Dear Wannabe DJ With the iPod: You're Sabotaging the Party!

Categories: Rebuttal

Flickr/Rafael Castillo
I Do Want To Spoil The Party
By Mary Grace Cerni

There are party fouls that can be forgiven. Really egregious ones, even, like peeing in the indoor plants.

But disrupting the music by unplugging the host's device in favor of your own iPod or smartphone? Now that's fucked up.

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Donald Glover Isn't Depressed; You Just Haven't Been Listening

Categories: Rebuttal, hip-hop

Courtesy of Donald Glover's Instagram
Donald Glover has been making the anti-rounds of press for Because the Internet, his latest Childish Gambino LP due out next month, bouncing from city to city and playing it in the open for anyone who reads his Twitter announcements. He's declined most interview requests, save for a scant Noisey feature, and he's left Community, his prime time jumping-off point.

His introspective ways have been a focal point for critics and fans alike lately, questioning his motives and rationale since he posted a series of seven Instagram posts outlining his personal fears and doubts last month.

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5 Reasons Why Miley Cyrus Is Good for Hip-Hop

Categories: Rebuttal

Every time you complain, Miley Cyrus looks more self-satisfied.
Forget gang and murder references. There is nothing more gangsta than singing about lines in the bathroom, getting high on purple stuff, and trees in your lap -- especially when you're 20 years old. No matter the bleached blonde hair or teddy bears she likes to bring on stage and dance with, Miley Cyrus has already received endorsements from Kanye West, Nelly, Wiz Khalifa, and a slew of other hip-hop-entrenched artists. When is the rest of the world going to learn she's actually a good thing for the genre?

1. She's exposing it to new audiences. Cyrus fans who loved her for her Hannah Montana days may have never ventured beyond sugary sweet pop if it weren't for Cyrus' crossover. Many music fans like a variety of genres, so it's likely these fans who were part of the Miley movement and dig Bangerz are checking out music by artists she's collaborated with. Cyrus is helping to increase record sales not just for her music, but for established hip-hop artists, as well.

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5 Reasons Why Miley Cyrus' VMA Performance Was a Good Thing

Categories: Rebuttal

There's more good in this than meets the eye

Miley Cyrus keeps breaking records. This week, her polarizing, bizarre, what-drugs-is-she-on? performance at the MTV Video Music Awards caused a Twitter avalanche, inspiring more than 300,000 Tweets per minute and upsetting the slightly classier Beyonce as the title holder of most Tweets in a minute in the process. As parents gasped in horror, viewers threw up in their mouths, and everyone from the Teddy Bear Org. to the guy who invented the foam finger got ticked off, Cyrus continued on her quest of world domination. Even her manager, Larry Rudolph (who is no stranger to train wrecks, as Britney Spears' longtime head honcho), called the performance a coup.

Rudolph's right -- at least, if you're not judging the performance in terms of taste or musical talent. Cyrus cemented her status in the VMA performance hall of fame. Keep reading for five reasons why the act the world is deploring actually was a good thing, both for Cyrus and the rest of us.

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Five Reasons Nicole Westbrook's "It's Thanksgiving" Rivals Rebecca Black's "Friday" In Stupidity

Categories: Rebuttal

Over a year and a half has gone by since Rebecca Black made her dreadful debut, which means it's time for another American tween to publicly embarrass herself to the rest of the country's delight. Just like Rebecca's video, this one got millions of hits and over 73,000 comments on YouTube for all the wrong reasons.

The lesson that 12-year-old Nicole Westbrook's song "It's Thanksgiving" has taught us is that nobody should ever write a pop song about Thanksgiving. "It's Thanksgiving" is not surprisingly a production of Ark Music Factory, which is owned by Patrice Wilson, the brains (or lack thereof) behind Rebecca Black's "Friday." Everybody knows that my extreme hatred of Rebecca Black's music warranted some pretty fabulous hate mail. Everybody also knows that the only part of Patrice's job that he's good at is making age-appropriate music videos for his clients.

Well whatdya know, very few lines rhyme in "It's Thanksgiving" too! I see a pattern. The difference is that Wilson takes making a fool of himself a step further in this one by prancing around in a turkey costume. One of the most unfortunate aspects of this Thanksgiving mess is that it resulted in a TV spot on Access Hollywood. Oy fucking vey.

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No, Seriously: Chumbawamba Has A Storied Anarchist Past

Last week Chumbawamba, the nonsensically named band responsible for the ubiquitous nonsensically named hit "Tubthumping," announced it was calling it quits after 30 years. The news item drew reactions ranging from "Oh yeah, that 'I get knocked down' '90's band?" to "They were still around?" and also "God, that song blows." In the midst of their 15 minutes of fame, the word "anarchist" was always casually bandied about, but never in a serious way. I recall seeing an appearance the band made on Rosie O'Donnell's daytime talk show in which she introduced them as "the nicest bunch of anarchists I've ever met!"

