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Captain’s Crate

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Here’s To Tomorrow!

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Kraak & Smaak :       Ain't Gonna Take It No More &       Squeeze Me
taken from the album Plastic People on Jalapeno (2008)

The Hot 8 Brass Band :       Get Up (Diesler Remix)
taken from the album The Hot 8 Brass Band Remixed on TruThoughts (2008)

Aether :       Orfeu Negro
taken from the album Artifacts on Exponential (2008)

Nujabes :       A Day By Atmosphere Supreme &       The Final View
taken from the album Metaphorical Music (2003)

I’ve never felt like such a patriot- and I’m from New England! It’s hard not to be excited about this latest twist in American history. Recognizing the importance of today, just taking a second to process that this moment is one that will be written about, that we can proudly remember to our grandkids, has me feeling kinda tingly. I don’t need to get too cheesy and gushy, but I ain’t afraid to admit that I had tears in my eyes on Tuesday. Newly imbued with pride in today and hope for tomorrow, I’m sharing some new music- funky house to keep us moving and mellowed out headnodders for contemplative train rides.

On Saturday I rocked a show with my group The Beatards opening for Kraak & Smaak and I was reminded just how funky these Dutchmen are! The stage show included a psychedelic LCD light extravaganza, a Moog keytar, soulful vocalists and lots of jumping from the crowd. When they started chanting “I’m mad as hell and I ain’t gonna take it no more!” people were getting particularly rowdy. We’d be happy to open for them anytime! And yeah, I guess I forgot to mention here in the Crate, but it was the release party for our brand new Big Bad Beat EP – which really should get its own post. NEVER enough time!

Moving on… a crowd riling, call to hand clapping produced by the U.K.’s Diesler. I’ve seen The Hot 8 do their thing (yes, the same NOLA horn troupe known for their classic version of “Sexual Healing”), and I thing this track definitely captures the live energy while giving it that little extra boost that helps build necessary anticipation on the dancefloor. I think on the bigger scale too, IT’S ABOUT TO GO DOWN!

I was real pleased by this new album from producer/graphic designer Aether, who I was completely unfamiliar with. Fans of Flying Lotus and other abstract downtempo sounds should check for this one. A moody remake of a song I recognize from the Babel soundtrack also stands out to me as being perfect journal writing ambiance.

These jazzy beats from Japanese beatmaker Nujabes aren’t quite as new, but they’re new to me and they’ve been sounding quite appropriate for Autumn in the city- Cali heads, I’m sorry, you just won’t get it. Also, hearing a simple remix of Yusef Lateef’s “Love Theme from Spartacus” (“The Final View”) gets a big 2 thumbs up from me. This was the record I always used to listen to lying in bed with my first girlfriend ever in the fall of ’98! I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since then. Sixteen doesn’t seem so far away listening to this now, and why be nostalgic when today is looking so good?

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NEW DAY

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DANCING IN THE STREETS TIL 4AM.
BROOKLYN ON FIRE.
HAPPY DAY FOR THE USA!
POST LATER.

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Reagan Babies Be Proud!

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talkingheads-remain.jpg more-songs-buildings3.jpg crhidva76453.jpg

Talking Heads: Crosseyed And Painless and Born Under Punches
Taken from the album Remain In Light on Sire (1980)

And: I’m Not In Love
Taken from the album More Songs About Buildings And Food on Sire (1978)

And… Girlfriend Is Better
Taken from the album Speaking In Tongues on Sire (1983)

As a man who was born into the ignominious era of Reaganomics and Alf (among other things), it is easy sometimes to forget that I was also birthed into a exciting transitional period in American music. That as punk and disco were crashing and by most accounts burning; that while much of radio-played pop music bordered on the unlistenable (don’t tell the revivalists–they might get upset); and even as many of the tried and true bastions of musical purity (see soul, see jazz) seemed to be pushing through uncomfortable growing pains… a unique climate was beginning to blossom. One that would allow the ushering in of some genuinely outsider music. The kind of explosive, subversive, bizarre and utterly enjoyable pop that probably would not have flown at all if the pervasive landscape had not been so barren.

I’m not going to embark on a whole hoo-rah New Wave rant here. Partly because, truth be told, I’m not a particularly ardent fan of the New Wave writ large… (Certain exceptions exist obviously; Blondie comes to mind.) I did however grow up listening to the Talking Heads (my dad was a fan and had a “Best Of” or two laying around) and though I largely took them for granted in my youth, I’ve been recently re-inspired by the how-shall-we-say “unique” vision that David Byrne & Co. realized with their music. Let’s put it this way: I just saw Stop Making Sense for my first time and, um, it was incredible.

(If you haven’t seen it, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Witness art. Byrne and director Jonathan Demme did it so proper they even got Pablo Ferro [Dr. Strangelove, anyone? Look him up.] to do the opening/closing credit font; I swear that’s only damn font I’ve ever seen that makes me want to weep for its beauty…)

But I digress… So I went online and downloaded every Talking Heads album from ’77 right on through and have since been slowly wading through this very impressive body of work, unearthing plenty of gems that were completely new to me and re-embracing a few of the ones that I had forgotten about…

The songs here are ones that stuck out as particularly innovative or amazing or, as in all of their cases, struck me as highly danceable. But again, these are just a small taste of a prolific and incredibly diverse body of work.

“Girlfriend” is the only one of them that I really remembered from childhood and still occasionally drop in DJ sets. The others were all pretty new to me. And boy oh boy. What treats. Listen to Brian Eno getting CRAZY afro-beaty on “Crosseyed”… And how ’bout the BLISTERING dance-punk of “I’m Not In Love”? LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture? Recycled goods.

Art of real character and depth should be discovered and re-discovered. Music this good might just require your own personal journey into the known and the unknown.

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DJS O-DUB & MURPHY’S LAW PRESENT: RITMO DEL CAMINO

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First of all, thanks to everyone who came out to the gig on Thursday night; we had a really great time – hope you did too.

Will (Murphy’s Law) and I collaborated on our first official Boogaloo[la] mix-CD, Ritmo Del Camino (rhythm of the road). The idea behind the mix was to capture what our gig sounds like. As such, there’s a mix of old and new tracks, a range of tempos and genres, but it’s all meant to get people a’movin’. I haven’t done a party mix in ages and hopefully, Ritmo will inspire me to go back to the lab to knock out another one of my own.

Here’s the tracklisting:

Chua Chua Boogaloo–El Gran Combo
Tumbando Coco– Los Tropicales
Karakatis–Jose Maria
Soupy–Maggie Thrett
If you can want–Smokey Robinson
100 Yard Dash–Raphael Saadiq
You’re Losing Me–Ann Sexton
Sayin’ It and Doin’ It–SugaSwing Session
Bomba–Hermanos Latinos
Belleza Espiritual–Orquesta Zodiac
Lupita–Perez Prado
Cookies–Brother Soul
Disco Function–Rare Function
Anikana-O–Kongas
No Nos Pararan–Charanga 76
Dilo Como Yo–Chico Mann
All I Do– Stevie Wonder (U-Tern remix)
I’m Your Pimp–The Skull Snaps
One Way Ticket–The Real Thing
Eso Se Baila Asi–Willie Colon
Donde–Bronx River Parkway
Baby–The Phenomenal Handclap band
Under The Street Lamps–Joe Bataan

Right now, we have copies available for digital purchase; we haven’t made a firm decision on how many physical copies we plan to sell but there will be CDs made at some point (beyond the ones that we gave out last Thursday) for those who prefer the physical object. The only caveat is that the final CD will be of the same sound quality as the download (256-rate MP3s).

By the way, if you didn’t get a copy last week, come back and holler at me or Will this week or next and we should still have copies.

If you want to download the full-res artwork, go here.

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Doin’ Their Own Thing

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Keziah Jones : Pimpin’ & My Kinda Girl
taken from the album Nigerian Wood on (2008)

Curumin : Compacto & Esperanca
taken from the album Japan Pop Show on Quannum (2008)

Bio Ritmo : Bionic Boogaloo & Dime Vida
taken from the album Bionico on (2008)

Femi Kuti : Tell Me
taken from the album Day By Day on Mercer Street (2008)

New music from artists I love who refuse to sound like they’re supposed to. Whether it’s inventing new genres like Keziah Jones’ Afrobeat-folk-soul, or giving up the big label and big studio production sound like Femi Kuti clearly did on this latest record, these guys are all going their own way.

