Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Musical Passings of 2010

Several of my favorite musicians- Ahmad Alaadeen, Solomon Burke, Bobby Charles, Alex Chilton, Guru, Gregory Isaacs, Hank Jones, Abbey Lincoln, Willie Mitchell, Teddy Pendergrass and Carl Smith- passed in 2010. Yet it's the murder of my acquaintance Sliccs Gotcha that truly saddens me. His entry is among the local figures I've highlighted below.

1/01 Gregory Slay, 40, Remy Zero drummer
1/01 Lhasa de Sela, 37, singer-songwriter
1/05 Willie Mitchell, 81, legendary soul producer
1/10 Dick Johnson, 84, jazz clarinetist
1/10 Dannie Flesher, 58, co-founder of Wax Trax! Records
1/11 Mick Green, 66, guitarist for Johnny Kidd & The Pirates
1/12 Jimmy O, 27, Haitian hip hop artist
1/12 Yabby You, 63, reggae artist
1/13 Jay Reatard, 29, indie rocker
1/13 Teddy Pendergrass, 59, soul star
1/13 Ed Thigpen, 79, jazz drummer
1/14 Bobby Charles, 71, Louisiana songwriter and musician
1/16 Carl Smith, 82, country star
1/16 Jimmy Wyble, 87, guitarist for Bob Wills
1/17 Gerald McCabe, 82, proprietor of McCabe's guitar shop
1/18 Kate McGarrigle, 63, singer-songwriter
1/22 Apache, 45, rapper
1/23 Earl Wild, 94, classical pianist
1/31 Pauly Fuemana, 40, of OMC
2/06 John Dankworth, 82, British jazz musician
2/13 Sliccs Gotcha, 27, Kansas City rapper (Jabrielle Francis)
2/13 Jake Hanna, 78, jazz drummer
2/13 Dale Hawkins, 73, Southern rock pioneer
2/14 Doug Fieger, 57, the Knack
2/14 Lil' Dave Thompson, 40, blues musician
2/15 Art Van Damme, 89, jazz accordionist
2/17 Kathryn Grayson, 88, star of musicals
2/17 Ruby Hunter, 54, Australian singer-songwriter
2/25 David Soyer, 87, cellist
2/27 T-Bone Wolk, 58, session bassist
3/04 Ron Banks, 58, of the Dramatics
3/04 Johnny Alf, 80, father of bossa nova
3/06 Mark Linkous, 47, of Sparklehorse
3/07 Tony Campise, 67, jazz saxophonist
3/09 Theodore Jan Wilson, 63, jazz bassist
3/17 Alex Chilton, 59, of Big Star and Fhe Box Tops
3/23 Marva Wright, 62, soul singer
3/24 Johnny Maestro, 70, of The Crests and Brooklyn Bridge
3/24 Jim Marshall, 74, rock and roll photographer
3/27 Oscar "Lucky" Wesley, 82, bassist of The Scamps
3/28 Herb Ellis, 88, jazz guitarist
3/30 John Bunch, 88, jazz pianist
4/06 Luigi Waites, 82, Omaha jazz musician
4/07 Graciela Perez-Grillo, 94, Cuban vocalist
4/08 Malcom McLaren, 64, punk svengali
4/08 Pete Eye, 77, Kansas City jazz pianist
4/10 Dixie Carter, 70, cabaret singer and actress
4/13 Steve Reid, 66, jazz drummer
4/14 Mississippi Slim, 66, blues artist (Walter Horn, Jr.)
4/14 Peter Steele, 48, vocalist for Type O Negative
4/16 Devon Clifford, 30, drummer for You Say Party! We Say Die!
4/19 Guru (Keith Elam), 43, of Gang Starr
4/20 Hutch Carlock, 86 founder of Music City Record Distributors
4/22 Gene Lees, 81, jazz author and lyricist
4/27 Morris Pert, 62, Scottish drummer and composer
4/30 Mo Kash, 23, Kansas City rapper (Bernard Jackson)
4/30 Will Owsley, 44, singer-songwriter
5/01 Rob McConnell, 75, big band jazz artist
5/04 Roy Carrier, 62, zydeco musician, father of Chubby
5/05 Willie Pooch, 72, blues artist
5/09 Lena Horne, 92, vocalist and activist
5/16 Ronnie James Dio, 67, heavy metal vocalist
5/16 Hank Jones, 91, jazz pianist
5/24 Paul Gray, 38, Slipknot bassist
5/30 Ollie Woodson, 59, of The Temptations
6/05 Danny Bank, 87, jazz baritone saxophonist
6/06 Marvin Isley, 56, Isley Brothers
6/13 Jimmy Dean, 81, country star
6/16 Bill Dixon, 84, jazz composer and trumpeter
6/16 Maureen Forrester, 79, opera singer
6/16 Garry Shider, 56, of Parliament/Funkadelic
6/17 Tommy Johnson, 59, Kansas City jazz trumpeter
6/23 Pete Quaife, 66, bassist for the Kinks
6/24 Fred Anderson, 81, jazz saxophonist
7/08 Ruth Rhoden, 85, jazz radio host on KCUR's "Just Jazz"
7/10 Sugar Minott, 56, reggae vocalist
7/11 Walter Hawkins, 61, gospel artist
7/12 Harvey Pekar, 70, cartoonist and jazz critic
7/12 Tuli Kupferberg, 86, The Fugs
7/12 Paulo Moura, 77, Brazilian clarinetist
7/12 Olga Guillot, 87, Cuban bolero vocalist
7/14 Gene Ludwig, 72, jazz organist
7/15 Hank Cochran, , country artist and songwriter
7/19 Andy Hummel, 59, Big Star bassist
7/22 Philip Walker, 73, blues man
7/26 Ben Keith, 73, steel guitarist
7/26 Josh Broadhead, 29, vocalist for KC metal act Saved By Grace
7/26 Al Goodman, 67, of Ray, Goodman & Brown
7/30 Richard Lopez, 65, of Cannibal & the Headhunters
7/31 Mitch Miller, 99, easy listening icon
8/02 Mitch Jayne, 80, bassist of The Dillards
8/03 Bobby Hepp, 72, wrote and recorded "Sunny"
8/08 J.P. Tha Mex, 28, Kansas City rapper
8/12 Richie Hayward, 64, drummer for Little Feat
8/14 Herman Leonard, 87, jazz photographer
8/14 Abbey Lincoln, 80, jazz vocalist
8/15 Ahmad Alaadeen, 76, Kansas City jazz saxophonist
8/19 Michael Been, 60, vocalist of The Call
9/08 Hadley Caliman, 78, jazz saxophonist
9/15 Arrow, 60, soca star
9/19 Buddy Collette, 89, jazz saxophonist
9/21 Don Partridge, 68, "king of the buskers"
9/22 Eddie Fischer, 82, popular vocalist
9/27 Buddy Morrow, 91, trombonist and bandleader
10/08 Albertina Walker, 81, gospel singer
10/10 Solomon Burke, 70, soul giant
10/10 Joan Sutherland, 83, opera star
10/10 Marion Brown, 75, jazz saxophonist
10/13 General Johnson, 67, of the Chairmen of the Board
10/17 Eyedea, 28, rapper
10/20 Ari Up, 48, of The Slits
10/25 Gregory Isaacs, 59, reggae star
10/26 James Phelps, 87, gospel singer
10/28 Walter Payton, 68, New Orleans bassist
11/03 Jerry Bock, 81, cowriter of Fiddler on the Roof
11/03 Sonia Pottinger, 79, reggae producer
11/05 Shirley Verrett, 79, opera singer
11/12 Henryk Gorecki, 76, classical composer
11/17 Harry Whitaker, 68, jazz pianist and composer
11/20 Little Smokey Smothers, 71, blues man
11/24 Dave Conn, 63, Kansas City retailer and music enthusiast
10/24 Joseph Stein, 98, co-wrote Fiddler on the Roof
11/30 Elbert W. "Big Woody" Davis Jr, 61, regional blues man
11/30 Monty Sunshine, 82, English jazz clarinetist
12/06 Steve Herold, 62, Kansas City saxophonist
12/09 James Moody, 85, jazz saxophonist
12/13 Enrique Morente, 67, flamenco singer
12/17 Lina Romay, 91, sang with Xavier Cugat
12/17 Robin Rogers, 55, blues woman
12/17 Don Van Vliet, 69, aka Captain Beefheart
12/19 Trudy Pitts, 78, Philadelphia jazz organist
12/20 Magnolia Shorty, 28, New Orleans rapper
12/24 Myrna Smith, 69, of the Sweet Inspirations
12/25 Dorothy Jones, 76, singer in The Cookies
12/26 Teena Marie, 54, soul star
12/26 Bernard Wilson, 64, member of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
12/27 Billy Maddox, 57, Austin-based drummer
12/28 Billy Taylor, 89, jazz pianist
12/28 Jack Towers, 96, remastered jazz recordings
12/30 Bobby Farrell, 61, of Boney M.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Teena Marie, 1956-2010

