Classic Melting Pot

Been a fan from afar of the work of DJ Boss Harmony, particularly through his many and varied nights DJ-ing in Los Angeles.  Currently he spins at Dub Club at the Echoplex on Wednesdays, Dr. Who at the Virgil on Thursdays, Punky Reggae at La Cita on Fridays, and also Saturdays at the Del Monte Speakeasy in Venice.  This past Sunday we had the pleasure of haivng Boss Harmz spin on our all vinyl end of the month edition Melting Pot. For his guest DJ set he took us on a tour (all on 45s no less) of each of signature nights, beginning with Dub Club with Lynval Thompson, U-Roy and Junior Soul then to Punky Reggae with choice post-punk from the Slits, PIL, and the Fall and closing things out were some out sounds to represent Dr. Who, including a French Pscyhe track from Pierre Henry that I’ll be obsessing over for the next 7 months at least.  Enjoy the sounds and check for the man and his records at the above venues.

Guest DJ Set from Boss Harmony on KPFK’s Melting Pot

End of the month and once again all on vinyl. Just judging from the calls we get on the show, it seems like these all-vinyl shows are far and away the ones that people respond the most too. It’s certainly fun for me to put together an interesting bag of records but purposely not plan the show and just see what develops in the mix. In the second hour we have nice long set from DJ Boss Harmony (separate post upcoming) where he takes on a little trip through his major events in LA, beginning with Dub Club, then to Punky Reggae and closing up with Dr. Who. As I mention at the end of the show, there’s a very good chance that I’ll be spinning records at the Virgil on Tuesday August 7th, if you enjoy these sounds, you’ll likely enjoy those too.

Melting Pot on KPFK #93: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #93: Second Hour

Playlist: 07-29-2012
{opening theme} Boris Gardiner – Melting Pot – Is What’s Happening (Dynamic)

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Los Canarios – She Brought The Blues (Into My Life) – Liberate (CFE)
Butterfield Blues Band – 1,000 Ways – Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smiling (Elektra)
The Illusion – Did You See Her Eyes? – The Illusion (Steed)
Billy Edd Wheeler – You Fight Your Fight, I’ll Fight Mine – Nashville Zodiac (United Artists)

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Tim Maia – New Love – Tim Maia (1973) (Polydor)
Rare Bird – What You Want To Know – As Your Mind Flies (ABC)
Chicano Batman – Itotiani – Chicano Batman (Club Unicorinio)
Grupo 2000 – El Destape A Los 2000 – El Destape (Masstropicas/Light In The Attic)

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Los Dinamicos – Canto Tropical – El Cacahuatero (Caytronics)
Perez Prado – Black Magnolia – El Fabuloso (Dimsa)
Sureshot Symphony Solutions – Half Man, Half Bionic – A Good Look EP (Self-Released)
Mount Rushmore – Toe Jam – ’69 (Dot)

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Boss Harmony – Guest DJ Set – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)

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{closing theme} The Corporation – India – The Corporation (Capitol)

Os Incriveis – Nao Resta Nem Ilusao
Os Incriveis – Nosso Trato
Os Incriveis – Perdi Voce

Picked this up several years ago from Mark at BAO (By Appointment Only) Records in San Diego. Being a fan of Brazilian music, I’m generally drawn to any 1960s or 1970s records from there, and the cover of this one definitely had the look. Based off of the title and song selection I expected some 60s pop sounds somewhere in between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. As I reached into the cover to pull out the LP to give it a listen, I noticed that something appeared to be missing. It looked as if someone had taken a bite out of the album. Since I know vinyl isn’t particularly nutritional, nor does it taste good, I figured somebody at some point just dropped the record and it cracked. Even though the first two songs on both sides were affected, I dug the rest so much I still took it home, with the hope to “Mint Up” later.

Still haven’t seen another copy of this record, so instead of waiting another two years I figured I’d just post it now. Os Incríveis were a rock group out of Sao Paulo, that recorded quite a bit, up until the mid-1970s. I haven’t heard much of their later material, but this music is very pop oriented but with a little bit of an edge, sometimes in the fuzzy guitar playing, sometimes in the organ or in the gritty sound of the saxophone. While the best track on the album, “Vai, Meu Bem” was ruined by the bite someone took out of the album, there were still quite a few nice rockin’ instrumentals including the Booker T & the MGs-ish “Perdi Voce” and the surf rockin’ sound of “Nao Resta Nem Ilusao.” While I’m still interested to hear other work from the band, they change their tone and style, often in the middle of the same song, a bit too much for my tastes overall, so most of the vocal tracks I don’t particularly care for. But when they stick with a sound, the results are very very nice.

