I “hated” him. Then I loved him. His post on books is essential. His script for ‘Beyond the Valley of the Dolls‘ taught me camp. But his reviews—they’re going to be read and re-read for the next week, to everyone’s benefit. A valiant battle to the end, but moreso a hugely influential presence hovering over all reviewers, whether they like it or not (many do not). He never grew bitter like so many cranky writers, and he navigated the changing media landscape with aplomb. For every small grain of disagreement that grew in me while reading his reviews when I was younger, he earned back boulders of respect and support for longevity, insight and… that other elusive thing, that movies are our lives, that the human element is paramount, and that making sure it remained untainted was the job of a good reviewer. Anyway, I’m kinda crushed. Back to work.
BY RACHEL DOVEY
I never was punk. (Or “a punk?” Or “a punk rocker?” See, I don’t even know the terminology.) I’m 27, so by the time I started flirting with counter-culture, which admittedly was fairly late, it wasn’t really an option. So when I read John Roderick’s Seattle Weekly essay “Punk Rock is Bullshit,” I don’t take personal offense. I wasn’t there.
But I’m really tired of Roderick’s argument, which is the same one that gets pegged to my generation’s counter culture—whether you call it Indie or Hipster or DIY—all the time. It goes something like this: Privilege breeds idealism, idealism breeds entitlement (led by those smug guitarists, or, these days, banjo players), entitlement breeds complacency, complacency breeds not really doing anything to make the world a better place.
I’m sure this particular psychological circle-jerk happens. I’m sure it happens to me in that endless, anxious loop that is my overly idealistic brain. But I don’t at all buy this notion, that a stance of mainstream critique attached to youth-oriented movements is built to fail, at least not in the way Roderick is saying. Occupy was primarily youngish white people with college degrees, and although the gatherings may have fizzled, mainstream media outlets have started talking about wealth and income distribution in an entirely different way. Does the term “99 percent” get co-opted by the one percent to get demographic points? Absolutely. Has the movement and all of the discussion it generated radically shifted the way I—and others in my age group—understand money in politics, vote, participate in local government and consume? Absolutely.
Perhaps there’s a distinction to be made between political youth culture and art-based youth culture, and you can make it in the comments section if you’re kind enough to read this. But I don’t necessarily think there is. In my experience, banjos, flannel shirts, beards, home canning, even, dare I say it, that particularly hushed and introspective roots-blend that comes from our county’s northwest—these are not just pieces of a twee nostalgia-fest that the New York Times likes to take issue with. They’re expressions of something more—of a growing naturalism in response to fossil fuel extraction so heinous its been associated with earthquakes; of consumption habits that value local economics and relationships in commerce and re-use. Maybe we’re annoying sometimes, maybe we grew up reading “The Lorax” and we’re a little smug, maybe sometimes our overly-earnest aesthetics lead to truly terrible products that we sell on Etsy without realizing that they look like genitals. But call me an optimist, I don’t think we’re complacent—and I think punk helped pave the way.
Or maybe I’m just still young, and not tired and worn-down and hopeless enough yet.
Emerging from the English cultural revolution of the late 1980’s comes Ott., a multifarious DJ artist, whose organic dub creations are equally balanced takes on the celestial and earthbound His sonic soundscapes are a treasure chest of world rhythms, synthesizers and drum machines. A progressively interconnected combination of instrumentation and bass-heavy beats that takes chill-out to a whole other level.
Regularly performing at some of the world’s largest electronic music festivals, Ott and his band make a West County stop this week to kick back and no doubt make music to some of NorCal’s finest indica. Turn down the lights and position yourself for meditation to this fan-compiled 3-hour collection of Ott albums. It will most likely induce many gloriously reflective hours of universal awareness.
See Ott perform with his live band All-Seeing I at Juke Joint this Thursday night at Hopmonk in Sebastopol. Also featuring DJs Kilowatts & Lenkadu. Thursday, Feb. 14, at Hopmonk Tavern. 9pm. $25. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. 707.829.7300
Enter to win Slightly Stoopid’s newest album, “Top Of the World” along with other great fan prizes!
