Melting Pot

LowEndTheory

Founded in 2006, Low End Theory has been a safe-haven for forward thinking beat driven artists and listeners here in Los Angeles. The night has proved to be an incubator for some of the finest instrumental music of the 21st century, with residents Gaslamp Killer, Nobody, D-Styles, Nocando and Daddy Kev, along with frequent guests Flying Lotus, Teebs, Daedulus and Thundercat. This weekend almost all of the many DJs, producers and musicians associated with this scene will performing at the 2nd annual Low End Theory festival, this time at the Shrine Expo Hall & Grounds this Saturday August 8th. You and a guest can bear witness to what should truly be an experience if win this giveaway. Make sure to e-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 5pm Thursday, August 6th, for your chance to win!

In recent years, Flying Lotus has really added a significantly more theatrical element to his live shows, as this video from a show at the Wiltern can attest to:

Not sure if Gaslamp Killer will “just” be doing a DJ set, or it will be the full-on GLK Experience, but no matter, any performance is not to be missed from this man. Here’s a little video from his show at Grand Performances earlier in the Summer:

Aside from Gaslamp Killer and FlyLo, I think I’m most excited to see what Thundercat has cooked up for this special night, here’s a clip from a performance a couple years ago here in LA:

Finally, here are some highlights from last year’s festival, which was held at the Echoplex:

RonnieVonn

Ronie Von – A Maquina Voadora
Ronnie Von – Baby De Tal
Ronnie Von – Imagem

A week ago here in LA, Brasil came to town in the form of Joel Stones and his legendary store Tropicalia In Furs, roughly two years after closing down in NYC. As of yet, Stones hasn’t fully set up shop, only a pop-up store for a weekend, but from the response, he seems like he’ll be back. As a fan of Brazilian music from the 1960s & 1970s, it can be extremely difficult to get these records here in the states. Out in the wild of “regular” stores, you’d be lucky to run into a greatest hits collection. If you go the Ebay/Dicogs route, you’ll be paying shipping costs that are almost as expensive as the records themselves and waiting for a month before they arrive (IF they arrive!). So, a store like Tropicalia In Furs, dedicated to rare, psychedelic and funky Brazilian music is a dream come true. If not for my upcoming trip to Cuba, I would have gotten many more records than I did and spent significantly more money. VonnBackI was able to get a nice little haul, mostly just solid titles, but a couple of rarer ones that I’ll definitely feature here in coming months.

This Ronnie Von record was one that I tried to win from a online auction that Stones did last year. Recorded in 1970, this album walks the tightrope between the rocking MPB sounds of Roberto Carlos and the fuzzy soul of Tim Maia or Erasmo Carlos. “A Maquina Voadora” and “Imagem” both bring the fuzz and have a lovely headnodic sound. I’d heard those tracks and knew what to expect for most of the record. “Baby De Tal” was a surprise, toned down, much more soulful and emerged as my favorite track. My ears and yours are made all the better by having Tropicalia In Furs back on the scene, here’s to hoping that the store opens up full-time in the very near future.

Cheers,

Michael

Mexico68

Mexico 68 Afrobeat Orchestra – Soon Dem Come

First got a chance to see Los Angeles’ Mexico 68 Afrobeat Orchestra at Miles Tackett’s record release last Summer. I was immediately impressed with their mastery of the original sound, pioneered by Fela Kuti, and the occasional stylistic and rhythmic additions from Afro-latin music. A year later, and the group has released their debut album, featuring five original compositions. “Soon Dem Come” highlights the personal style of the group, with that indestructible afrobeat rhythm and politically charged lyrics in both Spanish and English. Keep your fingers crossed that we’ll be able to bring them into KPFK later this year, though I don’t know how or where we’ll fit all 13 musicians in the group!

