Whether you love him or hate him, you can't deny his influence or relevance. If you do, you're probably growing slightly out of touch with what is influential or relevant in American pop culture. Kanye West is an incredibly divisive figure- and becomes more and more so the further he gets into his career. It's important to remember this coming week that the only thing more annoying and repetitive than the current climate of Kanye West's media blitz, is anti-Kanye bitching and moaning on social media. If Yeezus just isn't for you, that's perfectly understandable. No one's forcing you to listen to his records or read his interviews, let alone contribute to the public Kanye dialogue. And really, what's more arrogant than thinking that pop culture is supposed to cater to your individual tastes? That being said, I'll see you all in the comments section next week. Those of you who are heading to the most talked-about tour of the year this weekend, I'll see you at the show. Catch me in line for a margarita swirl, dressed like an Illuminati chambermaid.
Scott Weiland said the Stone Temple Pilots were going to save rock 'n' roll right before they released No. 4 in 1999; ironically, Linkin Park's Chester Bennington is now saving the Stone Temple Pilots. Bennington's performance on High Rise, the debut EP from Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington, is solid, and it is clear the band loves playing in a Weiland-free zone. His impact on the band is most clearly felt on the epic closer, "Tomorrow." Here he is at his most melodic vocally, and his decision to avoid screaming for the heavens makes this swelling rock track soar all the more because of his restraint. First single "Out of Time" reminds us that STP still rocks like nobody's business, and Bennington shows he is up to the challenge of filling Weiland's boots, but "Tomorrow" is the track that really proves there is a future for the group.Brian PalmerAlejandro Escovedo Friday, December 6, at the Granada Theater
Whether solo or with a band (this time it's with a conglomeration called The Sensitive Boys), Alejandro Escovedo is all about history. With an impressive discography, Escovedo could mine music from several different decades and still come up with a set list that would blow most others away. He could do a rootsy set of songs from the True Believers, his grossly overlooked band from the '80s, or he could stick to his solo material from the past three decades. Whatever path Escovedo chooses, the audience is in store for a bevy of songs that explore the magical point where Iggy Pop meets Johnny Cash, where three chords deliver the incredible rush of Elvis saying, "Let's get real gone" and Johnny Rotten singing, "I am the anti-Christ."Darryl SmyersDead Milkmen Friday, December 6, at Trees
Major label life didn't suit Dead Milkmen. Commercial frustration aided the band's breakup in 1995. But the reunion (with nearly the entire original lineup -- Dan Stevens took over on bass for the deceased Dave Schulthise) is now five years and a new album in, and the Philadelphia band has fully regained its youthful sneer.Kiernan MaletskySomeone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin Friday, December 6, at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Space
Over the course of four albums, Springfield, Missouri band Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin has quietly built a catalog full of pop delights nearly unmatched in indie music. One of the reasons they've always managed to find the right tone is that they've been remarkably unmoved by their own success. After more than a decade of national tours andinternational diplomacy
, they're still finding inspiration in small town life and love.KMKanye West Friday, December 6 at American Airlines Center
I still remember the chills I felt on first hearing opener "We Don't Care" from Kanye's debut The College Dropout. It was monumental. Hip-hop had found new life, turned the corner, climbed out from darkness and back into the light. The MC's confessional lyricism delivered fresh perspectives on the hellish socioeconomic issues plaguing lower-class America. It was inspiring and funny but most importantly enlightening. The College Dropout was a hopeful triumph of social commentary, and it ushered in an entirely new style in rap music.
Nine years and five records later, Kanye remains every bit as relevant as he was then. Transformation after transformation has shown him to be a restless artist, a musician in service of an uncompromising vision. His new album, Yeezus, is his boldest, most adventurous turn yet. Sparse and brooding, the album is Kanye's inhuman narcissism re-calibrated and aimed like a protest sign at every injustice he's had hurled against him. It's equal parts unsettling and astonishing: hip-hop as a Blank Panther rock anthem. Whether you find Kanye to be revolutionary or repugnant, there's no denying his influence -- he's well on his way to a place as one of the most iconic figures in both music and pop-culture history. Dallas, get out your palm leaves, because Yeezus is riding into town. Though only in its infancy, early reports are that this tour is an unreal spectacle. Jonathan PatrickPinkish Black Saturday, December 7, at Club Dada
We're not the only North Texas alt-weekly who put a metal band with no guitars on the cover of our book this week. Riding the wave of buzz from this week's Fort Worth Weekly cover story, duo Pinkish Black will hit Club Dada this Saturday with The Black Dotz and Nervous Curtains. This is a holiday benefit show, so all proceeds will go to North Texas Food Bank.Vanessa QuilantanNathan Brown, Ronnie Heart Saturday, December 7, at Outpost Tavern
If you haven't had a chance to catch a set from Fort Worth's Ronnie Heart, you are seriously missing out. The infectiously catchy funk-pop tunes that the former Neon Indian member has been churning out lately have been winning over audiences and drawing comparisons to Prince. Also on the bill is Nathan Brown, who aims for a sound that is equal parts "The Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, Chicago 17, Al Jarreau'sHigh Crime
album, with a dash of Michael Macdonald."VQYo Gabba Gabba! Live Saturday, December 7, at Verizon Theatre
Being a parent requires making a ton of sacrifices to spend time with your children. If you're a music buff, that means going to fewer and fewer live shows, unless you can somehow convince the bouncer at the club where Slayer is playing that letting your kid listen to high quality heavy metal is the only way to lull the little guy to sleep. The idea that children's music could be entertaining for adults as well inspired Yo Gabba Gabba! creators Christian Jacobs and Scott Schultz to develop the wildly popular kids show that encourages kids to get up and dance along with DJ Lance Rock, Muno, Foofa, Plex and the rest of the gang. You'll be able to do the same with your little ones when the group takes its Very Awesome Holiday Show to the Verizon Theatre.Danny GallagherBeyonce Monday, December 9, at American Airlines Center
What can we say that hasn't already been said about the Queen Bey? America's sweetheart is coming back to town on the homestretch of her Mrs. Carter World Tour. If you're wondering what to expect, check outour review
of the tour's first Dallas stop this past July. If you'd like to avoid any spoilers, just prepare to have your socks knocked off.VQCat Power Wednesday, December 11, at Trees
Chan Marshall aka Cat Power has made a reputation for herself as a pretty neurotic live performer. From scathing outbursts to crying jags, you never really know what you're going to get from this complicated songstress. Luckily, this performance persona pretty well compliments the tragic beauty of her folksy ballads.VQTrash Talk Wednesday, December 11, at Club Dada
One of the most compelling and exciting bands in modern punk music is a Sacramento quartet called Trash Talk. Signed to Odd Future Records, they have a knack for hip hop crossover, and this show is no different. Dallas' own Lord Byron and Blue, The Misfit will break up a string of opening punk and hardcore bands with a back to back rap set. Also including Vulgar Display, Estonia, and Sold Short- this is looking like one of the most interesting lineups of the season.VQSwearin' Wednesday, December 11, at Three Links
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Swearin' earns its fist pumps with unusually thoughtful melodies and the kind of brash energy that makes every song sound like it's being made up on the spot. The Brooklyn four-piece's recently releasedSurfing Strange
expands the group's range with a few quieter moments to go along with all that feedback and shouting.KM