Cheers,

Michael

Shintaro Sakamoto – My Memories Fade

This release arrived at my place a couple of weeks ago and just looking at the cover image, I was expecting some avant-garde style music, not having a clue who Shintaro Sakamoto was. For a long long time, he was a member of Japanese group, Yura Yura Teikoku, but even if I had listened to their largely retro-psych rock sounds, I still wouldn’t have been prepapred for this record, his debut as a solo artist. How To Live With A Phantom hasn’t left my mind in the last two weeks, with it’s breezy funk that evokes a bit of the 1970s and a bit more of the Acid Jazz infused 1990s. “My Memories Fade” is just one of the many tracks on this album you’ll be hearing quite a lot of on the radio show, with it’s slower groove, slide guitar and touches of organ. Don’t be surprised if this ends up being on of my favorite records of 2012.

As bonus here’s the video for another track on this album, the more upbeat “You Just Decided,” which I thought about posting but instead thought it better to include the video for the song (directed and illustrated by Sakamoto himself!) just because it is ever so very trippy:

Chicano Batman performs at KPFK

Our first return guests on Melting Pot were LA’s very own Chicano Batman. The first time they came in, they played all acoustic.  This time around the band played fully plugged in with new member, guitarist Carlos Arévalo. In the session they play slightly different versions of all four songs from their brand new EP Joven Navegante, plus one from their first album, the song “Itotiani,” which was specifically requested by my wife.

Psicodélico!!!

During the interview we talk about how Carlos joined the group, the differences between recording their first and second release, their recent kickstarter campaign to get Joven Navegante pressed on vinyl and upcoming shows for the band. This has really seemed like the summer of Chicano Batman, with brand new music and a ton of chances to see them live in the LA area, it really was a pleasure to have them return to Melting Pot. Big thanks to Stan Misraje for the sound and Jorge Avila at Qvole for setting things up. Enjoy the sounds!

Chicano Batman on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 7-16-2012

As we mentioned in the interview, there are a lot of chances to catch Chicano Batman live in LA in the coming months. Stay tuned to their homepage for updates on more shows:

July 28 – KCRW’s Chinatown Summer Nights w/ Anthony Valadez and Jeremy Sole
July 29 – The Mayan w/ Ondatropica, Buyepongo and Very Be Careful
August 2 – KPCC’s Between The Beats @ The Crawford Family Forum
August 9 – Made In LA @ the Hammer Museum w/ Anthony Valadez
August 10 – Amoeba Hollywood In-Store
August 30 – Bootleg Theater w/ The Boogaloo Assassins and Anthony Valadez

Decided to focus on the music this week, with so much else going on. First hour features a few newer things, mostly digging deeper into releases we’ve been playing for a bit, including the Can Box Set, Hypnotic Brass with Phil Cohran, Ondatropica, Echo Lake and Shintaro Sakamoto. Some totally new tracks out of Africa from Konkoma and Janka Nabay and some truly lovely material from The xx. In second hour we have a return engagement from Chicano Batman (separate post coming shortly) where they perform and discuss music from their latest release Joven Navegante. Next week it’s the end of the month and we’re all on vinyl.

Melting Pot on KPFK #92: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #92: Second Hour

Playlist: 7-22-2012
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – 7” (Stax)

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Kelan Phil Cohran & the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – Cuernavaca – Kelan Phil Cohran & the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (Honest Jon’s)
Anthony Valadez feat. Joya Mooi – Looking Backwards – Just Visiting (Plug Research)
Konkoma – Yoo eh – Konkoma (Soundway)
La Yegros – Viene De Mi – Future Sounds of Buenos Aires (Waxploitation)

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Can – Messer, Scissors, Fork and Light – The Lost Tapes (Mute/Spoon)
Janka Nabay & the Bubu Gang – Somebody – En Yay Sah (Luaka Bop)
The Ghetto Brothers – Ghetto Brothers Power – 7” (Truth & Soul)
Strong Arm Steady & Statik Selektah feat. Chace Infinite – Forever – Stereotype (Stones Throw)

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The xx – Angels – Coexist (XL)
Echo Lake – Swimmers – Wild Peace (Slumberland)
3 Na Massa feat. Karine Carvalho – Tatui – 3 Na Massa (Nublu)
Shintaro Sakamoto – You Just Decided – How To Live With A Phantom (Other Music)
Real Estate – Reservoir – 7” (True Panther Sounds)

