STEVE AOKI plays Kool Haus March 2. See listing. Rating: NN
Remember when Steve Aoki seemed vaguely cool? The L.A. DJ/producer/label owner was a key figure in bringing the rock and dance worlds together in the hipster heydays of the early 00s, but in recent years he's focused on relentless touring more than signing new talents or cranking out innovative remixes. Years of playing for bottle-service VIP booths and hobnobbing with superstars has taken its toll, though. His debut full-length album sounds woefully out of touch.
As many DJs do when recording a proper album, Aoki relies heavily on guests to pad out Wonderland, with mixed results. Zuper Blahq (more famously known as will.i.am) is as annoying as ever on Dangerous, Weezer's Rivers Cuomo embarrasses himself with cheesy Europop on Earthquakey People, LMFAO are just as awful as they are on their own records, and CSS's Lovefoxxx sounds like she's trying to emulate the 90s dance pop of Aqua on Heartbreaker. When the most exciting moments are derivative brostep bangers, you know an artist lost all credibility a long time ago.
Top track: Ooh (featuring Rob Roy)