MUSIC INSTA-BABE: JoJo
Though her music career had been embroiled in contractual battles with her prior label, fresh off performing at South by Southwest and having inked a new deal with Atlantic Records earlier this year, it sounds as if JoJo’s music career is about to get some much needed major label support. I’ve always enjoyed her R&B infused pop music … and being easy on the eyes certainly doesn’t hurt. Follow her on Instagram: @translucentbrownsugar
KILLER COVER: Allen Stone covers Marcy Playground
Remember that Marcy Playground song “Sex And Candy”? I do. I first heard it on the radio at college. It was a HUGE college radio song. Allen Stone soul singer who is about to release his sophomore album, and he does a great job covering this song.
Here’s the original Marcy Playground track:
HAHAHAHA …. Just For Laughs
The POWER of Music! It seems like Terry Crews can do anything with his muscles … even make music.
OK Go with a NEW Ground Breaking Music Video
OK Go’s music videos are always amazing. The music video for their latest single, “The Writing’s On The Wall” is a both a sonically pleasing and visually amazing. And it looks as if they did it all in ONE take. Take a look.
MUSIC NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
Bjork to have a 3-D fusion of film and music exhibit at the MOMA! She’s always on the cutting edge of art, so it seems only fitting that she’ll have an exhibit at a prestigious museum.
A family named their twin boys Ghostface and Raekwon. Is this taking fandom to a new level … or Nah … lol.
Iggy Azalea recently scored both the Number One and Number Two spots in the Billboard Hot 100. A feat only accomplished by one other musical act: The Beatles. Now firming entrenched in the spotlight, commentary regarding her rise to the top has been steady growing.A professor from my alma mater, Cornell University, wrote one titled “The Conspiracy to Whitewash Hip-Hop”. An interesting read, for sure, but do you agree?
Enjoy watching music videos on Youtube? What’ll happen if your favorite band’s music is no longer available to watch? Well, it may be happening sooner that you think. Youtube hasn’t been able to work out deals with certain independent record labels, and music acts like Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Adele and others may soon no longer be available to watch on Youtube. A damn shame if you ask me.
JACK WHITE WITHDRAWAL
Last week I posted a link to a Jack White show that I regretted missing. Over the weekend, I suffered from Jack White withdrawal when I kept seeing various twitter feeds explode with Jack White updates during his performance at Bonnaroo as it seemed to be legend … wait for it … ary. I was again heartbroken for not being at a Jack White show. See below and join in my sadness.
Riff overload: Jack White triumphantly opens #Bonnaroo headlining set with “Icky Thump.”
— billboard (@billboard) June 15, 2014
— billboard (@billboard) June 15, 2014
— billboard (@billboard) June 15, 2014
Jack White is 25 minutes over his scheduled end time and showing no signs of slowing down. – @AlexYoung
— Consequence of Sound (@coslive) June 15, 2014
— billboard (@billboard) June 15, 2014
When I first started this blog in January 2013, one of the first blog entries I put up was a list of my favorite concerts of 2012. Breaking the Top 10 was Allen Stone’s performance at the Fonda Theatre, Friday, October 19th, 2012. I only wrote a couple of sentences about the performance (below … which I should have proofread), but being an avid fan of soul and R&B music, I was particularly impressed.
His performance at The Fonda made me an instant fan, so much so that I reviewed his first album “Last To Speak”, tried (but missed) his set at Coachella, and bought VIP tickets to see him perform at The Beach Ball Festival: Soul Revue, even hanging out with him and his manager afterwards at my favorite bar in Santa Monica. When I heard that he had a gig scheduled at The Echo (a venue, ironically enough, that I hadn’t seen a show in), I snapped a ticket up immediately. Knowing that he was currently writing and recording music for his next album, I anticipated a mix of both old and new songs.
