This past Sunday, I was given a chance to take over the airwaves of WMFO in Medford, Massachusetts (in the Boston/Cambridge area) for two hours by being a special guest DJ on Galactic Fractures, hosted by a good vinyl junkie friend of mine, PJ Gray. PJ’s show features some of the best in classic and rare soul and funk, but he allowed me to do my thing and I did.
Fear not, you are able to download the show in full by heading to GalacticFractures.com, where you are able to dip into the archive of his own shows from the past. I would also recommend checking out a guest spot from the one and only Miss Shing-A-Ling, who always goes deep into the vinyl goodness with her vast collection of solid music.
In this case, it’s more about a similiarity than this being homage or parody. Eddie Vedder will be releasing a new album tomorrow called ‘Ukulele Songs, and for those of you who wish to pronounce the instrument correctly, it’s “ooh-koo-leh-leh”, not “you-kuh-lay-lee”. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here: when Mookie Blaylock, later Pearl Jam, made its way to the surface after the collapse of Mother Love Bone (vocalist Andrew Wood died of a heroin overdose), I was not a huge fan of Vedder. It would take the Yield album before I realized the guy was not bad. Not a perfect singer, but some of the best singers aren’t about being perfect anyway. I found myself becoming a fan in a roundabout way. In early interviews, he talked about his San Diego upbringing and at the time I probably thought “what the hell is this San Diego guy going to do in a Seattle band?” Did I say anything about Soundgarden‘s initial Chicago roots, not at all.
Anyway, Vedder’s connection with the ocean continued, as someone who surfed and collaborated with fellow fans of the ocean, such as Hawaiian surfer/film director/lullaby tea maker Jack Johnson. Then I heard a Vedder song on a surf soundtrack where he played the ‘ukulele, so even though I might’ve said “this fucker is nothing more than a beach bum” in the early 90’s, I should talk considering I was raised in Honolulu.
Anyway, Vedder is now coming out with an album called ‘Ukulele Songs, a flip of the angst he has been known for in his work with Pearl Jam. Some still see the ‘ukulele as a novelty instrument, yet no one ever says the bass guitar is basic, even though it too has four strings. This is what the cover of ‘Ukulele Songs looks like.
This looks nothing like the countless ‘ukulele albums I grew up with back home:
Because of it breaking a stereotype, I think it’s great.
Then I realized: it looks a bit like the faceless, isolated man on Love‘s 1969 album on Blue Thumb Records, Out Here, as illustrated by Burt Shonberg.
Influence, indirect or not? Maybe not, but I think the use of isolation in both covers may play a role in how people listen and interpret the music. At least I’d like to think it will/may.
When Brilliant Colors released their debut album two years ago, they are probably as faceless as the photo you see above. As people became witnesses to their sound, the faces started to develop a bit more, but there are still those who have not heard of them, or are uncertain if they should. Make it your mission to listen this summer, as the trio will be releasing their non-slump sophomore album, Again and Again, on Slumberland, due out on July 19th.
The ladies will be on the East Coast to tour so they can bring their music to fans there. While there will no doubt be shows in July and August and perhaps up through September, none have been announced as of yet so if these cities are anywhere near where you reside, make plans:
06/09 Charlotte, NC The Milestone ~^
06/10 Athens, GA Farm 255 ~
06/11 Nashville, TN Glenn Danzig’s house ~
06/12 Columbus, OH Bat Chapters ~
06/13 Ann Arbor, MI Arbor Vitae ~
06/14 Toronto, ON Parts N Labour ~
06/15 Montreal, QC Le Cabigi ~
06/16 Boston, MA Problem House ~
06/17 Brooklyn, NY Glasslands *
06/18 Philadelphia, PA Cha Cha Razzi
~ = w/ The Beets
^ = w/ Eternal Summers
* = w/ Frankie Rose
Jellies And Dove Shorts is a megamix I started in 2005 and for whatever reason, be it being too busy to being a lazy ass in not finding the one song I wanted to complete it, remained unfinished. This weekend, I thought it was time to finally add the last song and share it with the world. Here it is.
I’m very much an 80’s kid, so Jellies And Dove Shorts is a celebration of the decade that put me in the double digits permanently. Put it on cassette, pop that in your Walkman, and jog.
PLAYLIST Band Aid-Do They Know It’s Christmas
Andre Cymone-The Dance Electric
Jody Watley-Looking For A New Love
Nice & Wild-Diamond Girl
Kon Kan-I Beg Your Pardon
Yes-Owner Of A Lonely Heart
L’Trimm-Cars That Go Boom
The Sugar Babes-We Got The Beat
Magazine 60-Don Quixote
Big Audio Dynamite-C’mon Every Beat Box
Bananarama-More Than Physical
Herb Alpert-Keep Your Eye On Me
Jesse Johnson-Love struck
Cherrelle & Alexander O’Neal-Saturday Love
Dino-I Like It
Debbie Gibson-Shake Your Love
George Clinton-Double Oh-Oh
Prince-Lady Cab Driver
The Jets-Crush On You
Jody Watley-Some Kind Of Lover
Kraftwerk-Tour De France
You can stream or download by clicking over to Mixcrate.com.
