Friday, June 19, 2009

Not a local showcase, but local native Jacob Seedman, founder of the Shalom clothing brand and a Salinas High School alumni, is promoting this event tonight in The City.

Seedman's Shalom Cultural Peace Project has been designing his line since 1999. He is gearing up to unveil his fall line later in the year, and the line is currently on sale locally at Bill's Wheels in Salinas. Read the bio after the jump and get more info @

Founded in 1999 in Salinas CA, by Jacob Alexander Seedman. Shalom CPP is a message driven lifestyle clothing company. Seedman’s vision was to create clothing that represented the message of peace, and incorporated culture and his environment. By the end of 2000, Seedman faced an unforeseen trademark infringement that halted the growth of the brand. After a 4-year battle, Seedman regained the trademark and was off and running once again! At the end of 2007 Shalom CPP was carried in stores worldwide, and had gained a diverse following. Due to several changes, Shalom CPP is returning after a two-year incubation with some cult classics and a newly revamped look. Shalom is proud to reenter the market offering the best quality Eco friendly apparel. The message remains the same. Shalom: the essence of peace. Make peace not war!

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Video: Kyp Malone @ The Apartment

Just interviewed Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio, in anticipation of his June 28 show @ Henry Miller Library in Big Sur. Above is a video of his solo performance. His solo project Rain Machine is scheduled for release in September.
On the phone, Kyp was a real mellow dude with some nice perspective on his band's critical success and the state of music as opposed to the state of the music industry. I'll post up the audio next week. In the meantime, enjoy the video.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ol' Factory Cafe, the rumor mill, and siverback gorillas

Late pass on this one, but it was too funny not to share. Morgan Cristopher, owner of Ol' Factory Cafe, put out this newsletter last week to address the situation with Ol' Factory taking on some of the shows left over in the wake of Monterey Live's closure.

Also, FYI, the Para La Gente show previously scheduled for June 27 @ OFC has been moved to Blue Fin Billiards on Cannery Row. So local musicians have another option for booking shows. Interesting.Hello Factory friends-

Yes, Monterey Live closed.
Yes, we agreed to help them out by giving them a place to move their previously booked concerts.
Yes, they have brought over some of their equipment, tables and chairs in order to continue presenting live music.
Yes, we have a shiny, new, baby grand piano.
Yes, we're still located in Sand City.
No, we have no plans to move Sand City... (ever try to pick up a Costco?)
No, we have not entered into a business "partnership" with Monterey Live.
No, we do not have their hard liquor license... (though I still keep a nice bottle of scotch in my office).
Yes, the Ol' Factory looks a bit different these days.
Yes, we really had four death metal bands last Saturday... (that won't happen again!)
No, my head isn't pounding any longer... (after all it's been 4 stopped pounding yesterday).

So, all you rumor-mongers, that's the story.

But let's revisit this death metal thing for a second. For those of you who don't know what death metal music is, imagine 8 angry African rogue elephants, in heat, plus a 450-pound Silverbacked Lowland Gorilla, angry and in heat, plus 3 angry New York City cab drivers who've just been stiffed on their fares, thrown into a blender. It's sort of like that. Except that you have to put your own head into the blender, too. And while that's going on, now imagine a bunch of men ranging in age from 18 to 60 slamming their bodies into one another...and no one's holding a football. Yes sir, it was a memorable evening.

But the point is that this took place on the same stage where we've had a string quartet with a million-and-a-half dollars' worth of instruments playing Beethoven's String Quartet in C-Sharp Minor, Opus 131. Take that, Carnegie Hall! That is the absolute spectrum of music known to humanity. I assure you, everything you own in your record collection falls somewhere in between those two extremes.

And we like it that way. It's easy to play it safe. The Ol' Factory likes to take risks. We're in Sand City, for goodness sakes.

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Listen To My Voice! with Chino XL

“The Beat” podcast is back with lyrical legend Chino XL. Talking with Chino was a real interesting experience. This guy is one of the most fierce MC's breathing, and to hear him open up on all things hip-hop was a pleasure.
This is a guy that KRS-One personally acknowledged as one of the illest on the mic. Heavy duty stuff. Chino was real open on when he first made a serious impact on the scene, '96, after his single "No Complex" hit with a bang.
He's since carved a nice career as an actor and writer (he did some stuff recently with The MTV Movie Awards).
Of course, he's still a beast on the track. His new album, "The Rican-Struction," is scheduled for a September release. Take that suckas!

