Classic Melting Pot

This Sunday night LA is blessed to have two of the best singer-songwriters in all of indie-rockdom grace us with their collective goodness, Thao & Mirah. Just this week they’ve released a collaboration on Kill Rock Stars, and you could get a chance to check them out if you are the winner! Quick turnaround on these, make sure to e-mail me at michael[at] before Friday at 5pm to get a chance to win the tickets!!!

Here’s just an example of the loveliness that will be on display Sunday night at the Troubadour, a nice and very personal recording of “How Dare You” recorded in Thao’s apartment in San Francisco last year by “Yours Truly”:

And damn if these vids from Yours Truly aren’t the tops, but here’s another one that’s just as good for “We’re So Sorry,” unbelievable coolness how Thao goes from strumming and singing to hitting the skins as Mirah reaches the emotional climax of the song. Enjoy

Bing Ji Ling – Move On

Bing Ji Ling is the alternate identity of NYC (though originally out of San Francisco) based Singer, Songwriter, Producer and DJ Quinn Luke. Luke is seriously connected to a bunch of artists and bands I dig, including being a member of the Phenomenal Hand Clap band, a collaborator with Cool Chris of Grove Merchant fame in Coppa and another also performing with Bart Davenport, another Bay Area legend, in Incarnations. As Bing Ji Ling he specializes in a sort of post-modern soul, with elements of psych and disco popping up from time to time. His new album (he’s been putting out music under this moniker for 5+ years) features and was produced by some of his fellow bandmates in the Phenomenal Hand Clap band and it’s a solid addition to the most recent revival of soul sounds from the 1960s and 1970s. He’s been in town all week (DJ-ing at one of the best nights and best spots in all of LA, Dance Right, Thursdays at La Cita!) and he actually dropped into KPFK yesterday. We’ll be broadcasting the interview and performance he did with me this Sunday (even though I won’t be there for the show itself, Morgan Rhodes of the Listening Station will be filling in for me). “Move On” leads off the record and sets the tone for one of the better summer records that won’t have been released in the summer of 2011.

J-Rocc of the World Famous Beat Junkies at KPFK!

MP of KPFK's Breakbeats & Rhymes and Rebels To The Grain with J-Rocc and Some Cold Rock Stuf

It truly was an honor and a privilege to spend a little time with J-Rocc of the World Famous Beat Junkies this past Friday at KPFK. Though he has been as prominently focused on outside of turntablist and Hip-Hop culture, almost anyone who knows anything about DJ culture from the last 20 years would place J-Rocc as one of the top DJs around. He was a co-founder of the Beat Junkies back in 1992, a crew that includes other living legends in Babu, Rhettmatic, Melo D and Shortkut, he was essentially the third member of JayLib along with Madlib and J Dilla (kinda like Billy Preston was essentially the fifth Beatle in 1969 though he never formally joined the group) collaborating heavily with both men. He’s now released his first proper album of original compositions, Some Cold Rock Stuf, on Stones Throw. He talked to us about the new record, the recording process, his thoughts the digital revolution in music, on Serato and its effect on DJ-ing and a few other things. I’m really hoping at some point in the future he’ll be able to come in to spin more, maybe one day we can convince him to do a show at KPFK…Enjoy the set and the interview!

Guest DJ Set from J-Rocc on KPFK’s Melting Pot
J-Rocc Interview on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 04-22-2011

Madlib – Untitled Beat
Oh No – Untitled Beat
Ol Dirty Bastard – Shimmy Shimmy Ya
J Dilla – Take Notice
Kanye West – Get Em High
Erykah Badu – The Healer
Bobby Hutcherson – Montara
J.Rocc – Stay Fresh
Sleep Walker – Wind Edit
Georgia Anne Muldrow – How Would You Feel?
Taylor McFerrin – Awake To You

Since I spent last month’s all vinyl affair reminiscing about the past and playing records from the Barnes family collection, I wasn’t able to play a bunch of stuff that I’d picked up during one of my rare vinyl splurges. You hear a number of those records, a few of which have already found their way here in the Dig Deep section, during the first hour of the program. Mix was totally freeform, just knew I wanted to start with Axelrod & the Prunes doing “Gloria” since it was Easter. In the second hour, we had a truly special treat, a guest DJ set from J-Rocc of the World Famous Beat Junkies! He came into the KPFK studios to do this interview just before leaving to go overseas and it was really cool to chat him up and to hear this mix (here’s a link to just that guest set & interview). I had a little issue with the recording technology again, so the final break of the show is M.I.A., which is a shame cause it means you miss a mini-tribute to New Orleans and one of my favorite TV shows, Treme, which had it’s second season start on Sunday. Enjoy the show, next week there’s a possibility that I’ll be out of town, but I still might make a surprise appearance if an interview/performance materializes as expected.

