Friday, September 30, 2005

DJ Radar’s Concerto for Turntable

I’ve talked up Z-Trip quite a bit on this site, but now I’m shifting gears (pun intended) for a post on his former Bombshelter DJs mate Radar.

If you live in the New York area, Radar is providing a special treat on Sunday. He’s performing his Concerto for Turntable, a three-movement concerto that features the turntable as the centerpiece instrument alongside sixty collegiate classical musicians. Oh, did I mention the performance is taking place at Carnegie Hall? Buy your tickets here.

Radar is like a mad scientist on the turntable. He developed a system called “scratch notation,” which, according to the concerto site, documents all of the scratching techniques that can be performed on a turntable and translates them into Western musical notation.

Watching Radar live is pretty amazing. He was the turntable technician of the Bombshelter crew. Having seen the Bombshelter boys on a regular basis back in the day, I dare say his scratching is unmatched by any of his peers. His dexterity is absurd, and his fingers move with wild precision.

I wouldn’t pass the chance to see this event.

DJ Radar | Radar Frees Tibet (Gasho mix)
DJ Radar presents Four Hand Stroke | Antimatter

Thursday, September 29, 2005

David Garza

I’m having issues with Blogger uploading my final ACL photos. So, I’ll just scrap that and send you to Dodge for photos. Be sure to check out Kaiser Chiefs pics; they rocked. And, hey, if you were kind enough to pocket one of my cards at ACL and not toss it on the ground, I thank you.

In the meantime, my trip to Austin got me listening to David Garza all over again. I’m not really sure what happened to him after he released Overdub on Atlantic; I know he released a four-disc set A Strange Mess of Flowers. But I got pumped when he made a cameo with Hairy Apes BMX at ACL. So I checked his Web site and he’s offering adownload of a five-song EP Chuy Chuy Yall.

Check the EP, but This Euphoria is a great introduction to Dah-veed.

David Garza | She’s My Ocean
David Garza | Float Away (from This Euphoria)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

ACL recap: Saturday

I forgot to mention a few minor details in the first ACL post: It was damn hot and damn dusty. Still, the shows must go on. For us Arizona kids, it felt really humid (I know Midwest Dodge scoffed at that.)
Saturday started at 1:30 for us with Mike Doughty’s Band. I love solo Doughty, although his band setup is strangely starting to resemble Soul Coughing: upright bass, drum kit, synth/electronic noise. Still, it has a totally different sound than Soul Coughing. Doughty is a cool cat. I mean, they covered Duran Duran’s Hungry Like the Wolf. He also rocked a few tracks off Rockity Roll, including my faves: 27 Jennifers and Ossining. He was so good we scrapped our plan to leave early to stake out a spot for Built to Spill at 2:30.

Next was Built to Spill. OK, BTS has been one of my favorite bands, so it pains me to say that I was not impressed or very enthused by their set. They didn’t look thrilled to be there and they didn’t play a new song, which is strange considering a new album is due in the fall. They played some good ones: The Plan, Big Dipper and I Would Hurt a Fly.
We had a little break after Built to Spill, and I staked out a spot for Death Cab for Cutie. We somehow managed to stand behind a junior high pot party. I swear, this kid had sandwich bag full of canibus. Regardless, Death Cab was solid. They played a couple of older tracks, including President of What?, that seemed lost on the O.C. Generation. My worst fears of Death Cab going major came to fruition when I overheard a kid after the show say, “I just wish I knew more of their songs.” Sigh.

The real fun began at 5:30, when we found out that Chris’ girlfriend, Melissa, got us backstage to the Heineken stage. Just in time for the Walkmen. (And shade and water and beer.) This made all the difference in the world. We might have fainted otherwise. And, oh, it made for some killer pics of the Walkmen.

We had an hour to spare before Bloc Party — what, you thought we’d go see Jet? We got a pretty good spot, although I wish the lighting were better (read: I wish I knew how to use my digital camera better). Anyway, this show turned out to be a highlight of the weekend. The BP drummer blew me away, and we had a good laugh when singer Kele Okereke seemed to take a shot at Oasis, which was playing after BP: “You still have Oasis to see, so that should be fun, right? … speaking of, this next song is about arrogance.” Solid.

Needless to say, we bailed on Oasis. I wouldn’t have been able to handle their preening and boasting anyway. We capped the night with some quality mexican food and margaritas with Chris, Melissa,Dodge and MJ, despite Dodge’s, uh, fears of the clientele. Next up: Sunday’s busy finale.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

ACL recap: Thursday and Friday

My wife and I spent much of Thursday driving from El Paso (where we stayed Wed. night) listening to satellite radio, fretting about Hurricane Rita. When we hit Johnson City outside of Austin, a gas station was out of unleaded and a woman there told us to make sure we had our room reserved because of everyone coming from Houston. I thought for sure we’d be paying $5 per gallon in about a day.
Alas, we had little trouble making it into the city and checking in. We scrapped our original plans to see Z-Trip open for Thievery Corp. at Stubb’s ($25, yikes) and instead decided to go to Blackalicious at Emo’s ($17, a little better). That’s when we met Chrisand Jesse and Chris’ girlfriend Melissa. We were all a little beat from driving and/or working.
Regardless, Blackalicious rocked it. Gift of Gab’s flow is ridiculous. We all came away a little less than impressed with another Quannum act, Apsci. Maybe we were just tired, but it seemed the vibe was lacking.