Annabel (Lee) KPFK (1)

The stars finally aligned for us this past week, after not having nearly as many guests as I’d hoped, we were able to bring in Annabel (Lee) for an interview and performance, a debut in many ways for this version of the ensemble, headed up by Annabel and Richard E. As I’ve mentioned previously, the album from Annabel (Lee) is one of my favorites of the year, just the right mix of moody, nearly supernatural sounds that skirts with a variety of genres, styles and time periods without sounding firmly ensconced in any particular one. I was especially looking forward to how this music would be translated into live performance and it turns out to have been beautifully done, here as a mostly acoustic (with only the keyboards needing an amplifier) sextet, with vocals, guitar, upright bass, keys, violin and harp. From conversation with Richard and Annabel, this particular ensemble (which also might include a cello) hasn’t performed live just yet, but live shows here in LA and abroad should be forthcoming. As you can tell from the three songs they performed for us, “Far,” “Alone” and “Suki Desu,” whenever/wherever Annabel (Lee) performs, it will be an event not to be missed. Special thanks to Mark Maxwell for his sonic wizardry and to Annabel (Lee) for blessing us with a truly magical performance.

Annabel (Lee) on KPFK’s Melting Pot: 07-14-2015

kpfk-logo

Four weeks into doing our show on Fridays, we finally have our first guests, the ethereal Annabel (Lee). The interview and performance with them takes up almost the entire second hour, with a couple of their favorite artists, Nick Drake and Nina Simone thrown in to round things out. In the first hour, we drew attention to several frees hows going on in LA via Grand Performances (Mexico 68 and Kamasi Washington perform next week, NOT to be missed!) and play a fair amount of tunes from Dungen, Kadhja Bonet, Ghostface Killah + Adrian Younge, Thundercat and more. Unfortunately, just as I’ve started to get my rhythm on Friday nights, I’ll be taking a prolonged break, with an upcoming fundraiser and a trip far out of town. My next show will be at the end of August, and my hopes are that I’ll have a boatload of new/old vinyl to share with you then. Enjoy!

Melting Pot on KPFK #204: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #204: Second Hour

Playlist: 07-17-2015
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – 7” (Stax)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Kamasi Washington – The Rhythm Changes – The Epic (Brainfeeder)
Ondatropica – Tiene Sabor, Tiene Sazon – Ondatropica (Soundway)
Mexico 68 Afrobeat Orchestra – Rukus – Mexico 68 Afrobeat Orchestra (Rampart)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Norma White – I Want Your Love – 7” (Ximeno)
Katalyst feat. Stephanie McKay – Day Into Night – Deep Impression (BBE)
Kadhja Bonet – Come Wander/Iemanja – Single (Self-Released)
Thundercat – Where The Giants Roam/Field Of Nephilim – The Beyond/Where The Giants Roam (Brainfeeder)
Magnum Force – Girl, You’re Too Cool – Ultra High Frequencies: The Chicago Party (Numero)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Ghostfact Killah w/ Adrian Younge’s Venice Dawn feat. Raekwon & Bilal – Resurrection Morning – 12 Reasons To Die II (Linear Labs)
The Royal Jesters – Take Me For A Little While – Royal Jesters: English Oldies (Numero)
Miles Tackett & the 3 Times – Just What I Need – The Fool Who Wonders (Root Down LA)
Dungen – Akt Dit – Allas Sak (Mexican Summer)
Kutiman – Inner Galactic Lovers – Single (Self-Released)
The Pops – Som Imaginario De Jimi Hendrix – Brazilian Guitar Fuzz Bananas (World Psychedelic Funk Classics/Tropicalia In Furs)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Annabel (Lee) – Interview & Performance – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Annabel (Lee) – Find Me – By The Sea…And Other Solitary Places (Ninja Tune)
Nick Drake – Way To Blue – Five Leaves Left (Island)
Nina Simone – That’s All I Ask – Wild Is The Wind (Philips)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

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

Austin

Claire Austin – I’ll Never Be The Same
Claire Austin – My Melancholy Baby
Claire Austin – This House Is Haunted
Claire Austin – Can’t We Talk It Over

