This weekend is all about music and you don’t even need to venture out to the Coachella Valley to take part. April 16th is the fifth annual (fourth global) Record Store Day and it is being celebrated at more independent record stores around L.A. than we even knew existed. The limited-edition special releases and in-store parties and performances begin at midnight!
What’s so special about Record Store Day? Everything. Record Store Day is not merely an appreciation of indie music stores (whether vinyl- or CD-centric) and the lengths many go to to showcase and promote local bands and artists. It’s a celebration of the art of recording and packaging for retail and best of all, the true music fan’s lust for getting a hold of limited edition releases and one-offs. This year’s exclusives include a motherlode of special releases from the likes of Bad Brains, Daft Punk, Phish, Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, Beastie Boys, R.E.M., Pinback and more.
It’s often dawned on me that my early scribblings on the web may someday disappear without a trace yet I continuously forget to archive said posts — for posterity if nothing else. Well today I listened to this blistering set from last week’s Newport Jazz Festival and was transported to ten years ago, Empty Bottle, Tuesday night Vandermark Five sessions and the frenetic rhythm from the band set up living room style disrupting the magic in the air. Love how that sound pumps through my veins and so does the rest of the world.
Ken Vandermark continues blazing trails across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East while basing himself in Chicago with many of the same cats. I keep up with Ken via his daily Twitter and Facebook updates which highlight the daily undertakings of a creative troubadour in brief, diary-like entries. I still subscribe to the chi-improv Yahoo! group for sentiment. Little has changed in Chicago I imagine — although my visits are too rare. (Save for the tragic death of Malachi Ritscher and the recent passing of FredAnderson). Still a few active venues and occasional improv backrooms shifted throughout the town and Peter Brötzmann, Ab Baars and the finest European improvisers still come over almost every year and the Chicago contingent of the Tentet visits Europe at least once a year.
Powerhouse Sound features Vandermark on reeds with longtime collaborator Nate McBride on electric bass; Jeff Parker, guitar and John Herndon, drums – both of whom are known for their work with Tortoise.
Below, three articles I wrote in 1998 for Centerstage.net relating to the Chicago Jazz scene. Still buried in some closet — minidiscs of interviews that I conducted with several of the players for a piece I never completed. There’s a nice long interview with Fred Anderson there and hopefully i’ll find it and when I do I’ll post it for all to share.
I was looking all over for the syllabus from a course I was fortunate to take in the fall of 2006 at USC, Set-Top Box: Hollywood’s Secret War on Your Living Room. As if it wasn’t enough to meet weekly with Cory Doctorow, the guests he brought in and the material we read were priceless and it has all stuck with me in many ways. Having tracked down the syllabus in an old socialtext wiki I thought I’d reprint it here so I no longer have to dig and dig and dig to refer back to some of the readings. The class blog and my class project are still online.