Classic Melting Pot

Clifton Holds It Down At Funky Sole

LA’s legendary Funky Sole!

{If you are in LA next week, the folks at Funky Sole are having a free event, Grand Park’s Gotta Funky Sole, on Friday February 14th, consider it a Valentine’s gift to the city of LA, over at Grand Park (Between Grand and Hill in DTLA) featuring Orgone, the mighty Breakestra and Miles and Clifton on the decks!}

It was truly an honor to return back to Funky Sole last night.  As I mentioned the first time I was a guest DJ there, Funky Sole remains for me one of the best raw soul/funk night in the world, definitely the best in SoCal.  The top shelf selection from residents Music Man Miles and Clifton aka Soft Touch (with Chico and Mean Mr. Mustard providing tunes in the “funk yard” patio out back) certainly is a major reason for this.  For me, the thing that sets apart Funky Sole from most every other place in LA is how ready and willing the crowd is to dance.  The place is packed every single week, line down the block for hours, with a diverse bunch of folks, very few of which are just there to stand around and take up space (which you see entirely too much in clubs these days).  This crowd loves to dance and it continues to surprise me just how far you can take it and still have a full dance floor.

Music Man Miles at Funky Sole The set I put together for last night was a mix of classic breaks, rare cuts and a few more oddities than the last time.  The only song I repeated from my previous trip was Franciene Thomas’ “I’ll Be There” which is kind of a signature song for me.  There were a number of things that I was interested to hear on that beautiful loud sound system and a few that I was really interested to see what they would inspire on the dance floor.  One of those tracks was something I just ran into this past week while digging through a mess of 45s, Jean Kassapian’s ‘The Snake,” a big beat belly dance song with snake-charmer flute.  I had no idea what would happen when I played this, but to my surprise there was actually an audible cheer when the track started and everybody just kept on grooving.  Early in the night I noticed that there seemed to be more B-boys in the spot than have been in recent weeks.  If I had known they would be there I might have thought a bit differently about the set, though many of the last several songs in the set (from the B-Boy classic “It’s Just Begun” to “The Champ”) were played exclusively for that bunch and they did not disappoint.  Seeing the joy spread on the B-Boy’s faces when they heard the horns of “Just Begun” and all of the routines they did to these songs was one of the best moments I’ve been responsible for as a DJ.

Last night also gave me the chance to pay tribute to my friend Matthew Africa, who I so dearly miss.  For much of the time since his death, some 17 months now, I couldn’t bring myself to go knowing I’d hear many tracks that we all used to dance to at Soulvation in Oakland, or tracks that he turned me onto, but after a really rough end of the year, I made the resolution to get out to Funky Sole more often, to dance and remember good times of the past.  One of the ways I honored Matthew was by making a dub plate of one of the last edits he did, a fantastic club designed and minimalist edit of the Ohio Players’ “Ecstasy.” In addition to the B-Boy cuts, this one was one of the ones that went over the best with the club-goers, several of which gave me some daps mid-set in appreciation.

Below you’ll find the set I played last night, especially for those of you who missed it, along with the tracklist.  Unlike previous times, I stayed all the way to the end and got a chance to play a couple of extra tracks with Miles and Clifton, trading off from record to record, including Horace Silver’s “Acid, Pot or Pills,” and what turned out to be the next to last song of the night, Tim Maia’s “Ar Puro.”  Such a night.  I can’t say thank you enough to Miles, Clifton, Nancy Arteaga and the whole crew for having me down again…y’all are most definitely appreciated.  Until the next time, I’ll see the rest of you on the dance floor at the Echo, each and every Saturday night.

Guest DJ Set At Funky Sole: 02-08-2014

Funky Sole Guest DJ Set: 02-08-2014
Miguel De Deus – Black Soul Brothers – Black Soul Brothers (Underground)
La Clave – Latin Slide – La Clave (Verve)
The Latin Blues Band – I’ll Be A Happy Man – Take A Trip Pussycat (Speed)
Jean Kassapian – The Snake – 7″ (Kassap)
FS 2014 (3)Cumbia En Moog – Cumbia De Sal – El Disco De Oro Vol. 2 (Eco)
James Brown – My Thang – Hell (Polydor)
Ohio Players – Ecstasy [Matthew Africa Edit] – 7″ (Dub Plate)
Di Melo – Se O Mundo Acabasse Em Mel – Di Melo (Odeon)
Bo Diddley – Hit Or Miss – Big Bad Bo (Chess)
Mary Jane Hooper – Don’t Change Nothing – Psychedelphia (Funky Delicacies)
Alvin Cash & the Registers – The Philly Freeze – 7″ (Mar-V-Lus)
The Buena Vistas – Soul Clappin’ – 7″ (Marquee)
Franciene Thomas – I’ll Be There – 7″ (Tragar)
Pacho Alonso – Ven, Ae, Ae – Pacho Alonso (Arieto)
The Jimmy Castor Bunch – It’s Just Begun – 7″ (Kinetic)
The Jackson Sisters – I Believe In Miracles – 7″ (Mums)
Juice – Catch A Groove – 12″ (Greedy)
The Mohawks – The Champ – 7″ (Sir JJ)
A.C. Reed – Talkin ’bout My Friends – 7″ (Nike)
Johnny Tolbert – Check Your Battery – 7″ (Jasman)
Hank Ballard – I’m A Junkie For My Baby’s Love – 7″ (Chess)

