To say that I was overjoyed would be a massive understatement, when word came out that Swervedriver was not only reformed, but here in 2015 would release a brand new album of brand new material AND tour the US! Swervedriver for me was the crown jewel of the “shoegazer” sound out of the UK, with a sterling emphasis on quality of sound perhaps best exemplified in the swirling twin guitars of Adam Franklin and Jimmy Hartridge and the propulsive beat of the many, many drummers associated with the group. This week the band will land here in Los Angeles on March 5th, for one of their earliest shows here in the states at the venerable Roxy. If you’d like to see this band, and get lost in the sound, make sure to e-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com before 5pm Wednesday, March 4th for a chance to win.
My first experience with the band was watching this video, jaw agape in shock, on a recording of 120 minutes back in the early 1990s. No other song compares to the thrill of driving on a clean stretch of highway to this song:
Here the band performs “Deep Wound,” the song that would eventually be the first single from their latest release, I Wasn’t Born To Lose You, from a recent performance at KEXP. This gives you a sense of what you’ll experience on Thursday if you make it to the show:
While the first single from the new album gave us the impression the band was focused on a tough “Mustang Ford” return, the second single, “Setting Sun” gives a better representation of the sound of the current band. A song that could have easily found it’s way onto any of the other previous albums from the band, representative of the classic sound and many joys of Adam Franklin’s songwriting, singing and playing:
Earlier in the year Josh Haden and his group Spain released their fifth studio album, Sargent Place, overseas and this week the album received a stateside release via Dine Alone records. Though 2012’s The Soul of Spain marked the bands return after a decade long absence, in some ways Sargent Place should be considered the proper return of the band. I say this primarily because the vast majority of the songs on this album were written by the group in the run up to recording and changed form in the process of recording the album.
Spain will be playing a free show tomorrow at Amoeba Hollywood at 6pm and in connection with that we’ve been given a few copies of the new album, signed by Josh Haden, to give to readers of the blog. E-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com if you want a chacne to enter into the giveaway. I’ll be choosing winners on Friday, November 7th!
Of the many noteworthy songs on Sargent Place (including “You and I” which features the final recording of Charlie Haden, the legendary father of bass player/vocalist Josh Haden), one of the most beautiful is surely “The Fighter,” featuring strings and harmony vocals from Haden’s sister Petra.
The band has even released a rare video for this album, for the lead track, “Love At First Sight”:
One of my favorite indie-pop outfits from outside of the States, Allo Darlin’, is gracing us with a rare show this Thursday over at the Echo! Featuring Aussie Elizabeth Morris on the lead vocals, guitar and electric ukulele, the band released one of my absolute favorite late Summer songs a few years ago and are just about to release (like tomorrow!) their latest record, We Come From The Same Place, once again for Oakland’s Slumberland label. If you want to see them courtesy of Melting Pot, drop me a line to michael[at]meltingpotblog.com before 5pm, Wednesday October 22nd.
Here’s the first single from their new record, “Bright Eyes,” a vocal duet, back and forth kind of song that is beyond infectious:
I’d hoped to bring the band in to record a session at KPFK, especially since they’re not likely to be around again for several years, but instead, we’ll have to make do with this session at KEXP from 2012:
I’ve posted it before, but there’s no reason not to post it again, here’s one of the greatest end of summer songs I’ve ever heard, “Tallulah,” featuring Elizabeth Morris’ lovely voice and unique accent (Australian with a little British and something else mixed together) along with a bit uke strumming along:
This one is a bit last minute as a extra pair opened up…Mark Kozelek/Sun Kil Moon will be performing here in LA on Thursday, October 9th at the Fonda Theatre. Most people know Kozelek, by name or by sound, as the main force behind the much beloved Red House Painters. For more than a few years now he’s recorded music under the moniker Sun Kil Moon that remains connected to his past work, but also presents elements that were only hinted at with his prior band. Of late he’s especially grown fond of playing an Acoustic nylon string guitar and the results have been beautiful, particularly on 2010’s Admiral Fell Promises. Benji, his most recent release, includes some of the most personal songwriting of his career, and it’s likely that this show will feature mostly songs from that album, but who knows. With a body of work as rich and varied as Kozelek’s there’s no telling which songs he’ll perform or what mood he’ll be in. I’m sure it will be a night to remember, and if you’d like to go courtesy of Melting Pot, send me an e-mail at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 5pm today for a chance to win!
