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

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

New Pharoahe Monch track

Was there a more underrated hip-hop group in the 1990s than Organized Konfusion? Stress: The Extinction Agenda is a must-have for any collection. Although the group dissolved, Prince Poetry and Pharoahe Monch have branched off into solo careers.

Prince Po dropped The Slickness last year, and Monch got some mainstream attention with the slammin’ single Simon Says off Internal Affairs in 1999.

It appears Monch is back with the new single Book of Judges, an angry political track that sounds like he’s employed a live rock band to back him. Not sure how I feel about it yet. Give it a whirl. (Props to Spine Magazine.)

Pharoahe Monch Book of Judges

Monday, September 19, 2005

Alejandro Escovedo

With our trip to Austin oh-so close, I figured there’s no better time to post on one of the city’s favorite sons: Alejandro Escovedo.

Escovedo’s biography and body of work are too prolific to detail here. But if you’re looking for a place to start, alt-country bible No Depression named Escovedo its “Artist of the Decade,” which is quite an honor considering the genre’s growth and the artists it spawned.

Regardless, I was taken aback the first (and only) time I saw him live, close to 10 years ago at a club in Tempe on a bill with Richard Buckner. There are shows you leave and think, “Huh. That was good, I had fun.” Then there are shows that just leave you emotionally charged and drained at the same time. Escovedo’s performance definitely fits the latter category.

If he comes to your city, you would do well to see him. In April 2003, he collapsed after a performance in Phoenix and was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver caused by hepatitis C. His illness brought musicians together for benefit concerts and the fantastic double CDPor Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo, which includes covers by artists like Calexicothe Jayhawks and Son Volt (to name only a few). Proceeds helped pay Escovedo’s mounting medical bills.

This Washington Post story details Escovedo’s battles with his illness and the medicine and how he found his way back to music.

He’s playing Continental Club in Austin on Saturday night after all the ACL festivities, and as I write this I’m leaning more and more toward wanting to see that show.

Alejandro Escovedo | I Was Drunk
Alejandro Escovedo | As I Fall
Alejandro Escovedo | Wave
Calexico | Wave

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Atban Klann: the finale

You asked for it, you got it: The final few tracks from Atban Klann’s Grass Roots, from the group that now is the Black Eyed Peas. For those that missed the previous three posts, scroll down.

The final few tracks offer my favorite, Puddles of H20, which I also own as a 12″ single on vinyl (which is, unfortunately, slightly warped). Another gem is La Borio Woman Beater, a Slick Rick-like narrative. Notice the title Duet, which was revived on Behind the Front, although this Duet is a much better song.

Atban Klann | Puddles of H20
Atban Klann | DuetAtban Klann | StrollingAtban Klann | YougohdahAtban Klann | La Borio Woman Beater

Football wrap-up: After a rough go of it last week, I rebounded nicely this weekend. For starters, Arizona State (No. 18 in AP poll) stomped Northwestern 52-21 and, in the process, rolled up a school-record 773 yards of offense. Sam Keller threw for 409 yards and four TDs, and freshman stud Keegan Herring finished with 197 yards on 23 attempts. Next up: Pac-10 opener at Oregon State this week.

Then on Sunday, the Bears punked the Lions 38-6, intercepting Joey Harrington five times, which surely made Chris long for the days of Rodney Peete (or maybe Erik Kramer? Yikes). QB Kyle Orton and WR Muhsin Muhammad hooked up on a 28-yard TD, and Thomas Jones rushed for 139 yards and two TDs.But it was the Bears’ defense that carried me to a huuuuge victory in my money fantasy league, and Terrell Owens’ big game. Did I mention I picked up Owens in the THIRD ROUND?

Then I rode T. Jones and Bears ‘D’ and toppled Ryan in our Blogger Fanatasy Football league, giving me ample trash-talking opportunities in Austin this weekend. That improves me to 2-0 with a clash vs. Chris this week while we’re in Austin. I smell wagers.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Ryan Ferguson

Although No Knife appears to be broken up, the San Diego quartet is one of my favorite bands. So I was more than excited to come across Three, Four, the solo debut EP of No Knife guitarist/singer Ryan Ferguson.

