Fat Beats LA Store on Melrose Closes Today with a DJ Instore Farewell Celebration at the Longtime Hip-Hop Meeting Place

Posted by Billyjam, September 19, 2010 11:30am | Post a Comment

Evidence "To Be Continued" live @ Fat Beats LA on Friday Sept 17th 2010

Two weekends ago the Fat Beats retail store in New York City closed shop for good and today the Fat Beats store in LA will follow suit. And while the shuttering of this longtime SoCal meeting ground for hip-hop fans and artists is most definitely a sad day, the good folks at Fat Beats are going out on a high J-Rocccelebratory note rather than a just a downer tearful farewell. Today's final day for the LA Fat Beats on Melrose is the culmination of a week and a half long series of music industry panels and energized instore performances that included Ras Kass, Dilated Peoples, Evidence (solo, as in video above from Friday), Bishop Lamont, Kurupt, Mellow Man Ace, and 2Mex (as seen in video below from last weekend), with a day long DJ showcase featuring J Rocc, Rhettmatic, DJ Revolution, and other turntable manipulators throughout today.

Don't miss it if you are the LA area! Allow time to get in, as the relatively small space will quickly get crowded. Two weekends ago at the September 4th closing of Fat Beats on Sixth Ave in Greenwich Village, NY, it was so crazy that myself and another two or three hundred fans, who arrived late in the afternoon, got stuck outside listening to the music blaring out the windows of the second floor store. Like the closing of the NYC Fat Beats, the closing of the LA store is more than simply some retail space closing down. It is the loss of an important community common ground, a local hip-hop institution that lovers of the genre gravitated towards and where, it seemed, there was always some must-see instore performance.

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Richard Thompson to Play Amoeba Hollywood Sunday, September 19th @ 5pm. Don't Miss It!

Posted by Billyjam, September 18, 2010 07:30am | Post a Comment

Richard Thompson "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" - A song he usually includes in his live sets

Even the dedicated legions of lifetime Richard Thompson fans agree, essential as the guitarist/singerRichard Thompson Dream Attic/songwriter's records are, to fully appreciate the brilliance of this British folk legend you simply have to witness him live in concert. The good news is that you will have a chance to see the songwriting guitarist extraordinaire play live for free when he graces the stage at Amoeba Hollywood tomorrow, Sunday, September 19th at 5pm.

The Amoeba Music instore is in support of Thompson's just released new album Dream Attic, which captures the man (and his band) at their best, live in concert. Available to buy online from Amoeba for just $10.98, Dream Attic features thirteen all new songs that were recorded live earlier this year during a West Coast tour by Thompson and band (including mandolin, violin, sax, bass and drums).

Thompson, whose guitar skills have elevated him alongside such other greats as Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page (although he has never gotten the level of mainstream attention of these two lauded guitarists) and who Rolling Stone placed in the Top 20 tier of the magazine's list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, started out in the legendary British folk-rock group Fairport Convention. Penning such classic early Fairport songs as "Meet On The Ledge" and "Crazy Man Michael," Thompson was a member of Fairport Convention for four years, through 1971. And while no longer officially a member, he occasionally gets together with his old band mates for reunion concerts, typically at the annual August Fairport's Cropredy Convention.

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Hip-Hop Rap Up 09:17:10: Al'Tariq, Black Milk, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, MF Doom, Rah Digga + More

Posted by Billyjam, September 17, 2010 10:00am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music San Francisco Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 09:17:10

1) Pete Rock & CL Smooth Mecca and the Soul Brother DeLuxe Box Set (Traffic Entertainment)

2)  Black Milk Album of the Year (Fat Beats)

3) Al'Tariq God Connections (Al'Tariq Music)

4) MF Doom Expektoration Live Featuring Big Benn Klingon (Gold Dust Media)

5) Rah Digga Classic (Traffic) 

Thanks to Luis at the San Francisco Amoeba Music for this latest hip-hop chart! The reissued and nicely repackaged deluxe version of the hip-hop classic by Pete Rock & CL Smooth Mecca and the Soul Brother is number one. This re-release by Traffic Entertainment is so impressive that the folks at this fine label made a special video about it (see immediately below) in which they unveil its newly improved contents: two CDs, including the original album plus one disc filled with bonus versions, exclusives, instrumentals, and a capellas. Also included in this new set is a poster, 20 page booklet, and individual ‘paste on’ style jackets. Nice! No wonder it's number one at Amoeba Music this week.

Pete Rock & CL Smooth's Mecca and the Soul Brother 2010 DeLuxe version

Soca Musician Arrow, R.I.P.

Posted by Billyjam, September 16, 2010 11:29am | Post a Comment
Arrow "Hot, Hot, Hot" (live 2006)

Alphonsus Cassell, the soca musician known to the world by his stage name Arrow, died yesterday in his home on the Caribbean island of Montserrat as a result of complications from brain cancer. He was 60 years of age. Although he had a good long career, Arrow will always be best remembered for his huge international hit single, the 1982 recording "Hot Hot Hot."' The success of that song not only catapulted the artist's career globally but also spread soca music into new territories around the world. Above is a video of Arrow and his band performing the song four years ago at the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States) Awards Show.

It's Hard to Ignore the Poignancy of Camu Tao's Posthumously Released Song, Death

Posted by Billyjam, September 15, 2010 10:00am | Post a Comment
Camu Tao
The new album track "Death" from the late Camu Tao includes a refrain with him singing in a pleading tone, "Death! Where have you been all my life?" It is hard to ignore the poignancy of these passionately sung lyrics by the artist, born Teru Smith, who passed from lung cancer two years ago. It seems like, in a morbidly dark and humorous way, the Ohio born artist was taunting his pending death, which struck him down on May 25th, 2008, a month before his 31st birthday, following a two year battle with cancer.

Although Camu Tao had recorded albums with other artists (including S.A. Smash, Nighthawks, and Central Services), the recently released King of Hearts (or Death, Where Have You Been All My Life? as it was titled at the time of his death) was to be his long awaited solo debut. Signed to the Def Jux label, the album would not have been released had Def Jux's main manEl-P (also his partner in Central Services) not gone ahead and released it in its current, raw sounding form via Fat Possum Records, since Def Jux isn't putting out records right now (even El-P's own recent solo WeAreAllGoingToBurnInHellMegamixxx3 was released on Gold Dust Media).

Camu Tao "Death" (Fat Possum/Def Jux 2010)

King of Hearts is a really good album but by no means is it a hip-hop album, and even former fans of the alternative hip-hop circles that Tao worked in (including Ohio's MHz crew, Weathermen, & the Cardboard City collective) couldn't get into it. As one recent online comment succinctly summed up: "A lot of people been hatin' on this album." Those haters no doubt would be the disappointed hip-hop fans who, much like the disgusted Bob Dylan folk fans who hated him going electric, balked at the fact that the artist sings his way through most of the 16 track rock sounding album. In fact, it isn't until CD track number 10 (the title track) that he raps at all. The lesson here is don't judge someone by their past work or their musical affiliations; rather, listen to the music for itself. Unfortunately, since he didn't live to record a follow up, we will never know if this was merely a temporary detour from hip-hop or not.

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