Thursday, March 25, 2010

'The Runaways': have women in rock music really come very far?

The Twilight girls aren't as bad as you might have been worried they would be...

The Runaways is a testament to how far women in the media and in the music industry have come and yet how far we have to go. There is no denying the importance of Joan Jett and Cherie Currie. Without them, there would be no Madonna, Lady Gaga, the Donnas or the Gossip. But watching a middle-aged man encourage female teenagers to flaunt their sexuality makes my skin crawl a little. You have to believe that these young women wanted to, let me paraphrase Kim Fowley, “dangle their sex in front of men and then snatch it away.” But it really seems like they had to do that just so that they could play rock and roll.

Watching rock stars get too far into sex and drugs on film is nothing new, but watching a 15-year old girl who’s thin enough to break in half get strung out on cocaine and booze is, well, a little weird. During the movie I kept thinking, “where were these girl’s parents? Would this happen today?” Sadly, it does indeed happen today, it’s just packaged a little differently. Also, and luckily for this, minors have more protection. One can only hope that their parents are guardians help to make good decisions for them.


What did you think of the film?

Girl in a Coma perform The Runaways hit "Cherry Bomb" with special guest Cherie Currie of The Runaways at SXSW March 19, 2010.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Musical Moments: "Hotel California" by the Gipsy Kings in 'The Big Lebowski' with Jesus

In the making the San Francisco, California Mix, I was reminded of one of my favorite musical moments of all time: the introduction of the character Jesus, played by John Turturro, in The Big Lebowski accompanied by the Gipsy King's rendition of "Hotel California."

The editing is perfectly timed with the music. Each frame tells you exactly what you need to know about this character, no more and no less: the rings, the purple outfit one long nasty fingernail, the hairnet, the tongue (oh gawd that tongue!), the bowling stance, the "Jesus" embroidery, the kiss he blows at Donnie...

The little dance Jesus does after his strike: it kills me every time.


Monday, March 22, 2010

San Francisco, California Mix!

I made this for my friends Diana and Tracie who are both moving away!! *tear* But I know they will appreciate this for their trips.

Ask me to send you one of my mixes (collaged covers!):
New York
Los Angeles, California

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New blog logo idea...

Hey there! So I am gearing up to make this blog new and snazzy. My fabulous friend Jemal has been working on a logo for me... what do you think??? Please be honest!

This isn't necessarily the final product, but it's getting close.

The globe/music note will be my new twitter and facebook (fanpage soon to come) logo.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gomez: photos from the first night of their San Francisco 3 night engagement


These are awesome photos that my roommate and I took on her awesome camera... I need a camera like this.

To read the recap of the show CLICK HERE.


I've seen Gomez several times live, I guess I just can't miss 'em when they come to town:
1) T-in the ParkFestival Scotland, 2002
2) St Andrews, Detroit 2003?
3) 930 club - Washington D.C. 2004
4) MPR radio show live recording - South by Southwest, Austin 2005
5) Stubbs' - Austin, 2006 (I waited through a hail storm for a good spot for this show)
6) The Ritz - South by Southwest (with the Decemberists) 2009
7) Great American Music Hall - San Francisco 2010

Tom: ""Now we're going to play a song we've never played in San Francisco," says multi-instrumentalist Tom Gray of Gomez. "And we've played a lot of songs in San Francisco. Damn straight that's for sure!"

"Blackie" and Ben

In 2005 when I saw Gomez play on the MPR radio show at South by Southwest, it was 10:30 AM in the morning and somehow I got stuck in the elevator with a couple of them and felt super awkward. I did found out, however, that "Blackie" was living in Michigan for awhile with his wife.

Tom: "This song gets better the louder you sing it!" (about "See the World")

Tom - so glad his hair is shorter than usual...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I was a guest blogger for Girls Rock Camp Austin for South by Southwest: Those Darlins and Girl in a Coma, supporting bands who support the community

Girl in a Coma will play Girl's Rock Camp's Showcase at SXSW

Rock Camp has been around long enough that it is not just about the girls anymore. While the girl campers who sign up for Rock Camp all around the country (and the world) are the fire that keep it all going, Camp is just as much about the adult woman who support it: whether it be the staff, volunteers or the bands who play.

