I’m currently working on this upcoming release (off Strut) on Rodion Ladislau Roșca, a forward thinking composer who made mad-scientist-like tracks with homemade speakers and toy Casio keyboards in Romania during intense socially oppressive times. These recordings haven’t been heard in 34 years and are weird, hard-hitting joints with loads of fuzz, keyboards and sound effects. They veer towards funk and even jazz at times but are overall dark, dense, and set in sometimes elaborate arrangements. Interesting stuff to be sure. Take a look at the preview video above and be on the lookout for an expansive piece on this bit of lost Romanian jams.
I still love covering local stories, especially when it’s about two 80+ year old dudes who run the largest and oldest record store in my area. Joe (pictured above) yells “there he is!” every time you walk through the door. I wrote this a few months back but if you’ve ever been in the South Bay or been by Al’s through the years, check the story HERE.
Snippet from All Killer No Filler mixed by Gaslamp Killer
Long-haired, sweaty, yogi-looking producer/DJ William Bensussen (Gaslamp Killer) is an instrumental part of LA’s Flying Lotus-driven beat scene, anchored by its epic Low End Theory parties with cats like D-Styles and guests Thom Yorke of Radiohead or Erykah Badu.
I wrote about William in the latest Wax Poetics #53 and recently saw this Japanese translation of it while looking for images to post. If you don’t read Japanese, grab the issue and check out his latest project, Breakthrough.
Though I didn’t dig the new one as much as his previous works (sitar overkill and a bit droning, even tepid at times) it does have its moments, rooted mainly in off-kilter breaks and energetic bursts in the arrangement. The snippet above is from a mixtape that showcases more his DJ skills whereas the new one is more production.
(One of our favorite dudes DJ O-Dub will be dropping by tomorrow at one of our favorite parties, The 45 Sessions– founded by non other than the homie, DJ Platurn. It was an honor to be a past participant in an event where the DJs are having as much fun as the partygoers, where everyone wins and the music speaks (loudly) for itself. We asked O-Dub to give us a peek into his crates for tomorrow’s not-to-be-missed affair and here’s what he came up with (hit it!). – DM)
It’s been ages since I’ve spun a “vinyl only” party, let alone “45s only” and truth be told…as great and convenient as the infinite digital crate is, I find far more creative pleasure in working within limits. Sometimes having access to everything makes a challenge banal; it’s like playing a video game in “god” mode. That said, I knew, going into this 45 Sessions set, I was certainly going to bring along a few go-to favorites on one hand as well as some “yeah, I got this” flossalistic singles. But I also want to use this as an opportunity to play out a few 7″s that have always almost made it to the turntables yet, for whatever reason, never quite made my party playlists. To start:
The Springers – (I Want You) Every Night and Day
My friend Hua Hsu put me up on this many years ago and I immediately fell in love with those hard, hammering piano strokes at the beginning. Great vocal touches and harmonies too. It’s not quite as slick – dancing-wise – as other Northern tracks but it has such a distinctive feel and punch to it. Maybe I’ll finally give this one a spin.
Los Amaya – Que Mala Suerte la Mia
I do love me some rumba catalan and Los Amaya’s “Caramelos” has usually been the track I most frequently play out. But this time, I’m planning to play the flip side – “Que Mala Suerte la Mia” – instead. It’s not as obviously “funky” as “Caramelos” but listening to it, I appreciate the slinky soulfulness that infuses the energy of the singing and guitar. I hope the dance floor can get with it too!
Samson and Delilah – Will You Be Ready
Never played this out before but that’s mostly because I only picked it up last fall and haven’t had a gig where it would have made sense to drop it. If ever there was a rhythm that could be described as “irresistible,” this is it. It’s no great songwriting accomplishment, lyrically, but as a groover, I don’t know if I’ve heard anything quite as propulsive in a while.
DJ O-Dub will be spinning at 45 Sessions in Oakland on Friday, January 18.
