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 the 'Review' Category

How Long Do I Have To Wait For You?
Naturally
Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, 2005

I went to see Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings at Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem last night (see pic below) and while I’ve heard tons of good reviews about them and their organic funk sound is right up my alley, I was really surprised at how good it actually was.

I’ve known of them for a few years now but have been a little leery ever since a friend told me with a certain tone in his voice that Daptone Records (their label if that’s not obvious) built an all-analog studio in Bushwick (Brooklyn). It was that tone that said that their devotion to analog was bordering on impractical. Between that, the 1967-looking labels on their records and not including the release years, I thought that it all seemed a little too calculated that that there was probably more style than substance. Well, I was wrong. They have substance to spare.

I was standing there taking the concert in, slowly thinking, “ok, the band is tight…ok the balance is crazy, I can hear every instrument really clearly…ok, maybe I was wrong” and then they started playing the song that turned to be “How Long Do I Have To Wait For You?” and things got urgent. About thirty seconds into it, I started moving directly for the merchandise table on the other side of the park, knowing I had a finite amount time to get there and ask which album this song was on before it ended. The last $10 in my pocket were quickly handed over and all was well. My friend Maggie said it best, there is not a note wasted in this song.

If you are moved like I was and have one of those “I like to support independent people doing their thing” streaks you can cop it directly from them on LP or CD.

Also, check out the fiery painting of Jackie Robinson on the inside of the band shell, I love it.

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

We’re Almost There (DJ Spinna Remix)
Michael Jackson
Soul Source – Jackson 5 Remixes 2, 2001

I picked this DJ Spinna remix as an acknowledgement of last weekend’s stellar annual installment of the WONDER-Full party. It might seem like an easy thing to play a party where everyone already knows and loves a lot of the music and I’m sure it is but I bet it’s doubly hard to play it really well. It reminds me of this quote that always stuck with me from On The Road by Jack Kerouac:

“Here’s a guy and everybody is there, right? [It's] up to him to put down what’s on everybody’s mind.”

The obvious irony is that there is no one thing that’s on everyone’s mind but, in a way there is. What do you do when everyone’s expectation is for their expectations to be exceeded? If you’re DJ Spinna, you wait until 2:45 am to play “As” but start 3:00 minutes into it and re-work it (live, of course) in circles for 12+ minutes until my friend walks over to me and tells me they just had the best dancing moment of their life.

Kudos WONDER-Full Family.

Ok, onto this song gem of a song. This is convertible music. I don’t have a car much less a convertible but this is begging for a midnight top-down spin from the moment the guitar washes over you at :13 (followed by the strings at :30).

Shamefully, I haven’t heard the original but I would guess that first three minutes of this mix don’t alter the song structure that much. Then, just as you think the song is over (3:20 and 3:40) he launches into what amounts to a dub version of the remix that usually would be its own track. Don’t miss the last false ending 5:46-5:56.

>> songs are available for two weeks [8.9 MB]

pictures from stephanie mckay at BAM 6/4

this show was part of a series put on in conjunction with Sista Factory. the show was slammin and I highly suggest picking up the McKay album whenever possible (evidently it was only released in Europe) – i picked one up at the show. you can hear snippets of all of the songs on her site. seek this woman out!

another recommended show in the series is Julie Dexter on June 18. i haven’t heard the newest album Conscious yet but Dexterity is still in rotation, especially “Moving On” and “How Can You Feel.” You can get the details for the free show from BAM’s site.

like no other day

The Real Thing
Sergio Mendes & the New Brasil ’77
Sergio Mendes & the New Brasil ’77, 1977

I was looking for a nice warm-weather song for this week and this one is perfect in light of the upcoming “WONDER-Full (Part VII) Annual Tribute To The Genius Stevie Wonder” party. It’s a full night of Stevie classics, Stevie covers, Stevie-penned songs, Stevie samples, and little-known Stevie tracks brought to you by Bobbito, DJ Spinna and the fine folks at KeiStar Productions.

I went two years ago and had a little bit of an out-of-body experience. Not in the literal sense but in that I heard songs that I was totally used to dancing and jamming out to in my living room and all of the sudden, I was in the middle of a couple hundred people having the same would-be private reaction. Dancing at this event wasn’t really like dancing everywhere else. There’s no “that’s a hot beat” – people were moving in synch with vocal inflections, hi-hat hesitations and harmonica bends that they knew…WELL.

I remember looking up during the last 1/3 of “Please Don’t Go” to see Bobbito dancing in the DJ booth as if he was on the main floor and had just had his mind blown by something he hadn’t heard before. Of course, he had heard the song 100 times before. At that moment the entire room (the people sitting down, the people trying to look hard, the crazy “is that a cross between modern dance and capoeira?” dancers, etc) seemed to be in the same moment.

