Sunday, April 15, 2012

MONOPHONICS : There's A Riot Going On

The new record In Your Brain (Ubiquity Records) is dropping May 15th !
+ + +
“There’s A Riot Going On” 7" with exclusive B-side “High Off Your Love” drops on April 21st 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

MONOPHONICS : Tearing It Up The Way I Like

Tearing it up, these Bay Area kings of boogie brought tears to this grown man's eyes at the electric funk produced from the stage. A lead singer who jams on the B3, a couple of horns, a drummer who couldn't be happier, a guitarist who simply blazes, along with a bassist who plays his bass upside down and has only been in the band a few weeks!! It was St. Patrick's night and the place was rockin' anyway, MONOPHONICS took it up to ELEVEN!!

Monophonics are Alex Baky (Saxophone), Myles O'Mahony (Bass), Austin Bohlman (Drums), Ian McDonald (Guitar), Ryan Scott (Trumpet), Kelly Finnigan (Keys & Vocals)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Decoders : Les Fleurs

The Decoders are Los Angeles-based producer duo Itai Shapira (producer/engineer & studio/live musician) and Todd Simon (trumpeter/arranger for Mayer Hawthorne, TV On The Radio, The Lions, Quantic, etc.), with contributions from Quincy McCrary on keys (Mayer Hawthorne) and Blake Colie on drums (The Lions) . The Decoders have just released their first installment of modern-Jamaican Lovers Rock-inspired versions of soul classics they dug up from the vaults of the Music Sales publishing catalogue. The project is overseen by the songwriter and producer behind many of Minnie Riperton’s hits - Richard Rudolph. The Decoders have enlisted the help of vocalists Sy Smith; original “Baby This Love I Have" songwriter and legendary producer Leon Ware; Coco Owino; Kevin Sandbloom and Boston Fielder. Written by Charles Stepney and Richard Rudolph, Produced by Itai Shapira and Todd M. Simon. Boston Fielder (Vocals), Itai Shapira (Bass/Guitar/Piano/Rhodes), Todd M. Simon (Trumpet/Flugelhorn/Glockenspiel), Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (Viola/Violin), Blake Colie (Drums)


The most telling traits that define the excellence of Boston Fielder and The Decoders’ recently released cover of Minnie Riperton’s legendary 1970 single “Les Fleurs” are defined in everything the song is not. Says Fielder, “When Itai (Shapira, of the Decoders) first approached me about ‘Les Fleurs I was flattered,” he continues, “but also tickled because my natural vocal register is on the opposite end of the scale from Minnie’s.  I enjoyed the subversive simplicity of that idea and, of course, having Richard (Rudolph, Riperton’s widow) offer great encouragement about my approach was wonderful.”

This song is everything right about what happens when talented session musicians and professional vocalists realize goals. The work here is straight up and without a chaser, the path of least resistance hopefully taken to the road of greatest success. The billowing builds and Riperton’s five-octave vocal range aren’t here. But what IS here is excellently rendered. Some of LA’s top session players sit in with MuthaWit frontman Fielder and deliver a reggae-tinged ballad that keeps “Les Fleurs” initial beauty, but covered has a dynamic energy all its own.
From the Brooklyn Bodega blog
Read the article [here]

Minnie Ripperton version from the album Come To My Garden (1970)

Jurassic 5 sampled Les Fleurs on their track Thin Line

Blog shout-out to Dick Rudolph, Karen Kloack and Chali 2na

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sewing Sisters : Lun*na Menoh's Passionate Duality

l—r : Lun*na, the Sewing Twins and Tsugumi 

The flyer for the night. $8 with a wig, $10 without.
Lun*na Menoh is someone I have known for decades. First meeting her when she made an appearance on the 80s public access show Tea With Tosh, which featured her radical fashion designs and unique combo of the fun and the funky. (She later married Tosh!). Lun*na has had a few bands - the space rock theremin driven duo Seksu Roba, the completely rockin' Jean Paul Yamamoto (featuring Shin Kawasaki on guitar and Alan Myers - originally from Devo - on drums) and now Sewing Sisters. An augmented duo, Lun*na and partner Tsugumi Takashi make electronic music fit for work or play. Using sewing machines as percussive instruments, Tsugumi stands in the back pushing buttons and making the bulk of the beautiful noise while Lun*na commands the stage on vocals. Moeko and Natsuki aka The Sewing Twins actually sew and create on stage. Tonight, they converted an umbrella into a scarf and later, Lun*na turned Moeko's (or was it Natsuki's?) egg-shaped full-body pod into a couture tailored suit. Check out the video below!

Featuring Kenji Koyama on guitar, he played it over-driven and ambiently, reminding me of the way the '80s group Japan utilized the playing of Masami Tsuchiya (Ippu-Do) as textural. Mike Penny played a modified version of the 3-stringed Japanese folk instrument known as the Shamisen, solo-ing on it in a way it was never imagined. 

The attention to detail is beauty in itself. Never a dull moment on stage, Lun*na - who makes wearable art when not pursuing her music career - always brings surprises and freshness to any room. [Lun*na's website] [Lun*na's facebook page]

Tosh was there and the back of his head is featured in the video below. Good lookin' out to Mr. Berman AND my dear friend Squid who was also in attendance!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ultralove Busking : Strange Fruit

I ran into my man Ultralove busking down on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. He treated me to a version of the sad blues lament Strange Fruit. Written by Abel Meeropol in 1939, it was made famous by Billie Holiday. Ultralove performs every Monday night at Harvelle's in Santa Monica with a full band.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Friday Kind Of Love

Friday Kind of Love is the latest club experience from The Floor producers Carolina Cerisola and Sascha Escandon. The night's focus is live music, lots of dancing and lots of "soul" - everything from doo-wop to Winehouse is represented, with the accent on Motown and '60s classics. A four piece vocal group consisting of Jeremy Erwin, Bobby Dillard, Lyndsay Haldorson and Ombrey DeGrate - complete with choreography -  deliver a sing-along filled night you won't soon forget. They are backed by St. Jukes Band - a crack shot collective who keep the night rockin' and rollin'.  Sascha, along with Charlene Rose and Kelsey McCowan are The Vellettes - sexy sirens shimmying around the dance floor in glittery dresses - a little insurance that everyone's butt is out of their seat  movin' and groovin'.

There's always extra surprises - the last session (at The Edison) featured The Dukes Of Doo-Wop, an acapella vocal quintet led by the Doo-Wop Hall Of Fame's Kenneth Bank. At the session prior to that - (held in Long Beach at Harvelle's) crate-digger D.J. Unieq rocked the house with a massive melange of the greatest and deepest tracks of the genre.

Here's a couple of 30 sec commercial breaks advertising the night:



Friday Kind Of Love is held on Wednesdays at The Edison in downtown Los Angeles. The Edison has a dress code (see website) and there is no cover. They do serve food and have a unique menu of light fare and exotic flavors (call for reservations 213- 613-0000).

Once a month, Friday Kind Of Love is held at Harvelle's in Long Beach. This month it's on April 20.

Find them and "Like" on [Facebook].