“Girl From The Mountain” (snippet)
“There is Something in My Heart” (snippet)
I recently interviewed Benjy Melendez of the Ghetto Bros. on his incredible story and the music that accompanies the Ghetto Brothers’ legacy. It’s a record that’s not only considered a ‘holy grail’ for collectors but it also serves as a juxtaposed soundtrack for the violent, fiery Bronx where it was made. I say juxtaposed because you figure an album made by gruff street gang members from the ’70′s Bronx wouldn’t be as sugary as it is. But the GB’s lone output turned out to be a mix of Latin garage-rock, Santana, and The Beatles, some of which were anthemic in a political sense but most were just wide-eyed love songs.
I could do without the Santana nods but above are my favorite joints from the album which FINALLY got the proper reissue treatment from Truth & Soul Records. You can read my story with Benjy in the upcoming Wax Poetics and in the meantime check out a recent review HERE.
Roc’s debut, Marcberg (which you can stream here), was an eye-opener for fans of gritty NY rap. The producer/rapper also made guest spots on seemingly every rappers’ album in 2012 based on the strength of Marcberg and subsequent releases (i.e. Greneberg). His new one, Reloaded, is more of the same inverted rhyme-schemes and dark production that marked his past work.
I spoke with Roc recently for Ego Trip’s “5 Records That Changed My Life”. Check out Roc’s rather rap-centric picks HERE.
As one of our favorite artists, it’s never a bad time to pick Prince Paul’s brain. I spoke with Paul some weeks back at length about what else? Records. Specifically, 5 records that changed his life and career accordingly. Read it HERE on egotripland.com.
The latest issue of Clout Magazine just dropped, featuring an in-depth piece I did with the legendary D-Styles. Not only is D one of the most precise DJs to ever do it, he’s one of the nicest, most humblest dudes ever. Gotta respect that. Pick up the latest issue (and a hat or two) at the Clout Store and peep this Low End Theory podcast by D himself.
I always jump at the chance to speak with Chuck. He’s always a great interview and never minces words. We spoke last time after the ’08 election so I felt it was befitting to revisit the same themes this time too, especially with the looming election and the ferocious political climate it brings. And if there’s someone you’d want to hear from on the eve of what looks to be a hotly contested debate, it’d be a riled up Chuck D.
The interview is the cover for the Autumn issue of One More Robot, a Dublin-based pop culture magazine (and one of the few upstarts that remains in-print). Old and new issues can be found at its webstore. Check out more on the new issue, which includes a nice interview with Adrian Tomine who is a cartoonist for The New Yorker. What’s more, the issue features a previously unpublished, crazy in-depth interview with Rick James. Stoked to speak with Chuck and be a part of OMR to boot.
The last time we heard from Keith was right after the NBA finals. It was hilarious and with Keith hitting us with guest posts throughout the year there’s more hilarity to come. But for now, he’s opening up for questions from the audience.
Hit us with your questions for Poppa Large at Nerdtorious@gmail.com with ‘Mail 4 Matthew’ in the subject and we’ll pass it along to Dr. Dooom. Who knows when we’ll catch him again so send your queries our way (all questions MUST be submitted BEFORE October 15th). We’ll post responses shortly thereafter. Fire away!
I spoke to Boots Riley (of The Coup) recently for Ego Trip and had him share 5 life changing records. It’s always good to have an excuse to talk to Boots. The Coup’s new album, Sorry To Bother You, is production-wise a stylistic change but the themes and content are solid and thoughtful per usual. Read Boots’ list HERE.
Pick three numbers 1-9, match the words, and BOOM… you have your Wu-Tang moniker! The scan originally appeared in Big Daddy Magazine in the early 2000s (we think). Click the image to enlarge. If fate will have it, you could be Buddah The Jesus…definitely not one to f*ck with!
Here’s a recent piece I did on the wonderful rise of Kurtis Blow, when he ruled the world and when rap was still young, surrounded by doubters, believers, and artists of all kinds. And Kurtis was the biggest rapper on the planet.
* Bonus: here’s a strange duet between Kurtis and Bob Dylan of all people (peep Bob’s “hot bars”).
