DJ SHADOW COVER STORY

I wanted to get this post up since it’s been days since an update: The current issue of Wax Poetics (in print! on newsstands!) features my story on the venerable DJ Shadow. I don’t think I’m over speaking by saying this is the deepest piece ever on Shadow, his history, and catalogue-. It’s not only his origin story but is connected to so many deep, fascinating tangents of other histories; particularly Bay Area DJ culture and Mo Wax’s early days of dominance.

Check out some rad pictures and order it HERE.

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Homecoming King: PB Wolf Q&A

(Editor’s Note: I interviewed Chris Manak (PB Wolf) for a couple local websites before his big show in San Jose a few weeks back. We talk a lot about his early history, specifically his start in San Jose. Take a look Stones Throw fans! – DM) 

HOMECOMING: PB WOLF PLAYS FIRST SAN JOSE SHOW IN DECADES W/ EGYPTIAN LOVER 

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Stones Throw is a defiant panoply of inventive music, a cadre of artists whom flout convention while making some of the most varied, artful projects in recent memory. It’s all due to Chris Manak, who helms the powerhouse label which he founded in San Jose, his hometown and early base of operations.  Continue reading “Homecoming King: PB Wolf Q&A”

Future Primitive Funk

“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.

Bruce Haack’s ‘Party Machine’

‘Party Machine’ from Farad: The Electric Voice [Stones Throw]

A new release further explores recent interest in voice manipulation by way of vocoders. Bruce Haack (1931-1988) was an experimental electronic musician who used a self-made vocoder he called ‘Farad’ on his recordings. He founded Dimension 5 Records, releasing strange but ultimately progressive abums, “pre-dating Kraftwerk’s Autobahn by several years” according to Stones Throw. Haack didn’t just use vocoders, he made them the centerpiece of his work, which included a children’s album, pop rock releases, dance tracks and a conceptual electronic psych-rock album called The Electric Lucifer. ‘Party Machine’ is an epic cut off Farad: The Electric Voice, the new 16 song collection which includes unreleased songs recently okayed by Haack’s estate.

* ‘Farad’ is named after Michael Faraday, an English chemist and physicist from the mid 1800s who some historians say is the ‘greatest experimentalist in the history of science’ and who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry.

Ramona Come Closer: Interview with Nite Jewel

I don’t know much about Ramona Gonzalez, the woman behind the sort of solo act/sort of band called Nite Jewel, and I kind of like it that way. The most appealing thing about her music is the mystery of it. Nite Jewel songs are kind of like looking into a foggy window: There’s clearly something worth seeing but, as an outsider, you’re never privy to the full picture, thanks to a seductively muffled sound which keeps the listener at a distance even as it reels you in with catchy grooves and gorgeous singing. Gonzalez is not coy or secretive in this interview — she’s not too cool for school — but she doesn’t give too much away, either. Perfect.

Where are you from? Introduce yourself to our readers.
I’m Nite Jewel. I was born in Oakland, CA.

You make your own beats mostly on keyboards, right?
My music making process has changed drastically over the past two years. For my first album I recorded everything on 8-track cassette and shared beat making duties with Cole M. Greif-Neill, though most everything was written and recorded on my own. On that album, I used old drum machines, samples, one microphone, a few old synths, and an SP404. It sounds pretty degraded because I also shared production duties with Cole. Now I have more equipment and am recording in a professional yet unconventional studio in Berkeley, CA on 2-inch tape. On the current recordings, Cole and I are writing and performing in tandem. Continue reading “Ramona Come Closer: Interview with Nite Jewel”

Afrobeat Goes On

“Comencemos” by Phirpo Y Sus Caribes

“Woman Pin Down” by Dan Satch and his Atomic 8 Dance Band

It’s fitting Fela gets the deluxe treatment now considering his work experienced a revival of sorts in the last decade or so (and continues to). But Black Man’s Cry: The Inspiration of Fela Kuti is much more than a project of “Fela covers”. In fact, besides a couple tracks, these covers and interpolations themselves are from rare Nigerian 45s and other international LPs.

The boxset includes 4 x 10-inches and the book it comes with—written and researched by Egon—is a great, quick primer on Fela and partly why the project’s so strong. Above are a couple snippets. The deluxe boxset comes out on Now-Again late next month.

One More With Mayer

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Now that everything’s come full circle, I called up Mayer Hawthorne recently for URB. This interview, I think, is a proper bookend to that first piece we did. Link below:

BRAND NEW MAYER HAWTHORNE INTERVIEW FOR URB

*Link is down since URB’s site got a makeover. Will it be up again? Maybe so, maybe no…

We were one of the first (if not the first) to interview Mayer Hawthorne when his catchy single debuted last November. People know him now—especially since his full-length, A Strange Arrangement, has gotten nods from Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, ?uestlove, and other celebrities. It was also a top seller at itunes the week of its release and is currently becoming one of Stones Throw’s most popular albums ever. Yessss. Congrats Haircut!

Stones Throw Contest Winners!

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First off, thanks to everyone who took the time to enter! Second, thanks to Stones Throw for building with us!

The response was much larger than expected! We were stoked to see entries as close as San Jose, California and as far away as Australia and Japan! The East Coast and Canada represented too! Thanks so much! We’re looking forward to doing it again with more of our favorite labels and companies. Stay tuned!

CONGRATS TO THE WINNERS: Kamal, Waylan, Lady K, Benjamin, and KB! Hope you like the freebies!

Here are the answers to the contest: Continue reading “Stones Throw Contest Winners!”

stones throw giveaway!!!

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*Update: The response has been crazy, but the contest is still active for 2 more weeks… SO PLEASE ENTER!!!

Contest is over! Results and winners announced soon!

Thanks to our readers, traffic to NERDTORIOUS is at its busiest! Our modest numbers are kinda increasing, and as a thank you, we got Stones Throw (one of our favorite labels!) to sponsor a free contest/giveaway. Click to find out how to get loads of free stuff on usContinue reading “stones throw giveaway!!!”

Gonna work out fine: Interview with Mayer Hawthorne

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Like the rest of you, we’ve got Mayer Hawthorne’s insanely catchy debut single on repeat. “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out” is an example of everything that’s good about contemporary soul music. Built on the “Get Out My Life, Woman” drums and Hawthorne’s homespun harmonies, it’s a doo-wop inspired breakup song that’s oddly uplifting and decidedly endearing. The single has already become a sought-after collector’s item not only for the quality music, but the killer format: Stones Throw released it as a strictly limited heart-shaped 10″ reminiscent of the Manhattans’ version of “You Send Me”. We’re looking forward to big things from the talented Mr. Hawthorne in the coming year, (no album til at least spring, plenty of time to practice your falsetto) so we decided to ask him a few questions.

What’s your musical background? When and how did you first get involved in music? What instruments do you play?
My Dad is a great Bassist and he taught me how to play when I was young. My Mom made me take piano lessons which I hated and quit. Now I wish I woulda stuck with it! I love playing the Drums too. I try to play as many instruments as I can on the album.

Talk about your upbringing in Michigan and how Detroit’s music scene affected you.
Detroit breeds many of the best musicians / artists in the world. I’m very fortunate to have grown up in a place with such a rich musical history, and with so much soul. Hopefully that soul comes through in my music.

What soul music are you listening to lately; any direct influences on the sound of the track?
Lately I’ve just been going back through the Motown catalog and discovering a lot of amazing songs that weren’t very popular when they were released but are just as good as some of the biggest hits. A lot of Smokey Robinson, Martha & The Vandellas and The Marvelettes. Continue reading “Gonna work out fine: Interview with Mayer Hawthorne”