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Koozies, Woodies & Beer: An Ocropolis Benefit for Japan out on 4/24/12!!! April 25, 2012
Hello Everyone, Blood here. Above is a few songs (that sound GREAT) of The Band in Pittsburgh 11.1.70. What can be said that hasn’t already been? RIP Levon. “Up On Cripple Creek” is my sh*t, I love to play it and have never done it the great injustice of singing it publicly (though I butcher it in private frequently).
Remember back a million years ago when I was talking about Brah’s amazing comp to benefit Japan? Guess what!! IT’S HERE! And it’s awesome.
“Koozies, Woodies and Beer: An Ocropolis Benefit for Japan” is officially available on Tuesday, April 24th! And that could be today…. Sometimes there’s a disconnect between my prattling and the actual posting, largely because I still don’t really know how to use computers in 2012. But enough about me….
It’s available in digital format only (but we also made up a sweet booklet to go along with it!! you can’t hold it but you can look at it!!) and all proceeds are going to 2 Japan Earthquake relief charities recommended to us by Brah Records recording artist and maniacal automobile driver Shinji Masuko. Please go to the Jagjaguwar site today to pick up the comp and support our friends in Japan while acknowledging the donated time and effort so many people put forth to make this project happen. We love it and hope that you do too.
(feat. Ron Anderson, Joe Merolla, Weasel Walter, Nonoko Yoshida, Thomas Heberer!!!!)
Come by and say Hi and tell us how much you love everything that we do here at Brah Records. We’ll laugh with and/or at you and then buy you a drink.
Infinite Loop closing party and sneak preview of the Brah Comp!! February 1, 2012
Hello, Happy 2012! Blood reporting live from the scene... how is everyone enjoying this East Coast heat wave? I know this will likely get me some hate mail (that is, if any readers ever wrote to me) but I wouldn't mind some snow. That's right, I like snow and haven't seen enough of it this winter. Sure it's cold and wet but it also serves as a canvas for free-thinkers everywhere, to-wit:
It's like the artist lives in my head... football gives me a boner and I am crazy for it, no doubt! Thanks for brightening my day, Google.
I am writing (let's be real, I'm copying and pasting) an email from Top Brah Dog Kid Millions regarding the closing party for his and Val Britton's show Infinite Loop that has been up and ongoing at the rad new Secret Project Robot space. (The video clip is from last week's (amazing) Matter Waves set feat. Rhys Chatham). Here's the transmission from Kid re: this Friday 2/3/12:
This Friday Feb 3rd is the final event for the Val Britton/John Colpitts - Infinite Loop Music and Art Installation.
Come out and see Val's installation and the final music event of the series!
Secret Project Robot
389 Melrose Street
Bushwick Brooklyn - L to Morgan stop.
Doors are 8pm
9pm - Alien Whale (Colin Langenus, Nick Lesley and Matt Mottel)
10pm - Chica Vas - awesome women drum ensemble
11pm - Kid Millions/Jim Sauter Duo - Oneida drummer meets one of Borbedomagus's tenor players! First performance!
During the breaks between the bands Brah Records will give you a FIRST LISTEN to our upcoming Ocropolis Compilation "Woodies, Koozies and Beers." It features exclusive tracks recorded at Oneida's old studio by Akron Family, Liturgy, Zombi, White Hills, Knyfe Hyts and a host of other amazing bands. . .come out, see the art, check out the bands and listen to the unreleased comp!
Word, so there's the info from the source. We are really excited that the Ocropolis comp. is almost ready for release, it's an eclectic collection of jams by a bunch of great bands and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do... BIG TIME THANKS to everyone who donated their time and talent to the project and got us everything we needed to make it happen.
That is a picture of my favorite player dealing with his post-TD cardiac arrest during SB XLIII (memories). Just want to say GO GIANTS!!! because I will NEVER ever root for an AFC team that isn't my beloved Steelers (sorry, NE pals). At the same time, how glad am I that NY's opponent is not the Ravens (not sorry, B'more pals)?! If you've read even one of my posts on this blog you already know the answer to that.
xo - Blood
Shinji Masuko US Tour! Brahjects! Farewell Monster Island! September 15, 2011
Greetings Brahs and Sahs!! Blood here. I hope you all have had an amazing summer and that you were not too adversely affected by oppressive heat or natural disasters. In this post I inform you of several things on the Brah horizon (combining Brah + horizon does not make a pronounceable word)(is 'pronounceable' a word?). You're psyched, I can tell.