Filed under: Interviews, Random, Tunes | Tags: Alice Russell, Anabella Pinon, Quantic
(I just wrapped up a story on Alice Russell for a piece due out soon, touching mostly on her new project with Quantic, Look Around The Corner. But we also covered her past work, most notably a fan favorite, “Seven Nation Army”. It’s a killer White Stripes’ cover heard on Nostalgia 77′s album (The Garden) which I think resonates a bit more due to the heavy, low-end elements. You be the judge and read Alice’s thoughts on the making of it.– DM)
* Original painting of Alice Russell (above) by the talented Ms. Anabella Pinon
“Seven Nation Army” by Nostalgia 77 ft. Alice Russell [Tru Thoughts/Ubiquity, 2005]
“That was Ben’s (aka Nostalgia 77) idea. He called me up and told me he wanted to cover this song. And the thing is, at that time, I hadn’t even yet heard of it. And so I went ’round to his house and he played it to me and told me he had this idea to cover it. I loved it right away. But in our version he said he wanted heavy drums and horns, which of course to me sounded like a fantastic idea. I love the White Stripes and love the lyrics to the song so much. So after listening to it a few times over and over, I just got down to recording it pretty much right there and then in his bedroom studio– or I should say living quarters [laughs]. It’s such a good song and I loved how it turned out is what I can humbly tell thee.” — Alice Russell
“Oh Babe It Ain’t No Lie” by Elizabeth Cotten [Folkways Recordings, 1957]
Admittedly I’m not much of a bluesman nor do I know much about the great Elizabeth Cotten. But I recently came across this gem of hers and found out today just so happens to be the 25th anniversary of her death.
Born in North Carolina, it’s said that she started playing banjo at age 8 before switching to guitar. Left-handed, she taught herself to play the guitar backwards (or upside down) and performed until she was in her late 80s. Not only that but her style, a plucking technique that sounds like multiple guitarists playing at once, was later dubbed “Cotten Picking”. Most of her work, bare-bones folky blues stuff, was recorded on reel-to-reel in her home and released on Folkways Recordings. “Oh Babe It Ain’t No Lie” is the tune that turned me onto her; a striking, somber love song written and performed by Ms. Cotten 55 years ago that speaks to me more now than any modern love track ever could.
Selections from Bo Diddley: The Black Gladiator [Future Days Recordings/Light In The Attic, 2012]
“I Don’t Like You”
“You, Bo Diddley”
Though I consider myself a big Bo Diddley fan, I apparently knew very little about his extended catalogue. I always dug his earlier songs and probably regulated myself to them (which I tend to do). But this, The Black Gladiator, is a bizarre and awesome period in Bo’s career equally great as his early work. I was stoked to review this recently for Soul-Sides.com which you can read HERE.
(Editor’s note: We’re delighted to have KOOL KEITH drop us guest posts! Yes, Black Elvis himself– who just quit rap– will be hitting us with monthly musings, running the gamut from answering reader mail, listing his favorite pornos, touching on classic Keith moments, or just random of-the-cuff posts. Who knows! Tune in for these monthly critical beatdowns! And here’s the first: a timely post on the recent NBA Finals. Read Keith’s thoughts and peep the rare, All-Star promo vid from ’89 featuring hilarious Ultramag raps!- DM)
Keith on this year’s NBA Finals:
“Lebron wanted a championship and he was real hungry. He’s also real sensitive, you can tell. Like if you say something mean to him he’ll have to try not to cry right away. He left the Cavs to gain a title and no one wants to play in the league for years and be an old man and not get a ring. Dirk waited forever and kept smelling it but Dirk already looks mad old. Lebron can smelled the ring and I think it was a lot for his head. It was a real good matchup and OKC was real nice. They’re young, aggressive cats and they have an old dude like Fisher on there to keep ‘em balanced. A lot of these NBA dudes are old and have ugly faces, but some dudes like Fisher still run things. Plus Durant and Westbrook are young and so fast but I think Miami was just a bit wiser. It’s like rap. Everyone always likes the young rappers but the old ones are wiser.”
Filed under: Interviews, Random, Tunes | Tags: D.T.I.C., Lord Finesse, wax poetics japan
“Check The Method (Remix)” by Lord Finesse [Exclusive WPJ Flexi-Disc]
I recently wrote the upcoming cover story for Wax Poetics Japan on an all-time favorite, Lord Finesse. Though it’s in Japanese it does however offer an abundance of awesome pics from Finesse’s own archives. So many dope shots; from Finesse with Dr. Dre in the studio, to him and Biggie, and even him and Grace Jones chillin’ in a hotel.
