Monday, January 30, 2012

Heather Watch : You're Nobody Til Somebody Kills You

Returning to Freddy's on a Saturday night for the purpose of visiting Heather and checking out the late night menu.

I'm tempted by the "Crispy Pig's Ear And Fried Egg" - I get a visual of a dark brown deep-fried ear on a plate next to a sunny-side up egg. I mentally gag a little : Heather assures me that it's not what it sounds like -  and that the ingredients are inside a big fluffy bun. My curiosity will remain for now - I ordered the Belgian waffles (with bacon butter, maple bourbon syrup and grilled apples.)

[Here's my food review: The waffle was light and airy, and didn't turn to mush under the syrup and butter. it's slight crispness remained throughout from first bite to last. The combination of ingredients created a dish whose ingredients built on each other from sweet to salty - with degrees of both in various increments.

The pieces of bacon within it's butter base added the right shading of salt (I don't know if the bacon was cooked in the butter or added to it). The apples were lightly grilled, and slightly sweet. The true sweetness came from the maple syrup and with it's bourbon kick, it allows for the flavor without the alcohol. It was quite delicious and the portion was perfect for a late night bite (It was about 11pm). My compliments to Chef Charlie!]

Tonight Heather wonders whether or not to dye her hair dark. She's been blonde forever, but has been told she might be taken more seriously and thusly more successful at her (day) job if she were a brunette. (She is a rep for several fashion designers.) She was asking some of the patrons what they thought. I happen to have several photos of Heather in my phone. In many of them she's wearing various wigs. From a short blue/black bob to shoulder length feathered ginger job, she has had many looks which she can pull off. She's got great features and great skin, so she really could never look bad. She takes my phone and shows the photos to the customers who she has engaged, to help them vote "yay" or "nay". For the record, I think she should do it. Her (day job) boss is a very successful business woman and sounds like someone who knows her business. Heather respects her opinion quite a bit.

Heather's a mid-western-raised, downtown girl who has been in L.A. long enough to know her worth, but not so long that she has a list of wannabe actor/rockstar ex-boyfriends or a drug habit. She's pretty grounded for someone her age and with her ambition.

That's enough analysis for now.
Watch this space for the dilemma's resolution!!

I'm was planning on stopping by for a bite and then going to Eastside Luv, but I started talking to the manager of the bar and then he pulled out a bottle of Absinthe. It seems like a lot of stories that start that way end badly.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE : Comes To Harvelle's

The current issue of Los Angeles Magazine ("Classic L.A." issue) features a glowing review of my favorite Westside bar. If you read this blog, then you are already aware of Harvelle's

If not, check out the write-up, and if it sounds good to you, come pay a visit.  
Besides the decor and the speakeasy vibe, besides the custom cocktails and authentic nightly blues & jazz, there's always plenty of parking in the structure adjacent to the club and there's a spot next door (West 4th/Jane) that serves great food (you can order and have it delivered to the bar) until about midnight. If you love live music, enjoy a night out dancing, or imbibing with like-minded people over delicious one-of-a-kind cocktails, check out Harvelle's (1432 4th St. between Broadway & Santa Monica Blvd. in downtown Santa Monica) [Harvelle's Santa Monica]

Some other things you may not be aware of:

Harlow Gold - the spectacular underground burlesque revue that consistently sells out (It's the last 2 Thursdays of each month - reservations are highly suggested.) [Reservations link]

There's Westside Wednesdays - local Venice collective House Of Vibe All Stars mid-week massive that combines live hip-hop, reggae, jazz, funk and r&b played by some of the industry's most in-demand musicians. [House Of Vibe All-Stars]

Every Monday night is Ultralove - infamous local singer/songwriter who's faithful fan base makes a ritual of kicking the week off with a dose of the band's illest medicine. [Ultralove]

