Nico Vega, LA based and openers for The Von Bondies, hung out in the dressing room and answered some of my questions.
On a rainy Friday, I visited with Dave of Chromeo at his hotel for a little chat. Poor P Thugg was deathly ill so we sent him to his room with hot liquids and sat down to talk about Dave’s Fancy Foot work, and of, course working with Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates.
It has been said that Los Angeles is a cultural wasteland. True the denizens here make trash like Rock Of Love Tour Bus and other crap, but I prefer to focus on the gems that pop up on my radar every once in a while…including the event series TIMELESS. If you like hip hop, Brazilian music, folk, jazz…hell if you like MUSIC, you should go. I’ve left you lucky devils some details below…
Timeless,” a four-part concert series honoring the arrangers/composers that have influenced hip-hop since the 1970s. Beginning Sunday, Feb. 1, with a performance by Ethiopian Composer Mulatu Astatke and culminating on Sunday, April 5 with a performance by legendary composer David Axelrod, each Timeless concert features full orchestra collaborations honoring a featured arranger/composer framed with sets by turntablists from around the globe.
The “Timeless” concert series, which will be held at the Harriet and Charles Luckman Fine Arts Complex in Los Angeles, is a unique homage to arrangers and composers as the antecedents of today’s beat makers. The series features a tribute to revered hip-hop artist J Dilla by chamber musicians Carlos Nino and Migel Ferguson on Feb. 22; Brazilian folk-jazz artist Arthur Verocai with sets by Madlib and DJ Nuts on March 15; and Axelrod, whose heavily-sampled solo albums have never before been performed live, on Apr. 5. Each international artist will do their all-time hits, plus an exclusive new piece. The DJ/producer opening each concert will build their set around the legacy and era of the highlighted composer.
Known as the “father of Ethio-jazz,” Astatke, who also provided the music to indie film hit Broken Flowers, will be joined by openers Cut Chemist, Quantic and Egon in the kick-off concert. In addition to being a recognized solo DJ, Cut Chemist is a member of Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli. Tracks by Quantic, the English musician who now lives Cali, Columbia, have been regularly featured in songs by other eclectic DJs such as Richard Dorfmeister and Gilles Peterson. Egon is the general manager of Stones Throw Records.
Timeless is curated by production company Mochilla, which has previously developed campaigns for other tastemaker brands like Adidas, Dickies and Vans.
“Today’s hip-hop music revolves around beat-makers and producers, who often take their cues and samples from compositions of different generations and countries,” said Brian Cross (aka B+) of Mochilla. “Timeless brings these worlds together in Los Angeles – home to the world’s greatest musicians and session artists. Only here can we bring together such a diversity of music in this grand scale.”
Timeless Concert Series Dates and Ticket Information
The schedule for Timeless concerts at The Harriet and Charles Luckman Fine Arts Complex at the California State University, Los Angeles campus, is as follows:
Sunday, February 1st, 2009 – Mulatu Astatke with a 15-piece orchestra. Opening DJ sets by Cut Chemist, Quantic and Egon.
Sunday, February 22nd, 2009 – Miguel Atwood-Ferguson with a 39-piece orchestra with Special SURPRISE Guests. Opening DJ sets by House Shoes.
Sunday, March 15th, 2009 – Arthur Verocai with a 30 piece orchestra. Opening DJ sets by MADLIB and DJ Nuts (Brasil).
Sunday, April 5, 2009 – David Axelrod with a 26-piece orchestra. Dj set by J.Rocc. Special Guests TBA.
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and the Luckman Box Office with general admission starting at $22.50. Performances are open to all ages.
This just in from FMQB:
‘Michael Jackson‘s iconic “Thriller” video is set to become a full-fledged musical theater production. The show will recreate the tale of the 1983 video. “This musical will be the exclusive Michael Jackson authorized version of ‘Thriller’ and Jackson will participate in every aspect of the creative process,” said the Nederland Organization, which has acquired the rights to the musical, according to Reuters. Thriller The Musical will include songs from Jackson’s 1982 album Thriller as well as its 1979 predecessor, Off the Wall.’
