Long weekend! If you're sticking around, here's what's happening:
Although the name doesn't yet have wide currency in jazz circles, James Farm is a veritable supergroup. Its default leader, saxophonist Joshua Redman, is a Berkeley High alum, son of the late avant-garde composer Dewey Redman, and 1991 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, which is widely regarded as a forum for choosing the best young musicians in the world. His James Farm bandmate Aaron Parks took third place in the 2006 piano iteration. The other members, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Eric Harland, served with Redman in SFJAZZ Collective, and are known for their intuitive playing and introspective composition styles. And it shows on James Farm's recordings, which are harmonically dense and sometimes confrontational, but also full of funky drumming and light, jaunty grooves. The band members pride themselves on having a wandering palette, meaning the mix has influences from rock, blues, hip-hop, and R&B, even if jazz is their basic template. You can hear all those raw materials in their songs, and the result is pretty satisfying. James Farm plays at Yoshi's (510 Embarcadero, Oakland) Friday through Sunday, May 25-27. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., Sun. 7 p.m.; $13-$30. Yoshis.com — Rachel Swan
This is weird. Metal Sucks is reporting that a Panama-based company called World Digital is suing 80 individuals for illegally downloading East Bay metalcore band All Shall Perish's last album, This Is Where It Ends, without the band's permission. "Not happy about this" was the Tweet sent out by the band this morning to a link to the story.
According to Metal Sucks, the band's label, Nuclear Blast, has no idea how World Digital, which describes itself as "The Worlds [sp] Largest Online Digital Download Store" (and which sells ASP ringtone downloads), obtained the rights to the band's album in the first place. "...[I]t now appears as if the label is either not willing or not able to stop the lawsuit from proceeding. And World Digital is proceeding with the case despite the band’s loud public objections."
"The identities of the 80 U.S. downloaders being sued will soon be turned over to World Digital, and notification emails will be sent out to each of them, according to a report this weekend from TorrentFreak."
As Rihanna, our nation's poet laureate, once said: Cheers to the freakin' weekend/I drink to that. Let's get to it:
Whereas many DJs treat record-collecting as a romantic concept, the hosts of Oakland's new monthly showcase, The 45 Sessions, regard it as both a craft and an imperative. In that sense, they're unrepentant Luddites — the kind who celebrate technology that's two iterations behind, and refuse to use "convenience" or "efficiency" as a guiding principle. And the "45" isn't mere lip service: Resident DJs Enki, E Da Boss, and Platurn actually spin seven-inch records on old-school turntables. This week, they'll feature veteran waxslinger DJ Shortkut, whose professed love of technology (i.e., an iPad with MIDI controllers) doesn't obviate his affection for — to borrow a term from the 45 promo pitch — "little-ass records." Besides, an iPad is the consummate Luddite's device. Also sponsored by Mixcrate, a web aggregator of DJ mixes, this installment features special record-themed giveaways — including limited-edition seven-inch slipmats. Emcee Jern Eye hosts. At Disco Volante (347 14th St., Oakland) on Friday, May 18. 9 p.m., $5. DiscoVolanteOakland.com — Rachel Swan
And thankfully, it's sort of like the old one. Former Morning Show host Brian Edwards-Tiekert, who was reinstated at KPFA last year after a protracted battle with station management, will host the new "Up Front" news show alongside Sonali Kolhatkar, producer of another morning show, Uprising, at sister station KPFK in Los Angeles. Up Front was formally approved on Monday and launches tomorrow at 7 a.m., and, much like Edwards-Tiekert's previous news program with Aimee Allison, it will feature local and state news coverage, interviews, and investigative reporting. According the Edwards-Tiekert and interim general manager Andrew Phillips, it's designed to pick up some of the slack for metro newspapers, some of which have been forced to slash their editorial budgets. It's being touted as the broadcast equivalent of a "news magazine."
Surely you're wondering what Oakland expat Kreayshawn is up to these days, lest she risk ceding the throne to a rival mistress of swag. If the emcee has her way, that won't happen any time soon. Kreayshawn has made a new song to supplant the "Gucci Gucci" anthem for which she is best known. This time, she's traded the Minnie Mouse ears for a vampy femme fatale outfit, designed to fit the dark palette of "Murder," her new collaboration with Georgia rapper 2 Chainz. Set in a dungeon with candelabras and taxidermied animals, it borrows a couple motifs from the opening credits of Dexter (including the trickle of blood from a shaving mishap), but ups the ante by having both rappers dine on giant platters of meat — apparently the spoils of a recent slaughter. We found it a little unsettling, though Kreayshawn's rap skills have clearly improved. You be the judge:
Hi Ron! :OP
My boss is turning 75 like a baws! He drink wines I could never afford and has eaten delicacys I am legally not allowed to know about at my income level. What should I bring him for his birthday din-din (on the water in Tiburon)?
Not only is "local" the new black; it's also the dominant paradigm for progressive business movements. And it's particularly important in Oakland, where growth happens organically, and the economy hinges on small independent businesses. A panoply have sprung up in recent years, and they've all but transformed the city's once-sterile downtown. Walk down Broadway these days and you'll find a retail corridor dotted with artisan clothing boutiques, mom-and-pop restaurants, educational sex toy shops, and small breweries. If you remember the scene as recently as ten years ago, it's just mind-blowing.
We know you're still doing the happy dance over Obeezy's big coming out, but it's time to ficus on important stuff, like chocolate and drinking outside. Herewith, our critics' best bets for the following 72 hours:
Skins & Needles
The title of this event is a wincing lesson in bad marketing, but the musicians behind it are no joke. DJ Zeph has been a fixture in the local hip-hop scene for more than a decade, best known for his collaborations with the vastly unheralded emcee Azeem. (Their 2007 Om Records collaboration, Rise Up, is still a knock, five years later.) Drummer Max MacVeety is equally respected, both for his Berklee College of Music credentials and for his work with the hip-hop band Crown City Rockers. In fact, both of these artists have an enviable talent for flitting between the jazz, soul, and hip-hop worlds. In Zeph's case, that amounts to having ample knowledge of several different genres, and a penchant for blending them — he does that with alacrity in "Floorwax," a disco track sutured to a looped backbeat. (It's enhanced by verses from Crown City rapper Raashan Ahmad.) Similarly, MacVeety improvises with free-jazz saxophonist David Boyce just as easily as he pumps the snare and high-hat for underground rappers. Together, these two percussionists make a formidable, if unorthodox, combination. They'll play with the Afrofunk Experience at Vitus (201 Broadway, Oakland) on Saturday, May 12. 10 p.m., $5. VitusOakland.com — Rachel Swan
Note: I have never claimed to be the world's greatest concert photographer. Or a concert photographer — period. Nonetheless, here are pics from Sunday night's Meshuggah show at The Fillmore. Rather than battling the other photogs (and those ubiquitous crowd-surfers) in the photo pit, I chose a higher, safer vantage point. So yes, they're all from the same angle. But hey, cool lighting!
Well, it's been a momentous week, guys. We saw the resurgence of Occupy, the unveiling of Cal's coolest-ever dorm room, and some ardent bike boostership. If you're not planning to spend the weekend watching the much-hyped welterweight showdown at MGM Grand, then here are a few other ways to fritter away your time: