The So Cal Roots of Brooklyn’s Daptone Records

My latest story for KCET‘s Artbound is now online for your reading pleasure! In it, I interview Jessica Lipsky, author of “It Ain’t Retro: Daptone Records & The 21st-Century Soul Revolution.”

Link: https://www.kcet.org/shows/artbound/southern-californias-role-in-soul-musics-major-revival

Excerpt:

The artists at Daptone, such as Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Antibalas, Charles Bradley, Menahan Street Band and The Sugarman 3, to name but a few, were at the tip of a steadily rising wave of a new generation of soul artists. The Dap-Kings even found themselves working for a time for the late Amy Winehouse. They recorded most of “Back to Black” with her and producer Mark Ronson in the studio and performed with her as her stage band on many occasions.

The stature of an artist like Winehouse coupled with the general misunderstanding of soul music as a product of a bygone era provided Lipsky with some challenges when she set out to write “It Ain’t Retro.” She initially wrote the book as a scene study of soul music but had a difficult time selling it to a publisher.

“After working on that for some time, it turns out it was too broad and too niche,” she explains by phone. “No one wanted to buy it and I had to pivot. A lot of the time, the people that are making these editorial decisions, be it in publishing or in journalism, this really isn’t their bag. Soul music is Motown and it’s oldies and that’s pretty much it. Then there was Amy Winehouse and that’s pretty much it. My experience was that a lot of folks didn’t really think that there is a market for telling these stories.”

You can purchase the book here: http://jawbonepress.com/it-aint-retro/

Electronic Sounds via Analog Instruments: Getting Funky with Telephunken

There isn’t, unfortunately, much known about Telephunken, the Funk/Electronic trio featuring Ernesto “DJ Telephunken” Sanchez, bassist/VJ Sergio Zamavirde and drummer Fernando Parrilla.

Para hacerte bailar! Photo courtesy of heraldo.es

The trio was once an Indie-Pop group from Zaragoza who later moved to Madrid and morphed into a Latin-Funk-Dance machine. The group has a handful of releases most notably Antibalas and Que Viva El Ritmo!!! Other than that, there’s not much else. I’ll have to pin Sanchez down in Madrid to learn more.

Watch the band’s short documentary on their trip to SXSW 2010:

Listen to “Shake Your Monkey:”

Ballin'!

Sanchez also creates some killer mixes blending Hip-Hop, Funk, Rock and Jazz such as:

Telephunken’s Summer 2011 Mix

Thirty Thirsty Mix

Q: When is The Mars Volta NOT The Mars Volta?

A: When it’s the Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group feat. Cedric Bixler-Zavala OR when Omar says it isn’t.

SXSW_2011_122

The backstory: The Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group headlined the Sargent House Showcase last Saturday at SXSW at Emo’s Annex, an impromptu stage and concert area built in a small lot on the corner of 6th/Red River. Fans lined up as early as 2 p.m. for a show whose doors/gates opened at 7 p.m. Zavala appeared on stage about 10 minutes before opening time to soundcheck with ORLG. Predictably, Twitter, Facebook and many a carrier-pigeon were sent into the skies of Austin to carry the news prompting the line to stretch out like an intestine up the street and behind the “venue.” The group (Rodriguez-Lopez, Bixler-Zavala, Deantoni Parks, Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez, Juan Alderete and Lars Stalfors) took the stage at 12:50 a.m. to a capacity crowd that included fans who filled up the alley behind the stage and down the sidewalk.

Here’s a clip of the madness and the music by Refused TV:

Continue reading “Q: When is The Mars Volta NOT The Mars Volta?”