Greetings from Laurel Canyon!
Shit! On Tuesday a water main blew up on Sunset Boulevard blasting thousands of gallons of water into the air and flooding UCLA’s prized and recently revamped Pauly Pavilion. Fuck—can you image having your car submerged in water in the middle of a desert drought?
This is so weird because just the week before I was frequenting the Pauly hardwood. My six-year-old hooligan, Jonah attended the UCLA basketball camp. I was happily hanging around almost daily, watching the morning shoot arounds with parents and coaches. The sounds of a “shoot around” in a classic, or should I say famous, gym like Pauly are intoxicating in the most wholesome of ways.
It was just kind of shocking that everywhere we were—the parking structure and the court—was submerged.
True musicians are organic transmitters of culture, like a bridge that spans our past, present, and future. The terms visionary and pioneer are often tossed around by music critics to distill the description of an artist whose artistic breadth is like trying to fit the ocean into a bottle.
Enter one Bollywood demo musician based in Mumbai, Charanjit Singh, who many allege is the unlikely founder of acid house music because of his 1982 release, Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat. The record certainly showcases all the trappings of acid house and subsequent styles: the Roland TR 808 drum machine, the Roland TB 303 audio oscillator and bass generator, synth tones galore, and a percolating, incessant 4/4 disco groove, but the clincher for me is that it’s set to ancient classical Indian musical raga scales.
Therein lies the rub: what makes this record a peculiar masterpiece and Charanjit Singh a living legend are all of these disparate elements coming together as one sonic anomaly.
I can’t claim to have been ahead of the curve on this one. I picked up the 2010 Bombay Connection reissue as soon as I heard a sample of the track, “Raga Bhairav” in an Other Music newsletter. It was like Giorgio Moroder met up with Kraftwerk in a basement in Mumbai to score a Bollywood musical.
Still, I found it hard to believe that this record never showed up in any family tree diagram of house music or that it was never cited by other music luminaries and writers like Aphex Twin, Simon Reynolds, or Daft Punk. It almost seemed like a ruse, too good to be true.
DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist are joining together for what may be the hip hop celebration of the summer. Co-headlining the Renegades of Rhythm Tour, the turntablists and producers are honoring the work of hip hop legend Afrika Bambaataa.
The Renegades of Rhythm Tour is not like any other hip hop tour. It plans on taking attendees through the roots of hip hop via vinyl. And not with just any vinyl, but 650 hand-selected pieces from Afrika Bambaataa’s original record collection held in the Master of Records archive at the Cornell University Library Hip Hop collection.
A second show at New York City’s Irving Plaza was recently announced. Tickets for the second Irving Plaza show officially went on sale today; however, we already have a pair to give away. In addition to tickets for either of the NYC shows (9/4-9/5), we’re also giving away a pair of tickets to both the Fillmore Silver Spring (9/8) and the Baltimore Soundstage (9/9) shows!
“My relationship with vinyl started early on, sitting in the living room listening to my parents’ records like much of our generation.”
“It was my musical introduction to everything from the Beatles, to Hendrix, to Jackson Browne, to The Temptations and everything in between. I remember one day specifically, trying to learn to play the bass in my basement, and my father calling me upstairs and making me sit down quietly and listen to the bass playing on the song “Introduction” off of Chicago’s album Chicago Transit Authority.
I learned the importance of siting down and taking in an album to really appreciate the music from vinyl, before the days of frantically skipping ahead or the option to play on “shuffle.”
Sundays can be a bummer—the fleeting hours of the weekend before Monday rears its ugly head again, which for most of us that means it’s back to the grind. August is the Sunday of months. It’s the back end of the summer with September’s cool spectre looming just off in the distance of your never-ending fun.
Because of this, Sunday nights rarely offer the same opportunities that the rest of the weekend does. That’s why Deal Casino’s residency at the Saint every Sunday for the rest of the summer is so unique. Appearing with special guests each week, the band’s rock/pop sound should be enough to forget the threat of a ringing alarm clock the next morning for a few hours.
Hot off the release of last year’s dual EP releases “Cocaine Love” and “The Runaways” here is the schedule and line-up for the rest of the summer:
The 2014 festival gets into full swing on Saturday and Sunday. There are plenty of options for music lovers to listen and dance to while enjoying great food and libations. Here are my picks. Click the link for the full schedule.
Before the Satchmo Summerfest kicks off, the music community will lay to rest Lionel Ferbos, the 103-year old trumpeter and vocalist who was the oldest jazz musician alive. The festival is being dedicated to his memory and a good place to start the weekend on Saturday is checking out Lars Edegran and the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra. Ferbos played with the band and the mostly tour-reticent musician actually went on the road to Europe with them.
Debbie Davis and the Mesmerizers isn’t a traditional jazz band, but with Alex McMurray, Josh Paxton, and Matt Perrine, they can play anything. I expect a jazz and Louis Armstrong-inspired set.
