2016 was a strong year for reissues, with many now classic LPs getting dusted off and spiffed up as vinyl releases. Some of these releases were remastered, some have been out of print on vinyl for awhile, and some are just straight up excellent tributes to our late, great, favorite artists. From R&B to rock and even one very special television soundtrack, join us for a look back at our biggest sellers for the year and what makes each one essential listening.
The Cure's seventh studio LP was their first album to break into the Billboard Top 40. Featuring beloved tracks "Just Like Heaven," "Hot Hot Hot!!!" and "Why Can't I Be You?," this recent 2-LP reissue is pressed on 180-gram vinyl.
Today funk innovator, captain of the mothership, nucleus of Parliament, Funkadelic, P-Funk All Stars and other spin off bands, George Clinton celebrates his 75th birthday. The artist is an historic key figure in shaping not just funk music but also a lot of hip-hop too. A hard working musician who, even in his mid 70's, is currently on tour. The man is truly a living legend. Hence if you have never seen him and P-Funk in concert you owe it to yourself to go see him play. Luckily there's ample opportunities to do so. Currently on tour in Euorpe, tonight he celebrates his birthday playing the Paradiso in Amsterdam. Tomorrow night he brings P-Funk to the Tramlines Festival in Sheffield, England. The artist returns to California in September when he will play the Fox Theater in Oakland on Sept. 15th and at the Santa Cruz Mountains Sol Festival September 18. In honor of this funk musical pioneer and his 75th birthday, I have a rare recently uncovered May 1985 interview with George Clinton that I conducted for KALX radio back in the day. Clinton, who was 44 years of age at the time, was enjoying a rich recent solo career. Just three years earlier in 1982 he unleashed his solo debut album Computer Games that featured the funk smash hit single "Atomic Dog." The following year he followed up with solo album number two You Shouldn't-Nuf Bit Fish. At the time of this interview he'd already finished up working on his third solo album, Some Of My Best Jokes Are Friends and was onto his next project: producing The Red Hot Chili Peppers. In fact he was in the studio in Detroit with the Chili Peppers working on their album Freaky Styley when he took time out to conduct this phone interview.
You probably know Flea as the bassist for Red Hot Chili Peppers. But you may not know him as an actor or jazz aficionado or the co-founder of the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, a non-profit organization dedicated to music education for kids. In 2014, Flea executive-produced and co-starred in the film adaptation of Amy-Jo Albany's memoir, Low Down: Junk, Jazz, and Other Fairy Tales from Childhood, about life with her father, jazz pianist Joe Albany. The biopic stars John Hawkes, Glenn Close, and Elle Fanning, and its soundtrack features jazz greats such as Coleman Hawkins, Thelonious Monk, and Joe Albany himself.
Flea and Amy-Jo recently visited Amoeba Hollywood for a DJ set and soundtrack signing. They took time to talk with our "What's In My Bag?" cameras and to surprise each other with a few selections. In this episode they talk about falling in love with Bach, Bowie's ability to interpret songs, and the transcendent power of J Dilla.
Watch the full episode below to see the rest of their picks:
With the release of Nirvana's Nevermind (Geffen), Pearl Jam's Ten (Epic) and Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik (Warner Bros), Alternative Rock dominated the early '90s mainstream. Touted as the voice of a generation, Kurt Cobain was the poster boy for grunge, leading the way with chart-topping, angst-filled hits. For perspective, Los Angeles was dealing with its own levels of angst and anarchy with the '92 riots which were spawned in the wake of the Rodney King beating. With the City of Angels literally on fire, President Bush had to call in the U.S. Guard for help. Compton rap group N.W.A. was ending its terror on the music industry, but not after prompting strict Parental Advisory guidelines on CD packaging for explicit content and drawing scrutiny from the FBI. With emotions on high and tension building in the streets, the stage was set and no one could have ever predicted the sonic tsunami that was about to shake up the music scene.
Taking their name from a song written by frontman Zack de la Rocha (while with his previous group Inside Out), Rage Against The Machine produced a 12 song demo cassette. The tape was self-released and made available at shows for $5. The band's buzz quickly erupted like a molotov cocktail and with just a handful of live performances, Rage were being persued by several major record labels. Ultimately signing with Epic, the band's debut album, Rage Against The Machine, was released on November 3, 1992. On the strength of the lead single, "Killing In The Name," the album hit #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and #45 on the Billboard 200 chart. "Killing In The Name" received heavy radio play with just 8 lines of repeated lyrics, including the explicit, "Fuck you I won't do what you tell me" repeated 16 times. In line with the aesthetic and social message of RATM, the song alludes to the idea that police brutality is closely associated with the deep-rooted racism in the United States. It's safe to say that none of the grunge bands of the time were singing songs like this.