Your Weekly Weekend Music Mix

 

MUSIC INSTA-BABE: Jhene Aiko

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Jhene Aiko is an R&B, soul singer with the voice of an angel who is of mixed race background: her mother is of Japanese, Spanish and Domincan Descent, while her father is of African American, Yaqui, Choctaw, Cherokee, Navajo and German Jewish descent. What ever she is, she is super find. Follow her on Instagram @JheneAiko. I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it.

KILLER COVER: Kings of Leon Covering Robyn

I like Swedish, synthpop  recording artist Robyn plenty, but I happen to like the Kings of Leon a lot more. Their cover of Robyn’s hit single “Dancing On My Own” is an example of how talented musicians can make a composition used in seemingly disparate style of music their own.

OH, FIDDY. STICK TO THE RAP GAME

Some musicians are athletic enough to play certain sports. 50 Cent is a ripped dude. Maybe his muscles got in the way.

MUSIC NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT

Beats By Dre was purchased by Apple Inc. for $3 BILLION! Surely, this will make Dr. Dre the first hip-hop billionaire. Hopefully, he uses some of the pocket change to help bolster the community he grew up in.

As reported in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Jack White goes OFF on everybody from Adele to the Black Keys.

UK crooner Sam Smith comes out of the closet. I still wonder why this kind of stuff is “news”.

Oh, and Steve Perry, the ORIGINAL lead vocalist of Journey performed live for the first time in two decades. The video below brings tears of joy to my eyes. Hopefully, he keeps popping up at shows to perform songs here and there. His voice has been missed.

BECAUSE IT’S HISTORY

I’m Korean, but I’m not a fan of K-Pop. The fact that PSY’s “Gangnam Style” music video passed the 2 Billion view mark this week, making it the most viewed video on youtube, proves that I know nothing about music. Want to be a part of music history? Watch the video below, and be able to say, for the millisecond that Youtube registers your view, that YOU broke the world record for PSY. LOL.

Valerie June | Wiltern Theater | 3/25/14

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One of my favorite albums of 2013 was Valerie June’s “Pushin’ Against A Stone”. Produced by Kevin Agunas and Dan Auerbach (the Black Keys), it was album that caught my ear with its seamless mix of roots, blues and folk sung by a voice that seemed to have decades of earnest life lessons behind it.

Valerie June’s voice is unique. It’s a voice that you can’t confuse with another singer’s voice. She is … for lack of a better comparison … what Erykah Badu is to neo-soul/hip hop music. A voice so raw and sincere, singing music so traditional yet new, I found it hard not to fall in love with it upon my first listen, and have been telling my friends since that hers is a voice that will likely stand the test of time.

It was a week after I purchased tickets to see Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings when I found out that Valerie June was added to open the show … and I was ecstatic. At first, it seemed like an unlikely pairing, but upon retrospect, because both artists’ music styles are essentially modern-day approaches to “classic” styles of music, I figured the promoters knew what they were doing assuming that their audiences would be more knowledgeable and appreciative because of the historical slant to the music.

Valerie’s set was short but sweet. Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, it was charming mix of acoustic and band-backed versions of her songs, mostly coming from her latest release. After it was all said and done, I found myself wanting more. Not only that, but I decided then and there that if she would ever perform in a more intimate venue like the Bootleg Theatre, I would be the first person in line.

As an aside, while waiting in line to get into the venue, I noticed a woman with flowing dreadlocks and large sunglasses walk by me. It was Valerie June and I quickly asked the couple behind me to hold my spot as I caught up to her and asked her to autograph the LP I had packed in m bag. I assured her that I wouldn’t draw any more attention, and as we walked around the corner (she was heading to the artist entrance to get ready for her set), I pulled out the LP and professed my adoration of her “Pushin’ Against A Stone”. Her gorgeous smile made my day.

I also asked about her father, mentioning that my own father had heart surgery several weeks ago as well. Our conversation was brief, but in those few minutes I felt like I connected with her on a human level, which only made me appreciate her performance that much more that evening.

Unfortunately, the Flickr slideshow below is not available on mobile devices. If you are on a mobile device, please click THIS LINK to get redirected to the set of photos. If the slide show below isn’t working, then Flickr has disabled their embed option for WordPress and hasn’t yet updated their HTML code, which totally BLOWS! If you can see the slide show below, hooray!

 

Hanni El Khatib and The Black Angels | Mayan Theater | 5/21/13

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When it comes to music, it always pays to have an open mind.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she had an extra ticket to see The Black Angels at the Mayan Theater. It was a weekday (which is typically a no-go for me due to my typical work load) but I’d always been interested in the Black Angels because of their reputation of being a good psychedelic rock band. Tthe ticket was free, and I had pulled an all-nighter earlier in the week… so I replied to the post, and the ticket was mine.

My friend wanted to make sure we got to the venue in time to catch one of the opening acts, Hanni El Khatib . As we drove to the Mayan, she was telling me about Hanni, and mentioned that Dan Auerbach produced Hanni’s latest album. Whoa…. You mean the The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach? Yup.  I was intrigued.

We got to the venue, and we decided to make our way as close to the stage for Hanni’s set.  As soon as he took the stage, the crowd started a raucous cheer more fitting for a headliner than an opener.  He started his set, and I could immediately feel the raw, garage rock essence of his music that probably drew Dan Auerbach to it. A few songs into the set, and the crowd started to bounce to the blues rhythms of the music. Sure, the music sounded very similar to the Black Keys, but you couldn’t deny his music ability and the way he was able to engage the crowd. The music was good enough, that I didn’t have to know any of the songs to enjoy the set, and that says something.