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Chicano Batman – Interview and Performance – Recorded Live at KPFK

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Chicano Batman – La Samoana – Chicano Batman (Club Unicornio)
Gal Costa – Perola Negra – Gal: A Todo Vapor (Philips)
Ondatropica – Traigan La Batea – Ondatropica (Soundway)

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

Research 1-6-12 – Can You Baby
Research 1-6-12 – Highway Song
Research 1-6-12 – Juicy

This record has been on my radar ever since a fantastic interview from 2010 on Nerdtorious with Edan.
Mid-interview Edan talked about a record he had recently found at a record fair and how tripped out he was by one of the songs, “Lookin’ In My Toaster.” As Edan describes, it’s basically a song about a guy who is clearly on some serious drugs based off of the things he seems to see in his toaster. The sound of the song so intrigued me that I’d be on the hunt for a copy ever since. I held out for quite a while, hoping I’d run into it digging at local spots, or at one of my pilgrimages to Groove Merchant. Eventually I swiped a moderately price copy off of Ebay and when the LP arrived I was surprised that as trippy and freaked out “Toaster” was, it wasn’t even nearly my favorite song on the album.

Research 1-6-12 was a trio of mild-mannered California dudes (as pictured on the back of their cover) plus someone on the drums. From a discussion on another blog from someone claiming to be a member of the group (which would seem totally legit, I mean why would anybody claim to be in a group this obscure?) the band just never caught on, despite their best efforts (my favorite line from now “Rabbi” Yess’ account is “I recall one gig in Lancaster, CA where we did one set and the manager told us to go home, he preferred the juke box…great for one’s self esteem.”) But thankfully, they did record and it’s material that holds up pretty nicely in comparison to other underground groups from that period of time.

“Can You Baby” is just all kinds of groovy. With all the rhythm hanging out in the left channel, the drums are so fantastic that I’d wager the drummer is a sessions player of note. The song just has 60s swagger for days. “Highway Song” is a post Summer of Love cautionary tale of a Hippie down on his luck that’s as good as anything I’ve heard from this period of time, especially lyrically.

If you see me on the highway, please don’t pass me by,
I’m only trying to get back home, looking for that ride,
My clothes are a little dirty and my hair might look too long,
But please don’t judge me by my looks for I promise you no wrong

I been up to San Francisco, lost everything I own,
Now all I ask is just for a ride, no money, food or home

My head is feeling heavy and my legs are feeling numb,
My arm is almost breaking from holding out my thumb,
Trucks and cars keep coming by, nobody seems to care,
The heat on this old highway’s almost more than I can bear,

But I hope I catch a ride by dark, caus emy shirt is pretty thin,
I sold my coat for an upper and I gave that to a friend

So if you see me on the highway and you need some company,
I’m only trying to get back home to be what I used to be

It’s really a shame this song didn’t end up in Easy Rider or a similar film, it’s really just classic. When you listen to all the other tracks on the album, it almost seems like this is a totally different group. Listening to the album from start to finish might also give you that impression since they shift into very different genres almot from song to song. But the idiosyncrasies of the lyrics connect to other songs, even if the subject matter and the sounds are very different. “Juicy” for example has some of “Can You Baby”‘s swagger, combined with some truly ribald lyrics, including “Not because you come so loud, but just because you’re juicy.” I could have easily chosen 2 or 3 other songs, still not including “Toaster,” and this post would have been just as satisfying. It’s pretty rare that I pick up an album and it actually surpasses my expectations, but this one certainly did and I’m thankful for finally tracking it down.

Cheers,

Michael

Ondatrópica feat. Ana Tijoux – Suena

When Will Holland aka Quantic brings together some of the heaviest hitters in the history of Colombian music, including Fruko, Anibal Velasquez and Michi Sarmiento, into the famed Disco Fuentes studios, you expect to get the cumbia equivalent of the Buena Vista Social Club. What perhaps you don’t expect (but really you should given it’s Quantic) is a track like “Suena” with it’s propulsive analog latin funk and super fine flow from Ana Tijoux. Ondatrópica is certainly a super group, all these players recording together in 2012 is cause for celebration in itself, but the fact that the results are so incredibly diverse and so incredibly good makes this one of the best records of the year. Do not sleep on this one!