And there's The Toledo Show.
The longest running show of it's kind, having just celebrated it's 10 year anniversary at Harvelle's, it's a wild burlesque road trip to hell and back. The must-see spectacle is a Westside institution and you really should be indoctrinated. Every Sunday night, the tall, dark and handsome Toledo Diamond mounts his Show - his gravely baritone tells erotic stories of hard living in the back alleys of this grimy urban metropolis, while the impossibly funky band jams tirelessly. A bevy of dancing "Dames" gyrate electrically throughout the evening, enticing you with their bouncy bodices, ripped stockings, red lips and high heels. They're a thing of beauty. [The Toledo Show]

Last year, the up and coming Vintage Trouble left their sold-out year long Tuesday night residency at the club to launch their first European tour. They've been back twice since and are currently in Australia playing sold-out stadiums and festivals. They will be back in Europe this summer touring with Lenny Kravitz. Congrats to VT for being the next big thing. It's completely deserved. [Vintage Trouble]

Additionally, there is now a second Harvelle's in Long Beach.
Larger in size with the same attention to lighting and sound, the venue is garnering accolades and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The bluegrass/ragtime of Capt Jeffrey & His Musical Chumbuckets have been packing 'em in on Sunday nights (Phil Alvin of The Blasters has stopped by and sat in a couple of times). The very cool The Vespertines take over on Monday nights. And on Feb 4, Sheila E. will be bringing her family (Pete, Juan, and Peter Michael Escovedo) for what promises to be an exciting night of incredible latin flavored funk!! That's what the Escovedo's do!! The club is located at 201 E. BROADWAY beneath The Congregation Ale House [Harvelle's Long Beach]

Saturday, January 28, 2012

ENO : There's a GLITCH in the system

In high school, we were fond of saying "ENO is ONE". We listened to the first 2 Roxy Music albums and argued Brian vs. Bryan, trying to determine whether Eno deserved to be booted from the band for screwing with the sound of Ferry's voice. We played with Oblique Strategies cards. We disassembled our parents old audio equipment and built our own synthesizers. We worshipped Music For Airports and Frippertronics.[FrippertronicsWikipedia][Frippertronics video demo].

Fast forward - one day - don't quite remember the date, we all looked at each other and said "Eno's producing U2?"
In a miraculous case of the artist getting paid, Eno got his, and was able to create some art for the masses in the process - adding his magic ambiance (he practically owns the word) to U2's super-hits - especially the ones with the sing-along choruses and Lennon-ian messages of peace. Eno's influence on the band helped make them one of the biggest of all time. Side note: Brian Eno produced the first Devo album!

My love of Brian Eno goes deep.
My favorites are his un-ironic version of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (push play on the video box below to hear it) and I've always enjoyed his slowly melting version of Pachelbel's Canon on Discreet Music. Part of the reason I'm fond of DM, is the liner notes in which Eno explains how he discovered a different way to hear music - as part of the other sounds in and around him - this being an attempt to re-create that. Additionally, his 4 "Pop" albums - Taking Tiger Mountain, Before And After Science, Another Green World and Here Come The Warm Jets - deeply influenced my attempts at songwriting both musically and lyrically in my earliest high school garage bands (for better or worse).

Not so side-note : Eno discovered and utilized the considerable talents of a Canadian guitarist named Daniel Lanois. They met during the recording of the Dune Soundtrack).  Lanois has been involved in U2's songwriting process as well as mixing and production of The Unforgettable Fire,  The Joshua Tree (1987 Grammy Award for Album of the Year), Achtung Baby, All That You Can't Leave Behind and the band's last one, No Line on the Horizon.

In the late 80s, Eno had an art exhibit in Santa Monica. He had been in Art Forum magazine (A transparent "flexi-disc" of a piece of music called "Glint (East Of Woodbridge)" was included - I have one) and this was something of a big deal. I remember the show as being in a very dark room with quiet ambient "music" playing and light coming from multiple television monitors.  I remember seeing him standing in front - but to the side - of one of the TV screen installations, softly speaking to someone. I remember getting a rush of excitement being in such close proximity.