Our buds at Ego Trip are slowly unveiling some of the pictures with article excerpts. Peep everything HERE and check the exclusive remix that’s gonna lace said issue of WPJ in the form of an exclusive flexi-disc via Slice-of-Spice Records.
The legendary Large Professor will be in the house at one of the Bay Area’s finest parties, The 45 Sessions. Don’t miss out on an epic night of all 45s from solid residents and an NY giant. Read a recent piece on Large Pro’s breakdown of his historical songs HERE via our buds at Complex and don’t miss this rare opportunity!
Belita Woods passed away a couple days ago from heart failure, leaving behind a pretty stacked legacy that’s often understated. Belita played with Parliament-Funkadelic in the later stages of both their careers in addition to fronting Brainstorm, a boogie/disco troupe whose work was mostly around in the ’70s. She had a great voice, belting out easily over Parliament tracks with George Clinton. But her career began in Detroit in the ’60s where she exuberantly kills “Magic Corner”. I’ve always really liked this one, especially the arrangement, the piano, and the singing. This is her at 19, for the Moira label in 1967. RIP Ms. Woods.
“Magic Corner” by Belita Woods [Moira, 1967]
I spoke to EL-P around this past SXSW for an upcoming piece spanning his career from Co Flow to his latest, Cancer For Cure, and R.A.P. Music by Killer Mike (which he entirely produced). His approach has always certainly been against the grain but his progress as a producer can’t be overstated. Huge leaps are obvious between Funcrusher, Cannibal Ox’s The Cold Vein and I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead–and of course Fan Dam, his first solo record. All have cold, eerie templates but the latter are significantly more layered with a focus on structure (and overall just more explosive). Here’s a portion where we revisit his first joint, “Juvenile Technique”, a lo-fi number which samples an always great Bob James tune. Take a listen and read the full story in the upcoming Wax Poetics Magazine.
“I Feel A Song (In My Heart)” by Bob James ft. Patti Austin [CTI, 1975]
“Juvenile Technique (clean)” by Company Flow [Libra, 1994]
“I remember this being the first time I broke through and made something that I felt was presentable [laughs]. I was young then. I come from an era where people still don’t get to hear the first ten years of your music. Where as now, everyone can hear the first song anyone makes. This was the first song out of about fifty tracks that I thought finally sounded cool [laughs]. (Big) Juss wasn’t even in Co Flow yet and entered the picture later. We became friends when he ended up living in my apartment. He was working on his own shit so we said ‘lets just work on a project together’ and that’s kind of how the group started. This is Co Flow at the beginning when it was still just me and (Mr.) Len. This is us just trying to be different; just kids rapping our asses off and seeing what happens.” – EL-P
RIP MCA (1964-2012)
* Image courtesy of Egotripland.com
Selections From The Best of Perception & Today Records [BBE, 2012]
“Gingele” by Astrud Gilberto
“Matrix” by Dizzy Gillespie
“Honey Buns” by Bobby Rydell
I recently reviewed this terrific comp and it’s worth mentioning again since its one of the year’s best. What was meant to be a guest post over at one of my favorite sites, soul-sides.com, ended up schooling me on some history on one of the most short-lived yet varied labels ever, Perception Records (and its subsidiary, Today). What the comp compiles (and what you essentially hear) is a straight forward jazz label struggling to adapt itself to shifting musical trends, reaching out far and wide, sometimes radically, to stay afloat. The result was a hodgepodge of songs, huge hits, rare renditions, and artists in different career stages all on one magnificent catalogue. The comp was compiled by DJ Spinna & BBE Soundsystem, take a look at the review for more.
Filed under: Random, Tunes | Tags: D-Styles, Da Hermit, Motion Man, Opski Chan, Roughneck Jihad
“New World” painting by DNA of Illuskrate.
Here’s a nice new one featuring the legendary D-Styles on cuts, Opski Chan (out of San Jose) Roughneck Jihad (Third Sight) and longtime Kool Keith collaborator, Motion Man. Produced by Jerry ‘Da Hermit’ whom I spoke to briefly on his studio and said track. Peep the eerie, lo-fi posse cut and keep an ear out for more of the like from Sticky Lab Studio, one of the busiest studios from South Bay area.