As I think I’ve mentioned previously, over the past year I’ve been buying many more vocal albums than normal, seemingly one of the many strange unintended consequences of my separation and soon to be finalized divorce. More so than just getting vocal albums I haven’t owned, I’ve been tracking down vocalists I hadn’t heard before. I found this album on the same trip to Groove Merchant that netted the Ensemble Al-Salaam album. The cover design was absolutely a drawing point, the stark photo, the strange greenish hue to the black and white image, the pensive woman, clearly melancholy and slightly out of focus. But what was most intriguing was the fact that there was no artist information on the cover, a very rare thin indeed. Only “When Your Lover Has Gone.” Without hearing the music or knowing who the artist was, I would have likely bought the album, solely on the strength of that cover, which is one of the most distinctively beautiful ones I’ve ever seen.

Quick flip over, identified the artist as “Clair Austin sings ‘When Your Lover Has Gone’ & other songs of unrequited love, with Bob Scobey, trumpet, Barney Kessel, guitar, Stan Wrightsman, piano, Morty Cobb, bass, Shelly Manne, drums.” I’d certainly heard of Kessel and Manne, Scobey’s name rang a slight bell, but Clair Austin was someone I hadn’t heard of. Part of the reason for that is that she really didn’t record much or for very long. Austin began singing some time in the 1930s, but WWII meant that she was separated from her drummer husband, Chuck Austin, while he was fighting. After the war, the Austin’s became accountants and settled into suburban life in Sacramento. But, at some point in the late 1940s, Austin began singing again and landed a recording gig with Kid Ory, and this one with Bob Scobey, before largely fading away again into obscurity.

Austin has a really distinctive and slightly unsettling style of singing. There’s something about her voice that sounds both wrong and right. Though I’ve seen writers compare her to Peggy Lee, I don’t hear that at all. Her phrasing is straight out of the 20s or 30s, as a strange mix of Bessie Smith & Billie Holiday with just the slightest of Swedish accents. I’m not sure if Scobey chose these songs or Austin chose them, but it’s an interesting mix, and another drawing point for me, since the majority of them are ones that I’d never heard or rarely see on other vocalists albums from this period of time. My copy of the album isn’t pristine, so my favorite songs, “This House Is Haunted,” and “My Melancholy Baby” have some assertive pops and clicks, but I share them nonetheless solely because of how lovely they are.

Cheers,

Michael

Israeli DJ/Producer Kutiman appears to have a full-length record, Space Cassava, on the way, but of late I’ve been intrigued by his most recent collaborative music project “Inner Galactic Lovers.” Similar to his “Thru You” projects, which culled music from youtube videos, “Inner Galactic Lovers” mixes the contributions of 24 individual musicians Kutiman gathered through the online community Fiverr. In some ways this project is even more impressive, because it appears that none of the musicians communicated with each other, they only communicated with Kutiman, so he essentially individually orchestrated this piece with each musician and then brought together all of the disparate parts into the song you hear above. Quite a feat, and proof positive that Kutiman continues to be one of the most creative cats around.

kpfk-logo

Starting to get a feel for these Friday nights in the summer. A change in broadcast times also requires a change in mind and mood. For instance, at this moment and the exact opposite of my Sunday show, I know that the Sun sets throughout my first hour with Twilight beginning near the end. As such, you can expect some “Sunset music” in the first hour of the program, such as the sublime set featuring the Sandwitches, Nicole Willis and Amy Winehouse, as long as I’m able to provide a soundtrack for it. Also featured in last Friday’s show is new music from Holly Golightly, Dungen, Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge, Thundercat and Annabel (Lee), plus classic material from The Stooges (45th anniversary of their classic Fun House album was on 7/7), The United States Of America, Alice Coltrane and a taste of the “Deepest Digs Vol 6″ mix that was posted on 7/11…if things go according to plan, we should have a special guest & performance coming up this week, but until then, enjoy the show!

