This new album by Svenonious and His Gang is going to blow [my mind!]—I can already tell. He really sounds like a punk on this one... JUST LISTEN:
From new album Minimum Rock N Roll, due out on Fortuna POP! on April 14th.
Next month, Stranger-beloved comedian Hari Kondabolu will perform at the Neptune to tour behind his album Waiting for 2042—the year some demographers predict that the white population of the US will drop below fifty percent.
And in honor of the twentieth anniversary of Weezer's Blue Album, which defined Kondabolu's high school years, he sent along this joke. Enjoy.
George Harrison, "the quiet one," was always my fave Beatle. Today is his birthday and, if he still with us, he'd be 71. I'm not gonna get wordy here, 'cause assume y'all know all about him; he was in the Beatles for fuck's sake.
I always found his solo work more engaging than the other Beatles after their split. Right outta the gate he got AWESOME, his first solo record was the slightly-delic soundtrack from the movie Wonderwall, Wonderwall Music and then he got all experimental with some blip and bloops of Electronic Sound. As for the rest that followed, his pop/rock work always appealed to me tooo, I think 'cause we shared a sense of melody. I've been playing "What Is Life" all day long.
Also, here is a 1971 spot from the The Dick Cavett Show. Harrison candor is disarming, he talks about his experiences when he was a part of the Beatles and his project at the time, Concert For Bangladesh. It's very charming.
I just learned Alice Cooper/Group is finally getting the documentary treatment via THIS: Super Duper Alice Cooper!! I don't think I could be more EXCITED!!
Super Duper Alice Cooper retraces the transformation of the man born Vincent Furnier into one of the most famous rock stars of his day, as he fronted a band described in the trailer as “half girl, half guy, half alien.”
Okay, so it might be more less about the Alice Cooper GROUP, and more a bout Vince, but still, I'm stoked. I fucking love all things Alice Cooper; some more than others, but still!! Super Duper Alice Cooper is set to first screen at the Tribeca Film Festival in April. I'M SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW!! I CAN'T WAIT!!
Less than two months after putting out his 101-track 05 Fuck Em mixtape, Berkley rapper/philosopher/spoken-word artist Lil B "The BasedGod" is back with his first effort of 2014, a 31-song project called Basedworld Paradise. The first noticeable thing about it — that Kanye West-ripoff cover art — is typical #based frivolity, but the second — the album's surprisingly clean and polished production quality — is unexpected but welcome after years of lo-fi home-studio recording. The first track "I'm Tupac" features a hauntingly nostalgic beat by local producer and longtime collaborator Keyboard Kid, whose stuff with B has sounded increasingly diverse as of late (see here and here for starters). Other highlights include the title track, in which The BasedGod reclaims Pusha T's #based/cloud aesthetic-jacking "King Push" beat, the swagged-out prostitute ode "Peter Pan," the MLK/Gandhi-like levels of forgiveness on "I Don't Hate You," the way-too-short "Stab You When You Dead," the extremely weird but aptly titled "Castles and Dragons," and "Appreciate You," on which he gives a shout out to the currently tumultuous country of Venezuela over a Marvin Gaye-sampling G-Unit beat.
Download the whole mixtape here, and watch the video for the aforementioned "I'm Tupac" below.
The Blank Project is a more personal statement from Neneh Cherry than The Cherry Thing, her 2012 collection of covers with free-jazz trio The Thing (which also featured one original from Cherry and one from Thing). If that record provided an insight into her taste, with tracks from Suicide and MF Doom, the follow-up provides more of an insight into her mind.
This time, her collaborators include producer Kieran Hebden (Four Tet), electronic duo RocketNumberNine, and dance-pop star Robyn. They help to keep things moving with ribcage-vibrating drums and searing synths, but it's a more thoughtful enterprise than that description would imply. You could dance to it, but the lyrics are hardly repetitive or innocuous as she questions her relationships ("I'm addicted to you"), worries about her children ("my fear is for my daughters"), and reflects on life learnings ("paper-cup regrets will not stick").
This early '70s band Meatball were long hairs from (ahem) fucking Des Moines, Warshington who could lay down some SERIOUS boogie!!
I've heard they had a single, but I've never seen a copy. In fact, they are quite the unknowns, and even the old long hairs I know from back then don't remember their name. However, from what I can find on teh internets, members were connected to other local groups like the progressive pop group Child, Chane, Spike & The Continentals, and uh... the Cooltones. Any Seattle folks got a line on this group or any solid details? C'mon, WHO out there is related to these fellers? You dad's friends? YOUR UNCLE? Gimme, please: I need to know.
Ain't nothing much badder then the badassery of some slow burnin' for Jesus.
For all the greatness and pop hits the Staples achieved, their early and strictly sacred songs hold the most weight, and they always give me the chills.
Welcome to year two of the fantastic 'Mo-Wave queer music and arts festival (do read my interview with 'Mo-Wave founders last year)! The dates are April 12 and 13, circle them now with your best glitter pen.
'MO-WAVE '14 LINEUP (so far):
Christeene (Austin, Tx), Zebra Katz (NYC), Justin Bond (NYC), Carletta Sue Kay (SF), Belles Bent For Leather (all- female Judas Priest tribute by AC/DC tribute Hells Belles), CZARL1NG (Oly—featuring members of the Need, Brokenwater, GrassWidow), Ononos...
Part 3 of a 3 part interview conducted with Los Angeles DIY label Deathbomb Arc, on the birth of clipping., the meaning of experimental music, and the curses and blessings of liking everything:
“I might be the wrong person to answer that,” Steven Cano (aka tik///tik) says “when I’m making my music I feel like I’m Selena in the middle of everything. For me it’s another version of pop music, and that’s how I attack it. It doesn’t mean I don’t listen to other noise artists, but that’s how I know how to make music, that’s where it comes from”
“I love the sounds, personally. I find them exciting, and for me that’s all there needs to be is that the sounds are pleasing to my ears.” Jonathan Snipes says.
“What’s the point of any music?” Bill Hutson says, then crosses his legs and looks away and laughs.
But from I.E. comes something poignant as usual:
“The first time I heard these guys was over The Smell speakers and the hair stood up on my arms. I never knew what noise music was, but I kind of made it, and then when I was starting to become an artist I had the same feelings as these guys, like maybe everyone was a white supremacist or something, and being part of a group meant just getting together and collectively hating things. I tried to hang with punkers, because where I grew up hiphop was the music of gangsters, and though hiphop was my whole life, I didn’t want to be a gangster. Then I met these guys and they had this funky way of liking everything and playing it loud. I didn’t know what noise was but I saw tik///tik, and Beach Balls, and I just felt awesome. I felt so happy that there were people who didn’t discount anything or put things in a box”.
The conversation drifts and I let it. Most of these people haven't sat in the same room together in some time, and combined they have decades of experience making art. Clearly we have music in common, but just like I love to talk about Seattle, they love to talk about LA.
Hutson: “There’s also sort of an assumption—and you see this a lot when you play places that aren’t big cities or you interact with people who like noise but aren’t from big cities—there’s an idea that you’re making an extreme kind of music because you don’t like the music that the guys who picked on you in high school listened to. There’s an assumption that if you like noise that you dislike other things, like because you make this music you don’t like Mandy Moore, but the opposite is true in LA; you can do both.”
Snipes: “There’s so many weird nested little music scenes here that you’re not just part of the 'music scene' there’s a place for you here no matter what you do."
Brian Miller: “What’s been hard to find outside of LA is a scene of people who don’t play music that sounds the same, where the people are related by more abstract concepts and will share the same bill. There is a place for lots of acts who are not appropriate bar-rock acts.”
Hutson: “I’m interested in the character of underground LA music. For instance, what are you doing making music for a very small group of people in the city that produces mainstream culture for most of the world? You can’t be sanctimonious about it, either, because no one here is actually proud of LA. This is a city that when you leave and tell someone where you’re from they have no problem telling you how much they fuckin' hate it. Then they go home turn on their TV and look at my fuckin' city”.
Snipes: “I love LA for that reason. I’m scared of civic pride anyway. It’s like nationalism to me. I love a lot of cities, but I love Los Angeles because we don’t have that. Being from LA is neutral in a weird way, because we’re all at odds with our environment.”
Hutson: “Talking to Sub Pop and playing in Seattle at the Silver Jubilee I couldn’t believe how much un-ironic pride there was in something so simple as a little record label. The whole city stopped, you guys flew a Sub Pop flag from the Space Needle! I saw the mayor walking around the concert in a Sub Pop T-shirt. I just couldn't imagine that happening in LA. Could you imagine a street fair and our landmarks flying flags because we’re proud we made Transformers 3 this year? I love the sincere pride in a cultural product from the city. I told everyone that while I was there.”
This is the genesis of Deathbomb’s latest group project, True Neutral Crew, a trio consisting of Brian Miller, Daveed Diggs, and I.E. that seeks to make music from a truly neutral standpoint. Their original idea for their #Monsanto EP was an album written from Monsanto's point of view. Thankfully, being truly neutral, they made what came out—a smartly written, well-rhymed noise-rap record. But the very structure of the group is representative of their isolation, their lack of an option to have an opinion about. Their refusal to participate in a broken system.
Part 2 of a 3 part interview conducted with Los Angeles DIY label Deathbomb Arc, on the birth of clipping., the meaning of experimental music, and the curses and blessings of liking everything:
I’d just brought up my theory that hiphop as a movement is incorrectly labeled as sexist. That people, rappers, as individuals can be called out for their actions or their speech, but the movement cannot. People don’t attack thespianism as a whole because the actor who plays Don Draper on Mad Men gives a sexist performance on TV, so what’s the difference with rap?
“Some people don't understand that. People do think that musicians go on stage and are the ultimate version of themselves,” Brian Miller adds.
People imprint themselves on music like no other art form. clipping.’s work especially has been regarded as more aggro than deserved (in my opinion) and Bill Hutson helps me understand why when I bring up the fact that I have feelings for abstract art (I feel as emotional at the lines of Judd and paint blotches of a Frankenthaler as I do at good music), yet I still understand the painters and sculptors of that period were not referencing me.
“But even abstract art was sold on the rugged individualism of Pollock as some cowboy. With the artist as the character and not the art,” Hutson interjects. “It’s all a bunch of bullshit to me,” he says, before shrinking back into his shoulders and staring into his wine.
Jonathan Snipes explains: “I always thought of my Captain Ahab lyrics as a sort of musical timbre. I responded to Miami Bass and Detroit Ghetto House music. I liked the drum machine sounds, the way they were programmed, the synths, and the words. The words in those songs just so happen to mostly be about women’s butts.” (Everyone at the table giggles. it makes sense, sort of.) “It wouldn’t be that type of music if we weren’t talking about women’s butts. The words you’re using can be a timbre choice. I think the same is true for clipping. I don’t feel like I’m allowed to say that, because I don’t write the words for clipping., but I would say that’s true of that band as well.”
I first heard this Bob Dylan song, "John Brown," via Rabbit MacKay's version on his 1969 album, Passing Through. It's a gripping and pointed anti-war song.
Dylan's version was part of the Witmark Demos. These demos were a batch of publisher demos recorded for shopping his songs to other artists. However, many of the songs from the Witmark Demos DID end up on Dylan's own records. These tracks have been bootlegged many times, but were finally commercially released in 2010 when The Bootleg Series Vol. 9 – The Witmark Demos: 1962–1964 set was issued.
Part 1 of a 3-part interview conducted with Los Angeles DIY label Deathbomb Arc, on the birth of clipping., the meaning of experimental music, and the curses and blessings of liking everything:
I love Seattle, but after developing a nasty case of seasonal-affected malaise last month, I did what any miserable person would do: took some work in Los Angeles, California. I later realized that the dates I’d be there included the evening of the Grammys. I began to imagine a scenario in which an award would be given to artists who take chances with music rather than make popular music, and little Los Angeles label Deathbomb Arc came to mind. I did what any self-doubting writer would do: I requested an interview.
