Folk musician Richie Havens died this morning of a heart attack. He was 72.
Havens is perhaps best remembered from his incendiary Woodstock performance/vamp of "Motherless Child," a song thereafter called "Freedom." He actually opened Woodstock and was kept on, stalling, for three hours!
Broooklyn born,and first a group vocalist, he relocated to Greenwich Village as a poet and then became a portrait artist, but the Village 's heavy folk scene drew him in. Once he began playing, he recorded records for the Douglas label, then Verve Forecast, so, tho' his Woodstock performance may have introduced him to a wider audience, he was already a seasoned part of the early-'60s groundswell of underground/beat culture. Like, he'd already begun his ascension when he opened Woodstock. In the '70s he had his own label, Stormy Forest, acted some, and eventually began educating kids about nature. He co-founded the Northwind Undersea Institute and The Natural Guard.
Havens was not a pop musician; he reached for more and was able to grab it, and make it his own. He was never a commercial singer, he took pop hits and recrafted them into his own versions of dramatic and soulful flight; he never changed to suit nobody. In his words, HE MADE MUSIC!! One of my fave quotes of his is from an interview a couple years ago, I think it was his 70th birthday:
"I don't feel one iota different from the day I walked into Greenwich Village" 50 years prior. "Everything I hoped for has happened," he told Billboard. "I never had a bad day on stage. I don't think I'm ever going to go away...least while I'm alive."
Of course he left us too soon, but what a fantastic outlook on living a life; it was all a blessing. Godspeed, Mr. Havens.
Introducing the Prime Sinister, she’s a mother to us all Like the dutch boy’s finger in the dyke her arse is in the wall Holding back the future waiting for the seas to part If Moses did it with his faith, she’ll do it with an army Who at times of threatened crisis are certain to be there Guarding national heritage no matter what or where Palaces for kings and queens, mansions for the rich Protection for the wealthy, defence of privilege
Based Tumblrs unite! Vice President of the Based HouseKeyboard Kid will be performing a very RARE show at High Dive tonight with goth-rap group and fellow cloud-rap virtuosos BLKHRTS.
Denver outfit BLKHRTS keep showing up in music writers' dreams as the unbelievably musically literate rap startup who sample '80s synth pop and art house films (as if that's never happened before), but what they do differently for me is effortlessly combine the excruciating aesthetic of goth/black metal with rap (an idea which has previously only been fit to set on fire and roll down a hill). Embodying the original spirit of Ice-T's pig-hating hardcore project Bodycount—afropunk sans gutiars, poetic at their densely black center—BLKHRTS' lust for heavy, shortness-of-breath causing synth and percussive raps are establishing them as the gothic architects of the cloud rap church (or CHRCH, as it were).
Keyboard Kid, as you may know, is a local hero and co-founder of the very influential, infinitely positive based movement, who's sensitivity to popular culture invades his every beat. His prolificacy has moved his music beyond the based movement and into the purview of every rapper —from Seattle to Oakland, Miami to New York, and parts inbetween— who hopes to someday release a mixtape, by offering his beats to bidders high and low (true story: I even bought a beat from him once). His latest Based In The Rain 3 and Rare Drops From The Water experiment with his Water God persona and it's control over the foggy sounds that are the life giving elements of the cloud.
Also making an appearance are Jewels Hunter and Iron Mic. 8pm, $7
Apparently, local er... sunny, surfy, lo-fi twee dreamersSeapony are fed up with the whole "pretty music" thing.
"This month, Seapony will tour Japan for the first time, followed by a European tour in May. These overseas shows are the swan song for the old Seapony, the one you know and love. After years of countless bloggers carelessly lobbing the word "twee" around and falling back on the same adjectives to describe our music (sunny, surfy, lo-fi, dreamy), we've had enough. It's time to leave the sunshine and enter the shadows. We hope our fans follow us on this journey, but we realize this change in direction won't please everyone. Look for our new album DEATH BY SEAPONY later this year." —Danny Rowland, Seapony
When reached for comment, Hardly Art publicist Jason Baxter said, "We're just trying to be supportive right now—hoping they get it out of their system before we receive any more harsh emails from tearful teens."