Sometimes I forget about the ephemeral nature of popular music. When I attempted to share my grief upon hearing that Teena Marie had died yesterday, the first few people I spoke to didn't remember the R&B artist. She had a couple platinum albums in the early '80s but in spite of fine recent work like La Dona, her career is largely forgotten. She was sort of a combination of Alicia Keys and Rihanna. My last chance to see Teena Marie again, a 2009 concert at the Midland Theater, was canceled. Here's the subsequent discussion at Back To Rockville.

Many people, myself included, have pontificated about the demise of Streetside Records in Westport. Yet I haven't seen anyone mention my three favorite in-store appearances at the location. They are The Replacements (signing on the Pleased To Meet Me tour), the Psychedelic Furs (signing on the Talk Talk Talk tour and James Harman (performance on the Do Not Disturb tour). What am I forgetting?

Vedera's new homecoming video is very nice.

XXL offers a free Tech N9ne mixtape here.

Download Reggie B's new "Every Pharoah Needz a Queen" here.

My friend L.K., the "other" Kansas City jazz blogger, unearths two forgotten Jay McShann videos.

Only two titles on Concert Chris' 20 Favorite Albums list made my Top 25 list. I still love the guy.

New Orleans rapper Magnolia Shorty was killed December 20.

Kansas City Click: CrossCurrent returns to Jardine's on Monday.

James Christos hits the Record Bar on Tuesday.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Way Out Here: The Top Albums, Singles and Concerts of 2010

The 25 Best Albums of 2010
A new album changes my life every other year. It just didn't happen in 2010. With no clear favorite, I made my hometown jazz hero's new album my top pick. (My jazz-only selections are here.) The Star's Tim Finn compiled dozens of regional music lists here.

1. Bobby Watson- The Gates BBQ Suite
2. Sleigh Bells- Treats
3. Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green- Apex
4. Deftones- Diamond Eyes
5. Rick Ross- Teflon Don
6. Kanye West- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
7. Tracey Thorn- Love and Its Opposite
8. Merle Haggard- I Am What I Am
9. Esperanza Spalding- Chamber Music Society
10. Alaturka- Tamam Abi
11. Erykah Badu- New Amerikah Part Two: Return of the Ankh
12. The Gobots- D-Boy Era
13. Mulatu Astatke- Mulato Steps Ahead
14. Seu Jorge and Almaz
15. Brad Mehldau- Highway Rider
16. Gary Allan- Get Off On the Pain
17. Lazerbeak- Legend Recognize Legend
18. XV- Vizzy Zone
19. Patty Griffin- Downtown Church
20. M.I.A.- Maya
21. Janelle Monae- The ArchAndroid
22. Jonas Kaufmann- Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven & Wagner
23. Z-Ro- Heroin
24. Soulcrate Music- The Heartland Panic
25. Hearts of Darkness- Hearts of Darkness

The 25 Best Singles of 2010
I concur with the general consensus that singles have once again supplanted albums as the dominant medium in popular music. My three favorite singles of 2010 reflect the strength of the format. Taken together, the aspirational hunger of Akwid, the libertarian ire of Josh Thompson and the affluent angst of Kanye West capture the national zeitgeist.

