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Concerts: Sunset Strip Music Festival

It was a crazy day in L. A. on Saturday, September 12, as approximately 10,000 locals descended onto the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood for the inaugural Sunset Strip Music Festival. With two outdoor stages and six venues on the closed-off Strip between San Vicente Boulevard and Doheny Drive, the eclectic line-up seemingly had something for everyone, featuring performances from more than 50 different artists, that went on for seven music-packed hours. [...]

CD: The Beatles: The Stereo Remasters

I should have known better. I thought I could make it through a review of Capitol’s box set of Beatles’ CDs without punning on song titles like “Yesterday” or resorting to phrases like “fab.” But listening to one newly remastered album after another, all I could think was: here comes the sun. [...]

CD: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes: Up From Below

Looking like refugees from the Manson Family and prone to riding around L. A. in a battered school bus, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes are one of those teeming, multi-member outfits that’s more riveting in theory than execution. Imagining how Ima Robot frontman Alex Ebert founded the 11-piece band as a means of celebrating the spirit of the psychedelic 1960’s is fascinating; listening to “Up From Below” not so much. [...]

Concert: Nine Inch Nails “Wave Goodbye” Tour

It was the beginning of the end at the Hollywood Palladium on September 2, when Nine Inch Nails played the first of their final batch of tour dates on their “Wave Goodbye” tour. And probing that they should perhaps not be splitting up, the band put on one of the most dynamic, intense, and powerful shows that they’ve ever performed. [...]

CD: Brendan Benson: My Old Familiar Friend

With Raconteur bandmate Jack White off making music with The Dead Winter, Brendan Benson is left to his own devices on “My Old Familiar Friend.” Lucky us. The 11-track album is a cornucopia of cascading keyboards, jangling guitars, and shiny pop hooks. [...]

CD: Loudon Wainwright III: High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project

Country music pioneer Charlie Poole might have died in 1931 at the age of 39, but Loudon Wainwright III’s self-proclaimed “sonic bio-pic” of the troubadour is anything but tragic. Blending original songs about Poole with covers of his most famous numbers (“Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down Blues,” “If I Lose, I Don’t Care,” “Take a Drink on Me”), Wainwright has come up with a two-CD, 30-track set that mines a rich seam of roots magic. [...]

Concerts: The Long Beach Blues Festival

The Long Beach Blues Festival took place at the beautiful Rainbow Lagoon Park over Labor Day weekend. The weather was hot, and so was the music. The festival was a major fund-raiser for publicly supported radio station KKJZ, located at California State University in Long Beach and known as "America's Jazz and Blues Station." Celebrating their 30th anniversary, the festival had a world-class lineup of artists on September 5 and 6. [...]

CD: Elvis Presley: From Elvis In Memphis: Legacy Edition

Invigorated by a 1968 TV special and the notion of returning to a Memphis studio for the first time since leaving Sun Records for RCA in 1955, Elvis Presley decided to pull out all the stops for his first non-soundtrack album in six years. The songs were well selected (“Suspicious Minds,” “Only the Strong Survive,” “Gentle on My Mind,” “True Love Travels On a Gravel Road,” “Kentucky Rain”), the production stripped-down, and the musicians Memphis-funky. [...]

CD: Portugal. The Man: The Satanic Satanist

Portugal. The Man’s bizarrely titled fourth album kicks off with a groove so fat and swampy, you’ll swear it was recorded in Memphis, circa 1967. “The Satanic Satanist” opens with the anti-war anthem “People Say” that builds on that funky riff to become a full-fledged barnburner. “What a lovely day, yeah we won the war,” sings vocalist John Baldwin Gourley. “May have lost a million men but we’ve got a million more.” The rest of the album doesn’t quite live up to that awesome opener but it comes pretty damned close. [...]

CD: Ian Hunter: Man Overboard

Can you believe that “All the Young Dudes” crooner Ian Hunter is 70 years old? Kinda shocking if you remember him with his white-boy ‘fro, tight jeans, and trademark shades fronting the proto-punk outfit Mott the Hoople during the 1960’s and 1970’s. But here’s the good news: on his latest solo outing, Hunter is a still-virile presence, singing with more force and feeling than vocalists half his age. [...]
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