Time and mortality just keep on keepin' on, taking the SECOND English guitar picker in a single week. Last week Alvin Lee, today, Peter Banks. He was only 65. FUCK. Banks is prolly best known as the guitarist in the original lineup of prog dinosaurs Yes. He actually named the band and helped to craft the sound and direction they'd become famous and/or hated for.
Banks' first band, the Syn, was the group that crafted the classic "I'm Grounded." Uh...if that one track was his only known recording it would have been enough to garner him an enduring legacy. After the Syn split he joined a short-lived group called Neat Change. A group known for just one single, "I Lied To Auntie May;" a pop song written by Alan Bown and the Herd's Peter Frampton. When he was tapped by former Syn partner, bassist Chris Squire, to join Squire's group Mabel Greer's Toy Shop and a nascent version of Yes was formed. Y'all, I'm not really a guitar wanna-be worshiper kinda record nerd, but I fucking LOVE almost everything I've ever heard Banks play, especially the first Yes LP, Yes!! That album is a TOP TEN rock record in my house; it's just so fucking beautiful. Its melody and grace are delivered with a calculated force unlike any other album. Like, you REALLY can hear the sike-group-makes-the-jump-to-prog on this album.
Dig, Yes, live, from German TV's Beat Club. Banks' bit ends at the 20:10 mark.
After their next LP, Time and a Word, Banks was sacked from Yes in and replaced with Tomorrow guitarist Steve Howe. Banks went on to play with a handful of other groups, session work, recorded a handful of solo records, and formed groups Flash and Empire. He kept a real low profile in the '80s, returning in the '90s with more solo records.
Also: Anyone who gives the slightest shit about Banks, prog and/or '60s/'70s rock I can't recommend THIS recent Peter Banks interview enough. It's great, candid and full of period details.
One of my fave guitar pickers, Alvin Lee, died today from "complications following a routine surgical procedure." Ugh...and he was only 68?!?
In 1957, inspired by Elvis Presley and the rock and roll tidal wave that followed, Lee took up playing guitar; he was 13. Soon, after hooking up with pal Leo Lyons, he began forming groups, and in 1962 was playing with the Jaybirds; a local band with a solid reputation. The Jaybirds eventually scored a residency at the famed Star-Club in Germany, a residency which ended in 1966. Once back in England, after a line-up shift and name change to Ten Years After, they secured a residency at London's the Marquee Club and were signed to the Deram label. Within a few months Ten Years After shot to fame, well...underground fame. Like a lit fuse, they were off, constantly touring, they played Woodstock, Isle Of Wight and recorded, seriously, a near endless stream of albums!!
Tho' he was a proper English blues/boogie player, top English blues/boogie player no less, and TYA WAS a blues band, Lee could write proper lysergic groovers, glam anthems, AND longhaired radio-friendly rock. I was always stuck how he'd lay his leads/melody lines over powerful yet simple riffs and own 'em with such skill. I swear he turned heavy harshness into sweet melody with sheer force of will—all the while with his eyes shut, always with his eyes shut! In fact, their most commercial album A Space In Time is testimony to Lee's versatility. In 1974 Ten Years After split and Lee went "solo," kinda. He later formed Alvin Lee & Company, then Ten Years Later, he wanted to get back to the blues, you know...and there he stayed.
by Dave Segal
on Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 3:07 PM
Guitarist/vocalist/sitarist George Harrison—who was born 70 years ago on this day in Liverpool, England—wrote a lot of beautiful, timeless songs for the Beatles*, of course, and his 1970 solo LP All Things Must Pass is worth the considerable shelf space it takes up. But when you want to get down to the core of Harrison's real greatness, you need to break out Wonderwall Music, his daring 1968 soundtrack to the film Wonderwall (which I still haven't seen for some reason).