Not sure if tomorrow’s show will be a solo one or he’ll have a band backing him up, but either way the results are extraordinary. Here’s Sun Kil Moon with a full band back Kozelek, for the song “Richard Ramirez Died Today Of Natural Causes,” from the most recent album Benji:
I very rarely will feature a cellphone video on this site, but I highlight this one, because “Church Of The Pines” is one of my favorite recent songs from Sun Kil Moon, and also to showcase just how extraordinary Kozelek sounds when he performs solo:
I’d heard they’d broken up, that we’d seen the last of King Khan & the BBQ show, but clearly those accounts were greatly exaggerated cause they’ll be playing here in Los Angeles on Tuesday October 7th at the El Rey. In contrast to the expansive sonic fury when he’s backed by his 10 piece (at least) band the Shrines, Khan’s work with BBQ show is stripped down and bone raw. BBQ Show would be a draw just by himself, with his one-man band percussion set-up, jangly guitars and vocals, but you add in King Khan and it ups the intensity and insanity levels far past 11. If you’d like to see them courtesy of Melting Pot, make sure to send me an e-mail to michael[at]meltingpotblog.com before 5pm on Monday, October 6th!
Just as an introduction to the sound of King Khan & the BBQ Show, here’s their video for the song “Fish Fry”:
And for a better idea of what’s in store for you if you go to the show, I think this video just about sums it up:
On Thursday, October 2nd, one of the most respected underground rappers in the game right now will be here in LA performing at the Troubadour. Brother Ali returns to our city to perform here at the start of 30+ date tour of the US and Canada…if you’d like to see him courtesy of Melting Pot, send an e-mail to michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 5pm, Wednesday October 1st!
Here’s an example of what’s potentially in store for you, from a live performance that Ali did on the radio station KEXP with a full band:
Here’s the video for one of my favorite songs from Brother Ali…2012’s “Mourning In America”:
The Sonics, one of the most influential garage bands of all-time, will be performing here in Los Angeles at the Roxy this Friday night, August 15th!!! The Sonics were one of several bands that put the Pacific Northwest sound on the map back in the early 1960s. They set themselves apart because of the raw energy and power of their performances. It’s not hyperbole to saw that whole scenes of music and legendary bands like the Gories or the Cramps might not have even been formed without the music of this band. Having reformed a few years ago, with original members Gerry Roslie (keys/vox), Larry Parypa (guitar) and Rob Lind (sax), even though the boys are now well into past their 60s, they’ve lost none of their verve and fire. If you’d like to go courtesy of Melting Pot, make sure to e-mail me by 5pm on Thursday, August 14th at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com!
I’m not sure there’s a greater song from this period of time than “Strychnine,” certainly it features some of the greatest opening lyrics of all-time:
Baby…you driving me crazy!:
Now if you’re not convinced that you should see this band here in 2014, just take a gander at this video, recorded earlier in the year:
Bass virtuoso Charnett Moffett is coming into LA for two shows at the Catalina Jazz Club this Friday and Saturday, July 11th and 12th! I’ve never seen a more dynamic and awe-inspiring bass player as Charnett Moffett, he may very well be the best bassist to emerge post-Mingus and post-Haden. Raised up in the musical Moffett household and named “Charnett” by his father, drummer Charles Moffett, as a tribute to Ornette Coleman, the man has been thrilling audiences since his emergence as a teenager in the Moffett family band. Since then he’s played with all of the big names of the past 30 years, Branford and Wynton Marsalis, McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock just to name a few. Last year he released two albums on Motema Music and these shows will showcase his “Spirit Of Sound” trio. If you’d like to see Charnett Moffett perform live (and believe me YOU DO) at Catalina’s Jazz Club on Saturday July 12th, make sure to e-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 12noon on Friday!!!
Here’s Charnett performing a song from one of the two albums he released in 2013, “The Bridge,” on solo bass:
This one is from a few years ago, but showcases the dynamic style of Moffett, on both upright and electric bass, watching him perform it just doesn’t seem possible for one human’s hands to move that fast:
Though they were obscured for over 20+ years, the proto-punk Death, thanks to reissues from Drag City and an ace documentary called “A Band Called Death” have rightly taken their place amongst the iconic bands of Detroit Rock City, including the Stooges and the MC5. The Hackney brothers have been performing together for the last several years and their sound has lost none of its potency from the 1970s, as you’ll find out when they perform here in LA at the Roxy on July 3rd. If you’d like to see Death, courtesy of Melting Pot, make sure to e-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by Wednesday, July 2nd at 12noon!!!
If you haven’t seen the documentary yet…what are you waiting for!
Here’s one of my faves from the groups original EP from 1974:
And here’s a taste of what you’ll get when you see them live here in 2014, this one recorded at the 2013 Afropunk Festival:
Will Holland aka Quantic is a true artist, a master DJ and master musician. His explorations through his many recordings (with the Quantic Soul Orchestra, Flowering Infero and Ondatropica, to name just a few) and as a compiler (The Panama collections on Soundway are required material) have almost single-handedly shifted many DJs, collectors and listeners to dig deeper into the sounds of Latin America. He’ll be here in Los Angeles bringing his unique blend of funk, cumbia, reggae and so much more to the Roxy on June 25th! If you want a chance to go courtesy of Melting Pot, e-mail at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 5pm on Tuesday June 24th!
