Showing posts with label addicting rhythm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label addicting rhythm. Show all posts

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dance off your pants with the California Honeydrops at their biggest Bay Area show and CD release

When was the last time you heard a groove so good you wanted to boogie all night? Last week I checked out the new Chasing the Moon podcast and have been shakin' it ever since. The California Honeydrops will be dropping their third album Spreadin' Honey at the New Parish in Oakland next Friday. It promises to be quite a party with non-stop dancing, bbq and, my sources tell me, honey dripping from the walls.

"Our mission, says band leader Lech Wierzynski (who sings, plays trumpet and guitar), "is to get the whole crowd participating and singing along, and we want them partying. It's about feeling good - everybody together."

Honeydrops fans are not just a necessary piece of the puzzle in terms of music making, but in the success of the band from a business side. The band has just returned from a tour of Holland (read about it here) where their Dutch friends helped them book shows through word of mouth. Later this month the Honeydrops will tour Spain, the Pacific Northwest and Eastern Europe. The band is not signed, and therefore relies on fundraising to pay for albums. The new album Spreadin' Honey was funded by a benefit at the Cheeseboard Collective in Berkeley.

READ MORE HERE

California Honeydrops @ Chasing The Moon 06.26.10 from Scott McDowell on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gnarls Barkley: "Going On": Best video of the year

This is the best video I've seen in a long time.  Not only do I dig Gnarls Barkley's addicting beat (I like to play this song a couple times over when it comes up) and wild psychedelic topic (a portal to another dimension?), I can't get enough of these dancers.  

Filmed in Jamaica and directed by Wendy Morgan, this video has a late 70s/early 80s feel in terms of the coloring and camera resolution. It also features, cool hats, eye shadow, suspenders, bling and checkered jackets.

Check out the nod to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" as this gang of friends dance through the streets.  



I've added the song "Surprise" to my playlist, another one of my favorite songs from The Odd Couple, Gnarls Barkley's most recent album. 

Monday, November 3, 2008

Shows: The Dodos and Greg Laswell


Got two shows coming up this week: The first is Greg Laswell at Cafe du Nord on Wednesday November 5th.  The second is the Dodos at Bimbo's 365 club on Thursday November 6th.

Since blogging last time about Greg Laswell, two of his tunes have been played on NBC's Grey's Anatomy, totaling three times now this season.  And as we have seen in the last decade or so, the importance of television exposure has overtaken radio, and Grey's Anatomy, love it, hate it or indifferent to it,  has been known to boost obscure bands into greater popularity. 

So congrats Greg and I'm looking forward to hearing you (and your full band this time) at Cafe du Nord Wednesday night, November 5th.  He'll also be on a small American tour, check out the locations on his myspace page.

On Thursday, I'm going to see the Dodos, a San Francisco band that has received international success.  I saw them at the Independent a couple months ago after being drawn to their strange child drawn album cover Visitor (by a special ed student who the Dodos played for in South Central, Los Angeles) and silly band name (formerly Dodobird).  I know, silly reasons to be drawn to a band, but something has to make me want to listen to them.

But what made me want to buy the album and to see them live again as soon as possible was their unique sound. While there are lots of bands these days that consist of the simple combo of guitar and percussion, it is the combo of the African inspired percussion of Meric Long and the country blues influenced acoustic guitar work of Logan Kroeber.  But I think it's really the percussion that I dig the most, their myspace bio states that the drumming plays a central role and helps bring out the syncopated rhythms of the acoustic guitar.  It is really special how these two instruments work together.

When I saw the Dodos last time, they had a third member playing auxiliary instruments such as the xylophone and a metal trash can.   It was awesome.  I want to play a trash can!

Check out this live performance of "The Season"



The Dodos are on an international tour! They'll be playing in the UK, the Europe (France and Denmark, wink wink), Australia and New Zealand in the next three months.  Check out their tour schedule on their myspace page or their website

Monday, September 22, 2008

The best Christian Ska in the World: ZAP!


For those of you who haven't seen this video yet, PLEASE do yourself a favor and watch it. I don't care if you are Christian or not, either way, this is one of the best things I've seen in a long time. And thank you to Dougsploitation for finding this in his collection of VHS and posting it on the web.

Introducing Sonseed and their number one hit "Jesus is My Friend": the best Christain Ska band in the world! Too bad they could cross over into the mainstream like Creed or Jars of Clay (who I happen to like). Did you know that according to wikipedia, there are dozens of Christian ska bands. Who knew?

As a good friend said, there is so much to say about this video:

- The hairdo's, clothes and backdrop. I love pink and blue, don't you? The 70s were fantastically pastel!
- The lyrics:
He taught me how to praise my god and still play rock and roll.

Once I tried to run, once I tried to hide,
But Jesus found me and touched me deep down inside.

He is like a mounty, he always gets his man
and he'll zap you anyway he can.

(wait for it...)