When I arrived at the venue, there was a line at least 30 people deep. Knowing that the event had sold out, I asked the bouncer whether I had to wait in line if my ticket was at will call. He indicated that the people waiting in line were waiting to see if any extra tickets would become available. I was glad that I got my ticket way in advance.
As soon as I stepped into the 350 person capacity venue, I felt a warmth overcome me. Yeah, it was packed, and I kinda felt sorry for anybody hoping to score a ticket last minute. I became somewhat resigned insofar as I knew that I got there a little too late to find and stake out a good vantage point to take pictures, but I did what I could.
An as aside, and a concert going tip, at The Echo there isn’t any reserved seating. The booths that line the walls are first come, first served. As I was walking through the venue during Allen’s set, I noticed there was space between an older man and his wife at a booth. In between songs, I kindly asked if I could stand there for a song or two to take some picture, and he pointed his finger at me saying that I was blocking his wife’s view, and that the section was “reserved” for him. After the show, on my way out, I asked the the employees working the ticket office about “reserved seating”, and they told me that there was no such thing at The Echo. Even old people are mean.
That little rude blip didn’t get me down though. How could it when the music was so good? His setlist was a mix of tracks from his first album (“Figured It Out”), self titled album (“What I’ve Seen”, “Unaware”, “Contact High” and an acoustic version of “Satisfaction”), covers (Tingsek’s “Six Years”, Chaka Khan’s “Tell Me Something Good” and Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”) and newly written material (“Momma Gonna Punish You”, “Million” and “Voodoo”).
He sang the Gotye cover for his encore, and I must say that his vocal rendition, and arrangement, of it blew my mind. For a song that has been covered by everyone and their mom, he breathed a new life into it. His voice forceful, and longing, it was a performance that gave me chills, making me fall in love with a song that, truthfully, I never cared for.
The only thing that would have topped the Gotye cover would have been if Allen Stone performed the song that got me interested in his music and sound in the first place: “Another Break Up Song”. That didn’t happen, but I ain’t complaining.
After the gig, I bumped into a mutual friend who writes for the Los Angeles Times. He was with Allen’s publicist and I exchanged some pleasantries adding that I was happy to hear that Allen would be playing at the Playboy Jazz Festival this year. I didn’t tell her that I actually predicted that he would be performing at the Hollywood Bowl, but I did tell her that I’d buy a ticket for the day Allen performs if he puts “Another Break Up Song” on the setlist. I wonder if my mutual friend can find out if that song gets put on the setlist … hmm ….
Unfortunately, the Flickr slideshow below is not currently available on mobile devices. If you are on a mobile device, please click THIS LINK to get redirected to the set of photos.
Listed chronologically, the most recent show first.
Filter Magazine’s Culture Collide 2013 | Echo Park | 11/10/13 – 11/11/13 (Wooster, Tiny Ruins, Maya Vik, Iza, Medicine, Jacco Gardner, Gemini Club and Great White Buffalo)
The Beach Ball Festival: Soul Revue | Santa Monica Pier | September 21, 2013 (Myron & E, Lee Fields and the Expressions, Maceo Parker, Allen Stone and Aloe Blacc)
Lobster Festival | Port of Los Angeles | September 14, 2013 (The Section Quartet, Nightmare & The Cat, Deap Vally, Dead Sara)
FYF FEST | L.A. State Historic Park | August 24 and 25, 2013 (Mikal Cronin, Charles Bradley, The Breeders, Devendra Banhart, The Locust, Deerhunter, TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Orwells, Pional, How To Dress Well, No Age, !!! (ChkChkChk), Shlohmo, MGMT, Solange, and Holy Ghost!)