Melting Pot on KPFK #203: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #203: Second Hour

Playlist: 07-10-2015
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – 7” (Stax)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Nina Simone – Do I Move You? – Sings The Blues (RCA)
John Kasandra – Good Whiskey Bad Women – The True Genius (Respect)
Carl Sherlock Holmes – Black Bag – Investigation NO. 1 (CRS)
Jon Lucien – Would You Believe In Me – Rashida (RCA)
Luiz Gonzaga Jr. – Galope – Luiz Gonzaga Jr. (Odeon)
Los Tainos – Amor Mio (loop) – Los Tainos (Arieto)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Dungen – Akt Dit – Allas Sak (Mexican Summer)
The United States Of America – The American Metaphysical Circus – The United States Of America (Columbia)
Broadcast – Come On Let’s Go – The Noise Made By People (Warp)
Ghostface Killah feat. Raekwon with Adrian Younge’s Venice Dawn – Let The Record Spin – Twelve Reasons To Die II (Linear Labs)
The Peddlers – On A Clear Day – Three In A Cell (CBS)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

The Sandwitches – Dear Prudence – Our Toast (Empty Cellar)
Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators – On The East Side – Tortured Soul (Timmion)
Amy Winehouse – Wake Up Alone – Back To Black (Island)
The High Society Bros. – The Devil Gives Me Everything (Instrumental) – 7” (Timmion)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Holly Golightly – Seven Wonders – Slowtown Now! (Damaged Goods)
The Gories – Thunderbird ESQ – I Know You Fine, How You Doin’ (Crypt)
The Stooges – Fun House – Fun House (Elektra)
Ersen – Gunese Don Cicegem – Ersen (Finders Keepers)
The Skatalites – Ceiling Bud – 7” (Ximeno)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Dimas III – I Won’t Love You Again – Royal Jesters English Oldies (Numero)
Alice Coltrane – Turiya – Huntington Ashram Monastery (Impulse)
Annabel (Lee) – (1849) – By The Sea…And Other Solitary Places (Ninja Tune)
Archive – Nothing Else – Londinium (Island)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Thundercat – Lone Wolf & Cub – The Beyond/Where The Giants Roam EP (Brainfeeder)
Kamasi Washington – Re Run – The Epic (Brainfeeder)
Elis Regina – Mundo Deserto – Ela (Philips)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

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

IMG_3365

Ensemble Al-Salaam – Peace
Ensemble Al-Salaam – Optimystical
Ensemble Al Salaam – Circles
Ensemble Al-Salaam – Music Is Nothing But A Prayer

I always like to start the new year with a bang, and this is one I’ve been holding on to for just this moment for a couple of months. Back in April I made the pilgrimage to the Mecca of record stores, Groove Merchant, with the mindset that I was only going to trade records, of which I had quite a few. Cool Chris wasn’t there, but B-Cause (who released the essential Soul Boulders series with the one and only, Matthew Africa) was and he was able to get a hold of Chris on the other side of the country at the WFMU Record Swap. While there were maybe 7 or 8 records that I’d had my mind on, this album, one I’d never seen before, was by far the one that I simply had to have. The trade knocked off $100 from the price, but it still cost me a pretty penny, though as you can tell from the sounds, it’s absolutely worth it.

The Ensemble Al-Salaam was a spiritual jazz septet from the New York area. From the pictures on the back of the album, they all look to be very young, likely no one above 21. The music on this album is so exceptional, so singular, that even though it very easily fits into the “spiritual jazz” genre, it still defies a bit of explanation. Records like this are what I like to call, “Just Listen Records.” You tell someone that you’ve heard something amazing, and they ask, “what does it sound like?” or “what makes it so special?” and the only answer of consequence is “just listen.” This is not a record you play for just anybody, but one that you protect. Not in a snobbish way, but in the way that you protect a friend that is so sensitive and sincere that you know everybody won’t appreciate them or “get them” the way you do. Interestingly, the band themselves seem to be aware of the special vibe created by their sounds, as they discuss on the back cover:

