By Liz Tracy
By David Rolland
By Alex Rendon
By Terrence McCoy
By Natalya Jones
By County Grind
By Liz Tracy
By Chris Joseph
"The ease of creating synthesized music has killed music that used to be played by real musicians," Summar writes. "It's easier to have a machine play music than a person. I'm sorry, but computers can't play the same way a human can. Plus, the majority of music out there today doesn't lend itself to sax performances, unfortunately."
That last bit is probably the real reason. But just because there doesn't seem to be a place for it doesn't mean it can't work. So listen up, Franz Ferdinand and the Killers and all you other retro bands out there. The gauntlet has been thrown down. Come next year, I want to see new albums with sax solos on them. I played tuba in high school. My dream died a long time ago. -- Zac Crain
For more than ten years, the members of Oakland, California,'s Hieroglyphics Imperium have reigned as lords of the West Coast hip-hop underground. Souls of Mischief, A-Plus, Casual, and Del the Funkee Homosapien have all had their share of minor hits and mix-tape sensations, but they've proven stronger as a unit than as individual acts -- a true example of indie solidarity. In late 2003, the full posse -- some 12 members deep -- wrapped a tour bus with a giant Hiero logo and hit the road for a month and a half. This 90-minute DVD follows their travels across North America.
And it does it with a voyeuristic eye, serving up more backstage smoke sessions, fan testimonials, artist confessions, in-store signings, and family homecomings than on-stage footage. There's also a fair amount of acrimony candidly depicted, from inter-crew strife to run-ins with volatile cops to unruly fans. That honesty makes Full Circle an intriguing document of both the groupie-slaying party life and the harsher aspects of touring. It's the kind of intimate, intriguing, musical soap opera that anyone could get sucked into.
And if you're just looking for the good stuff, there's an outstanding live CD included, culled from tour highlights. Hiero has always been good to its fans, and this package is no different. -- Jonathan Zwickel