Tag Archives: music

* Poptastic Invasion *

I’m not proud.  For the last week or so, I’ve immersed myself in a world of pop.  No jazz, no yoga tunes, no hip hop.  Just straight up, main stream, radio friendly ear candy.  Here are the gems I’ve been singing to – when no one’s looking, of course…

A livelier version of the original Rhianna ditty, “Stay” … best heard with the bass in full effect

Heart wrenching … and so bloody sweet.

More tunes from the morning drive.  Catchy.  Cute.  Is she seriously sixteen??

Showing my age a bit.  You know when you move back home and all the old school tracks start popping up?

Heard this ‘lil gem at a volleyball game the other day.  Oh my…

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Celebrate Brooklyn!

Fabulous free music?  Surrounded by trees and big open sky?  Just two blocks from my house, you say?  Now *that* is a sweet way to bring in the summer (and say goodbye to New York)!

Celebrate Brooklyn! is one of New York City’s longest running, free, outdoor performing arts festivals. Launched in 1979 as a catalyst for a Brooklyn performing arts scene and to bring people back into Prospect Park after years of neglect, Celebrate Brooklyn! was an early anchor in the park’s revitalization and has become one of the city’s foremost summer cultural attractions. Over its history, the Festival has presented over 2,000 artists and ensembles reflective of the borough’s diversity, ranging from internationally acclaimed performers to emerging, cutting-edge artists. All Celebrate Brooklyn! performances are free! The festival attracts upwards of 250,000 attendees from across New York City to the Prospect Park Bandshell each summer. Friends of Celebrate Brooklyn! membership benefits include express entry, reserved seating, pre-concert receptions and more. (from the official site)

Last Friday I hit up an Irish band at the Prospect Park Bandshell with two good friends and a few cold brewskies – a jovial recipe indeed.  And though I did not join my audience brethren in their adorable American homage to the Riverdance, we did bust a move for the band’s final encore, a rockin’ rendition of an old folk classic, featuring a violinist who would have no trouble sharing a stage with the likes of AC/DC.

Calexico, Mavis Staples, Wynton Marsalis, Blackalicious, and Cody Chestnutt have already played this year, all for the suggested donation price of $3.  There are still quite a few more performances to go, so hit it up while there’s still time!  (I can’t believe I’m missing Jamie Lidell and Beck!)

 

Robert Plant

Benefit Concert: Robert Plant presents The Sensational Space Shifters

July 27, 2013 · 7:00 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

$80 Reserved / $50 GA

Barenaked Ladies

Benefit Concert: Barenaked Ladies/Ben Folds Five/Guster

July 30, 2013 · 6:30 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

$55 Reserved / $49.50 GA lawn

Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal

Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal

August 1, 2013 · 8:00 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

Free/$3 (suggested)

Jamie Lidell

Jamie Lidell / Dan Deacon / The Stepkids

August 2, 2013 · 7:30 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

Free/$3 (suggested)

Eddie Palmieri

Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra / Banda Magda

August 3, 2013 · 7:30 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

Free/$3 (suggested)

Beck

Beck Benefit Concert at Celebrate Brooklyn!

August 4, 2013 · 7:00 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

SOLD OUT

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Live score to BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD by Dan Romer, Benh Zeitlin, & The Wordless Music Orchestra / Slavic Soul Party

August 8, 2013 · 8:00 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

Free/$3 (suggested)

Shaggy

Shaggy / TK Wonder

August 9, 2013 · 7:30 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

Free/$3 (suggested)

They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants / Moon Hooch

August 10, 2013 · 7:30 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

Free/$3 (suggested)

Gettin’ Down with Motown

There is nothing like grooving to the sweet tunes of Motown on a sunny afternoon.  Raw talent, sweet symphonic spaciousness, funky beats bringing it all together – and so many of those chart topping tracks were partially improvised.  If you’re at all interested in some back story action, check out Standing in the Shadows Of Motown, an amazing documentary on the remaining musicians from the golden era.

 

Pure class . . .

 

Puttin’ MTV to shame . . .

 

*Sigh*

 

motowncovers

 

Motown: The Musical, something I’d like to catch before leaving NYC 🙂

 

A brief Motown history from TIME:

Above the front windows of Motown Records’ Detroit headquarters was a sign that read “Hitsville U.S.A.” Placed there by Motown founder Berry Gordy soon after his company moved into the modest home at 2648 W. Grand Blvd, the sign demonstrated Gordy’s blazing — and at the time, unearned — arrogance. Then the slogan came true.