Ink-N-Iron Festival | Queen Mary | June 8, 2013 (Girl in a Coma, Hopeless Jack & the Handsome Devil, Kaleigh Baker, The Fleshtones, Dead Kennedys and Iggy and the Stooges)
Make Music Pasadena 2013 | June 1, 2013 (The Record Company, The Peach Kings, YACHT, Robert DeLong, Youngblood Hawke, Haunted Summer and The Likes of Us)
Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Friday (Of Monsters and Men, Passion Pit, Palma Violets, Modest Mouse, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jurassic 5, Stone Roses and How To Destroy Angels)
Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Saturday (Ben Howard, Pucifer, Violent Femmes, Grizzly Bear, Postal Service, Franz Ferdinand and Phoenix)
Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Sunday (Alex Clare, Rodriguez, Vampire Weekend, Nick Cave, Wu-Tang Clan and Red Hot Chili Peppers)
About a year ago, while searching the web for new music, I came across a youtube video of a white soul singer from Seattle, Washington singing a soulful, acoustic version of one of his own compositions. The chorus of the song, and the voice the singer, hooked me instantly. The songs was called “Another Break Up Song” and the singer’s name was Allen Stone.
On October 19, 2012, I was able to see him perform at The Fonda Theatre. His performance that evening was so good that it made it into the top 10 of the concert events I went to in 2012. Since I missed his early afternoon set at Coachella this year, I was ecstatic to hear that he would be performing at the Beach Ball Soul Revue.
If you are unfamiliar with Allen Stone, I would describe this self-professed “hippie with soul” as a throwback to those soul legends who sang lyrics embedded with social commentary. Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway … I’m talking the heavy hitters. Lofty comparisons for a relative newbie in the music industry, but with a tenor voice as soulful as his, and poingnant songwriting ability, it’s hard for me not to make them. Back in October 2012, I professed on my Facebook page that Allen Stone could be an artist that we’d see performing at the Hollywood Bowl or Greek Theatre sooner rather than later. I’m going to stick to my guns.
His performance at the Beach Ball was as good as I remembered him at the Fonda, if not more energetic. He fed off the energy from the crowd, who sang along to Allen’s more well known songs. The crowd loved his performance, and clearly loved the messages of love and togetherness Allen professed throughout his set.
After all of the concert festivities for the evening had concluded, I meandered to my “Cheers” (Ye Old Kings Head in Santa Monica) for a few drinks with friends. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that Allen and his crew were tucked away in a corner of the bar. Being the gregarious person I am … though, I’m sure the double Dewars I had just consumed also helped … I walked over to Allen’s table and introduced myself. I recall telling him that I was at his show at the Fonda, that I enjoyed his set on the pier, and how I’m always hoping that I’d get to hear him perform “Another Break Up Song”.
I offered to buy him a drink, but he told me that it was his turn to be the designated driver. I think I may have bought his manager a drink though. Not wanting to be a leech, I told Allen that I was really looking forward to hear his next album, and snapped a quick pic before minding my own. A friend of mine who manages the Kings Head has offered to hang a picture of me and Snoop on the celebrity wall of the Kings Head, but I’ve always refused because Snoop’s never been to the Kings Head. I just may have to give him my picture with Allen.
Allen Stone’s vocal style reminds me of the classic soul and R&B singers of the 60s and 70s. Growing up in the small community of Chewelah, Washington (population 2,606 as of 2010!), it can be hard to imagine a voice as soulful coming from such an isolated city, especially since his dad was a pastor, and he grew up on gospel music, so you’d expect more of a secular influence.
Allen’s first full album release is “Last to Speak”, which, unfortunately, is only (as of the date of this writing) only available in a digital format.
It is a strong debut and gives the listener a craving to follow this talented singer to see where he evolves and takes his music. Though lyrically the music leans closer to folk than I necessarily would prefer, there is no doubt this album highlights the wide range of musical influences that Allen Stone has been able to cultivate at his young age (25 as of the date of this posting).
Elements of classic soul, popular music and R&B are used to tell various stories of heartache, social and religious commentary and self exploration, reminiscent of Stevie Wonder’s work during the late 70s and early 80s (Allen Stone has stated that Stevie Wonder was one of his idols).
I’ll admit that the album sequence could have been better. I would have put “Running Game” and “False Alarms” (in that order) before “Last to Speak”. That’s just a personal preference.