Maybe now laptop Djs will stop dropping Thriller in the middle of their set like they are the kings of irony. No American Apparel sweat hog twits would be caught dead dancing to Broadway show tunes…
[Ali On The Air spinning vinyl, bitches]
When the funk and soul was unplugged a few months ago, the citizens of Los Angeles cried out: Please dont stop the music…their Angelino prayers have been heard – Funky Sole lives again.
LA’s longest running funk party will relocate to The Echo this Saturday night, marking it’s return to it’s East Side roots. That’s right. Sole is back – still free and still funky.
Back in 2001, Funky Sole was started at Rudolphos in Silverlake by Music Man Miles (Miles Tackett), founder of the band Breakestra and promoter of the popular LA night Root Down. Joined by DJ Egon of Stones Throw records, Tackett says they created the night as a place to ‘share the raw funk music crawling out of their crates with the folks of LA.’
Soon after, the multi talented Tackett (who has produced for many including Macy Gray, Dilated Peoples, Cut Chemist, and plays bass and cello) and the Sole crew moved the party to the Star Shoes bar on the Cahuenga Boogie and was joined by guest DJ Cut Chemist. In fact, the club became a place for DJ superstars all over the globe to try out beats or dust off some hard to find tracks they’ve never had the chance to play before.
Guest Djs have included DJ Muro, Cut Chemist, Keb Darge, DJ Shadow, Peanut Butter Wolf, and Andy Votel. In 2008, they also branched out into world beat psychadelia which included new Funky alum Jeremy Sole of KCRW. “Few cats on this planet have a rare Funk & Soul collection that rivals Miles’, and even fewer have the chops to put a seamless DJ set together like our man.” says Sole, whose Afro Funke party on the West Side runs on Thursday nights.
Funky Sole moved south a few blocks to Jimmy’s Lounge, adding a gem to their roster, musical sage DJ Clifton (aka Soft Touch) became a resident on the decks. Clifton sees the care of the crate digger as the reason for the night’s popularity.
‘I think the appeal and success of the night can be attributed to the dj’s enthusiasm for the music…We have spent small fortunes collecting records and would do so even if there wasn’t an outlet to spin. I think club goers recognize this and that enthusiasm rubs off on them…it’s also the main reason big name guests, like PBW and Lucas (MacFadden), come to play at Funky Sole. No matter how big they are or what other styles they may spin at other venues, inside they are collectors as well. Funky Sole is a place where they can come and spin records that they love but might not be appreciated elsewhere.”
That fervent love for the sound of soul doesn’t go unnoticed by both patrons and turntablists alike. Says Jeremy Sole: ”Funky Sole is the only other residency I’ve taken on in LA, because Miles and Clifton have developed the perfect sound, energy and following for this sure-shot spot.”
It is to Tackett’s credit that this club las lasted this long. When the average Hollywood bar’s shelf life is smaller than the real estate on a 45, Funky Sole has a large fan base of regulars and a consistently fantastic soundtrack which features new classics and rare tracks.
Now, that it’s back on the east side, Angelinos can get down without the hassles of bridge and tunnel traffic, valet parking or other Hollywood styled amateur night insults.
Pure fun and pure funk, just the way Tackett intended it and exactly how his Sole crew serve it up each week.
For more information, visit www.myspace.com/funkysole
As Hollywood leaves behind the years of dingy, depressed streets, tourist trap souvenir shops and head shops, it ushers in a shiny, plasticine veneer covering everything from revolving nightclubs which go out within a year, late night eateries and ‘museums’ tributing anything from show biz to lingerie…but something is missing.
Where can a hipster go to do some pre clubbing shopping? Where can they congregate to gossip about the ‘Cahuenga Boulevard boogie’?
