Classic Melting Pot

Katy Goodman of La Sera at KPFK

La Sera came into the KPFK studios this past Friday to record a performance and interview at the station, just a few days before leaving the country on tour. La Sera is the latest project from Katy Goodman of Vivian Girls and plays some seriously sweet (or is it bittersweet? or maybe sweetly bittersweet?? or perhaps bittersweetly sweet???) indie-pop.

La Sera performs live at KPFK

The band (here featuring Katy on bass & vocals and Scott Shannon on guitar) performs 4 songs in this session, including two totally brand new tracks, “I’m Alone” and “How Far We’ve Come Now”! The other two tracks, “Sleeptalking” and “Never Come Around” are featured on La Sera’s full length record which will be out in February, fittingly perhaps, just after Valentine’s Day.

Big thanks to Ruben at Hardly Art for setting things up and to Stan Misraje at KPFK for the extra time spent doing the sound and getting everything just right.

La Sera on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 01-28-2011

Fantastic show yesterday here at the end of the month, all on vinyl records, as is customary once a month on Melting Pot. Started things off with a short set in solidarity with those protesting in Egypt and other parts of the world for a better life than the one they currently have, beginning with a powerful statement from Max Roach along with the J.C. White Singers. Closed the show out with a mini-tribute to Charlie Louvin, who just passed away at 83, with his classic track “Satan Is Real” recorded with his brother Ira Louvin around 1960. The Louvin Brothers recorded some mighty fine country music during their heyday, especially country gospel, and were a major influence on Gram Parsons, who you also hear in the closing set…finally they are reunited again. In between we have an amazing guest DJ set from Music Man Miles of Breakestra (click here if you just want to hear the set by itself) and a fabulous performance from La Sera, which features Katy from Vivian Girls! (click here if you just want to hear the performance/interview) Enjoy the show, I’m just so glad all the proper stars aligned for this one and that I’m able to archive it here for you to hear (I don’t even mind the fact I cued up the Intruders “Sad Girl” at the wrong speed for a minute, I’m just thankful all the other technology worked)!

Melting Pot on KPFK #31: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #31: Second Hour

Playlist: 1-30-2011

{opening theme} Boris Gardiner – Melting Pot – Is What’s Happening (Dynamic)

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Max Roach & the JC White Singers – Let Thy People Go – Lift Every Voice & Sing (Atlantic)
Eddie Palmieri – Condiciones Que Existen – Sentido (Coco)
Derek Lawrence Statement – I Am The Preacher – 7” (Bell)
The Village Soul Choir – The Cat Walk – 7” (Abbott)
24 Carat Black – 24 Carat Black Theme – Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth (Enterprise)

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Guest DJ Set from Music Man Miles of Breakestra:

Lionel Robinson – Steppin’ Out – 7” (Knight)
Johhny K – Screwdriver – 7” (Drive)
Ray Frazier – Gonna Get Your Love – 7” (Chess)
John Edwards – If I Don’t Use My Head – 7” (Weiss)
Los Masters – Cissy Strut – 7” (Odeon)
James Brown – Let A Man Come In & Do The Popcorn – It’s A New Day (King)
Daktaris – In The Middle – 7” (Desco)
Rwenzoris – Ewara – 7” (Editions Makossa)
Claudette Soares – Shirley Sexy – 7” (Phillips)
Ocho – Undress My Mind – Best Of Ocho (Universal Sound)

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The Corporation – India – The Corporation (Capitol)

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La Sera performance and interview recorded at the KPFK Studios

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La Sera – Dedicated To The One I Love – 7” (Hardly Art)
Barbara Greene – Young Boy – 7” (Renee)
The Intruders – Sad Girl – 7” (Gamble)
Tim Maia – E Por Voce Que Vivo – Tim Maia (Polydor)

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Dungen – Oga, Nasa, Mun – 7” (Third Man Records)
The Flying Burrito Bros. – Sin City – The Flying Burrito Bros. (A&M)
The Louvin Brothers – Satan Is Real – The Great Gospel Singing Of The Louvin Brothers (Capitol)

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{closing theme} Kenny Baker – Mississippi Waltz – Plays Bill Monroe (County)

Whether as the bassist and leader of the legendary Breakestra or as one of the founding resident DJs of Funky Sole & Root Down, Music Man Miles always has something funky in store for the listener. We had the pleasure of having Miles do a guest DJ set on Melting Pot this Sunday with some of his trademark rare funky as well as some surprising cuts from Latin America and Africa.

