Classic Melting Pot

Lois

Lois – Sunrise Semester
Lois – A Summer Long
Lois – Capital A, Capital B
Lois – Rougher

{Just in case you were wondering, this year’s record sale was very successful, even though most of the records didn’t sell! Just about all of our fees for the next year were covered by that Demon Fuzz record alone, thanks to those of you who donated a little money towards Melting Pot or spread the word about the auctions!}

I realize that even though I routinely profess my love for indie-pop on the radio show, I very rarely ever post any of those sounds in this section. A major part of this is that since the big sell-off in 2004, I just don’t have a lot of those albums any more. Most of what I dig for these days are the rare jazz, soul, funk & psych that you usually see here. Every now and again though a song from those glorious 1990s of my youth (what I like to call the “Heroic Years of Indie-Rock” when the distinction between “major” and “indie” REALLY meant something) pops into my head and stays there and it forces me to track down the record. Lois’ 1996 album Infinity Plus is one that routinely finds its way into my mind, especially here in the Summer.

The record holds a a special place for me because it was one of a number of albums that I helped champion when I was a music director at Album 88 in Atlanta. But what’s really obvious from just one listen is that this is an album that “sticks” because the songs are just really fucking good. Outrageously good, so good in fact for the life of me I never understood how this album didn’t break out. Maybe it was the fact that it was uber-Indie K Records, or it was Lois Maffeo’s over-reliance on “Ooohs” and “Ohs.” I don’t have any idea. I’ve long thought several of the songs here were not only the best of her career, but some of the best indie-pop songs, period. “Sunrise Semester” is just perfect. I can’t think of a more unabashedly romantic song for shy people that’s ever been written. Ever time I hear it my heart just melts. Lois had a great knack for writing love songs, with “Capital A, Capital B” also being a standout.

Strangely the sheer romantic weight of those two songs is tempered by the ones that are right next to them on the album, “Rougher” (featuring the now legendary Elliot Smith) and “A Summer Long” (which features Alan Sparhawk of Low). For all the hope and wide-eyed exuberance captured on those prior two, these songs are almost like punches to the gut in the way they portray quite different realities of love. But that is the way it is isn’t it? What seems like true love can (sometimes quite quickly) turn into something truly heartbreaking. Lois didn’t record much else on her own after Infinity Plus. Maybe she felt the same way I did about this record, “if they don’t fall for this, what else can I do?” Who knows. I’m just glad she wrote these songs, recorded them with Heather Dunn of Tiger Trap and Brendan Canty of Fugazi (along with the previously mentioned guests) and that this album found it’s way back into my collection.

Cheers,

Michael

Quadron

Quadron – Neverland

Though it was released a few weeks before the official start of Summer, from the first listen, I was thinking that Quadron’s second release would be one of THE records of the Summer of 2013. Avoiding any discussion of sophmore slump entirely Avalanche picks up where their debut left off, with a mix of slower, mid and uptempo tracks that equally showcase the production of Robin Hannibal and the vocals of Coco. O. More so than the debut, several tracks seem to be very much inspired by Off The Wall/Thriller era Michael Jackson. Here on the 4th anniversary of his passing, it seems fit to highlight “Neverland” a song written in tribute to MJ and his fans. It’s pretty rare that I actually pull for a band to break into the mainstream. It almost always means that whatever charms the group had before they got big are smoothed away and eventually the shift into mediocrity. Quadron may be one of those rare groups that has the talent and desire to maintain their aesthetics and vision for their music even as they become more successful. That is a thing to celebrate as is this new album.

Speaking of the Summer, still hoping “Hey Love” will break out big for the group and be a song of the summer, though with the number of views for a group like this, seems it already has:

SummerTwins

It was our pleasure to bring in Chelsea and Justine Brown of the Summer Twins this past week for a session at Melting Pot. The band has been playing a residency at the Bootleg Bar during June (still one chance to catch them TODAY and make sure you dress spiffy, it’s a prom night themed show!) and with the start of Summer, it seemed like a perfect time to bring them into the station. We talked about the inspiration for the name “Summer Twins,” their evolving sound and even touched on the touchy subject of being labeled “a girl group.” They also played four songs, “I Don’t Care,” “I’m No Good,” “I’ll Always Love You” and their super sweet cover of the Everly Brothers “All I Have To Do Is Dream.” Enjoy the sounds and look for them to do a West Coast tour later on this Summer!