In a Warholian prophecy come to life, the artist - even in the shadows - standing still - simply speaking softly - that's what gave me the thrill. Not the "art" itself. That's what I remember and I remember everything else as just what you'd imagine an Eno exhibit to be - as I mentioned above, dark lighting, lighter than air "music", cool air circulating while television monitor installations broadcast ambient art; slow moving, subtly shifting, infinite upon itself, forever evolving colors and patterns.

Eno's most recent release is a collaboration between himself and British poet Rick Holland called The Drums Between The Bells. This time, Eno has written music to which spoken word is delivered. The poet's figurative (and literal) voice varies, as do the musical styles.

Glitch is a rock anthem if rock anthems were written by robots - Holland's poem is in there somewhere, although it's hidden in a Kraftwerk-esque voice - the music track itself is straight up dance floor rock 'n' roll (the bonus CD has an instrumental version re-titled "Itch").

So far, it's the track of the year!!

Eno has always explored mediums other than music or video. It's no surprise he's been in the "app" biz for a minute. All three of his apps : "Bloom","Air" and "Trope" are sound and vision intensive interactive experiences, that allow you to engage with your touch screen changing sounds and colors - or set it to generate it's own quiet chaos. It has a sleep timer built in, so it's a perfect "zone-out" tool. Once you're out, then it shuts itself off.
I love technology.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Vintage Trouble : Winners Of 2012 iPhone Film Festival

Congratulations to Vintage Trouble!

Their Nancy Lee video - which was filmed exclusively using the iPhone 4 - is the winner of the 2012 iPhone Film Festival!
[view the other nominees]
The music video was shot, directed and edited by 3 time Emmy Award winner Alen Petkovic and also features Carmit Bachar of the Pussycat Dolls. Filmed in one day in July 2010, this is from Vintage Trouble’s self-released first album The Bomb Shelter Sessions. Re-released in the UK last year, it is available through the band's website and Amazon.

Vintage Trouble is Ty Taylor (v) Nalle Colt (g) Rick Barrio Dill (b) Richard Danielson (d). The band thanks Charlie Brumbly, Lori Forbes, Jo McMullen, Ben Caron, Cindy Robinson, Derek Ferguson, Debi Adut, Halo Summerlin, Hannah Bornstein, Tawny Dolley, Bonnie Harris, Rob Russel, Lemuel Thornton Harrison, Daphne Gabriel, Ryan Boone, Melanie Reese, Dane Biren

One of the iPhones used in the shoot was actually stolen shortly after filming and recovered using the “Find My iPhone” app. [Rick Barrio Dill's account of how the iPhone was recovered]

Here's the video in it's entirety:

If you've never seen the performance of Nancy Lee they did on Jools Holland's Later, here it is:

Currently on tour in Australia, Vintage Trouble will be playing a 5 night stand at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas February 7—11 (2012).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

CARNIVAL!! : A hollywood trip where choreography is king.

followers of this blog no doubt recognize the woman above as Lady V (aka Vakisha Coleman), one of Carnival!'s hostesses.

Hawaiians Maile and Vakisha

 Charlene and Roman : dancer/choreographers

For 13 years Carnival! has been a gathering of professional dancers, choreographers and fans of movement celebrating their own. Tonight, as Lady V's guest, I experienced this spectacle up close. 

What a night, what a bash, what an amazing group of people all getting down and gettin' wild. The performances, the people, the enthusiasm, the support of this community is easy to feel even in a room the size of Avalon.

 Good looking out Roman, Charlene, Liinda, Noel, Sandra, Robert, Vennum & Tanya, Patrick & Toni Basil
Special thanks Vakisha 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Vintage Trouble : Sunset Sessions

Sunset Sessions is a yearly event which puts bands and musicals in front of 500 of the biggest music supervisors and AAA radio people from all over the US. They played 2 nights in a row, which no band has ever been asked to do in the event's history. On night 2 they played an unprecedented 4 sets! Things are looking brilliant for Vintage Trouble. Check out the video below to see what kind of adversary of the man VT has become. They can't and won't be shut down. (Well, they can, but they always get back on!)