Aorta

Aorta – Heart Attack/What’s In My Mind’s Eye
Aorta – Strange
Aorta – Main Vein II/Sleep Tight/Catalyptic

I’ve been sitting on this record for years. Every know and again I’ll give it a spin and flip out over it all over again and promise myself to post it up here. But clearly I hadn’t done it. After playing it on this past Sunday’s all-vinyl edition of Melting Pot I just had to make sure I put it up here.

Aorta were a psych group from the Chicago area. In the years before they became Aorta and cut this record, perhaps surprisingly (or not surprisingly depending on your perspective I suppose) they originally had Peter Cetera in the band before he left for the ultimately greener pastures of the Chicago Transit Authority. That’s definitely for the best cause I can’t imagine his falsetto with this group, would have wrecked their whole vibe. Instead what we have here is a nice bit of fuzzy psych loosely built around a bunch of heart related themes. Virtually all of the songs run into each other, many feature either heart sounds or heart references (such as “Main Vein”). I’m so fond of how the songs are mixed together that it just didn’t seem right to break them up. So I’ve kept a few of them together, along with the interesting sound effects that work as bridges between the songs. The sonic trickery that leads off “Strange” is particularly interesting, because to my post-Hip-Hop ears it sounds like a turntablist got transported back to 1969 just to cut up a little routine before this track. There’s some real talent on display here, one of those instances you rarely get anymore, an imaginative group given free reign in the studio with the chance to do whatever they wanted. It’s a shame the band didn’t really go anywhere (if you believe what you read on Wikipedia apparently someone slipped them some bad acid just before a major industry showcase at the Fillmore East and their reputation never recovered). They were able to release a second album in 1970, simply titled Aorta 2, but I’ve never heard anything from it and it seems even more obscure than this one. If I run into it, I promise I won’t take years and years to post that one up.

Cheers,

Michael

Macuanos

Los Macuanos feat. Lucrecia Dalt – Pasado y Presente

I don’t know about you, but I feel pretty overwhelmed by the amount of new music that comes out on this planet these days. While the vast majority of the music that gets recorded is bad or mediocre at best (thanks for putting that phrase in my mind permanently Richard Sherman!), even when you’re just dealing with the quality, it seems like the sounds are just never-ending. It’s saddening, maddening and thrilling all at the same time. That sentiment reminds me of the sound of Los Macuanos, a DJ collective out of Tijuana who’s album El Origen has so many different styles mashed up together that I won’t even try to come up for a term for it all. Virtually every track sounds different from the last, but they all have a distinct style to them linking them together. “Pasado y Presente” has a bit of trip-hop feel to it, alluring while also a bit ominous. EL Origen doesn’t sound like a debut, it sounds like Los Macuanos have been at this for some time, thankfully for us they’ve only just begun.

kpfk-logo

First end of the month all vinyl affair of 2014, and though I plan on bringing in quite a few guest DJs for most of the year, it was nice to start out the year with a big bag of vinyl and no idea where we were going to go from song to song. With these shows all I plan is where I begin, in this case with the H.P. Riot album I just highlighted here. It’s always interesting to see what develops from there, and there are quite a few things that I’ve had for a while and just hadn’t had the chance to share with you guys on air or on the blog. At the top of the second hour there’s a short set foreshadowing my guest DJ set over at the legendary Funky Sole in Echo Park on February 8th featuring Toni Tornado, Mary Jane Hooper, Sugar Billy and more. I’m not sure if I’ll even play any of these tracks (I’m going to be working that out probably right up until I leave on Saturday the 8th) but I think you’ll enjoy the teaser nonetheless. Probably my favorite set is in the first hour with some cinematic sounds from Jun Mayuzumi, Ennio Morricone, Nancy Priddy and Albert Ayler. Then again, I’m really happy with how all of these sets came together. Sometimes I leave these vinyl freeform shows with a bit of regret, “I wish I’d played this there” or “Dang, that would have been perfect in this set,” but not this show. This one is super solid, I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. I won’t be on the air this Sunday, it’s Super Bowl time, but don’t you fret, I’ve left you in the very capable hands of Mr. Sean Osborn aka Seano from KPFK’s very own Soundwaves!

