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ARETHA FRANKLIN,
1942-2018
The Queen of Soul is with her Lord. (8/17a)
THE WORLD SAYS FAREWELL TO ARETHA
The outpouring has been overwhelming. (8/17a)
STREAMING SONGS:
A LA "MODE"
That is totally sicko. (8/17a)
ARIANA PAYS TRIBUTE TO ARETHA
Two generations of natural women (8/17a)
FLIPPING THE DEMAND FOR HIP-HOP FASHION INTO ALBUM SALES
Merch is bigger than ever. (8/17a)
HITS' 32ND ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
Or as it's known in the trade-publishing world, Doorstop 2.0.
THE A&R EXECS
That stands for Artists and Repertoire, in case you were wondering.
PIZZA AND MARKETSHARE
I'm winning this one.
THE BOILER ROOM
It's the new tape room.
THE B-SIDE
THE GREAT OUTSIDE
8/15/18

BY RANYA KHOURY

San Francisco’s Outside Lands wrapped up yet another year at the iconic Golden Gate Park a few days ago, bringing a certain aura to the city. It’s no doubt that the festival expected to bring in large crowds with headliners like The WeekndFlorence + the Machine and Janet Jackson, but has OSL become too large for its current location? Flashbacks of Coachella came flooding back to me during an attempt to maneuver from one stage to another. Despite the overflowing crowds, however, Outside Lands continues to live up to its reputation of bringing people together for good music and food that's arguably even better.


The chill-factor, which applies to both temperature and people, presented itself right from the get-go. Upon entering the festival, I was approached by several SF residents selling pre-rolls and “hand-crafted” joints by request—an authentic feel, if you will. The festival, known for its easygoing vibe, introduced a new addition, Grasslands—a center for cannabis users. That said, I was a little taken aback when I learned you weren’t allowed to light up. 

As far as the performances go, there was one band that OSL attendees could not stop talking about, including me. The Saturday night headliner, Republic's Florence + the Machine, came prepared with a dream-like stage setup. Added wooden panels made things feel less clinical. Those, combined with the simple-yet-dramatic lighting and gauzy white curtains that flowed like sails, really helped create a backdrop similar to what I suspect heaven looks like. Florence Welch delivered infectious energy that resonated with the whole crowd. When she tells you to turn to your neighbor and tell them you love them, you do it.

Other favorites included The Weeknd, who dazzled with his smoky and extremely raw performance. A stripped-down set really allowed him to emphasize his strong vocals. Odesza (pictured left), on the other hand, pried eyes open with mind-blowing visuals. They closed out their set with a backdrop of a jaw-dropping sunset. It would be tough to duplicate that moment; well, at least without help from hallucinogens. 

Dermot Kennedy, debuted a new track that was produced by Malay, an L.A. native who’s worked with artists such as Frank Ocean and ZAYN. Singer/songwriter Kennedy pointed out that, “[He] was able to jump into the track as a brand new idea and just go with it”—an approach he's struggled to follow in the past. 

On the flip side, Squaaash Club's GoldLink cancelled his set due to travel circumstances, but was covered by SF’s own Berner. And The Internet’s set was delayed after a failed-attempt to fix an issue with Syd’s mic. After waiting more than 30 minutes, I exhaustively gave up and made my way to Portugal. The Man, whose curtain read, “Fuck rock critics, you can kiss my whole asshole.” I'd give that one a 10/10 for creativity and boldness, but I'd like to refrain from puckering up.

Overall, my experience with OSL this year was unlike any other. Plus, I got 61k steps in. That means I'm basically a pro athlete now, right?

ANYTHING BUT ORNATE WITH KIAH
8/14/18

BY NICOLE GHAPGHARAN

The Berlin-born, NYC-raised (and now L.A.-based) artist Kiah Victoria recently dropped new track “Ornament” with Tralala Records, and its hitting in all the right places. Since inking a pub deal with Sony/ATV U.K. in 2015, Victoria released her debut single, “Cold War” and followed it up with her introductory EP, Everybody, which garnered more than 858k streams on Spotify alone. She's shown a solid grasp for layering her sultry and soulful voice with elements of r&b, electronic soul and even pop, and this new single expresses a multitude of those components.

Themes of feeling exposed and vulnerable are prominent with “Ornament,” which looks into the emotional rollercoaster of having your feelings toyed with. The title, however, is a contrast to everything it embodies. The track isn't decorative—it's raw and to the point. The melodramatic track is a not-so-subtle reminder of how unrequited love feels. Victoria captures the sense of being left unnoticed and draws comparisons to the concept of an untouched ornament. She permeates images of frustration and vulnerability in her lyrics and addresses emotions you didn’t even realize you have.

Stream her newest single below and check out the acoustic version here. If you get a chance to trek over to Skyspace L.A. tonight, Victoria will be performing a set for SoulfulOfNoise, a recent partnership between DICE, AirBnb, Karma Tequila, and OUE Skyspace. Doors open at 7pm.  

THE END IS NEAR
8/14/18

BY NICOLE GHAPGHARAN

If you happened to be at The Satellite last Thursday (8/9), you likely saw me rocking out to L.A. locals Antenna The End, alongside System of a Down’s Shavo Odadjian and John Dolmayan. That night, the beloved Silverlake spot also welcomed Antipodal, Phantom Machines and Heavy Machinery.

But we're focusing on Antenna the End—the independent music ensemble that packed the dungeon-esque space and delivered a wave of emotions with their performance. The band is spearheaded by Armenian-American songwriter and bassist David Hakopyan and has a quite a creative cast, including Tadeh Petrossian on guitar, Ryan Knights on drums, and perhaps the most interesting addition to the motley crew, Mesrop Karapetyan, on guitar and cello. Somewhere between my first and third beer, Karapetyan retrieved his cello for “Remember Me By”—a genre bending tune that definitely stood out from their six-song set. 

Hakopyan, formerly with The Apex Theory, is somewhat of a rock aficionado, if you will. Having also been a member of SOIL, his rock roots run deep, and it’s no surprise as to why they drew in such a crowd. Truthfully, Antenna The End brings an energy to the stage that’s unmatched when compared to any other band I’ve seen this year.

You can catch ATE at their next show, on Saturday (8/18) at Echo Park Rising—a free event that runs through the weekend and features multiple stages and activities that span the Echo Park neighborhood, primarily on and around Sunset Blvd. between Alvarado St. and Echo Park Ave. Get all the set times for that four-day party right here.