Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

Rollins Radio Notes

Fanatics! A Bodacious Assortment of Tunes

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Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 3:00 AM

Fanatics! Thank you so much for checking out these notes. Before anything, I hope you are digging the summer, or whatever weather you're in and that these amazing songs we have lined up for you are just what you need.

A few highlights to note. The Calico Wall track in the first hour is a real gem. I don't know anything about them but what a track. Also, check the alt. Bowie track. I bought this bootleg CD in New York some time in the last century and it's a real find. I know there are some hardcore Bowie collectors out there. I wish I knew more about the rarer stuff because if there are more outtakes as interesting as the one we are playing tonight, I really want to hear them.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • Adrian Boot/Island Records
While reporting my recent L.A. Weekly cover story on Bob Marley's Legend, I spent a fair amount of time chatting with Dave Robinson, the founder of Stiff Records and the Island Records exec who put the compilation together. One of the many interesting things Robinson told me was that he thinks that it's possible that “Legend” wouldn't have been made under Marley's watch.

"Greatest-hits projects, the ones that really work, unfortunately work mainly because the people are dead," he said. "These kinds of artists, left to their own devices, would have a different greatest hits. A living artist will tell you that the greatest song he's ever written is the one he's last written."

Objectivity, he told me, is extremely important when putting together a hits compilation. No doubt. But, certainly, not just for hits compilations. And who's less objective than the artist?

Robinson's comments reminded me of a chat I had years ago with the head of a major independent record label (you all love the records they've released). A year prior, his label had released what I still believe to be one of the greatest album's in the label's catalog. But it didn't sell. At all. I mean that almost literally. So I asked him: what happened?

This label head was equally enthralled with the record and was incredibly disappointed in its abysmal sales numbers. He credited the commercial failure of the album to the opening track, selected by the band, the saddest of sad bastard music ever cut to tape – not indicative of the rest of the album, and at more than four minutes, a burden to suffer through. He thinks using the track to introduce listeners and critics to the band's sound (this was their debut) derailed the LP. I think he has a point.

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Latin Rhythms

Quintessential East L.A. Band Quetzal Celebrates 20 Years

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Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 3:30 AM
  • Courtesy of the band
Quetzal Flores and Martha Gonzalez were away from L.A. for almost six years — one in Mexico, four and a half in Seattle — before returning in 2012. They barely recognized the place.

“We did CicLAvia and I was like, ‘Whoa, what happened to downtown?’” says Gonzalez, laughing in the living room of their Alhambra house. “We’re bicycling through and all these clubs and these buildings fixed up ... It’s a mix of being really proud of being from L.A. and being sort of like, ‘Wait a minute, where are all the people who used to live here?’”

Flores and Gonzalez front Quetzal, a Chicano rock band of the sort that settles for calling itself a Chicano rock band because what they actually are is much more complicated. They’ve performed hybrid versions of son jarocho, ranchera, salsa — with more than a little Cuban, African and American rock ladled in for good measure.

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  • Photo courtesy of the artist
  • See Sunday: Jimmy Cliff
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Friday, July 18

Masters of Ceremony 
Hip-Hop Reunion with DMX, EPMD, Rakim
Formulated by music industry vet and b-boy–at-heart Adam Torres, the Masters of Ceremony Hip-Hop Reunion comes to Los Angeles after a highly lauded stint in January at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. The lineup, which reads like a primer on hip-hop cultural history, features performances by Doug E. Fresh, Rakim, Naughty by Nature, Biz Markie, Slick Rick and Big Daddy Kane, among other golden-era and post–golden era luminaries. In March, Torres told All​HipHop.com: “These artists have given us unforgettable compositions that have marked a time in music history, earning them the title of Masters of Ceremony.” Can’t argue with that. Tonight’s show is the only L.A. stop on the six-date national tour. —Jacqueline Michael Whatley

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[Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here on West Coast Sound every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the awesomely annotated playlist for his Sunday KCRW broadcast.]

Tommy Ramone passed away on July 11. He, Joey, Dee Dee and Johnny are all gone now. Losing the Ramones was a slow process, as prolonged as it was painful.

Sometimes, I would be in some ruined backstage area on a multimonth tour and feel strengthened knowing they were most likely out there somewhere, lighting up the place. I remember when I found out the band had retired. I was alone in a small room and it was like something had been removed from the world. I wondered if everything would be OK the next day.