Please be advised that Brah Recording Artist Shinji Masuko (Boredoms/DMBQ) is coming to the U.S. for his first solo tour! Below is the list of dates, he will be performing a new piece written for the tour and traveling with Makiko Toba (Water Fai) on bass. Catch him at one (or several) of the venues listed below (and we're also working on some radio appearances):
Sat Oct 1 - Atlantic City, NJ - I'll Be Your Mirror - Shinji to jam with Oneida
Mon Oct 3 - Providence, RI - Paragon
Tue Oct 4 - Portland, ME - The Space
Wed Oct 5 - Allentown, PA - Good Weekend
Thu Oct 6 - Pittsburgh, PA - Gooski's
Fri Oct 7 - Chicago, IL - Enemy
Sat Oct 8 - Cleveland, OH - Pat's In the Flats
Sun Oct 9 - New York, NY - Cake Shop
Mon Oct 10 - Brooklyn, NY - Knitting Factory
Remember way back when, I mentioned that Brah is working on a benefit comp. with all proceeds going to Japan's disaster relief? Yeah, it's still happening, and it's really solid! How will you know when it drops? I will inform you. That's just one of the things that we have coming up that you want to know about. Is it weird that I know what you're thinking? No worries, I don't judge.
And you know what else is coming up? The release date for Pterodactyl's new album, Spills Out. See? We have been working! Told you. You can listen to a track at that link. You're welcome. And this is a link to their kickstarter where they are hoping to get funding for a very worthwhile project. Help some Brahs out if you can!
Here I will link to a recent NYT article about the closing/block party of Monster Island, the building that houses our beloved Ocropolis among many other spaces run/organized by many amazing people. And here is the slideshow from that party. And here is an article about Maya's rad PAINT POUR that I missed cause I chose to watch the Steelers take a dump for 3 hours (WTF?).
I remind you Twits that Brah does in fact have a twitter. Is that what it's called, 'a twitter'? 'A twitter account'? All the #THIS and @THAT and RT blahblah makes me a little stabby but I guess the kids like it. Add us to your list of Twits please.
OK, I'm done, and again, you're psyched. Oh, one last thing: BIG thanks to everyone helping out with bookings and radio spots and all the requests/demands that come screaming from my inbox to yours with disturbing frequency. You are all champs and I <3 you.
Shinji Masuko album “Woven Music” releases 4/26/11 + more!!! April 25, 2011
Hi! It’s Blood, remember me? The above-posted tune popped into my head when I began to work on this post (don’t hate). Yeah, it’s been pretty quiet around here, and I certainly haven’t been up to much. But it’s good to be back, and so far I can say that some things don’t change… I really hate the opening paragraph. So let’s skip it and get right to the important stuff, shall we?
This week, multi-talented Shinji Masuko of Boredoms/DMBQ has a record dropping on Brah! What were first created as backing tracks for Boredom’s performances have been reworked by Shinji for release as his first solo album, Woven Music. Tuesday, April 26 is the release date and heads should click the link because there are only 700 copies available and thus it would behoove you to snap up a copy promptly to avoid missing any boats. It sounds great and it wants to go home with you, seriously, what more could you want from us? And we’ll have more from Shinji in the near future so check back for that!
(From Brahject 7: Audrey Chen… Photo by Z. Lehrhoff)
The JagBrah team is also working on a Brahject to support recovery efforts in Japan and HELLO, some of you have not gotten back to me yet!!! You know who you are, don’t make me come back here to publicly shame you. Then again, two posts in one week!?!? My editor-in-chief would think I’ve sustained a brain injury, if he doesn’t already.
Also, please be advised that Brah now has a twitter. The only people I’ve ever followed, and not literally because I don’t actually have an account, are Shaq and the guy who played Bill on Freaks & Geeks. I’ve also learned not to follow football players. What I’m saying is, if you’re the type who tweets, let’s follow each other.
And in non-Brah related news, I think anyone who enjoys this blog (should I say ‘read’ instead of ‘enjoy’ and not press my luck?) should go to see Blank City, a documentary about the DIY filmmaking scene in the LES during the late 70s/early 80s. It’s at IFC Center until Thursday and it’s already been extended a few times so this may be your last chance to get there before it closes and if you miss it you’ll know that you’ve failed at life. Just kidding. But you will have failed at seeing Blank City and that would be uncool.
Order Shinji’s record! Go see Blank City!! Email me suggestions for future posts, or your Derby picks or an essay on why you think I should not be given a forum on the internet. That last one I won’t respond to, but I’ll respect your opinion.