The Summer Twins on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 06-17-2013

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Always nice to begin Summer in our traditional style with the first song that comes to my mind when this season comes around, Arthur Lee and Love’s “the Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This” from Forever Changes. There’s a sprinkling of other Summer songs in the mix, as well as new tunes from the Pastels, Omar, Myron & E, Quadron, Bosq, Am & Shawn Lee, SoKo and a strikingly modern new album from Booker T. Jones. In the second hour we have an interview with Chelsea and Justine of the Summer Twins (separate post to follow) where they play several songs and we chat about the group and their sound. Next week we’ll be on vinyl for a bit, but most of our time will be given over to Myron & E, for an interview and an all 45 vinyl DJ set!

Melting Pot on KPFK #131: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #131: Second Hour

Playlist: 06-23-2013
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Love – The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This – Forever Changes (Elektra)
The Pastels – Nighttime Made Us – Slow Summits (Domino)
Myron & E – They Don’t Know – Broadway (Stones Throw)
Mike James Kirkland – Hang On In There – Don’t Sell Your Soul (Luv’n’Haight)
Shelton Kirby – Poor Wayfaring Stranger – Good God: Apocryphal Hymns (Numero)

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Golden Grrrls – Past Tense – Golden Grrrls (Slumberland)
The Spinanes – Sunday – Manos (Sub Pop)
Quadron – Neverland – Avalanche (Vested In Culture)
Omar feat. Caron Wheeler – Treat You – The Man (Freestyle)
Shuggie Otis – Miss Pretty – Inspiration Information/Wings Of Love (Legacy)

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Booker T feat. Luke James – All Over The Place – Sound The Alarm (Stax)
Soundsci – Inner Energy – Soundsational (Ubiquity)
Femi Kuti – No Place For My Dream – No Place For My Dream (Knitting Factory)
Bosq feat. Jesus Pagan – Pura Candela – Bosq y Orquesta de Madera (Ubiquity)
AM & Shawn Lee – Good Blood – La Musique Numerique (Park The Van)
Chicano Batman – Ballad Of Raymundo Jacquez – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)

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The Summer Twins – Interview & Performance – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)

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The Summer Twins – Forget Me – 7” (Burger Records)
Broadcast – Before We Begin – The Ha Ha Sound (Warp)
Lois – Sunrise Semester – Infinity Plus (K RECS)
SoKo – Treat Your Woman Right – I Thought I Was An Alien (Community)

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

Demon Fuzz – Another Country
Demon Fuzz – Past, Present and Future
Demon Fuzz – Hymn To Mother Earth
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{Update: Someone already snatched this one up, but there’s still 12 more records available and a few more days to support Melting Pot if you can!!!}

{As mentioned earlier in the week, this week I’m posting a few records to Ebay right now to raise the necessary funds to keep Melting Pot going as a blog. If you enjoy the music and archvied shows/performances that you get here, please consider adding one of these records to your collection or support us with a donation via the paypal link above.}

Of the records that are currently up for auction to raise money for our blog, this is probably the rarest of the bunch. Demon Fuzz was a UK “Black-Rock” group that had every right to be much bigger than they became. There’s loads of talent on display on their debut record Afreaka! and it’s easy just from a listen why the record has become a prized possession amongst collectors and crate diggers. Demon Fuzz were a tough group to pin down, there are some moments that are just straight up funky on this album, others that are almost avant-garde in their approach and others that would give Black Sabbath a run for their money in doom-laden heavy sounds. The breakdown that happens in their version of the Electric Flag’s “Another Country” is ‘snap your neck’ breaktastic. A tough record to track down and proof positive that sometimes you CAN judge an LP by it’s cover. Looking for a good home for this one, where it will get played frequently and as loud as possible. So if you can, head over to Ebay or Rose Records to see more pictures and hear more songs and please support Melting Pot!!!