Melting Pot on KPFK #41: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #41: Second Hour

Playlist: 4-24-2011

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

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The Electric Prunes – Gloria – Mass In F Minor (Reprise)
US Apple Corps – Get High On Jesus – Let The Music Take Your Mind (Plantation)
James Brown – Bob Scoward – Sho Is Funky Down Here (King)
Mirtha y Raul – El Gran Sol Como Testigo Se Quedo – Mirtha y Raul (Arieto)
The Sound Foundation – Bruised – The Sound Foundation (Smobro)
Freddie Roach – Prince Street – My People (Prestige)

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Lee Morgan – Sixth Sense – Sixth Sense (Blue Note)
Elis Regina – Canto De Ossanha – Como E Porque (Philips)
Puff – I Sure Need You – Puff (MGM)

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Vivian Girls – Trying To Pretend – Share The Joy (Polyvinyl)
Asha Bhonsle & Suresh Wadkar – Yeh Hawa Yey Fiza – Sadma: Original Soundtrack (CBS)
The Amboy Dukes – Curb Your Elephant – Journeys & Migrations (Mainstream)
O Som Livre – Bia Bia Beatriz – O Cafona: Original Soundtrack (Som Livre)
Booker T & the MGs – L.A. Jazz Song – Melting Pot (Stax)

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J.Rocc Guest DJ Set & Interview

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J.Rocc – Play This (Also) – Some Cold Rock Stuf (Stones Throw)
Ernie K. Doe – Fly Away With Me – Ernie K. Doe (Janus)
Irma Thomas – I Done Got Over – Irma Thomas Sings (Change)

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{closing theme} Smokey Johnson – It Ain’t My Fault – 7” (NOLA)

The Sons – You Can Fly
The Sons – Love Of A Woman
The Sons – Boomp Boomp Chop

The Sons were a group out of the Bay Area, better known as the Sons of Champlin, after lead singer Bill Champlin. Like their contemporaries Chicago and Blood Sweat & Tears, the band played a mix of rock, soul and jazz, heavy on the horns. The group never really hit the big time, but musically they were pretty solid, particularly prior to 1970, when this their second record was released and just before the band parted ways briefly. In a lot of cases with records from this period, extended jams get boring real quick, but in this case, the extended songs are the best songs on the album.

“Boom Boom Chop” is a track that was included on a Blue Note Break beat compilations at the tail end of the 1990s. Seeing that song on this record was the main reason I got it the first time around, which was probably around 2000 or 2001. But my thinking was more along the lines of “I wonder what else is on here” since I wasn’t particularly enamored with “Boomp Boomp Chop.” When I’d first heard that track, I either didn’t have the patience or the ears for the break. I appreciate the song much more now. It’s got a very particular Bay Area vibe to it, even if The Sons didn’t sound like most Bay area rock bands.

On the other hand, “You Can Fly” has always been one of my favorite tracks, the clean break at the beginning is a no-brainer, but the rest of the song is mighty tight too, with its trademark 1960s “Open the door, and let your soul through” hippie uplift lyrics and really crisp horn lines. I especially like the little interlude in the middle of the song, where things slow down seriously, as the singer tells the listener “You Can Flyyyyy…Go!” and the band starts to build and increase the tempo until they return to original theme of the song.

“Love Of A Woman” actually leads off the album and like the other two songs here, it moves around all over the musical map, from the somewhat pastoral folk-rocky opening to uplifting horns to a bit of the blues and back to a bit pastoralness before basically blending it all together. Though I’ve seen copies of the debut “Loosen Up Naturally” I’ve never picked up a copy of it, though given the fact it has a 14 minute song titled “Freedom” it’s likely in a very similar vein.