J. Palumbrah Goes to Battle October 21, 2010
HELLO. It's Blood. Long time, no post. Recent meltdowns and insane decisions involving relocation have been taking up my time lately…. and do you guys really want to hear about how much a$$ I'm kicking in fantasy football? Being that my fantasy teams are the things I'm most inspired to talk about these days you all should thank our #1 Brah Correspondent for keeping things interesting around here. Perhaps after I get all my things in boxes and then back out again elsewhere I'll feel more like writing? I know, with bated breath and crossed fingers you all sit in hope… I'm not delusional, it just looks that way sometimes.
Without further ado, please give it up for Chicago's finest, the one and only (person contributing to this site at all lately), J. Palumbrah! WOO!
(Photos by Matt Hannigan)
I can't remember when I first fell in love with dancing. It was probably around the same time I fell in love with Michael Jackson. I vividly remember making a big production of attending a Thriller MTV video premiere party at a family friend's house. We didn't have cable. My only glimpses of MJ were on the cassette I bought with my allowance and a school folder I picked out for Kindergarten. On the folder, MJ was wearing a pale-yellow sweater vest and matching bowtie, a nice white dinner jacket casually slung over one shoulder confidently as if to say, "The doggone girl is mine." And I was. I was his. I was super pumped about the Premiere, but after watching the first 30 seconds of Thriller, I wound up hiding in the bathroom pretending I was pooping. I was completely traumatized by the sight of MJ as a werewolf. (I had something of a talent for avoiding things that frightened me back then. I managed to instantly fall asleep the moment ET came on screen each of the three times my parents took me to see the film: "ET is nice, we promise, just watch" . . .zzzzzzzz).
When I finally mustered the courage to open my eyes and embrace THE THRILLER, life as I knew it changed forever. I had been bitten. Dancing was in my blood. Much like the wolf emerging, I have become powerless to resist. Once I hit a certain groove, I get locked in. I give it up to the ghost; completely lost in that zombie-zen state of moving without any thought or self-consciousness. It's become my religion, my drug of choice.
Shortly after THE THRILLER my mom enrolled me in jazz, ballet, and tap at Miss Gibby's on Broadway. I stuck with it until my preteen years, but I could never master the concept of choreography. I was the kid in the second line with my eyes glued to the dancer in front of me, scanning for clues and usually a good second behind. (See the curly blonde). The ghost couldn't be caged by all these rules. I had heart, but not for this. I had instinct, but no muscle memory. I had coordination, but no methodology. I entertained fantasies, but had no real dream of becoming a serious dancer. I danced to cut loose, not to conform. Besides, let's face it; Miss Gibby was a sweet old lady, but she didn't hit it hard enough.
So my style, if you can call it that, remains untrained, untamed, and unstoppable. Messy Jessy. Throwin' it down all over the place. My garbage steams, but my shit don't stink. My junk may not have a name, but it fills up the room.
Despite my inability to learn legit choreography, I have mad love for it. I have shed tears while watching So You Think You Can Dance. I have seen nearly every film in the Dancer(s)-Against-All-Odds genre (in the theater when possible, often alone). I convinced the school I teach at to fund my attendance at a "conflict dance seminar" (phase one of my plan: obtain a theoretical framework by which I can justify coercing my 8 year old students to solve social problems via dance off). Considering these facts, it seems shocking that it took me an entire 31 years, 4 months and 22 days on this earth before attending my very first DANCE BATTLE.
I had been waiting for this moment to arrive for many, many years, so naturally I had to carefully contemplate: What does a white girl wear to a break dancing battle? Staring at my closet full of vintage dresses I came to realize just how white I actually am. It would seem Levis are as urban as I get. Make due, J, make due.
The battle, REMEMBER THE NAME, was hosted by local crew the Chicago Tribe and held in a youth community center in Uptown. We walked through a hallway covered in graffiti that was so designed it looked more High School The Musical than Step up 2 Da Streets.
There were several large circles (cyphers) already formed in an open, brightly lit room. Our knowledgeable key master and tour guide, aka House Mouse, informed us laypersons that cypher wars occur between official battles. Anyone who shows up can step in and throw down in the cypher. Soaking in the scene, I felt like a kid at Christmas. I knew instantly I would not be disappointed by the packages splayed out before me. The energy was high and I was already picking out my favorite gifts.
As a completely unschooled observer, I looked more to the total performance elements to guide me: attitude, style, finesse, heart, strength, height, speed, power, control, and musicality. Having limited upper body strength myself (think wet noodle) I was easily impressed.
