Wednesday, April 29, 2009


It's always interesting to hear someone cover another band's songs and put their take on it. It's a really interesting concept, to have a song completely redone and re-imagined by someone other than the original artist. It's kind of like when a movie is made from a book, sometimes it works, sometimes it sucks. Sometimes the cover makes a career for somebody: Elvis covered Mae 'Big Mama' Thornton's "Hound Dog,"

Here's a great, unexpected cover of The Cramps "Human Fly" I heard during The Yeah Yeah Yeahs set at Coachella. It's got the same surf punk feel, but Karen O's incredibly unique voice carries this song into new, unique boundaries.

This is a little older, but I love Otis Redding's cover of The Rolling Stones' "I Can't Get No Satisfaction." It gives this rock n' roll song a little more soul, a little more swing and fun to it.

Here's a really interesting take on Vampire Weekend's "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" done by Hot Chip and Peter Gabriel (who is referenced in the song.) Vampire Weekend's version is charming because it's got their fun, bouncy African-inspired instrumentation and percussion. This version lets go of all of that and replaces it with electronic drums and synths. I'm not too sure how I feel about this song. It's a really interesting take, but it lacks the soul of the original. I'd rather dance to Vampire Weekend's version than kind of lounge or sit to this version. Interesting, but not my favorite.

This is a cover of The Kink's "Nothing in This World Can Stop me Worrying About That Girl" by Feist. I think it lacks a little of the mournful soul of the song, it lacks the woes of a man loving a girl that isn't very good for him. This cover isn't mediocre cause Feist is a woman, but because she doesn't convey Ray Davies' feel of loss. Not a bad cover, but not great either.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Free The Robots

Chris Alfaro is a busy man. Between being one of the 3 owners of (my favorite bar/restaurant) Santa Ana's The Crosby and being the genius behind Free The Robots, I'm not sure how he's got time to do anything else.

I got a chance to interview Alfaro on music, life and the Crosby.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Coachella Wrap-Up

Coachella came and went. To read Lucas and Chase's review of Coachella, click the link below

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sour Grapes

For those of you not attending Coachella, have no fear. You can still have a weekend of music and art.

The Crosby is having an event Thursday (tonight) through Saturday called The Better Coachella (not too sure on the 'better' aspect, but better than nothing.)

Thursday is SHIFT with Rhettmatic (of the legendary Beat Junkies) and Plann B. Expect to hear some great hip hop and soul tunes along with amazing turntablist skills.

Friday night is Obey Radio with Roam & Urth headlining. Cut Chemist's Brother is announced to play too. I'm not sure if that literally means the brother of legendary DJ Cut Chemist, or if that is some dude's stage name. You'll just have to go and see. I won't be there of course, I'll be at the real Coachella.

Saturday night is Cig and Swigs night with TVD & TSC-1, from Stussy, headlining.

If you're not heading out to Indio for Coachella, head out to the Crosby at 400 N. Broadway, Santa Ana for a different weekend of music and art.

Hip Hop Hooorayyyyy Hoooo

Here are some essential (in my opinion) hip hop tracks that I can't live without listening to. Not necessarily an all time "Best Of" list, but a "Best Hip Hop I listened to Today" list.

Digable Planets - Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)
This track is one of those immediate classics. The rest of the album, Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space,) is good but this is the distinct stand out. This came out around the time A Tribe Called Quest was popular and a lot of New York rap was exploring Jazz roots. This song outdoes them all in my opinion.

Common - Sixth Sense
This is off one of Common's earlier albums, Like Water For Chocolate. This Chicago MC is one of my absolute favorites. He's got an incredible flow, wordy vocabulary and a great voice. I love most of Common's works, he's got a huge soul influence that adds that extra funk in his music. DJ Premier, from GangStarr, did the beat for this song, one of my favorites Premier has ever done.

Notorious B.I.G. - Juicy
It was all a dream! Sing these first few lyrics to any true hip hop fan and you'll both be beatboxing and rapping the lyrics to this hip hop gem for a while. This song is an absolute classic that catapulted Biggie into new heights. The beat is smooth and funky, Biggie's lyrics of rising above can relate to anybody. How can you not like a song with lyrics including "thinkin' back on my one room shack now my mom pimps a hat with minks on the back."

Nas - The World Is Yours
The whole album, Illmatic, is incredible but this is the standout gem to me. This was Nas' debut album and hit the hip hop world like a ton of bricks. His later work tends to get a little more stale as time progresses from this album. His second album It Was Written was good too, but it doesn't have the breath of fresh air that Illmatic is.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Coachella Preview

Well, the set times came up today. I'm a little disapointed at the overlaps of a few artists, but that's to be expected of Coachella. I hate to miss any of Leonard Cohen and N.A.S.A.'s sets, and X, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Paul Weller's set times are overlapping. That's part of the charm of Coachella though, running across the fields trying not to miss anything.

Here's an article I wrote in the Coast Report out April 15.

Coachella is just around the corner. Paul McCartney, The Killers and The Cure will headline three days of heat, music and art.

