Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Concert review: Checking into the W Hotel with Toro Y Moi

Toro Y Moi greets fans after his show at the W Hotel

Scott Sterling / KPCC

Toro Y Moi poses with fans after his W performance

Toro Y Moi delivering at the W

Scott Sterling / KPCC

Toro Y Moi performs at the W Hotel in Westwood, CA

Tyler The Creator with fans after the show

Scott Sterling / KPCC

Tyler The Creator causes a scene with fans after the Toro Y Moi performance at the W Hotel

Courtesy Carpark Records

Toro Y Moi

South Carolina artist Toro Y Moi (known to his mom as Chazwick Bundick) emerged in 2010 with full-length Causers of This, a shimmering collection of blurry dream-pop sound that played like modern shoe-gazing given the chopped and screwed treatment. Hastily coined “chillwave” by over-caffeinated bloggers and lumped in with the likes of Georgia’s Washed Out, Toro Y Moi separated himself from the pack in a major way with his second album.

On 2011 release Underneath The Pine, Bundick blew open his sound with heavy doses of fresh musical knowledge. Incorporating ‘60s psychedelia, heavy ‘70s funk & even disco, it still stands as one of the most impressive albums of this year.

As a live entity, however, progress has been slower going. The first L.A. Toro Y Moi show in 2010 at the Echo found Bundick performing as a one-man band that didn’t come very close to replicating the dynamics of Causers Of This. A live band of friends from home and a slew of dates around the globe found TYM’s show at the Troubadour earlier this year a much-improved affair. By the time they packed the El Rey this past October, they sounded even better and came with the added bonus of a much-needed longer set (the show at the Troubadour clocked in at a scant 45 minutes).


Can Wonder Woman appeal to a modern audience?

In her 70 year history, Wonder Woman has never made it to the big screen. Wonder Woman almost made it to television this fall, with legendary TV producer David E. Kelley behind it. A pilot was produced for NBC, but in the end, NBC decided not to go with it.

DC Comics recently redesigned Wonder Woman, giving her pants and a jacket to cover up her rather bare classic look. Once the show was dropped, the pants dropped too (no, not like that), with DC having no need of coordinating a look across media properties.

The pilot's leaked out online, so there are reviews available. The consensus seems to be that it was cheesy and not quite there, but that there are the sparks of something, particularly in the actress portraying Wonder Woman (also known for her work on "Friday Night Lights"), Adrianne Palicki. This generation apparently won't get the chance to watch a Wonder Woman TV show of their own.


Concert review: Frank Ocean reveals the softer side of Odd Future

Scott Sterling/KPCC

Scott Sterling/KPCC

This is all Kanye West’s fault.

When he ran off to Hawaii with a clutch of old new wave records to nurse a broken heart only to return two weeks later with his polarizing 2008 release, 808s & Heartbreak, the rap game had changed – dramatically.

By exploding the concept of “emo-rap” into an Autotuned lost love lament fueled on lush synthesizers and Tears For Fears samples, the hip-hop nation took it as a green light to get in touch with their own feelings. Soon, artists like Kid Cudi and Drake were living out grandiose emotional dramas on record and in the tabloids, much to the delight of the buying public.

Now on the edge of 2012, we have rapidly emerging artists like Odd Future MVP, Frank Ocean. While the OF crew have built a controversial reputation on an explosive miasma of punk rock nihilism and sacred cow slaughtering, Frank Ocean comes at you as a hardcore lover, not a fighter.


"Songs for the Jewish-American Jet Set" celebrates a swingin' lost era

Somewhere between the start of the sexual revolution and the advent of J-Date, those in the Jewish singles scene had a few denominational issues to address. At the forefront was a question a suitor might ask any intended: orthodox, conservative or reformed?

For singer Bernie Knee, though, it wasn’t a question. It was a menu.

The song “Orthodox, Conservative or Reformed” is a lusty testament to intra-faith non-discrimination, written by Tin Pan Alley veterans Moe Jaffe and Henry Tobias and voiced with carnal delight by New York singer Knee on his 1965 album Songs for the Jewish-American Jet Set. And now it’s a centerpiece of a CD package using the same title spotlighting the incredibly wide range of Jewish-themed music put out by the Tikva Records label, which was ambitious as it is obscure in its 168 albums released between 1950 and 1973, all under the watch of an idiosyncratic visionary named Al Jacobs. The anthology, with detailed booklet, is being released Nov. 22 (just in time for early Hanukkah shopping) by the also-ambitious Jewish culture reissue label of the Idleshohn Society for Musical Preservation.


Tumblr protests potential censorship, gives users heart attacks


Tumblr dashboard gets censored, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011

This morning, anyone who logged onto popular blog site Tumblr saw a feed that looked something like the screenshot above. Rather than animated GIFs and the other usual fare of Tumblr, text and photos were greyed out and had censored stamps on them.

While this left many users befuddled, judging by outrage both on Tumblr and Twitter, you could click to get past it. Once you did, you were taken to this page, with Tumblr urging its users to call their representative about the PROTECT-IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which Tumblr called "two well-intentioned but deeply flawed bills."

Tumblr goes on to compare the censorship that would be possible thanks to these bills to that of China and Iran.

The bills in question would allow the government to block websites that perpetuate copyright infringement, particularly foreign sites which the U.S. government has currently had difficulty combating since they're beyond their physical jurisdiction. The law would also add penalties for users who violate copyright.