You can catch Miles, Clifton and the rest of the Funky Sole crew also at the Echo every Saturday night (with no cover!) for the best deep funk night on the West Coast!

Guest DJ Set from Music Man Miles of Breakestra on KPFK’s Melting Pot

Selections:

Lionel Robinson – Steppin’ Out
Johhny K – Screwdriver
Ray Frazier – Gonna Get Your Love
John Edwards – If I Don’t Use My Head
Los Masters – Cissy Strut
James Brown – Let A Man Come In & Do The Popcorn
Daktaris – In The Middle
Rwenzoris – Ewara
Claudette Soares – Shirley Sexy
Ocho – Undress My Mind

Tuff Darts – All For The Love Of Rock’n’Roll
Tuff Darts – Fun City
Tuff Darts – Here Comes Trouble

I first heard something from the Tuff Darts on a collection of bands that played at the legendary CBGB’s in New York when I was still on the air late at night on Album 88, way back at the beginning of my radio career. “It’s All For The Love Of Rock’n’Roll” struck me as a great punk/power pop anthem with tons of trademark post New York Dolls bravura. I hadn’t really thought about the band that much in the ensuing years, until I happened up this LP over at Records LA.

This version of “All For The Love” is a bit different, it sounds a bit more fully produced, I remember the other version having a more hollow sound and different, deeper vocals. Though the sound is a bit brighter, the song still packs a punch on this LP, as do many other tracks.

“Fun City” is a bit of an ironic title for a song where lead singer Tommy Frenzy runs down a laundry list of things he’s sick of in NYC. It’s interesting how the out of the blue lines “I’m a middle class American, I used to think I had it made, I never dreamt that I’d be second class, when i joined the big parade,” resonate more in 2011 than they did even in 1978. “Here Comes Trouble” is maybe the punkiest track on this LP, a upbeat little yarn with some punchy saxophone bits about a girl who has all the boys eating out of her hand. The Tuff Darts all but fell into obscurity until a couple years ago when they reformed, first to record a new album and later to memorialize guitarist Jeff Salen. It strikes me that a band like this would have no trouble continuing to record on indie labels in the present time, but things have certainly changed in the music industry since 1978. The sentiment and spirit on display in “All For The Love Of Rock’n’Roll” deserves to be heard and appreciated, and I hope you will in listening to these tracks from this band.

Cheers,

Michael

La Sera – Devils Hearts Grow Gold

Lots of buzz around this band, and rightfully so. La Sera is the latest project from Kickball Katy of the indomitable Vivian Girls. After a relatively quiet 2010, it looks like it will be a busy year for Katy and Cassie of Vivian Girls, both have separate side projects, Cassie has a solo record and we’ll get a new record from Vivian Girls. Of the bunch, the upcoming LP from La Sera is the one I’m looking most forward to, especially after this, their second single. Katy is the primary songwriter and singer for this project, which allows her to explore some bittersweet emotions and narratives paired with blissfully sweet melodies. “Devils Hearts” is a perfect example of the style of this new project. There’s something strangely unsettling about the Raymond Pettibon-esque cover for the single. These elderly people look happy, but at the same time, something just doesn’t seem quite right here. However, when it comes to the sound, everything is right with its mix of 60s styled pop and 80s/90s C86 twee.