…and speaking of not sleeping, if you are in the LA area, you MUST go to Ondatrópica’s show at the legendary Mayan Theatre in Downtown LA, along with Chicano Batman, Very Be Careful, Buyepongo and DJ sets from Canyon Cody, Ganas from Mas Exitos and Sloe Poke!

A few months ago KPFK got brand new CD players, and their was much rejoicing at the station. Astute listeners of my show will no doubt remember various moments where CD players stopped playing a track or skipped when they shouldn’t have, but those miscues had been a thing of the past…until this week’s show. Right from the start I knew we were in for trouble when the Sharon Jones song I’d literally just cued up, somehow flipped back to Gil Scott Heron. Early one I also had trouble setting up my laptop which is part of the reason why the Woody Guthrie songs come at the end of the set. Throughout the show there were other issues, some I was able to work out, others were surprising and depressing, such as the total failure of being able to play music from Gil Scott-Heron at the appropriate place nesar the end of the show. Really made me look forward to a couple weeks when I’m on nothing but vinyl. Between all the gremlins, lots of fantastic music, including tracks from Phil Cohran and Hypnotic Brass, unreleased Can, Ondatropica feat. Ana Tijoux, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti and much more. Next week we should have a plugged in session with LA’s Chicano Batman, until then enjoy the show.

Melting Pot on KPFK #91: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #91: Second Hour

Playlist: 7-15-2012

{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – 7” (Stax)

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Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings – This Land Is Your Land – 7” (Daptone)
Phil Ochs – Bound For Glory – Chords Of Fame (A&M)
Wilco – California Stars – Mermaid Ave. (Nonesuch)
Woody Guthrie – Skid Row Serenade – Woody At 100 (Smithsonian Folkways)
Woody Guthrie – Better World A’Comin – Woody At 100 (Smithsonian Folkways)

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Michael Kiwanuka – Lasan – Home Again (Interscope)
Gary Sloan and Clone – Together Again – Harmonitalk (Finders Keepers / B-Music)
Gonjasufi – Sheep – A Sufi And A Killer (Warp)

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Kelan Phil Cohran & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – Spin – Kelan Phil Cohran & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (Honest Jon’s)
Curumin – Doce – Arrocha (Six Degrees)
The Lions – Think (About It) – Jungle Struttin’ (Ubiquity)
Thom Janusz – Mirtha Plane – Ronn Forella…Moves (Luv n’ Haight)

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Can – Dead Pigeon Suite – The Lost Tapes (Spoon/Mute)
Cinematic Orchestra – Necrology – In Motion #1 (Ninja Tune)

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Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti w/ Dam-Funk – Baby – Mature Themes (4ad)
Shintaro Sakamoto – My Memories Fade – How To Live With A Phantom (Other Music)
Shawn Lee – Super Storage – Reel To Reel (Ubiquity)
Adrian Younge & Venice Dawn – It’s Me – Something About April (Wax Poetics)

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Ondatropica feat. Ana Tijoux – Suena – Ondatropica (Soundway)
Chicano Batman – The Ballad of Raymundo Jacquez – Joven Navegante (Self-released)
Gil Scott-Heron – It’s Your World – It’s Your World (Arista)
Mod Squad – Sing A Simple Song – Boddie Recording Co. (Bonus Disc) (Numero)

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

La Clave – Move Your Hands
La Clave – Latin Slide
La Clave – Who You Fooling

For our first dig deep post of year four, I bring to you a real gem of a latin funk LP. Ran into this at Groove Merchant, where Cool Chris not only always has the goods, but he knows exactly what to play while I’m at the store. As soon as he dropped the needle on La Clave’s version of “Move Your Hands” I knew this record would be mine.

Turns out La Clave was a San Francisco based group headed up by Benny Velarde. As far as I know they didn’t record another album, though I suspect these players (who are mostly uncredited on this LP) turned up on quite a few other records from this period of time. Adding to the quality is the appearance of Lalo Schifirin who plays piano on several tracks and contributes one of the better songs on the album, the B-Boy-rific and breaktastic “Latin Slide.”

Additional highlights include a cover of Donny Hathaway’s “The Ghetto” with a big time rockin’ guitar solo, a very saucy version of “Soul Sauce” and some nice latin style on “Baile Mi Guaguanco.” As a final track to post here I’ve chosen the ultra smooth and breezy “Who You Fooling,” which strangely sounds to me like it could have been recorded in the mid 1990s at the height of the Acid Jazz craze. This one was reissued by Dusty Groove about 5 years ago, but it’s well worth tracking down in the original.

Cheers,

Michael

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