Keziah is definitely one of my favorite artists around right now. There’s just nothing else out there that sounds like his music. Gorgeous layered harmonies, creative instrumentation (I thing I hear an Indian Tamboura and baritone clarinet on “Pimpin'”), and elvolving arrangements that always seem to travel someplace new by the end of the song. So what, if this record sounds a lot like his first one? The first one was brilliant!
I’m his number one fan. Nigerian Wood includes a second CD of songs that feature just Keziah and his guitar- almost like a really good demo tape.

Curumin come correct with a laid-back album of funky samba-hop. Minimal production and simple song writing give the record a classic old-school feel. The whole album is very listenable and makes for a great Sunday afternoon soundtrack. I do kinda wish that there was another danceable track on here somewhere- “Caixa Preta” brings a lil Baile Funk flavor, but I’m talking about some simple dancefloor samba.

Bio Ritmo have really stepped up their sound with this latest release. High energy all the way through, this CD is a certified party starter. I love hearing spacey, retro-sounding synths in the mix on salsa records! Why don’t more latin groups do this? It reminds me of a select few Latin records I have from the early 70’s when psychedelic, funk, and rock influences were all finding their way into Latin music (check Tipica 73’s “La Candela” for more of the good stuff).

And finally, a new album from Femi. Nothing dramatically new sounding on here, but his take on straightforward, minimally-produced Afrobeat is a treat in itself. Compared to other releases from Femi, this one comes closest to his fathers musical roots- thunderous horn section, churning organs, watery wah-wah and plenty of percolating percssion. 7 years after “Fight To Win”, it’s great to hear what Femi sounds like in the studio- especially in this somewhat stripped down setting.

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Brazilian Bombsquad

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Sabo & Zeb : Sanguebom ft. Andrea Monteiro
taken from the album Global Warmbeats on Irma (2008)

Sabo : Easy Star (Uptempo Mix)
taken from the 12″ available here on Sol Selectas

Trick Turner : Buddahcada
taken from the 12″ available here on Juxtaphone

Sugarloaf Gangsters : Ritmo Do Rouge
taken from the 12″ available here on Gamm

Bebel Gilberto : Aganju (Spiritual South Remix)
taken from the album Bebel Gilberto Remixed on 6 Degrees

Here’s a bag of dancefloor goodness inspired by the highly talented DJ/producer/all-around-nice-guy: Sabo. This man can be found DJ-ing regularly in NY (occaisionally he does Saturdays at Bembe where I still hold down Thursdays) and is often behind the counter at Turntable Lab giving good advice on what records to buy (I guess he just took over as store manager now, so go say hi). Last time I stopped in he introduced me to West Coast cool cat Trick Turner who was looking pleased with a stack of fresh vinyl in his hands which included my own Cleva Remix. Check his Sol Selectas website to try to keep up with all his gigs and records.

In addition to getting my mitts on the latest twelves from from both these guys, Sabo was generous enough to hook me up with a copy of his new full-length album (available in digital) produced with the funky Middle Eastern multi-instrumentalist Zeb. Global Warmbeats is a nice mix of dubby house and downtempo with plenty of touches from the Brazilian, Latin, and Disco sounds that can be heard in a Sabo set. Check “Rise Again” and “Devastating” for two other favorites of mine from the album.

Once I got in the samba/remix state of mind, I felt like sharing a few other staples I’ve been keeping in my crate for a while now. Sugarloaf Gangster’s are at the top of their game with “Ritmo Do Rouge”- a song that sounds big enough to bring a packed stadium into a dancing frenzy. Check their compilations on Murge Discos to hear where they find some of their inspiration (and samples).

Bebel is of course Brazilian royalty; being the daughter of Joao Gilberto who helped invent the Bossa Nova. This re-work from Spiritual South-who have been featured here before- is a time tested crowd pleaser.