Another mix via Matthew Africa? Yes please. Like his past mixes, Yay Game is meticulously crafted and untrammeled with filler. This time, he celebrates Bay legend Earl Stevens, also known as Charlie Hustle but widely known as E-40.
Given 40′s lengthy career, this mix (40 E-40 tracks!) succinctly covers all eras of Fonzarelli’s vast catalogue, serving as both a primer for youngsters and welcomed nostalgia for oldsters. Head over to Matthew’s site to grab the mix and read more about the impetus behind it all.
A huge congrats to Wax Poetics for 10 years and 50 issues of fine– and in many ways, unmatched– music journalism. Peep the anniversary issue HERE and take a listen to a wonderful coinciding mix by our dude FA.
It’s been a pleasure to contribute to Wax Po through the years– such a notable cast of nice dudes whom I’ve been lucky enough to now and again brainstorm with. For the anniversary issue, I covered Devonte Hynes, recently known as Blood Orange. Check the video for “Forget It” (directed by Alan Del Rio Ortiz, shot on VHS) off his killer debut, Champagne Coast. Here’s to another 10 years of classy coverage.
“What’s On Your Mind” (directed by Alex Saylor) is a new animated video featuring Stones Throw funk maestro Dam Funk and non other than Tony Cook, James Brown’s longtime funky drummer. The video’s aesthetic is a great nod to Tony’s now legendary “On The Floor”, famously dubbed “The Granddaddy of All House Records”.
Read an interview I did with Tony HERE and check the new video.
Filed under: Random | Tags: 45 Sessions, Bangerz, Cutso, DJ Platurn, E Da Boss, Goldenchyld, Nate LeBlanc, Oakland Faders
We tend to keep localized posts to a minimum but this is worth sharing, especially since it’s our first sponsored event! Return of The Boom Zap and 45 Sessions (both hugely successful Bay Area parties) are combining efforts for a killer night this coming Sunday. I’ll be playing records with some very esteemed gentlemen in the Bay Area, most of whom are past and current Nerdtorious contributors as well as some of the best DJs and notable collectors around. Peep more about the party (and come out!) if you’re in the area. We’re playing all 45s, all night– or as Cutso put it: “Small records, Big sound!”
I was recently able to connect with Finesse again, this time for Ego Trip’s outstanding “Sample Flip Series”. This year promises to be a big year for him, as projects both vaulted and new are slated for release courtesy of Slice-of-Spice Records. As a fan of the label and series, I was glad to touch base with the Funky Technician. You can read/listen to it HERE.
Plug 1 and Plug 2 of De La are reinventing themselves (sorta), taking on monikers Dave Jolicoeur and Kelvin Mercer for their new project, First Serve. Though it’s more of an excuse to mess around and possibly explore newer avenues of output, First Serve seems like a modern De La project with a party vibe, plenty of laughs, throwback nods and a Handsomeboy-esque approach.
In addition to the ensuing hype, peep their Goon Time Mixtape below, a party mix featuring some odd pairings, mainstream mashups and an old school party vibe– most importantly, it showcases the new First Serve joints. They might blow up but they won’t go pop!
Happy birthday to Daniel Dumile AKA MF DOOM! We take this opportunity to revisit a past URB Magazine/Nerdtorious interview with the supervillain himself who was born on this day in ’71. Conducted right before BORN LIKE THIS was released, it’s an extensive look back on his career; from KMD, to collabs, to current. Read “Impending DOOM: Interview with Daniel Dumile” HERE. Best wishes D!
Filed under: Random
I caught up recently with Mayer as him and his crew were out and about celebrating their upcoming tv gigs. The brief piece ran for URB and can be read HERE.
It’s been a longtime coming for Mayer, who first caught our (and everyone’s) attention with his debut, “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out“. We were the first to interview him right before he blasted into fame and subsequent world tours. Check out that interview HERE and stay tuned for his career moves (in another one of our interviews dude said he was “writing a new wave album”). Stay tuned!
Nerdtorious was mentioned in the recent Atlantic! A few weeks back, Raj Dayal (writer for American Songwriter) contacted me for a piece he was researching, an upcoming article on one of the best labels of the last decade, Daptone Records. The story ran last week; “In a Big Year for New Soul, a Small But Influential Label Turns 10“, a great piece that speaks on Daptone’s rise but, more so, its influence on the modern music and its industry as a whole. Happy birthday Daptone! And many thanks to Raj and The Atlantic for the shout out!