Where No Knife was all jagged guitars and cryptic lyrics, Ferguson takes a decidedly more straightforward approach, founded on acoustic-based melodies. In fact, just on Monday he won best pop album at the 15th annual San Diego Music Awards (No Knife won in 2003 for best alternative album for Riot for Romance and in 1999 for best punk album for Fire in the City of Automatons).

Outside the confines of a group setting, Ferguson’s songwriting is honest and introspective … words and music to which we can all relate.

Nice guy that he is, Ferguson gave us his blessing via e-mail to post a couple tracks. You also can check his page at Pure Volume. Buy the EP (only $6) here or at iTunes. He’s also featured on the compilation My Favorite Song Writers.

Ryan Ferguson | Suddenly
Ryan Ferguson | Windshield (feat. Rob Crow of Pinback)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Atban Klann, Part III

OK, six more tracks from Grass Roots, the album that never was released by Atban Klann (aka the Black Eyed Peas when the Black Eyed Peas were cool). This bunch includes pretty sweet tracks, including Focus on You and No Sequel. Like Chris andDodge said, it makes you sad for what BEP has become — in a word, sellouts.
One more batch tomorrow, which will include the hottest track on the album (in my opinion), will be the last of it. Enjoy.
Atban Klann | World’s Gone Mad
Atban Klann | No SequelAtban Klann | Rain on Me
Atban Klann | Dedicated
Atban Klann | title unknown (sort of an interlude)
Atban Klann | Focus on You

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

By request, more Atban Klann

Because of popular demand — yes, two comments is considered “demand” in these parts — I’m continuing to offer tracks from the never-was-released Grass Roots from Atban Klann (now known as Black Eyed Peas).
This lot offers one of my faves, Mountain Top, and the anti-cop track Lord of the Flies. Again, I’m trying my best to clean up the sound with Audio Hijack Pro, but gimme some feedback — too much bass? too much treble? — and I’ll try to correct it. There’s about seven or eight tracks left, which includes my No. 1 favorite on the album. (Ahem, I’m not above bribery to polish this project off; worth a try anyway.)
Atban Klann | Lord of the Flies
Atban Klann | Quid Pro Quo
Atban Klann | Jugglin’ My Nuts (a little jokey interlude; not sure if that’s actually the name of the song)
Atban Klann | Mountain Top 

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Atban Klann (aka Black Eyed Peas)

We all know who the Black Eyed Peas are (I have to bite my tongue about how I really feel about them now). But did we all know before Black Eyed Peas there was Atban Klann?
Formed in Los Angeles in the early 1990s, Atban (A Tribe Beyond A Nation) brought current BEPs and Will.I.Am together to produce some cuts that might surprise you. It might surprise you also to know that Atban Klann was signed to Ruthless Records, run by none other than Eazy-E. Unfortunately, the album, Grass Roots, was shelved and never found its way to the public. Story has it that Ruthless was unsure how to market a group whose positive vibes ran contrary to Ruthless’ gangsta image.
Alas, all that exists are bootleg cassettes of the album, like the one that I own. I converted a few of the tracks to mp3 from the cassette. I tried to clean the sound as best I could; keep in mind, my copy is probably the copy of a copy of a copy. But if demand is high enough (hint: leave a comment), I’ll convert the rest of the album. These are the first three tracks.
Atban Klann | Open Your Mind
Atban Klann | Going for a Ride
Atban Klann | Adidas (Put on your adidas and step off!)

Monday, September 12, 2005

New Elbow tracks

I know, I know. I’ve been pushing Elbow’s new album, Leaders of the Free World, for the past few weeks. But having listened to a stream of the record, I’m even more convinced now that it will make its way to my favorites of 2005. (I must make a correction: Release in the UK is Tuesday; release in the U.S. is Sept. 27. Sigh. Anyone in the UK wanna hook me up? Would also love Cast of Thousands on vinyl, too.)
I took the liberty of ripping the streams (using Audio Hijack) to make a couple of mp3s for you, my loyal readers. Station Approach already has nudged a permanent spot into my brain; you’ll understand once you feel the buildup near the three-minute mark of the song.

