Melting Pot

EpicSoundtracks

Epic Soundtracks – Sleepy City

Generally in this section I highlight brand new releases, but every so often there’s a n older release that gets stuck in my mind and gets played again and again. In this case it was this 1996 album from Epic Soundtracks. Perhaps it’s because there’s been so many changes going on in my life over the past year or so, but this album would occassionally come into my mind. I was shocked to find that I no longer had a copy of it, but thankfully I was able to find one at Amoeba (the album never came out on vinyl, if it had I would have thrown it up in “Dig Deep”). Epic Soundtracks had a career worthy of his chosen name, playing drums in the Swell Maps, Crime & the City Solution and These Immortal Souls, before striking out on his own as a solo artist. Change My Life would turn out to be his final studio album before he died suddenly in his sleep in 1997. There a few songs on the record that I could do without, but when it’s good, it’s really really good. “Sleepy City” is a song that’s often been in head since hearing first almost 20 years ago. Even though I don’t live in London, late night walks with my dog often bring this song to mind, especially here in the Spring when it really does feel good to be in the city.

ride-band-2015

Quite possibly the only good thing about Coachella is that there always seems to be a beloved band from the 1980s or 1990s that returns to the stage for the festival. Even better, these bands often play shows in the LA area in the weeks around Coachella. This year that band is Ride, one of the crown jewels of the British shoegaze movement (such that it was a movement), and certainly one of my favorite bands from that period of time (along with Swervedriver, of course). Ride will be playing a “localchella” show here in LA on Wednesday April 8th, if you’d like to attend courtesy of Melting Pot, e-mail me TODAY (April 6th) via michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 5pm!!!

I think “Leave Them All Behind” might have been the first song that I heard that I associated with Shoegaze and it’s still an epic listening experience, full of all the things that make Ride special.

Hearing Ride’s version of “How Does It Feel To Feel” eventually led me to discover the Creation, who recorded the original. I love both versions, but Ride’s version has a bit more of the hazy lazy to it that I do adore.


The next to last album from Ride produced my favorite song from the band, Birdman. While I can’t be sure, I feel like there’s a likely influence from McDonald & Giles song of the same title, though the sound is very different between the two songs. I’ve always loved the opening, perhaps my favorite intro of the 1990s.

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Tonight there’s a little shindig to celebrate the vinyl release of Nedelle Torrisi’s latest and greatest, Advice From Paradise. She’ll be featuring a brand new band backing her, featuring Bart Davenport on guitar. LA Takedown will also be sharing the bill and yours truly will be spinning some tunes, mostly jazz soul and soulful jazz, at the star, in between, and to close the night. Swing by if you’re out and about and looking for the right kind of good time!

Here’s the most recent video Nedelle has produced, in this case featuring her boyfriend Aaron from the LA band Babes:

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It was an absolute joy to have Rodrigo Amarante return to our studios at KPFK, just ahead of a recent show in Los Angeles. As I’ve mentioned numerous times before, Amarante is one of my absolute favorite contemporary artists, with a sound and style that touches my soul. In this interview, we dig a little deeper into his experience recording his first solo album, Cavalo, and also talk a bit about how performing this album, on stage, around the country and around the world has shaped his sensibilities regarding this music, the first that fully and solely carries his name. Rodrigo performs three more songs from the album, “Tardei” “Hourglass” and “Irene” and also sang a beautiful little lullaby on KPFK’s very own grand piano, “Fall Asleep.” I hope you cherish this as much as I did in putting it together. Obrigado Rodrigo!

Rodrigo Amarante on KPFK’s Melting Pot: 03-24-2015

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End of the month and so during the first hour we were all on vinyl, with a surprising number of contemporary releases, from local artists Nedelle Torrisi and Baast, as well as recent release from Frisco’s the Sandwitches, who should have a new album on the horizon. In the second hour we have a return engagement from Rodrigo Amarante, who was our guest last Summer and blesses us again with his presence and all the beauty that comes from that voice and his guitar (plus a lullaby on piano, separate post to follow).

