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Buddy, Buddy, Buddy All Up In Your Face

Posted by on Jan 21, 2010 One Comment

Every time these guys get together on stage the world is blessed. A Tribe Called Quest, unannounced reunion, at the Knitting Factory last night:

I caught “Award Tour” at Outside Lands in SF where the festival crowd was subdued, but this is insane. Phife has heavy medical bills from diabetes, and the show was a benefit for him, but feel the joy in the room and try to deny the gift to the fans.

Out to Where But the Rocks Remain

Posted by on Jan 20, 2010

“The McGarrigle Sisters, they were stunningly gifted writers. They were really, truly writers in the very best sense of the word. I mean, that’s an incredible song, ‘Talk to Me of Mendocino.’ When you think about the kinds of risks they take—“out to where but the rocks remain”—I mean, who else in the world would sing, you know, ‘Never had the blues from whence I came, but in New York State I caught ‘em’?  They have that strange, schoolmarmish, very old-fashioned approach to language, which is still in some parts of Canada, and they absolutely refuse to make any concessions to what trendy is, which I love about them. And then they have this really gifted way of just twisting a little phrase. It makes them just extraordinarily good, I think. Same with ‘Heart Like a Wheel,’ which is just an amazingly good song. Beautifully, beautifully written.”

Linda Ronstadt, on the phone with me in 2006.

Kate McGarrigle died yesterday. They say you always learn something from obituaries, and the common eulogy that Kate wrote and performed something called “women’s music” was my lesson about the world and how it thinks. Or doesn’t, as the case may be. Scores of women have covered her songs. Who are the guys? Loudon, Rufus and Billy Bragg.

I have always wondered why the town of Mendocino hasn’t elected this as their theme song. It could play over loudspeakers hidden in redwoods on Highway 1 just after Albion, heralding one’s approach. Even just the cello intro would achieve the desired effect.

Benefits for Haiti in the North Bay

Posted by on Jan 20, 2010

In this space, I’ll be updating the many charity benefits for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti that have been hastily thrown together in the North Bay. It goes without saying, but the destruction in Haiti is immense and heartbreaking; if you can’t attend one of these benefits, you can always help out by donating to one of these organizations.

Are you hosting a benefit? Please let me know by emailing me here.

Thursday, Jan. 21

Linda Ferro has organized a benefit called ‘Reach Out to Haiti’ at the Last Day Saloon to benefit the Red Cross. Featured performers include the Linda Ferro Band, the BluesBurners, Dr. Joel Rudinow and Rude Notes Galore, Levi Lloyd and the 501 Band, the Pulsators, Seraphin, Spencer Burrows and Kris Dilbeck of Frobeck, the Thugz and DJ Sister Yasmin spinning music from Haiti. Presented by Keynote Productions and sponsored by 95.9 KRSH-FM and the Last Day Saloon. 120 Fifth St., Santa Rosa. 6pm. $10. 707.545.2343.

Friday, Jan. 22

Students Mari and Casey Castaldi have organized a benefit called ‘Shake the World’ at the Phoenix Theater to benefit the Red Cross. Featured performers include Decent Criminal, Bum City Saints, Ben “Sudman” Suddth and Gigio. Sponsored by the Phoenix Theater. 201 E. Washington St., Petaluma. 8pm. $10. 707.762.3565.

Sunday, Jan. 31

The Baby Seal Club has put together a benefit auction called ‘To Haiti With Love’ at the Hopmonk Tavern to benefit Oxfam and Doctors Without Borders. Each guest is encouraged to bring an item worth $25 or more to donate to the auction. From their description: We also encourage gift certificates, artwork, event tickets, coupons… Please let us know by email ([email protected]) what you will be donating. Auction items may be dropped off in Santa Rosa at New Arts Project, 606 Wilson St. Please consider making a donation even if you can’t make it to the event. Many store owners and wineries already have! (Though discouraged, items will be accepted at the event if early drop-off is not possible.) Those looking to volunteer can respond to the email above; those looking to attend will find plenty to bid on. The Hopmonk is donating 50% of each drink sold during the event to the cause.  Music and DJs well into the night follow, starting at 10pm. Presented by Baby Seal Club and sponsored by the New Arts Project, the North Bay Bohemian and the Hopmonk Tavern. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. Doors 2pm; auction at 3pm; cash or check only. $20-$25. 707.829.7300.

