Articles

  • A Fine Arrangement with Mayer Hawthorne & The County

    14 nov. 2010, 20h05m

    Fri 12 Nov – Mayer Hawthorne & The County

    Just as we were about to get on the Red Line and make our way into Hollywood for the show, The Martini's phone rang. It was Felicia. "His recorded music doesn't do him justice," she said having just seen Mayer Hawthorne & The County the night before in San Francisco. I didn't believe her. A Strange Arrangement was one of my favorite albums of 2009 and continues to make regular appearances in my charts still today. The key reason is because his vocals are impeccable on songs that are infectious. How do you take that to the next level?

    With a tight band, dancing girls, and unlimited showmanship and style, apparently. I'd already had my mind blown by Childish Gambino's set of witty rhymes, ridiculous beats, and a violinist that I could've watched and listened to by herself for the rest of the night. (Also, in a sign that I'm no longer as hip as I once was, I hadn't heard any of his songs before while many of the people around us were rapping right along to every word. I'm an Old.) I wasn't prepared for every moment of Mayer's set to be a revelation. From the moment the Mayer-ettes hit the stage halfway through the first song, we fully converted from concert to party and it never let up. Mr. Hawthorne led us through sing-alongs, dance alongs, shared performances, and copious amounts of swooning. Woman and man alike were mesmerized by his voice and his presence.

    Maybe we should've known what the night would be like, though. Gordon Voidwell and his band of 80s misfits (seriously, his keyboardist looks like if Sheila E and Sheena Easton had a baby and the entire show was like the deleted scenes from Purple Rain) started the evening cajoling and sometimes taunting what was a stereotypically stoic Los Angeles crowd into dancing. We didn't start out convinced but by their last song we may have done the Molly Ringwald, the running man, the robot, the troop, and the smurf.

    So, when at the end of the night I had been doused in beer several times, had to avoid the random elbows and arms of overly excited drunk girls and boys, and felt a little buzzed, overheated, and exhausted, I wasn't surprised. This is what happens at only the best parties.

    Thought you knew?
  • E. Badu is always winning

    6 sept. 2009, 15h13m

    Sat 5 Sep – Erykah Badu / Mos Def

    We left just a couple songs into Mos Def's set (because we're old) but Erykah Badu and Jay Electronica were both the business. With both making regular references to J Dilla and Erykah always being spectacular live (her 2001 tour with D'Angelo and Musiq Soulchild is one of my all time favorite concerts) they set it off properly.

    And it was a great opportunity to show my Atlanta-livin', New York-bred girlfriend how truly multicultural Los Angeles is. Thanks LA for representing properly all the shades and hues of the rainbow.
  • 3 After Three - 2009

    5 avr. 2009, 20h36m

    I've done a 6 after 6 and 12 after 12 at the ol' blogstead for years and I like the concept so much that I figured I'd increase the frequency.

    Some notes about my "best of" for this year:
    • While I will talk about 2009 releases specifically, I'm focusing more on things added to my music library in the time period rather than specific release year
    • I hadn't acquired much "2009" music during the first three months of the year. The hot "2009" stuff just started coming out in the last few weeks.
    • As you'll clearly see, my musical tastes so far this year have leaned towards the more whimsical, poppy, indie electronica sound. There's very little hip hop anywhere to be found. Maudlin and Grimy are not the moods of 2009 for me.


    Best By the Numbers - Tracks

    iTunes says...



    Last.fm says...



    Actual 2009 releases...



    Critically, i'd say that as far as the actual 2009 releases go this is really accurate. The only change I'd make is putting Kid Cudi's Day 'n' Nite (Crookers Remix) ahead of Polite Dance Song.

    Best By The Numbers - Albums

    I say...



    Last.fm says...



    Actual 2009 releases...



    All of the releases I put critically up top are 2008 releases that didn't show up in my library until late December or after. Friendly Fires and The Black Ghosts, however, represent the sound I'm responding to the most of late. It's synthy blippy dance music. Not nearly as hard or anthem-like as Justice, these artists are focusing on more soulful hooks, more poppy arrangements, more groovy overall. They speak to me somewhere in that middle ground between head nod and sweatin' it out on the dance floor.

    Murs is LA. Murs is witty. Murs is geeky. Murs is optimism. Given that description, Murs, in fact, may be our president. And, hip-hop, for me in 2009 has to reflect, if not this world view, then at least an eclectic more artistic sensibility.

    Predictions for my favorite albums of the next three months...

  • The ol' Bait and Switch

    5 mars 2009, 4h23m

    Fri 27 Feb – Inara George, Greg Kursten

    I can't speak for their 2nd set but the first set featured only one song sung by Inara George and another by Eleni Mandell and the rest was jazz by Greg and friends. Nice enough but not an Inara George show by any means.
  • Just the Happiest Little LA Indie Bands You Ever Did See.

    11 jan. 2009, 7h54m

    Fri 9 Jan – The Little Ones, Plants and Animals

    We very much enjoyed The Little Ones (and Plant + Animals) at First Fridays. I was impressed with the large, expansive sound that Plant + Animals was able to convey with just three instruments/musicians. The Little Ones were smiley, bight, shiny, adorable. As their description here notes, their influences - The Beach Boys and The Zombies amongst others - are easily seen and heard. They are quite a fine extension to that kind of rock lineage.
  • Best of '09 - Songs

    23 déc. 2008, 3h08m

    Biting the concept from Sasha-Frere Jones who maintains a song list over the course of the year, so that the good stuff doesn't get left off. This list reflects songs I deem amazing after December 14th, 2008 and until sometime in December 2009.