The answer is Space 15 Twenty.
Nestled at the edge of Cahuenga between Sunset and Hollywood Boulevard, 15 Twenty is a hipster heaven. Currently the open air mall boasts an Urban Outfitters for the retro, ironic kids…
…an A Life for the ballers, complete with a giant urinal…
…What Comes Around Vintage for the posh spice kids who can spend a couple k on vintage couture…
…an art gallery for the erudite wine drinkers…
…an architect bookstore for the brainiac scenesters and a snack bar serving up ironic junk food one could find at any music festival, like pop corn, Izze and beer.
At the opening part last week, the Space had i Tunes darlings Chairlift play their warbling indie rock for a jaded crowd. Although a good smattering of people watched excitedly, for many it was more of an obstacle to their air kissing, gossiping and hair flipping.
While I must admit I did drool over some of the choice finds at What Comes Around, a vintage gaultier coat, several Alaia dresses and a slew of YSL and DVF…
And I did quite like the high tech goth of Urban Outfitter’s annex store for Samantha Pleet…
I must admit that 15 Twenty did underwhelm.
Perhaps it’s because the place is designed to capture the attention of kids who scoff at the faux punk of the commercial mall rat swathed in Hot Topic, but think nothing of conforming to the electro-nerd costume of American Apparel. Perhaps it was the jaded “been there, done that, bought the $500 dollar t shirt’ crowd. Or perhaps it’s just stores that cater to disaffected youth in a time when everyone SHOULD be affected by the monumentus current events, but something about this space left me cold…perhaps it was the crisp night air on a cold, LA, 65 degree night.
Hopefully things will warm up soon.
It’s a bit difficult for someone with a hearing problem, such as myself, to try and explain my love of prog rock to others. Especially when the math rock co-title gets bandied about. Several high school tutors and a SAT prep teacher can attest to the fact that I sucked at math. My brain doesn’t really think in linear terms. I’m bad with numbers, negligent with bookkeeping, and will take twice as long as any normal gimp to put together a piece of Ikea furniture.
So perhaps that’s why the recent faces of current prog rock make me feel at home. Though a verse chorus verse song is easily digested, the meandering and epic songs of Radiohead, Muse and The Secret Machines transport me to a science fiction world where rules of mathematics need not apply.
Ok, yes, I realize there’s a lot of synthy math involved here. But to me the sound is more like freedom and space; an ethereal musical landscape rather than constrained strains of notes forced to fit in a 3 minute ditty with a hook.
I was an enormous fan of Secret Machine’s Now Here Is Nowhere album. It accompanied me on long road trips up the California coast line and seemed to quell any travel squabbles my boyfriend and I were having. Their second effort, Ten Silver Drops, while not as beloved to us as their first album, was a psychedelic way to start our Sunday mornings. Tickets for their fantastic live shows, would hang on our fridge, urging us to keep it together until the concert, so we could rock and sway at the show together.
The brothers Curtis and drummer Josh Garza sort of held our relationship together, at least in my mind. I was even once invited by TSM to go to a party with them after a show. I demurely declined, thinking of my boyfriend sitting at home waiting for me…and all of the TSM songs he and I had listened to together. Even when tempting the party girl within, The Secret Machines had solidified the bond with The Boyfriend and me.
But then there was a gap in space rock continuum. The departure of guitarist Ben Curtis panicked Warner Brothers, TSM’s label, creating somewhat of a rift and a recording delay. It also left The Boyfriend and I trying to hold it together with records by Leon Russell, Bowie, and Gang Of Four. Not to mention fighting over Jethro Tull…I’m of the staunch opinion that my home is my haven, and that means it should be a Tull-free zone.
With the wars of the record label, the war in Iraq, and the Tull war on the home front going on, the future seemed bleak. When former fellow Tripping Daisy member Phil Karnats was inducted to support vocalist Brandon Curtis and drummer Josh Garza, TSM was up and running again.