As an overeager music fan who was happy to finally be in the double digits in terms of age, there were big concert events that I had wanted to see. I had become aware of Woodstock when it was shown on HBO during the film’s 10th anniversary in 1979, so I knew that concerts with more than one or two bands were considered an “event”. My parents and relatives always had live albums in their collections, so anytime an event was about to happen, I wanted to go. Keep in mind I was 9, 10, and 11 years old, and while my parents were music fans, they weren’t going to let me go alone and due to financial priorities, they weren’t going to buy tickets for themselves and my younger sister. My uncles and aunties had lives too, and really, it wasn’t their “responsibility” to take their nephew to a rock show.
Summer Jam 82 seemed like a very big event for a few reasons. When I was in my single digits, I would listen to hit music on AM radio, back when AM radio did that on a regular basis. Stations like KKUA, KIKI, KCCN, and to some degree K59 in Honolulu were a major source of my audio entertainment, along with records. I don’t remember the first time I abandoned AM for FM radio, but I know that once I heard the sound quality of FM, there was no turning back. Plus, I could hear songs longer than 5 minutes, played by DJ’s who sounded as stoned as some of my uncles and aunties. As a kid who wanted to be a radio DJ, this was like home away from home.
In 1982, MTV was a brand new cable network and Joan Jett was one of the hot, young artists with “I Love Rock’N’Roll” and “Bad Reputation” getting a significant amount of airtime. The Runaways were new to me and probably to most mainstream music fans in Hawai’i, but I would guess they were played on the University of Hawai’i radio station, KTUH. Nonetheless, Summer Jam 82 was the time to see the hot Joan Jett.
The Charlie Daniels Band had been making music for about ten years before they had a massive pop hit with “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”, and while a long like that seems fairly normal today, to rock audiences this was very different. It was country, it rocked hard, and the Satanic fiddle solo was the funky part of the song. As someone who used to hate anything and everything that was country, hearing funky country was odd, almost as if I was hearing Loggins & Messina. Because of this, I would keep a distant eye and ear on Daniels until I was able to buy records on my own, with my own money, and discovered their truth.
When Foreigner headlined this festival, it had been a year since their 4th album, 4 was released, and songs like “Juke Box Hero”, “Urgent”, “Waiting For A Girl Like You”, and “Break It Up” were played religiously. (At my elementary school, we would have occasional dances in the cafeteria, and in the 6th grade, I clearly remember dancing to “Urgent” in a line not unlike Soul Train. I liked a girl back then named Mary Jean Smith and I wanted to dance with her down the line, but it was not happening.) By the time Foreigner arrived, they were the season’s kings of rock’n’roll, and very few albums could beat its power. It would be three months before Michael Jackson released Thriller, which wiped Foreigner off the radio for awhile.
Also at the show were a group called the Surf Punks, who were considered raw and dirty because of their look and the fact that they were punk. It was Honolulu, a good amount of people went to the beach, surfed, and partied on a regular basis, this was the music of the times. It didn’t matter that one of the guys in the band was the brother of Daryl Dragon, the Captain of Captain & Tennille, and I don’t think too many people knew or made that connection anyway. Oddly enough, one thing I remember always hearing on the radio was about people entering to become in the “Air Band Finals” sponsored by 98 Rock. If you loved music and loved to rock, you’d air guitar, that’s what young kids, men and women did. Along with the groups arriving, you could be a star for a few minutes and win a few dollars. With luck, you might be able to make an apperance on a TV show that aired in Honolulu back then called The Hawaiian Moving Company, but I don’t remember if the winners did.
Unfortunately I did not go to this show. Look at the ticket price: $16 in advance, $17.50 day of show. I was a month away from making my debut as a 7th grade intermediate school student, and my parent’s priorities was school clothes, not a damn concert ticket. I do remember listening to 98 Rock that Sunday, for while the show was not broadcast over the air, they would have scene reports throughout the afternoon so listeners could hear… the crowd. Sometimes an artist might come in to the booth and be interviewed, but I honestly don’t remember if that happened. Nonetheless, it meant rock stars were in Hawai’i at Aloha Stadium, and it felt cool to know that rock stars were in my backyard.
I never went to any of the Summer Jam’s, and I only went to one concert at the Aloha Stadium: The Police in February 1984. Still, to be able to carry this flyer around and think “yes, one day I’ll go to a big concert” was anticipation of the highest order. I’d have to move across the ocean to the Pacific Northwest in order to go to bigger concerts on my own, and eventually with my own money, but this flyer represents a bit of my concert Jones.
