DJ Schedule Saturday 11/19 I Love Vinyl @ Louie & Chan 10:00 p.m.–4:00 a.m. 303 Broome Street NYC
Monday 11/21 Friends @ Kinfolk 8:00 p.m.–1:00 a.m. 90 Wythe Ave, BK 11211

Archive for January, 2005

mental note on my quest to be a superstar NY DJ

people who rescind return invitations for me to play at their venue based on me not being willing to walk out of the place with 60% of the flat rate we agreed on the first time around, are probably not people i had bright futures with in the first place.

orchard bar

i’m back on the offensive. i’ve been dropping off demos and making calls and i got a call to fill in at orchard bar last saturday night. unfortunately, last saturday night was the thick of the blizzard and the crowd was…thin, to say the least. i believe that they are going to ask me back for this saturday but i am awaiting a final confirmation call. i will post an update here when i know.

i couldn’t get a cab in the snow, so i carried my vinyl cases to the subway (i gotta get one those heavy duty carts!) and took three trains to get there. the good thing about it was that i ran into DJ OBaH, carrying his records on the train and he blessed me with a copy of his Live @ APT CD. if you’re not familiar with him or the CD, you should check them out. The CD is right up my alley – he seamlessly mixes the meters, tribe, madonna, the lafayette afro-rock band, the police and so on and also overlaps some sample source material with the tracks that sample it and he gets much respect for how he pulled things together.

Stressed Out (Bjork’s Say Dip Mix)
A Tribe Called Quest
Stressed Out CD Single, 1996

I would really love to hear the backstory on how this remix came together and whether or not Bjork, Tribe (and Oliver Lake) spent a lot of time in the same room. The verse that Phife recorded for the remixes (to replace Q-Tip cousin’s thoroughly average verse on the album version) is the only verse that appears on this remix but its not clear whether he recorded it for this remix or for the Raphael Saadiq remix. The Raphael Saadiq remix is the only one on the vinyl 12″ but I prefer to imagine this remix (and “Bjork’s Dandelions Mix”) as the driving force for the single and that there was a grand meeting of (3-6 very different) minds!

Oliver Lake isn’t credited but I am assuming that he played the saxes on this track because he played most of the saxes on the beautiful “Anchor Song” (and I think there were some others) from Bjork’s early albums.

>> songs are available for two weeks [6.0 MB]

Hung Up On My Baby
Isaac Hayes
Tough Guys Soundtrack, 1974

The first time i heard this song was while listening to Rich Medina spin at Martinez Gallery a couple years ago. Recognition would come quickest by calling it “that track that the Geto Boys used for ‘My Mind’s Playin’ Tricks on Me’” but it’s so lovely in its own right that i don’t want to dwell on that too much.

So the funk hunt ensued and recently came to a conclusion as my friend Maggie so casually mentioned that she picked the album. She’s definitely going to heaven or whatever because this wasn’t the first time that after seeing my total geeked-out excitement for one of her records, that she just gave it to me [no, i am not making the claim that giving me records will get you into heaven, I'm just saying that she's a generous soul...but if you would like to send me records anyways on the off chance...never mind].

I wonder if this song was written with idea that there was going to be a vocalist. The melodies are simple but they emote the title so perfectly that I wonder if they were getting ready to write words and find a singer and then just said “f— it” and decided that they had already nailed it already.

Another thing that is so amazing about this song is that it sounds so intimate but if you listen closely, they are playing with a BIG band.

Listen once to just enjoy the song and listen again and follow this:

*It starts with 3 guitars! (one in the right channel, then another one in the left, then the lead in both
as both rhythm parts keep going).
*The trumpet section comes in @ 1:26
*The trombone section @ 1:46
*The string section @ 2:05
*And of course the lovely, subtle saxophones @ 2:54!

There were easily over 20 musicians in the room but everyone is was just chilling and not trying to be star (save maybe the lead guitarist but at least he has an actual solo). I would pay $$ to have been the tape operator in that studio!

>> songs are available for two weeks [8.6 MB]

Superheroes & Swallow Me
Esthero
Breath From Another, 1998

You can refer to this post for my story on these songs but the main point that i want to make here is that this “Esthero” is Esthero the duo – Esthero & Doc (the producer). Like Sade the band and Sade the singer. Esthero and Doc parted ways after this album for reasons unknown to me but this albums still stands as a classic with many of those who happened to catch it. It was hard to pick one song to exemplify the album (obviously, i guess, as i picked more than one). it was actually hard to pick two. But check these out and if you like them i highly recommend buying the album. I am not the type of cat to link everything to amazon or bn.com all the time but i have to make an exception in this case. this is a totally slept on album that is well worth $11.98 and it is still in print so encourage you to pick it up if you are so moved.