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Should We Feel Bad About '90s Nostalgia? A Few Words In Defense of the Summerland Tour

Categories: Rebuttal

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The Gin Blossoms
See also: Throwback Thursday: Everclear

The announcement of the Summerland Tour (an a la carte delight of prominent '90s soul-patch rock bands Everclear, Sugar Ray, Lit,The Gin Blossoms, and Marcy Playground) has me thinking hard about nostalgia. I learned of the tour's Phoenix date, July 3 at Comerica Theatre, just after finishing Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to its Own Past, a book about retro revivals and musical nostalgia by critic Simon Reynolds that came out last September.

I was born in 1987, thus the Summerland Tour is a tempting array of bands that brought about my initial appreciation for music. It also looks like the first of many nostalgia traps aimed to capitalize on my fading adolescent memories. With all of these bands reaching the height of their popularity as I barely became musically cognizant, is it doubly destructive to not only romanticize my past but also spend good money harkening to a period that I don't even consider that crucial?

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A Plea For Phoenix Music Fans Concerning the Crescent Ballroom

Categories: Rebuttal

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Editor's Note: We here at Up on the Sun are sad to announce that we are losing Michael Lopez as a staff blogger. Lopez is moving back to his hometown, Portland, Oregon. Over the past three years, M.Lo has been a distinct voice on this blog and in print. You may not always have liked what he said (especially if you were a local band he was ripping in his You Asked For It column), but his overwhelming passion for music has always been apparent. Lopez's views about Crescent Ballroom don't necessarily speak for the rest of the staff here at Up on the Sun and Phoenix New Times, though it's safe to say we are all excited about the future of the venue. Join us tomorrow for a Lopez's five favorite shows during his time at Up on the Sun, and in wishing Michael good luck in his future endeavors. I'm positive we'll be hearing more from him in the future. --Jason P. Woodbury

​If you haven't quite heard by now, downtown Phoenix is on the verge of opening a major music venue -- the Crescent Ballroom. It started as an interesting, then unknown name appearing on the tour schedules for such bands as Gang Gang Dance and St. Vincent, but the Crescent Ballroom has turned into a bona fide option for the live music scene in Phoenix.

Now that the Crescent Ballroom is a go, it has booked an insanely amazing initial lineup of shows -- M83, tUnE-yArDs, Washed Out, CSS, Miami Horror and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Seeing all of these bands live would have either a) taken about three years for all of them to decide to actually play Phoenix or b) require multiple trips to either Los Angeles or Austin.

Those responsible for the Crescent Ballroom -- Stateside Presents -- have thus done their part. I write this post, music fans of Phoenix, to say to you: get out, do your part and attend every show you possibly can at the Crescent Ballroom.

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Sound Strike: The Worst Way to Show Opposition to SB 1070

Categories: Rebuttal
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Wikimedia Commons
Sound Strike founder Zack de la Rocha
Sound Strike, the movement in which musicians boycott Arizona as a statement of opposition to the state's anti-illegal immigrant law, SB 1070, is still going strong. As we reported in recent months, acts like Maroon 5 and My Chemical Romance, who had concerts booked in the Valley, canceled them as part of the ongoing strike. 

But other acts, like Latin rock band Los Lobos, decided to play here anyway. The band initially supported Sound Strike, but their decision to play at Talking Stick Resort on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian reservation on Cinco de Mayo and also at the Rialto Theatre in Tucson upset a lot of folks. As our colleague Stephen Lemons reported, pro-immigrant human rights organization Coalicion de Derechos Humanos declined the band's offer to have a table set up at the band's Tucson show.

Sound Strike's organizers and supporters seem adamant that the best way to make a difference in Arizona is for artists to skip the state on their tours and release statements about how shitty Arizona's politics are. I think the only way is for them to show some real brass and come here, just like Lady Gaga, Margaret Cho, Los Lobos, and countless other acts have done in spite of the strike. For an organization like Coalicion de Derechos Humanos to decline an invitation to a Los Lobos show in Arizona -- where they could have advocated for immigrant rights, educated people about the evils of SB 1070, and grown their numbers -- shows how divisive and counterproductive Sound Strike can be.

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The Voice: Reality TV's Best Singing Competition Yet

Categories: Rebuttal
​NBC aired the premiere of The Voice on Tuesday night, and it sure was both honest and intriguing.

The Voice, which is hosted by former TRL dreamboat Carson Daly, involves four judges: Adam Levine, Cee-Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, and Blake Shelton. The judges, who serve as coaches, faced away from the auditioning singers during last night's blind auditions so as to remain unbiased in regard to each singer's image. Each coach has to recruit eight singers for his or her team. Once the teams are picked, the four judges will work on personal coaching with each of the eight artists they've chosen. The coaches, who have friendly and humorous chemistry among each other, even give up opportunities for each other if they feel another coach would be a better fit for a contestant.

One of the aspects of the The Voice's first episode was that the show got right down to business. Each contestant that was shown on the first episode was talented. Though auditions did take place prior to the round with the coaches, those rounds were not aired. Unlike American Idol or even the upcoming show The X-Factor, which has an audition process that I've been informed is a disgusting sham, there weren't any people who were aired on the first episode of the blind auditions of The Voice who were being shown to be made a fool of.

This show is all music, all talent, and all down to business. It's great to finally have a show that cuts to the chase and doesn't waste its audience's time.

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