To enter all you gotta do is log in to your Twitter account, follow @NBayBohemian and upload your best Instagram photo from tonight’s concert at the Mystic Theater. Use the “Mystic Theater” location and include the following tags: #SlightlyStoopid with #NBayBohemian
Our favorite photos will be chosen Monday evening and posted on North Bay Bohemian social media sites. All winners will be notified by email to their Twitter accounts. Good luck!
It is a talented artist who can transport listeners from sitting poolside under a warm Barcelona sky to wandering a mystical forest in northern England, all in span of one album. Welcome to the auditory intricacies of Bonobo.
Simon Green, better known as Bonobo, is steadily perfecting his aptitude for transference. Emerging from Britain in the early 2000’s, the trip hop DJ, producer and composer is known as one of UK’s downtempo pioneers, melding ambient electronica with hyper modified instrumentals and beautifully soulful vocalists.
Building on an early digital background, Bonobo has embraced the electronica live-band movement. He is creating a personalized style that is both experimental and selected with care. At times, his band consists of up to 9 members, bringing studio-quality tracks to life on stage. While some of the instrumentation is easily recognizable, other parts are harder to pick out. Harp and bells on “Noctuary” from the album Dial ‘M’ for Monkey build an ambient, almost ethereal soundscape. Though one might be hard-pressed to notice the nylon guitar and ukulele on Black Sands’ “Stay the Same”. Speaking to NPR about his methods, Bonobo says: “I want to try and be as representative of the process as I can. Rather than just playing back samples and sounds from a laptop, I try and break it down to the original parts that went into the process.”
Bonobo’s sophomore record, Dial ‘M’ for Monkey (2003), is a full-bodied journey into electronic soul music. Upbeat tempos keep pace on funky dance tracks like “D-Song”, adding in keys and heavy snare. “Change Down” comes across with a jazzier flavor. All this sauce lasts about a third of the way into the tracks, changing up in linear fashion towards a more liquid flow as the song progresses. “Nothing Owed” is the real gem of the album, a sonic assemblage of Latin beats and graceful horns; it is a mellow serenade with a feel that’s Pink Floyd meets Federico Aubele. If you appreciate complex, overlapping genres spun into “chill out”, you’ll love the entire album.
Bonobo released Black Sands in the spring of 2010. It is a tighter, more break-beat driving project, and heavy on samples from the different world music traditions. Mixing Asian string melodies with synth keys on “Kiara”, he switches up with undeniable American soul on “The Keeper”. Bonobo has a strong talent for blending house beats, complex bass lines, and classic rhythms. His selection of vocalists is equally brilliant, namely Andreya Triana a London-born gospel funktress who adds sexy sophistication to the live band. A favorite is the hip hop remix of “Eyesdown” with Andreya and DELS off 2012’s Black Sands Remixed album. The downbeat, lounge nature of this album is closer to drum and bass, looped and layered, abstract and emotional.
Delve into Bonobo’s visionary soundscapes at Juke Joint, this Thursday, January 10th @ 9pm, $5-$25 at Hopmonk, 230 Petaluma Avenue, Sebastopol, (707) 829-7300
If you’re like me, you woke up on New Years Day and listened to the ultimate soothing hangover cure album, 20 Jazz Funk Greats by Throbbing Gristle.
If you’re not like me, you were probably paying attention to more popular music throughout the year 2012. Good news for you, then! Every year I compile a pop music quiz for you, the oh-so-smart CSI reader, eager to test your attention span for music (which, as the here-today-gone-tomorrow spotlight on Lana Del Rey taught us this year, is sometimes very short).
(Keyboard image via Shutterstock)
Nothing makes you feel more like a relic than reading and relishing a massive oral history of Music Television. Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum assembled hundreds of pages of recollections of the network, and there’s a buried memory trip every few millimeters. Because yes, the book covers the years 1981 to 1992, but if you were alive and young and watching television then, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution isn’t about bands, or music videos, or the birth of reality television, or pop culture. It’s about you.