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival began as a one to two day annual music and arts festival at the Indio Polo Fields in Coachella, Calif. The festival features artists of ranging musical genres, from indie rock, hip hop, electronic music as well as sculptural and performance art. Previous headliners and performers include Daft Punk, Björk, Prince, Madonna, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against the Machine, Kanye West, David Bowie and Kraftwerk.

This year’s headliners include Paul McCartney, Morrissey, The Killers and The Cure. Alongside the headliners are acts such as N.A.S.A., the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MIA, The Black Keys, Devendra Banhart and Dr. Dog.

Paul McCartney will headline the festival Friday. The former Beatle will be playing classic hits as well as newer material. Morrissey, formerly of The Smiths, will also perform for the first time at Coachella. Other interesting acts include music mash up king Girl Talk, who takes hundreds of music samples and creates new songs from the pieces. Folk artist and half of the musical duo She & Him, M. Ward will be performing his indie-folk rock music in support of his 2009 album Hold Time. The Crystal Method will be performing a DJ set, kicking off their first live tour in five years.

The Killers are scheduled to be Saturday’s headliners. Amy Winehouse was originally slated to perform as well, but had to cancel after being unable to obtain a work Visa following an assault charge. Sri Lankan electronic/hip hop artist MIA was added to replace Winehouse. Brooklyn’s TV On The Radio will perform their diverse, jazz and soul inspired electronic alternative rock. Beatle George Harrison’s son, Dhani Harrison, will be performing with his rock band Thenewno2.

80s gothic, new wave rock band The Cure, headed by Robert Smith, will headline Coachella’s last night on Sunday. Chicago’s hip hop artist Lupe Fiasco will perform his music, which is influenced by his Islamic religion, skateboarding and robots. Antony Hegarty will perform intimate, soulful music fronting Antony & the Johnsons. Garage Rock band Murder City Devils will play after breaking up in 2003 and reuniting recently to play the Henry Fonda Theater in Los Angeles February. Legendary 80s political hip hop group Public Enemy, including Flava Flav, is scheduled to perform. Paul Weller, formerly singer of English punk band The Jam, will perform his solo material.

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will be held at the Indio Polo Fields in Indio, Calif., from April 17 to April 19. Day passes are sold out, but three day passes are available online through Ticketmaster for $269.

Monday, April 6, 2009

N.A.S.A. brings back the supergroup

We all love a good collaboration between artists on a song, you've got several artists coming together to make something together. No I'm not talking about T-Pain's painful "singing" on just about everybody and anybody's song, or Nate Dogg back in the day (did he ever even have an original song of his own?)

N.A.S.A., which stands for North America South America, is an album of supercollaborations. I see it as an experiment of sound using as many creative sources as possible. This album is chockfull of talented and legendary artists coming together to make music. Incorporating a lot of Brazilian funk to make an indie hip-hop record, this is the epitome of creativity.

The guest appearances on this album are astounding. With a record with guest appearances by David Byrne (of Talking Heads), Tom Waits, Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Chuck D (Public Enemy), Kanye West, RZA (Wu-Tang Clan), MIA, and countless others, this is a super album of epic proportions. The name N.A.S.A. actually fits because this album is literally out of this world. Cheesy, I know, but I can't deny the truth in that statement.

N.A.S.A. started as a project between Los Angeles' Sam Spiegel aka DJ Squeak E. Clean and Ze Gonzales aka DJ Zegon at a crowded party in Sao Paulo, Brazil. They decided to make an album influenced by their shared love of vintage brazilian funk, soul and hip hop. What came out of this project is a album that spans genre and time, musical styles and influences, into a uniquely original album.

UPDATE: I was able to reach DJ Squeak E Clean for a mini-interview.

Coast Report: Why did you and DJ Zegon decide to make this album?

Squeak E. Clean: We met at a friend's party in the Hills and started talking about what type of music we enjoyed and realized we had many of the same influences. Old Brazilian funk records, hip hop, movie soundtracks, etc. Literally, the next day we were making beats together at my studio in LA. We didn't know what we wanted to do with them right away until we did "Strange Enough" with ODB, Karen O, and Fatlip. It is a somewhat strange combining of people and we realized that it would be amazing to be people together from different backgrounds, cultures, and styles and see what type of material that could create.

Coast Report: How did you manage to get so many collaborators on board with this

album? Was it difficult to get some of the people (David Byrne, Kanye, Method Man, etc?)

Squeak E. Clean: We put together a huge list of all the artists we would ever want to work with and put it up on the board and then we just started trying to figure out how we could get a hold of them to send them a letter basically stating what we were trying to do with the project, where we thought they might fit in, and hoped for the best.

As far as choosing who went on which song, it was a fairly organic process, in which we would come up with ideas for the theme of the song and try to take people who have very different backgrounds and skill sets and hoped we could bring them together in a way that played off of this and in a way that would have a very unique end result.

Coast Report: What can we expect to see at a live show?

Squeak E. Clean: 4 turntables + 3 mixers + videos that we control + our very own intergalactic dance crew = Best party in the universe!!!

Here is N.A.S.A. - The People Tree (feat. David Byrne, Chali 2na, Gift Of Gab & Z-Trip)

Another treasure from the album, N.A.S.A. - Gifted (featuring Kanye West, Santogold & Lykke Li)