The latest album, the eponymous The Secret Machines, just dropped on my birthday - a sort of cosmic gift for me. Knowing that TSM was released on their new indie imprint TSM Recordings through World’s Fair, made me proud of the lads for getting all mavericky on WBR’s ass. And hearing that the album was supposedly a lot more dark and moody only excited the gothic girl in me that much more.
Upon arriving at the Key Club, we were handed a hot pink pair of 3D glasses. Was this going to turn into a weird Floyd laser show? Though I enjoy prog, I’m not the burn out, black light poster type. The set, designed by Kanye West’s set creator Es Devlin, was being quickly erected with twisted white ribbon tape, winding around the stage like an MC Escher painting. I was beginning to get concerned that there might be a geometry pop quiz after their set.
As the Machines took to the stage, they set up in their usual triangle formation, which allows the audience to focus on each part of the musical blend and gives the drummer a chance to come out from the back of the stage and be heard and seen by crowd.
The lights dimmed to almost pitch dark and I popped my psychedelic shades on. A beam of light bounced off the tape, setting off a blaze of starburst streaks. Smokage was pumped out in mass quantities and gelled spotlights silhouetted the trio against the neon strips of ribbon. I was at a light show all right, but this time no drugs were needed.
Karnats, standing statuesquely in the center, seemed more than up to the task to fill Ben’s shoes. He ripped through crunchy Zeppelin riffs that crescendoed into a mind blowingly loud implosion, perhaps rivaling the now infamous My Bloody Valentine reunion shows.
The fact is, there was very little about the new songs that fell into the ethereal category. No, this was more like the math rock version of Mastodon. It was so loud and crunchy that my friend and I risked admitting we were too old to rock, by moving from the floor -front and center- to seats in the upper balcony. We could still enjoy the multi colored lights with our 3D paraphernalia and our ear drums were less likely to burst.
I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it. It’s just that The Secret Machines have changed. I guess that is the current climate of the country…no more 2004. We’ve all prog-ressed. The Boyfriend and his Tull records are long gone and nearly forgotten. The nation has come out of it’s reality TV induced coma to get involved with it’s government once again. And the luscious, hypnotic aural landscapes that TSM once painted, are now more of a Goya-esque sound, spiked with punky Gary Numan slivers and metallic Jackson Pollack riffs.
They say it gets darkest before the light…perhaps that means that the TSM future will be bright. Even with out those shades.
Here’s a throw down for the ages…Cassettes is challenging Mr. West to an internet duel.
We all know how graceful Kanye is under pressure…and since I often enjoy watching egos implode, I highly suggest you log on and help CWL beat Kanye. Plus, it could provoke a “George Bush hates black people” truthiness response…fingers crossed.
Cassettes Won’t Listen Vows To Offer Up Next Album Free If Cassettes Won’t Listen Beats Kanye West
Cassettes Won’t Listen has agreed to to give away his next album for free if he beats Kanye West in the nominations for Best Male Video. MTV is giving fans the chance to nominate their favorite artists for this year’s Video Music Awards. So far, Cassettes Won’t Listen’s latest video for ‘Paper Float’ is in the running. So, Cassettes Won’t Listen launched BeatKanye.com, because we know Kanye is a good sport when itcomes to losing awards, so people can cast their vote and help make MTV about great music once again.
And to show he’s serious, Cassettes Won’t Listen is offering his next single for free right now! Freeze and Explode, which Pop Matters calls “stunning, gorgeous, flawless pop song just explodes off of the speakers, filled with an incredible sense of rising catharsis. It demands your attention, simply because it is one of the best songs that 2008 has produced to date,” will be released in the September with remixes, unreleased b-sides and a brand new video. But for now, you can download
Visit BeatKanye.com to view the Paper Float video and
click the ‘VOTE’ link on the left to have your chance at helping beat Kanye West!”
Check out www.beatkanye.com for more info!