1. Akwid- "California"
2. Josh Thompson- "Way Out Here"
3. Kanye West- "Power"
4. Leela James- "Tell Me You Love Me"
5. DJ Khaled- "All I Do Is Win"
6. The Black Keys- "Tighten Up"
7. Antoine Dodson- "Bed Intruder"
8. Young Jeezy- "Lose My Mind"
9. Best Coast- "Boyfriend"
10. Tech N9ne- "O.G."
11. Nas & Damian Marley- "As We Enter"
12. Janelle Monae- "Cold War"
13. Eminem- "Love the Way You Lie"
14. Das Racist- "Rainbow In the Dark"
15. Sunny Sweeney- "From a Table Away"
16. Lloyd Banks- "Beamer, Benz or Bentley"
17. Waka Flocka- "Hard In Da Paint"
18. Yelawolf- "Pop the Trunk"
19. Cee Lo Green- "F*** You"
20. James Fortune- "Encore"
21. 8Ball & MJG- "Bring It Back"
22. Sade- "Soldier of Love"
23. LCD Soundsystem- "Drunk Girls"
24. Eric Church- "Smoke a Little Smoke"
25. Jaheim- "Finding My Way Back"

The Top 36 Live Performances of 2010
Why 36? I've witnessed 366 live performances in 2010. And I'm going out again tonight.

1. Os Mutantes- Granada
2. Janelle Monae- Liberty Hall
3. Marilyn Maye- Jardine's
4. Bobby Watson and Horizon- Blue Room
5. Sufjan Stevens- Uptown Theater (Same show fan footage.)
6. V.V. Brown- Record Bar
7. Slayer- Sandstone (Same show fan footage.)
8. Phoenix- Uptown Theater (Same show fan footage.)
9. Marty Stuart- Paola Roots Festival (Same show fan footage.)
10. Matt Otto Quartet- Jardine's
11. Levon Helm- Crossroads (Same show fan footage.)
12. Pat Metheny- Uptown Theater (Same show fan footage.)
13. Kansas City Symphony, Sibelius and Stravinsky- Lyric Hall (Official concert preview.)
14. John Hammond- Gladstone Blues Fest
15. Alice In Chains- Sandstone (Same show fan footage.)
16. Stefon Harris and Blackout- White Recital Hall
17. The Flatlanders- Knuckleheads
18. Keith Sweat- Municipal Auditorium
19. Deborah Brown- Blue Room
20. Hammerlord- Beaumont Club (Same show fan footage.)
21. The Bad Plus- Folly Theater
22. Billy Joe Shaver- Knuckleheads
23. Karrin Allyson- Jardine's
24. Kronos Quartet- Lied Center
25. Weezer- City Market (Same show fan footage.)
26. Raul Malo- Knuckleheads
27. Five Finger Death Punch- Liberty Memorial (Same show fan footage.)
28. Trey Anastasio- Uptown Theater (Same show fan footage.)
29. Rachel Lee and Michael Brown- Folly Theater (Same show authorized footage.)
30. Soft Reeds- Riot Room
31. Bobby Watson and UMKC jazz students- GiGi's Jazz Inn
32. Andrew W.K.- Sandstone ((Same show fan footage.)
33. Rich the Factor- Uptown Theater (Same show fan footage.)
34. Tony Ladesich- Davey's Uptown
35. Allen Toussaint- Folly Theater
36. Carrie Rodriguez- Knuckleheads

The 10 Best Opening Acts of 2010
I attended so many one-and-done classical and jazz events this year that I've gained a new appreciation for concerts with multiple acts.

1. Janelle Monae for Of Montreal- Liberty Hall
2. Dead Weather for the Flaming Lips- Sandstone (Same show fan footage.)
3. Ice Cube for Snoop Dogg- VooDoo (Same show fan footage.)
4. Woven Hand for Tool- Sprint Center
5. Fran Healy for Brandon Flowers- Liberty Hall
6. Roger Daltrey for Eric Clapton- Sprint Center (Same show fan footage.)
7. Cypress Hill for Slightly Stoopid- Crossroads (Same show fan footage.)
8. Will Hoge for Shinedown- Midland Theater
9. Katie Herzig for Brandi Carlile- VooDoo
10. The Mynabirds for Mumford & Sons- Record Bar

(Original image of Ariel Pink by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Don Van Vliet, 1941-2010

I was about ten years old when I innocently took a flyer on Clear Spot after I spotted it in a four-for-a-dollar cassette bin. The album changed by perception of "music." I was aware of the blues, but this baffling outsider music was something entirely different. It raised several questions.

Did the band sound like this on purpose? What's wrong with this "Captain Beefheart" guy? What color is his skin? Why would Reprise issue an album by this deranged blues man? Did I waste a quarter? What in the world is going on here, anyway?

The battered condition of the cassette indicates that I spent a lot of time seeking answers to those questions.

Don Van Vliet, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart, died December 17.

Grieves is perfect for Warped Tour.

Enrique Morente has died. (Tip via BGO.)

Blues artist Robin Rogers has died.

Nick Hunter has died. (Via C.C.)

Kansas City Click: Joe Satriani returns to the Uptown Theater on Monday.

New Jazz Order performs at Harling's on Tuesday.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is the Kauffman Center Predatory?

I was flabbergasted when I read the 20th item of a survey conducted on behalf of The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
20. The following is a list of performers that potentially fit within the programming vision of the Kauffman Center. Please rate your interest in attending a performance by each performer: BB King, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Demetri Martin, Ricky Gervais, Tracy Morgan, Bill Maher, Seu Jorge, The Peking Acrobats, Mumford & Sons, Ben Folds, The Flaming Lips, Norah Jones, Regina Spektor, Janelle Monae, FELA! On Broadway, Stomp, Pat Metheny
Save Seu Jorge, every musical act on the list has performed at a Kansas City-area venue at least once in the past 24 months. Crossroads, Liberty Hall, the Midland Theater, the Record Bar, Sandstone, Sprint Center and the Uptown Theater served as recent hosts to these artists. The Kauffman Center, it would seem, intends to compete with existing Kansas City music venues and promoters. That's not merely disappointing- it's predatory.

I had assumed, perhaps naively, that in addition to giving the Kansas City Symphony, the Lyric Opera and the Kansas City Ballet a stylish new home, the new spaces (Muriel Kauffman Theatre- 1,800 seats and Helzberg Hall- 1,600 seats) would fill an artistic void in our community. The official line sold me:
The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will have a dramatic and transformative impact on Kansas City, changing both the city’s skyline as well as the experience of artists and audiences throughout our region.
Unless he's accompanied by the Symphony, the only "transformative" element of catching a Willie Nelson concert at the Kauffman Center promises to be the price of my ticket. Partisans of the Kauffman Center will undoubtedly reference its superior acoustics. I'm sure the new rooms will sound magnificent, but near-perfect sound is often achieved at most of the venues listed above. (The Folly Theater is also wonderful.)

