enough to sustain a monthly party at the most relevant music venue in town? El Nico, curator and mastermind behind Clandestino! says Phoenix is ready for it. And if you were among the thousands of attendees at this year's Dias de la Crescent, you witnessed the fever this town is having for Latin traditional sounds -- Tucson's Sergio Mendoza y La Orkesta were the true heroes of the packed festival. For a city where 40 percent of its population identifies as Hispanic and/or Latino (via U.S. Census Bureau), a night like that proposed by Clandestino! seems long overdue. The launch of the monthly party will bring two cumbia acts to the valley: Tucson's up-and-coming Chicha Dust (who could touch elbows with cumbia's greatest despite their status as newcomers), and San Diego tropical-dubsters Cumbia Machine. Also in the bill is the presentation of La Tropa Clandestina, a collective of local DJs who have percolated tropical music into the music scene of Phoenix for many years. Let the tropical enchantment begin.

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Foo Fighters Are Coming to Phoenix September 2015, Want You to Beat Scalpers

Categories: Announcements

Brantley Gutierrez
Foo Fighters think scalping is a big enough problem to warrant a novel solution.

Foo Fighters announced their 2015 tour a few days ago. The radio rock stalwarts will swing through Ak-Chin Pavilion on September 25, 2015.

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Step Inside the Dark World of Primus & the Chocolate Factory

Categories: Q&A

Rick Levinson
Les Claypool's love of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has led him to this.

Everyone loves chocolate--some more than others.

Les Claypool, the mad genius behind Primus has taken his love of chocolate and churned it into a new album, Primus and the Chocolate Factory. Inspired as a child by the Gene Wilder cinematic portrayal of Roald Dahl's book, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Claypool saved box tops for a chocolate bar-making kit, and then sold his own chocolate Wonka bars to his grammar school classmates. Years later, the dark concept of the film still lingered in Claypool's brain, luring the bassist ever closer to becoming the master of his own chocolate factory. Following his vision of the past, Claypool has recreated the movie soundtrack in that timeless, dark and wacky Primus manner.

"I'm sure there's folks out there that didn't appreciate it. That is the risk of taking on a sacred cow," he says. "The thing is it's not so much about telling the story of Wonka and Charlie and the chocolate factory as much as it is the perspective of a young kid, which was me, back in the early '70s, experiencing the world of Wonka."

A twisted experience, clearly.

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Tempe History Museum Exhibit Shows That Music Scene's History Goes Beyond Gin Blossoms

Categories: Local Wire

Jason Keil
"The Tempe Sound" exhibition shows the musical side of the college town of the nation's largest university.

Walking through the back rooms of the Tempe History Museum, it's easy to get distracted by the various artifacts of the city's lore. Boxes are stacked like in the last scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark; one clumsy turn could result in someone accidentally getting his face melted. Navigating confidently through the relics is Josh Roffler, curator of collections at Tempe History Museum. He steps inside a fluorescent-lit room to unveil a seemingly ordinary brick. His eyes widen in excitement.

The block doesn't look valuable or important, but intrinsic sentimental value lurks within the shale and clay. It is one of the remnants from the influential Tempe nightclub Long Wong's, where so many musicians, including The Refreshments, Dead Hot Workshop, and Gin Blossoms, staked their claim and rose to prominence. In another corner sits the soundboard that the groups plugged into before taking the stage at the legendary venue.

These items are among the numerous displays making up "The Tempe Sound" exhibition, now at Tempe History Museum through October 4, 2015. The 2,500-square-foot space is filled with nostalgia-inducing artifacts, including costumes, vintage band T-shirts, guitars belonging to artists such as Hans Olson and Roger Clyne, and even a replica of the Long Wong's stage. The exhibit will host concerts and a series of rotating exhibits throughout the year, including a photo display from New Times archives (coming June 2).

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10 of the 11 Best Pretenders Songs Came Out Before 1984

Categories: Top Lists

Dean Chalkley
Why didn't your band make great songs after 1984, Chrissy Hynde??

How many women out there can say they have married both a Kink (Ray Davies) and a Simple Mind (Jim Kerr)?

Chrissie Hynde can. She's arguably the most badass alto of all time, and I'd certainly hate to ask her, "How does it feel to know almost all of your best songs were on the first three Pretenders records?"

Hynde is synonymous with the Pretenders, who formed in England in 1978. The Ohio native and Kent State University alumna was in an early band with Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh before moving to the UK in 1973 and has been a constant in the global rock scene.

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Why Modern Baseball's Pop Punk Relates to You

Categories: Pop Punk

Courtesy of Brixton Agency
Just relax, and tell Modern Baseball your problems.

If it seems odd that a band named Modern Baseball lives in a house named Michael Jordan, well, that's all just part of the fun.

After all, it wasn't as though this Philadelphia pop-punk quartet devised some master plan that would make them stars. From the start, Modern Baseball just did what it does, writing and playing songs that are true to its world, filled with heartbreak and house parties, classic rites of passage that stretch from high school to college, those easily recognizable touchstones given the shout-along, fist-pump treatment.

There wasn't a lot of thought behind the band name (cribbed from a book) or the house name (inspired by a photograph), and the band was surprised as anybody to see its second album, You're Gonna Miss It All, enter the Billboard chart at number 84.

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