What does Stevie have to do with Sergio Mendes in a referee uniform, you ask? As unlikely as it may seem, Stevie co-wrote “Love City” and wrote “The Real Thing” on this album. Stevie pops up in all manner of places that you might not expect. My favorite is on Minnie Riperton’s Perfect Angel album. Aside from writing two songs under his “real” name, he’s also playing drums, piano, electric piano, and harmonica, billed as “El Toro Negro” (a play on his Black Bull Music Publishing Company). The arranging credit for the whole album goes to “Wonderlove.”

“The Real Thing” has a special place in my heart because it’s the first song I played in public. The DJ that I was playing after came back by the DJ booth to give me props for my selection. I thanked him…and then stood up a little straighter and relaxed my shoulders and went on to have a really good night.

>> songs are available for two weeks [6.4 MB]

Whatup Jonesy!

now playing

i went to see Norman Jay at APT last night and it was…interesting. first of all, i haven’t been to APT in a while and i had it in my head that they had a great sound system. i am not sure where that came from because the sound was thoroughly ‘muddy’ and unspectacular. i came in between 12:30 and 1:00 and it was totally packed. he was playing “(a roller skating jam) named saturdays” by de la soul and the place was definitely moving to it. i had never heard him spin before and i expected that he was going to going all over the map based on the spectrum of tracks on his Good Times compilations but i don’t think i was ready for what happened. he mix and beat-matched a couple songs here and there but more often then not the tempos and genres of the tracks he picked varied wildly. i wasn’t sure if this was “his thing” and people were used to it or not. the answer came when the place started to thin out not that long after I got there, around 1:30-2:00 which is still ‘prime party time’, especially on a saturday night. it was a little sad, actually. i wasn’t there to dance, i just wanted to hear good music but the transitions even started to get to me after a while.

not to paint too bleak of a picture – he played some slammin’ tracks, which brings me to an ongoing frustration of mine. i love hearing good dj’s and love hearing good (new) music but i hate being out and hearing several great tracks and not having any idea who the artists are. i don’t mind going up to a DJ and asking what something is once…maybe even twice but 7 times is just not an option! then there’s the shows where the DJs are literally on stage and you can’t even ask once. i am still trying to find out a track that Jazzanova played at Irving Plaza in like 2002 or 2003. i’ve ascertained that it may have been “forss” or something like that; if anyone was there and knows the answer, please put me on!! it was the second song they played and it was chopped-up, syncopated heaven. so, i am not trying to ruin the mystique and all but can some DJ start a trend where they have a “now playing” screen so everyone can put a name with their musical crush and maybe even go buy some under-exposed music?

the picture below is from last night, although it’s misleading as to how full/empty the place was. it was taken around 3:00 AM and it’s pointed towards the back corner. there was a core of about 40 people that stayed that late but i couldn’t get a them to actually show up in a picture without using my flash…and i was being shy. i always loved the walls in the basement there; they’re backlit wood-patterned paper but they look like front-lit real wood…its quite confusing the first time around.

un-silent night (review)

saturday night i was part of one the most awesome performance art pieces [i'm not sure if that's what to call it] i’ve ever witnessed. the idea behind “unsilent night” is as brilliant as its execution.

through word of mouth/web/email etc somewhere between 500-700 people (my own estimation) gathered at washington square park on saturday night at 7:00. the organizer, phil kline, could have greatly benefitted from a megaphone as he tried to address the crowd but everyone got the important point, the “1-2-3-now” at the end.

“now” was the moment at which about 100 people pressed play on the cassette decks of their battery operated “boom boxes” (aka “ghetto blasters” aka portable stereos). everyone received pre-recorded tapes from the organizer/composer and each tape had a different piece of the overall composition. i wasn’t sure what i expected to hear but as we started to walk out of washington square park heading towards tompkins square park, a peaceful, hazy mix of bells, percussion and synthesized long notes was building all around me.

the march didn’t have any police to stop traffic and after getting separated across a few lights, the people in front waited for people to pull together behind cooper union and started stopping traffic wholesale from there until the end of the march.

the music itself always had a few different patterns going at any given time and sometimes it was hard to tell difference between when music was actually changing and when someone had their (louder than average) boom box temporarily pointed at you.

my favorite part was walking down the crosstown blocks; the music would grew in intensity from bouncing back & forth between the buildings. also, a lot of people came to their windows, some holding small children, so that they could see what was going on.

through 12 years of practice (or extreme luck) the piece ended just about two minutes after the group formed one large circle upon arriving in tompkins square park. the percussion & bells faded first and we were just left wishing it wouldn’t end as the final notes got quieter and less frequent until the the piece just evaporated. people gave a hearty round of applause and then just went their separate ways.

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