The vocal production is raw. It isn’t polished, softened or auto-tuned, and it shows all of the natural tendencies of Allen’s voice. I saw Allen Stone in concert in 2012, and I can guarantee you that what you hear on this album is how it sound live and in concert.
1. Shelter-I would have picked a different track to open up the album – ****
2. Quit Callin – ***
3. Better Off This Way – *****
4. Reality – I’m a big fan of the keys that open this track – *****
5. Figure It Out -I really love the chorus of this song- *****
6. Poison – For a song about that’s social commentary, I didn’t think the music matched the message-***
7. Running Game – Solid bass line – *****
8. False Alarms – *****
9. Vibe With Ya – ****
10. Breathe Anymore – ****
11. Last To Speak – Strong social message – ****
ALBUM RATING: ****
Nesta Robert Marley, OM, pka “Bob Marley”, was born February 6, 1945 and passed on May 11, 1981. He is an icon in reggae music and is credits with helping the spread of both Jamaican music and the Rastafari movement throughout the world.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. As such, rather than post original recordings of Bob Marley performing, I figured that I’d share some of my favorite covers and renditions of those songs that he made so famous. In no particular order, here they are:
NOTE: If any of the video links don’t work, please comment such, I’ll find a replacement.
Good music, is always good music, regardless of who sings the song.
Young bud nuh know storm (experience teaches wisdom). Respect, Bob.
In 2012, I was blessed to have been able to attend 24 concerts. This being the inaugural post of my blog, I thought it may be a good way to kick things off if I listed each of the concerts in the order that I enjoyed them (starting with the least favorite, and ending with my favorite), with a line or two of my thoughts.
24. Shuggie Otis– The Echoplex- Wed Dec 5
It’s hard to see an artist that you acknowledge as Los Angeles musical royalty without his gift. By all accounts, a sad musical revelation for me.
23. The 10th Annual Korea Times Music Festival– Hollywood Bowl- Sat April 28
While I can appreciate the musicality of some of the K-Pop act thats performed throughout the evening, I’m assuming I didn’t truly appreciate it like the others because I just didn’t understand enough. I’m a bad Korean-American.
22. Moby– The Annenberg Space for Photography- Sat Jul 14
Moby did two sets: Live Folk and DJ. Unfortunately, I wasn’t that impressed with either. While I can appreciate his musical venture, I kind of want to hear the older hits that I grew up with.
21. Boyce Avenue– Club Nokia at LA Live- Sat Dec 08
By buddy proposed to his girl, on stage at this show. He picked the perfect show. Chicks dig Boyce Avenue.
20. Starting 6– Vanguard- Fri Aug 10
Hot, sweaty, party hip-hop. These guys can rock a joint
19. Orange Tulip Conspiracy– Mr. T’s Bowl- Fri Sep 21
The musicality of this Jazz group is amazing. A must for any jazz aficionado. I hear they are recording a new album, and I can’t wait to her the new material.
18. The Airplane Boys– Roxy Theater- Wed Aug 15
Other level hip-hop. I also saw them at Coachella. They killed it at the Roxy like they killed it in the desert.
17. Bizarre Ride Fest– Bizarre Ride Live (Fatlip, Slimkid3, J. Swift, etc.)- The Roxy Theater- Sat Dec 29
The Pharcyde’s debut album “Bizzare Ride II The Pharcyde”, to quote my buddy David [@davidshein on twitter] is “just one of the best hip hop albums ever”. I won’t disagree. Even when it’s performed by only half of the original group, the music still holds up.
16. The Heavy– El Rey Theatre- Fri Sep 07
In support of the their most recent release, The Glorious Dead, I jammed out at this concert. Their front man, Kevin Swaby, was born to perform.