Sunday, Jan. 31

The Muir Beach Community Center hosts a benefit for Partners in Health and DG Educational Services Haiti. Mark and Myriam Pasternak of Nicasio will speak about their experiences working with relief efforts in Haiti after the Jan. 12 earthquake in Port-au-Prince. The event will include a supper of organic foods from local producers, including Drakes Bay Oyster Farm, Della Fattoria Bakery and the Straus Creamery. Sponsored by the Muir Beach Community Center. 19 Seascape Dr., Muir Beach. 5:30pm. $50. 415.300.6686.

Friday, Feb. 5

Cellars of Sonoma and Aioli Delicatessen have paired together to create a fundraiser for the Red Cross’ Haiti relief fund. A $20 cover charge gets you a flight of four wines; $10 of the cover charge goes directly to the Red Cross. Aioli will be providing tapas for $1.00 each with all proceeds going to the relief fund. There will also be a silent auction with massages, magnums of wine, auto and computer repair and more. Please call 707.887.2476 to RSVP or to donate an item to the auction. 133 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. 6pm-9pm. $20. 707.887.2476.

Ongoing Through February

D’Argenzio Winery is donating 100 percent of their tasting fees from now until the end of February to the relief effort in Haiti. The D’Argenzio tasting room is located at 1301 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa. 707.280.4658.

On the Stereo: Four Tet 'There is Love in You'

Posted by on Jan 20, 2010

Retro “pause tape” edit as intro—words from different sources spliced into a coherent sentence, like three kinds of adhesive tape used to wrap a Cartier bracelet. “Therrr es Love n Oooyou.” So far, much different than “A Joy,” the leadoff from Everything Ecstatic, and thus welcome. No one would file this in ‘Electronica.’

Rubbing it in: the sound of R2D2. Take that, Krohn. Processed hi-hats essential for that “chase scene” feel. Slow build with dope rubber-band bass, vocal loop fading, snares popping in to check on the bird just when you’d forgotten. Ways to get lost to the third power.

Would be hard to peg this as Four Tet until it starts harping on me, vintage Hebden. Taking the candy away as soon as it’s spiraled around the lips. How does one gate a synth? Suddenly I realize that the whole picture isn’t a picture. Match the edges first, then fill in the field. Coffee table’s out of commission for weeks.

If the pleasure of something is in its anticipation, and one is in control of crafting their desires, the world should theoretically be a wellspring of happiness instead of an assemblage of threshing machines ready to chew up the next mystery.

A slightly more pensive Four Tet, this one. I approve.

What's On Your Mind?

Posted by on Jan 12, 2010 2 Comments

I am imagining most people enjoying the new Vampire Weekend with a copy of the dictionary nearby. I am imagining teenagers Googling “Richard Serra Skatepark” to find out where it is, only to discover an incredible artist they’d never heard of. I am remembering myself making horchata from a packaged mix bought from Grocery Outlet earlier tonight, and deciding to stick with the real. I am imagining offering the rest of my horchata bag to Leilani, who makes me laugh.

I am imagining kids watching Jay-Z’s new video and thinking that he invented goth. I am imagining kids watching Lil’ Wayne’s new video, or Lady Gaga videos, and thinking the same thing. I am upset at Ke$ha for jacking L’Trimm’s tip. I am scrolling down the list of songs that Nicki Minaj has guested on, and thinking “nasty,” and then seeing a picture and thinking it tenfold. I am wondering if the sample to “Bed Rock” is from anywhere or if it merely sounds familiar and perfect.