ZAP!!
- The realization that this is actually catchy and the band is totally tight!
- Watch the guitarist. He's totally rocking out.
And last but not least...
- Gotta love those backup singers. Especially the glasses.
- The tv host calling the performance "beautiful" at the end.
For those of you who want more Sonseed, you can download the entire album here. I honestly haven't listened to it yet, but when I do, I will get back to you.

For those of you who want to here some "traditional" British Ska, here's "Too Much Too Young" from the Specials.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Antibalas and the Treasure Island Festival




Brooklyn based Antibalas served as my introduction to afrobeat and its Nigerian creator Fela Kuti. I've seen Antibalas perform at least six times since 2003 and they continue to be one of the best live shows around.  

I like to dance, but not just to anything, it takes a special kind of groove to get me going.  With a four/five piece horn section and three person percussion section, these guys do not disappoint.  

Today Antibalas played an afternoon set at the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco.  For those that do not know the Bay Area, Treasure Island is located in the Bay between San Francisco and Oakland, and the views are postcard worthy.

The highlight of todays show was the fiercely political song "Indictment."  Stuart Bogie, took the lead vocal as well as giving musical cues with the energy of one possessed.  Watching him during this number is pure entertainment. 

What I really love about Antibalas, and afrobeat in general, is the radical politics that automatically come with the music.  Due to the political life and times of Fela Kuti, afrobeat is aggressively anti-authoritative and populist by definition.  And in light of the Bush administration, Antibalas' message is loudly heard.  The song "Indictment" is not only an awesomely composed and executed afrobeat song, it is politically very specific.  No one in attendance will miss its meaning.  

At the Treasure Island Music Festival, the crowd was totally into the song even before the vocals started, but when Stuart Bogie screamed "Condoleezza Rice!  Indictment!" The crowd went nuts, almost taking them by surprise at its forcefulness.  He continued to list "George W. Bush!  Indictment!  Donald Rumsfield! Indictment!  Order in the court!"  But my favorite  of the day?  "Bill O-Reilly! Indictment!"  I would love Steven Colbert to get ahold of that one.  

Watch this short clip from the Langerado Music Festival in Miami of the same song.  If I can find a good clip of today's performance on youtube, I will add it.  Check out their myspace page as well as the track called "Takatif" that's in my playlist over there to the right.  I've also added "Indictment" to the playlist for now.

Antibalas is now playing in Fela! A New Musical about the life of Fela Anikulapo Kuti until October 5th off Broadway in New York City. I've heard it's very, very good.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Greg Laswell: "How the Day Sounds"


The sad and melodic Greg Laswell has the honor of being my first entry for this new blog.  

If asked to describe his sound to folks that haven't heard him, it would  have to be like if Duncan Sheik was the lead singer of Coldplay.  With his painfully sweet lyrics, driving piano rhythms and subtle production quality, Greg's music got under my skin and "forced" me to buy his two albums and E.P. on amazon.

Just this evening, I had the opportunity to see the San Diegan native play a live set at the Cafe du Nord in San Fransisco.  Other than the loud German (could have been Austrian, not sure) girls talking loudly right behind me and talking flash photography, it was a wonderful show.

With just one other musician, an exquisite quitarist whose name I believe is Brandon, Greg played several songs off his new album Three Flights from Alto Nido,which I discovered was the location where most of the songs on the album were written.

I spotted Greg right before his set on the way out for a cigarette and had a nice quick chat with him.  Trying to not sound like a stalker (probably a good thing I didn't mention that I spent a good amount of time watching everything I could on youtube with him in it), I was able to share that this myspace fan site plays almost all of his music in its entirety.  He said he didn't mind as long as people were listening to it.  So you have his approval, don't feel bad that it's free, take a listen.

I first heard the song "How the Day Sounds" on the monthly Paste Magazine CD sampler, a magazine whose musical taste I greatly respect.  And like I said, I was immediately hooked. Because Greg produces as well as makes his own music, his recordings have a sophisticated yet subtle production quality to them.  At his show he described "How the Day Sounds" as the happiest sounding song he's ever written that actually isn't happy at all.  It ends with these lines:
I think I like how the day sounds through this new dawn.
And the lines have all been drawn,
I know where I belong.
Check out the the awesome video starring Greg, guitarist Brandon and great supporter of independent music Elijah Wood, who has his own label, dancing around a grocery store in hipster suits and hats with glass soda bottles. 

Moment to listen for:
The cool vocal echo effects on "way down" during the bridge, around 1:35.
From a long way down
It's well worth the time that it's taken to get here now


***UPDATE!!***  

October 24, 2008.  Greg's "And Then You" was featured last night on Grey's Anatomy (as annoying as the show is, I can't stop watching it and it DOES propel unknown artists into a new level of success). The album cover was also flashed for a couple seconds at the end of the episode.  It's of course become Greg's most popular songs on itunes.  

He's going back on the road, so check out his tour schedule. I already have my tickets back at Cafe du Nord on November 3rd in San Fran.

Congratulations Greg! I see big things happening for you in the near future!