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dream Hampton Tweets on 2Pac

The girl-girl/hip-hop writer Dream Hampton shared some really nice 2Pac memories on her Twitter page (@dreamhampton). Here are a few:

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Happy Birthday 'Pac

Today would have been Tupac Amaru Shakur's 38th birthday. A modern pop music legend and hip-hop iconoclast, 'Pac's legacy is likely to live on for at least a couple more decades. More than 12 years after his death, his life looms large still. Hip-hop's very own James Dean, 'Pac was one of the most complex and contradictory figures in modern pop music. His defiant stance was always balanced by a noble charm, a charismatic force of nature who made up his own rules as he went along.
I can't say I always cared for his music (or his caricature), but I have never denied his absolute necessity to the game. He was John Lennon, Gram Parsons, Sam Cooke and Bob Marley rolled into one, a rebellious martyr who felt every moment, entering in a flash and exiting in a fury.
Here is one of my favorite 'Pac songs, "If My Homies Call" off his debut album “2Pacalypse Now.”
Thug in Peace big homie.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

“Listen To My Voice” w/ Omar Cruz

“The Beat” podcast returns! “LTMV” is back with a vengeance, as we talk with L.A.'s finest, Omar Cruz.
The mixtape warrior has been bubbling on the Latino rap circuit for a few years now. He's gotten some national shine thanks to his hosting gig on MTV Tr3s' “Pimpeando” car lifestyle show. His debut album “Sign of the Cruz” is scheduled for release later this year, featuring guest shots from The Game and Los Lonely Boys (!).
He talked with “The Beat” about the album, his take on the Latin Rap scene and his headlining gig on the Latin Hip-Hop Tour. Watcha!

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“The Beat” gets props from Chino XL, Omar Cruz

I'm never one to fish for compliments but I was pretty stoked to peep out Chino XL's Twitter page (@ChinoXL) last week and find this:

Okay, so he got the paper's name wrong. Big deal. And it turns Chino was a no show at last week's "Latin Hip-Hop Tour" Salinas stop. But Omar Cruz showed up.

Speaking of Mr. Cruz, he also had some kind, albeit brief, words for “The Beat” in response to Mr. XL's Tweet:

I really do love my job.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Big American Family doing it big

Indie rockers Big American Family released their single "Pin Drop" in February. You can check it out here (Some technical difficulties have prevented me from streaming it at the moment, but you can get a full listen on their MySpace page.

The band will perform Tuesday night at Ol' Factory Cafe in Sand City. Should be a great show.I caught BAF last year during the Central Coast Talent Show I judged at Fox Theater. They were among the best of the night and they deserve some shine. I 'm hoping to get a feature on them in the near future. Stay tuned.

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Review: "The American Clock" @ The Western Stage

Given today's national economic crisis, there is an eerie prescience that resonates from Arthur Miller's "The American Clock," a vaudeville set in the wake of the 1929 U.S. Stock Market crash.
Opening the 2009-2010 season for The Western Stage, Miller's play is as much about American denial and doom as it is an examination of the times.
Juxtaposed with the nation's current economic plight, it's an earnest reflection staged and executed handily by the Salinas-based theater company.
Beginning with the large cast of more than 20 players, "The American Clock" is not the commonly known style of vaudeville punctuated by slapstick comedy and musical numbers.
Instead, as described in the production notes, it's meant as a series of short pieces, some dramatic, some musical, providing glimpses of the different people affected by the crash and the onset of the Great Depression.
That series begins with Arthur A. Robertson (a terrific Jeffrey Heyer), the lanky, wealthy New York City investor who sees the oncoming crisis and tries to warn those he cares for: a humble shoe shiner, then his personal therapist.
As he sits in his session, a woeful sense of guilt overwhelms him, as he reveals his plan to pull out all of his money, despite his therapists insistence that the market is on the rise.
"The stock market merely represents a state of mind," Robertson says presciently, revealing a lesson most of the American public is aware of. He then leaves somberly with some final advice, invest in gold bars and store it in your basement.
From there, Miller unveils the Baums, a Jewish family from Brooklyn. Young Lee Baum (Jacob Estrada in an understated debut performance) serves as the play's other protagonist, on a soul-searching mission that takes him from New York to the deep south and eventually toward socialism and a journalism career.
Doted on by his caring-turned-paranoid mother Rose (Anna Shumacher, bold and heartbreaking) and noble but spineless father Moe (Fred Herro in an eloquent turn), Lee Baum is the false hope that everyone in the play harbors blindly.
Baum eventually turns cold as the failed hope of the Depression era he comes of age in.
Using those characters to provide a loose narrative thread, Miller's script captures stolen moments from throughout the turbulent period, from Iowa farmhand revolts to beggars roaming the streets of Brooklyn.
Director Jon Patrick Selover does a tremendous job blocking out the action in the cramped confines of the Hartnell College Studio Theater.
Letting his cast spill out along the edges of the space, the numerous transitions flow smoothly, allowing the audience to stay in rhythm during the long stretch (the play clocks in at a robust 2 hours and 45 minutes).
Selover's production crew also comes through on most ends. Although the sketched New York skyline serves as a lazy backdrop, Tomas Reyes' sound design and John Englehorn's lighting design more than make up for the spare set.
Also, Melissa Chin-Parker, Maria Elena Cordero and Diane Kelsey's costume design is a detailed inspiration, with lots of double-knits and dreary color tones to reflect the drab era.
The director gives his large cast enough to do without wasting anyone's time. Highlights include Terry Durney, who steals the show as the shortest-tenured corporate president of all-time, Joe Yedlicka as the Baums' Jewish grandpa heading toward senility, and Tom Kiatta as the Iowa farmer who loses everything and stumbles into the Baums' Brooklyn enclave begging for work.
The production's only setback is the unclear connections between some of the side characters, which extends the play about a half-hour too long.
No doubt Heyer would have a tough time trying to trim a Miller script, but the production loses some steam leading up to the final scene involving the Baums and a persistent bill collector.
But leave it to a master like Miller to provide a forward-looking portrait of American fear in such a drawn-out manner.
Walking out of "The American Clock," today's audience has a clear sense of the playwright's message: Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"The Ecstatic" is slowly edging out "Born Like This" for my favorite album of the year (so far)

Been bumping Mos Def's "The Ecstatic" non-stop the past 12-hours or so. Mos really came correct with this one. I gotta give it up to him.
Of course, tastes change and I could very well go back to MF Doom's "Born Like This" as my favorite album of the year (so far), so this post is certainly subjective. Boogie Man!

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Big American Family show back on @ Ol' Factory Cafe

New word back from Sarah of BAF. Their Tuesday night show @ Ol' Factory Cafe is indeed back on. It's unclear right now what is and isn't a go @ Ol' Factory, I'll try and track down someone over there for something official.
In the meantime, catch Big American Family at 8 p.m. Tuesday night @ Ol' Factory Cafe. That's affirmative.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Chino XL headlines "Latin Hip-Hop Tour" Friday in Salinas

Chino XL is one of the most provocative hip-hop lyricists to emerge from the Los Angeles underground in the past decade-plus. A battle MC on-par with the likes of Canibus and Eminem, Chino proved his mettle early on in his career when he got into a little lyrical squab with none other than 2Pac (Chino insists there was never any beef on his part and his lyrics were taken a bit out of context, but whatever).

Chino will be in town Friday night at the Fox Theater as part of the "Latin Hip-Hop Tour." After-party will be held at "The Planet" in Monterey. Click on the flyer above for more info.

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Kyp Malone (TV On The Radio) coming to Henry Miller Library

TV On The Radio lead singer/guitarist Kyp Malone will make make his way to Big Sur June 28, to perform his solo project ‘Rain Machine.’
TVOTR has been one of the most critically lauded bands of the past few years, a band that turned considerable blog-buzz into legit broad-appeal acceptance. I haven't heard anything from Malone's solo side yet, but if nothing else, it should be interesting. Info below:

Sunday, June 28
'Rain Machine' - aka Kyp Malone of 'TV on the Radio' (TVOTR)

Kyp Malone, as co-writer, guitarist, and co-vocalist, the secret force behind TV on the Radio, 2008's most critically acclaimed band (name Best Album of the Year by Critic's Polls for Rolling Stone, Spin, New York Times, Pitchfork, et al).
Rain Machine is his debut solo project. Showcasing his mournful, four-octave voice, idiosynchratic instrumentals chops, and imagistic, deeply spiritual lyrics, there are already rumblings in the underground that it may be a classic-in-the-making, almost creating a genre unto himself.
June 28 marks a rare solo appearance by this talented artist and the only west coast concert before his official tour in the fall."
Tickets are $ 15 (plus 1.30 service charge). Call 831-667-2574

