Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Big Reveal


I sat down with Aaron Rhodes of Shuttlecock Music Magazine to discuss a few of my favorite things.

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I reviewed a concert by Blondie, Garbage and the duo of Exene Cervenka and John Doe on Tuesday. 

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I discussed Jake Wells and Mike Dillon on KCUR.

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My most recent weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star are here and here.

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Field Day Fest shook my confidence on Friday. Even though the event received plenty of advance publicity (including a glowing piece I wrote for Ink magazine and The Kansas City Star), the turnout was woeful. I often felt as if I was the only person in attendance who had actually paid the full $15 cover.

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I marked a personal milestone at Plastic Sax.

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Fresh Kid Ice of 2 Live Crew has died. I last saw him perform at the misguided Zombie Pub Crawl in 2014 in the former grocery space to the north of the Uptown Theater.

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The stunning visual component of Juanes’ Mis Planes Son Amarte isn't necessary to appreciate the immediately ingratiating pop album.

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Contemporary doom metal goes corporate on Pallbearer’s Heartless. RIYL: Boston, colorless vocals, Rush. Here’s ”Thorns”.

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George Colligan’s session with Linda Oh, Rudy Royston and Nicole Glover on More Powerful veers between cocktail jazz and skronk.

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Every member of my compound is down with Sudan Archives’ self-titled release on Stones Throw Records. That almost never happens. RIYL: Sampha, something for everyone, Amber Coffman.

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Pharoah Sanders plays on three tracks of bassist Charnett Moffett’s often wonderful Music From Our Soul. RIYL: Jamaaladeen Tacuma, electric jams, Victor Wooten.

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I dig Cody Jinks’ cover of Pink Floyd’s ”Wish You Were Here”.

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I’m charmed by Big Boi’s wildly erratic Boomiverse. RIYL: Outkast, sweating, UGK. Here’s ”In the South”.

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Sevyn Streeter’s startlingly lurid Girl Disrupted is RIYL Brandy, underdogs, Janet Jackson. Here’s ”Before I Do”.

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Based on the melodic pop sensibility of Tenere, I sense that Afous D’Afous is fully capable of taking the place of 311 on the American summer festival circuit. RIYL: Bombino, dancing, Tinariwen. (Tip via Big Steve.)

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Deep Cover


There’s a right way and a wrong way to make an album of cover songs.  Nikka Costa takes the proper approach on the stellar Nikka & Strings: Underneath and In Between.  The unconventional arrangements and unusual instrumentation demonstrate Costa’s healthy irreverence on selections like Prince’s ”Nothing Compares 2 U”.  Her leisurely version of  “Stormy Weather” makes a case for Costa as Etta James’ most worthy heir.  Conversely, Douyé’s impeccably tasteful interpretations of standards like “In a Sentimental Mood” on Daddy Said So are infuriatingly stale.  The inability of elite jazz musicians like Kenny Barron, Ron Carter and Jeremy Pelt to lift the project out of the doldrums makes the effort even more frustrating.  The reactionary conservatism of Daddy Said So sounds like the supper club of my nightmares.


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I reviewed a concert by Iron Maiden and Ghost on Tuesday.

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I reviewed Monday’s outing by DJ Shadow at the Madrid Theatre.

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OneRepublic’s concert at the Sprint Center on Friday was one of my favorite shows of 2017.  No joke.  I reviewed the concert for The Kansas City Star.

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I discussed the Kansas City jazz fusion musician Blair Bryant on KCUR last week.  I inflicted Mike Dillon on listeners of the NPR affiliate earlier today.

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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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I consider Steve Lambert’s new album Seven Stories at Plastic Sax.

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Lord have mercy.  Pokey Bear’s ”Can’t Be Faithful” is a strong contender for my favorite song of 2017.

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21 Savage’s Issa is so bad that it's good. "FaceTime" is among the tracks that are both brilliantly awful and awfully brilliant.

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I love everything about Riverside’s The New National Anthem.  The project overseen by trumpeter Dave Douglas is RIYL Carla Bley, brilliant fun, Old and New Dreams.

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Shredders, a reshuffling of the Doomtree crew, is invigorating.  RIYL: P.O.S, feeling Minnesota, Sims.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Album Review: Rich the Factor- 1,000 (Keep It Ten Hunnid)


As millions of Jay-Z fans parsed 4:44 over the weekend, heedful Kansas Citians studied Rich the Factor’s latest missive.  1,000 (Keep It Ten Hunnid) is another essential document of Kansas City’s criminal underworld.  The album validates the assertions I made in an extensive examination of Rich published by KCUR last year.  The title track includes a statement of purpose: “Rich, why you rap about the drug life? I’m like Pac when he rapped about thug life.”  He notes that “I handle business on the late night and keep my grass cut low for the snake bites” on “Late Night.”  The production continues to reference ‘80s and ‘90s R&B.  “On the Grit” samples the 1990 hit After 7 “Ready or Not,” a sentiment that reflects Rich’s unrepentant grind.


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I reviewed Bruce Hornsby’s appearance at Knuckleheads last Thursday.

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I accorded the Philistines my KCUR Band of the Week designation.

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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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I consider reactions to the American Jazz Museum’s negative publicity at Plastic Sax.

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Pianist Geri Allen has died.  Perfection, her collaboration with David Murray and Terri Lyne Carrington, was my #9 album of 2016.

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A perplexing eight-minute documentary on the creation of Bargou ‘08’s wonderful Targ in Algeria raises more questions than it answers.

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I embrace the glorious pop of Calvin Harris’s Funk Wav Bounces without reservation or irony.  RIYL: Pharrell Williams, 2017, Future.

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Aruan Ortiz’s solo piano album Cub(an)ism is astounding.  RIYL: Cecil Taylor, truly new sounds, Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

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May the Purple Rain never stop falling.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)