Classic Melting Pot

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After spending much of my Sunday watching the brilliant 4-3 Barcelona victory against Real Madrid, I had to really hustle up and get my show together. We ended up with a much more rocking show than usual, with fewer laid back moments, but I think it all came together nicely. In addition to new music from Madlib & Freddie Gibbs (which I have to saw was one of the most difficult censoring versions for radio airplay I think I’ve ever done), Perfect Pussy, Takuya Kuroda plus classics from Nick Cave, Asha Bhosle and Unwound, we paid tribute to the start of spring in our traditional fashion (after all, nobody beats the Biz) and also paid tribute to a true legend here in LA who recently passed, Reggae Pops. I didn’t know him personally but always found his joy of life inspiring and will miss seeing him on seemingly every dancefloor of worth here in the area. Next week we close the month just playing vinyl records, we’ll see what kind of mood I’m in by then, but for now, enjoy!

Melting Pot on KPFK #157: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #157: Second Hour

LittleRich

Little Richard – The Rill Thing
Little Richard – Freedom Blues
Little Richard – Greenwood, Mississippi

Ran into this recently at Amoeba and instantly remembered how it has one of my all-time favorite drum breaks on ‘The Rill Thing.” I’d run into this album a couple of times before but the price was never right, until now. I can’t remember where I originally picked up this album, but I remember the first time I heard that drum break, it was on a mix tape (still made on a tape!) that I bought from DJ Riddm in Berkeley around 1999. Hearing a short routine using that break on the tape was all I needed to obsess over finding out what it was and where I could find it. Riddm was pretty forthcoming with the information and not too long after that I tracked it down. I remember originally not being all that enthused with the rest of the record and essentially thought of the album as a “one-tracker.”

Getting a second listen these many years later, I’m actually more impressed with some of the other tracks. I’ve always been a fan of Little Richard’s early Rock’n’Roll, with it’s wild rhythm and wilder shouts and screams. He’s toned things down by 1970, but he’s clearly still in good form. Interestingly enough, several of the tracks share credit with Esquerita, spelled Esqrita on the back cover. I’d always heard that Little Richard essentially copied Esquerita’s style, but I never heard of the two working together. It’s possible that it could refer to someone else, who just happened to have the last name “Esqrita” (Esquerita’s real last name of Reeder isn’t used either), but that’s just too much of a coincidence, right? I also hadn’t paid enough attention the first time I had this to the fact that it was cut down at Muscle Shoals, which explains quite a lot of the enduring quality of these songs.

Cheers,

Michael

Bart

Bart Davenport – Fuck Fame

It’s strange to think of Bart Davenport living down here in LA, even though his new record, Physical World, just sounds like a very LA kind of record. Bart Davenport had been so associated with the East Bay that many of us called him the “Mayor Of The East Bay.” Those days have now passed, but thankfully Bart still is interested in telling stories and making music. Physical World finds him in fine form, with perhaps a bit more of an influence from the 1980s than previous work that always seemed more connected to the 60s and 70s. While all the songs are pleasant to the ear, it’s this track that you’ll be likely to hear for many years to come on my show. “Fuck Fame” has a nice turn after each verse where Davenport decries the trappings of fame, he’s quick to remind the listener, “that we should talk about money,” as a reminder that the two while often equated together are not actually mutually inclusive. The vast majority of us work without any pretense of achieving fame. We do it for the love, but at the end of the day in this society, we still have to pay the bills. As anthemic as “Fuck Fame” is, apparently it wasn’t written as a statement of Davenport’s feelings on fame or celebrity. Despite the lack of intention, it does work as a fantastic anthem, for those of us who know that while we still got to make our money in this world, it doesn’t mean we have to sell our souls to do it.

PPLive

Syracuse punk outfit Perfect Pussy will be in our fair town for two nights this week, and we have a pair of tickets for their show Wednesday night at the Bootleg Theater. It’s been a good long while since a band that plays this fast and this loud has kicked up this much buzz. Quite a bit of it revolves around mercurial lead singer Meredith Graves but the Double P (as I’m considering calling them, just in case the FCC wants to come a callin’) are building a sizeable rep not just on her persona, but on a fast and fierce live show. If you go to this show (or the more DIY affair at the East 7th Warehouse on March 20th), make sure you go early cause the band has put out two releases and neither one of them is longer than 25 minutes in total! If you’re interested in bearing witness, e-mail me by 5pm Tuesday at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com!!!

For a taste of what to expect, see the below. Here the band performs “III” from their debut cassette “I Have Lost All Desire For Feeling” at a concert filmed by the good folks at Pitchfork:

Here the band performs in Brooklyn, with Graves showing a bit of Ballerina style in her warm up before things get busy:

Despite their buzz, it’s important to remember that Perfect Pussy is a relatively new band that plays a genre of music that isn’t known for longevity of sound. I reckon that their sets are a shade longer than these twelve minutes, put probably not too much. It will be interesting to see where the band is in another year:

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The one fabulous thing about being away from the show for a solid month is that I come back and there is so much good music to share that I need at least another month just to make my way through it all. In this past Sunday’s show you hear more from Madlib & Freddie Gibbs, Ana Tijoux, Jay Electronica, Anthony Valadez feat. Kathrin from Belleruche, Perfect Pussy, Debruit & Alsarah and more than a few others. 2014 is really shaping up to be a fantastic year in music.