During his set, I noticed that the merchandise table (which was oddly located close to the stage, stage left, on a separate, elevated space) was uninhabited, save but the merchants sitting at the tables.  I made my way to the tables and found myself away from the crowd, in a space that was really all my own. If there was a VIP section, that would area have been it. LOL.

IMG_1275After Hanni’s set had ended, I decided to purchase a couple LPs.  Since I was a little short on cash, I opted to pick up his debut album “Will The Guns Come Out” and a limited edition 7’’ single, with a hand-screented cover, of “Skinny Little Girl/Pay No Mind”. My friend, and her friends, joined me at the merchandise table and after making our purchases, and lollygagging a bit, Hanni dropped by the table to say hello to his fans.  Yup. Me being the music dork, I got a picture and had him sign the 7’’ single … with a ball point pen (damn those bouncers for throwing away my permanent marker! Next time it goes in the shoe!) I asked him when he was planning on performing again in Los Angeles, and he told me that he was touring in Europe, and was looking to have gigs at the El Rey and on the Santa Monica Pier for the summer concert series. I am definitely going to check him out again.

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After such an exhilarating set from Hanni El Khatib, my expectations for The Black Angels was slightly mixed.  Blues/garage rock followed by psychedelic rock? Seems like an odd mix, no? I followed my friend upstairs to the balcony seats when the Black Angels started their set.  We waited in line at the upstairs bar for what seemed like forever to get a bottle of water (yup, I was the designated driver), and the band had already started when we found a spot to sit.

The balcony at the Mayan is interesting in that it has a little “patio” area that seemed to serve as a mini dance floor. As soon as the Black Angels started their set, people immediately began to dance, swaying back and forth … dancing like those people I used to watch in those Woodstock documentaries.

The music was good, but it honestly felt like a little bit of a let-down after Hanni El Khatib’s powerful set.  I’m a huge fan of Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, etc., but this music didn’t leave as big of an impression on me as I thought it would. Maybe I needed a few drinks or “something” to help me enjoy the music more.  Again, it sounded good … it just didn’t hit the spot for me.

I spent most of The Black Angels set people watching with my friends. We noticed a lot of tattoos. Hot chicks with tattoos. A lot of dancing bodies. A lot of dudes sitting around us with their eyes closed “twitching” around and bobbing their heads. People young and old. A diverse and amusing crowd.

We left the venue as soon as the Black Angels started their encore, and though I hardly ever leave shows early, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything.  The Black Angels were good, but if I wasn’t shrooming or on something, it was really just background music to me. The highlight of the evening for me was the music I wasn’t even expecting. If it wasn’t for my curiousity about The Black Angels, I would never have discovered the music of Hanni El Khatib.

Toddchella | Part II | The Record Company

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Continued from Toddchella | Part I | Tijuana Tears

I had noticed people behind me dancing with little LCD light bracelets, and I asked around to see where they got them. I was informed that a photography company named Harmonic Light was taking psychedelic pictures for the party, so I head into the nearby room (with a stripper pole) where they were set up.

With my scotch buzz settling in, I was cajoled into taking a pic.  I think it turned out pretty cool.

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I grabbed an LCD bracelet and wrapped it around my wrist.  I socialized for a few minutes, then decided to head back out to the stage to catch the second band, The Record Company.  I was really looking forward to this band as I was particularly drawn to the music that they posted online (plus there was a free download of one of their latest EPs).

The Record Company = Unfiltered, unadulterated roots/blues/rock.  They’ve been around since 2011, but I was only introduced to this band through Toddchella. Marc Cazorla, Chris Vos and Alex Stiff are all Los Angeles transplants, and I couldn’t be happier to have them play this kind of music in Los Angeles.

IMG_2866They taste like the Black Keys, but are sprinkled with different spices. Chris Vos, the lead singer, has a voice that was as rich, or richer, than the 12 year Maccallan I was sipping on.  A husky baritone with second tenor range, I was transported by the bluesy vibe that emanated from the make-shift stage while they were performing. I was particularly impressed with Chris’ work on the slide guitar (see the video- which happens to have the best light of all of the videos I shot- below).

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They all seemed to have a good time, like performing this kind of music was second nature to them, and I was grooving with the sounds. After their set, I introduced myself and got the set list from Mark Cazorla.  Mark is a good guy.  Apparently, in my tipsiness, I forgot that I gave him my phone to write the set list.  He went out of his way to find me and return the my precious life-line… seriously …. I’d be lost without my phone. The set list is below, with links to the original recording that I could find.

1. Broken

2. “Born Unnamed”

3. “On The Move”

4. “Whatcha Want” (Beastie Boys Cover): Freaking Awesome. I best they could blues out any hip-hop song they wanted.

5. “This Crooked City”

6. “The Burner”

7. “Medicine Man”: This was one of my favorite cuts from their set.  Love the sound. Love the lyrics. Made me love my scotch.

8. “Don’t Let Me Get Lonely”

9. “In the Mood”

10. “That Alright Mama” (Ray Charles Cover)

11. “All Day, All Of Night” (The Kinks Cover)

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At this point in the evening, infused with good music and good scotch, the evening started getting a little hazy for me.  I had some nice conversations with various people … but I can’t remember any of their names… then again, that’s kind of par for the course for me, as anybody who knows me knows that remembering names is not my strong suit.

BUT, I do know and remember this.  If you are having a hankering for some bad ass roots/blues/rock music and you’re in Los Angeles, check the current issue of LA Weekly, or start Googling, and see if  The Record Company has a gig coming up.  They will satisfying that craving. Trust me.

Two bands down, one to go…

Click here to continue to Toddchella | Part III | We Were Indians

Click here to continue to Toddchella | Part III | We Were Indians

A Year of Concerts: 2012, 24 Concerts, 1 Favorite

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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.