Greetings from Music City, USA!
This, my rock ‘n’ roll journey, found me on the move and in front of many bands. Yeah man, “sky high” on bands! Last weekend’s FYF (Fuck Yeah) rolled into a short trip to Nashville and another great night of bands. Houndmouth, Cold War Kids, J Roddy Walston & The Business on a summer night in the south sounded like a cool idea for about 20,000 of us.
This will be my first of two trips to Nashville over the next month. With age I’ve learned to really appreciate “the south” and all that it brings to mind; hospitality, good food, and guitars. The emergence of a cool rock scene coming out of the south is imminent and Nashville will certainly be the hub. A few cats from LA and many former New Yorkers have relocated for a comfortable lifestyle and a town that is drenched in sound.
Greetings from Laurel Canyon!
It was back to school this week in the Canyon. Yep, believe it or not the LA school district has the kids back at it on August 18th. Our guy, Jonah hit 2nd grade and isn’t looking back.
I could never imagine going back to class before Labor Day. The last couple of weeks in August is dreamy back east. I guess, this summer, I’ve been thinking a lot about summer. Fuck, it’s not that I’m lazy…I just get a bit tired.
Indeed this past couple of weeks I’ve had my fair dose of days by the sea, happily “hooked” music, family, and yeah—fishing too. This week my focus was to “rock on.” I’ve putting together a playlist featuring “bits of all that’s been cool these last couple of weeks.” New songs from Beach House, Lana Del Rey, Health, La Luz, Deerhunter, Ultimate Painting, Frank Carter, and my young pals The Garden, mixed with a few “favorite things.”
PHOTOS: JULIA LOFSTRAND | Grace Potter sauntered on stage in hot pants and a sparkly cape, strapped with a flying V—the very embodiment of a rockstar.
We spent Grace Potter’s record release day with the woman herself, celebrating her ascent as the queen of modern disco with her new album, Midnight. Potter’s debut solo record displays her finely tuned skill for songcraft and places a pop sheen atop her rock and Americana gumbo.
Grace’s live show is also a reflection of someone who is a true master of her craft. The woman has been touring for 10 years which has made her a performer who melts both minds and hearts. She’s explosive and there is no greater feeling and nothing more contagious than seeing her lost in the music—the moment where the spirit takes over. Grace had many of these moments throughout the show at the Fonda Theatre last Friday evening which spread to her adoring crowd, inducing dancing, shaking and complete abandon.
ORIGINALLY BROADCAST ON MAY 8, 2015 | Greetings from New York City!
Finally made it to old New York for the first time this year. Figured I’d dodge the bitter winter of 2015 and indeed things are thawing out. It’s strange not to find the “big apple” green in May, but this city is in a mad rush and it feels like summer, along with the spring “bloom,” will be here in a matter of days.
For the first few days of my trip I stayed with my twenty year old daughter in Williamsburg. It was great to get to cohabitate with my young and fashionable Zoe. Funny, it seemed everyone in this crazy city was in such a rush except us. It was fun. We took my 81 year dad out for a belated Birthday dinner. The generations of Sidels strolling down first Ave must be quite a sight.
In Spring 2015, Universal Pictures began its promotional campaign for the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton here in Los Angeles. From Culver City to Calabasas, you could find posters of the Ice Cube, Eazy-E, MC Ren, Dr. Dre, and DJ Yella on every bus shelter and construction. More poignantly, N.W.A’s image is currently painted on the wall of the City National Bank on the Sunset Strip, just before the border with Beverly Hills.
As a lifelong hip-hop fan and history buff, I couldn’t help but think about the significance of an unabashedly divisive rap group receiving this scale of attention nearly 30 years after the release of their debut album.
Hip-hop has been a revolutionary force in popular music and culture since Jamaican-born Bronx resident DJ Kool Herc invented the breakbeat in the early 1970s. But like every form of Black American music, hip-hop has also been a source of controversy. N.W.A portrayed themselves as street toughs unafraid to use profanity to express their contempt for police, women, and anyone else who got in their way. But to better understand the group’s nihilistic worldview, one needs to go back to mid ’60s.