Someone may ask you, or you may ask yourself, “What type of music is this?” Well, it is music played by the Ensemble Al-Salaam. Therefore it is salaam (peace) music. Peaceful, but not weak, firey and yet non-violent. The music is greater than the sum of our collective beings. But then there are the Kafir (non-believers) who will hate this music, those who will lie about it, try to steal it or even deny it’s existence, those who will try to define and label it, thereby limiting its ability to soar, to fly above the minds clouded by pseudo intellectual reference marks. The music will survive all of this because it is truthful. It is dynamic. In fact, our music is God’s purest breath of life – expressed each time we touch the wood and metal of our musical instruments.

As someone who spends an awful lot of time talking about music, describing, categorizing it, I really can’t improve on what the band has to say about their own music. It is a powerful experience hearing these songs, whether you have before, or this is your first listen. Records like this are why I started this blog, why I continue to share music through it and why I continue to keep searching for connections between newer and older sounds. The beauty of “Peace,” “Optimystical,” “Circles” and “Music Is Nothin But A Prayer” is hard to describe fully…just listen.

Peace,

Michael

DeepestDigs6

Forces conspired against me throughout the year to keep me from putting things together quite the way I promised in year five, but nothing these days can stop me from sharing great music. Here’s the “Top 20″ of the past year, curated lovingly and mixed meekly by yours truly. Now, I promise, and this time I REALLY mean it, that for Year #7, we’ll have some truly special things to share. So, until next July, enjoy these tunes and all the rest to come…Dig On It!

Melting Pot’s Deepest Digs Volume 6

1. Jun Mayuzumi – Miracle – Angel Love
2. Nina Simone – Do I Move You? – Nina Sings The Blues
3. Jon Kasandra – Good Whiskey, Bad Women – The True Genius
4. Carl Sherlock Holmes – Black Bag – Investigation No. 1
5. Jon Lucien – Would You Believe In Me – Rashida
6. Luiz Gonzaga Jr. – Galope – Luiz Gonzaga Jr.
7. Los Tainos – Amor Mio – Los Tainos
8. Tami Lynn – Mojo Hanna – Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone
9. DJ Rogers – Celebration – DJ Rogers
10. Sod – Pushie – Face The Music
11. Yao Su Yong – Extremely – Gold Record Album
12. The Main Attraction – Everyday – And Now…
13. Leon Thomas – The Creator Has A Master Plan – Spirits Known and Unknown
14. Light Rain – Beautiful Friend – Dream Dancer
15. Bobby Callendar – Rainbow / Nature – Rainbow
16. Muddy Waters – Bottom Of The Sea – After The Rain
17. Brother Jack McDuff – Come and Carry Me Home – To Seek A New Home
18. The Albert – Pity The Child – The Albert
19. Bo Rhambo – Dream Awhile – Enchanted Evening
20. Little Jimmy Scott – Our Day Will Come – The Source

HolyMountain

Don Cherry & the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra – Isla/Psychedelic Weapons