Wonderwall gave Harrison free rein to flaunt his Anglo take on Indian music and to indulge in some of his stranger, more psychedelic proclivities. There's not much cohesiveness, but there are plenty of brilliant, concise passages of exotic allure and scattered instances of a multimillionaire's engaging follies. Unbelievably, Wonderwall Music reached #49 in the US charts in 1969, according to Wiki.
Happy birthday, George. (I know you can read this.)
* A partial list would include "Don't Bother Me," "Think for Yourself," "Taxman," "Blue Jay Way," "The Inner Light," "Within You Without You," "It's All Too Much," and "Only a Northern Song."
Well FUCK. Reg Presley, singer for the UK beat group, the Troggs died today. He'd been having a rough go, health wise, the last couple years with strokes, pneumonia, and lung caner; he was 71.
If there ever was a proper garage group to come outta the UK it was the Troggs. EVERYONE knows "Wild Thing," right? When I was a kid the Kingsmen and the Troggs were the first groups I heard that sounded (ahem) punk. It was like they didn't care, the singer didn't have a "good" voice and the songs were stripped down and simple, their riffs were the beat, the beat were the riffs. Perfect! Then, in middle school, I got that double LP on Sire and found other songs, some goofy fluff, but then there were heavies like "I Can Only Give You Everything." HOLY SHIT! It was a cover, in fact, but one which suited them so well it took me a long time to suss it was actually a Them track. Anyways, here is one of my fave Trogg's tracks, penned by Presley...a perfect proto-glam jam if there ever was one!
I completely slept on rapper Antwon last year, but thanks to the announcement from Greedhead kingpin Himanshu on "the twitter" that the San Jose native would be releasing an album on his label, I've been listening ever since.
His latest release, End Of Earth, is a pleasant cross pollination of the by-now-practically-patented Seattle drug n' thug style and a mellow-hyphy Bay Area tone. Rapping over production by the likes of the rising Steel Tipped Dove and the recently retired Big Baby Gandhi (sad face) dude paints a typical tough guy persona over horror movie score on one track, then drops a some red cup party rhymes over new jack era beats the next:
Old guard hiphop sentinels have developed the annoying habit of labeling these cats '"Tumblr rap", but I call it enjoyable, and Antwon calls it free over on his bandcamp, so have a listen.
I can't believe this is real. Also: FUCK TWITTER. It's heartbreaking that this human couldn't find another human to talk to, in real time, in real life, sans internet. I wish people still used the telephone. Sincere condolences to his loved ones and family.
Down in It: No longer laying dormant, Trent Reznor busies himself with the release of Nine Inch Nails greatest hits collection and, something that may interest you Spotify users, an up-and-coming music streaming service called Daisy.
Get Your Ears Wet: Santa plans on destroying your stocking hung with care by hastily shoving Hot Water Music's Live In Chicago 3 LP/2 CD/1 DVD release into it. Santa will also drop a deuce in the toilet and not flush.
MDMA in the U.S.A.: The hiphop community is reportedly getting their kicks off a derivative of ecstasy called Molly, which is enjoying a popular uprising. Wasn't the Chronic good enough?
I've thought a lot about Dave Brubeck since Wednesday and, from what I can tell, it's true, I KILLED HIM. Three days AFTER I decided to make desperately needed room by selling off ALL of my Dave Brubeck Qunintet records, seriously, I got rid of like 20 LPs, the mofo up and DIED. I DIDNT KNOW SELLING OFF THOSE RECORDS WAS GONNA MAKE HIM DIE!! I just needed the space!!! It's not that I don't LIKE his smoove, suncopated West Coast Jazz tinkling, I just don't have room for keepin' them records...so...I parted ways.
I know that clip ain't Dave Brubeck PLAYING, but the Ruins do a real fine job at (ahem) KILLIN' this 9/8 vs 4/4 DBQ classic.