The same week Vintage Trouble found themselves performing at KISS singer Paul Stanley's 60th birthday party! Check out the captured video of VT with Ty and Paul dueting on the blues classic You Shook Me. KISS manager Doc McGhee also manages Vintage Trouble.

Club Bullies At The Floor (Flashback)
"That's My Fresh"

A 2009 performance at The Floor by The Club Bullies.
Paris Paul, D.J. Unieq, K.G. Superstar, Lady V & Wes Wunder
featuring Mischief and Eclipse.
I Feel Good/That's My Jam/That's My Fresh

The Club Bullies are everywhere, every night.
[Club Bullies on Facebook]
[The Club Bullies]
The next The Floor is February 20
[The Floor Productions]
[The Floor on Facebook]

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Life's A V-Riot With Vakisha
(aka Driving Through Your Neighborhood)

Things are never dull when you're around Vakisha Coleman. The singer/ dancer/ actress/ model/ spokeswoman/ rapper is all that and then some!

Her monthly showcase at Mama Juana's - "The V-Rioty Show" is a fresh approach to an old format. Vakisha is always performing somewhere, but tonight allows her to host and sing and let everyone else do the heavy lifting.

DJ Unieq kept it real and real funky on the 1's and 2's.

Comedians, beat-boxers, dancers, singers, rappers and Lady V's own soulful rendition of "His Eye Is On The Sparrow"made the evening an unforgettable one. Additionally, she closed out the night singing Donna Summer's "Last Dance" - (one of the greatest songs of all time?!?).

In an impromptu finale, Vakisha instigated a jam between the beat-boxer, the didgeridoo player and the tap dancer. It was brilliant!!

 Performing third, I laid down some spoken word - reading my poem "Driving Through Your Neighborhood" (see video below).

I was followed by didgeridoo crafter/ performer William Thoren who presented his instrument (which can be monotonous) with excitement and originality. Bravo! Outer Circle B-boys Peru, Inglewood and Gyroe (under the moniker "The Bukake Kings"), who despite having made the beautiful mouth of Lady V utter their disgusting slang name, kicked the shiz out of the dance floor. These boys are crazy!

The next V-Rioty Show is Feb 21.
Follow on Facebook [click here]

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Floor 47 : I Got Some Funk Stuck In My Throat!
(And It Won't Come Out!))

The Floor #47 jump started with Funkmaster Victor Orlando's group Fun-Ja-La, and kicked into high gear, where it remained throughout the night (see video below). With the early arrivers getting treated to a set of genuine F-U-N-K!! We were all chanting furiously along with "I Got Some Funk Stuck In My Throat (And It Won't Come Out)"!! If you weren't a funk fan when you got there, you most certainly were when you left! [Buy Fun-Ja-La CD] || Thanks Victor for veering off the flight pattern and dropping into The King-King!!

Besides the Funk!, the night had a frenzied energy spurned on by the attendees who included Fela cast members, the Battle Of The Dance stars, a group of international UCLA law master's students, scintillating salseras, burlesque beauties and a small army of Capoeira-istas who blew the doors down!!

Of course DJ Uniek and Walter Davis kept the music non-stop in-between, making for more than enough entertainment for one night.

To see tags or tag yourself or leave comments on FB : [Here]

Always great meeting all of you first-timers, seeing repeat visitors, and hanging out with those I know and love. The Floor continues to be a wonderful club experience. 
Thank you Sascha, Carolina and Walter.
[The Floor Productions]

Monday, January 16, 2012

Vintage Trouble : Libby Sokolowski

Vintage Trouble at the Troubador -
My First VT Show by Libby Sokolowski
January 6 2012 West Hollywood, CA-
Wow!!!  I had an absolutely fantastic time at my first Vintage Trouble show at the Troubador last week.  My next show with them simply cannot come soon enough.  Seriously.  This is a greatly gifted, supremely soulful, make-you-wanna-put-your-damn-cameras-down-and-shake-whatever-you've-got-to-shake, incredible band.  This is a guaranteed good time.  How often can one say that anymore?  I would challenge any one of my friends to experience just a few of their songs and not feel compelled to break into a big smile.

