Classic Melting Pot

The Dirty Three – Rising Below

Seems fitting to do this post on Leap Year day, since it’s been just about as rare to have new music from Australia’s the Dirty Three. For the past couple of months I’ve been dying to post something about this new LP, waiting for the release date to finally come. It’s been quite a long time since the last album, Cinder, was released, but the band is back with Toward The Low Sun out now on Drag City. Still comprised of founding members, Jim White, Mick Turner and Warren Ellis, the band doesn’t necessarily stride into any new territory, but they certainly don’t need to. When you have a sound as emotionally deep and perfect as this, all you need to do is turn on the microphones and record. Thankfully the band is back together and playing with renewed vigor, touring their native lands and making trips to a variety of festivals. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they make their way here to LA and into our studios for a interview and performance!

Yet another legendary performer gracing us here in Los Angeles, Roky Erickson, founder of one of the greatest garage bands of all time, the 13th Floor Elevators, will be in town March 1st performing at the El Rey theatre. I actually have SEVERAL pairs for this show, so if you and a group of friends want to go, courtesy of Melting Pot, make sure to e-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 5pm on Wednesday for your chance to win tickets to see Roky Erickson!

Here’s the classic from the 13th Floor Elevators, quite possibly the best 1960s garage song of all time, “You’re Gonna Miss Me”…always blows my mind, when I see clips like this, just how amazing 1960s TV actually was:

As amazing as “You’re Gonna Miss Me” is, I think I dig this track even more from the band, especially because of just how crazy that electric jug sounds on this track:

Now, here’s an example of what the man sounds like today, with still quite a lot of fire on one of his signature tunes, “Two Headed Dog”!

Michael Davis, bassist for one of my all-time favorite bands, The MC5, passed away last week from liver disease.  Given the fact that so much of the attention on the Motor City boys was on guitarists Wayne Kramer and Sonic Smith, or on vocalist Rob Tyner, it might be easy to forget just how important the rhythm section was to one of the most influential Rock’n’Roll outfits of all time…Here are just a few reminders.  Expect to hear several of these when Melting Pot returns to the KPFK airwaves on March 4th.

“Future/Now”

One of the few times where Davis’ bass leads off the tune, and it really sets the tone for one of the MC5’s toughest grooves:

“Over & Over”

Another track from the band’s final record High Times, and another song where Davis’ bass features prominently in the mix and the sound:

“I Believe To My Soul”

Recorded live at the Grande Ballroom in 1968, with Davis’ fuzzed out bass much more prominently featured in the mix than on the Elektra album…this is probably how the band should have sounded on their debut.

Make Love Not War
Pot Party
The Gay Teenager

Based on how much I absolutely love the Hell’s Belles soundtrack, I have a habit of picking up soundtrack material on Sidewalk. Mike Curb (who now has an entire school named after him at CSU-Northridge) was the guiding force behind alot of this music and the associated films. This particular soundtrack features what sounds like Davie Allan & the Arrows, just based off of the heavy levels of fuzz in many of the instrumentals. Though I dig the theme song with the lyrics, I think I like the instrumental version “Make Love Not War” even more, something about the organ and the fuzz guitar together does give it a certain manic, riot kind of feel. Most of the 2nd side of the album sounds as if it’s lifted from the film itself, with a droll thoroughly un-hip announcer warning the audience about the dangers of the “Pot Party,” or “The Gay Teenager.” These ideas would be pretty laughable, if not for the fact that I could totally see a guy like Rick Santorum cutting this if it had been recorded in 2012.

Cheers,

Michael

p.s. While I’ve never been able to track down the film, and don’t know if it’s even in print, there is a trailer, which rolls out almost exactly how you’d think it would:

Part of the Daptone family and featuring members from their esteemed groups, The Budos Band plays a funky instrumental brand of African inspired psychedelic spooky funk. As you’d expect from Daptone, their sound is meant to move and groove and they’ll be doing just that here in Los Angeles this Friday at the Echoplex where they’ll be performing live. If you’d like to go courtesy of Melting Pot, e-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 12noon Thursday (as in Tomorrow!) for a chance to win tickets!

Here’s a rather slick Spaghetti Western style music video for their song “Unbroken, Unshaven” that gives you a sense of their style and what you’re in for on Friday night!

Baloji feat. Blitz the Ambassador, Joya Mooi & Freddy Massamba – Indépendance Cha-Cha (Remix)

Intrepid listeners may recall me raving about this album from Congolese singer/MC Baloji last year. It was released overseas in 2010, but it’s FINALLY getting a stateside release this year, with different packaging and a few remixes. Seems like there’s a good chance there will be additional remixes to follow later in the year, but for now, this VERY different version of “Independence Cha-Cha” will tide us over until we get some proper new music from one of the most exciting African artists in quite some time.