Founded on Jan. 12, 1959, Motown quickly became another Detroit factory; where the Big Three produced automobiles, Motown assembled the soul and pop classics that changed America. There’s no hyperbole in that statement. Arriving at the height of the civil rights movement, Motown was a black-owned, black-centered business that gave white America something they just could not get enough of — joyous, sad, romantic, mad, groovin’, movin’ music. (See an audio slideshow of five of Motown’s best tunes.)

A former boxer and automobile worker, Berry Gordy was a nascent songwriter when, at the urging of Smokey Robinson, a songwriter ten years younger than Gordy, he decided to establish Motown Records. The two had become friends years earlier and Robinson, who was the lead singer of a band called The Miracles, produced, wrote, and sang several of Motown’s most memorable hits — including the labels’ first smash song, “Shop Around” in 1960. A year later, “Please Mr. Postman,” by The Marvelettes, was the label’s first No. 1 song. It would not be the last.

Over the next decade, the sheer number of chart-topping artists, musicians, and groups produced by Motown defied comprehension: Martha and the Vandellas, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye. All became part of what would come to be known as the Motown Sound. It is rumored that Gordy modeled his hit factory after the Detroit car assembly line that he knew so well: Make a good product, then make something similar, and make it quick. Over here were the songwriters — Robinson and the team of Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Brian Holland (Holland-Dozier, Holland, or H-D-H). Over there was the talent — Stevie Wonder, whom the label discovered when he was 11; Marvin Gaye, who wanted so much to be a jazz crooner before he came into his own in the late 60’s; and, above all, Diana Ross, whom the label put its stake in early on, and who was told so many times that she was a star that she drove off one of the Supremes before quitting to launch a solo career. In a neglected corner were the session musicians the Funk Brothers, who played on God knows how many hit songs. Let’s just say a lot.

So what was the Motown Sound? Great melodies, lots of tambourines and hand clapping, blaring horns, interplay between the lead singer and his or her backup vocalists, driving bass lines and foot-slapping drum parts. In his still essential Motown history Where Did Our Love Go? Nelson George writes, “Motown chief engineer Mike McClain built a miniscule, tinny-sounding radio designed to approximate the sound of a car radio. The high-end bias of Motown’s recordings can be partially traced to the company’s reliance on this piece of equipment.” They knew people would be listening on their car stereos and on their transistor sets and they were going to do what it took to make their songs sound good and memorable. Even if you couldn’t put your finger on it, when a Motown song came on, you knew it.

Throughout the Sixties, Motown produced a catalog of songs that cannot be rivaled. “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me,” “Heat Wave,” “Dancing in the Street,” “Tracks of My Tears,” “Where Did Our Love Go,” “My Guy,” “My Girl,” “Baby Love,” “Reach Out, I’ll Be There,” “I Can’t Help Myself,” “Get Ready,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” and so on. They were simple love songs that told simple stories, often in joyously happy or heartbreakingly sad ways. And all the while Motown was the pride of Detroit and the pride of black America (though Gordy tried, with his usual bluster, to make it the “Sound of Young America,” a label he began to stamp on all of the company’s vinyl).

Around the time of the ’67 Detroit riots, however, things changed, as they eventually had to. Gordy looked west, towards Los Angeles (how could such a large entertainment company as his not be involved in movies and television?). Dissatisfied with the increasing disconnect between the success of their work and the level of their pay, Holland-Dozier-Holland broke off from Motown. And while the Jackson 5 was on the rise, most of the rock-steady Motown acts of the early ’60s were on the wane. In 1971, though, the label released what is arguably its grandest artistic statement, something not at all of a piece with its previous, poppy output. Marvin Gaye put out What’s Going On, a thoughtful, socially conscious album whose title track Gordy famously called the worst song he had ever heard. A year later, Motown deserted Detroit for L.A. and Stevie Wonder turned 21, thereby taking creative control of his music. Within four years he had released Talking BookInnervisions, and Songs in the Key of Life.