Erykah Badu continues to test limits, be it the convention of the music industry, or her own. Whatever she feels like doing, she’s going to do, and fans are grateful. I voted her album to be the best of 2010, and there’s still very much life in that album, as with any album and/or set of music. A song or collection of songs just doesn’t die because the industry expects for an artist to put out new project on a regular basis so they can earn more money, and Badu has always known this.
The video is a very simple concept, perhaps even a non-concept, but it’s nice to see. I hope Badu is concerning putting together a DVD featuring videos for each song off of New Amerykah Part Two: The Return Of The Ankh. I would welcome it.
He’ll be hitting the road with De La Soul very soon, but before that he put together a megamix of Beastie Boys tracks that is incredibly nice. The “he” in question is the one and only Z-Trip, and you can hear a sampling of this “All Access Remix” here.
Like what you hear? You can download the remix in full for free, in both dirty and clean versions, which means you radio DJ types are able to play this on the air as you take a smoke break. You can find the remixes over at Bandcamp.
The Story So Far have managed to fain a small but devoted following in their brief time together, but they are hoping to expand their audience with the release of their debut album scheduled for release on June 21st, called Under Soil And Dirt (Pure Noise). This Walnut Creek, California band
For you dedicated vinyl junkies, only 1000 copies of this will be pressed in the treasured format:
200 cream with red+blue splatter
300 translucent teal
500 (standard) black
Each vinyl pressing will come with code to download the album in MP3 form for free. You can pre-order the album on vinyl, CD, and digital by heading to Pure Noise, where you are able to buy it in a number of bundled deals.
You can hear a sample of the album here.
The group will be heading on tour this summer, starting in Stockton, California before making it across the country 3000 miles away in Hicksville, New York. Catch them if you can: JUN 17 – Stockton, CA @ Plea For Peace Center
JUN 18 – Walnut Creek, CA @ The Red House w/ The American Scene, Second To Last, Stateside
JUN 21 – Concord, CA @ Rasputin Music (acoustic)
JUN 23 – Springfield, OR @ Ash HQ w/ Second To Last
JUN 24 – Camas, WA @ Coffee Revolution w/ Second To Last
JUN 25 – Centrailia, WA @ The Quesadilla Factory w/ Second To Last
JUN 26 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon w/ Second To Last
JUL 06 – Santa Cruz, CA @ 105 Pioneer Street w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 07 – Roseville, CA @ Club Retro w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 08 – Fresno, CA @ China Town Youth Center w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 09 – Canoga Park CA @ Cobalt Cafe w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 10 – Escondido, CA @ Metaphor Cafe w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 12 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Box Office w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 13 – Albuquerque, NM @ Gold Manor w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 14 – Midland, TX @ The Pine Box w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 15 – San Angleo, TX @ Yaya’s w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 16 – Austin, TX @ Red 7 w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 18 – Tulsa, OK @ Reverb w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 19 – Wichita, KS @ Eagles Lodge
JUL 20 – Springfield, MO @ Salad Days w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 22 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogarts w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 23 – Canton, OH @ The Auricle w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 24 – Rochester, NY @ Dubland Underground w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 26 – Albany, NY @ Bogie’s w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 27 – Wakefield, MA @ Wakefield Union Church w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 28 – South Glastonbury, CT @ P.O.C w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
JUL 29 – Hicksville, NY @ Hicksville Masonic Temple w/ I Call Fives, We Are The Union
The Wu-Tang Clan are a year away from celebrating their 20th anniversary as a group, and two years away from celebrating the 20th anniversary of Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). 20 years ago, The RZA was still known as Prince Rakeem and he wanted a lot of ladies who didn’t want to say no when he released “Ooh, I Love You Rakeem” on Tommy Boy Records.
It has been a long time since then. In the last 20 years, The RZA has managed to chew his fucking arm off to make an escape, had an infatuation with Satan, and threatened a woman or two with bottles. But there’s a good reason to celebrate longevity, as the Wu are scheduled to release a new album, and this is one of the first tracks to surface.
Hapa girls of the world, UNITE! You may feel a need to find a fantastic summer song this year, and this is a possible contender. It’s a new artist by the name of Manika, who is ethnically mixed up like the person who is writing this thing you’re reading now. In her case, she’s Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian and Spanish, or as we Hawaiians like to call it, “all chop suey”. Regardless of her blends, she is someone who will hopefully make a dent in music, and with Evan Bogart helping on some of her new songs (Bogart has worked with, among others, Leona Lewis, Natasha Bedingfield, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, and Beyonce), there is sure to be a buzz about her for the rest of the year and the next.