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].

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

VT : Blues Hand Me Down

Vintage Trouble Album Release Show
April 26 @ The El Rey

Blues Hand Me Down
the first single off their first album
The Bomb Shelter Sessions
Available NOW on Amazon

Friday, March 23, 2012

Johnny Rzeznik : Green Party Music Benefit

Last night Johnny played at a Green Party Benefit. 
He performed 3 songs; Slide, Better Days and Iris
He was accompanied by Brad Fernquist. 
Here's the video:

The California Green Party hosted event was held on Thursday, March 22nd at V Lounge

The following musicians performed:
Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket) 
John Rzeznik (Goo Goo Dolls
Lili Haydn
Christ vs Warhol
Nick Luca (Iron and Wine) 
The Pleasure Field
Korel Tunador

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Floor #49 : The Jacqui & Wes Wedding Reception

Wes and Jacqui sealing it with a kiss
Carolina and Sascha
The Floor was written up recently in the L.A. Times. The piece written by a Times staffer, praised the night for it's originality, music and atmosphere, but the The Floor is really about dancing and that is obvious enough to any remote outsider joining in for a night. Tonight though wasn't about outsiders; tonight was about Jacqui and Wes - he a Club Bully and she - his beautiful bride. Getting married on a Monday is pretty novel, but having your reception inside The Floor is downright genius!! Filled with members of the wedding party, it was a party indeed, having started earlier in the day at the church and continuing on to the King-King. Once there, we celebrated with some traditional wedding rituals - introduction of the bride and groom, first dance, bouquet throwing and dancing with strangers (thank you Vakisha) - the party atmosphere was in full swing by the time the club patrons started arriving around 10 pm.

Spanky on drums
The night was DJ'ed in part by Unieq, who took an early leave and left the decks in the hands of fellow Club Bully Paris Paul, who sliced and diced the music seamlessly, then generously turned the DJ'ing over to the super cool DJ Crystal Ellis (an international Playboy™ Playmate according to her business card!)
Sarah taps her way into our hearts

Dessy DiLauro and Walter 
Among the usual Floor good times, we were treated to a vocal and dance performance by the one and only Toledo Diamond (of The Toledo Show) and one of Carolina's beautiful burlesque routines, which like the early days of The Floor, had her descend from the King-King's 2nd floor spiral staircase, shakin' her groove thing step by step until everybody was thoroughly engaged and cheering for more.

Walter Davis led the band which included Floor 1st timer - guitarist Joel Van Dijk (Ultralove, Aloe Blacc) - along with keyboardist (the freshly graduated) Julian Le, Ethan Farmer on bass, Asa Watkins on drums with Fuzzbee playing the flute and a drummer named Spanky giving it up like his life depended on it. 

Dessy DiLauro got on the mic and treated us to her multi-octave jazz vocals, trading licks with Walter. Tap dancer Sarah Reich strut her stuff going back n forth with the drummer (Spanky), further stretching the boundaries of what a tap dancer can do. She never fails to impress. Singer Blu Nyle brought her considerable mane of curls up on stage and left the audience rapt and excited. Additionally The Dukes of DooWop provided some great vocal harmonies in a brief performance (Carolina and Sascha's new club Friday Kind Of Love is a doo-wop and soul themed night.)