As a bonus (and a clear sign of the whole sweet/sour vibe of the group) here’s the video for the first single “Never Come Around” shot with a definite Hershell Gordon Lewis 1970s Horror film aesthetic combined with some Evil Dead absurdity in the ending sing-a-long:

Had a technology plagued but otherwise solid show this Sunday. I’ve spent several hours trying to fix my rather janky recording set-up in order to present the full two hour show. I really shouldn’t complain, virtually all of the music came out perfectly fine and ultimately that’s what’s most important. There’s some brand new stuff from La Sera (fingers-crossed, they should be our guests next week!), remixes of work from Andreya Triana and Bilal (by Tokimonsta and Flying Lotus, respectively), and newish work from Ghostface Killah, Fabienne Del Sol, JayLib and others. The show features a very minor tribute to Bobby Robinson of Enjoy records fame (for a better tribute see Oliver Wang of Soul-Sides.com’s guest podcast here) and a major tribute to Trish Keenan of Broadcast that takes up the last half-hour + of the 2nd Hour. If you just want to hear the tribute mix by itself, I’ve updated my tribute post to Trish to include the set. Next week we’re doing all vinyl with a guest set from Music Man Miles of Breakestra + a performance/interview with La Sera!

Melting Pot on KPFK #30: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #30: Second Hour

Playlist: 1-23-2011

{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Vicente Fernandez – El Rey – Linea Mecicanismo (Sony)
Charles Bradley – Why Is It So Hard? – No Time For Dreaming (Dunham/Daptone)
Fabienne Del Sol – Strange Shadows – On My Mind (Damaged Goods)
Dao Bandon – Tang Ngarn Si Nong – Sound Of Siam (Soundway)
The 5.6.7.8.’s – I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield – The 5.6.7.8.’s (Third Man Records)

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La Sera – Devils Hearts Grow Gold – 7” (Hardly Art)
The Three Degrees – Collage – Maybe (Roulette)
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound – To Love Someone – 7” (Addenda)
Martina Topley Bird – Snowman – Some Place Simple (Honest Jon’s)
Andreya Triana – Far Closer (Tokimonsta Remix) – Far Closer (Ninja Tune)

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Ghostface Killah – In The Park feat. Black Thought – Apollo Kids (Def Jam)
Treacherous Three & Spoonie Gee – The New Rap Language – 12” (Enjoy)
Captain Beefheart – Rock’n’Roll’s Evil Doll – Bluejeans & Moonbeams (Mercury)
DJ Lengua – La Jungla – Cruzando (Club Unicornio)

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Bilal – Levels (Flying Lotus Re-edit) – Levels (Plug Research)
Ananda Shankar – Metamorphosis – Ananda Shankar (Warner Bros.)
Jaylib – Louder (Blast Your Radio Theme) – Madlib’s Medicine Show No. 11 (Stones Throw)
Can – I’m So Green – Ege Bamyasi (UA)

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Tribute Set To Trish Keenan of Broadcast:

Broadcast – Unchanging Window – The Noise Made By People (Warp)
Broadcast – Before We Begin – Ha Ha Sound (Warp)
Broadcast – I Found The F – Tender Buttons (Warp)
Broadcast – The Be Colony – Broadcast & the Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age (Warp)
Broadcast – Ominous Cloud – Ha Ha Sound (Warp)
Broadcast – City In Progress – The Noise Made By People (Warp)
Broadcast – Man Is Not A Bird – Ha Ha Sound (Warp)
Broadcast – Tender Buttons – Tender Buttons (Warp)
Broadcast – Come On Let’s Go – The Noise Made By People (Warp)
Broadcast – Tears In The Typing Pool – Tender Buttons (Warp)

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{closing theme} Dungen – C. Visar Vagen – Tio Batar (Kemado)

Super Indeed!

Algo Nuevo – Y Que Bien
Algo Nuevo – Pastel En Descarga
Algo Nuevo – Con Aji Guaguao

I first came to hear music from Juan Pablo Torres and his group Algo Nuevo when i was about to leave the Bay Area for LA. I was getting materials together to cut a demo for KCRW, and even though I hadn’t been a DJ there for a couple of years, I was able to use the studio (and most importantly the library) at KALX to get it together. While I was looking for new sounds, I came across a collection of music out of Cuban put out by the Waxing Deep label called Si Para Usted. Almost 4 years later I still regard the comp. as one of the best Latin Funk collections out there, perhaps precisely because it is so difficult to come across these records in the US, what with that embargo still going on. Algo Nuevo’s “Son A Propulsion” leads off the comp. and everytime I hear it my head is still blown!