Here’s Quantic performing with a relatively small combo earlier in the year:
And here’s some older footage of Quantic with a larger group perforiming “Descarga”:
Here’s also the video for one of the newer songs, “Duvido” from Holland’s latest release, Magnetica on long time label Tru Thoughts:
It’s been several months since I first came down with a serious musical crush on Perfect Pussy…and not a single thing has changed about the way I feel about the band. Back in March the band played a couple shows here in LA and I got to see them live at the Bootleg and they did not disappoint, not one single bit. If you want to bear witness in person, here’s your chance with Perfect Pussy playing alongside Potty Mouth and the Bots at the Echo on Thursday May 29th. All you have to do is e-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com for a chance to win. I’ll chose the winners on Wednesday at 5pm.
Here’s a video for the first track from their debut cassette “I Have Lost All Desire For Feeling.” In addition to giving a nice introduction to the band’s sound, the video shows they clearly have a good sense of humor and solid camaraderie, which is probably needed with all the attention the band has gotten over the past year plus:
While that video might be a good introduction, for a true taste of Perfect Pussy the band has to be experienced live. Their sets are like a hurricane of sound, massive amounts of feedback from every direction with Graves as the eye of the storm. Here’s the band playing at SXSW, at an NPR showcase of all places, which does produce the most precious comments from NPR types who’ve never listened to this kind of music…The set itself is fiercer than fierce:
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:
So…I’ve been away for quite sometime, mostly because of personal matters and a wicked case of the flu. To make up for time lost, I some rather lovely tickets. One of my favorite contemporary performers and songwriters will be here in Los Angeles playing a “Church Session” on Saturday March 8th, Mark Kozelek aka Sun Kil Moon. For the last several years Kozelek, former frontman of the Red House Painters in what feels like it was a lifetime ago, has been focused on playing nylon guitars and writing deeply introspective songs. I’m not sure if he’ll be here with a full band or just by himself with his guitar, but however it goes down, if you’re a fan you don’t want to miss this performance at the First Unitarian Church here in Los Angeles (2936 W 8th St. Los Angeles, CA, 90005). If you want a chance to go courtesy of Melting Pot, e-mail at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 12noon Friday (tomorrow)!
This clip for Urban Explorers might give a sense of the possibilities of Kozelek performing at a church:
Here Mark performs “Mistress” with the Roots on Jimmy Fallon’s “old” show:
I have no idea when the last time Mazzy Star played a show here in Los Angeles, but I’m guessing it’s been a long long time. Considering the fact that Dave Roback and Hope Sandoval hadn’t made a record together for 17 years, until the release of their brilliant Seasons Of Your Day, it might be a very long time indeed before they grace us again. The show is sold out, but I do have a couple of pairs of tickets for Melting Pot fans…e-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 5pm Wednesday November 6th (Tomorrow!) if you want a chance to win tickets!!!
For many people, myself included, “Fade Into You” remains the definitive Mazzy Star song. Despite Sandoval’s rumoured issues with performing live there are quite a few broadcast performances of the band from the early 1990s, including this performance on Jools Holland’s show in 1994:
Here’s something that I didn’t know existed and only found as I was tracking down videos for this post. A beautifully shot, professional video of a set recorded in the Bay Area, where Hope Sandoval makes her home, at a benefit for the Bridge School:
Here is more recent video of the group, who have been performing a bit more regularly over the last year, though primarily at the big festivals like Coachella and Barcelona’s Primavera Sound. Here the band plays one of the tracks from their new album Seasons Of Your Day, “Flyin’ Low”:
Next Wednesday, on the eve of old Hallow’s eve, Australia’s Haitus Kaiyote will be here in Los Angeles, performing at the Skirball Cultural Center along with Moses Sumney and DJ’s Jeremy Sole and Wisacre of the Lift. Haitus Kaiyote has been one of my favorite discoveries of the year after (finally) hearing their debut Tawk Tomahawk, which the band self-released in 2012, garnering attention from all kinds of folks, until it was given a proper release this year on producer Salaam Remi’s Flying Buddah label. Like Little Dragon and Quadron before them, Kaiyote is part of an international wave of soul music over the last few years and with singer/guitarist Nai Palm’s penchant for interesting fashion, I’m sure this Halloween themed show will be memorable indeed. If you want a chance to win tickets, e-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by Tuesday 12noon for your chance to win…if we’re lucky we might just have an interview/performance for you all when Melting Pot returns to the KPFK airwaves November 3rd!
As I’ve mentioned before, “Nakamarra” is one of my favorite songs of the year, might even end up being my favorite song of the year, so if you haven’t heard it…just listen:
One of the things that’s a little frustrating about the EP, similar to the music of Flying Lotus, is how many of the songs clock in at only a minute or so, however it seems live that these songs are performed quite differently, here’s an example with “Boom Child”:
Here’s another video of the band, one of a song that’s not on the debut, “Jekyll” that shows even more of a range for the group and much stronger jazz influences than even I had