Today marks one year since the death of Charlie Haden, the extaordinary bassist and composer. Haden’s music is rarely far from my turntables, but that has been especially the case since I learned of the vinyl issue of the soundtrack to Jodowrosky’s The Holy Mountain, one of my favorite films of all-time and a soundtrack that was long rumored to have been lost, until it turned up in digital form a few years ago on a box set of the director’s work. Finders Keepers have recently reissued music from all of Jodo’s films, but this soundtrack, reproduced on two pieces of vinyl with packaging worthy of the original film, is the one I was most interested in. When I first saw the film during college, a period of time where I was DEEP into avant-garde jazz, I don’t think I recognized that Don Cherry & the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra were responsible for most of the music. It wasn’t until I tracked down Don Cherry’s Relativity Suite, and then re-saw the movie a few years ago that I realized how the two were linked. Unfortunately, the soundtrack doesn’t have any extended solos from Haden, and in fact it’s difficult accurately place his bass in many of the songs, but it’s clear when you listen to “Isla” that that is Haden, with his distinctive tender sound. Though I understand and appreciate the hard right turn the music makes from “Isla” to “Psychedelic Weapons” I almost wish there was more of what appears to be a longer take for the first song, because it’s just as it starts to settle into something truly beautiful that it switches (it almost sounds as if someone stopped a reel-to-reel playing “Isla,” or, to post-hip-hop ears, it almost sounds like a sloppy cross fade of a DJ) into the rocking “Weapons,” but this is a minor complaint. There is so much beauty in these two discs, music that many of us thought would never see the light of day, but we have it now and it gives us more to treasure from Haden, Cherry and all of the other master musicians associated with the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra at that time.

GotSix

Six years of Melting Pot is in the books. This year wasn’t quite as brutal as the previous one, but it was still a very “Of Mice & Men” kind of year where my best laid plans didn’t exactly pan out. But I’m still here and still on the radio and that means another year of music. This year should be an interesting one, if for no other reason than in August I should be making a trip that I’ve longed to make most of my life and hopefully will net some great records to share. There’s also word that the legendary Brazilian focused vinyl store, Tropicalia In Furs, will be opening up soon in LA, which also should lead to some welcome additions to my collection and this blog. I feel good about how things are going, personally and professionally and that should connect to more regular and more varied posts and also more mixes, beginning with our traditional Deepest Digs, which I absolutely promise will be posted on 7/11. Thanks to all of you who keep coming to this blog, listen to the music and spread the word. Onwards and upwards…

Peace,

Michael

kpfk-logo

2015 is shaping up quite nicely in terms of music, with a nice mix of cherished artists returning for more and brand new voices emerging into the fold. As is our tradition, the first show of July takes a look back a tthe first six months of the year and also includes a few sleepers we missed in 2014…Enjoy!

Melting Pot on KPFK #202: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #202: Second Hour

Playlist: 07-03-2015
{opening theme} Booker T & the Mgs – Melting Pot – 7” (Stax)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Martha Bass – Walk With Me – Selma: Original Soundtrack (Paramount)
Ibeyi – River – Ibeyi (XL)
BBNG with Ghostface Killah feat. Danny Brown – Six Degrees – Sour Soul (Lex)
Bilal – Satellites – In Another Life (Purpose)
The Amazing – Tell Them You Can’t Leave – Picture You (Partisan)
Don Cherry & the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra – Burn Your Money – The Holy Mountain: Original Soundtrack (Finders Keepers)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Dom La Nena – Era Una Vez – Soyo (Six Degrees)
Tashi Dorji – Death Flowers – Appa (Bathetic)
Annabel (Lee) – Breathe Us – By The Sea…And Other Solitary Places (Ninja Tune)
Nosaj Thing – Watch – Fated (Innovative Leisure)
Oddisee – Belong To The World – The Good Fight (Mello Music)
Buyepongo – Mulatu Para Ti – 7” (Soul Fiesta)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

The Sandwitches – Miggy – Our Toast (Empty Cellar)
Swervedriver – Setting Sun – I Wasn’t Born To Lose You (Cobraside)
Broadcast – Man Is Not A Bird – The Ha Ha Sound (Warp)
The Stark Reality – All You Need To Make Music – The Stark Reality Discover Hoagy Carmichael’s Music Shop (Now-Again)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

The Royal Jesters – My Kind OF Woman – Royal Jesters English Oldies (Numero)
PRhyme feat. Jay Electronica – To Me To You – Prhyme (Prhyme Records)
Sleater-Kinney – Surface Envy – No Cities To Love (Sub Pop)
Joanna Gruesome – There Is No Function Stacey – Peanut Butter (Slumberland)
Nedelle Torrisi – Double Horizon – Advice From Paradise (Ethereal Sequence/Drag City)
The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band – Lam Tang Wai Yook Pattana – 21st Century Molam (Zudrangma Records)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