K.G. & Paris Paul

Blu Nyle
As always, K.G. Superstar and Paris Paul MC'ed throughout the night, soul singer Adrian Hibbs was in the house, filmmaker Robertino Fonesca was shooting video and trombonist Shaunte Palmer and trumpeter Sebastian Leger sat in with the band. Lots of familiar faces and plenty of new ones as well. Good to see Gabriella, Sarah, Smiley, Iris, Daniel, Terry, Liinda, Maus, Annukka, Angel, Alfred, Hera, Rukiya, Annika, Alfie, Annie Love, Walter Jones, Charlene, Roman, Toledo, Chelsea, Nykky, Evalee, Lisa Solar, Danny, Annalisa, Fuzzbee, Lisa Long, Lisa Bellmore (Vintage Trouble baby!!), Lizette, Dana, Errol, David, Renee, Prosper, Javier, Yessenia, Nicole, Stefani, Kristi, Mike, Minn, Noel, Shiho, Michelle, Love, Ryan, Zenobia, Dessy, Jason, Shaheed, Mario, the Magnolia Memoir crew (Aron, Gordon, Alex, Matt & Mela) Doug & Nicki, Marshall, Anna, Mary, Vakisha (of course!), our hosts - The Floor producers Sascha & Carolina, the incomparable Walter Davis and of course CHEERS! to Jacqui and Wes!! See you all next month!!

To view the photo album on Facebook and tag yourself or others click [HERE]

Saturday, March 17, 2012

MONOPHONICS : Total Groove Merchants

Tonight at Harvelle's Santa Monica MONOPHONICS are taking over [official website]. From the Bay Area, they are just signed to UBIQUITY (one of the coolest labels ever!)

from the press release:
Monophonics were formed in '05; originally a instrumental ensemble comprised of guitarist Ian McDonald, bassist Myles O’Mahony, saxophonist Alex Baky, trumpeter Ryan Scott, and drummer Austin Bohlman, the band has recently added the dynamic soul vocals of keyboardist Kelly Finnigan. The result is a psychedelic soul & heavy funk sound, which harks back to the stylings of the late '60s and early '70s, all while keeping its feet planted in the present.

Their Ubiquity debut, In Your Brain is now available for Pre-Order. Also be on the look out for a special 7'' to be released on Record Store Day.

San Francisco and it's out laying townships and suburbs have a long history of soul funk, psychedelic soul, acid jazz, rare groove, and other unclassifiable yet deeply funky stuff. Not just the known stuff from the 60s and 70s, like Tower Of Power and Sly & The Family Stone, but obscure artists like The Propositions, The Mighty Ryeders, and Spanky Wilson, continuing through to modern bastardizers from the 90s like Limbomaniacs, Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, new traditionalists like Charlie Hunter and Mo'fessionals and revivalists like Mike James Kirkland, Orgone (LA based actually) and Monophonics, going strong today.

I spent much of the late eighties and early nineties making regular trips to San Francisco specifically to The Groove Merchant* to collect rare vinyl and everything on the Luv N Haight label which was primarily vintage tracks no one ever heard, available for the true groove connoisseur, the crate digger looking for the ultimate head-bobbing track. In the Beastie Boys song Professor Booty, they pay tribute: "This one goes out to my man the Groove Merchant/ Coming through with beats for which I been searching". Brilliant. Many Luv N Haight titles are available [here].

Of course, with YouTube and mp3s and funk blogs and many compilations from all over the planet excavating through every nook and cranny, funk and it's many niche genres, it's all well documented and readily available. But there's nothing like hearing it live.

MONOPHONICS are blasting off tonight at Harvelle's 1432 4th St. in Santa Monica (between Broadway and Santa Monica Blvd). Come down, it'll do your soul some good.

*note: the URL doesn't seem to work any longer.

Green Party Benefit : Rzeznik In-Effect

This Thursday (Mar 22), the Green Party is having a music benefit at the V-Lounge. Besides the names on the art posted here, Johnny Rzeznik has been added to the bill.*
*FYI - I have no affiliation with The Green Party.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Floor in The Times : Swinging Into Action
...occasional live poetry is improvised

At the Floor, everything — from the dance moves to the live music to the singing and occasional live poetry — is improvised. 

Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times
Dancers strut during the monthly improv dance for "The Floor" at King King in Hollywood.