Recently I finally tracked down the LP that track is featured on, 1974’s Super Son, and was very pleased with the rest of the record as well. The whole album has a very mid tempo and slightly laid back funk vibe to it, like the kind of music I’d imagine B-boy low-rider aficianados (is there such a thing?) chillin’ out with (especially “Con Aji Guaguao”!). While I first thought the title “Super Son” was just a way to describe the music on this particular record, it’s quite possible that it’s a reference to either a dance style or the specific fusion of latin-funk and cuban son rhythms. The band frequently locks into a groove, with some trademark Cuban ritmo and some surprisingly fuzzy guitar and wacked out synthesizer. Above it all is Torres’ mighty trombone. From what I’ve been able to gather from this discography there are a couple other records that likely feature similar sounds and similar players which I now will do my best to track down as should you.

Cheers,

Michael

…p.s. I wasn’t going to post up “Son A Propulsion” because it’s on a fabulous compilation that everyone should own, but just in case you don’t…here you go:

Martina Topley-Bird – Snowman

Here in the new year, there still haven’t been a lot of new releases, so I’m still checking out things that I might not have paid enough attention to in 2010. Martina Topley-Bird is one of my favorite vocalists, both for her work with Tricky in the 1990s and as a solo artist. This LP came out to little fanfare in 2010, and in my move from KCRW to KPFK I haven’t been able to make great contacts overseas. Thankfully I managed to get a copy of this album towards the end of last year and I really wish I’d been able to play it more. MTB basically remixes tracks from her prior solo releases, but not with guest producers remixing the original recordings, instead she offers alternate versions of these tracks with her band. In some cases the subtlety of these new versions surpasses the originals as is the case on “Snowman”.

foto © Richard McCaffrey, Michael Ochs Archive & Getty Images

This past Sunday we paid tribute to Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart on Melting Pot, just a day after what would have been his 70th Birthday. As I’ve mentioned multiple times here in the last month, Beefheart was a major influence for me, and a major influence on many artists who I admire and enjoy, especially Tom Waits and The Minutemen. Having done a similar show 15+ years ago, I was mindful not to repeat the past (though I had played what remain my most favorite songs during that show, I did change about an hour of material and mixed the songs up even more), but I did make the same decision to not do this tribute chronologically. What I think this style of mix reveals is the remarkable consistency of both ideas and quality in Beefheart’s music. There are very few artists who recorded during this same period of time (1966-1982), where you’d be able to put music from the winter of their career paired with music from their spring and find that things mix as seamlessly as much of this music ultimately did. What I also found, and this may be a matter of personal taste in terms of the songs I chose, is how Beefheart’s music remained centered in the blues, even when he completely deconstructed the form. If Beefheart had just been a blues revivalist, ala Canned Heat, he likely would have had a much more financially successful career, but thankfully he was interested in pushing boundaries, even in his attempts at commerciality on The Spotlight Kid (1972), Clear Spot (1972), Unconditionally Guaranteed (1974) and Bluejeans & Moonbeams (1974).

As I mentioned at the end of the show, a special note truly has to be made about the role of Beefheart’s translators in his various “Magic” bands, John French, Bill Harkleroad, Mark Boston, Gary Lucas and others, who were directly responsible for taking Beefheart’s ideas on how the music should sound and shaping them into reality. The Captain was certainly a genius, but like every other musical/artistic genius he didn’t create alone in a vacuum. Their debt to this music is often unrecognized, so I definitely wanted to acknowledge them in this tribute. I got a number of calls during the show thanking me for it and sharing Captain Beefheart stories, I’d love for that to continue here in the comments section. Two hours isn’t nearly enough time to fully honor the Captain’s memory, but I’m very grateful to have been able to do this show and hope you enjoy it.