>> songs are available for two weeks [5.4 MB]
>> songs are available for two weeks [8.3 MB]

calling all creators in the movement

as i mentioned on my email last week, it appears that esthero is back with a vengeance. when i worked at sony back in 1998, a friend on my hall handed me a copy of a the first esthero album and suggested that i check it out.

we were all sorting through hundreds of promo cds (most of which no one had ever heard and many of which no one was ever going to hear of) and our bar for excellence was continually lowering. not surprisingly, our recommendations didn’t carry that much urgency at that point. luckily (for me), the pictures on the back of the album caught my attention and i put it on. it blew me away. the moods ranged from sunny afternoons to desperate 4 a.m. murder scenes and her voice is totally unique and exquisite. “superheroes” and “swallow me” are posted here (for now) so check them out.

last year the song “O.G. Bitch” appeared on a Giant Step compilation. although a great track, i was a little disappointed because, having not heard anything from her for 6 years, my expectations were high and “O.G. Bitch” is basically a diss record against Res who Doc (the producer of her first album) produced after her. in some ways, i was more worried that she wasn’t going to come back strong AFTER hearing the song.

well, she has now assuaged my fears. while looking for a link to use for her last week, I came across “We R In Need of A Musical Revolution.” The full song is posted on her site, here.

the song starts acapella:

“i’m so sick and tired of the shit on the radio and mtv, they always play the same thing now matter where i go, i see ashanti in the video, i want something more.”

then this lovely, 80′s retro, echoey-snare-drum, anthem-on-purpose beat drops.

the lyrics are posted in varying degrees of readability on the same page as the song. but i will include a few. the lovely thing about the lyrics is that they are so plain spoken that my friend cliff was wondering if she ever physically wrote them down or the song was more of a stream-of-consciousness thing, where she just got in the booth and sang what was on her mind.

she calls britney and ashanti out by name throughout the song but the real complaint is against the people doing the programming and not the individual artists. the strongest condemnation comes without a name (although it doesn’t really need one). the last line of the song is:

tell me why….a grown man can rape a little girl but we still hear his shit on the radio // a grown-ass man can videotape a little girl but we still see his mug up on our video screens

the lyric i love the most is:

calling all creators in the movement // it’s time to offer a solution to the dilution of what we love // and the greats would be so disappointed // ’cause we’ve sold our souls for what we don’t own anymore // we are in need of…let’s have a musical revolution // we’re so tired of the the same old way // we are in need of…spiritual evolution

at that moment, for me, she changes from being a woman (“rightfully”) complaining in a room somewhere to someone who is declaring a movement out of the thousands of independent artists that are mostly working in small groups or in isolation.

the song is good enough to be one of those songs that ironically gets mainstream popularity while actively criticizing the mainstream but the following text from her “news” pages makes me wonder if that is going to happen:

December 7, 2004
1500 copies of “We R In Need of A Musical Revolution” made it to store shelves in Canada today! HMV seems to be the best bet for picking one up, but as news spreads they’re selling out.

Most copies of the EP were recalled due to a packaging error. The next batch will hit stores on January 11, 2005.

1500 copies…in canada only? recalled? someone’s gotta make some moves in her camp!!

Spring Again
Biz Markie
Biz Never Sleeps, 1989

My brother was responsible for my entire early music education: The Isley Brothers, P-Funk, Jimi Hendrix, De La Soul, Me’shell N’Degeocello, Pink Floyd, Special Ed, Eric Clapton, NWA, Steve Miller Band, Boogie Down Productions, XTC, The D.O.C. (many more) and yes…Biz Markie were imparted on me, one visit at a time, on his bedroom floor.

“Spring Again”, sent into motion and concluded by the Third World sample, anchored the horns that I would later find out were from “Back Together Again” by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway and the James Brown’s “Funky Drummer” drum loop, will forever be more than the sum of it’s parts for me. It’s the soundtrack to the high school dream summer that never quite materialized. The funny thing is that remembering listening to this song conjures up a similar feeling to how i thought my dream-summer-in-absentia was supposed to feel.

>> songs are available for two weeks [5.6 MB]

Now That We Found Love
Third World
Journey To Addis, 1978

I’ve been chasing a clean ($1) copy of this record for a while and finally came up on it on my Thankgiving trip to Cleveland. Like so many other tracks, I was first exposed to this song through hip hop. The intro to Biz Markie’s “Spring Again” (posted above) opens with the “Come On Baby!” from 0:55 of this song and it (along with the horn sample to Big Daddy Kane’s “Young Gifted and Black” among many others) always brought forth the phrase, “I want music that sounds like THAT” as i sat in my room in my parents house in 8th – 10th grade. I don’t remember where i was the first time that the “Come On Baby!” jumped out this song and grabbed me but that was when the quest began.

I remember walking to a SummerStage concert one or two summers ago and passing the roller skating circle. If you’ve passed it, you know what i’m talking about. It’s a motley crew. 40-something white and black hippies, pretty gay dudes, old dreadlocked cats, a couple guys that look like they haven’t gotten out from under a weight bench in a LONG time, everybody roller-dancing in a circle and smiling like they know something you don’t know. As i approached, the DJ mixed into this song and as it hit “Come On Baby!”, i was keenly aware that i was probably out-smiling the people i loved to mock (in my head at least).

>> songs are available for two weeks [10.4 MB]

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