Deathbomb Arc is the label that birthed Sub Pop signees clipping., a group whose music works as much to entertain as it does to muddle and expand genre. Their 2013 release midcity did the unlikely and combined two of my great loves: electroacoustic interference music and hiphop. I wanted to understand the genesis of their sound, so I talked to label boss Brian Miller and to my surprise in one evening he’d rounded up two-thirds of the members of clipping., Jonathan Snipes, and William Hutson (Daveed Diggs was away and unavailable), rapper I.E. (Margot Padilla), noise musician Tik//Tik (Stephen Cano) and label videographer and graphic designer Cristina Bercovitz for an all-pro interview session.
I did my best to avoid the Grammys in LA. I sped up Mullholland drive, tumbled down Topanga Canyon, and watched paddle boarders surf in the sunset at Malibu. I went to Watts, talked to the daughter of Harlem Renaissance player Leo Trammel about the Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center. We agreed Los Angeles’ legacy of great musicians (Eric Dolphy, Schoolboy Q, John Cage, Ice Cube, Tyrese Gibson, Barry White just to name a few) was shamefully not its most recognized feature. I watched a girl play guitar at Watts Towers, heard her father sing, and became aggravated at the police helicopters looming overhead. I relaxed in the sun. That evening I found my way to Mid City LA and met the Deathbomb Arc crew at the home of Jonathan Snipes. We sat around the kitchen table and talked. My malaise melted and was recast as a sense of belonging.
My first exposure to clipping. was through their mixtape for No Conclusion. The group took a leak of Kanye West’s Yeezus, and the idea from their Twitter followers that Kanye might have been listening to clipping. during its making, and put together a mixtape over their favorite parts of his leaked songs (there weren’t many) that included their favorite rap music from the year prior. The person who pointed me toward clipping. mentioned to me that this label had been releasing artists music on cassette like the medium never went out of style. clipping. released an untitled cassette on Deathbomb and very few sold until their album midcity drew attention with a free online download. Midcity was also later released on cassette. I asked Brian Miller about that.
Before the Scorpions hit "like a hurricane" as part of the '80s hair-metal thing, they were a heavy prog band. Well, at least for their first album, Lonesome Crow. It's a great album, and my fave, obviously. The original lineup only recorded this one LP and then split in '73 after member Michael Schenker left to join UFO.
If you don't know this album you oughta listen to Lonesome Crow in its entirety. The way more "Scorpions"-sounding follow up, Fly To The Rainbow, is quite kickass, too. It's still proggy but with a bit more of a mid-'70s ROCK feel; especially when singer Klaus Meine really gets serious about his vibrato.
Yesterday I FINALLY bought the Glass Family album, Electric Band. It'd been on my wants list for YEARS. Um...it's not particularly rare or expensive, I was just being lazy waiting for it to land in front of me rather than chasin' it. OKAY?!
The Glass Family, the band, was drawn from a group of songwriters, including a couple of 16-year-olds, who were part of the W.B./Seven Arts writers workshop. This collective was assembled specifically to write/arrange contemporary music for the label...something they achieved, spectacularly. Electric Band is a fantastic album; I BEG all'a y'all to trip along with the lead track, "House Of Glass." And then dig the driving, phased, acid-dipped Tim Buckley nod "The Means" or the wicked blooze harp blown fuzz of "I Want To See My Baby." Some shiny glints of hallucinations ain't all this record has to offer; for you beat seekers, I give you the Glass Family's "Agorn (Elements Of Complex Variables)."
Sorry, Segal, to be poaching your "I’ll Give You a Break" breaks, bruh!
I wish that more of today’s Americana groups would emulate Henry Flynt and stop sucking the soul out of the Band, Neil Young’s Harvest, and Poco. Born in 1940 in Greensboro, North Carolina, Flynt is an American avant-garde/minimalist violinist and philosopher who draws on hillbilly music and the blues to forge incredibly riveting compositions that radiate a powerful soulfulness despite (because of?) the academic rigor with which he creates his music. Flynt's masterpiece, “You Are My Everlovin’,” is perhaps the most poignant long-form drone piece I’ve ever heard. Play it at someone’s funeral and watch the room flood with tears.