Take a look at the self produced video below on Daptone’s first 10 years:
I first heard of Danny on this joint off The Hybrid 4 release and dude continues to shine, even earning mainstream regard in Rolling Stone and Spin who listed his mixtape, XXX, as this year’s top rap album.
I briefly spoke to Danny for Ego Trip. As a definite bright spot this year for hip-hop, he talked about the time he first met Alchemist (an established producer by the time) before all the recognition rolled in. Unknown then, chances are we can expect a Danny Brown/Alchemist joint soon.
Soul Boulders 2 has arrived, and it more than lives up to my ridiculously high expectations. As defined on the original mix’s packaging, Soul Boulders are slow, funky soul burners. Volume 2 hews closely to that theme, and incorporates some slightly left-of center ‘real-people’ moments that keep the listening experience lively. Revered Bay Area DJs and collectors DJ B.Cause and Matthew Africa have perfected the soul mix formula: Forgoing unnecessary intros and drops, assuring the songs are obscure without being rare for rarity’s sake, keeping the mixing minimal and letting the songs speak for themselves. Some tastefully chosen covers and forays into gospel broaden the sonic palette without distracting from the mix’s purpose. SB2 gets the Nerdtorious seal of approval! – Nate LeBlanc
Purchase the mix HERE or if you’re in the Bay Area wait until the physical copies arrive at Groove Merchant. Below are snippets off Soul Boulders 2 put together by B.Cause. “Part 2 in a series of carefully selected and mixed soul jams – for serious connoisseurs and casual listeners alike.”
Matthew Africa has been by Nerdtorious, read his post HERE. B.Cause will be dropping by with a guest spot soon, stay tuned!
“Amuse bouche”, “duck prosciutto” and “Tunisian olives” are a few things Action Bronson raps about. The Albanian chef / Flushing, Queens rapper has been on a rampage with his Dr. Lector album and more recently (and more impressively) his Bon Appetit…Bitch mixtape.
The first thing that strikes you is the voice– he sounds like Ghostface, a lot like Ghostface. Dude can’t help but be born with the same voice as one of the best to ever do it but the comparisons are indeed merited. In fact, he could distance himself a bit more (Wallabee references aren’t helping). Having said that, his approach is different too; he’s a bit less sporadic, less funnier than Ghost altogether while his culinary nods do add a different (pardon the pun) flavor to his rhymes. Plus, the gritty NY production hits hard, an aesthetic that fits Bronson’s agressive blunt smoking, women chasing narratives.
His career is on the upswing and we dig what we’ve heard. Check his newest work, Well Done (produced by Statik Selektah), out next week. Stay tuned for an exclusive food related Q&A with Bronson coming soon!
For now, peep “Not Enough Words” off Well Done in stores next week.
Filed under: Random | Tags: Clout Magazine, Dion Bello, DJ Babu, The Emotions, wax poetics
I spoke recently with Babu for 2 different publications; the first ran for CLOUT Magazine, a graffiti culture mag out of San Jose, California. Even more rare, it’s one of few publications that actually still operates in print, especially given its subject matter. That piece can be read HERE. The other–and newer of the two–is up now on Waxpoetics’ website, part of their renowned ‘Record Rundown’ series. He mentions great material so head over and check it HERE.
Peep Babu’s famed routine of the Emotions’ ‘Blind Alley’ to see why he’s considered one of the best in his field. If you’re familiar with the original, it’s almost surgical how he rearranges (and basically re-sequences) the song into his own. A routine like this can ONLY BE flawless and dude delivers. Thanks again Babu!
* Image above by Dion Bello of Illuskrate..
El-P is one of those cats whose style gets more refined (and thrashy) with each release. If Funcrusher was his Bottle Rocket then I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead is his Royal Tennenbaums. His most recent release–Weareallgoingtoburninhell Megamixxx 3–was really slept on I thought. And the few recent glimpses of his newer work seem equally as booming, equally head rattling and layered. And while his rapping has never been aesthetically ear-catching to me, his writing has. Here’s a brand new one we just got; the uncensored version of “Drones Over BKLYN” done for Adult Swim. Classic El-P!