Lake – Giving & Receiving

LAKE hail from Olympia, Washington, a town that is quite well known in indie circles for producing what now are considered classic bands from 1990s, including Sleater-Kinney, Unwound, Team Dresch and even Nirvana. You’d think hard rockin’ would just be in the blood of Olympia youth, but LAKE takes a different approach, even though they are signed to legendary indie record label K. LAKE’s sound is nothing like those bands or what we usually associate with indie rock/pop in the states. The band eschews rock more or less all together and seems more in line with modern/post modern soul similar to a band like The Whitest Boy Alive. In truth I haven’t heard much of their prior releases so I can’t compare how their sound has developed, but in bits and pieces on this record they definitely mine some serious gold, especially when Ashley Eriksson is singing. Eriksson has a bit of Victoria Bergsman, maybe a bit of Laetitia Sadier in her vocals, though they remain distinctive in her phrasing and accent.

While there are several rather lovely tracks on this album, “Giving & Receiving” is one of the best, not just on this album, but that I’ve heard off of any album all year (I’m always fascinated in how quickly I know a great song when I hear it…after one listen I was absolutely sure that this would be in my year end list of Best of 2011). It has a very early summer, lazy slightly hazy sunday afternoon vibe with its slower than mid-tempo, but still not that slow and soulful beat. Eriksson’s vocals caress the listener with their sweetness, even though lyrically the song seems to point toward a more downbeat mood. I especially like the moment at the literal half point of the song, just before the tempo change that accompanies the “There used to be fish in the Ocean” lyrics, with all those layers of keyboards, subtle notes from the horns and Eriksson’s just slight humming in the background. Just plain gorgeous.

Nice show this Sunday, lots of new tunes, including Shugo Tokumaru, Bing Ji Ling, a Record Store Day track from Shawn Lee, J-Rocc, Brave Irene, Femi Kuti, Lake, Vivian Girls and more. In the first set there’s a track from a very interesting collection of religious music from Ghana, I Have My Liberty!, just click this link to find out more about it. Also finally got a copy of Now-Again’s fantastic collection of Indonesian Psych-Funk…Enjoy, we’re all on vinyl next week, perhaps with a special guest.

Melting Pot on KPFK #40: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #40: Second Hour

Playlist: 4-17-2011
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Shawn Lee’s Incredible Tabla Band – Apache – Save The Music (Ubiquity)
Ray Camacho Group – Si Se Puede – Salsa Chicana (Luna)
Go! Team – T.O.R.N.A.D.O. – Rolling Blackouts (Memphis Industries)
J-Rocc – Too Many Clowns – Some Cold Rock Stuff (Stones Throw)
Divine Healer’s Church at Nima – Onyame Ba – I Have My Liberty! (IHAVEMYLIBERTY.BANDCAMP.COM)

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Shugo Tokumaru – Drive-Thru – Port Entropy (Polyvinyl)
Brave Irene – Campfire – Brave Irene (Slumberland)
Brim – Anti Gandja – Those Shocking, Shaking Days: Indonesian Hard, Psychedelic, Progressive Rock and Funk 1970-1978 (Now-Again)
Del The Funky Homosapien – Break The Bank – Golden Era (The Council)
Nostalgia 77 – When Love Is Strange – Sleepwalking Society (Tru Thoughts)

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Femi Kuti – Can’t Buy Me – Africa For Africa (Knitting Factory)
Zion I & the Grouch – Leader – Heroes In The Healing Of The Nation (Self-Released)
Love Inks – Down & Out – E.S.P. (City Slang)
Mogwai – How To Be A Werewolf – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (Sub Pop)
Lake – The Bird & the Berry – Giving & Receiving (K Records)

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Sides Dishes for April 2011 featuring Oliver Wang of Soul-Sides.Com

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Bing Ji Ling – Hypnotized – Shadow To Shine (Tummy Touch)
Donald Byrd – Blackjack – Blackjack (Blue Note)
Baloji feat. Amp Fiddler – Nazongi Ndako – Kinshasa Succursale (Kraked)
Ceu – Cordao Da Insonia – Vagarosa (Six Degrees)

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Hunx & his Punx – Too Young To Be In Love – To Young To Be In Love (Hardly Art)
Vivian Girls – Take It As It Comes – Share The Joy (Polyvinyl)
Richard Hell & his Voidoids – The Plan – Blank Generation (Sire)
Matthew Sweet – Someone To Pull The Trigger – Altered Beast (Zoo)
Kelly Hogan – I’ll Go To My Grave Loving You – Because It Feel Good (Bloodshot)

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

After months without any giveaways, we have two in the same week, in addition to Go! Team tickets I posted about earlier, I also have some tickets to see LA’s very own Dengue Fever! This show at the venerable Troubadour is a record release party for their latest release Cannibal Courtship which will be released the same day. If you want to go to the show, send an e-mail to michael[at] (you can also just click the little icon under my picture on the front page) by 5pm on Monday April 18th!

