All My Rowdy Friends

R.I.P. The King of Rock ‘N’ Soul by J. Emerson-Kramer
October 10, 2010, 6:23 pm
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Solomon Burke was a giant. His presence and his voice were on par with singers that achieved a level of fame that far surpassed his own, yet he still wrote some of the most influential songs of the soul generation.
Down in the Valley appeared on Redding’s 1965 album Otis Blue, and Everybody Needs Somebody to Love (written in 1964) was covered by Wilson Pickett and featured prominently in the movie the Blues Brothers.
Before entering the music business, Burke was a preacher and hosted a gospel radio show. While not on tour Burke owned and operated a funeral parlor in Los Angeles, a business he had learned from his uncle. In the 2000s Burke experienced a revival after recording the Grammy award-winning album for Fat Possum Records-produced by Joe Henry-entitled Don’t Give Up On Me. The album featured songs written by artists such as Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. He went on to record four more albums with a fifth album to now be released posthumously, including the acclaimed Nashville and Like a Fire.
My first introduction to Solomon Burke came from the song Cry to Me. This classic song is a bridge between early doowop and later R&B music. It features doowop backing vocals but Solomon Burke climbs far above that style with the raw emotion that is such a staple of his music. His voice always felt to me to combine a level of melancholy and optimism that has not been matched. It was more than just being a soul singer. Burke’s style combined a command of dynamics and tempo with a strong range and a smoky voice to create a unique and unparalleled power. He was an artist who masterfully found and inhabited the proverbial “pocket”. Not too fast, not too slow and neither too loud or too subdued. He made music that was just right.
Solomon Burke died today of natural causes en route to Amsterdam at the age of 70. He will be missed.
Enjoy a few of my favorite tracks and raise a glass to the one, the only, Solomon Burke.
Don’t Give Up On Me
10 None Of Us Are Free
Everybody Needs Somebody To Love
Cry to Me


Karen O is a little bit country and a whole lotta rock n roll by J. Emerson-Kramer
October 10, 2010, 9:06 am
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Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs fame is taking on the Jackass theme for the all new Jackass 3D, coming out October 15. She twangs it up a little bit and definitely kills this song. Check it.
Karen O. (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs) – “If You’re Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough” by Some Kind of Awesome


Weapons for War by J. Emerson-Kramer
October 9, 2010, 10:00 am
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So, A Lull are a sweet little outfit from the Windy City who are all set to release their first full-length Confetti. They have recently released the video for the first single Weapons for War and it is weird and compelling and kind of creepy. Its about two mansized animal things. IGIF definitely got the description right by calling them manbearpigs. Anyways, check out the video for yourself, see what you think.


Just to be a dick by ulyssesdestructo
October 8, 2010, 11:45 pm
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Duck Sauce started putting out tunes last year.  Their first single aNYway vey quickly made it to my top 25 most played tracks due largely to the really awesome video they made for it.  I’m trying to crap all over Jon’s discovery (love ya buddy), but add to the awesomeness that is Duck Sauce.  Check em out.


Bar-Bar-Barbara Streisand by J. Emerson-Kramer
October 7, 2010, 9:21 am
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Duck Sauce is a brand new collaboration between A-Trak and Armand Van Helden. This is their latest single and the video is great. If everything else they release is as good as this I know what I’m dancing to for the rest of the year.


Bronx River Parkway by ulyssesdestructo
September 16, 2010, 4:44 am
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I’ve been diggin this track so hard for the last week.  It’s pretty much been on repeat on any bike ride I’ve been on, both on the speakers and in the head phones.

From their myspace page:

Bronx River Parkway is a band based out of NY that was initially formed during an impromptu jam session at the Soul Fire studios in early 2002. Out of that jam session came their first single entitled “Quines Que Resolverlo” which was released later that year on the Latin Express imprint of Soul Fire Records.

In 2004, Pablo Rodriguez, of Candela Records, and visual artist, Rostarr, had the vision of melding the gritty style and aesthetic of Bronx River Parkway with the distinct musical vocabulary of traditional Puerto Rican music. The way to see this though was to team up NY’s, Bronx River Parkway, with a crew of legendary salsa musicians that make their home in San Juan. Some of the local musicians who contributed to the album have graced the stage with such legends as Roberta Roena, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Ray Baretto, and Tito Rodriguez to name a few. Sammy Ayala, one the many vocalists featured on the album, was an original member of Cortijo y su Combo. Fifty years ago, Sammy Ayala, along with Raphael Cortijo and Ismael Riviera, created a blended sound in salsa incorporating the native rhythms of Puerto Rico with the Caribbean sounds from Cuba, Dominican republic and the West Indies. They were one of Puerto Rico’s most successful musical groups, and one of Salsa’s most famous groups across Latin America.

In February of 2005, original members Leon Michels, Jeff Silverman, Quincy Bright, and Nick Movshon were flown to San Juan, PR for eight days. Housed in a 200-year-old, former ballet school that was once owned by Tego Calderon, BRP built a make-shift studio with carefully arranged bed mattresses and began recording what would eventually become the album, “San Sebastian 152”. What came of these recording sessions is a unique and inspired mix of the varying musical genres that have influenced both BRP and all the musicians involved. The American soul and R&B influences of BRP remain the basis while traditional bomba, salsa, and rumba shine through to create something completely fresh. This is the first full-length from Bronx River Parkway featuring the Candela Allstars.

Read more:

What up new millennium latin funk?

Happy almost friday.


Made In China Vol. 23 by ulyssesdestructo
September 13, 2010, 8:33 pm
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I’m working backwards through my Made In China series since I think #’s 16 or so up to the present haven’t been posted anywhere.  I made Vol 23 in the spring, and it consisted mostly of new music at the time (something I don’t usually do).  Early 2010 was a great time for new music with a lot of strong releases coming out from a lot of talented artists, both new and old.

