Mixtape Riot Menu

Murphy's Law

L.A.-based Murphy holds down the Left Coast regional office of Mixtape Riot--his living room--where he writes & schemes on grand ideas. He also hosts BOOGALOO! a weekly residency at The Short Stop in Echo Park with colleague and fellow superblogger O-Dub (www.soul-sides.com).


340 mL of Liquid Goodness

posted by

(comments are closed)

340 mL: Midnight, Running Away and Shotgun
Taken from a CD-R bootleg, as available on the mean streets of Maputo, Mozambique

It has been one of my great frustrations of the last 6+ months, to be in the midst of a continent so rich in music, and to be afflicted with such a severe shortage of both time and resources that I’ve hardly had any chance to seek that music out.

Especially in the last six weeks, based here in Maputo–a city with a very Havana-esque vitality and richness of musical heritage–I feel like a complete and total jerk for not having discovered a single slab of wax. Believe me, I’ve tried. Hunted down the old radio dj’s, investigated the cd shops, even stopped hip-looking strangers on the sidewalk and, in my busted-ass Portugese, tried to esplain what I’m looking for: Dish-cos? Dish-cos antiguos? Nothing. So, like an idiot, I start trying to pull off an impromptu charade to explain that I’m looking for vinyl. Still nothing.

I’ve been met with a lot of blank stares and even some hostility. (One guy seemed poised to call the cops. I ran.)

So, I give up… Almost.

I’ve had no luck with the vinyl, but I have been able to tap into some other great stuff which I will hopefully be able to share with y’all over the course of the next little while. The club music here is pretty dope. Plenty of different styles from more straight forward hip hop, to reggaton sounding joints, to the lazily tropical marabenta, which kind of reminds me of a more bangin’ version of Cesaria Evora. Then, of course, there’s this. 340 mL.

This is a local quartet–now based in Johannesburg–blessed with a multilingual facility and some mean reggae chops. I heard the “Midnight” joint out at a club one night and have been bumping ever since (kind of reminds me of the “Midnight Marauders” joint from Michael Reinboth a couple years back). The super pared-down version of Bob Marley’s “Running Away” is another winner. And the instrumental late-blooming double-time fire-starter, “Shotgun” might just work for a discerning dancefloor.

Check out 340’s MySpace page here. Show love, show support, tell ’em to keep doing the do. And if you can, see if they know where to find records in this crazy town.


DJ ha fe play de…

posted by

(comments are closed)


Blackstreet: No Diggity (J-Star Remix)
Taken from the whitelabel 12″ (200?)

John Legend: I Used To Love You (Superior Remix)
Taken from the whitelabel 7″ (200?)

Angie Stone: Wish I Didn’t Miss You (Nuffwish Remix)
Taken from the whitelabel 12″ (200?)

Whoa. Sorry for the delay.While the Captain is off exploring Bavarian Europe with his lady friend, and I’m marooned in southern Africa, our blogging duties have been neglected…

So feast your ears on these joints. The first two have been DJ staples for the last couple years (nothing like a cross-over reggae interlude), the third is a recent favorite for a more contemplative, solitary listen.

J-Star has been in the game for a minute, riding some HOT to death remixes and original beatmaking to make the world a better place. The Superior rhythm from a few years back pretty much slayed the mid-tempo reggae circuit. And Gottdamn! Angie Stone is killin’ the game! What is this riddim?! Sparse, haunting, straight nasty. Check out the whole Nuffwish whitelabel series… if you can find ’em. Shit’s rare as hen’s teeth.

Nothing revolutionary here, but good, tight remixes of some top notch jams. Short, sweet, to the point. For once. Peace.


Spread The Love

posted by

(comments are closed)


Michael Orr: Spread Love and You Opened My Eyes To The World
Taken from the album Spread Love on Sunstar(1976)

Some seek that elusive sample from an old De La Soul record. Others crave the glossy black gold that is a fresh slab of M- (that’s mint minus for you non-Ebayers) wax… Sometimes though, an album cover is enough. As to whether or not an album cover alone warrants dropping serious cheddar–well, that’s another question entirely… And one I failed to ask myself prior to bidding waaaay too much money on a record I had never even heard of. But such is the lure of a hand-drawn genie.

Fortunately for me two things happened shortly after I received ye olde Irish “Item Won!” notice:

1) I hate to admit this (don’t $%@# with my feedback!), but I managed to fabricate an extremely bogus excuse to get me off the hook with the seller: I told him my kid sister hacked my Ebay account and bid on the precious disc without my knowing it. Heinous, I know. But he believed me and let me back out. Whew.

2) By the grace of curiosity, diligence and Emusic (who woulda guessed!) I managed to track down the source material, which, I believe, does no small justice to the transcendent cover art.