Girl in a Coma and Those Darlins are two bands that I have become a fan of due to their involvement in Rock Camp. It’s a musical symbiotic relationship. Women have a history of solidarity and this is no exception. BUT, and hear me on this, it takes GOOD music to hold my attention as a fan, it doesn’t matter who makes it.

Girl in a Coma played the Girls Rock Camp 2009 SXSW Showcase and I have been a supporter since. READ MORE ON THE ROCK CAMP BLOG HERE.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

E-chat with Sam Strelkoff, San Francisco native member of Naval Academy Men's Glee Club: performance at Grace Cathedral in SF

I really enjoy conducting interviews with folks who might not do many interviews, or folks that are off the beaten path of popular music (and by that I mean ANYTHING that is popular, classical or rock related). I also really like doing interviews where the music has some higher purpose or a greater context.

This interview with Bay Area native Sam Strelkoff, member of the Naval Academy Men's Glee Club, is the second interview I've done with someone who is in the world of the military (read my interview with Marine Band Staff Sergent and friend clarinetist Harry Ong) and I find the perspectives of these individuals very inspiring.


Friday, March 12, 2010

My friend Sarah is an intern at NPR - She wrote this fun gospel music work out mix article

Stephen J. Boitano/Stringer/Getty Images

My friend Sarah from the University of Michigan music school is an intern at NPR and she gets to write blogs for the site here and there (like this one about the darker side/hard rock of classical music). The NPR website has had this fun "work out playlist" column going for a little while and this is her contribution: Your Body Is A Temple: A Gospel Workout Mix. I'm very happy t brag that she got some inspiration from my blog and its playlist over there on the right.

Sarah is a violist and grad student at the University of Maryland.

Read her article and listen to the gospel playlist here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I am seriously obsessed with Avishai Cohen's "Alon Basela"

Avishai Cohen is one of the world's leading jazz bassists. He has brought Israeli jazz to the world and Israel to jazz.

The song "Alon Basela" one of those songs that I played over and over again when I first heard it and then get an hankering for time to time.

I asked my Israeli pianist cousin about him and he emailed back:
Avishai Cohen is one of the more known and influential jazz musicians in Israel and also can be credited for bringing jazz music into the general public attention in Israel. He's also an amazing performer and very known worldwide. He was also a part of the Chick Corea trio and played with the most important groups. He's a bit arrogant but that's forgiven..most important thing: he created something that you can justly call authentic in terms of Israeli Jazz.
Also, you gotta love upright bassists that can also sing.

If you click on this video of "Alon Basela," the youtube video is on a playlist and will cycle through more songs on the new album Aurora. It's really beautiful.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Swedish Radio Choir: leading in adventurous programming - another cool choir

The Swedish Radio Choir does not play it safe. They go all out for the rare, hard-hitting, obscure and difficult. And when a musical ensemble takes risks, it is memorable. Even a week later, my ears are still buzzing from some of the repertoire performed by The Swedish Radio Choir by Cal Performances at Hertz Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. It was also exciting to see Ragnar Bohlin, Chorus Director of the San Francisco Symphony as guest conductor. He has worked with the Radio Choir in the past and teamed up with them for their 2010 Spring tour.

Even though I have sung in choirs for over half of my life and have a deep love for this music, I would not consider myself a choral music specialist. However, I will usually be familiar with at least one or two selections on any given program. From this program, I only recognized the names of Gustav Mahler and Johann Sebastian Bach. It is always exciting to hear music that is completely new to the ears. The Radio Choir features Swedish compositions, rarely performed pieces of the great masters and relatively obscure composers from all over the world.

The piece that I can still hear buzzing in my ears and that I am most excited about is Anders Hillborg's "Mouyayoum," composed for 16-part-chorus without text [hear excerpts in video below].


Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy International Women's Day: "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)" and (mostly) Motown Girl Group mash-up

The Ronnettes (not part of Motown): an inspiration to many of the girl groups of today and yesterday

This is a really cute video/audio mash-up featuring Beyonce and Girl Groups of the 60s: The Ronnettes, The Supremes, Tina Turner, Martha and the Vandellas, The Marvellettes and more. The Motown backup track (no idea what it is) surprisingly fits really well with Beyonce's melody.

This mash-up is a great tribute to the girl groups of the 60s and puts Beyonce in the context of the amazing women who came before her.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Noise Pop at Slim's: an evening of boys and their guitars - South by Southwest preview

The Lonely Forest

Not that I'm complaining. In fact I know Noise Pop 2010 featured many women this year from the San Francisco all-female chorus Conspiracy of Venus to Yoko Ono and the Watson Twins; I just happened upon a night that was very manly: Tempo No Tempo, Bear Hands, The Lonely Forest and We Were Promised Jetpacks. Usually I can be very hard on the indie rock boys and their guitars, but I rather enjoyed this music of funky boy bands.

All of four of the bands that played were new to me. I had heard of local band Tempo No Tempo and headlining band We Were Promised Jetpacks had caught my notice just because the name is so awesome. (Can I call my next band, You Said You Said You Were Going to Wear Polka Dots?)

All of these bands are on tour in the United States right now and headed to South by Southwest in Austin, so listen up!

MORE info on the band and to see more photos...

All of these gorgeous photos were taken by Anna Gazdowicz courtesy of the Bay Bridged

We Were Promised Jetpacks

Tempo No Tempo

The Lonely Forest

Bear Hands

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Happy 332nd Birthday Antonio Vivaldi!!

I'm so glad I did not live in this century...just look at that outfit!

Antonio Vivaldi has somehow become my favorite classical music composer. I'm sure it started with his Concerto Grosso in G minor (listen below) being on my music history final in college. The "Allegro," the second movement is so ridiculously awesome. I always equated this music to being the heavy metal of its time with the virtuosity it requires. I remember walking to the lecture hall with this on my earphones feeling totally empowered. "I'm going to ROCK this exam!"

Over the years I've accumulated a few different Vivaldi CDs and compilations and he has become my "brain" music. When I need to concentrate, I put on some Vivaldi. Others choose Mozart for making them smart, I use good old Antonio.

There is something so regal about his music. To me it is soothing.

So, happy birthday old man! And to you readers, enjoy a couple of my favorite string concertos: one in G minor and one in D minor.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Preview the new Morning Benders Album: BIG ECHO

The Morning Benders of San Francisco have generously posted their new album Big Echo on their website. I'm digging what I'm hearing so far. Click here to watch the video for their gorgeous Phil Spector track "Excuses."

The Benders have embarked on a nationwide tour including both coasts, South by Southwest, parts of Canada and the Midwest. We'll see them when they'll be passing through the Bay Area and playing at the Independent on Tuesday March 30th.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Kronos Quartet continues to push the boundaries of the string quartet

Jon Rose's "Music for 4 Fences"
Photo: Christina Johnson

It must be so much fun to be in the Kronos Quartet. Violinists David Harrington and John Sherba, violist Hank Dutt and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler walk out on stage and just emanate cool. They wear denim and leather, have messy hair, awesome lighting, prerecorded electronic tracks and enjoy making noise, both traditionally beautiful and ugly. Oh, and they also dedicated their entire performance to the late historian Howard Zinn. These guys are hip. The best part is that three out of four of them are old enough to be my Dad. My Dad is cool, but certainly not like this. (Love you, Dad!)

Friday night I attended the third of four performances all featuring Jon Rose’s piece “Music from 4 Fences.” Each of the four nights also included compositions by Terry Riley, Damon Albarn of Blur & Gorillaz, (what doesn’t that guy do?) John Zorn, Clint Mansell (Requiem for a Dream soundtrack), and Bryce Dessner of The National. I got to hear the Mansell piece in all of its intense glory.

One of the more interesting pieces they played was commissioned for the Kronos a couple yeas ago by the Palestinian collective, the Ramallah Underground called “Tashweesh.”