A few years later, members of The Ramones started to die. They were too young to go, I thought. It was very tough. For many people, their records are close friends, the shows memorable nights of their lives. They met so many of their fans over the years, the loss was often extremely personal.

Just my personal opinion: The Ramones rescued and recharged rock & roll.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Premiere: Milo's Short Film for "A Toothpaste Suburb"

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Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 4:00 AM
  • Courtesy of Hellfyre Club
  • Milo
Twenty-two-year-old milo is one of independent rap’s rising stars. A recent L.A. transplant, the Chicago-bred rapper’s introspective and intellectually stimulating songs both eschew and lampoon hackneyed genre tropes; and the beats he selects are as diverse and challenging as the content of his rhymes. His debut LP, a toothpaste suburb, drops Sept. 23 on L.A. rapper Nocando’s label Hellfyre Club. The album features label mates Busdriver, Open Mike Eagle and Anderson Paak, as well as Kool A.D., Buck 65 and WC Tank. There is also production from iglooghost, Tastenothing, Greyhat and Riley Lake.

LA Weekly is premiering Up From Sloth, the short film milo shot as a teaser for the album. As you watch milo jump in the sand, pee in the ocean, and wander through the supermarket, listen to snippets for three of his brand new, deftly rapped and sonically rich songs. Each bodes well for a toothpaste suburb.

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  • Photo by Tim Navis
  • Deru
[Editor's note: Weekly scribe Jeff Weiss's column, "Bizarre Ride," appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday. Follow him on twitter and also check out his archives.]

“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” —Gabriel Garcia Marquez
“Memories don’t live like people do.” —Beenie Man 

Deru isn’t trying to recover memories; he’s attempting to remix them. From his basement studio in Silver Lake, the electronic composer, born Benjamin Wynn, grapples with the shifty origami of our temporal lobes. His latest album, last month’s 1979, is part art object, part time capsule and part ambient film score to the saturnine home movies buried in your mind.

“Our brains are so selective and fallible. I can remember lyrics to rap songs from when I was 11 years old, but someone can say their name to me and I can’t remember it five minutes later,” Wynn marvels, wearing professorial black spectacles, a plume of brown hair, gray shirt and jeans and a fixed, serious gaze.

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Top 5 Punk Drummers of All Time

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Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 3:30 AM
  • Courtesy of the Artist
  • Tré Cool / Green Day
The common misconception is that punk musicians aren't very good at their craft. For the most part, that might be true — Dee Dee Ramone did get laughed out of an audition for Television in 1973.

But for a musical genre so driven by the beat, where lightning fast technique is a prerequisite for acceptance, the punk drummer rises above the rest. Unlike the guitar and bass players, drummers can't turn down their instrument or increase the distortion. Sid Vicious relied on Steve Jones for direction, but Paul Cook (the drummer of The Sex Pistols) had his balls on the line every night; a lesson he first learned from Tommy Ramone, the original drummer of The Ramones. 

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On August 24, 2009, interns working for NBC’s Tonight Show (then hosted by Conan O’Brien) were surprised when musical guests Kings of Leon insisted on a closed rehearsal. Normally, employees and interns could watch artists sound-check during their lunch break, but Kings of Leon shut them out. It seemed an unusually douchey move, though that alone might not have been such a big deal …

… but the band’s antics were just getting started.

Let's be clear: Stories of stars acting like complete assholes around the little people are a dime a dozen in Los Angeles. But when we started asking industry insiders for some of their worst horror stories, we were so struck by Kings of Leon's Tonight Show visit that we stopped right there (for now, anyway — other assholes, you're not off the hook yet).

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Courtesy of Epitaph Records
  • Pennywise
If our conversation with Pennywise vocalist Jim Lindberg is any indication, the Hermosa Beach punk group’s newest album Yesterdays (out today on Epitaph Records) may turn out to be one of the most important records in their 26-year history.

The album features Lindberg’s return to vocal duties after his acrimonious departure in 2009. It also harkens back to a simpler time in the band’s legacy, as many of the songs on Yesterdays were penned during the group’s early years by original bassist Jason Thirsk, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1996.

West Coast Sound caught up with Lindberg on the phone last weekend to discuss his return to the band and the new album.

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