    1. Paranoid - Kanye West - my post about this song
    2. Melt My Heart To Stone (Kickdrums Remix f/ Big Pooh) - Mick Boogie & Adele - my post about this song
    3. Leave It All Behind - The Foreign Exchange
    4. 3 Little Words - Frankmusik
  • My 2008 Short List

    1 déc. 2008, 7h50m

  • Genius Random Ten: Please Welcome... Edition

    23 nov. 2008, 23h37m

    So, this week's Random Ten comes from a Friendfeed question by Derrick. He asked:
    “You've been invited onto your favorite late night talk show as a guest. The host introduces you, the audience applauds...what song is the band playing as you walk across the stage?”
    My Answer? So Fresh, So Clean which leads us to:

    1. So Fresh, So Clean
    2. Rollout (My Business)
    3. Beautiful
    4. All Falls Down
    5. Get By (w/ Jay-Z & Busta Rhymes) (rmx)
    6. You Don't Know Me
    7. Breathe
    8. ATLiens
    9. Southern Hospitality (Featuring Pharrell)
    10. Hustlin (Remix w/ Jay-Z & Young Jeezy)

    Genius has been doing a good job of reminding me that hip hop can be good and fun in all it's flavors when mixed well.

    Interesting Notes:
    Most Listened to Track - That Get By remix.
    Favorite Track - I like all of these but the OutKast tracks stand out.
    Least Listened to Track - Surprisingly, a tie between Breathe and Beautiful with only 2 spins apiece.
    Shortest Song - This was a pretty even list song length wise but the Get By remix is the shortest at 3:36
    Longest Song - The Hustlin' Remix clocking in at a far too long 6:26
  • Genius Random Ten: Yes We Did Edition

    8 nov. 2008, 3h15m

    I did the last one on the blog but I think they may be better suited here.

    We elected Barack Obama President of the United States of America this past Tuesday. Ever since then, my music listening has been dominated by songs I think reflect what that momentous occasion. This week's Playlist was kicked off by If I Were President which is the song I found myself humming the most all week. (if I were President/i'd make sure all the money's spent/on/good things). Interesting note, The Pharcyde kicked off the last one of these I made.

    1. If I Were President
    2. Hell Yeah (Pimp The System) (Pistol Pete Remix)
    3. The Mighty 'O'
    4. Paris, Tokyo
    5. Shook Ones Pt. II
    6. Fast Car (Feat. Paul Simon)
    7. lighters up
    8. So What'cha Want
    9. Tonight's Da Nite
    10. B.O.B.

    Interesting Notes:
    Most Listened to Track - B.O.B. which is also my favorite song of the bunch.
    Least Listened to Track - Paris, Tokyo which reminds me that I've never listened all the way through Lupe Fiasco's The Cool
    Shortest Song - If I Were President at just over a minute.
    Longest Song - Hell Yeah (Pimp The System) (Pistol Pete Remix)

    Interestingly enough, the songs work (for the most part) for the theme of the week. Not quite as apropos as the Can You Feel It? Genius Playlist I launched Wednesday Morning but it'll do.
  • One Thousand Young Americans

    27 jui. 2008, 17h52m

    Mon 21 Jul – N*E*R*D

    I'd mentioned this a week prior but standing at the back of The Fillmore with my friends all of a certain age (meaning born before 1980) listening to the DJ spin R&B and hip hop tracks of the last 25 years and watching the teens and those only slightly older mill about in their chunky glasses and bright shirts and rainbow colored belts and kicks and headbands and slouching boots and off the shoulder blouses all anxiously waiting for Skateboard P and the rest of N*E*R*D to hit the stage and showcase in less than 90 minutes what it took two days of the previous week's yPulse mashup conference to tell - the kids are alright.

    In many senses, they are more than alright. I realize I was in San Francisco for this show but right there was the perfect example of an America that, at least for this night around this music, was more post-racial than not. Whether Black, Latino, White, Asian, some mixture therein, or none of the above, we all knew we could fly or die. Race wasn't much of a factor for all the girls standing in the line for the bathroom. You didn't have to be a shaggy haired white boy to head nod and jump along to a faithful cover of Seven Nation Army by N*E*R*D's entirely Black Funk focused tour band.

    This was Obama Country.

    And I was reminded of yPulse and Michael Franzini's day one ending Keynote about his book, One Hundred Young Americans which, for me, was the most interesting part of the conference, by a mile. These kids, in this concert hall, who all flashed pics, took video, and speed dialed their ex-es on Pharrell's command as he sang about how they've done us wrong with their cell phones, are absolutely the Instant Access Generation.

    They might hear When Doves Cry during the warm-up show and think of it as some song their parents play at the BBQ but they've likely seen every video version of Kanye West's Can't Tell Me Nothin' and could pull up that one featuring Zach Galifianakis on their phone if you asked. They're likely here running into myspace friends and facebook connections for the first time. Maybe they're recognizing each other from their last.fm profile pics or their flickr stream.

    They are colored, pop cultured, and connected and it shows.

    Now, Franzini made the point that the kids aren't alright in every aspect. Good ol' fashioned education is failing them. That kid who has every remix of Spaz possible and can recite the lyrics to Lapdance without much prodding, isn't likely to be able to name the first five U.S. Presidents, tell you the important political issues of the day, or thrill you with their science acumen without being near Google or Wikipedia. If an Academic Decathlon randomly started in the middle of the concert hall, most of these folks are probably going to want to text a friend.

    But, on this night, we're staying away from the anti-matter. I might be 33 and in the back of the club but I'll jump around to She Wants to Move and mosh it up a bit when appropriate and enjoy the Generation Gap.

    Originally posted here.