Made In China Vol. 23

Vol 23 has new music (released in 2010) from the likes of The Black Keys, Dosh, Tame Impala, Gonjasufi, The White Stripes, Daedelus, Chemical Brothers, Stars, Here We Go Magic, & Freeway (prod. by Jake One).  It has newish/not old music (released in the last few years) from Kid Cudi, Sa-Ra Creative Partners, Flying Lotus, Bronx River Parkway, and a Beastie Boys remix.  It even has a couple of old jams from the Treme Brass Band and the Mgababa Queens.



Mind Funk by ulyssesdestructo
September 6, 2010, 1:44 am
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First listen to this:

FLying Lotus – Drips/Aunties Harp

Then listen to (at least some) of this:

J Dilla – Take Notice

Now, watch all of this (and prepare to have your mind blown):


Download the audio here

I gotta give the nod to Pitchfork for enlightening me to this amazing performance.


Celery Stick With Various Dips by ulyssesdestructo
September 4, 2010, 3:45 am
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I love this dude

Beautiful Food:

Happy Weekend.


Jay ElecRamadaan-Muhammad-Asalaamica by ulyssesdestructo
September 2, 2010, 9:59 pm
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I will be the first to admit that I’m not one to buy into hype.  As soon as a new buzzband takes off and every person, blog, & musichead tells me I NEED to hear it because it’s the real shit I will almost certainly pass on it.  Personally, I like to give the buzzbands a listen a few months after the hype has died down to give the music a real listen without the influence of all those other people raving about it.  I want the music to stand on it’s own and make me want to listen to it again.  I want the music to be worth listening to a year or more later.

The first time I had any experience with Jay Electronica was when I saw him open for Mos Def in summer ’09, and I have to say I was far from impressed.  The dude came on stage more or less shitfaced, could barely hold onto his flow, had the DJ cut the beat on nearly every song so (I’m quoting loosly here) “the audience can focus on the shit he spit”.  I say it was because he was too drunk to keep his rhymes up to tempo.  He sent his cell phone into the audience so people could put their twitter and myspace profiles in it so he could friend them (that was actually pretty hilarious).  I came away from his act thinking, “Who the fuck was that guy and why was he opening for Mos Def?”

Fast forward to spring ’10.  A friend of mine here in Beijing mentions this dude, who’s been hyped as the messiah of hip hop for about 2 years now, has yet to drop an album yet, but has a couple of singles & mixtapes out and support from the likes of Nas, Erykah Badu, Puff Diddly, and Mos Def to name a few.

“What did you say his name was again?” I asked my friend Josh.

Josh: “Jay Electronica.”

“Shit! I saw him open for Mos Def Last summer.  He sucked! I’ll have to give him another chance I guess.”

After I listened to his single ‘Exhibit C’, produced by Just Blaze, for the first time I probably played it on repeat for about another half hour at least.  It definitely helps that he has some great producers behind him, and this track has a beat that I couldn’t (still can’t) get out of my head.  But the dude has me convinced that he’s worth following for a number of reasons:

#1: His delivery is smooth and good on my ears (see: comparable to Nas)

#2: He isn’t rhyming about money & bitches.  He definitely likes to stroke his ego and is probably guilty of letting the hype go to his head some, but Exhibit C is a great example of him treating hip hop like the story telling poetry that it used to be.  He’s on the record as being nostalgiac for where his music came from and does a great job of emulating those that came before him (see: Wu Tang, Rakim, Tu Pac, Biggie, & of course Nas).

#3: He loves what he’s doing.  Dude’s from New Orleans and got fucked by Katrina.  He ended up homeless, moved around from city to city until he ended up in New York where he finally got his shit together, got serious about making music, and made a name for himself. Take note of his popularity and how he achieved it: Myspace, Twitter, Facebook, & Blogs.  You can download damn near all of his music off the internet for free from blogs he leaks it all to.  He’s obviously making some money, but it seems like he isn’t super concerned with signing to a label and cashing in on all the hype.  He’s cool with opening for Mos Def & Nas, hanging with Diddly, Erykah Badu, working with Just Blaze and writing some fucking good music.

Jay Electronica is apparently working on his debut release and is leaking some of the material.  His hard times post Katrina seem to have given him an appreciation for his fame and the opportunities he has with his music, something that you not only hear in his lyrics, but in the video coming out with his new material, much of which was filmed in Nepal, Dubai, and other spots in South Asia.  This is yet another reason I’m really starting to love this artist.  I’ve been a hip hop fan since I was a lower case g (a tyke, for those not down with the nomenclature), and I can’t remember an artist who’s gained this much popularity across so many sub-genres of hip hop who would rather shoot his videos channeling Malcolm X with a bunch of Saddhu’s in South Asia than in front of (or in the vicinity) of his dope new ride, entourage around him, Hype Williams styles, or at the very least in the neighborhood he grew up in.

I realize this post got a lot longer than I anticipated, but it’s mostly because, although I hate to admit it, I believe the hype.  If you like hip hop, poetry, or just good music in general, his is a dude worth listening to over and over again.

Get his Victory Mixtape here. It’s 26 tracks and a good comprehensive mix of his work.

Check the leak of the video introduction to his upcoming album titled “Dear Moleskine”

The last reason (of this post) that I love Jay Electronica: he made me reconsider hating on Diddy.  I guess that could be seen as a strike against him, but I’m ready to stop hatin.  Check a live video of Jay, Mos Def, & Diddy among others performing Exhibit C:

In his own words: “My light is brilliant.” Believe the hype.

Goodnight via Beijing.