Melting Pot on KPFK #192: 1st Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #192: 2nd Hour

UOA

Universal Order Of Armageddon – Visible Distance
Universal Order Of Armageddon – Stepping Softly Into
Universal Order Of Armageddon – No Longer Stranger

Since 95% of the music on this blog tends to be funky, soulful or soulfully psychedelic, this might seem like an odd choice. But longtime readers (and anyone who just happened to pay attention last year’s tribute to Double Nickels On The Dime) know that I have a deep love and appreciation for the punk rock. The Universal Order Of Armageddon, along with the Nation of Ulysses, is a band that I might have had a chance to see during my youth in Atlanta, but regrettably, I never saw live. Like Ulysses, the band was an elemental force in the studio and on stage. Switch Is Down is perhaps their finest moment, and for my money is the best example of post-hardcore music. Every single element of this band just killed. Tonie Joy’s massive walls of feedback on guitar, the booming thunder of Scott Malat’s bass, the esoteric ramblings and screams of Colin Seven and more than anything else, the hard as hell drums of Brooks Headley. “Stepping Softly Into” is one of my all-time favorite songs from this period of time and something that I’ve frankly surprised has never ended up in a film. Perhaps an even bigger surprise is that Brooks Headley eventually left the music scene all-together and became a pastry chef in NYC. Hearing this music, I’m not sure anyone would have seen that coming. The band got back together for some shows a couple of years ago with hopes that they might record, since it was clear they’d lost none of their power. For now that remains a dream, but no matter the future, the past was searingly bright and will never be forgotten.

Cheers,

Michael

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PRhyme – To Me To You

LA’s Adrian Younge is really enjoying a charmed life right now. Most artists would have been happy to have done a project like Black Dynamite (both the film and cartoon soudntracks, put together by AY), but then to follow that with collaborations with William Hart of the Delfonics and Ghostface Killah of Wu-Tang, all while having Jay-Z sample two of your songs! That’s the stuff of legend. The legend grows now with this project, PRhyme, which features Royce Da 5’9″ and DJ Premier and every single bit of music coming from samples built off of Younge’s music. If an upcoming gig featuring Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab is an indication, Younge might only be getting started here in 2015. Charmed life indeed. “To Me To You” also features Jay Electronica and uses my favorite song from There’s Something About April, “It’s Me” as the foundation. 2015 is really shaping up to be a GREAT year for Hip-Hop!

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March 22nd was our first show of Spring, and as is our tradition, it meant we started things off with Biz Markie’s legendary ode to the season of change, renewal and hope, “Spring Again.” More than a few new tunes, plus some classics, you know…all you expect from Melting Pot on KPFK. Enjoy!

Melting Pot on KPFK #191: 1st Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #191: 2nd Hour

BroMcDuff

Brother Jack McDuff – Come And Carry Me Home
Brother Jack McDuff – Seven Keys For Seven Doors
Brother Jack McDuff – Yellow Wednesday

The last time I ran into this record was over 15 years ago, at the Jazz Record Mart in Chicago, though I recently picked up another copy from Atomic in Burbank. Back in the day, I’d heard “Hunk O’ Funk” on a Blue Note compilation that was one of the first to really get me searching for Jazz-Funk on the label. I was surprised when I heard the album and few of the tracks had that same kind of “Super-funk” feel. Over the years I’ve grown to appreciate those other songs, which have a completely different style and sound to virtually everything else in the Brother Jack catalog. Part of that might be because more than other session of his, this one has the feel of being a “hired gun” session, with McDuff doing his thing with a host of British musicians, uncredited on the original album. I’m not sure the story behind this album, but the music on it, from the pensive “Come and Carry Me Home” to the almost Axelrodian “Seven Keys For Seven Doors” and “Yellow Wednesday” is some of my favorite from this long time soulful organist.

