On March 15, 2015, the Washington Post published a typically buzzworthy article titled, "Is the Internet Giving Us All ADHD?". The article begins with the usual litany of start-of-days, most likely familiar to anyone who works at a desk or a computer, or spends a...

GRAMMIES - GREAT SOUNDING Album Review
Everything you need to know about GRAMMIES' new record GREAT SOUNDING can be found in its gloriously stupid title. The album constantly inverts itself, offering up increasingly next level instrumentation, song craft and emotional depth to an altar of self-sacrifice, producing a rare jazz gem that excels through humility rather than bombast. It's an unconventional combination of far out mid-70s avant jazz, one piece jumpsuit boogie grooves and budget bin New Age cassette tape ambiance that conjures magic from the hilarious excess of early '80s Adult Contemporary without stepping into joke band territory or leaning too much on whimsical nostalgia and irony. Essentially, we can take GRAMMIES seriously because they don't beg us to. But conceptual riffage aside, the most important thing about GREAT SOUNDING is that it reproduces the experience of watching the band blow out an untreated show space while giving their compositional skills and deeply psychedelic vibes space to glow.

This week, I found myself at Portland's Doug Fir Lounge three days in a near row. While it is perhaps my second must frequented venue after Holocene, rarely do I have the chance to go so many times in one week, and to observe such varying acts. Hence, in celebration of today's full moon in Gemini -- just like our Intuitive Navigation event tomorrow eve at Holocene -- I shall endeavor a twin review of two notable female acts: Bay Area R&B singer Goapele and indie rock veteran My Brightest Diamond, both of whom put on great shows, but in vastly different ways and to vastly differing crowds. The full moon represents the femininity and intuition, and today's Full Moon in Gemini (during a Sagittarius month) looks to the twin sign for an outwards celebration of life.
My Brightest Diamond and Goapele Live Show Review at Doug Fir Lounge  

Musicians tend to attract quirky nicknames, and more than a few of them stick for life. Louis Armstrong was Satchmo, Coleman Hawkins was Bean, Charlie Parker was Bird, and Lester Young was known as Prez or Tickle Toe. Sometimes they take over an artist's identity. When Furry Lewis was asked in the 1970s how he came to be known as "Furry", he responded that he couldn't remember anymore. In this mix, I'll go through five of my favorite musicians with cool sobriquets. Of course, I'm leaving a lot of people off of this list, but here are a few of the really outstanding ones.
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Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter

Huddie Lead Belly LedbetterHuddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter was a crucial figure bridging blues music and folk music. Bob Dylan joked that he's probably the only convicted murderer to record a popular children's album. Born in 1888, Lead Belly was in and out of prison for much of his life for a murder and an attempted murder, yet his musical talents earned him repeated pardons. He was a human jukebox, able to play in numerous different styles based on what his audiences wanted and was proficient on six-string guitar, twelve-string guitar, and the accordion. When John Lomax "discovered" him, he secured release his release from prison and employed him as a driver while Lead Belly established himself in the New York musical scene. He became famous rather quickly, and he toured Europe before his death in 1948. His records have been reprinted numerous times since then, and he has been covered by rock acts from Creedence Clearwater Revival and Bob Dylan to Nirvana. Lead Belly's nickname has numerous possible explanations, none of them definitive. One theory held that he was shot with a shotgun in the stomach and survived -- a possibility given his violent life. Another theory is that he earned the nickname drinking the homemade liquor inmates offered him in prison. Among his most famous songs, "Midnight Special" stands out and has been covered numerous times. "Goodnight Irene" is another song he helped to popularize. Finally, "Boll Weevil" is another great Lead Belly song about the Boll Weevil epidemic that ravaged the cotton-growing regions of the South.1 Lead Belly - "Midnight Special" [audio:/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Lead-Belly_Midnight-Special.mp3|titles=Midnight Special] Lead Belly - "Goodnight Irene" [audio:/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Lead-Belly_Goodnight-Irene.mp3|titles=Goodnight Irene] Lead Belly - "Boll Weevil" [audio:/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Lead-Belly_Boll-Weevil-Song.mp3|titles=Boll Weevil]  

Kiev Band Interview
Bands navigating today's music industry are prone to micromanaging and deeply scrutinizing their every career move, but Orange, California's Kiev are not so cynical. Guitarist and vocalist Robert Brinkerhoff -- who introduced himself as "Bobby" at the start of our phone interview -- believes his band prefers a "slow burn" approach, with grassroots, hand-to-hand fan interaction. Kiev's grassroots tactics, which they're perfecting while promoting their debut full-length album, Falling Bough Wisdom Teeth, entail "sticking to your guns and making music you want to make, and knowing that it takes getting people in a room. It means playing shows to all different types of audiences, and hitting the road. It means doing things you love, which for us means making live performance videos, sharing them, and hoping that people get turned on to them in a genuine way and want to share them, as opposed to just being sort of click-bait or a sort of spectacle that gets popular really fast and then dies off really fast."

When it's summer, I want to hear blisteringly hot dance numbers or mellow jams from the torrid regions of the world. I've based this mix on artists from Latin America and the Caribbean; some of it's hot, some of it's mellow, and all of it is good for letting your mind wander to somewhere a bit more exotic. Be warned: finding sources for some of these musicians in English can be a challenge. But that makes the hunt all the more enjoyable. Summer in the Northern Hemisphere ends on September 22nd, so warm yourself up with these jams one last time.
Warm Winds REDEFINE mixtape  

What's in a name? When they say Adult Jazz, are they referring to the easy-listening, dulcet sounds of Chuck Mangione or Kenny G? A brief observation of the knotty tones and convoluted song structures of Gist Is, the debut LP from the Leeds quartet, Adult Jazz, suggests this is not what they are aiming for. So we turn to a second possible definition: that of a grown-up and evolved jazz music. Gist Is is a world unto itself: 9 tracks, subscribing to their own inner logic, as beats, broken synthesizers, horns, and weightless vocals rise and fall, like buried memories, or half-remembered dreams.
Adult Jazz - Gist Is

 

Folklorists like to romanticize blues music as being a pure expression of culture, but recorded blues music was carefully marketed to its intended audience from its very beginning. As early as the 1920s, music aimed at African-Americans was labeled as "race music", and the best way to advertise it was in the pages of African-American newspapers. These newspapers had a wide circulation among urban African-Americans and even in parts of the South, where they were treated as contraband and discretely shared. While living in Arkansas, the singer Big Bill Broonzy recalled furtively reading the most famous of these newspapers, The Chicago Defender, and he made the move to Chicago in part because of what he had learned in the newspaper. Broonzy said that Black readers of the Defender were seen as brave, as it was a newspaper that promoted Black migration to the North, criticized racism in the South, and pushed for social change.1