Thing is, this is, perhaps, not the first time I MURDERED by purging records; coincidentally three days after I got rid of my LARRY HAGMAN 45, "Ballad Of The Good Luck Charm," that mofo ALSO died. Weird. Uh, it also seems to work the other way also...the day MichaelFUCKINGJackson died was the FIRST time I'd EVER bought a Jackson 5 record. NOT KIDDING. Obviously, COSMICALLY I'm responsible. Hmmmmmm, if taking a purging scythe to my record collection means SOMEONE hasta die maybe it's time to get rid of my EDDIE MURPHY RECORD!?
Ed Cassidy is known best for being the drummer for '60s LA area band Spirit. And he was something of an exception... uh, he was in his 40s when Spirit formed. Cassidy was born in Chicago, in 1923, then drifted to California in the early '50s, and by the mid '60s he was a completely bald, middle-aged adult who played a double kick drum kit, with a bunch'a young long hairs. Prior to being a rock drummer he'd been a jazzbo playing with plenty of big names, but in the early '60s he was the drummer for the blues-based group the Rising Sons, which also included with Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder. After the Rising Sons split he formed a group, the Red Roosters, with his step-sons, and it was this group that soon evolved into the mighty Spirit.
Spirit were a sike group which also trod all over jazz. Like... kinda not really, erm...MAYBE on paper you could argue they were "proto-prog," 'cause jazz is an integral element, but they weren't full of "fantasy," or strictly playing be-bop. Spirit's musical reach actually means their catalog is solid and FULL of variety. Their music is pyschedelic, expansive and they were for sure stringing together (sorta) concepts, but not really making concept albums... as their first LP, Spirit will attest... here, listen to the entire thing...
Their first four LPs, Spirit, The Family That Plays Together, Clear, and Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus are rock canon. Eventually the original group fragmented over direction, but in some shape Spirit continued with Cassidy's drumming a constant. He was still active playing in the last decade with Merrell Fankhauser. My math says Cassidy was 89 at the time of death, damn, boss... way to keep on.
All Dogs Go To Heaven: Fiona Apple has cancelled a string of tour dates by issuing a hand written letter stating she will be with her ill pooch, Janet in her last of days. Keep your chin up, Miss Apple.
White for Black Friday: For the kitschy collector or frazzled friend of a musician, Jack White of the White Stripes brings you Third Man Novelties Lounge where anything from records, plastic figurines of an Airline guitar, and much more can be purchased and/or gifted.
We Like Pants Accidents: Pissed Jeans will be releasing their new album Honeys on Sub Pop this February! Listen to their new mp3 "Bathroom Laughter" here!
Slay Your Breakfast!: A pan fit for a Viking is now available from Combat Kitchenware. Get involved with their Kickstarter and impress your black metal friends.
Outta My Way, I'm a Motorist: Justin Beiber and Dude With a Video Camera have a curt conversation, hold up traffic, and piss off a section of L.A. The proof is in this annoying video.
The New Pop Queen Is...?: Rising to her 12th chart-topping single, Rihanna is giving Madonna and the Supremes a run for their money as far as Billboard Top 100 goes.
The Devil Keeps Me Cozy: Okay, this Slayer sweater is kinda fantastic but you can only find it in the UK! No love for the states, I see.
R.I.P.: Martin Fay, Fiddler for the Chieftains, has died.
Experience the Experience: A must-see Jimi Hendrix exhibit opens at EMP on November 17th. Still no word on mass stratocaster burning flash mob.
Broadway Nod's Off: Nikki Sixx plans to release The Heroin Diaries as a Broadway play in late 2013 or early 2014.
Free Mixtape: Geoff Rickly of Thursday has slapped together a few songs he recorded in his apartment with a few friends—download it for free here.
Nirvana On Tour!: ...via winter of 1989! Bruce Pavitt regales us in tails of Nirvana and Tad's Heavier Than Heaven European tour in his book Experiencing Nirvana. Chock-full of never-before-seen photos and more currently available as an eBook through iTunes.
Mile High Club: Rihanna seals day two of her 777 Tour. Definition of 777 Tour: 200 frenzied media professionals and professional Rihanna fans + One Rihanna + the worlds lamest carbon foot print.