Friday, June 29, 2007

Mocean Worker- swingin' beats

It's not like Mocean Worker thought up the idea of resurrecting big band swing to modern hip-hop beats- Boogie Down Productions did it (toasting Sidney Bechet) and so did Jurassic 5 ("Swing Set" on 2000's Quality Control) and hundreds of others I can't think of right now. But Gothamite MW (aka Adam Dorn) does it with such panache and soul, especially on his fifth album, Cinco De Mowo! (hear some of it on his MySpace page). His special guests include not only a virtual appearance by Rashaan Roland Kirk but also live in-person spots by Herb Alpert and Marcus Miller. MW's Les McCann and Nuyorican tributes are also joyful fun. Hopefully, his cross-style experiments will not only interest rap fans into old-school jazz but also do the opposite too and get some jazzbos interested in hip-hop. I mean, Guru's shown that connection's been there for years and as ill-advised as it sounded, Miles was on the tip at the end too.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tinsley Ellis- broodin' and scorchin'

It's not just that Tinsley Ellis knows how to pose with a custom Les Paul guitar or stars like Stevie Ray Vaughn, John Lee Hooker and ZZ Top much less record for Alligator Records- when it comes to bluesmen, this Hot-lanta native has been proving that he's the real thing on his own albums since the late '80's. His latest one, Moment Of Truth, is a brooding scorcher. I kinda wish he has a little more fun in him but between his raw playing, singing and tunes, it's not worth quibbling about. Also gives you the impression that he would be great to catch live too and since he's touring now, you might want to do yourself a favor and see 'em. Sorry if this sounds like a press release (I swear that I'm not being paid off) but I do like his new album a lot. To hear some of it, check out the Alligator Records website or Ellis' MySpace page.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Barbara Manning- cuts like a knife

Once upon a time (aka the 90's), Barbara Manning was poised to be the toast of the indie rock world, having made not just the right connections but also gotten there with beautifully memorable songs. I interviewed her 10 years ago for PSF and found her to be a very sweet person too.

Nowadays, she's experiencing mid-life crises, having mostly given up on releases or shows, instead pursuing a degree in science: a fine SF Gate article details her history.

Luckily, her old friend Pat Thomas didn't forget about her. Not only did he help release some of her early records back in the day but now he's re-assembled that fine work into a box set called Super Scissors, which includes Lately I Keep Scissors and One Perfect Green Blanket (which were previously paired on CD but are now long out-of-print) plus out-takes. Along with a dazzling array of cover songs, Manning provides her own striking originals (including the wonderful title tracks from each of the original albums). It's a limited edition so don't miss out on it this time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Richard Hell movie

Wondering what NYC punk legend Richard Hell's been up to? Other than writing, he's also working on a film, a clip of which you can see above. For more info about Hell, see his official website.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Just a quick note on a very keen London trio called Rosemary. They're very British, from their punk Brit-pop music to heavy Brit accents. Very enjoyable stuff indeed. If you don't believe me, sample some of their fare at their MySpace page (especially love "40-40" and Suburban Kings"). They've only got a scant 7" and 3-song demo out now so here's hoping an equally impressive album will follow. Oh but guys... you need to get a press agent. A little biographical mystery's good (just ask the Residents) but if you're gonna show your faces, you might as well fill in some details.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Young Marble Giants return

The wonderful, hypnotic, charming trio Young Marble Giants has just done their second reunion gig a few days ago in the UK (the clip above is an excerpt). There's also more photos and press coverage at the YMG website. Even better, they're slowly working on their long-awaited second album some 27 years after their first (and only) one. Contact them and cheer them along!