Filed under: Random, Tunes | Tags: Amy Winehouse, ska ep, The Dap Kings, the specials
(“Only in America could you find a way to earn a healthy buck / And still keep your attitude on self-destruct”- MF Doom)
Judgements aside, it’s no doubt that Amy was enormously talented. During her short span she made one of the best albums of 2006, Back To Black, a slick, modern ’60s throwback done with the help of the Dap Kings. And while people, for the most part, have fixated on her antics, it’s apparent she bolstered the modern soul revival, bringing it mainstream regard, opening doors for similar projects both commercial and independent. And she did so in large fashion simply by killing every track (with such ease, as seen HERE).
“It’s always the good ones that have to die.” RIP.
In addition to “Valerie” and “He Can Only Hold Her”, Amy’s cover of The Specials’ “Hey Little Rich Girl”, off The Ska ep, is one of her best.
Filed under: Random | Tags: Gil Scott-Heron, Gilles Peterson, Greg Tate, Jamie Byng, Michael Barnes
It’s been a couple weeks since the passing of the great Gil Scott-Heron. I refrained from posting on Gil because truth is, I’m not as qualified to speak on him as some recently have. He more than underscores everything that is hip-hop and is beyond the myriad of soundbites he’s credited for. Below are some (and my opinion, the best) examples of recent Gil tributes. All touch on his music and history within different contexts beyond the revolution not being televised.
I spoke with the Beat Junkies’ founder for a quick piece in this month’s DJ Times Magazine, which can be read HERE. His first solo joint, Some Cold Rock Stuf, came out just last month; original production and turntablism, a mix of Latin, Funk, Jazz, Disco filled with hip-hop variants.
Peep a snippet of ‘Chasing The Sun’ from Some Cold Rock Stuf. [Stones Throw, 2011]
The J. Rocc print (below) is an exclusive done by Dion Bello (dNA), a Bay Area artist and illustrator whose work can be found on the Illuskrate site. Thanks D!
Filed under: Random | Tags: Bobby Ferrell, Charles Bradley, daptone, Menahan Street Band
Finding Daptone 45s in my mailbox never gets old. This time was Charles Bradley with Menahan Street Band doing an all-time classic, Neil Young’s ‘Heart of Gold’. It’s a great cover though Bradley at times deviates from the original melody too much for me. The Menahan arrangement is worth it alone though.
It also immediately reminded me of Boney M’s version. I’ve always liked their cover songs as cheesy as the German disco coverband sometimes were. This is off their album, Night Flight To Venus, which also has a great rendition of ‘Brown Girl In The Ring’. Lead singer Bobby Farrell passed in 2005 due to heart failure while in Russia, where apparently they’re still very popular. He was 61, RIP.
Filed under: Random | Tags: Eccentric Breaks & Beats Vol.2, ken shipley, numero
Numero just released Eccentric Breaks & Beats Vol.2, a followup to Vol.1 which was made using their outstanding (and astounding) catalog. Best of all, IT’S FREE! Below are some words from Numero’s chief officer, Ken Shipley, with whom we’ve spoken to before– read it here:
After we issued ‘Eccentric Breaks & Beats’ last year our inbox was suddenly flooded with junior producers looking to do something similar. A handful of sorta-okay-but-not-really-that-great entries were submitted, but none could touch the original Shoes boot. When Adam Calman from Parallel Thought dropped their entry into our lap a few days into the new year, we were eyeball-deep in royalties and couldn’t process how good the mix actually was.
It was played on computer screens, background to our Excel nightmare. Between ‘Pressed At Boddie’, the ‘Penny & the Quarters’ debacle, ‘Willie Wright’, ‘Salsa Boricua De Chicago’, ‘Father’s Children’, ‘Nickel & Penny’, and our looming Boddie box set, there seemed to be no room for another record. And rather than let EBB Volume 2 collect dust and play counts on our hard drives, we decided to let it live in the same manner that the original EBB had: unfettered. But perhaps best of all, we’ve decided to make it free.
