Friday, July 31, 2009



De La Soul/Rhythm Roots All Stars/Kenan Bell (House of Blues): You know what I think of as late-period De La Soul? 2000's "Oooh (Featuring Redman)" off of their "Art Official Intelligence" record. That was already ten years ago, and it's hard to believe they have been doing this for twenty years. As is often the case with hip hop acts that have been doing it as long as they have, their quirkiness makes them one of those groups who probably have more of a secure following with straight dance music fans more than anyone else. The charm of their records, however, has faded very little in the many years since "3 Feet High And Rising," which has a sample on it so good it actually caused me to "reverse like" a Steely Dan song. For better or worse, there will always be some terrible songs that are perfect for great samples, no matter how you feel about it as an "art form." Wait, is sampling still offensive to people? Weird.

Finally, I want to say that one of my all time favorite moves in music is when a group releases an album that everyone loves, and on the second record, the group decides to kill everything off that people liked about them. This is exactly what De La Soul attempted to do between "3 Feet High" and their sophomore release, "De La Soul Is Dead." Not exaclty subtle, but the attempt to kill off their upbeat aspects was appreciated. I bought a "De La Soul Is Dead" shirt at Bill's Records that had dead flowers on the back many years ago, and I almost got beaten up at a basketball court for wearing it. Miss those innocent times.

Piss Shit Fuck/Akkolyte/Division of Power/Releaser/Cadillac to Mexico/KO 49 (the Alamo, Ft. Worth):Piss Shit Fuck's music tends to be quick release hardcore, with attempts to
temper the music with varying elements of everything from thash and crust punk, to doom metal, or just plain metal; basically a pretty diverse mixture of various forms of extreme music. I've been wanting to see how shows at the Alamo are, and it seems like this wouldn't be a bad night to try.

Uptown Fridays with Sober (filling in for Select)(Zubar)

Lehtmojoe/Mount Righteous/Anonymous/Free Agent (Granada): Uh oh. "Good" hip hop. Great. And our very own local version of Girl Talk hosting a record release party. And Mount Righteous opening. At least its free? I guess thats something. I don't know, its just very difficult to stomach a lot of the hip hop thats marketed as "smart" or "quality" or "indie" or whatever label these people want to use these days, because most of what they are trying to sell with these terms is just weak garbage masquerading as "culturally relevant" hip hop that's oh-so-much-smarter than the singles played on loop over on K104 and 97.9 The Beat. The problem is that its not smarter, just weaker. This isn't exactly what's going on with this show at the Granada this evening, but the association is almost unavoidable. The earlier Girl Talk reference was meant for local DJ/producer Lehtmojoe (what?), a guy who has building a small reputation online for unauthorized remixes and mash ups. The worst offender is probably his dance remix of Smashing Pumpkins' "Cherub Rock," which strikes me as a nominee for most unnecessary remix of all time. Elsewhere, Joe's more electro friendly remixes that stay away from Mash ups are much stronger, and mostly not bad at all, just mostly, um, unnecessary. Do we really need to hear more of this stuff in 2009? Not that I enjoy calling out a relatively unknown local artist for bad timing, but Lehtmojoe's original material and less gimmicky remixes are good, indicating that the guy has some talent, but maybe just needs to catch up a little on taste. Local rapper Anonymous has also been building up a bit of online rep for himself as well, and despite some strong beats and a more than competent delivery as an MC, a lot of his material falls flat simply because it tries to be a little too cute and clever, masking many of Anonymous' stronger qualities. A debut live performance from a little known artist might have worked better at the Cavern as opposed to the Granada, as well.

El Ten Eleven/the Bizaro Kids/Ishi (Hailey's): Maybe I should spend a little time trying to answer the eternal question of the comments sections-- "but how does it stack up with Ishi?" I don't know who writes that, but it often makes me laugh, and I guess I'd actually try to answer it if I knew exactly what "it" is. Maybe "it" is everything. Maybe its nothing. I don't know. But since the last time we talked about Ishi several months ago, they've become a favorite of both the Dallas Observer music section and the hipster fashionistas over at, which for at least some of our readers are probably strikes one and strike two for Ishi. Ishi reminds me of some sort of hybrid between MGMT, Everything But the Girl and late 90's "chill out" techno with touches of electro acoustic, 70's AM folk balladry and synth pop-- all produced with Hollywood studio gloss that often makes much of it sound like music you'd hear at Starbucks. This undoubtedly is a recipe for potential mass appeal, but if you're going to check out this show, don't expect too many new ideas, just polite pop. They're still probably the best band in this line up, at least-- El Ten Eleven has to be one of the most boring bands I've ever heard in my life.

Elliott Levin Trio featuring Aaron and Stefan Gonzalez/Zanzibar Snails/The Tidbits (Annex House): Here's a bio for Levin that was passed on to us:

Have you seen this man walking the streets of Philly? His signature single dread emits musical spores over sidewalks, music halls, and coffeehouses. Elliott is the ubiquitous Philadelphia musician. He has played with everyone.....reading his poetry into his flute, literally, improvising with Charles Cohen, Rick Iannacone, and New Ghost, the list is long. A discography appears below.

Elliott studied music and creative writing at the University of Oregon. He also studied extensively with Michael Guera (former saxophonist with the Philadelphia Orchestra), Cecil Taylor (..pianist/..composer/..improvisor),
and Claire Polin (..flutist/..composer).

Elliott has performed with groups including Cecil Taylor's Ensemble, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Odeon Popes' Sax Choir, Scram!, New Ghost, Atzilut (Fourth World), and Talking Free Bebop. He has collaborated in performance with poets Miguel Algarin, Gloria Tropp, Mbali Umoja, Marty Watt, and Frank Messina & Spoken Motion among many others. Venues have included Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The United Nations, The U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Yale University, The Greek Theater, Watts Towers, Lollapalooza! and scores of galleries, clubs and theaters. In 1999, he performed at the Crossing Borders Festival in the Hague, the Sexial Jazz Festival in Lisbon and Portugal, The Alternative Festival in Prague, and the Sonic Logos Festival in Philadelphia.
Elliott has received awards from New American Radio (New York), The Cityof Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts and the California Endowment for the Humanities.

A prolific poet, Eliott's work has appeared in L.A. Weekly, Blue Beat Jacket (Japan), The Painted Word, Po' Fly, Vital Pulse, Poets & Prophets, and Intervals: The Poems of Musicians (Beehive & Sisyphus Press). A book of Poetry by Elliott Levin was published in 1996 (Heat Press, Los Angeles).

Born in 1953, Elliott Levin is a Philadelphia born and based jazz musician and poet. For ten years he toured the world with Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, as saxophonist in The Sound of Philadelphia band. His poetry has been published in several periodicals including the LA Weekly, Blue Beat acket (Japan), The Painted Word, Po' Fly, The Nile, Vital Pulse, Ozone, and Poets & Prophets. He regularly performs jazz and poetry with Gloria Tropp, Miguel Algarin, Cecil Taylor's groups Phthongas and Unit Core Ensemble, New Ghosts, Interplay and Talking Free Be-Bop. His original music and poetry was recorded for broadcast throughout the USA as part of the New American Radio Series. Elliott performed as solo, and in collaboration with Frank Messina at Lollapalooza in 1994, where they also jammed with Courtney Love in Phila. at a late night jam.

He is currently a member also of drummer (Ornette Coleman, Blood Ulmer, Lounge Lizards)G. Calvin Weston's BIG TREE (; Animus (world/fusion music); The Philadelphia Phenomenon (w/ Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Rick Iannacone, Calvin Weston).


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