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Mikey Pauker Reaches New Musical Heights on Latest Album

Posted by: on Jan 24, 2018 | Comments (0)

Berkeley folk and world music artist Mikey Pauker is already known in the Bay Area for his open-hearted melodies and catchy reggae beats, though fans are in for a different musical dimension when Pauker unveils his new album, ASCENSION, with an album-release concert on Jan 25 at Key Tea in San Rafael.

Drawing on influences that range from Bob Marley to The Police, Pauker’s output up to this year have heavily relied on electronic flourishes, yet ASCENSION departs from that aesthetic with a raw instrumental sound captured in live recording sessions under Grammy-nominated producer Warren Huart.

Thematically, ASCENSION takes inspiration for the outpouring of communal strength and resolve that manifested after the North Bay wildfires as well as the hurricanes that impacted Texas and Florida earlier in 2017. With a background in Yoga and mystical practices, Pauker’s sound aims to elevate the listener’s spirit with devotional songwriting.

Be the first to hear ASCENSION’s uplifting music when Pauker plays a full band set tomorrow, Jan 25, featuring opening act Annie Anton and a post-set DJ party at Key Tea, 921 C St, San Rafael. 7:30pm. All Ages. $20 at the door. For details and tickets, click here.

Teenagers In Other Countries Did Acid Too

Posted by: on Jan 27, 2008 | Comments (1)

Prevailing trends in World Music compilations are funny things. After Paul Simon’s Graceland, the record market was flooded with South African compilations; after Buena Vista Social Club came the glut of Cuban compilations; and between U2, Enya, Riverdance, Loreena McKennitt, Sinead O’Connor and Titanic, the ‘90s had a good ten-year run of hot-selling, yawn-inducing Irish compilations.

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact genesis of the latest compilation trend, but lately people can’t seem to get enough of psychedelic music from around the world.

Whether it’s imported from West Africa (Luaka Bop’s excellent Love’s A Real Thing), Ethiopia (the crazy vibraphone sounds of Mulatu on Ethiopiques Vol. 4) or Brazil (Love, Peace and Poetry: Brazilian Psychedelic Music), world psychedelic music is super-duper hot right now. So hot, I hate to say, that lame-ass collections have started popping up under the false banner of “psychedelia,” corruptly hornswaggling us poor music hounds into chasing the diluted coattails of a trend that, barring any basement discoveries of Os Mutantes or Alla Pugachova outtakes anytime soon, appears to have run its ethno-trippy course.

Case in point: The Roots of Chicha: Psychedelic Cumbias From Peru, which is a very fine collection of dance bands from ’68-’78. The music, played largely by working people from poor backgrounds, is tropical and percussive, sometimes utilizing surf-style electric guitars, farfisa organs and moog synthesizers. The culmination of sounds evokes hot, dry days, dirt roads, lush foliage, and butterfly collars, and though rudimentary, it embodies the flavor of its era.

It’s pretty groovy. But is it psychedelic? Not in the slightest.

Just as film sequels are prime fodder for disappointment, music trends can industrially produce truckloads of hoppin’-on-the-bandwagon mediocrity. The difference is that it’s harder to trace the lineage of music trends, which don’t share franchise names as much as movies do. If they did, it’d be easier to sniff out the perpetrators—like if the Dave Clark Five were called “The Beatles Part II.”

But when a certain catch phrase does catch on and starts making the cash registers ring (a mixed blessing for world “psychedelic” music), you can bet your Salvadorean hookah that copycat products will line up and run the whole damn thing into the ground.

I’ll never forget the time I bought Oliver Nelson’s More Blues and the Abstract Truth, excited as all hell ‘cause I’d just discovered his flawless The Blues and the Abstract Truth album. Realistically, More Blues was a decent enough jazz album, but man, he shoulda just called it something different. Similar disappointments have plagued otherwise fine compilations like Night Train To Nashville Vol. 2, Bay Area Funk Vol. 2 or California Soul Vol. 2, all of them overflowing with weak sauce in inevitable comparison to each series’ kickass first volumes (get them now, if you know what’s good for you).

I won’t even start in on the obvious losers like Metallica’s Reload and Run DMC’s Back From Hell, or b-side cash-ins like Sufjan Stevens’ The Avalanche or Ghostface Killah’s More Fish. We’d all just get depressed. On the bright side, a small handful of sequels are warranted— Julie London’s Julie Is Her Name Vol. II isn’t that bad, come to think of it. But, you know. That was 50 years ago.