Melting Pot on KPFK #153: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #153: Second Hour

Playlist: 01-26-2014
{opening theme} Boris Gardiner – Melting Pot – Is What’s Happening (Dynamic)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

H.P. Riot – Gotta Go (The Chant) – H.P. Riot (Concept)
Juan Pablo Torres y Algo Nuevo – Con Aji Guaguanco – Super Son (Arieto)
Jorge Ben – Xica De Silva – Africa Brasil (Phillips)
Howlin’ Wolf – Built For Comfort – The Howlin’ Wolf Album (Cadet Concept)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Jun Mayuzumi – Miracle – Angel Love (Capitol)
Ennio Morricone – La Lucertola – Una Lucertola Con La Pelle Di Donna (Dagored)
Nancy Priddy – Mystic Lady – You’ve Come This Way Before (DOT)
Albert Ayler – Heart Love – New Grass (Impulse)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Aorta – Main Vein II/Sleep Tight/Catalyptic – Aorta (Columbia)
Santana – Eternal Caravan Of Reincarnation/Waves Within – Caravanserai (Columbia)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Toni Tornado – O Jornaleiro – Toni Tornado (Odeon)
Maceo & The King’s Men – Got To Getcha – Doing Their Thing (House Of The Fox)
Carl Sherlock Holmes – Black Bag – Investigation No. 1 (CRS)
Sugar Billy Garner – Keep Movin’ On – Super Duper Lover (Fast Track)
Tim Maia – Um Dia Chego La – Tim Maia (Polydor)
Mary Jane Hooper – You’ve Got What I Need – Psychedelphia (Funky Delicaces)
The Meters –Cordova – The Meters (Josie)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Jimmy Smith – Root Down (And Get It) – Root Down Live! (Verve)
The Lat-Teens – Soulful Thing – Buena Gente (Cotique)
Oscar Milito E Quarteto Forma – Podes Crer – O Primerio Amor: Trilha Sonora Original (Som Livre)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Gato Barbieri – India – Chapter One: Latin America (Impulse)
Fernanda Y Bernanda Utrera – Mi Malo No Tiene Cura – El Cante De Fernanda Y Bernanda De Utrera (Hispavox)
Rotary Connection – We’re Going Wrong – Songs (Cadet Concept)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

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

HPRIot

H.P. Riot – Gotta Go (The Chant)
H.P. Riot – I Have Changed
H.P. Riot – Blame It On The Sun

School recently started at Long Beach (which is the main reason I’ve been M.I.A. once again) and I got a big surprise on the first day. As I was checking my mail, which because of the winter break, often includes a textbook or two, I noticed an LP sized box with my name on it. My first inclination was that someone had sent me a textbook in a record box. Granted, there is no reason anyone would send me a textbook in a record box, but it seemed more likely that someone sending me a record at school. When I got back to my office I opened it up to find this record. Shock gave way to the certainty that someone had sent me a record by mistake. After all, records don’t just materialize out of the blue, and especially not at school. Turns out an old friend of mine from Berkeley, Cesar “El Che” Rodriguez had sent it as a thank you gift for an academic related assist from me. It’s a tough thing to do, buying DJs records, but he chose a record that I dug and didn’t own and that was mighty cool in and of itself.

Turns out the record was pretty damn good. This was actually a record I remember seeing at Groove Merchant years ago and for whatever reason I didn’t pick it up then. It’s not something that you generally just run into. The “H.P.” in H.P. Riot stood for Hunter’s Point, a neighborhood in San Francisco where the band came from. Strangely they were signed to a Canadian record label, likely a by product of their touring and probably being “big” in Canada. H.P. Riot had a lot of Bay Area flavor to their sound, with pretty clear influences from Sly & the Family Stone. Just the kind of funk I needed here at the start of 2014. Best first day of classes ever!

Cheers,

Michael

JoannaGruesome

Joanna Gruesome – Sugarcrush

This record has been out forever and a day, but part of the new year is making amends for the things that I missed in 2013. Joanna Gruesome is a noise pop band out of Cardiff, with girl/boy vocals and loads of energy that remind me ever so much of the Delgados, though grittier, noiser and with much more attitude. Safe to say I love them very much and one listen to “Sugar Crush” should show you why. As a bonus, here’s the band performing for Break Thru Radio. “Secret Surprise” is the song that I originally wanted to post, just cause of the lyrics, which somehow make “I dream of pulling out your teeth” and “I’ve been waiting to crush your fucking skull” seem charming. It’s all in the delivery, and it’s something that comes across much better while watching the band perform:

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