Cheers,

Michael

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SummerTwinsForget
{The Summer Twins are currently playing a residency at the Bootleg Bar, free on Mondays in June, there’s one more to catch, apparently themed as “Prom Night” on June 24th. They’ll also be our guests this Sunday on Melting Pot!}

The Summer Twins – I’m No Good

As I recently learned, the Summer Twins are not in fact twins, though sisters Chelsea and Justine Brown are their most visible members. Hailing from Riverside, the band has produced a number of releases over the last several years shifting from a sound that might have been best described as heavy on “Dream Pop” to one more focused on the more “dreamy” aspects of 1950s/1960s Rock’n’roll. On their 5 song EP, released earlier in the year (though there is a 7″ record of the title song and the one I’m highlighting here “I’m No Good” coming soon) you can hear equal parts of those two disparate musical moments brought together in the band’s use of harmony and melody and beautiful swooning and swaying guitars. “I’m No Good” might be the standout, and my favorite track the band has recorded to date, as Chelsea sweetly warns the listener that despite appearances to the contrary she is not the kind of woman you want to place your trust in or fall in love. No matter how much she warns us if they keep producing songs like this they’re going to have to deal with all kinds of attention.

Showing a bit more of that 1960s influence, stylistically for sure, and perhaps musically as well if you’ve spent anytime listening to the Girls In The Garage collections, the band has also produced a video for their song “Forget Me” that is also likely to have the opposite of their desired effect:

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Quite nice to spend this past Sunday on theo show for Father’s Day. Spent most of the weekend with my Dad, on a rare trip out from Atlanta, and it was nice to begin the show with a tribute to him, my father-in-law and to all Fathers. Fair amount of new tunes after that from Camera Obscura, Bosq feat. Tita Lima, Myron & E, The Summer Twins (who will be our guest next week!) and more. At the top of the second hour we pay tribute to Bay Area underground soul legend Darondo. As I’ll be discussing in a post coming up soon, “Didn’t I” is just about the most perfect sweet soul song ever, and I honestly considered just playing that 4 or 5 times in a row, but thankfully I got a fair amount of music from Darondo passed to me from Oliver Wang at Soul-Sides and one of his readers Josh Lillvis. Enjoy the show!

Melting Pot on KPFK #130: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #130: Second Hour

Playlist: 06-16-2013
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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George Strait – Amarillo By Morning – Strait From The Heart (MCA)
Vicente Fernandez – Mi Padre
Jerry Butler – Walk Easy My Son – The Sagitarrius Movement (Mercury)
Big K.R.I.T. – Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Live From The Underground (Island)
Leon Thomas – Song For My Father – Spirits Known And Unknown (Flying Dutchman)

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King – Hey – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)
The Pastels – Slow Summits – Slow Summits (Domino)
Bosq feat. Tita Lima – Pacienca De Jo – Bosq y Orquesta De Madera (Ubiquity)

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Summer Twins – Darlin’ – Forget Me EP (Burger Records)
Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou – Min We Tun So – Vol. 3: The Skeletal Essence of Afro-Funk 1969-1982 (Analog Africa)
Yasmine Hamdan – Deny – Ya Nass (Six Degrees)
The Heliocentrics – Eastern Begena – 13 Degrees Of Reality (Now-Again)

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Darondo – Didn’t I – 7” (Music City)
Darondo – Summertime – Recorded By Justin Torres (Soul-Sides.Com)
Darondo – My Momma and My Poppa – Let My People Go (Ubqiuity/Luv N’ Haight)
Darondo – What’s Going On/Mercy Mercy Me – Recorded By Justin Torres (Soul-Sides.Com)
Darondo – Listen To My Song – Listen To My Song: The Music City Sessions (BGP)

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Quasimoto – Brothers Can’t See Me – Yessir, Whatever (Stones Throw)
Dam-Funk – Fadin’ – I Don’t Wanna Be A Star (Stones Throw)
Myron & E – Everyday Love – Broadway (Stones Throw)