Rather than booking touring acts that regularly perform in Kansas City, I'd hoped that the Kauffman Center would attract important artists that might otherwise not visit our town. Here's a set of suggestions:
Laurie Anderson, Antony & the Johnsons, Jorge Ben, Ornette Coleman, Nick Cave, Brian Eno, Cesaria Evora, Jan Garbarek, Gilberto Gil, Egberto Gismonti, Philip Glass, Charlie Haden, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Daniel Lanois, the Last Poets, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Mariza, Brad Mehldau, Joni Mitchell, Yoko Ono, Arvo Part, Steve Reich, the Residents, Terry Riley, Sonny Rollins, Oumou Sangare, Maria Schneider, Jimmy Scott, Gil Scott-Heron, Patti Smith, Henry Threadgill, Tinariwen, Caetano Veloso, Kenny Wheeler, Marva Whitney and Cassandra Wilson
I would like to think that high-minded supporters of classical music would appreciatively throw their financial backing behind most of these artists.

Am I reading too much into an innocuous blog post? I hope so.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ten Odd and Overlooked Christmas Albums

My friend Joel initiated a chat about Christmas music with the idea that we could publish our discussion at The Daily Record and There Stands the Glass. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but today I was reminded that Arcade Fire tops his Top Ten Albums of 2010 list. And he writes haikus. I don't particularly care for either affectation.

(Update- our conversation may be read here.)

Anyway... I made this list but I didn't check it twice. I already know that I overlooked a few of my favorites.

Ten Odd and Overlooked Christmas Albums
1. Sam Billen- A Word of Encouragement (2010 release available as a free download)
2. Brave Combo- It's Christmas, Man
3. Charles Brown- Cool Christmas Blues
4. John Fahey- Christmas Guitar
5. Dan Hicks- Crazy For Christmas (2010 release)
6. Tish Hinojosa- Memorabilia Navidena
7. Manzanera and MacKay Present The Players- Christmas
8. Max Roach- It's Christmas Again
9. Allen Toussaint & Friends- A New Orleans Christmas
10. Matt Wilson- Christmas Tree-O (2010 release)

I discovered Tamikrest on an NPR music blog today. What a find!

Kansas City Click: Tony Ladesich revisits Pendergast's The Truth About Saturday Night Tuesday at Davey's Uptown. Here's my review of the 2006 album.

I last time I saw The Sword, they opened for Metallica at the Sprint Center. The metal band is the headliner Wednesday at the Record Bar.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

James Moody, 1925-2010

The first album I reached for when I had time to mourn the death of James Moody was Young At Heart. I hadn't listened to the 1996 collection of standards associated with Frank Sinatra in a decade. It floored me. Gil Goldstein's arrangement of "That Old Black Magic" is especially stunning. It opens with Mulgrew Miller quoting Thelonious Monk's "Mysterioso" before Moody brilliantly solos without interruption for four enthralling minutes. Authoritative appreciations of Moody can be found elsewhere. I'll simply suggest the obvious- the world has lost one of the rare serious jazz artists with universal appeal.

Sam Billen has a new Christmas album available as a free download. RIYL: snowflakes and Sufjan Stevens. (Tip via Wayward Blog.)

I reviewed Mark Lowrey's Live at Jardine's solo piano album.

Last night's old-school R&B concert by Keith Sweat, Con Funk Shun, the S.O.S. band and SWV was excellent. Here's my review.

A couple misguided comments aside, I'm impressed by the discussion that's followed this Plastic Sax post.

Kansas City Click: The Hearts of Darkness, Audiovox and New Riddim are among the bands playing at the Beaumont Club on Sunday. There's no cover. The catch? Formal attire is required.

Mini Mansions is at the Riot Room on Monday.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Top 25 Kansas City Music Videos of 2010

With the disappointing exception of jazz artists, it seems like every area musician with a Flip camera and a recording to promote made a promotional video in 2010. I've listed the 25 most effective efforts here. Don't mistake this for a music-based "best-of" list. I made these selections based on a subjective combination of importance, relevance and general watchability.

1. Making Movies- "Tormenta"
2. Tech N9ne- "O.G."
3. Soft Reeds- "This Affair"
4. ACBs- "Street Fighter II"
5. Janelle Monae- "Cold War"
6. XV- "Mirror's Edge"
7. Beama (featuring Berner)- "Trying To Do Right"
8. Dutch Newman- "Get Retarded"
9. JP Tha Mex- "Like a Game"
10. MBird- "Train Song"
11. Ron Ron- "100 Barz"
12. Cowboy Indian Bear- "Saline"
13. Steddy P- "And It's Like That"
14. Rondoe- "We Been On"
15. SSION- "Clown"
16. The Popper- "Killa City"
17. Puddle of Mudd- "Stoned"
18. Stik Figa- "Whutupwidit"
19. Roman Numerals- "This Motion"
20. Red Line Chemistry- "Dumb Luck"
21. Irv da Phenom- "Red and Yellow"
22. Reach- "Radio Love"
23. Saharan Gazelle Boy- "Strange Teen Heart"
24. Txx Will- "Last Call"
25. B Double E- "KC Clean"

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Review: Reverend John Wilkins- You Can't Hurry God

Welcome to a blues time machine.

Reverend John Wilkins' You Can't Hurry God is the first great album of 2011. Even though it's not officially released until next year, it's available for purchase now directly from Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum.

Wilkins' time machine also transports us back 75 years. His father, acoustic blues legend Reverend Robert Wilkins, began recording in 1928. The vintage Wilkins style remains virtually unchanged.

In addition to affecting his father's spectacles and hat (compare and contrast above), Rev. John recreates two of his father's most famous songs on his forthcoming debut album. Most people know "Jesus Will Fix It" from the Doobie Brothers' hit version. He also covers "Prodigal Son," a composition famously popularized by the Rolling Stones. Here's a live version by Rev. John filmed in 2008.

Unlike that somewhat sketchy performance, however, Rev. John sounds powerful and fully on-point throughout You Can't Hurry God. A band supports him on five of the album's nine tracks.

Anyone with an interest in R.L. Burnside, Sister Rosetta Tharpe or the Holmes Brothers needs this raw, vibrant and uplifting album in their life. The new year has yet to begin but any album that tops You Can't Hurry God on my top album list of 2011 will need to be incredible.

English clarinetist Monty Sunshine has died. He takes lead on Chris Barber's "Petit Fleur".

I'm pretty sure that if I invested any time in Titus Andronicus it might be my new favorite rock band.

Wayward Blog tipped me to the availability of a documentary on Lawrence's hip hop scene of a decade ago.

I saw Shinedown and Will Hoge last week. Here's my ostensibly controversial review.

It's no "Fairytale of New York," but I actually like Coldplay's "Christmas Lights". Lord help me.

"Buy Nothing Day" from The Go! Team makes me very happy.

The latest Plastic Sax post has sparked a healthy discussion.

Kansas City Click: The Pretty Things Peepshow is at the Beaumont Club on Tuesday.

My Chemical Romance top Wednesday's bill at the Midland Theater.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

What Am I Doing New Year's Eve?

Maybe it's much too early in the game but I thought I'd ask you just the same.

I go out a lot. Last night I caught a jazz band at a club in south Kansas City. So why not close out 2010 with yet another live music event?

Ornette Coleman, the Flaming Lips, Janelle Monae, Os Mutantes and Nancy Wilson aren't in town on December 31, so I'll have to make do with what's actually on tap at Kansas City's live music emporiums. Because I just can't bring myself to consider a cover band or a DJ no matter how much I like the club that's featuring them, the seven most palatable New Year's Eve options follow.

Please help me decide. Let me worry about cabs, cover charges and my date's musical interests. (Hint: She loathes Coalesce.)
Hearts of Darkness- Crosstown Station
Mac Lethal/Coalesce- Riot Room
Ida McBeth- Jardine's
Big Bill Morganfield/Kenny Neal- Knuckleheads
Harold O'Neal- Mutual Musicians Foundation
Republic Tigers/Roman Numerals/Saharan Gazelle Boy- Beaumont
Bobby Watson- The Blue Room

My December 31 is in your hands.

Here's Dave Conn's obituary. (Sad tip via BGO.)

While I don't put much stock in the Grammy Awards, I was pleased that the artist I refer to as "The One" received a Best New Artist nomination.

Stik Figa's "From the Top" video biography is very nice. His new EP is available as a free download at Bandcamp.

Uncomfortably numb.

Steddy P and Ces Cru made a simple video for "Persistence Pt. 2."

Blues man Elbert W. "Big Woody" Davis Jr. has died. (Tip via Bill Lee.)

Kansas City Click: Samantha Fish returns to BB's Lawnside BBQ on Thursday.

The reunited Hadacol is one of three acts on Friday's bill at Crosstown Station.

Joey Calderazzo plays the Blue Room on Saturday.

The Peoples Liberation Big Band is featured at the Record Bar on Sunday.

(Random image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review: Mac Lethal at the Riot Room

I watched a woman's head bounce off the floor of the Riot Room last Friday night. A minute or two after her hard fall, she was aggressively making out with the guy who had propped her up against a wall. I wondered about the different ways the two of us were experiencing Mac Lethal's performance.

Maybe I'm reading her all wrong, but I suspect the woman is the type of Mac fan who shouts along with his atrociously juvenile mashup of "Party In the USA" and ICP's "Miracles." While I love "Pound That Beer" as much as the next red-blooded Midwesterner, I'm just not amused by gratuitous disses of Fergie and Soulja Boy.

Geeks like me would much rather hear the detailed grammar lesson offered Saturday. Mac also did extended off-mic verses that wouldn't have been out of place at a highbrow poetry reading. He's definitely reached an artistic crossroads.

"My new album sounds like this song all the way through," he recently commented at YouTube.

I can't wait.

BGO informed me that Bobby Rush, Denise LaSalle and Theotis Ealy performed at a Thanksgiving blues dance in Kansas City. I'm deeply distressed that I didn't hear about it until after the fact.

The ACBs' new video makes me laugh out loud. (Via The Pitch.)

I like the low-key trailer for Reach's forthcoming mixtape.

The drama inflicted on Deerhunter's Bradford Cox reminds me why I no longer even consider sharing approved music at this site.

What it's all about.

Kansas City Click: Lonnie McFadden entertains Tuesday at Jardine's.

Angela Hagenbach is featured at the Spirituality and All That Jazz concert Wednesday at Unity on the Plaza.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass. I didn't bother taking a photo Friday because so many fans were filming the show. Yet not a single video has been uploaded to YouTube.)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Review: Nicki Minaj- Pink Friday

All Kanye, all the time.

Kanye West has dominated discussion among my music-oriented friends and within the There Stands the Glass compound all week. I can't remember the last time everyone seemed to be simultaneously obsessing over the same artist.

A couple friends, S. and C., suggested that I find time to give Nicki Minaj's new album a chance. I was skeptical, not because she looks like this, but because she failed to impress me both times I've seen her perform with the Young Money crew.

Even so, Minaj's features on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy are excellent. And her album proves that those flashes of greatness aren't flukes. While Pink Friday isn't as ambitious as MBDTF, the extremely entertaining project contains the same sort of game-changing pop thrills as Gwen Stefani's 2004 solo debut.

Just as Minaj assumes different personas in its songs, Pink Friday's sound constantly changes. During "Blazin'," which samples the Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)," Minaj references heroin and West name-drops Nolan Ryan. I don't get it either, but I love it. The hit "Your Love," on the other hand, is a straightforward throwback to mid-60s Motown-style pop.

It's not all nice. The extreme raunch and rage of "Roman's Revenge" overwhelms me. Why is Eminem so angry, anyway? Similarly, the presence of and the apparent adversary of this site (rhymes with "steak") is annoying. The first time I hear these songs in a club setting, however, I'll probably come around.

While Pink Friday is not quite in the same league as MBDTF, it's at least as noteworthy as anyone has a right to expect from the long-overdue comeback album by the great Missy Elliott.

Yet another Kanye West enthusiast, Joel Francis, previews Friday's Black Friday jazz-meets-hip hop concert.

Kansas City Click: Mac Lethal returns to the Riot Room on Friday.

My favorite Usher song will undoubtedly be on the set list of Saturday's concert at Sprint Center.

Myra Taylor and the Wild Women of Kansas City perform at Jardine's on Sunday.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Ugly Bright Wholesome Reality

Laundry detergent- $11.99. Toothpaste- $4.74. Deluxe version of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy- $13.99. Loaf of bread- $1.99.

I have nothing against Target, but my heart broke this morning as I purchased a physical copy of Kanye West's new album from my neighborhood mass merchandiser. As I wrote yesterday at Plastic Sax, my town doesn't have an independent record store that stocks much new music. So Target it is.