The Floor 
is Monday March 19 
at King-King in Hollywood
6555 Hollywood Blvd.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


i will inhale deeply
the aroma-
and one-of-a-kind-
exclusive and rare...

i wasn't properly weened off of it
so now,
i think about 'What Is And What Should Never Be' - as
Led Zeppelin put it - and I can't improve on that -
they knew far more than me about the blues
at the age they were when they wrote that lyric.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

C.J. Emmons : Make It Funky... Make It Smooth

House Of Vibe is still on the road with Chali 2na
Tonight at Harvelle's it's C.J. Emmons!
Who's that?
If you haven't heard C.J. Emmons sing, you're missing out...
But you're not alone.
C.J. is the real deal.
A cool mix of R&B, Soul and Funk, his 5 1/2 octave range brings originality to classic R&B Songs, while showing his diversity with his original material. See video below for a brief introduction to the man.

His debut CD is called Whatever Happened To Christopher Jermain (available Spring 2012 - but he might have some copies to sell at the gig.)

C.J.'s band tonight consists of (House Of Vibe's) Kris Hawkins-guitar, Scott “Bugs” Allen-bass, Keith Williams Jr-drums and Marcus Johnson-keys.

note: C.J. is also playing at Harvelle's Santa Monica on Friday, so if you miss him tonight, check him out along with Orlando Napier then.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Leon Ware And The Decoders : Baby This Love I Have

This is a new recording by The Decoders of Minnie Ripperton's Baby This Love I Have written by Leon Ware, Richard Rudolph & Minnie Ripperton. This recording stars Leon Ware on lead vocals and was officially released Feb 14 2012. Rad local funkateer Itai Shapira produced this and played all the guitars on it. KCRW DJ and artist Anthony Valadez did the cover art. Use the link below to download, link or listen to it.

Here's the original Minnie Ripperton version of This Love I Have
Note: this recording was sampled by A Tribe Called Quest on Check The Rhime (below)

A Tribe Called Quest - Check The Rhime

A big FTP shout-out to Karen who works with Dick Rudolph and his song publishing empire. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Someone somewhere
set off a
sulfurous head
of a
paper match.

it can't be
It's pedigree
disagreed on.

The eternal
in the world series of love.

I hide
They run
to rock
your shoes.

Friday, March 2, 2012


My malfeasant treasure guarded,

I kick-start the parade by my very own action.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I love your voice in the dark
The way you explain your life to me
with humor and a smile
a grin really - ear to ear

When you asked me if I would dance
I was as nervous as a schoolboy
but you were kind and generous
and we danced.

Magnolia Memoir : The International Review Of Music

The International Review Of Music has reviewed Magnolia Memoir's The Perfect Crime.

For the full review click HERE.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Magnolia Memoir : What's A Good Girl To Do?

 Tonight we celebrated the release of Magnolia Memoir's new album, The Perfect Crime. Mela in her vintage black dress, matching jackette and classic black 4" heels took her spot in front of the mic and opened her mouth and out came "What's A Good Girl To Do?", which along with the title cut are the thematic mood setters of their new one. 

However, this band is about music and they deliver! They are all superior musicians and are ready for the world to hear 'em. The rest of the band is Aron Forbes (electric & acoustic guitar), Alexander Burke (keys, vibraphone & mandolin), Gordon Bash (bass & double bass) and Matt Lucich (drums).

Opening act Duo Del Sol playing a short set of their neoclassical originals arranged for guitar and violin; the duo specialize in dynamics, hushing the room during the quiet parts, and with wild participatory applause for the raucous sections. Their set was brief, and without much hesitation after the played their final number, the boys from Magnolia Memoir sauntered up to the stage silently and took their places. 