Since those years, indifference has sent my pop culture literacy drifting into the remote, frigid waters of ignorance; I have no way to know if what airs on MTV currently carries the emotional and generational weight it did for me and my peers. But my heart tells me there’s no way it can, because it’s a different beast now, this music-free MTV, and in this millennium there are a million ways to connect with this global community of music and coolness and youth. But back then, for thousands of populations of us, it was the only game in town.
1. Woods—Bend Beyond ( Woodsist)
2. Sharon Van Etten—Tramp (Jagjaguwar)
3. Beach House—Bloom (Sub Pop)
4. Eight Belles —Girls Underground (Self-Released)
5. The Coup—Sorry to Bother You (ANTI-)
6. Bat for Lashes—The Haunted Man (Parlophone)
7. Dark Dark Dark—Who Needs Who (Supply and Demand)
8. Grass Widow—Internal Logic (HLR Records)
9. Cat Power—Sun (Matador)
10.Dirty Projectors— Swing Lo Magellan (Domino)
1.1. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange (Def Jam)
1.2. Nicki Minaj – Roman Reloaded (Young Money / Universal)
1.3. Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music (Williams Street)
1.4. Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream (RCA)
1.5. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d. city (Interscope / Geffen)
6. Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball (Columbia)
7. Vijay Iyer – Accelerando (ACT)
8. Demdike Stare – Elemental (Modern Love)
9. MNDR – Feed Me Diamonds (Green Label Sound)
10. Pujol – United States of Being (Saddle Creek)
11. Raime – Quarter Turns Over a Living Line (Blackest Ever Black)
12. Neneh Cherry & the Thing – The Cherry Thing (Smalltown Supersound)
13. Sky Ferreira – Ghost (Capitol)
14. Purity Ring – Shrines (4AD)
15. Robert Glasper Experiment – Black Radio (Blue Note)
16. Jessie Ware – Devotion (PMR)
17. Branford Marsalis – Four MFs Playin’ Tunes (Marsalis Music)
18. Trebuchet – S/T (Side With Us)
19. Jeremiah Jae – Raw Money Raps (Brainfeeder)
20. Ceremony – Zoo (Matador)
21. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp (Jagjaguwar)
22. Chuck Prophet – Temple Beautiful (Yep Roc)
23. Forgetters – S/T (Too Small to Fail)
24. Quakers – Quakers (Stones Throw)
25. Andy Stott – Luxury Problems (Modern Love)
The first thing we notice walking into the ballpark for Game One of the World Series? The music, of course. “Friend of the Devil” is playing over the PA, which isn’t surprising, considering the Grateful Dead are still revered in San Francisco and Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery is a huge deadhead. Here he is singing the national anthem with Bob Weir and Phil Lesh in the NLCS—you gotta love that fist-pump by Lesh—but even in the offseason, Flannery plays with his band, the Lunatic Fringe, sometimes in benefit appearances for Bryan Stow and sometimes just for the hell of it. Flannery’s been a musician since a young age. “When I was young,” he says, “I thought I was John Denver.” I love Flannery for his gutsiness and smarts when it comes to, say, sending Buster Posey home against all apparent odds, but you gotta love him for his laid-back life off the field too.
Pomp and regalia are in full bloom at the ballpark, with bunting draped over every level’s banister and, after batting practice, old-time organ music: “Good Day Sunshine,” “Wait ‘Til the Sun Shines, Nellie,” and others played in that inimitable ballpark style. We thought it might be Dave “Baby” Cortez and his Happy Organ, who made a comeback last year, but nope—here’s a shout out Steve Hogan, the Giants organist who sits up there near the huge Coke bottle in left field and waits for instructions from the sound manager over whether to play “Charge” or “Jaws.” Watch this dry little video about his day-to-day task of tickling the Hammond, and try to tell me it isn’t the best job in baseball.
In the lead-up to the game, the PA represents both teams: “Sing a Simple Song” by Sly and the Family Stone, from San Francisco, and “White Trash Party” by Eminem, from Detroit. (Neutral parties are given “Intro” by the xx, among the best manifestations of bland neutrality since the “chillout” craze.) The way that Sly Stone has crashed and burned in recent
years decades, this might not be the best talisman of hope for the Giants, but not exactly to the Tigers’ benefit, either, since the Eminem song celebrates, uh, tramp stamps.