15. Jason Mraz and Christina Perri– Tour Is A Four Letter Word- Hollywood Bowl- Fri Oct 05
I enjoyed Jason Mraz at the Hollywood Bowl, but I’ve seen him at The Wiltern (full band) and The Walt Disney Concert Hall (acoustic), and his music is better suited for more intimate venues.
14. Animal Collective, Flying Lotus and Huun Huur Tu– Hollywood Bowl- Sun Sept 23
Animal Collective delivered. Huun Huur Tu entertained. Flying Lotus blew my mind.
13. Raphael Saadiq and Band of Skulls– The Annenberg Space for Photography- Sat Aug 04
Such and odd concert pairing, but they both were amazing. KCRW kicks ass.
12. Girl In A Coma, Pinata Protest and Sara Radle– The Echoplex- Fri Apr 27
Girl In A Coma is one of my favorite “new” bands. These girls kick ass. I wanted to see them again this year when they were opening for Grizzly Bear, but I couldn’t fit it into my schedule. The lead singer, Nina Diaz, has a voice to die for.
11. Playboy Jazz Festival– Hollywood Bowl- Sun Jun 17
Ramsey Lewis is a musical savant. I always pay money to watch genius perform. Robin Thicke were Preservation Hall Jazz Band were good. Was a slightly unimpressed with Spectrum Road.
10. Eric Hutchinson– Troubadour- Sat May 19
He was the first artist I truly “represented” back at my first job after passing the bar exam. I couldn’t be prouder of how far he’s come.
9. Allen Stone– The Fonda Theatre- Fri Oct 19
If this guys plays his card right, he could playing the Hollywood Bowl in a few years. The first thought I had after the show ended? “I’ll be able to tell my kids (when I have them), that I stood front row at an Allen Stone concert at The Fonda”.
8. Ben Harper– Vieux Farka Tour- Hollywood Bowl- Sun Jul 01
When Ben Harper sang a cappella, without a mic, at the front of the Hollywood Bowl stage, he earned by respect. He also played the one song I needed to hear, “Burn One Down”. Can’t ask for more.
7. Hot Chip, Passion Pit and Omar Souleyman– Hollywood Bowl- Sun Sep 9
I went to the show to see Passion Pit. They met and exceeded expectations. I was expecting more from Hot Chip. I didn’t get to see Omar Souleyman.
6. Meshell Ndegeocello and James “Blood” Ulmer– Royce Hall- Fri Dec 7
Meshell Ngedeocello performed her interpretations of Nina Simone classics. Mesmerizing.
5. Peter Gabriel– Back To Front- Hollywood Bowl- Sat Oct 6
I’m not going to lie. I had a moment. Flashing back to my younger years when he played “In Your Eyes”, mine started to water. The power of music.
4. Fiona Apple– The Greek Theatre- Fri Sep 14
She may have been a bit too gaunt for my personal liking, but she can still sing. A poetess with a voice. There isn’t that many like her out there in the world.
3. Mint Condition– Club Nokia at LA Live- Sat Jan 28
Mint Condition has always been underrated. In my humble opinion? They’re one of the best live, R&B bands out there, period. Stokley’s voice is perfect for R&B. I grew up with their music. They are one of my favorite bands.
2. No Doubt– Gibson Amphitheatre- Fri Nov 30
I’ve always kicked my self in the rear when it comes to No Doubt. They used to perform locally when I was growing out, but I never went to a show. I can now cross this off my concert bucket-list. Oh, by the way, I’m in love with Gwen…
1. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival– Empire Polo Club- Fri Apr 13 through Sun Apr 15
Dr. Dre & Snoop. Radiohead. The Black Keys. Bon Iver. Swedish House Mafia. At The Drive-In. Florence and the Machine. Girl Talk. The Shins. Mazzy Star. Andrew Bird. Need I go on?
I’ve written about most of the shows on my Facebook page, so if you want to know a little more about particulars, free to shoot me a tweet [@methodman13] and I’ll send over some other thoughts.
I hope your 2013 is filled with musical discovery, and that a song stirs your heart always.