Flynt gets to the essence of his instrument and locates the motifs that move you most. He can make his fiddle whine and grind like a rusty barn door, and it’s absolutely adrenalizing. Granted, the innate cosmic and hypnotic qualities of Flynt's music are more difficult to master than the familiar, well-worn country-folk-rock tropes modern Americana bands pump out. But it would be invigorating to hear more young musicians strive for something deeper than whatever it is the Avett Brothers and their ilk are giving us.
Forty-six years ago TODAY the Bee Gees' album Horizontal was released. It's a stunning album full of lysergic shimmer and deep, often sad, emotional beauty. It also happened to be the second of their three-album sprint into pop-sike cannon; I'm talkin' Bee Gees' 1st, Horizontal, and Idea, y'all!! All three LP's are fantastic, but, if any of y'all long-hair punters ever put the screws on me to pick my fave Bee Gees LP I'd prolly hafta say Horizontal is the one!!
Anyway, Horizontal is heavy in mood, saturated in atmosphere, AND full of mellotron; it's also crafted with a mindful pulsing flow dipped in technicolor that, as the record plays, reshapes the forward sense of "time" into a hazy bubble of warped stillness. Uh...yeah!! Just dig the weightlessness of "With The Sun In My Eyes" or the dynamics of baroque pop of "Day Time Girl" segueing into the beat of "The Earnest of Being George." (swoon) Oh yeah, the Gibb brothers AND the rest of the band were still kids at this point, yet somehow could compose a biting song about middle class dissent into melancholy madness for the narrative of "Lemons Never Do Forget." All the while integrating some easy Top 40 pop fare like "Massachusetts" in the mix for pop-band reality. SERIOUSLY. Add them bits up and it makes for a fucking flawless album, perhaps as strong as the Pretty Things' SF Sorrow or the Zombies' Odessey and Oracle.
Odd thing is, NOW, I never hear anyone, (ahem) writers, nod to the Bee Gees as heads. Obviously they were sussed and this LP proves they were deep into experimentation, but their early period seems to have been overlooked, or over shadowed, by their disco period. Also, I rarely find old hippies who were down...too twee perhaps? Whatever, I'm down, and everyone else oughta be too!! Right then, happy birfday, Horizontal!!!
It's all over Twitter...
"Hi this is will, I just want to say thank you to anyone out there who liked my burial tunes" http://t.co/FdoQpDB0WQ pic.twitter.com/3l1q0kYZuk
— RedBullMusicAcademy (@RBMA) January 31, 2014
I just learned '60s soul great James Timothy Shaw, better known as the Mighty Hannibal, has passed. FUCK. Hannibal began singing in his hometown of Atlanta in the early '50s in a group called the Overalls. This band also happened to contain fellers who would eventually become a couple of Gladys Knight's Pips!! In 1958 he moved to Los Angeles and, as Jimmy Shaw, made a great R&B record called "Big Chief Hug-Um An' Kiss-Um." He recorded a couple more sides then hooked up with Johnny Otis as a singer. Not soon after he left Otis to sing in a group containing H.B. Barnum and Jimmy Norman, this is also when he fell in league with heavies Johnny "Guitar" Watson and Larry Williams!
Around this time he became known as Mighty Hannibal. He recorded a few 45s for Pan World, but in 1962 he signed to the King label. Sadly, his tenure on King didn't last as he became a pimp and was dropped. He returned to Atlanta in 1965 and recorded the killer "Jerkin' the Dog." The song drew some attention. However, it wasn't till he recorded the anti-Vietnam War song, "Hymn No. 5," did he see some Top 40 action. It's a moving track, fantastic deep soul... gospel as a motherfucker! But then he then slid into dope and ended up in jail.
Once out of jail in 1970, he became King Hannibal and began recording again, funky anti-drug songs and more anti-war tracks. However, his fortunes waned in the late '70s, as he went gospel and then kinda vanished. It wasn't until Norton Records issued a collection of his soul sides, Hannibalism, that he was rediscovered. He began performing again and continued until recently. Oh, there was even a Hannibal documentary in 2009 called Showtime! Hannibal's 1966 floor filler, "Fishin' Pole," is always in my play box.
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