Five Famous Musicians Who Have Ditched NYC for L.A.

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Courtesy of Parkwood Entertainment
As students of the internet are by now aware, America's unofficial king and queen, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, are about to pack up their solid-gold baby toys and vegan energy bars and move to Los Angeles, where they will drink kale smoothies (maybe while wearing KALE sweatshirts) and perform ancient blood rites with their Illuminati sister Gwyneth Paltrow until they bring about the New World Order.

I wish I could say I'm surprised, but they're just the latest in a long line of musicians who've fled this concrete jungle for the relative comforts of the Left Coast. From Courtney to Mykki, here are five other artists who've made the journey from our fair city to the land of mild winters and plastic surgery. Oh, well. At least we still have Taylor Swift.

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Six Sleater-Kinney Songs to Hear If You Think You Don't Like Sleater-Kinney

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Publicity photo
We feel for you. Except for some aggrieved MRAs, the culture as a whole has already deemed 2015 the year of Sleater-Kinney. The celebration of the back-from-break riot grrrl rock gods has been so thunderous that we're sure any day Disney is going to announce they're bumping that Star Wars movie until 2016, when the world might have the brainspace to give a damn.

This year is all about No Cities to Love, that rare band-reunited record that sounds like its band never stopped: Urgent and ferocious, scraped free of nostalgia, it finds S-K forging ahead with new sounds, new concerns, and no looking back. The only thing old-school about it: its principled, passionate greatness.

But maybe you just haven't ever felt it. Maybe those intricate, interlocking guitar lines don't hit you like power chords would. Maybe the band's big-idea earnestness leaves you cold — lyrics like "Culture is what we make it/Now is the time to invent" are as removed from alt's miserable abstractions as they are from indie's pained coolness. Or maybe it's Corin Tucker's five-alarm vocals, which on songs like the glorious "Little Mouth" can make you feel you're on the southern end of a northbound dragster.

Even the band doesn't think you should feel bad if Tucker's caterwaul isn't your thing. A couple weeks back Carrie Brownstein told the Times, "The deal-breaker element of art, that's really important to me. I like that there can be something that might be unpalatable for a lot of people. Because it makes fans that love it that much more fervent, that much more committed to it, committed to its strangeness, committed to its outsiderness."

So maybe you, for whatever reason, feel like an outsider to these outsiders. Here's six #1 Must Haves to invite you in.

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Happy New Year! Take a Look Back at Sound of the City's Year-End Top Tens

Categories: Lists

In a few short weeks we'll release the results of the 42nd edition of the Village Voice Pazz + Jop poll. This year we had more than 625 critics take part...and that's about all we're going to tell you for now. Check back on January 14.

Meantime, between slugs of Gatorade and trips to Duane Reade in your sweatpants, soak up this collection of year-end top tens from our various music critics.

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The Five Best Santa Songs You've Never Heard

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C.S. Muncy for the Village Voice
Ho, ho, ho!
Last weekend's SantaCon was another reminder that it's the worst thing in the world. Well, that might be slightly hyperbolic, but as much as I love Santa and pub crawls (and I swear to Donner and Blitzen I do), the combination of both annually results in the most belligerent degenerate convention turning our fair streets into a red and white Yule tide of bodily fluids and douche chills. It's terrible, and brings out the humbug in all of us.

But if this year's SantaCon had one positive aspect (and believe us, it had exactly one positive aspect) it was its comfortable distance from Christmas itself. Yes, the week-and-a-half buffer allows us to find a way to purge our brains of it and allow us to fall in love with Jolly Old St. Nick once again. To help rekindle a winter love that may only be jingling part of the way, we suggest firing up Netflix to check out the great new <em>I Am Santa Claus documentary, and then listening to our playlist, here:

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Here Are 52 Bands Available to Play Your Office's Last-Minute Holiday Party

Categories: Lists

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If you can't get Hall and Oates, maybe you can try to get Deck the Hall and Oates for your work's holiday party.
Corporate holiday parties can be SO dull. Gone are the days of photocopying butts and making out in the janitor's closet. Thankfully, just in time to save the season, comedian Joe Rumrill came up with a list of bands guaranteed to thrill and horrify even the most staid CEO.

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Ten New York Holiday Gifts for the Music Fan in Your Life

Categories: Lists

A Tribe Called Quest Sweater
A Tribe Called Sweater
Sure, you can buy some random music-related present online for your Yanni-lovin' granny or your Behemoth-worshipping nephew. But this is New York! Go local, go big, go small -- there's a plethora of great gifts for even the most persnickety music fan. Our criteria? Available in, made by, representing or featuring (mostly!) New York/New Yorkers. Happy local shopping, holiday revelers!


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The Ten Best New York Punk Releases of 2014

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Photo by Rob Menzer for the Village Voice.
The pit at a Latino Punk Fest show at the Acheron back in August
New York is home to the world's premier punk scene, and has been for a while now. The spectrum of the sound and aesthetic are continuously warping; we see the lines of punk extending to hardcore and noise blur. New bands are born, the go-to bands keep on writing new material, and the nothing lasts just for the sake of lasting. As we pass from one January to the next, let's take a look back at the best that this great genre in this great city offered us this year. I would not say that 2014 was the strongest year in recent memory for recorded output. But it still killed, because New York punk is that good. Here are the 10 best releases, in no particular order.

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The 10 Best Britpop Albums of All Time (or At Least Since 1993 or So)

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Oscilloscope Laboratories
Flying high: Jarvis Cocker and Pulp
True, the glowingly reviewed new Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets has bowed humbly out of NYC-area theaters -- though it is, ahem, available for rent or sale via iTunes -- but in any case our bet is that the Sheffield lads' doc signals just the tip of a looming iceberg. Surely, with Britpop's best-regarded exponents and their seminal records approaching 20-year jubilee status, we're in store for a whole lot more retrospective feting: reissues, remasters, deluxe editions; would a Justine Frischmann tell-all be too much to hope for?

Anyway, the presumptive coming flood led us to reflect on what "Britpop" even is, or encompasses. To keep things (relatively) brief, it's: bright, melody-forward, commercially intent guitar-band pop-rock; unabashedly British, of course, in pub-singalong sensibility and/or deployment of accent; and, crucially, for our purposes here, limited to post-'92 or thereabouts (the interregnum betwixt shoegaze and, well, Radiohead), meaning the some-might-say criminal exclusion of the progenitive Smiths and Stone Roses from consideration. All of which, naturally, then led to our wondering: If you absolutely gun-to-head had to choose, given these parameters, what would a list of 10 Best Britpop Albums of All Time, Ever, look like?

So, without further ado...

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The Village Voice's Top 10 Jazz Albums of 2014

Categories: Jazz, Lists

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With so many worthy jazz recordings in 2014 -- from the likes of Vijay Iyer, Tyshawn Sorey, Melissa Aldana, Kris Davis, Ideal Bread, Otis Brown III, Fabian Almazan, Hafez Modirzadeh, and more -- it was, as always, insanely hard to pick a top 10. But decide we did. These are the albums that stood out most in the year in jazz, from duo to big band and between.

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The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 12/05/14

Categories: Concerts, Lists

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Laura June Kirsch
Here are the Flatbush Zombies back in April. You can sweat with them this wekend.
For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily!


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