Classic Melting Pot

Even without a show today, I still get a chance to give some treats just ahead of Halloween. This is the second of two giveaways for this week, this time I have a pair of tickets available for All female Indie-Rock Supergroup Wild Flag, featuring Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney and Mary Timony of Helium. These women love to jump around, have fun and rock the house and you could be there if you win tickets! All you have to do is e-mail by 12noon on Tuesday November 1st to michael[at]meltingpotblog.com to get a chance to win for either show!

There’s no Melting Pot on KPFK today, but I still have some treats for you, this is the first of two giveaways for shows this week in LA. Electro-indie darlings tUne-yArDs and one of LA’s best DJs Mr. Cut Chemist perform live at the Music Box on November 2nd…I actually have a few pairs of these, so if you (or some of your friends too) would like to go courtesy of Melting Pot, make sure you send me an e-mail to michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 12noon on Tuesday November 1st!!!

tUne-yArDs – Bizness

Cut Chemist – Sound of the Police (Live at Amoeba)

David Porter – Pretty Inside
David Porter – Storm In The Summertime
David Porter – I’m Afraid The Masquerade Is Over

Tracked down a copy of this in August, at a local record show that was going on just before my birthday. I think I was literally the last person to show up with most of the vendors having already packed up, and the rest starting to pack up. Kevin from Action Records had a spot there and was extra willing to make deals at the end of the day. This was a record I’d been looking for a solid copy of for quite some time and I was more than happy with where the price ended up given the time of day. Sometimes it seems, the late bird gets the worm too.

Most people know this record because of an absolutely monster of song, “I’m Afraid The Masquerade Is Over,” which has been sampled in some classic ways by a host of producers in Hip-Hop. The LP is also notable as a rare “Soul Opera,” a concept album that plays out with dialogue between each track and each song telling story that fits where the “Opera” is at.

The basic story is as follows, at a surprise birthday party thrown for David, he meets a girl, Shirley, who’s dating a friend of his. Against the wishes of his other friends he begins a relationship with this girl, leading to her boyfriend and his friends beating him up. Later as Dave tries to mend his wounds and his broken heart, the woman tells him that she’s leaving, but even though things are over, he can’t get this woman out of his mind. His friend attempts to take him to the beach for a beach party (which includes some unfortunate homophobia), but David can’t forget Shirley, eventually he discovers that she’s moved to Philly and, with his friend’s help, he appears to be on his way, I say appears because unfortunately we don’t really discover what happens. “Airplane Ticket, Bus Ride, Can I Borrow Your Car?” closes out the record but leaves things open as to whether David and Shirley actually get back together. I suspect Porter believed he’d be able to continue the story on his next record, but I also imagine that this record couldn’t have been very popular when it was released and any plans for a true follow-up must have been dashed.

The project for me is marred by the very elements that make it unique, the story telling segments that accompany each track. First off, the woman who is playing Shirley is clearly reading her lines, she has no rhythm to her lines and she doesn’t get into her role the way David gets into his lines, especially on the rap in the restaurant that begins “Pretty Inside.” I’m actually not sure why the album is even called Victim of a Joke, no one is joking with Porter on this record, unless he thinks falling in love is a joke. Perplexing…

There’s nothing perplexing at all about the music, in addition to “Masquerade,” this record includes a couple of Porter’s better songs, especially “Strom In The Summertime.” It also features a really amazing sound, especially the way the horns are captured. I’m not sure if Porter is responsible for that, or if we should thank the incomparable Dale Warren of 24-Carat Black fame. I lean towards Warren.

If the album had been released as a standard LP, without the serio-drama elements, I think it could have been a winner for Porter, especially if they’d released “Masquerade” as a two-part single. Posting this record, I find it funny how things seem to make more sense changing up the order here with Pretty Inside then to Storm to Masquerade…If the album had just been these three songs it would be one of my favorites of all time, or at least one of my favorite Soul album sides of all-time.

Cheers,

Michael

Holy Cow! It’s been a week since my last post and a week since our fundraising special. All apologies but I’ve been massively busy, with all my classes at CSU-Long Beach and this semester teaching a new class at UCLA Extension. I’ll get on track this week with posts, and next week we’ll be back on the air on KPFK raising funds on the final day of this fall Pledge Drive!

Melting Pot on KPFK #61: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #61: Second Hour

Playlist: 10-16-2011
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Ocote Soul Sounds – Speak Truth To Power – Taurus (ESL)
Quantic Soul Orcehstra feat. Spanky Wilson – I’m Thankful – Best of Quantic (Tru Thoughts)
Charles “Packy” Axton – Out of Control – Late Late Party 1965-1967 (Light In The Attic)
DJ Shadow – Run For Your Life – The Less You Know, The Better (Verve)

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Phonte feat. Evidence and Big K.R.I.T. – The Life Of Kings – Charity Starts At Home (Foreign Exchange Music)
Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg – Le Chanson De Slogan – Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg (1969) (Light In The Attic)
Tinariwen – Aden Osamnat – Tassili (Anti)
Boogaloo Assassins – No No No – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)

