By Chris Gray
By Corey Deiterman
By Jef With One F
By Chris Gray
By Rocks Off
By Rocks Off
Shankar's official site, www.ravishankar.org, is a gold mine of facts and tidbits about his legacy. He was a true artist and his influence is immense.
BRIDGE OF SIGHS
Our writers' biggest musical disappointments of 2012.
Corey Deiterman: My biggest disappointment in music this year is the career trajectory of Odd Future. Look, I was one of their biggest adherents when they first came out, and I even stuck with them when they alienated their hipster fanbase around the middle of 2011. But there's only so much even I could take. Goblin was the last great release from these guys, in my opinion.
Everything since, and there's been lots, has been boring and shown how much thin ice they were treading even in the beginning. The cracks have not only shown themselves on recent albums, they've blown wide open as the rap crew has played itself out completely. Even their collective OF Tape Vol. 2 and the much-hyped return of Earl Sweatshirt simply raised my hopes to promptly kill them as brutally as possible.
I'm pretty much ready to call it a day on these guys ever making anything worth paying attention to again, but I admit I'm still waiting to hear Wolf before really giving up.
Cory Garcia: It may not have made it to TMZ, but it was sad watching Ween go out in a blaze of unnecessary drama. While I fully expect for them to reunite at some point in the future, it's never fun to watch a group you like have a very public falling-out, especially when it comes out of left field the way this one did.
Craig Hlavaty: David Lee Roth and the Van Halen Family Band? Yes, it could be said with some exaggeration, and tongue firmly glued in cheek, that openers/funk legends Kool & the Gang were the main act June 24 at Toyota Center and that Van Halen played their afterparty.
I thought that jokingly during the Gang's set, but as each Halen song reeled out, it was like a hellish Nostradorkus prediction. The Van Halen Family Band — Eddie, uncle Alex and son/nephew Wolfgang — was playing with menacing precision. For his age, Wolfie was in the pocket.
Sure, we all miss Michael Anthony, but with Wolf you at least know that it's in reverent hands. His backing vocals weren't terrible, either — in fact, they were the saving grace of the night, which isn't how it should be.
His vocals were the only way you could even sing along, if you wanted to attempt to. It disrupted the "groove," so to speak. Roth, meanwhile, was either ahead of the band, behind the band, or adding new lyrics and embellishments to nearly every cut, save for maybe "You Really Got Me" and "I'll Wait."
I wish Roth had been at the show the Van Halens were, because it would have sounded great. Instead, he was in an alternate Vegas dimension in front of a million-piece orchestra where he had to fill up two hours of dead air.
Marco Torres: My biggest disappointment of 2012 was Chapter 30 of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances, which deals with noise and sound regulation. Late last year, in response to an alleged increase in noise complaints, Houston City Council passed amendments to the noise ordinance that allowed police officers to write tickets and arrest individuals without the aid of a decibel reader.
This caused thousands of dollars worth of fines, unnecessary jail time and the waste of city resources.
Although a few clubs such as Fitzgerald's and Boondocks have taken measures to insulate and regulate their sound pollution, the ordinance caused a temporary deterioration in the city's music scene. All of the court cases were eventually dismissed.
Sonidos y Mas
JENNI AND MARIAH
What "Diva of Banda" Jenni Rivera's death taught me.
I almost dismissed the death of 43-year-old Jenni Rivera, the "Diva of Banda," who died in a plane crash in northern Mexico early December 9, as another headline not applicable to me.
A Facebook post in my timeline changed that.
"R.I.P. Jenni Rivera," it read. "Her music got me through some tough times."
Those words made me look back at a few tough times of my own when music had its place, like my parents' divorce. It was a life event caused by recurrences of abuse and infidelity — themes interwoven in Rivera's catalogue and her life.
It feels comedic today and a bit embarrassing to admit, but I remembered Mariah Carey's 1990 self-titled album blaring out of our car speakers as my mother and I left everything we knew to start fresh. Mariah's songs of heartache served as a soundtrack to what was happening in real life.
I'll be honest: Her songs got us through some tough times.
Despite her being Mexican-American like me, I wasn't a follower of Jenni Rivera. Her death is what alerted me, like many Americans, not only to her countless musical accomplishments but to her influence on people — the many Latinas who found her songs to be anthems of the times and therapeutic outlets for the tough realities that life can deal out.