If you bought Volume 1, you may’ve noticed our bite on the original ‘Ultimate Breaks & Beats’ cover concepts. We enlisted Eliza Childress, second runner-up in our Pressed At Boddie design contest to create another ridiculous/hideous cover, and we think she succeeded. That she turned it around in five days is perhaps more impressive. — Ken Shipley
Veteran DJ Nu-Mark’s new release sounds promising, a mix focused on Samba, Calypso, Balkan and other world rhythms. It’s called Take Me With You and is due out late January. Mochilla just posted this 20-minute mix in the meantime, serving as a peak inside the project. This ‘mix of the mix’ does the job and makes you want to hear entire thing. Head over to Mochilla and download it HERE.
Nu-Mark’s official debut album, Broken Sunlight, also comes out early next year.
San Francisco’s Groove Merchant is one of the most celebrated and respected record shops in the world (Pete Rock famously spent weeks there thumbing though music). It’s really a hub of activity for DJs, musicians and music lovers alike, ran by knowledgable dudes who love what they do. This recent comp celebrates the shop’s 20 years in existence with selections from “behind the counter”. It’s filled with heat you (and I) have probably never heard of. O-Dub wrote the intro (and a nice post with music from the release), Props designed a limited t-shirt, and it’s put out by Ubiquity– I am, of course, taking some Bay Area pride in this, but it’s ultimately about the music and the shop that made it all happen. Pick it up HERE. I’m working on a story on the shop’s founder, “Cool” Chris Veltri, so keep an eye out in the months to come. Here’s to another 20 years.
‘I Wanna Go Back’
‘Relax In Mui Ne’
Parisian beatsmith Onra stopped by SF during a recent small tour that took him across major US cities. His visit reminded me of how much I dug his Chinoiseries, an instrumental release from ’07 with touches of Dilla and even early RZA, but with far out timbres and melodies all lifted from 30 or so Southeast Asian records he found in Vietnam. His latest, Long Distance, heavily deviates from Chinoiseries, sounding more like an electro boogie album than dusty boom bap. For a relatively new producer, dude’s already shown much versatility with a penchant for sampling the old and unusual. Glad he’s getting some shine. Peep a couple tracks from the Chinoiseries and purchase his latest album HERE.
Funny, kind, and candid, Gregory was an utmost gentleman years back when we spoke for a feature story that just recently hit newsstands. He never really viewed his career in hindsight, feeling that it was “always ongoing” and feverishly recording and touring up until he was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. The interview is one of the lengthier ones I’ve done, as Gregory patiently recapped almost his entire career for longtime fans. Gregory passed today at age 59 and it’s with a heavy heart that we celebrate his songs, life, and well-kept career. Below are my favorite recordings from reggae’s Cool Ruler. Rest easy, Mr. Isaacs.
‘Far Beyond The Valley’ off In Person [Trojan 1975]
‘Too Late’ a-side b/w ‘Each Day’ single [Success 1970]
‘Sun Shines For Me’ off Gregory Isaacs Meets Ronnie Davis [Plant 1979]
‘Each Day’ b-side b/w ‘Too Late’ [Success 1970]
‘My Time’ a-side b/w ‘Rockers Time’ [Gussie76 1978]
Very excited to have written the story above for the new issue of Wax Poetics. It’s been years in the making and seeing it in print finalized an incredibly long process of emails, cold calls, miscommunications, and a lot of waiting around. But it ended well, standing as one of the few long, in-depth pieces ever done on the Cool Ruler himself, Gregory Isaacs.
This is the 43th issue of Wax Poetics and is dedicated solely to Reggae. I also added to the Re:Discovery section, writing about one of my favorite 45s, The Gaylettes’ cover of ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’.
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Listen to it HERE
Our homies at Daptone gave us the new Budos LP to give away. They also threw in this 45 (out of print) which was only available with pre-orders, featuring a track not available elsewhere. Purchase the release HERE and check out a song off the new album below.
‘Unbroken, Unshaven’ The Budos Band III [Daptone]
Send an email to NERDTORIOUS@gmail.com with ‘Budos Giveaway’ in the subject for your chance at some new Budos vinyl. 2 lucky winners chosen at random. Contest ends in 1 week!
* CONGRATS JAMIE S. and SHAWN H. **YOUR RECORDS ARE IN THE MAIL! ***MORE GIVEAWAYS SOON!