My actions, furthermore, confuse me. I noted earlier this month that I already have a digital copy of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. And Pitchfork's perfect ten notwithstanding, I don't like it nearly as much as, say, Graduation.

I guess I love Kanye even more than I imagined.

Bluesman Smokey Smothers has died.

Two Midwestern music industry veterans named Steve have new music blogs. Here's Steve Pick's new site and here's Steve Wilson's new effort.

I reviewed a recent Brandon Flowers show. It was fine. I caught Os Mutantes the next night. It was life-changing.

Kansas City Click: Abel Ramirez' weekly Tuesday gig is now at Ari's Greek Restaurant.

The Soft Reeds play the Brick on Wednesday.

Dave Stephens is a perfect choice to lead the band at the Plaza lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

A True Word: The Flatlanders at Knuckleheads

While I'd seen Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock perform separately on several occasions, I'd never seen the three on stage together. Along with about 250 other geezers, I paid over thirty dollars to see The Flatlanders on Wednesday. Since both The Pitch and The Star reviewed the show, I'll just add a few personal notes.
*"He looks old," I gasped when I first spotted Gilmore. "He is," a friend replied. Gilmore is 65. I had no idea...
*If Johnny Cash possessed, as has been suggested, the voice of God, Jimmy Dale Gilmore has the voice of an angel.
*I don't know what Paul Cebar was doing there, but it was a treat seeing the one-time regional draw again.
*I'd forgotten that Butch Hancock's "If You Were a Bluebird" is one of the greatest love songs ever written.
*The opening set by Colin Gilmore, pictured here, failed to win me over. He's more James Taylor than Townes Van Zandt. There's no shame in that, of course, but it didn't work for me.
*I'll accept that no one played the saw, but leaving "Tonight I Think I'm Gonna Go Downtown" off the setlist was blasphemous. Just for that egregious omission, I'll link to Mudhoney's version.

True Womanhood posted a new song at SoundCloud. "The song is almost entirely made up of samples we made by clanging pieces of metal around in a mile-long sewer tunnel + bass guitar, 808 drumz, and vocals- all run through a severely malfunctioning tape delay," writes the band's Noam Elsner. The band's forthcoming album was reviewed at There Stand the Glass last month.

A fine Tompkins Square label sampler is available as a free download at Amazon. Charlie Louvin, Frank Fairfield, Ran Blake and Michael Hurley are represented.

Jazz musician and composer Harry Whitaker has died. Roy Ayers' "We Live In Brooklyn, Baby" is one of his best-known works. Smalls Records offers a detailed biography.

Kansas City Click: Cowboy Indian Bear team up with Making Movies at the Record Bar on Friday.

Classical pianist Alessio Bax performs a free concert Saturday at the Folly Theater.

Alaturka returns to Jardine's on Sunday.

Crosscurrent pays tribute to Lennie Tristano at Jarndine's on Monday.

(Original image of Colin Gilmore by There Stands the Glass.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Twenty Favorite Kansas City Music Venues

Tim Finn compiled a list of his favorite music venues yesterday. Although I conducted a similar exercise four years ago, both the landscape and my memory bank have since shifted. I couldn't resist posting an update that includes both existing and shuttered clubs.

My friend Chris likes to say that your favorite show can't be in an arena. I tend to agree. I've excluded all large rooms from my list. I included Lawrence venues mostly because my world was turned upside down at The Outhouse.

There's no such thing as a perfect venue. Take my top pick. The sound is spotty, the cover charge is often alarmingly high and patrons have a tendency to yammer incessantly. Even so, Knuckleheads is unique. It has a nice staff, offers cheap man-cans and maintains a solid, if somewhat monochromatic, calendar. (And there's this.)

1. Knuckleheads
2. The Outhouse
3. Parody Hall (both locations)
4. Milton's (Main Street incarnation)
5. The Grand Emporium
6. The Record Bar (Drum Room in same location included)
7. The Hurricane/The Riot Room
8. City Light
9. The Jackpot
10. The Blue Room
11. Jimmy's Jigger
12. Nightmoves
13. Jardine's
14. The Lone Star
15. Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club
16. Crosstown Station
17. The Crossing
18. El Torreon
19. Guitars & Cadillacs
20. BB's Lawnside BBQ

Ces Cru's new video is an extended shout-out.

Kansas City Click: The Flatlanders perform at, ahem, Knuckleheads on Wednesday.

While I ordinarily detest songs about marijuana, I've succumbed to Eric Church's "Smoke a Little Smoke". He'll sing it Thursday at the Independence Events Center.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Blame It On My Youth

I occasionally experienced anxiety attacks night terrors as a child. The room spun and a sonic whirlpool rushed through my head. I'd suppressed forgotten these incidents until I first saw Mark Southerland twirl a hose connected to a saxophone during a Snuff Jazz performance. The effect recreated the nightmarish sound that once terrified me.

Last night's Snuff Jazz recital was doubly intense. Guest artist Brian Haas, keyboardist of the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, echoed Southerland's sound effect on a melodica.

I now know how to manage the onset of vertigo, so the combined effort of Southerland and Haas hardly phased me. They did inspire, however, thoughts about the relationship between age and music, especially in terms of jazz.

I'd spend the previous night listening to the incredible Deborah Brown. (Here's the Star's review.) About 150 people caught all or part of Brown's performance. Their median age was a relatively youthful 45. The median age of the audience of four-dozen at the Record Bar on Sunday was an even more encouraging 30.

I'm constantly wringing my hands about what will become of jazz once the original fans of artists ranging from Stan Kenton to the Crusaders succumb to old age.

Kansas City is loaded with scores of promising young jazz musicians, yet it's not uncommon for them to play for small audiences consisting of people three times their age. The jazz kids even have a hard time convincing their friends and romantic interests to attend their gigs.

That's why I invest so much hope in acts like Haas' Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and in the artist I call The One. I also wholeheartedly approve of the crossover attempts of The Bad Plus, Vijay Iyer and Brad Mehldau. The efforts of Kansas City-based forward thinkers like Hermon Mehari and Mark Lowrey are even better.

If innovative projects like Black Friday don't succeed, I'm afraid that jazz faces a truly nightmarish future.

Henryk Gorecki died November 12.

Want to see me smile? Play most any ten-second snippet from the new Girl Talk album. Seriously, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore if you don't download All Day immediately.

Credentials Hip Hop interviews former Kansas City, Kansas, resident Mad Marlon. I miss the guy.

Now that she sounds a bit like Shakira, I'm going to have to start paying more attention to Lykke Li.