This is my recommendation to you:  1.  Watch some videos  2.  Get yourself in the loop and follow their schedule.  If there is a show within a few hours drive, do not miss it.  3.  While you wait, buy and enjoy their CD.

This is raw energy served up with refined skill and brotherly love.  It was equal parts spiritual, fun, sweet and sublime.  From the moment they took the stage, until the moment they left it, the audience was completely involved, entranced and eating out of the palms of their very capable hands. They worked us.  They entertained us.  They moved us.  They owned us.

I would like to thank Ty Taylor, Nalle Colt, Richard Danielson, and Rick Barrio Dill for providing me, and the rest of the sold out crowd with such a fantastic gift of a night.  :)  In a world which is too often abundantly overflowing with the mundane and insincere, finding this much pure spirit flowing so effortlessly out of these four men thrilled me to no end.

This is what live music should be all about.  We should expect it to transform us and make us better.  In this case, I am so delighted to report that it did just that for me.

I must also take a moment to say how impressed I was with all of the fans I met.  Without exception, they bubbled over with genuine affection and enthusiasm for this band, and they welcomed me into the fold with warmth and love.

I left feeling as if I had just become part of a new family.  I had eagerly anticipated this show for a few months, and thought I knew what to expect, but every expectation I had was far exceeded.  Their music is still bouncing off my heart, and around my head.  I am happy to say that I think I have just scratched the surface of what is still to come for me with this band, as I continue to absorb and experience them more fully.  I am entirely willing.

Note-I stood next to Libby at The Troubadour, and after she posted this I immediately copied it and re-posted here.

The Floor is tonight!

Monday, Jan. 16
Carolina Cerisola & Sascha Escandon present:
One-of-a-kind jam with dancers & musicians of all styles
Doors 9:30pm $12 Cover

@ King-King Hollywood
6555 Hollywood blvd.
21 and over

The Floor Productions:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Heather watch : Freddy Smalls Is The Illest

Heather's gainfully employed but still slinging hash for the masses at this new spot called Freddy Smalls (the sign just says Freddy's). Miss Heather had left a fuzzy black garment in my car and needing to get it back to her, I dropped on by.

I shall definitely return to try the pig ear & fried egg sandwich or the Belgian waffles. Also - brussel sprouts are currently the "in" vegetables. Beets were real big for the longest time, but brussel sprouts seem to be finding their way on to more and more menus.  Freddy's serves 'em fried.

Also on the "late night" menu, "Castelvetrano" olives dusted with wild fennel pollen and satsuma mandarin, a tiny paper bag filled with spiced BBQ cashews with chewy candied bacon, deviled eggs stuffed with bleu cheese and a shard of chicken skin and bacon gourgere with aged jack.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Toledo Show : Semi-Precious Weapons

This past Sunday's Toledo Show, Dame Molly's friends Semi-Precious Weapons were in the house!! The band has toured extensively with Lady Gaga - Molly D'amour is one of Gaga's dancers.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Vintage Trouble : BANG!!
Gene SImmons Shoots Me
Shooting Vintage Trouble
(at the Troubadour)

An exciting night at The Troubadour.
Vintage Trouble making me feel like the rock-loving fanboy I was as a teen.
Yup, I'm down front, by Nalle with Countre Black to my left!!
Gene Simmons' photo We headed off to see Vintage Trouble at the Troubador. Managed by Doc and Danny Francis, the band rocked the house. Check em out.
Paul, Tommy and Eric were also there.

Photo courtesy of Gene Simmons.