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Thursday, June 04, 2009 coming to iPhone

Local upstart, a streaming radio station showcasing local musicians, will soon be available on your iPhone.
SR founder Mike Rodriguez recently Tweeted his station will be placed on the RadioTime directory ( and by extension, will be available on portable devices like the iPhone through Wunder Radio (, a streaming radio app. iPhone owners can download the Wunder Radio app from the iTunes store (costs $5.99) and then find from the RadioTime directory. Then you'll be able to hear your favorite local bands on your iPhone. Pretty cool.
EDIT: Got word from Mr. Rodriguez himself that “users can listen in for free on their iPhone without the WunderRadio application by downloading the free ShoutCast application and searching for us. :)” (that emoticon was courtesy of him, not me).

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Jay Won (again)

Me and my girl were arguing (playfully) about who the biggest rap star is. I said Em, she argued for Kanye and Jay. I was wrong, she was right, it turns out, as Jay was named No. 1 on The Source's "Power 30" list. AP swipe below:

Jay-Z tops The Source magazine’s ’Power 30’|

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s been a minute since Jay-Z released an album, but he’s still got enough swagger to land on The Source’s ‘‘Power 30’’ list.
The hip-hop magazine says Jay-Z tops the list because he’s an industry leader and a top businessman, with his ventures with Live Nation and Rocawear, and his part-ownership of the New Jersey Nets.
Others on the list include Diddy, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne,, Snoop Dogg, T-Pain and Kimora Lee Simmons.
President Barack Obama was given top billing on the honorary power list because of his influence on the new hip-hop generation.
On the Net:

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Confirmed dates for Monterey Live shows now @ Ol' Factory Cafe

The aftermath of Monterey Live's closure has meant some shifting venues for acts that were booked through June at ML (an indication of how swift the ax fell on the joint). These acts and dates have been confirmed for Ol Factory in June. I'll try and post more as they come along:

Wednesday, June 10

The Decomposeurs and
Jason Stie and The Trees

Saturday, June 13
COVER: $5.00
Microtonic Harmonic

Tuesday, June 16
Lauren Shera
and Big American Family

Thursday, June 25

COVER: $7.00

Para La Gente - CD Release Show for Para La Gente
and Aces

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

PLG preps release of new album "People, Living, Growing"

Got a nice, quick note from Para La Gente bassist Zach Stahl. Their new LP "People Living Growing" will kick off with a record release party June 25 @ Ol' Factory Cafe in Sand City. Still waiting for some digital tracks to share with y'all. In the meantime, I'll re-up Cambio's dope solo single "Who I Am." Soon come.

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Message about Monterey Live closing

Got this quick response from Hattie Catania yesterday, booking agent @ Monterey Live, regarding its sudden closure:

Sorry not to reply.
Super busy REbooking shows (which somehow takes much more time)
Shows are going to Ol'Factory mostly and I've sent some bands to Tobin at Jose's
(dates that he had opened)
might send some July and August shows to Steve Vagnini who is booking a new place.
Sad and surprised.

Can't ween a whole lot from the message, although the last part, sad and surprised, pretty much sums up my attitude on it. I know PLG and Big American Family were scheduled to do shows there later this month. PLG (who I am posting about shortly) is moving to Ol' Factory. No word yet on where BAM will go.

I'll keep y'all posted as I hear more.

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Damn Shame: Monterey Live closes its doors

File this under "that sux." Monterey Live, site of some great personal memories along with the breeding/breaking ground for a lot of great local and touring acts, shut its doors as of Sunday night. The last show was reportedly Sunday night, according to my editor. Trying to get some word from the folks over there, but in any event, this is a sad day for local musicians and fans. Monterey Live was a great venue with good sound and atmosphere, one of the few places that hosted a nice variety of musical styles, from punk to hip-hop to cabaret. I personally have had some great nights on that stage and watching shows. I might have to put together some sort of top memories list together, but that place rocked. If this is indeed the end, RIP Monterey Live.

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"The Beat @ Wave St." w/ Stellar Corpses

The latest episode of "The Beat @ Wave St." features Santa Cruz rockers Stellar Corpses.

Now on tour and scheduled to play Wednesday night at Giovane's in Salinas, the guys sat down for a quick chat with your truly. Now playing in the media player. Yee.

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