I am looking forward to new electronic releases by old dogs like Blockhead and Four Tet, new dog like Flying Lotus who I wrote off until hearing the “GNG BNG” remix with Blu, which is how I want hip-hop to sound in 2010. I am noticing a rampant use of the dancehall triplets since Arular. I am wondering if RJD2 can come back correct like he deserves. I am reminding myself of seeing him live, numerous years ago, and him not exactly blending records on beat.

I am pondering the fate of Amoeba‘s Berkeley store since hearing rumors of its possible closure. I am saddened upon visiting, last Friday, and being one of about four customers in the entire place. I am speculating that it makes the least amount of money despite being the O.G., and further that they own SF and LA but still rent Telegraph. I am confident that owning a record store next to a college is not what it used to be.

I am conflicted about the reappearance of AFI at the Phoenix this weekend, despite having long ago championed their cause. I am seeing in my mind the setlist from their show on Dec. 29, 1993, at the Phoenix, their “last show,” and remembering how we unabashedly elevated them such that they could not break up like they wanted to. I am thinking of  comments in Gimme Something Better that seemed to disparage the scene from which they sprung, and thinking about stepping stones. I am missing Dave and Adam, and still awaiting the new issue of Society Suckers.

I am spinning over the elegance of Nonesuch’s deluxe vinyl pressing of Joshua Redman’s Moodswings, and over the fascinatingly remedial packaging of William S. Fischer’s Akelarre Sorta. I am excited at finding an LP by the German saxophonist Günther Klatt, and tickled that its notes read “Location: Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg. Date: July ’84. Producer: Günther Klatt. Reason: Don’t know.” I am listening to Shafiq Husayn‘s En’a-Free-Ka for the fifth time in three days.

I am hoping that raising a child gets easier like they say, and wishing that Liz and I had time to be together. I am closing my eyes and concentrating on the rain falling on the stovepipe. I am thinking of my walk downtown with Lena in the buggy tonight, at 10pm, and the sound of the wheels crackling the fallen twigs echoing off the Federal Building, and I am glad because my special order for Bjork’s Volta comes in tomorrow.

The New Year

Posted by on Jan 1, 2010

The party was packed from the driveway to the stairs, where the clarion sign hung with more promise than the prospect of a New Year: “Beer.” Where were you ten years ago, arose the question, when the world was worried about Y2K?

At home, watching TV.

Smashing Neil Diamond records against the wall and lighting off illegal fireworks inside.

I was in middle school ten years ago.

Running around a campsite naked.

The last day of the decade and I went to the dump, digging through the detritus of the aughts. Cashed in a gift card at the stupidest restaurant in Petaluma. Picked up and began acclimating to my first-ever pair of eyeglasses. Hung out with Matthew & Kerri and their new baby boy, Cassius.

And then the party—StarSkate in a ridiculously small living room where the ghosts of Lindauer and Courage sleep. Shadows jumping around the ceiling in rhythm. Oneness. Outside, Nick with scarf, Dean with owl, Susie with Maryland, Celeste with the story of Rod, the tree-feller. Flasks, cups, hearts. A night to love Santa Rosa.

Back by midnight to kiss my girl. Rihanna looking ridiculous on TV. Dick Clark aging out, a sad tinge. Up until 3:30 reading about 1989. Twenty years ago burned into my consciousness. The golden years? I slept like a log.

First record of 2010: The Fastbacks, Very, Very Powerful Motor. Off to loan an amp to Guy and see what the new year brings. Glasses are weird. I’m still not used to them.

