Thursday, July 13, 2006

Kinky Loveliness Redux (Part 2—Watercourt Gig w/ Sidestepper Report... And the Boys Are Now Local!!!!!)

Yes, indeed, sublime Gil, Caesar, Carlos, Omar + Uli officially announced @ the July 1 California Plaza gig that they are now living full-time in Los Angeles!!!!!! (Rendering them not only the best band in this hellacious city, but all of North America.) We all knew that they'd been here for months @ a time, and I had the surreally magnificent pleasure of running into Gil on two separate occasions—attending Bugz in the Attic @ Transistor Lounge way back (when I talked to him for more than a half-hour about Brasileiro and Japanese sonics, and miraculously didn't faint), and later @ the El Rey for Robi Draco Rosa (when he was in a rush and an odd mood), but somehow their having relocated from Monterrey and living here on a daily basis feels altogether more miraculous. Hence two more upcoming gigs: July 26 @ JC Fandango's, and opening for Manu Chao @ the Shrine Auditorium on August 1 (a burnished lineup if EVER there was one).

As for the July 1 gig, it was characteristically colossal/powder-keg incendiary/city-leveling and blisteringly brilliant, and the first time in L.A. that they've really unfurled the new jewels from disc 3, Reina, out September 7 (to be preceded on July 26 by the limited edition (first round 750) Rarities comp (see preceding entry) available for pre-order via the dope-as-ever Sonic360 store). In lieu of a track list I'm loathe to remember new titles, but remember that one gently percolating love song (the definition of graceful and lustrous electronics) is achingly radiant, and that several others were ribcage-shattering dancefloor killers as only the Kinky chicos can bless us. Per the vintage anthems, "Soun Tha Mi Primer Amor" was heraldically astonishing as ever, and featured Gil actually playing live trumpet while standing in all his loveliness atop a mountain of speakers, and my anthem "Sol (Batucada)" remains to soak in an enveloping and preternaturally warm cascade of Brasileiro drum fire.

On to Sidestepper, the equally jewel-like aggregate seem to have consolidated their two performance modes with epic result. If you've ever heretofore seen sly boy Richard Blair and co. more than once, you might know what I'm speaking of: as a rule, outdoor festival performances were strictly centered around the vivacious (verging on poppy) Afro-Cuban-inflected d+b-ish sides to send the crowd into giddy, elated orbit—and the late night club sets regenerated into 2 1/2-hour+ marathons of DEEP AS HELL Santeria descargas to make even the mighty Osunlade weep in envy (just a figure of speech, I know he'd love it). Now they've at last seamlessly blended the two into a nectar that defies articulation. You simply MUST hear it. And one other new contributory factor that's taken Sidestepper to a whole other instellar level is the addition of a crushingly EXQUISITE long-haired Latin boy guitarist, who I'm not only COMPLETELY FUCKING IN LOVE WITH, but breathless in admiration (alright, the breath-defying might be coming from more than admiration...) at his Pat Martino/Gabor Szabo-worthy, utterly miraculous flamenco-drenched skills. And did I say that he was fucking BEAUTIFUL? He's 5th from the left in the above photo. If anybody has any better ones please please please let me know.

Kinky Loveliness Redux (Part 1—Pure Aesthetic Ephemera)

Wined + Dined No More

Many posts to catch up on, but first things first – one that's actually timely. Another tragic death (what is it with this year?), albeit one much more expected. Expected, yes, but still reason to bow our heads briefly in silence. I'm referring to the inimitably twisted psych genius Syd Barrett, who passed away after a lengthy illness in his shut-in's haven in the UK countryside. I'll admit, I haven't listened to any Syd in years, but Opel was a seminal disc in my days of post-industrial-boy schooling, and I know damn well that Syd was indeed a genius, capable of constructing locomotive grooves as easily as pensive and, let's say, eccentric shanties that were umistakably British in every way. If it hadn't been for Syd, Spiritualized, My Bloody Valentine (especially circa their (arguably) best album, Ecstasy + Wine), and the whole C86-turned-shoegazer sound would've evolved in entirely different, and likely far less potent, directions – and the shimmeringly beautiful roc en Espanol juggernaut that picked up that sound 4-5 years ago and continues to bust at the seams with genius in 06 might not have been able to pick up the mantle with such effortless fucking mastery (see Kinky, Volumen Cero, Robi Draco Rosa posts below). It matters little that Syd had been a complete recluse for decades (whether because of psychotropic drug burn-out, other mental problems, or for whatever reason – god knows, few can understand as well as I the difficult-to-deny impulse to move to a beautiful spot in the middle of the UK countryside where you never have to deal with the scumbag idiocy of 99% of humanity), it's still a damn shame, and many of us'll miss the madcap boy.

It's rather ironic (I hate that word, but...) that Syd should pass as I'm quivering in anticipation of next week's Os Mutantes gig @ the Hollywood Bowl, after not pandering to my psych love in ages. From what I've seen of the London video, the Mutantes should be mightily brilliant in full-throttle wall of noise mode. The only potentially negative thing I can say about it is that I'll be missing French/Crepuscule goddess Isabelle Antena @ Temple Bar. And in fact, the lovely Ms. Antena has posted her own Syd obit on her MySpace page. Represent.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Mark de Clive-Lowe @ Jazz Re:freshed

Lovely video of MdCL, Bembe, Richard Spaven + co. Nowhere near as gorgeous as the full-length set on Fab Channel, but still plenty lovely enough to go on here.

I didn't realize how much Mark was balding, but who cares – he's still adorable (in that (love of my life) Bobbito sort of way), and obviously a massive genius.

Incidentally, I'm also pining at the moment because I just saw on Mark's own site that he's touring the UK this month with mighty Brasileiros Drumagick. Since I'll be missing out on that sonic loveliness I'll have to placate myself by gazing frequently at the photo below.