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Jimi Hendrix Experience – Fire/Lover Man/Sunshine Of Your Love – Winterland Box Set (Sony Legacy)

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Mike & the Censations – Victim of Circumstance – Don’t Sell Your Soul (Ubiquity/Luv‘N’Haight)
Mike & the Censations – Don’t Sell Your Soul – Don’t Sell Your Soul (Ubiquity/Luv‘N’Haight)
Mike James Kirkland – You’re Gonna Share Your Love – Don’t Sell Your Soul (Ubiquity/Luv‘N’Haight)
Mike James Kirkland – Hang On In There – Don’t Sell Your Soul (Ubiquity/Luv‘N’Haight)

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Wanda Jackson – Like A Baby – The Party Ain’t Over (Third Man)
Best Coast – Summer Mood – Crazy For You (Mexican Summer)
The Neville Bros. feat. Aaron Neville – Tell It Like It Is – The Big Easy: Original Soundtrack (Island)

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Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced? – Winterland Box Set (Sony Legacy)

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

It’s fundraiser time once again at KPFK and Melting Pot is going to be doing it’s part this weekend, Sunday October 23rd!!! It’s likely we’ll only be on for one week this fundraiser, so if you’re a fan of the show and can support the station that puts us on the air please support independent community radio!!!

This is probably the most excited I’ve been ahead of a fundraiser because the music I have for you guys is so spectacular. First off, we have an amazing 4 pack (really 5 pack) of CDs available at $125 to new KPFK subscribers, including the following:

Phonte – Charity Starts At Home
Ocote Soul Sounds – Taurus
Charles “Packy” Axton – Late Late Party 1965-1967
Michael James Kirkland – Don’t Sell Your Soul (2CD)

During my two hours only, I’ll also have a special limited (only 10 available) bonus 4 pack of CDs that you’ll be able to get as an add-on if you pledge $100 or more. You could transform the 4 pack into an 8 pack for the exact same price (and getting these 8 CDs for $125 is LESS than it would cost to buy them!) Included in the bonus pack are the following CDs:

DJ Shadow – The Less You Know, The Better
Dum Dum Girls – Only In Dreams
AM & Shawn Lee – Celestial Electric
Quantic – The Best Of Quantic (2CD)

We’ll have some amazing tickets to incredible shows as well, as add-on’s for pledges of $100 or more:

Tinariwen @ the Luckman Fine Arts Complex October 29th
Jane Birkin @ the Luckman Fine Arts Complex December 3rd
Aaron Neville @ the Luckman Fine Arts Complex December 17th
Wanda Jackson + Best Coast @ Club Nokia December 31st/New Year’s Eve

Finally, every person who donates on my show will be entered into a sweepstakes to win a copy of the recently released Jimi Hendrix Experience – Winterland 4 CD Boxset!!!

This is the Experience at the height of their powers, in 1968, recorded live in san Francisco and the set is amazing. Back in the 1980s they issued just a one-disc version of these concerts, but this includes almost 5 hours of material + a rare interview with Jimi Hendrix and a beautiful 36 page booklet. If you give $1 or $1,000 you’ll have a chance at winning this amazing box set, but you’ll have to donate during Melting Pot this Sunday from 4-6pm West Coast Time…tune in, tell a friend, spread the word and help support Melting Pot and radio powered by the people, KPFK Los Angeles!!!

Evidence feat. Slug and Aesop Rock – Late For The Sky

For most of the year, in private conversation, I’ve been bemoaning the lack of quality Hip-Hop. The first several months passed by with very few releases that I would consider even giving a single spin on Melting Pot. Now, just in the last month, we’ve gotten brand new records from 9th Wonder, Phonte Coleman, People Under The Stairs and this solid LP from Evidence. On “Late For The Sky” he’s matched with Slug from Atmosphere and Aesop Rock and a nice slower tempo track with soulful vocals and suddenly 2011 looks like a pretty fantastic year for independent minded Hip-Hop.

One of most entertaining and inventive DJs of all time, performing live here in LA at the Music Box Sunday, October 23rd!!! If you want a chance to win tickets e-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 5pm Friday!!!

Here’s a pretty cool video where Shadow talks about his brand new album, The Less You Know…The Better:

One of the most beautiful albums of all time, Talk Talk's 1991 masterpiece...Laughing Stock