Top 15 Shows of 2009

Posted by on Dec 31, 2009

1. Will Oldham at the Orchard Spotlight

2. Electric Masada at Yoshi’s

3. Beyonce at the Oakland Arena

4. Q-Tip at Outside Lands

5. Adam Theis at the Palace of Fine Arts

6. Bettye LaVette at the Independent

7. The Invalids at Spencer-King

8. The-Dream at the Paramount Theater

9. Victims Family at the Phoenix Theater

10. Dirty Projectors at the Independent

11. Thorns of Life at Spencer-King

12. Lady Gaga at the Civic Auditorium

13. Abraham Burton at the Malcolm X Festival

14. Lucinda Williams at Outside Lands

15. Ornette Coleman at Davies Symphony Hall

Rounding Up

Posted by on Dec 31, 2009

And It Don’t Stop: There was a lot of talk about rap fading away this year, just like there has been each year since, oh, around 1986. What sat beneath the talk was the fact that radio wasn’t hip-hop’s breeding ground in 2009. Luckily, Passion of the Weiss presents a year-end explanation of the 50 Best Hip Hop Songs of 2009 that you wouldn’t have heard if you weren’t scouring. They also present a download of all 50 tracks. I agree with most of what I’d already heard, and like most of what I hadn’t; check it out here.

Carles Strikes Again: By far the most insane/genius/essential reading for those into “Music of the Decade” writing is this beyond-epic post, The Most Authentic/Relevant/Successful Artists of the Decade. If you’ve never come across Hipster Runoff before, brace yourself. Recoil, then settle into the style, and realize the “raw meta power.”

You’re The Parking Lot, Motherfucker: If you or anyone you love has been injured, psychologically or emotionally, by the Counting Crows’ horrendous cover of “Big Yellow Taxi,” then this cathartic, wonderful, smart and very funny piece of writing honoring it as the #1 Worst Song of the Decade is for you.

Quiz Show: This week’s year-end Bohemian has some excellent cartoons, comprehensive arts and food reminisces and my multiple-choice quiz about the wacky world of pop music in 2009. Gather ’round and test your knowledge here.

Leave it in the 00s

Posted by on Dec 31, 2009

#leaveitinthe00s Lil Wayne featured on EVERY SONG

taylor swift really can’t sing live.. at all =| nor can justin bieber. both should just.. #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s southern music period

#leaveitinthe00s rappers makin “comebacks” after a 2 year stint…thats not a comeback

ATTENTION URBAN YOUTH MALES: as we move into the nex decade umm those Skinny Jeans #leaveitinthe00s please jus let em go

The word swagg, lil wayne, haters, violence, drama, fakeness #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s a rappers entourage~aint it? Shit, cause most the time they getU n more trouble thanUwould….!

#leaveitinthe00s Ray J, Bobby Valentino, Slim 112, etc… These good whisperers can’t sing. Stick to ghost writing

Sayin ‘No Homo’ after every single statement #Leaveitinthe00s

hoes calling other hoes, “hoes” cuz they’re “hoes” but legit hoes themselves.

#leaveitinthe00s saying lil Wayne is the best rapper…. Just Stop! He’s done

#leaveitinthe00s dance dance revolution, guitar hero

DMX………………… #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s: skinny jeans, they were out when NWA broke up learn ya history

#leaveitinthe00s singers with no talent who are only on cuz of auto tune and other voice editing techniques

#leaveitinthe00s pretending to be tough..take Rihanna for example if u can’t think of someone lol

#leaveitinthe00s Oh, also, The Jonas Brothers and Justin Bieber.

#LeaveItInThe00s lil John and the eastside boys

#leaveitinthe00s Souljaboys FL Studio drumkit.. who the fuck came up with that should be shot.

seriously, we don’t need more gangsta-pop duets! #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s: LMAO Shaq’s raps or wack, lol (shit that rhyme is better then all the raps he wrote)

#leaveitinthe00s MySpace…just keep myspace music here and we’re good :)

#leaveitinthe00s : myspace, gangsta rap, wannabes, disney sluts- i mean, stars.

#leaveitinthe00s, Mystikal’s career

#leaveitinthe00s Britney Wanna F*k Me Vids on twitter. This shit is really buggin me.

wavy, aow, fresh, dope, fly, crunk, hyphy, etc #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s soulja boy. please.