Captain Beefheart Tribute on KPFK’s Melting Pot 1-16-2011: First Hour
Captain Beefheart Tribute on KPFK’s Melting Pot 1-16-2011: Second Hour

Captain Beefheart Tribute: 1-16-2011

{all tracks feature Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, except “Willie The Pimp” which is from the Frank Zappa album Hot Rats}

I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby – The Spotlight Kid (Reprise)
Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do – Safe As Milk (Buddah)
On Tomorrow/Beatle Bones N’ Smokin’ Stones – Strictly Personal (Blue Thumb)
The Past Sure Is Tense – Ice Cream For Crow (Virgin)
The Smithsonian Institute Bleus (Or The Big Dig) – Lick My Decals Off, Baby (Straight)
Dirty Blue Gene – Safe As Milk (Bonus Cuts) (Buddah)

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Ant Man Bee – Trout Mask Replica (Straight)
Ashtray Heart – Doc At The Radar Station (Virgin)
Here I Am, I Always Am – The Legendary A&M Sessions (Edsel)
Click Clack – The Spotlight Kid (Reprise)
Owed T’ Alex – Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (Warner Bros.)
Veteran’s Day Poppy – Trout Mask Replica (Straight)

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Willie the Pimp – Hot Rats {Frank Zappa} (Bizarre)
Electricity – Safe As Milk (Buddah)
Excerpt from Fallin’ Ditch – Trout Mask Replica (Straight)
I Love You, You Big Dummy – Lick My Decals Off, Baby (Straight)
Ella Guru – Trout Mask Replica (Straight)
The Floppy Boot Stomp – Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (Warner Bros.)
Captains Holiday – Bluejeans & Moonbeams (Mercury)

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The Party Of Special Things To Do – Bluejeans & Moonbeams (Mercury)
Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles – Clear Spot (Reprise)
Full Moon, Hot Sun – Unconditionally Guaranteed (Mercury)
Sugar ‘N’ Spikes – Trout Mask Replica (Straight)
Tropical Hot Dog Night – Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (Warner Bros.)
Excerpt from Pena – Trout Mask Replica (Straight)
Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man – Clear Spot (Reprise)
One Rose That I Mean – Lick My Decals Off, Baby (Straight)

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My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains – Clear Spot (Reprise)
I’m Glad – Safe As Milk (Buddah)
Grow Fins – The Spotlight Kid (Reprise)
Gimme Dat Harp Boy – Strictly Personal (Blue Thumb)
The Buggy Boogie Woogie – Lick My Decals Off, Baby (Straight)
Hair Pie: Bake 2 – Trout Mask Replica (Straight)

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Moonlight On Vermont – Trout Mask Replica (Straight)
Frying Pan – The Legendary A&M Sessions (Edsel)
Ice Cream For Crow – Ice Cream For Crow (Virgin)
Dirty Blue Gene – Doc At The Radar Station (Virgin)
Lick My Decals Off, Baby – Lick My Decals Off, Baby (Straight)

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{closing theme} Semi-Multicoloured Caucasian – Ice Cream For Crow (Virgin)

{Update 1/24/2011: Below is a tribute mix that I broadcast on the 1/23/11 edition of Melting Pot, just my 10 favorite songs from Broadcast and Trish Keenan…I hope we’ll hear more music from the sessions already recorded, but if not, I’m sure thankful for time spent listening to this music}

Trish Keenan Tribute Mix: Melting Pot’s Top 10 Broadcast Tracks

The extraordinarily tragic news hit today that Trish Keenan of Broadcast passed earlier this morning from H1N1 related pneumonia contracted during the band’s tour of Australia. Keenan was a founding member and integral part of the UK group Broadcast, one of my favorite groups of the last 10 years. I first heard their music while I was at KALX in 2000 and was drawn immediately to their mix of 60s psychedelic, electronic experimentation and girl group harmony with Trish’s ethereal vocals at the fore. With each successive release they seemed to become more and more experimental in their approach to sound. I was supposed to have played a track from Broadcast in my most recent show on KPFK, in hopes that a new album would finally be released in 2011 (Broadcast hasn’t released a proper LP since 2005’s Tender Buttons, though 2009’s Broadcast and the Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age, should certainly count, it is like several other releases in this interim period, a collaboration). From interviews I’d heard before this fateful tour to Australia it does seem that they’ve been recording, but likely had not finished the new record. I sincerely hope there is more music to be heard, now that we’ve lost this unique voice.

There are a number of videos and performances of Broadcast to be found on the internet, but I’ve chosen an exceptional performance recorded at KCRW back in 2006:

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