…Just so you can see exactly how different this remix is, here’s a smashingly good video for the original, also found on this album:

Art Don’t Sleep strikes again with the latest in their Homage series, this time with a monster bill featuring Venice Dawn and William Hart of the Delfonics starting off the night, the legendary DJ Spinna on the decks and the mighty Hypnotic Brass Ensemble with Kelan Phil Cohran, all performing live at Exchange LA this Thursday, Feb. 23rd! Local cats will be spinning on this night too, including Expo, Rani D, Anthony Valadez and Seano. Be sure to peep Expo’s exceptional HBE mix right here. This is NOT a night you want to miss…you can go courtesy of Melting Pot if you win these tickets, make sure to e-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com before 12noon on Wednesday to get your chance to win!!!

Here’s a teaser of HBE with Phil Cohran, “Black Boy” gives us a sense of what the upcoming collaboration between father and sons will sound like:

“War” remains my favorite track from Hypnotic, still one of the best things I’ve heard in the 21st century:

Here’s the first video from Something About April, for “Lovely Lady” featuring Dennis Coffey on guitar, and surely a bit of what to expect when William Hart of the Delfonics performs with Venice Dawn:

Here’s a little tour of DJ Spinna’s studio and record collection from the man himself:

And a little taste of his work on the 1s and 2s:

Round two of this Winter fund-drive was today on Melting Pot, many thanks to everyone who supported the show and KPFK this time around! I’ll be choosing a winner for the big sweepstakes in the coming weeks as the fundraiser comes to an end. We won’t be on the air next Sunday, so until then, I hope you enjoy the sounds, and if you happen to pledge online (via the kpfk website) be sure to let me know that you did so, so I can include you in the “Best of 2011” sweepstakes! See you in a couple weeks on the air and again, thank you to Morgan Rhodes for coming in to pitch with me and big thanks to all of who support KPFK and allow for me to produce this show on it’s airwaves!

Melting Pot on KPFK #76: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #76: Second Hour

Duke Pearson – The Phantom
Duke Pearson – Say You’re Mine
Duke Pearson – The Moana Surf

This was another discovery over at Adrian Younge’s ArtForm Studio. Part of what drives many DJs to dig in the crates is the chance that they’ll find something especially cool that they’ve never seen or heard before. That feeling of discovery is one of the reasons DJs dig and dig and dig deeper as their collections and knowledge expand. At this point in the game, after almost 20 years of digging for vinyl, it’s pretty rare that I get surprised with material from a label as well known as Blue Note. In all that time however I’d never run into this LP from Duke Pearson. So I had the initial shock of not recognizing the cover and then a bit of double shock once I put the needle on the title track of this record, “The Phantom.”

The Phantom is a slinky bit of dark soulful jazz, with a sly groove that hits right from the beginning courtesy of the rhythm section featuring Bob Cranshaw and Mickey Roker. Things largely stay in the pocket throughout it’s entire 10 minutes, with solos from Pearson and Bobby Hutcherson as well as bits of flute floating in from time to time, but it’s the subtle peaks and valleys that happen throughout that build a bit of tension without altering the rhythm. Not sure how I’ve managed to never come across this one over the years, but I’m seriously glad I’ve got a copy now.

Many of the other songs seem to be based on other compositions, even though the Nat Hentoff penned liner notes don’t mention other people’s work as inspiration. “Bunda Amerela” has “Take The A-Train” all over it, but the Brazilian style perhaps obscures it enough for some. “Say You’re Mine” leads off like an alternate version of “Cantaloupe Island” before going in some different places, all with a very rainy day kind of vibe. “The Moana Surf” reminds me quite a lot of several songs from Baden Powell at the start and features a nice percussion breakdown with Roker and congalero Potato Valdez. It would have been interesting to have had a conversation with Pearson about Sampling especially on this album, but alas that will only happen in my dreams, which is pretty much where beautiful music like this belongs.

Cheers,

Michael

Ray Barretto – Cocinando

All week long my wife and I have been listening to these classic recordings from the Fania All Stars. Originally released on two separate “Live At the Cheetah” LPs, the music is collected together along with the DVD of the film Our Latin Thing (Nuestra Cosa). I’d seen bits and pieces of the film over the years, but never got a chance to see the whole thing until this set arrived just ahead of our fundraiser. It’s a really fascinating document, less a concert movie than almost stream of consciousness film-making. Though the performances are what draw you in, it’s the scenes on the streets of New York that stick with you, whether it’s the street party featuring Larry Harlow’s Orchestra, Ray Barretto yelling out “Tamarindo” as he gets a tasty treat and even serves some up, A santeria ritual, or just regular folk singing and dancing with mountains of style. Definitely one of the highlights of my current fundraiser package. On this 40th Anniversary edition they include a couple of bonus tracks, including Ray Barretto’s “Cocinando” the mid-tempo latin groover that starts off the film…speaking of which, if you’ve never seen the film, here’s a taste of how everything begins:

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