#leaveitinthe00s bow wow his decade has expired…

#leaveitinthe00s emo kids

#leaveitinthe00s Limp Bizkit Fans

Britney spears meltdown, Jonas Brothers, hannah montana @rihanna #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s crank dat songs. Die if you still crank anything except a car.

#leaveitinthe00s all ur B2K CDs

#leaveitinthe00s ppl that dnt like tupac kuzz Biggie ain’t like him.. vise versa

#leaveitinthe00s The downfall of music. Please bring the good stuff back.

Screamo, Scene kids, Straight edge, 9/11, Lady gaga’s penis #LeaveItInThe00s

Any name for a musical genre that ends in “mo” or “core”… Emo, Screamo, Mathcore… @johncmayer #LeaveItInThe00s

#leaveitinthe00s prejudice, homophobia, racism, bullying, war, crocs, T Romo, crochet uggs, unhygienic tendencies, screamo …

#leaveitinthe00s emo rock, soulja boy, coldplay.

#leaveitinthe00s the Obama worship, nickelback, emo and the red sox bandwagon.

#leaveitinthe00s Talent. Apparently you don’t need it these days.

If you see a cd with Coo Coo Cal on it #eaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s re-released dead rapper extended albums wit ‘hidden tracks’

#leaveitinthe00s justin beaver! He is ugly as hell and he can’t sing either. He needs to go away. He’s not all that.

skinny jeans, flip phones, twilight, jerking, swagger, mily cyrus #leaveitinthe00s

You can not be a pop star in a season American Idol #leaveitinthe00s

The nu B.E.T. #leaveitinthe00s what ever happen to the old shit when they ain’t do nothin but show videos all day

rihanna albums & miley cryus’ career #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s Jonas Bros. We can do better, America.

#leaveitinthe00s that ghetto ass piercing by your lip, you know that one Lil Wayne got. SMH and in the eye brow

#leaveitinthe00s anything with the suffix -izzle. I.e. Shizzle nizzle dizzle. Just leave it.

#leaveitinthe00s swag this & swag that….try demeanor or something lol

#leaveitinthe00s down south dances we ALL have had enough superman,stanky legs etc whatever dumb shit u country bumkins come up w/ next too

fat joe rapping……give it up dnt make us suffer lol #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s soulja boy song “she got a donk”

#leaveitinthe00s one hit wonders

#leaveitinthe00s takin 1 jay-z line an turn’n it into a whole song WHERE’S THA CREATIVITY?

#leaveitinthe00s the new r&b group pretty ricky.

#leaveitinthe00s the celebrities that sound great in the studio, but SUCK live! #omgfacts

rappers that was poppin when we was kids tryna make a comeback #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s Iliteracy

Top 20 Jazz Discoveries of 2009

Posted by on Dec 31, 2009 2 Comments

Larry Young – Contrasts
One of those breathtaking releases from the purgatory between soul jazz and free fusion in 1967. Young wears a paisley shirt on the cover; the entire band’s astrological signs are proffered in the liner notes. Makes the jazz organ a punk rock instrument. This burns hard.


Sunny Murray – Hommage to Africa
I loved the Big Chief reissue this year, and his appearance at Yoshi’s was utterly memorable—if not fully illuminating of his vast talent. The A-side is 18 perfect minutes of rich African roots-jazz with Alan Silva, Lester Bowie, Archie Shepp and Roscoe Mitchell.


Booker Ervin – The Blues Book
Somehow years of listening to Mingus left me without discovering Ervin’s own records. Everything good about “Live at Antibes” is compacted into this wonderful outing, a post-bop masterpiece. Must find the others in the “Book” series.


Raccoo-oo-oon – S/T
Often thrown in the noise camp, this Iowa City collective played a house party in Santa Rosa a couple years ago, all blaring clarinets and saxophones along with a tape recorder. Finally picked up this LP and Behold Secret Kingdom, and they’re both on another plane.