Existence is unutterably strange. It’s a fact. The world is filled with miracles and marvels and inexplicable occurrences that defy all rational explanation and that stand, in fact, as rebukes to the very conception of rationality itself. Take the 45 rpm record I hold metaphorically before me. Soon I will place it on my metaphorical record player. It’s by a band called The Beach Boys. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. Boy, could they sing!
But I’m not here to write about the baroque vocal skills of the band that gave us “Good Vibrations,” or how the Beach Boys gradually shed their squeaky-clean image to become hirsute, coke-snorting, acid-gobbling hippies. I’m here to talk about their choice in covers; specifically in the case of the metaphorical single that is now playing on my record player. The A-side of the 1968 single, entitled “Bluebirds Over the Mountain,” was written and recorded by rockabilly artist Ersel Hickey in 1957. The B-side is entitled “Never Learn Not to Love,” and is a blatant (as in he took everything from soup to nuts) Dennis Wilson steal of “Cease to Exist,” a song written by one Charles Milles Manson, of swastika carved on forehead and Tate/LaBianca murder spree fame. Both tunes ended up on The Beach Boy’s 1969 LP 20/20.
The BB’s cover of “Bluebirds Over the Mountain”—which Brian Johnston brought to the band—is a calypso flavored rock tune of the tamest sort, and not exactly what I would call either catchy or hit material. Mike Love, Carl Wilson, and Johnston all sing, with Love handling lead vocals on the verses and bridge and Wilson and Johnston sharing lead vocals on the choruses, but they lack spunk, and seem to be merely going through the motions. (Check out “Heroes and Villains” and “Sloop John B” for some real vocals.) Indeed, the best thing about the mediocre “Bluebirds” is the guitar work of ringer Ed Carter, a former member of R&B band The Shufflers turned member of the Beach Boys’ backing band, which also included great Daryl Dragon, who was later promoted to captain of Captain and Tennille.
I’m sure there have been articles written about Southside Johnny or the Stone Pony that have not mentioned Bruce Springsteen but this will not be one of them. To some Southside Johnny is distinct for not being Springsteen, that other guy the E Street Band played with.
Sure he made it, but never eclipsed the long shadow of that other Asbury kid who made good. Not that it’s a competition—and while Bruce has ascended to rock ‘n’ roll sainthood, he is not the only one with a seemingly ceaseless touring schedule.
It would be hard to imagine Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes not performing as the Stone Pony celebrates its 40th anniversary this summer. Both survived a serious downswing in the 1990′s. For Johnny it saw a relocation to Nashville to take some time off while some of the Jukes joined the Max Weinberg 7 on Conan O’Brien’s show. For the Pony, it seemed certain to meet the business end of a wrecking ball. That it was spared can be thanked, in part to crusading veterans of the scene like the man born John Lyon.
In addition to The Beatles and Stones, the British Invasion produced numerous other noteworthy groups, and one of the most successful was The Animals. A serious-minded bunch led by that brawny-throated student of American blues and early rock ‘n’ roll Eric Burdon, they persist in the modern memory mainly for their hit singles. But on the subject of albums, they also had a few very good ones, though differing US and UK editions have frustrated collectors on both sides of the Atlantic for years. Of the two versions of their 1964 debut The Animals, the Brit issue may not be the best, but it does give a deep glimpse into what this no-nonsense, solidly rocking band was initially all about.
Eric Burdon seems like the kind of cat who’d rather keel over dead than quit singing. Nearly fifty years after his first album came out he’s still out there doing it on stages, and like the R&B legends that provided him with his formative inspiration, his continued activity comes without a whole lot of pomp and circumstance.
Because he played an enjoyably quirky role in the landslide of ‘60s psychedelic rock by fronting a later incarnation of The Animals and proceeded from that to get his fingers nice and funky on a pair of albums in collaboration with the California groove merchants War, Burdon’s profile has easily transcended the outfit that began in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1962, when he joined up with a group then called The Alan Price Rhythm and Blues Combo.
In addition to Burdon and organist/keyboardist Price, the other members were Hilton Valentine on guitar, John Steel on drums, and Bryan “Chas” Chandler on bass. Rechristened as The Animals and following the advice of Yardbirds’ manager Giorgio Gomelsky, who obviously saw something in the band’s early stage act that was comparable to the act under his supervision, they moved to London and quickly hit the big time.
IndianRedLopez have created a track that’s ambitious, experimental, and eminently listenable. It’s easy to get lost in “Any Given City” as you never quite know where the track’s going to take you, and it’s all the stronger for it.
Electro, indie, alternative, and shoegaze influences in the mould of Mew at their best come to the fore as IndianRedLopez create a song that should be a template for their sound going forward.
CS Buchan is the founder of Fit Like Records which has released the double A-side single. His daughter Katie (aka Best Girl Athlete) features on both tracks and, at just 16 years old, it is clear that her voice is far more mature than her tender years.
On first listen this is standard folk fare but, delve deeper and you have a beautifully crafted song that melds indie, folk, and traditional Celtic music to create a wonderfully listenable track that, in a strange way, compliments IRL’s more eclectic offering very nicely.