Cheers,

Michael

Ibeyi

Ibeyi – Faithful

I’ve actually just left seeing Ibeyi perform here in Los Angeles, at the Masonic Lodge over at the Hollywood Forever cemetery. If you’ve had the chance to hear these twins perform, hearing them live is even better. Channeling not only the spirit of their personal family lineage (their father was a percussionist with the Buena Vista Social Club in Cuba), but even deeper ones associated with Yoruban culture in Cuba and Africa, and combining them with decidedly 21st century sounds and technology, they have created a unique style all their own. The EP they released in 2014 only gave us a taste, the full-length record feels like more of a main course, but the great pleasure is from seeing these two women perform together on stage. If you have the chance, make sure to do all you can to bear witness…absolutely one of the strongest contenders thus far for record of the year.

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It was sooooooooo nice to be back on this air this past Sunday! I hadn’t been on the air since January 25th and I was worried I might not remember what to do, but thankfully it is more or less just like riding a bike. As is often the case when I haven’t been on the air for a while, the releases pile up. With only two hours, there’s a lot more music that I could have played, but overall, I think it’s a pretty solid return. Lots of new tunes, but the show starts off with a little tribute to one of my musical heroes, Sly Stone, who celebrated his 72nd birthday on Sunday. I’ll be sure to keep things on track here at the blog (playlist up tomorrow or Friday) and hopefully I’ll be on the air for a good amount of time here throughout the rest of the year. Enjoy!

Melting Pot on KPFK #190: 1st Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #190: 2nd Hour

Playlist: 3-15-2015

{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Sly & the Family Stone – Underdog – A Whole New Thing (Epic)
Sly & the Family Stone – Color Me True – Dance To The Music (Epic)
Sly & the Family Stone – Remember Who You Are – Back On The Right Track (WB)
Sly & the Family Stone – Can’t Strain My Brain – Small Talk (Epic)
Sly & the Family Stone – Just Like A Baby – There’s A Riot Going On (Epic)
Sly Stone – Africa – I’m Just Like You: Sly’s Stone Flower 1969-1970 (Light In The Attic)

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Rongetz Foundation feat. Gary Bartz – Marshmellow Throne – Kiss Kiss Double Jab (Heavenly Sweetness)
Zion I feat. 1-Oak – Last Nite – Sun Moon and Stars (Mass Appeal)
Tropics – Hunger – Rapture (Innovative Leisure)
Romare – Jimmy’s Lament – Projections (Ninja Tune)

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Swervedriver – Setting Sun – I Wasn’t Born To Lose You (Cobraside)
The Amazing – Broken – Picture You (Partisan)
Emmy The Great – Swimming Pools – S EP (Bella Union)
Ibeyi – Faithful – Ibeyi (XL)

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Prhyme feat. Jay Electronic – To Me To You – Prhyme (Prhyme Records)
Harvey Mandel – Light’s Out – Cristo Redentor (Phillips)
Dom La Nena – Menino – Soyo (Six Degrees)

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Zomba Prison Project – Women Today Take Care Of Business – Zomba Prison Project (Six Degrees)
Bappi Lahiri & Chorus – Taqdeer Ka Badshah – Bombay Disco 2 (Cultures Of Soul)
Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band – Lam Tang Wai Yook Pattana – 21st Century Molam (Zudrangma Records)

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Nedelle Torrisi – Fool Boy – Advice From Paradise (Ethereal Sequence/Drag City)
Portico feat. Jamie Woon – Memory Of Newness – Living Fields (Ninja Tune)
David Korevaar – Le Tombeau De Couperin II: Fugue – Maurice Ravel: Le Tombeau De Couperin (MSR Classics)
Charles Mingus – Duke’s Choice – A Modern Jazz Symposium Of Music and Poetry (Bethlehem)

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

Mandel

Harvey Mandel – The Snake
Harvey Mandel – Bite The Electric Eel
Harvey Mandel – Peruvian Flake

I wasn’t really planning on posting this record anytime soon, but when Harvey Mandel turned 70 years old on March 11th, there was a beautiful and touching appreciation for the man posted to Aquarium Drunkard that detailed the terrible times that Mandel’s been going through over the last several years. Just calamity after calamity, in recent years Mandel has been diagnosed with Nasal Cancer, lost both his mother and his son, and even his dog has come down with cancer. Josh Rosenthal’s post mentions that if you appreciate Mandel and have the ability to help him during these trying times, you can donate directly to his paypal account via harveysnake[at]comcast.net or via the Help Harvey Mandel website.