Melting Pot on KPFK #156: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #156: Second Hour

Frigo

Johnny Frigo Sextet – Scorpio
Johnny Frigo Sextet – Dawn
Johnny Frigo Sextet – Gardens Of The Moon

Exercise and dance records are the bain of many a beat collecting DJ. In theory you’d think they would have more than a few great songs, but collectable, or even listenable, records in these genres are few and far between. This record, with music from the Johnny Frigo Sextet and dance by Gus Giordano and his company (who are only pictured on the back, you would have had to write and likely pay more for the actual routines), is one of the few that is worth tracking down.

I can’t remember where I heard it first, but as soon as I heard this version of “Scorpio” I wanted it. Took me more than a few years to finally track it down and when I did I was completely expecting the rest of the album to be forgettable. After all, almost all of these jazz dance records are really pretty cheesy, mostly consisting of crap versions of “big” tunes by lesser players. Most of the record could be classified in that fashion. Thankfully, for whatever reason, Frigo and his un-named group decide to cover not just “Scorpio” but also Coffey’s “Gardens Of The Moon.” Frigo’s original “Dawn” also has a nice sound that deserves to be heard. Part of me wishes that the jazz dance routines associated with these songs were included with the record, but those I’m sure are lost to time at this point, thankfully this music is not.

Cheers,

Michael

PerfectPussy

Perfect Pussy – Big Stars

Over the last couple of months I’ve been crushing hard on this Syracuse band. Quite a few people in musiclandia have been equally enamored with this band, fronted by a true force of nature in Meredith Graves. Way back in the 1990s I used to listen to this type of music an awful lot more than I generally do now and while I can’t claim any representative knowledge on where the various streams of hardcore music have gone since the turn of the century, I know quality when I hear it and this band has loads to spare. Musically and lyrically the band deserves every single bit of shine they’ve gotten in the last sixth months or so. And then there’s Graves. Being a hardcore band with a woman singer would be novelty enough in the fairly ultra-masculine world of punk rock. Graves is no novelty. She might just be the real deal, a bonafide star in the making. I hope she and her bandmates are able to develop freely because they got something special right here, with this sound and this style. “Big Stars” is just fine all by it’s own, pulling you in with with those guitars and big drums before settling into a tornado of sound with Graves at the lead. But what it hints at is something even greater. Say Yes To Love is a nice debut, already one of my favorites and something that I can guarantee I’ll feel even stronger about come year’s end, but this band’s best days are ahead.

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It had been a long time since I’d been on the air, and I ain’t to proud to admit that I was a bit rusty. Not much of it comes through in the show itself though, which features a number of new tracks, including music from Perfect Pussy, Madlib & Freddie Gibbs, Alsarah & Nubatones, Nick Waterhouse, Nostalgia 77, the Soul Jazz Orchestra and classics from John Martyn, Tim Buckley and Pere Ubu…it’s mighty nice to be back.

Melting Pot on KPFK #155: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #155: Second Hour

Wool

Wool – Love, Love, Love, Love, Love
Wool – To Kingdom Come
Wool – Funky Walk

Picked this up via trade on a recent trip to Avalon Vintage, which is more or less in the same space as Strictly Grooves was a little while ago in Highland Park, with Rodney still responsible for the records and the addition of a bunch vintage clothing and what not. I’m always on the lookout for psychedelic stuff that I haven’t heard about and that was certainly the case with this record.

Wool was so titled not because of the band’s affinity for the sheep based fluffy, but because it was the last name of the group’s leader Ed Wool. Wool brought his sister along for the ride and she adds a bit of grit to her contributions, though “To Kingdom Come” is the best of her tracks. “Funky Walk” shows the band was a fan of James Brown styled soul sounds,but unfortunately despite its length it’s quite a long tease without any clean drums. Things get nice and fuzzy on the lead track (also to be found on a 45) “Love, Love, Love, Love, Love.” You might think the title is bit long, but if they’d been more true to the song they’re missing at least 2 based on the chorus. I can’t say that I love, love, love, love, love this record, but it’s a solid addition and likely to get more than a few spins over the years.

Cheers,

Michael

CB Cycles

Chicano Batman – Magma

I’d actually been sitting on posting something on this, the 2nd full-length record from LA’s Chicano Batman, for months. Then I up and got sick in February and essentially went MIA for the whole month and record’s release last month. Don’t hold that against this fantastic sophomore effort from the group, which has really hit their stride since adding Carlos ArĂ©valo on guitar. Cycles Of Existential Rhyme finds the band fully realizing and working in all of their varied influences into a trademark sound, with “Magma” as the best example. While “Cycles” 14 tracks have been worth the wait since 2010’s debut, I wouldn’t be surprised if boys in the band are already working on new material. For now, we have this new record and if you’re lucky, many a chance to see the band live performing here in LA and elsewhere.

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