Elbow | Station Approach
Elbow | Picky Bastard

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Digable Planets fall tour

According the unofficial home page of the Digable Planets, the recently reunited trio will be heading out this fall — dates here — to support the release of Beyond the Spectrum: The Creamy Spy Chronicles, a best of album due for release on Oct. 4.

Although there’s no Az. stop on this tour, I highly recommend going to see these cats. I caught ‘em in Tempe in June, and I couldn’t be happier that they’re back together.

If you’re jonesing for new material, you can peep Ladybug Mecca’s solo offering Trip the Light Fantastic.

Friday, September 9, 2005

Turning 28 is fun

So, I turned 28 on Wednesday and my awesome wife put together a little throwdown last night at one of our favorite bars in town, Rosie McCaffrey’s. I’m paying for it today. Now, I know this is an mp3 blog, but we got some good pics and I thought I’d share. If you look hard enough, I’ve sprinkled a few tunes throughout.
And for any of my friends who are reading this, thanks for coming out! Jay and Carrie hooked me up with a gift certificate to Stinkweeds, and Angie and Chris got me a gift that, in Chris’ words, is tits. (You’ll see.) On with the pictures …
There’s my wife Annie in what we call the money shot.
That’s me. Rock ‘n’ roll forever.
Dave, Jay and Carrie smile pretty.
MP3: Pep Love (of Hieroglyphics) | Family and Friends
Jessica and Royce enjoy the drinkies.
My man Chris cops a feel on a total stranger.OK, no. That’s his girlfriend Angie.
Angie and Chris brought me back this beautiful mug from Florida.”It’s tits,” Chris said.
MP3: Living Legends | Fill My Drink
Monica gives her husband Angel the bird. Royce thinks that’s funny.
Dan smokes a stogie.
Darren moves in on my wife.
Chris bought me a jager bomb — a jager shot dropped into Red Bull.
MP3: Alejandro Escovedo | I Was Drunk

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Flashback Friday: Cameo

Do I really need to say anything to preface this one? We all liked Word Up — yeah, I’m talking to you. The synthesizer overload reeks of the ’80s, and Larry Blackmon’s nasaly and somewhat over-the-top vocal style was more than slightly irritating. Yet here I am, posting on it. What the hell did the song mean anyway? “Word Up everybody say / when you hear the call you’ve got to get it on your way.” And apparently it was the “code word”; for what, I’m not exactly sure. If any Cameo fans would care to enlighten us …
What I really like about this 45 single is the B-side, Urban Warrior. It seemed like a grab at street cred with the old-school beat and lyrical stylings. Love the dramatic chorus: “He’s an urban warrior.”
Alas, All Music has everything you wanted to know about Cameo but were afraid to ask.

Cameo | Word Up
Cameo | Urban Warrior

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

More new Iron & Wine/Calexico

First off, let me say thanks to Royce, whose debut post was a nice hint of things to come. And that picture absolutely disturbs me … in a good way.

Now, has this new Iron & Wine/Calexico project made the rounds everywhere except here? (Don’t answer that; it’s a rhetorical question.) Regardless, I’m jumping on the bandwagon and posting one of EP’s seven tracks, History of Lovers. It features a few of my favorite musical elements: a pedal steel guitar, a healthy 4/4 drum beat and lots o’ horns. It’s also strangely upbeat for these two usually somber acts.

Iron & Wine/Calexico | History of Lovers

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Always late to the party

Hello to all.

A year or two after the supposed “Year of the Blog” I have finally realized that this internet thing isn’t just a passing fad. I like music and hope to add to Kevin’s wild circus of music discovery. Embarking in this union, I will present a customary offering.

Something old: Arizona - Jack Bryant
And something… TV on the Radio: Ambulance (2008 X-tra effort mix) - TVOTR