Kansas City Click: Jazzbo entertains Monday at Jazz.

Tim Whitmer has a weekly Tuesday gig at Accurso's.

(Essay cross-posted from Plastic Sax. Image of Brian Haas performing with Snuff Jazz by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

That Ain't Country! (And I Don't Care)

Reba sang Beyonce's "If I Were a Boy" on the CMA Awards. And I liked it.

There's really no point in railing against last night's celebration of the bland, homogenized lite-rock that passes as mainstream country music today. It is what it is.

And as my admiration for Reba's crossover move implies, I'm not a purist. The blurring of genres interests me. Now that I've learned to stop worrying about categories, it doesn't bother me that the members of Lady Antebellum might never have heard of Waylon Jennings. I admire their craftsmanship in much the same way I'm able to dispassionately dissect the work of John Mayer and Kenny G.

The only "country" artist I actively loathe is pictured above.

I'm not kidding- I really did watch last night's broadcast. I was glad to see Mac McAnally win musician of the year and the Zac Brown Band take the Best New Artist award. (I saw both perform in Kansas City earlier this week.) Dierks Bentley's bluegrass-inspired song was decent and Loretta Lynn's spot was nice, but the only thing that I found truly compelling was Miranda Lambert's spirited cover of John Prine's "That's the Way the World Goes Round."

I appreciate the new Tim Finn essay that bears the headline "Abundance of concerts proves KC is country music country." The brand new album by Adam Lee & the Dead Horse Company, incidentally, is very good.

I don't know when I'll get around to reading it, but I'm sure that Joe Posnanski's new treatise on Bruce Springsteen is worthwhile.

Kansas City Click: Matt Otto returns to the Blue Room on Thursday.

Paddy Keenan and John Walsh perform at the Irish Museum and Cultural Center on Friday.

Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society headline Saturday's metal show at the Uptown Theater.

LeAnn Rimes' career to date has been a disappointment, but she still has that voice. She performs at Johnson County Community College on Sunday.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Sonia Pottinger, 1931-2010

For reggae fans, at least American reggae fans of my generation, a recording's producer and the corresponding record label are often just as important as the name of the artist. The names Scratch Perry, Duke Reid, Trojan Records, Sly & Robbie, Beverley's Records, Island Records, King Tubby, Coxsone Dodd, Studio One, Leslie Kong and Byron Lee often serve notice as to the style and quality of a production from reggae's so-called classic era.

Sonia Pottinger and her Gay Feet, Tip Top, Rainbow and High Note labels are also significant names from that period. Pottinger died November 3. Culture's excellent Trod On album features Pottinger's production. Listen to the title track here. She also oversaw recordings of raw ska and countless obscure but wonderful sessions.

Pottinger's Wikipedia entry indicates that she purchased Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label in 1974. This stunning compilation contains some of my favorite music of all time. (Do yourself a favor and listen to the 30-second snippets.)

I caught the Branford Marsalis Quartet on Saturday. Here's my review. I saw the Zac Brown Band for the first time on Sunday. Here's my review.

I stunk on ice at music trivia at the Record Bar last night. The answer to one of the name-that-artist sound clips was this band. I guessed Kyuss. Wrong again.

Sometimes I'm embarrassed to be a human being.

Kansas City Click: Todd Strait sits in with Steve Rigazzi at Jardine's on Tuesday.

Amy Farrand hosts her weekly variety show at Davey's Uptown on Weirdo Wednesday.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Legend Recognize Legend: Lazerbeak & Kanye West

Lazerbeak- "Let It Go" (video)
Kanye West- "Runaway" (video)

One of the two albums I played last night stirred my soul. The other one was a bitter disappointment.

The pointillistic pop of Legend Recognize Legend, the new album by Lazerbeak, came as a shock. The member of Doomtree is best known as one of the elite producers of the hip hop underground. Forget all that. Legend Recognize Legend is more akin to the epic psychedelia of Super Furry Animals. Fans of popular indie rock acts ranging from Arcade Fire to Phoenix will find a lot to like in Lazerbeak's latest.

Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy isn't out yet, but it's not difficult to find. (Don't worry- I'll buy a physical copy when it's officially released on November 22.) West is, of course, brilliant. No popular artist of the past decade made more interesting or enjoyable music. I named Graduation my top album of 2007. And MBDTF's "Power" is one of the best songs of 2010. Taken as a whole, however, it seems as if West has finally succumbed to his own hubris.

The stark sonic contrast between the two projects is striking. West has access to the world's best talent and the resources to clear any sample. Yet MBDTF sounds inferior to Legend Recognize Legend. Hey, Mr. West- you should reach out to this guy.

It's no surprise that the lyrical content of the two projects is also dramatically different. I experience Lazerbeak's album as a rumination on God. (But that's just me.) Kanye's album is about- what else?- himself. (But that's just him.) Both albums are packaged with a DVD. Lazerbeak offers a low-budget but (mostly) creative video for every track. West, God bless him, directed a portentous 34-minute film. Compare and contrast above.

It's possible that I'll tire of Legend Recognize Legend and warm up to MBDTF with additional listening. I hope so. The world would be a lesser place with a watered-down West. Even Lazerbeak, I suspect, would agree.

I will always love "Whitney Houston". That's the title track of Hidden Pictures' new EP.

A few of my peers are less than pleased that U2 is skipping over Kansas City on its stadium tour next summer. I'm far more upset that The Fleshtones' current tour doesn't stop in KC.

Kansas City Click: Reggie B appears Thursday at the Gusto Lounge.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I love Colt Ford. He does his thing Friday at the Beaumont Club.

Apocalypse Meow-related events are taking place all weekend but Saturday's multi-artist bill at the Riot Room looks the most appealing to music lovers like me. Tim Finn explains.

The Record Bar hosts the CD release party for The People's Liberation Big Band on Sunday.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

P.O.S. Is, In Fact, Ruining My Life

This is why I do it.

"P.O.S. Is Ruining My Life" is more than an ironic song title. It's my story. I attend live music events night after night. Classical, country, hip hop, jazz or metal- if it makes me feel alive, I want to be there. Continually going out takes an emotional, financial and physical toll, but I have no regrets.