It was arguably the last great burst of Motown creativity. Gordy, distracted by Hollywood, released two films starring Diana Ross — Mahogany and the Billie Holiday biopic Lady Sings the Blues. The 80s brought Rick James and Lionel Richie and The Big Chill — a white, yuppie film with an amazing Motown soundtrack (“Aint Too Proud To Beg” was reduced to dishwashing music). By 1988, Gordy had had enough; he sold the company to MCA, which in turn sold it to Polygram, which in turn was bought by Universal. Really, though, who cares who owns it now? Just pop on one of those numerous greatest hits albums in your collection (or, ok, fine, The Big Chill soundtrack) and recall the glory of Motown. The music doesn’t sound fifty years old at all.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1870975,00.html#ixzz2S60j6nE7

Songs of the Week

Today I’m all kindsa grateful for music that’s spoken to me this week – some of these songs seem to be mirroring my internal monologue.  Some of them are just plain groovy 😉

We must get closer to the essence of life, but beware that it takes courage and strife. Expand your mind, don’t let it wither and die. You’ll find that it lifts your spirits high to the sky. So meditate. Come on, let’s contemplate . . .

Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me around
I feel numb, burn with a weak heart
Guess I must be having fun

The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground, head in the sky
It’s okay, I know nothing’s wrong, nothing

I got plenty of time
You got light in your eyes
And you’re standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
Never for money, always for love
Cover up and say goodnight, say goodnight

Home, is where I want to be
But I guess I’m already there
I come home, she lifted up her wings
I guess that this must be the place

I can’t tell one from the other
I find you, or you find me?
There was a time before we were born
If someone asks, this is where I’ll be, where I’ll be

We drift in and out
Sing into my mouth
Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view

I’m just an animal looking for a home
And share the same space for a minute or two
And you love me till my heart stops
Love me till I’m dead

Eyes that light up
Eyes look through you
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head

 

 

 

 

Three Days of Thanks

Wednesday’s Gratitude Goodie: Cheap Chinese Massage Spots

Chinese Massage parlors are hit or miss, but “Peter” at the shop down the road from me is a definite HIT.  I told him I injured my shoulder this morning and he set everything back in place with just the right touch.  Kinda dangerous having a good massage spot just a block away . . . 

Read more about Tui Na’s history from Acupuncture.com

Thankfulness Thursday: Now that I’ve been accepted to CUNY’s Journalism program, I’m checking out a few classes as a kind of appetizer.  I had the opportunity to sit in on a Feature Writing class with Fred Kaufman, an Associate Professor at the school.  It was engaging and informative – so much so I’m bummed I’ll be missing the next class, when they review Kaufman’s article, Debbie Does Salad.

Free Gig Friday!  Heading over to BAMCafe to check out soul songstress Emily King.  Any favorite of Gilles Peterson’s is worth a twirl in my book.

A Madlib Kinda Morning

Thankyou, Madlib.  For bringing sweet sonic bliss – through my eardrums, straight to my soul, for the last 14 years.  Consistency in dopeness is rare and much appreciated this chill rainy morning.

Signed to a true gateway to goodness, Stonesthrow Records, the man known as Madlib, Quasimoto and Yesterday’s New Quintet, also produced genius with MF Doom and JDilla (RIP)  under the mutant superhero names, Madvillian and Jaylib.  Every single release is worth a spin . . . or twenty.

Madlib is currently on tour in Japan, and giving away bricks of beautiful tunage in the form of 13-CD sets at random train stations around the country (say whaaaat?).  Now, if only he’ll get out to New York this year …

A recent release:

From the 2000 release as Quasimoto

As Yesterday’s New Quintet

Heavy beats, light entertainment (a Jaylib creation)

The dirty Doom drops his classic vocal roughness … and an accordion.

Memories from Mix Tapes

Ahhhhh… going through all my boxes at my Gramma’s house a few weeks ago, I happened across a bunch of old mix tapes.  Some from old boyfriends, some from my high school girl gang, some from DJ friends around the globe.

I feel mad lucky to have these remnants of pre-MP3 days – and even more lucky to have this feeling in my heart right now, listening to a few of the tracks.  Man, I’m a softie!

Get ready to slow dance!

It’s like I’m 15 years old and I was just given a bottle full of rain water someone collected for me ….

The first song played on 93.9 (?) The Rock You Live On – which really did turn my world upside down.

Or cruisin’ round Honolulu, lookin’ for some Goodwill threads . . .

(listening to this album on repeat…)

High school social armor!

Ridiculously bubbly, the perfect medicine for the hormonal angsty teenie days.

Hurricane popcorn and awesome movies!

Ah Tribe … they just don’t make ’em like you anymore!  I suddenly feel like watching Kung Fu movies for some reason…

And the darkness sets in (despite the glow sticks ;o))