The Rongetz Foundation – Kiss Kiss Double Jab – Kiss Kiss Double Jab (Heavenly Sweetness)
Kendrick Lamar – Institutionalized – To Pimp A Butterfly (Top Rank Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope)
The Rebirth – This Is Coming To – Being Through (Walkin’ Talkin’)
Bappi Lahiri – Taqdeer Ka Badshah – Bombay Disco 2 (Cultures Of Soul)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Russo Passopusso – Flor De Plastico – Paraiso Da Miragem (Self-released)
Haitus Kaiyote – Molasses – Choose Your Weapon (Flying Buddah)
Kamasi Washington – Askim – The Epic (Brainfeeder)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

{closing theme} Don Cherry & the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra – The City Of Freedom – The Holy Mountain: Original Soundtrack (Finders Keepers)

MainAttraction

The Main Attraction – Everyday
The Main Attraction – If I’m Wrong
The Main Attraction – Jonathan

Not sure why I haven’t posted this, I’ve had this record for three or four years and thought I would have by now. The Main Attraction might not have even drawn my attention if not for the all-world sample of their song “Everyday” by the Avalanches on their track “Since I Left You” (which as you can tell, reimagines a love song as a kiss off song). Their sound is very much the norm for this bubblegum pop period of time and aside from the three songs above, there’s nothing much to write home about. But there are moments, in “If I’m Wrong” and “Jonathan” that seem to show that there might have been something special here if the band had been able to branch out a bit more. Hell, I might have liked even a regular cliched kind of 60s “Baby Don’t Leave” kind of lyric instead of “Jonathan” since the arrangement is one that would have made all three Walker Brothers smile. But “Everyday” is brilliant and beautiful and since you probably can find this record for $2 or less, well worth the price of admission on it’s own.

Cheers,

Michael

starkreality

The Stark Reality – All You Need To Make Music

Part of what is great about doing a “Best So Far” show in the middle of the year is that it forces me to dig even deeper and see what new releases and reissues have come out that I might have missed in the preceding months. One of the ones that I was most excited to discover that had been reissued is this legendary album, lovingly reproduced on a 3-LP set by Now-Again. Ostensibly, The Stark Reality Discovers Hoagy Carmichael’s Music Shop is a kids record. The music produced on the album was used for a PBS special featuring Hoagy Carmichael sharing songs and teaching kids about music. This period of time was especially kind of children, with all of those amazing Schoolhouse Rock albums, Sesame Street and the like, but this one stands head and shoulders above the rest, just for it’s overall sonic insanity. Original copies of the album, even after earlier reissues from Stones Throw, regularly fetch prices in the $1,000s. For a lot of crate diggers, this is a real badge of honor to have tracked one down in the wild (I’m pretty sure Matthew Africa had at least two copies of this). Just last year this album landed at the top spot of Soul Strut‘s list of albums voted on by members of the forum (interestingly “Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth” ended up at #2). There are lots of records that are rarer than this album, but few are as enjoyable or as much of an experience to listen to. It’s a novelty record for sure, and you have to be in the right mindset to give it a listen, but when that fuzz and those drums and all of those chants, like “the first seven letters of the alphabet is all you need…to make music…A, B, C, D, E, F, G!” come out of your speakers, there’s just no way possible to keep your head from nodding and a smile from spreading across your face.

As a bonus, especially if, like me, you never saw or heard any of this until some beat miners put it on your radar, here’s a bit of the PBS show, with all of the charms you remember (or have discovered) of 1970s kids programming:

Proudly powered by WordPress. Theme developed with WordPress Theme Generator.
Copyright © Melting Pot. All rights reserved.
[powerpress url="http://www.meltingpotblog.com"]