Johnny Mathis – Open Fire, Two Guitars
Yeah, I know. Is it jazz? Since interviewing Johnny Mathis earlier this year, his records have occupied a lot of time on the turntable. I would be a purist and pick his first LP, with Milt Jackson and Connie Kay. But this one sets a mood that’s sublime and irresistible.


Dewey Redman – Coincide
I fell in love with Tarik, but then found this one, which is the entire versatile range of jazz on one record, almost. Imagine being Joshua Redman and growing up around this huge variety of influence. A life of study and wisdom in seven parts.


Jaga Jazzist – The Stix
Electronics in jazz has until recently been mostly confined to Eddie Harris’ electric saxophone and the occasional pedal effect. What about a meeting of electronic(a) and free-form playing? The Bad Plus is nice, but this feels more like the actual future of jazz.


Gil Melle – Tome VI
Which reminds me: this strange little record, billed as “the first album of electronic jazz,” was an early experiment to mesh jazz and electronic instruments with names like the “Electar” and the “Doomsday Machine.” Results sometimes scary. Worth picking up.


Lucy Ann Polk – With the Dave Pell Octet
Lucky Lucy Ann on Mode is still her best, but I was fortunate enough to find this 10″, a session of mostly standards arranged in part by Shorty Rogers. Is there any sound more breezy than Polk’s voice? An exhaustive biography of Polk has been thanklessly compiled here, if you’re interested.


Jerri Adams – It’s Cool Inside
Just a nice, smoky album from this “tall, dark and comely” singer from Cincinnati. She would be 79 by now. Frankie Laine discovered her and signed her to Columbia, but she’s got a voice that’s the opposite of his excited yip, thank heavens.


Squarepusher – Music is Rotted One Note
Unlike anything else in the Squarepusher catalog. Basically a meticulous tribute to fusion-era Miles. It works, if imitatively.


The Tony Williams Lifetime – Emergency!
When this got reissued on CD, there was a note from the engineer that said, in essence, “Don’t blame me – they requested this album to be recorded so it sounded like shit.” It’s in the red, beginning to end. With John McLaughlin and the aforementioned Larry Young.


Solidarity Unit, Inc. – Red, Black and Green
St. Louis in 1970. Oliver Lake and crew. Recorded on the day that Jimi Hendrix died. Nice and messy in a lo-fi way.


Shirati Luo Voice Jazz Band – Kenyafrica!
Longer, deeper and more meditative than most highlife stuff. I think about what band practices must have been like. Vocal arrangements by serendipity and chance. I’d love to personally hand-craft a trophy for the bass player.


Jeri Southern – Southern Breeze
Marty Paich was just so wonderful as an arranger, especially for female singers. This record is like vocal morphine for California beach parties. That languid, relaxed sound for after you’ve listened to the Tony Williams album too many times.


Reflections in the Sea of Nurnene – S/T
I have no idea who this is, except it’s on Tribe, it was recorded in San Francisco the year I was born and it belongs to another world.


Bill Evans – Quintessence
Interplay gets a lot of credit for presenting Evans in a larger-then-trio setting, but this album, with Kenny Burrell and Harold Land on guitar and sax, respectively, is just plain better. Ray Brown and Everybody Digs Philly Joe Jones hold down the rhythm. Really excellent stuff from 1977.


Khan Jamal Creative Arts Ensemble – Drum Dance to the Motherland
Philadelphia in 1972. Dogtown. Songs titles like “Cosmic Echoes,” “Breath of Life,” and “Inner Peace.” Self-released, of course. Further proof that free-jazz guys in Philly were the progenitors to ’80s DIY indie labels.


Joe Henderson – Power to the People
I used to talk mad shit about 1970s jazz, but looking down this list so far, I guess I’m getting into it. I’ve always said that one of the greatest things about being alive is the ability to change one’s mind.


Carmell Jones – The Remarkable
A trumpet player from Kansas City who shines here with Harold Land and Gary Peacock. He made another album later on with Gerald Wilson that’s about as good a trumpet/big-band record can be. He disappeared, it seems.