While MM have never been about fun and games, this new one definitely takes you down new avenues that the band has never been before. They have been compared to Tom Waits and Billie Holiday, but these days there's no missing their healthy dose of rock 'n' roll and angsty moodiness. While "Broken Cup" treads in circus-crazy territory, Mela's not as "out-there" as Waits and not in as much pain as Billie; Mela could probably sing any style imaginable and the hardest part of her job is crafting a uniformity that meshes precisely with the sounds the other people in the band are making. She can vary her songs' emotions from celebrative to contemplative, and while MM have perused the jazz landscape in the past, I hear definite traces of Chrissy Hynde and Pat Benatar - which creates a whole 'nother memoir to read. Lyrically there are story songs and personal moments alike within the lyrics, Their version of The White Stripes My Doorbell is fun and lively and fully fleshed out which shows what a great song writer Jack White truly is.  

Particularly moving tonight was a soliloquy by Mela who revealed the origin of the band was a dream that was stirred up after a visit as an adult to the grave site of her father whom she lost as a child. Her realization that she is still here even though he's gone, results in a "Go for your dreams-times a wasting" message she imparted on us before leaving for the night. This sentiment is expressed lyrically in the track  Chelsea (see video below). A staple in their live set of late, when they play it, a joyous sparkle descends over the whole band!

Often bringing something or someone extra along, tonight both Carolina Cerisola (above) and Sarah Reich performed - Carolina (above) in her inimitable style and Sarah with her nu-skool tap (see Sarah's performance in the video below).

Multi-instrumentalist Alexander Burke simultaneously plays the keys and strikes the vibes!! 
Gordon Bash in a low key moment.

The new CD by 
Magnolia Memoir 
The Perfect Crime :

Stay in touch with the band


More than any other,
Is a quest.
A quest for awake-ness.
The time is right
To be an absolute product of all that is around me.

I swim through the lye-green tides of the Pacific—
It gives my brain a chance to brine.
Deprived sensorily,
I hear the drum 'n' bass lub-dub of my own heart.
I feel the air around me enter and leave my lungs with a rhythm all it's own.
The cro-magnon backbeat of early man with no speech or vision.

I see it all -
All the nothing -
Water and sky and foam and gigantic waves -
sweeping across it's own vastness;
never ending.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

FRIDAY KIND OF LOVE : Everything Old Is New Again

Friday Kind Of Love is a new night with a familiar feel and a retro groove. With DJ Unieq on the wheels of steel, he mines deep into the world of Motown, Doo-wop & old soul for tracks you've either never heard or never thought you'd hear again.

Live music was a main attraction, and with The St. Jukes Band  (Daniele Decario (b), Clarence Walker(k), Froy Arajuo(sax), Gabi Basurto(d), Tetsuya Moriguchi(g/md)) - the night was filled with harmony provided by the vocal quartet of Jeremy Erwin, Ombrey DeGrate, Lyndsay Haldorson & Bobby Dillard. Their versions of some of the greatest songs in music history kept the audience on their feet and singing along!

The early start time (6pm) allowed for master barber K.G. Superstar (owner/operator of The Blade Barbershop) to give complimentary straight-razor shaves in a barber shop atmosphere in an area of the club.

Additionally, The Velettes - dressed like a glam burlesque version of The Supremes - kept those in attendance attentive and delighted with their choreographed performances throughout the night. (The Velettes are Charlene Rose, Sascha Escandon & Kelsey McCowan). Their very presence caused a rush to the dance floor by anyone who was still sitting down.

Friday Kind Of Love is the concept of club producers Carolina Cerisola and Sascha Escandon aka The Floor Productions  (The Floor Improv Night, The Show). Their vision of a night with feel-good music, a lack of pretense, and of course - lots and lots of dancing - has captured the attention of club-goers of all ages and backgrounds. Friday Kind Of Love is held at Harvelle's Long Beach.

Lyndsay Haldorson gives us a warning that she's trouble!! (You Know I'm No Good)

Ombrey does Amy proud!! (Me & Mr(s). Jones)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Magnolia Memoir : Something Else!

Magnolia Memoir getting early press on their new CD A Perfect Crime on a blog called Something Else! To read the full post click HERE. The Perfect Crime comes out on Feb 28.