Spread love, indeed. Nothing says it like a mustachioed genie chillin’ on a cloud with a pot of gold. Nothing that is, except the stone cold croon of Michael Orr lacing a blistering synthed-out mid-seventies jazzfunk instrumental with lyrics that would leave Erykah Badu feeling spiritually vacant. Orr is like a cross between Gil Scott Heron, Andy Bey, and Dwight Trible. A highly polished effort by a serious contender for the next Dalai Lama. Damn! Spreading love like a mother.

PS. The album gets production credit from Carey Harris, who is my new hero, and about whom I know little to nothing. If you’ve got any clues… Holla!


The Heartbroken Bettyes

posted by

(comments are closed)


Bettye Swann: (My Heart Is) Closed For the Season
Taken from the 7″ on Capitol (1968)
Bettye Crutcher: So Lonely Without You
Taken from the album As Long As You Love Me on Enterprise (1974)
Bettye LaVette: Let Me Down Easy
Taken from the 7″ on Sundazed (196?)

Hitting y’all today with a few of the all-star classics of the tear-jerker variety. It’s a bit risky stepping out on a limb like this, offering out my Achilles heels for public display (I am an absolute sucker for these songs), but I figure there’s something to be said for a commonality in suffering, and if ever there were a trio of artists (with commonality in appelation, if nothing else) and a trio songs worthy of exposition, these are they. I swear, I feel the rueful pulse of my very soul in these tracks. So here they are, a few of my most painfully treasured gems from the Vaults of Heartache… Collectively these songs have ushered me through more than a couple of break-ups, lachrymal nights, and solitary days.

Be brave friends. Embrace your sadness. And forge on!

Oh. And cheers to the best 3 Bettye’s ev-ar.


Beware the Swarm!

posted by

(comments are closed)


The Bees (aka. Band Of Bees): Got To Let Go, Listening Man and Stand
Taken from the album Octopus on Astralwerks (2007)

Owing to the distance separating me from my records, I’m going to have delve into my Itunes library if I’m to stay at all current with my blogging duties. Which is nice because it may force me to present a more current selection of releases (believe it or not, I do listen to albums recorded after 1974.)

Take this Bees’record for example. So what if it sounds like it could be as old as the last good Kinks album. It’s new! And it psychy and funky and about a hundred other things… and it’s hot to death.

My boy Dave Greene (psyche-guru, fellow record geek, and indie label CEO) turned me on to these cats and, after hearing “Listening Man” that first go-round (and the subsequent 300 go-rounds), I was sold. (I swear that first phrase sounds just like Sam Cooke.)

And seriously, who can resist? Which is kind of the point…

It is after all a pop record, and meant for general consumption. But it’s throwback pop, and a special kind of that: “Octopus” manages to avoid the pitfalls of being a strictly throwback record, mainly in that it kind of defies any one particular category to throw back to. The psych and R&B influences are for sure (crusty break drums? horns a la Mussel Shoals?). But I also hear Fela on “Gotta Hold On”, Lee Perry on “Left Foot Stepdown”, and other tracks infused with a bluesy Rolling Stones-type flavor. Poppy hooks, even country twang: these tracks run the whole gamut.

I like pumping up a record like this because The Bees are filling a much needed void in the new music scene, reminding us how broad is the scope of excellent music, how rich a spectrum of style and genre we have to borrow from, and, when it’s done right, how well it can all be pieced together.


No Sweeter Sound

posted by

(comments are closed)


The Natural Four: Why Should We Stop Now, I Thought You Were Mine and Going In Circles
Taken from the album Good Vibes on ABC (1970)

Aah. Back in the blogosphere. It’s almost like coming home… Almost.

But being that I’m still in Mama Afreaka for another four and a bit months (zoinks), I finally decided to bite the bullet and start posting in absentia. With a little help from the worldwide web (emphasis on worldwide), an old friend named Ebay, and my dear brother–known to most as the good Captain–I should be able to lace y’all with the more-than-occasional assault of blazing fire. Which brings me to today…

I’ve been trying for almost a year to get my hands on this album, the first and only LP recorded by the seminal line-up of the Natural Four, before their reconstitution and move to Curtom. The year is 1970 and these are the glory days for N.F. They had a charted hit (“Why Should We Stop Now”), a killer lead tenor in Chris James and a group dymanic rich in harmony and orchestration. But beyond the first couple singles, the album flopped, and none of their future efforts (even with Leroy Hutson at the helm) could capture the start-to-finish glory of this first record. This is a truly wonderful soul album.

And the fact that I am now only able to appreciate it via digital proxy (African internet+Ebay dorking+shipping to the Captain’s Brooklyn digs=this post) makes it a bit of a tease. I mean, how much do you want to hold that turn-of-the-decade album art it your hands? How bad do you want to hear the needle drop on its Near Minty waxen surface? Watch the needle head undulate over the subtle imperfections waiting for that first rumble of a bass drum… Horns! Bass! Strings! PIANO!

Appreciation is the name of the game, friends. This is sweet sticky soul at its best. Live and direct from Africa.