Friday was the first day of the festival. The schedule was a little light; seeing Spoon was our top priority. (Next to meeting Dodge and his wife later in the night, of course.)
Here’s how our first day broke down:
We checked out Austin’s Hairy Apes BMX at 12:50 p.m. I was kinda diggin’ it, thinking they were Fishbone reincarnate. And then when they brought out my boy David Garza(below, left) for a guest spot, I was sold.
We caught about three songs of Kasabian (eh, they were OK) then checked out Dios (Malos) at Chris’ recommendation. I gotta say, I dug it. They’re coming to Phoenix Nov. 17, and I think I might just have to go.
We killed some time (read: found shade) before heading over to see Mates of State, a husband-wife duo. Again, another good first impression. With just keys and drums, they make some pretty damn good melodies.
After Mates, we listened to Lucinda Williams for a bit then headed back across the park for Spoon. It was our first time seeing them, and we were not disappointed. A pretty solid set in front of a really large crowd. Britt Daniel doesn’t strike me as the most entertaining front man, but his voice translates really well on a big stage.

We had to cut out a little early to get prepped for the biggie — Arcade Fire and Black Keys at Stubb’s. That’s when we met Dodge and MJ. Couldn’t be nicer people. This was my first time seeing both bands. Cripes. It was overwhelming. For starters, Black Keys just bring it. Chris had it spot on when he said: “I’m still not exactly sure how two white boys from Akron, OH, make noise like that.”
The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney punishes his drum set.
Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys.
OK. What can I possibly say that hasn’t been said about the Arcade Fire? I don’t think I was prepared for that live set. Only now are my wife and I able to appreciate what they did. It was wild, sensory overload in the best way.
There’s a multitude of instruments and other odds and ends. Win Butler has a commanding stage presence, but I was totally enthralled with his brother, William, who just terrorizes the stage with energy, beating cymbals with drumsticks, climbing the speaker, throwing himself into a wall. What can you say? Really, it was hard not to get the chills when they opened with a Bob Dylan’s Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall and faded into Wake Up, with everyone singing the “oooooooh, oooooh” part. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.
Better was when Win introduced Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) by saying, “You guys are pretty tame for a bunch of drunks in Texas.” Holy bejesus. The place went bonkers when that song kicked in.
A busy Saturday recap to come, and maybe even some music. What a novel idea for an mp3 blog, eh?

ACL quickie recap

After two long days in the car — and a night in Las Cruces, N.M. — we made it back to Arizona in one piece. The festival was a friggin’ blast, if not a little on the hot side. I’ll have plenty of photos and details, but for now just a few quick things:

For starters, big shout-outs to Chris, Jesse, Melissa, Dodge and MJ. Finally getting to meet all of them was a pleasure and my wife and I are more than happy to call them our friends. The festival wouldn’t have been the same without their company.

I’ll break down the festival in coming posts, but the highlight of the weekend was without a doubt seeing the Arcade Fire and Black Keys at Stubb’s (and getting backstage to Heineken stage … more on that soon). Holy crap. It was my first Arcade Fire show and I can’t even explain how great they are live. On top of that, the Black Keys blew me away. That was, without a doubt, one of the top 5 live shows I’ve seen.

A few pics as an appetizer:

More to come …

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Karl Marx Stadt

Karl Marx Stadt has evolved into the solo effort of Christian Gierden, one half of Society Suckers, who describe their music as, “precisely arranged psychedelic pogo trash music. born out of a frustration with emotionless dance music.”
In Gierden’s solo work he humanizes the manic breakbeats of Society Suckers. In the track, the grandeur of a movie score builds into an eruption of b.p.m.’s. As much emotion as electronic blips, Gierden gives insight of what electronic music can and should be.

Karl Marx Stadt -
Karl Marx Stadt - Geht Das Zusammen Oder Getrennt

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Off to Austin

We’re hittin’ the road to Austin today. Can’t wait to get there. You should be in good hands with Royce while I’m partying like a rock star.

Also, funny story: My friend (and co-worker) Carrie tells me someone in our building said he saw her on a blog. He saw her picture from my birthday party last week. Turns out, he checked the site regularly but had no idea we worked in the same building. Small world. Anyway, he’s running a streaming radio station with an eclectic mix of tunes; I was rockin’ it at work the other day.

So check out RadioLAB today.

More goodness from another Austin artist:

David Garza | Float Away
David Garza | Blow My Mind