Just in case you need a reminder of just how powerful Dengue Fever can be, here’s some video of them performing live on Later with Jools Holland!!!

Freddie Roach – My People (Soul People)
Freddie Roach – Mas Que Nada
Freddie Roach – Prince Street

Here on record store day it makes good sense to post up something bought in a local independent record store. Action Records, sometimes also known as As The Record Turns, is a largely hidden gem of a record store tucked away in Hollywood, actually literally on Hollywood Blvd. The handful of times I’ve been there’s always been records that I’ve never seen before just casually hanging out all over the place. Kevin the owner knows the quality and worth of his records and the price for many of them surely gives average record buyers sticker shock, but there are good deals to be made here just not jackpot deals, more like you get a $100 record for $50. Two things I especially like about Kevin and this store. One, sometimes the really expensive price tag on the record cut down to 1/2, and two, sometimes after you buy some records he’ll just throw in some additional records. In fact everytime I have gone, some of the records I wanted to buy but didn’t have enough money for ended up coming home with me because of magnanimity of the owner (as I mentioned here with the LP from Arnold Bean, this record was better than the ones I paid money for!).

This record from Freddie Roach was not one of those freebies, it was a record that I got significantly less than the price tag and is an example of the quality of material at this store. Freddie Roach didn’t make to much of a splash in an organ field dominated by Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Shirley Scott, Groove Holmes and others, but he was a player with great great feeling, and is maybe my favorite out of that bunch.

My People was one of Roach’s last records for Prestige (he’d also cut some thoroughly enjoyable records on Blue Note), which is really unfortunate because it is recorded just as things get funky and I would have loved to have gotten more music from Freddie Roach out of that period of time.   We do get a little bit of that soulful funky jazz here, especially in the opener, “Prince Street,” a track dedicated to what Roach describes as the “soul center” of Newark, N.J., and on “I’m On My Way”.  There’s also a bit of funk in one of the better versions of “Mas Que Nada” that I’ve heard.  I like especially Eddie Wright’s guitar on this piece, it should seem a bit out of place, but it amps up grittier elements that aren’t normally hanging around this classic track. 

The most interesting song is the title track, “My People (Soul People),” which is a mostly standard blues, but features Freddie Roach doing some spoken word bits and singing with great soul. It’s a great example of the rising tide of black consciousness that was starting to find it’s expression more and more in African-American music in the 1960s.  Roach takes things a step further with the liner notes, where he lays out a surprising deconstruction (at least on a jazz album’s liner notes in 1967) of the word “Freedom” link true freedom to economic self-determination.  

Sounds like Brother Roach could have been teaching Sociology classes!  Unfortunately, this was more or less his last album, his career never really took off, and I don’t know if anyone has written much about what happened to Freddie Roach in the years since.  Perhaps I’ll have to figure that story out, but for now, we have the music…music that I wouldn’t have and you wouldn’t get a chance to listen to without independent record stores, so please SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL INDEPENDENT RECORD STORES!!!



Has it really been over 4 months since we did a giveaway????!??!?! Now that the weather is heating up (just in time to literally melt people’s faces at Coachella), great shows are coming back so hopefully we’ll get more giveaways on the regular here at Melting Pot. Today I have two giveaways for you, (just above is one for Dengue Fever!) both for shows on April 19th. The Go! Team is a big group (7 or 8 members) from the UK with a big big sound, equal parts indie rock, Hip-Hop and schoolyard chants. They’ll swinging into the Echoplex April 19th for a body rocking good time. They even have a limited edition vinyl release for Record Store Day (which is today! Support Local Record Stores!!!) of their song Apollo Throwdown. If you want to go to the show, send an e-mail to michael[at] (you can also just click the little icon under my picture on the front page) by 5pm on Monday April 18th!

Here’s just a taste of what’s in store if you win the tickets:

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