The grainy fan video shot last night at the Jackpot in Lawrence captures a bit of the magic provided by the Doomtree collective. I truly love the Minnesota misfits. Here's why:
Dessa is an "undiscovered" superstar. Watch.
Lazerbeak is a borderline genius. Watch.
Mike Mictlan is a live wire. Watch.
Cecil Otter is a modern-day Neal Cassady. Watch.
Paper Tiger is a production wizard. Watch.
P.O.S is way ahead of the curve. Watch.
Sims always impresses. Watch.

Doomtree is on tour in the United States and Canada through December 11. Go.

I caught Max Weinberg's second set on Sunday. Here's my review. On Saturday, I attended Hammerween, a concert featuring Hammerlord, Troglodyte and five other extreme metal bands. Here's my review.

Walter Payton, jazz bassist and father of Nicholas, has died.

Kansas City Click: Russian Circles return to the Riot Room on Tuesday.

Trumpeter Hermon Mehari plays Jardine's on Wednesday.

(Original image of P.O.S. by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review: Tracey Thorn- Love and Its Opposite

I've been holding out. One of my favorite albums of 2010 hasn't been mentioned at There Stands the Glass until now. It's not that I'm embarrassed about adoring an album that I imagine is mostly loved by women. I've been reluctant to write about Love and Its Opposite because the uncomfortable intimacy of Tracey Thorn's new project hits too close to home.

The events described in "Oh, the Divorces!" play out around me every day. ""Now there's kids to tell and legal bills and custody," Thorn sighs. Bad times. Very rarely has popular music so artfully addressed the inmost side of adolescent angst as on "Long White Dress". And the almost unbearably painful "Singles Bar" accurately portrays the wretched behavior of several of my acquaintances.

None of this would really resonate with me if it wasn't for the exquisite ache in Thorn's voice. I believe every word she sings. And while many of the acoustic-based songs are complemented by an electronic shimmer, the heavy thump of Thorn hits like "Missing" from her tenure with Everything But the Girl are absent.

I admire the It Gets Better project aimed at gay teens. Yet Love and Its Opposite serves as a reminder that for many straight people in their forties, things only get worse.

Das EFX, I've discovered, helps me overcome Tracey Thorn-induced melancholy.

Mac Lethal humiliates Dirtbag Dan in this compelling battle. (The action starts around the 3:20 mark.)

Gospel and R&B vocalist James Phelps died October 26.

I wholeheartedly embrace the aesthetic of new jazz site The Revivalist.

Kansas City Click: More than one person I know intends to "Drink the Night Away" at Gaelic Storm's concert Thursday at the Uptown Theater.

Paul Geremia picks and grins Friday at BB's Lawnside Bar-B-Q.

Tech N9ne's tour with E-40 concludes Saturday at the Uptown Theater.

New Riddim cover The Slackers at the Record Bar on Sunday.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Debt to Gregory Isaacs

I'm forever indebted to Gregory Isaacs. During my tenure in fetid dorm rooms and scruffy bachelor pads, Isaacs' distinctive whine regularly served as a bridge between the sexes.

As a lifelong music geek, the music played at my social functions was even more important than the drinks I served. I had other guys make liquor runs so I could obsess over playlists. The challenge was finding the proper balance of music that both guys and gals could appreciate.

My male friends and I typically wanted testosterone-fueled noise. Left to our own devices, we'd happily listen to nothing but George Clinton, the Clash, Husker Du, Iron Maiden and Ornette Coleman. The young women we knew, however, weren't down with that nonsense. They preferred the likes of Atlantic Starr, Journey, Lionel Richie and Luther Vandross. No offense, ladies, but guys just don't want to hear that stuff on a party night.

Simultaneously sweet and tough, the Cool Ruler regularly came to the rescue. After "Night Nurse" hit in 1982, it seemed like everybody I knew was into Isaacs. His brilliant "Slave Master" provided a perfect transition between Mutabaruka and Run-D.M.C. on a mixtape. "No Speech", my favorite Isaacs song, fit in nicely between Prince and the Talking Heads.

Without Gregory, those wild nights would have had far lonelier results. I have no doubt that his music will continue to serve a similar function around the globe.

Isaacs died yesterday.

Show of the year? Maybe. Here's my review of Janelle Monae and Of Montreal at Liberty Hall.

Here's a promotional video for Ron Ron's next project. (Link via Demencha.)

Kansas City Click: Everette DeVan's weekly gig at the Phoenix resumes on Tuesday.

James Christos performs on the Riot Room's patio on Wednesday.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Friday, October 22, 2010

What Color is Mac Lethal's Parachute?

In the liner notes to the new Love Potion No. 6, Mac Lethal makes an unflinching assessment of his career as a recording artist.

"The original 11:11 sessions is the only project I would ever consider a finely tuned, handcrafted Mac Lethal album," he confesses.

I concur. I've dedicated countless hours to Mac's recordings and I've written about him extensively. His potential for greatness is immediately apparent, but his recordings, by and large, fail to match his talent. Many of Mac's problems are self-inflicted. He's too smart by half.

"I'm Bo Jackson on these rappers," he blurts on Love Potion No. 6's "The Gas Station." "If it's hip, I break it."

Perhaps not since Paul Westerberg has a gifted artist so willfully sabotaged his own career. Mac promises that his forthcoming album, Irish Goodbye, will be different.

"Irish Goodbye is the true realization of who I am as a human," he writes. "(A)nd where I would like to take my music from here on out."

But what if he's wrong? What if Irish Goodbye isn't very good? I'd never suggest that Mac's genuine love of hip hop led to a poor career choice, but I have contingency plans in mind just in case this rap thing doesn't work out.
High school or college English professor- He'd be the popular teacher who employs Method Man lyrics as metaphors.
Political windbag- As a commentator, Mac would be the anti-Bill O'Reilly. Or maybe he'd be more like Bill Maher, only funny.
Bartender- Sure, it's an obvious suggestion. That's the point.

But hey, Mac- no matter what happens, I got your back.

Mac Lethal's future may be uncertain, but it's sprayed across the walls in the new video for little Willow Smith. The kid is gonna be huge.

Ari Up of the Slits has died.

Stik Figa and D/Will have a nice new video for "Whutupwidit" (Link via Wayward Blog.)

My notes about an impromptu performance by Pearl Thuston-Brown are at Plastic Sax.

Kansas City Click: I hope to attend the block party on the street in front of the Mutual Musicians Foundation on Friday. Details are here. (Facebook login required.)

Raheem DeVaughan croons Saturday at the Uptown Theater.

Alaturka return to Jardine's on Sunday.

Big Sandy is joined by Los Straightjackets Monday at Knuckleheads.