We headed off to see Vintage Trouble at the Troubador. Managed by Doc and Danny Francis, the band rocked the house. Check em out. Paul, Tommy and Eric were also there.
-[Gene Simmons on WhoSay]

Gene's relationship with VT, in part stems from the mutual management of KISS and VT by legend Doc McGhee. Gene has been known in the past to frequent Sundays at the W Hotel, where Vintage Trouble friend/fam Brenna Whitaker performs her sultry one-of-a-kind lounge act. Gene is a bonefied fan, and his son Nick has even sat in with the band on occasion. Brenna was asked to perform at Gene and longtime baby mama Shannon Tweed's Beverly Hill Hotel wedding reception, where VT guitarist Nalle Colt performed with her in front of the KISS bassist and a room full of his rock n roll friends.

(Also at the Troubadour, Troublemakers Countre Black, Benjamin Caron, Alexander Burke, Mela Lee, Jo McMullen, Catherine Petretti, Tawny Dolley, Anjali Bhimani, Derek Ferguson, Gina Pita, Debbi Anne, Lori Forbes, Grace Clements, Jason Paige, Rob, Libby Sokolowski, Sadar, Sean and Ne$to!! In absentia - Brenna Whitaker, Anna Kondo and Jennifer Sweet!!)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Music Is My Life : Top Ten of 2011

One of the criteria I have established when listening to albums for the first time, is "Is it funky?" and "Is it funky enough?".

I can't help it, those are the rhythms that move me the most. A head-bobbing groove can take me away for the duration of the record. (That's why samples are good; they take the funkiest part and loop it over and over again. A group like Breakestra understands this - and they are amazing because of it.)

I looked at some other music lists - specifically SpinRolling Stone, Billboard,  Pitchfork and NME to see what they championed and what they dissed - make sure I didn't miss anything *too* obvious or important; there's so much diversity amid the morasses of sub-cultures and genres in music these days that it's not possible to hear everything, like it once was. 

I try. 
I really do, but I've had to employ the funk threshold more often than not these days. It has to be somewhere WAY above a baseline for me to truly enjoy it, but I'm completely open-minded to what others are listening to and enjoying. Ergo, this list is going to be the list I made before doing this research. I wanted to see how "in" or "out" of touch I am. 

1. Vintage Trouble - The Bomb Shelter Sessions (UK Version)
This collection of songs by VT made my top ten list last year, but they re-released it in the UK with bonus cuts and new packaging (and on vinyl), and this record is one of my favorites and has become the soundtrack to my life. Get it if you can find it - it's not even available on iTunes right now. What's up with that? I guess they're preparing a proper first release. (note: it is available on Amazon and through the band's website). See video below of VT at The Troubadour in L.A. from Jan 5 2012.

2. Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie XX - We're New Here
The passing of my hero, Mr GSH was a harsh conclusion to his life; one filled with drug abuse and prison stints and finally HIV. But the great part is that he touched me so deeply, and I have done my best to pass it on. There will never be another  Gil Scott-Heron. This "remix" album is an "other-worldly" ambient post-script to his last - his most jagged - release and - I guess - his life. Rest In Peace Gil.

3. Lenny Kravitz - Black & White America  
The funk factor is very high here, and I love when Lenny gets it right! It's a solid gold collection with great songs, deep tracks and a lot of genuine inspiration. The keyboard solo in "Looking Back On Love" is an unexpected treat, like the 2nd half of "Layla".
4. Bryan Ferry - Olympia
Now THIS is baby-making music! For 66 years, Bry-Fy has been an absolute scoundrel with the ladies. Since his divorce in 2003, he's a re-make re-model of himself with his new 29-year-old bride, as he continues to be the the most restrained perpetrator of the funk. Funk, nevertheless, but highly restrained. Recently Bryan - (who - full disclosure - was one of my boyhood heroes) - has come out  as an artist - a visual artist - and he exhibited at the Michael Kohn gallery while on tour last summer. The upside down portraits of Kate Moss on his album cover being the most recent of his works.  