Snake1Mandel is one of my favorite guitarists, though he’s been fairly overlooked, his sound is so iconic and so repeatedly fantastic. From his debut along with Charlie Musselwhite, to his many varied and adventurous solo LPs, to stints with Barry Goldberg, Canned Heat and John Mayall, he’s laid down some of the most beautiful guitar lines and gorgeous sustains of any guitarist since the 1960s. This particular album that I’m sharing is the one that carries his nickname, “The Snake.” In contrast to the more psychedelic sound of 1968’s Cristo Redentor (which was one of the first records I shared on this blog back in 2009) The Snake features a more muscular and funky sound, in a slinky groove on the title cut to more upbeat tracks like “Peruvian Flake” and “Bite The Electric Eel.” It’s a sound that’s well known by Hip-Hop and beat heads and one that I can’t imagine never have hearing. Felt the need to post something and maybe direct people, not only to the music, but also to help out this extraordinary musician in his time of need.

Peace,

Michael

TheAmazing

The Amazing – Broken

It’s no secret that one of my all-time favorite contemporary bands is the Swedish neo-psych group Dungen. In the same way that I’m always eager to hear new music from them (which hopefully will be coming sometime soon, since we haven’t had anything since 2010), I love hearing projects from some of the people associated with that sound. Picture You is now the third album from Sweden’s The Amazing, once again featuring Dungen guitarist Reine Fiske and also the magnificent drums of Moussa Fadera (whose style is eerily similar to Dungen’s drummer Johan Holmegrad). While the Amazing shares many qualities with Dungen, it’s frontman Christoffer Gunrup’s breezy vocals that separate the group, giving the band a sound that’s a bit more ethereal than it is psychedelic.

In addition to the lead track “Broken” posted above, here’s a video for the title track, one of the centerpieces for the album:

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Until this past Sunday, this had been the last time I’d been on-air at KPFK, by far my longest hiatus from the show since coming over in 2010. This was the end of the month all-vinyl thang we always do. As the year has begun I haven’t bought nearly as much vinyl, mostly connected to adopting a new dog who now takes up all of my loose change. Pretty soon though I’ll be getting back to my diggin’ ways and I’m looking forward to being back on the air to be able to share it all.

Melting Pot on KPFK #189: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #189: Second Hour

Muddy

Muddy Waters – I Am The Blues
Muddy Waters – Bottom Of The Sea
Muddy Waters – Blues And Trouble

Had originally planned on posting this just after we’d had a spell of multiple days of rainy weather in water starved Los Angeles. But a quickie storm rolling through today gave me a chance to have this record be timed perfectly (after all, who knows when it will rain again out here). After The Rain was the follow-up to the much more well-known and more controversial Electric Mud. In some ways the fact that they crafted a follow-up, with essentially the same group (featuring the other-worldly guitar of Pete Cosey) should have dispelled some of the controversy surrounding Water’s feelings on this sound. It’s clear that after the sonic freakout of Electric Mud, Waters exerted perhaps a bit more control over these proceedings, as the record has a more conventional sound (though “Bottom Of The Sea” sounds like it could have been an out-take from the first session). But dialing it back from the previous effort still gives this album a sound all it’s own. While not as overtly psychedelic, with more slow groovin’ songs, After The Rain has a bit more ooomph to it.

I’d been looking for a copy of this for years and years, and finally ran into one at Gimme Gimme Records new location at 5810 N Figueroa St, essentially down the corner from my other favorite record store (at least in the Record Store heavy Highland Park) Avalon Vintage. If you haven’t been, he’s got more space and more records, and that is a mighty good thing, just like this album.

Cheers,

Michael

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