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Dom La Nena – Anjo Gabriel – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)
Nelson Angelo e Joyce – Comunhao – Nelson Angelo e Joyce (Odeon)
Camera Obscura – Cri Du Coeur – Desire Lines (4ad)
Golden Grrrls – Think Of The Ways – Golden Grrrls (Slumberland)
Omar – I Can Listen – The Man (Freestyle)

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

Farida – Il Pianoforte
Farida – L’Anima
Farida – Pensami Stasera
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{As we’ve done at various times in our past, this week I’m raising funds to keep Melting Pot on the web as a blog. While the music is free to listen to an enjoy, we still have to pay for the real estate. This week I’m putting up a handful of LPs and 45s to raise the money necessary to keep us going for the next year. If you enjoy all the music that you get here, from classic bits of vinyl in this section, the new releases in Heavy Rotation and especially the radio show and all of our performances, please consider supporting Melting Pot by donating whatever amount you can via the paypal link above.}

As someone who has been very slowly rebuilding his collection it’s always tough to let go of great records. But it would be even harder letting go of this blog, and so as has been the case a few times in the past, I’ve got a few records up for auction at Ebay as we try to raise funds to keep Melting Pot on the web. One of the more interesting LPs comes from an Italian singer by the name of Farida.

Though she sings in Italian, Farida found her first success in Poland, which explains why you’d find her album on the venerable Polish label Muza. The album could have easily worked as a soundtrack to an early 1970s Italian Poliziotteschi or “Tough Cop” film. Farida’s singing is suitably over-the-top in most cases, but it’s the production that is the real star of this album, with all types of interesting accents and flourishes, some small others bombastic. “Il Pianoforte” grabs the attention with all of those clean drum breaks, but virtually every track has some note worthy moments, as “L’Anima” and “Pensami Stasera” clearly show. If you’re a fan of these styles and sounds, head on over to Ebay or Rose Records to bid on the record, see more pictures and hear more songs from this LP. Most importantly if you can, please support Melting Pot!!!

Cheers,

Michael

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PolyRythmoVol3

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou – Min We Tun So

Ever since they started reissuing the music of Benin’s Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou, Analog Africa has gotten the world to recognize the wealth of talent on display from this group at their prime. As the reissues continue, now at Vol. 3, titled “Skeletal Essence of Afro-Funk,” our appreciation of this band only grows. Poly-Ryhtmo certainly deserves to be considered amongst the greatest bands Africa has produced and one of the most diverse in their approach to music. Though Poly-Rythmo could out funk just about anybody, the track that I found most alluring on this set is the slower, almost bluesy, definitely soulful “Min We Tun So.” Even though we’re just settling into all of the sounds on Vol. 3, I’m already looking forward to Volume 4 and beyond and even more musical discoveries and surprises from this jewel of a band.

DomLaNena (3)

The beginning of the year is a often a time where very little happens musically. Most labels have their releases prepped for prime periods of the year, so the release of Dom La Nena’s Ela in January by Six Degrees was a welcome surprise. An even greater surprise was the opportunity to have Dom spend time with us at KPFK as she embarked on her first shows in the US. In live performance, at least on this occassion, she performed entirely by herself on Cello, Ankle bells and Keyboard, using a loop pedal to give the appearance of a full string quartet. It’s a really fascinating sound and in our interview we talk about what brought her to the cello, the influence of her many travels on her music, finding her voice and how she arrived at her particular style.

Dom played 5 songs, all featured on her debut release though in very different formats, “No Meu Pais,”
“Anjo Gabriel,” “O Vento,” “Ela,” and “Buenos Aires.” The last track features the voices of yours truly, sound engineer Mark Maxwell and Dom’s husband Jeremiah providing background vocals at the very end in what I dub as the “KPFK Chorus” at the end of the interview. Truly a unique experience and a captivating snapshot of an artist on the rise.

Dom La Nena on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 05-31-2013

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