5. Brian Eno - The Drums Between The Bells
A collaboration between Eno and British poet Rick Holland. Not easy to listen to, and I don't totally recommend it, but the fact it exists at all landed it on this list. That said, there are some very cool tracks on here and I love the cover art.

6. R Kelly - Love Letter
His performances on all the major late night shows were literally breath-taking. What he brings to live is so much excitement, he's James Brown meets Elvis. He brought his darkness into the light, exposed himself, went on trial and was redeemed; and now he's been putting out records like there's no tomorrow. Maybe there isn't. 

7. Raphael Saadiq - Stone Rollin'
The funk factor is a very high here, and it's extra tasty as it's sweetened with authentic soul! Raphael always places, but this time, Raphael wins!!! (He even name checks Leon Ware!!)

8. Charles Bradley - No Time For Dreaming
Modern soul man lays it down thick as molasses with this one. 
Has to be heard to be understood. Heavy. 

9. Marvin Gaye - What's Going On (40th Anniversary Edition)
This could be his greatest hits album, but of course, it's not. His actual hits catalog is huge. WGO is a small but significant part of Marvin's output. It demonstrated his humanity and depth and it really showed who he was as an artist. Not just a playboy crooner or a Sinatra-wannabe, but a genuine artist, whose originality and talent and vision converged to create this masterpiece.

Everyone knows the song "What's Going On"; it's right up there with John Lennon's "Imagine" as the world's most humanistic songs of brotherly love. Sensitive and passionate, this album doesn't need outtakes and cutting room floor bits & pieces, but since I could listen to Marvin sing the alphabet and fall deep into it, the lost studio moments are real gems.

I took the bus in the rain to Ameoba on the day they released this to buy it. It has the original brilliant album in it's remastered state - allowing you to hear every nuance in the studio, adding depth and opacity to the experience. There's another alternate (Detroit) mix which has been previously released and a bunch of studio odds and sods, several of which I hadn't heard before. Right on? (It also comes with an actual vinyl record of the remastered album)

What's Going On was a protest album as much as any acoustic strumming folk singer's. Once i understood that, everything made sense. It continues to be an inspirational listen, when by today's standards that's truly an oxymoron.

10. Scritti Politti - Absolute
A sometime ridiculous secret pleasure, this hits (and others) compilation reminded me why I've been a devout follower of Green Gartside's since the early '80s, no matter what. Some post-punk, some slow soul, some funk, some new wave, some reggae, some hip-hop, guest appearances by Mos Def, Me'shell N'degeocello, Miles Davis(!) and a lyrical rulebook like no other is what this compilation has on it. Like Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles, it's all good, although not always necessarily good for you.

So that's it. 

Another year of listening to music, boiled down to these 10.  Other fave listens this year included Elbow, Afroskull, Nikki Grier, Roxy Music, The Raconteurs, Cee-Lo Green, Black Keys, Johnny Cash, The Toledo Show, old Motown & Stax sides, Leon Ware, The Pazant Brothers, Ethan Farmer ("Wine And Strings"), Ruslan Sirota, Hall & Oates, Genie Burlesque, Curtis Mayfield, Victor Orlando & Fun-Ja-La, David Bowie's "Young Americans" & "Station To Station", the first Paul McCartney solo album, John Lennon  ("Plastic Ono Band"), The Smiths/Morrissey catalogue, many MANY funk compilations from around the globe and lots of 90s hip-hop, 80s new wave, 70s classic rock and 60s soul. I continue to support local acts Vintage Trouble (obviously), The Club Bullies, Miss Willie Brown, Deploi, Johnny Ringo, Sarah Agajanian, Dezmond Meeks, House Of Vibe, Dessy DiLauro, Hilary Van Lier, Ultralove, Bash! and Magnolia Memoir and I am looking forward to full length releases from all of them in 2012.

If you have a few minutes check out this performance by my number one favorite band - Vintage Trouble. Shot at The Troubadour on Jan 5, 2012.