This Sunday, in addition to an hour of regular programming that featured new music from Real Estate, DJ Shadow, Cooly G, Phonte, Evidence, Dum Dum Girls and more, I paid tribute to one of my absolute favorite albums and artists of all-time, 1991’s Laughing Stock by Mark Hollis and Talk Talk.  I cannot express fully how thankful I am to have a show where I can pay tribute to one of the most amazing pieces of music I’ve ever known.  When I was at KCRW in 2008 I was able to pay tribute to this album’s predecessor Spirit of Eden, by playing a track on each day of my weekly online show.  I’d always wished that I’d played the whole album start to finish.  KPFK is probably one of only a handful of stations that I would have been able to do a tribute like this because of the great freedom we have as programmers and so I am overjoyed to share this entire album with listeners of Melting Pot and also an edited version of a rare interview with Mark Hollis in 1991.  Contrary to my expectations, he is very open about the process behind the album, clearly excited about the recording and most unexpectedly he namechecks multiple artists, Arthur Lee & Love’s Forever Changes, Roland Kirk, Can’s Tago Mago, John Coltrane and Duke Ellington’s “In A Sentimental Mood” and Bob Dylan’s New Morning, that would all rank as some of my favorite all time music.  Listening to this album at KPFK, on probably the loudest speakers I’ve ever been able to use, brought a number of aural surprises that after 13+ years listening to this album (I’ve literally heard it hundreds upon hundreds of times), I’d highly suggest listening to the album as loud as you can, on the best headphones you can find.

If you want to learn more, here are a couple of links to articles that talk in depth about this fascinating album…

After The Flood: Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock 20 Years On by Wyndham Wallace

Tape Op article with producer Phill Brown, discussing the production of Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock

If you’ve never heard this album before this show, I sincerely hope you enjoyed this.  If you’re already familiar with this album, I hope that you heard something new in hearing it this way and found all new reasons to fall in love with it again.  No matter what I do hope you listened to this magnificent work of beauty.  Thank you Mark Hollis and Talk Talk for all the work you put into recording this album.

Melting Pot on KPFK #60: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #60: Second Hour

Playlist: 10-16-2011
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – 7” (Stax)

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DJ Shadow – Stay The Course – The Less You Know The Better (Verve)
Kamal Ahmed feat. Noor Jerhan – Jawani Meri Bijili – Life Is Dance (Finders Keepers)
Cooly G. feat. Karizma – It’s Serious – 12” (Hyperdub)
Phenomenal Hand Clap Band – Following – Form & Control (Tummy Touch)
Evidence feat. Aloe Blacc – The Liner Notes – Cats & Dogs (Rhymesayers)
Jean-Claude Vannier – La Girafe Au Ballon – Electro Rapide (Finders Keepers)

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El Rego – Achuta – El Rego (Daptone)
Dum Dum Girls – Heartbeat – Only In Dreams (Sub Pop)
Real Estate – Municipality – Days (Domino)
Mike & the Censations – Split Personality – Don’t Sell Your Soul (Ubiquity)
People Under The Stairs – Selfish Destruction – Highlighter (Piecelock 70)
Charles Packy Axton – Stone Fox – Late Late Party (Light In The Attic)

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Astrobal – Malaise En Malaise – Poetry & Science Fiction (Plug Research)
Shabazz Palaces – Endeavors For Never – Black Up (Sub Pop)
Icebird – Wander – The Abandoned Lullaby (RJ’s Electrical Connections)
Arthur Verocai – Caboclo (Mario C. & Joey A. Remix) – Timeless Remixed EP (Mochilla)
Phonte feat. Pharoah Monche – We Go Off – Charity Starts At Home (Foreign Exchange)

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Mark Hollis – Mark Hollis Talks About Laughing Stock (Verve)

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Talk Talk – Laughing Stock (Verve/Polydor/BaDaBing)

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

Dizzy Gillespie – Gettin’ Down
Dizzy Gillespie – Slew Foot
Dizzy Gillespie – Azure Blue

I’m not sure who is responsible for this, but for whatever reason this album is not what it seems. Even though there is crowd noise and the notes would have you believe that this is a live album, ALL of the recordings in fact are from an earlier, very difficult to find, album from Dizzy called Soul & Salvation. I’ve seen another similar LP, out of Japan, but I don’t know what the deal is with this…I hope that Dizzy (or his heirs) knew about this and were able to get their proper royalties. As it stands, it’s a very cheap alternative to a super super rare LP, but still just as enjoyable.

Cheers,

Michael

Don Gere – Werewolves On Wheels (Main Theme)

Sometimes the soundtacks that labels like Finders Keepers digs up seem like pseudo-soundtracks for movies that don’t exist (like the Blood’s Haul soundtrack that Connie Price and the Keystones did a few years ago). I mean, how is it possible that someone actually decided to combine Biker movies with Werewolf movies AND Satanic Cult movies!!! It seems unbelievable, but such is the wonder that is 1970s exploitation grindhouse cinema. Don Gere’s music for this film evokes as special kind of atmosphere that some how manages to blend in all those disparate elements in a cohesive sound. This is especially true on the main theme, the longest cut on the album, with it’s droney acoustic guitar lines and minimal percussion. The song seems like it’s going somewhere and nowhere at exactly the same time, kind of like being on the open road, until the realtive peace and tranquility is offset unexpectedly about halfway by a sudden rush of fuzzy guitar, almost as if another song has just broken in and broken out. Heavy heavy trip, just like this movie, which strangely enough is actually available in it’s entirety on Youtube and despite it’s grindhouse beginnings has some of the most unsettling and memorable footage you’ll ever see in 1970s genre film.

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