ManOGod was an immediate favorite. He had an element of performance that just wasn't present with most of the other B-boys. Each of his few minutes in the cphyer played out like a short story: character, setting, conflict, action, resolution. He was playful in a way that seemed genuine and not showy. Flirty, but not slutty. Artful, but not pretentious. He seemed to move without thought, only feeling; a cause and effect of what was being spun on the turntables. I was smitten. Regretfully I don't have footage from that night, but here is all the proof you need:
A little brah, no more than 7 or 8, who went by the name of Peanut caught my eye. Though he was undeniably good, I was somewhat repulsed by a child acting like such a pimp. Kid was cocky as hell, and though ‘TUDE is part of the style it just rubbed me the wrong way coming off a small fry. I'm 90% sure this was the same kid that danced on stage with Big Boi over the summer, stripped his shirt off and called for all the ladies to scream real loud before hurdling it into the crowd. Maybe I'm a prude, but sexy babies creep me out. But I digress . . . Peanut could throw it down and play with the Big Bois, so I gotta give him respect.
House Mouse was my only window into legit critique, pointing out the distinction between power vs. style. Brahs with the power focus on combinations, quickly moving from one thing to another (e.g. swipes to flares to windmills to headspins to baby windmills to 1990s to handspins). He schooled me on a few basic style elements to help me sus it out:
basically invented by this brah Megas aka Vengeance:
It's a style of footwork that is popular with contemporary b-boys and involves making holes with the body and "threading" other body parts through them to create shapes. Fast forward to 2:00 in for visuals.
Any move that stops suddenly and holds in a pose; often paired with a crotch grab and belligerent gaze. The hottest freeze right now according to HM is the air chair, where your entire body is supported by one arm and the rest of your body is facing up.
Crazy, jumping, spinning handstands with legs spread (a power move.
The first of the cypher wars ended and the crowd split into two sides. We joined one after popping an XS energy drink (the only beverages available at the venue). First up was a ‘lil-B-boy battle which Peanut judged. Fizz vs. Salami. Obviously, I am always on the side of Salami. To be opposed to Salami would be to oppose myself. It didn't take me long to figure out the basics: After 5 rounds of alternating breaking, the crowd gives the 3-count and the judges point to a winner. If a tie is called, they form an X with their arms and a 6th round breaks the stalemate. Thankfully, Salami had more meat than fizz.
It took awhile for the crowd to get energized or maybe for the XS to kick in. I kinda wanted things to get more heated, even if just for show. I guess I was aching for the back-story, some real pain and suffering to be overcome by crazy head-spins and windmills. I wanted someone to leave the hero. But of course this was Chicago, not Hollywood and I would have to settle for some air-dick jacking and mild player-hating scowls and chest flares. By the time Alberto and Huey faced off, things were starting to get more riled up between the rival crews. Now we're talkin':
Purely on a WTF level, check out the entrances at 3:00 and 4:40 from JFunky. INSANE.
I also hooked into the battle between Ram vs Toy. Toy regretfully changed his name to Tomix (why, Toy, WHY?) ruining perhaps the most perfectly named battle for me. However, I wasn't disappointed. Both were a little slow to warm up, and had sloppy transitions at times. But Ram had some nice spazz-funk to his footwork and pulled off a crazy upside down yogi-head stand freeze (air chair?) that had me paying attention (see 3:10). Put a whole new spin on NAMASTE.
More cypher wars began and as my battle cherry had been thoroughly popped, we decided to trade our XS energy in for tequila. I left feeling completely inspired -- maybe not to start my own b-girl crew (there was a severe lack of estrogen present on the floor), but at least enough to purchase a breaking beanie to learn a head spin or two on my kitchen floor. Messy Jessy might be cleaning up in the future...Look out y'all.
Super thanks to J.P. for this extremely informative and hilarious account… Perhaps we can join together in the name of Brah! to get some estrogen on the floor next time? My dancing resume includes lots of noodling at hippie shows and 4am interpretive dance in the dining room of the Rickety House…. clearly, I am more than qualified.
Happy Rock-tober, everyone. Will you be at Brahloween 6? I will.
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Hey everyone – so this piece has been brewing almost as long as the follow up to The Enchanter Persuaded. . .this is Kid talking. I read this review by the great Rick Moody and realized he was as addicted to rock biographies as I. So I decided, what the f’ – I would write to him and take his pulse on music bios. What follows is our reconstituted email exchange with our recommendations sprinkled in... Read on!