Watts, located just three miles from Compton, was founded as an independent city in southern Los Angeles County. In 1926, the city was annexed by the city of Los Angeles, partially to prevent the growing black population from taking control of municipality. Several decades of discriminatory housing laws, the absence of medical services, and police brutality fueled a simmering rage among black residents. These tensions came to a head when a routine DWI stop in Watts on August 11th, 1965 escalated into a confrontation between the arresting officers and the mother of the accused. A street fight quickly coalesced into five days of street violence in Watts and the surrounding area.
Greetings from Laurel Canyon!
I played “hooky” from the Idelic Hour last week. That feeling of coming out of the train station in Times Square, knowing I had just ditched school and was headed to Playland to look for trouble—that feeling still lives inside these “idelic” bones.
To be young and “free.” Oh, how aging makes us cherish that vibe of freedom.
This week’s Idelic Hour is an hour of music celebrating how lucky I am. On Monday lil Jonah turned 7! Wow, what a wild age. What a wild little Sidel this kid is. Free from responsibility and the stress of a modern world. What a lucky world 7 can be.
ORIGINALLY BROADCAST ON 4/17/15 | Greetings from Indio, California!
Driving through the desert, blasting rock ‘n’ roll is righteous. Kem Nunn’s novel, Tapping The Source comes to mind:
“…As he listened the train sounds grew faint and disappeared and someone shut off the music so there was just the silence, that special kind of silence that comes to the desert, and he knew that if he waited there would come a time, stars fading, slim band of light creeping on the horizon, when the silence would grow until it was unbearable, until it was as if the land itself were about to break it, to give up some secret of its own…”
Day dreaming of bad dudes with surfboards strapped to the roof of a dusty car pulling into desert gas station… I know I’m trippin’, or should I say California dreaming—and why not?
Greetings from Laurel Canyon!
The summer of 2015 has brought our family a strange turn of events. Maybe we should dub it, “The Year Of The Cat.” First we lost our beloved kitty, LuLu. Then we’ve adopted two small adorable kitties. Now both those cats are sick as fuck!
Little Mochi is in an oxygen tent with pneumonia while Princess Nori slowly recovers from a flu. These “cat dilemmas” coming into our lives reminds me—really, you never know how it’s gonna go.
Well morning comes and you’re still with her /
And the bus and the tourists are gone /And you’ve thrown away your choice you’ve lost your ticket /So you have to stay on /But the drumbeat strains of the night remain /In the rhythm of the new-born day /You know sometime you’re bound to leave her /But for now you’re going to stay /In the year of the cat /Year of the cat…
When I started listening to songs for this week’s playlist I was in a serious mood. I searched to fill the hour with a vibey and somewhat somber string of songs. Surfing a number of blogs I found a nice group of new albums and also pulled a stack of deep cuts to choose from. At some point it seemed natural the reach for Al Stewart’s “Year of the Cat.” By habit I always try to avoid “classic rock” radio hits but this song, I should say “true gem,” was singing in my head.
Greetings from Laurel Canyon!
“…You spotted snakes with double tongue /Thorny hedgehog, be not seen /Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong /Come Not near our fairy queen…”
Quoting Shakespeare…that make me feel smart.
I’ve always been attracted to A Mid Summer Night’s Dream. On a recent trip to London I strolled by the Globe and wondered what kind of mischief those Elizabethans got into on a warm summer’s eve—has much really changed over the last four hundred years?
Well, maybe the way we listen to our rock ‘n’ roll. One thing is for sure—this July 2015 marks the spot where Apple Computer makes its big push into streaming and world radio.
PHOTOS: JULIA LOFSTRAND | Although devoid of a country radio station, LA has always fostered a thriving scene for twang-leaning artists and singer-songwriters. From the Laurel Canyon days of the 1960s to the current Beachwood Canyon scene, HONEYHONEY wonderfully carry this torch.
We were delighted to co-present along with our friends at LA’s Goldenvoice, the duo of Ben Jaffe and Suzanne Santo at the El Rey on July 1. Suzanne and Ben are an unexpected tour de force with banjo driven songs like “Ohio”—which instigated an audience sing along—to the plaintive heart tugger, “You and I.”
The duo’s chemistry and the ease of their musical exchange on stage is that of seasoned performers and masters of their craft. HONEYHONEY is currently on tour supporting their new album, 3—and we heartily endorse lending an ear. (Live, and on vinyl.)