GRAB BAG

A brief contribution from me was included in NPR’s round-up of “the sounds of summer.” I picked one of my favorite, end-of-summer jams: “Be Thankful For What You Got.” My dude Dino Rivera of Spintronix sent me some new business card scans from the mobile DJ era.
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This sheet is especially cool for all the record and music stores on there. Aloha is legendary amongst dance DJs of the 1980s and I remember going to Star Records when it was still around. Manor Music, in Pacifica, perseveres but most […]

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THE SIDEBAR #14: SASHA FRERE-JONES


Apologies for the hiatus since the last Sidebar1 but this one arrives just on time with the end of summer nearing. Sasha Frere-Jones is the pop music critic for The New Yorker as well as culture editor for The Daily and, generally speaking, has been one of the definitive voices on pop music of the past 10 years.

I first “met” Sasha about 10 years back, through a now-defunct listserv (remember those?) for […]

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SIDEBAR #12: PHOTOGRAPHER BRIAN CROSS/B+

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Even if you’ve never seen Brian Cross aka B+ in person, you’ve definitely seen his photography. Starting in the early 1990s, B+ has become one of the premier music photographers of the past 20 years, especially (but hardly exclusively) in the hip-hop community.

B+ is also one-half of the L.A.-based production outfit, Mochilla, who’ve put out the renown Keepintime, Brasilintime and Timeless series. And, he’s author of one of the best books ever written about hip-hop in L.A., It’s Not About a Salary.1 Suffice to say, of all the folks I’ve met […]

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MICK BOOGIE AND JAZZY JEFF: SUMMERTIME 2

They’re back.

SIDEBAR #10: DJ CAPTAIN PLANET

I met Charlie Bethel aka Chuck Wild aka Captain Planet through his brother Wil (aka DJ Murphy’s Law), my old DJing partner at the Short Stop. At the time, Chuck was living out in Brooklyn, but last fall, he picked up and moved West, landing out here in L.A.

As Captain Planet, he’s been responsible for three Afro-Latin flavored EPs on Bastard Jazz thus far: Gumbo Funk (2005), Speakin’ Nuyorican (2009) and the just-released Ningané. He’s also at work on his first full-length, Cookin’ Gumbo, due out later this fall, also on Bastard Jazz.

Chuck […]

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MY SUMMER SOUNDTRACK (SO FAR)

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The last four weeks have been…awesome. Every day, I wake up and I get to write and write and write, usually pausing to get my noodle soup on. I’m trying to hammer my way through revising enough of this project to get it off to my publisher (the beginning of the end…but nowhere near “the end”). It’s great for my academic career, not so great for doing other stuff (hence why I’m writing this post at 11:36pm).

I love the Summer Songs series but this year, I just had to take […]

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SIDEBAR #9: ADAM MANSBACH, AUTHOR OF “GO THE F— TO SLEEP”

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It’s been a surreal year for Adam Mansbach, to say the least. He’s an old friend and the last time I saw him, we were driving around Philadelphia, eating hand-pulled noodles and record shopping, and he was telling me about a list of upcoming projects, one of which included a “children’s” book called Go the F— to Sleep. This had begun as a joke – a Facebook status update after a frustrating night with his daughter – but Adam managed to spin it into a real book though […]

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SIDEBAR #8: MICHAEL BARNES OF THE MELTING POT

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Michael Barnes is the host of KPFK‘s groovealicious Sunday afternoon show, The Melting Pot (and maintains the blog of the same name where you can find past archives of his 2-hour show). Michael and I have crossed paths often through the years – we first met at Berkeley where both of us were working at KALX FM. (Michael is also a scholar of sociology and popular culture and teaches in my department at CSU-Long Beach.)

Radio remains a core passion of his; in moving down to Los Angeles a few years ago, […]

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SIDEBAR #7: TOM BRENNECK OF THE MENAHAN STREET BAND

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Thomas Brenneck keeps a few pots on the stove, including as the guitarist for the Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, and is also a part of the Budos Band and the El Michels Affair. In the last few years though, he’s gone from sideman to bandleader with the Menahan Street Band and their work with Charles Bradley. He and the MSB have been touring behind Bradley’s recent album and he’s currently at work on a new MSB album. We talked about his songwriting history, sitting across the table from Jay-Z and why his […]

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THE SIDEBAR #5: DJ PHATRICK OF DEVIL’S PIE


Patrick Huang, aka DJ Phatrick, helped create and hosts the monthly Devil’s Pie party (Bay Area, L.A. and New York). He used to be the DJ for Native Guns and still regularly tours with Bambu. His day gig involves teaching music to middle and high school students in Los Angeles.

Phatty (seriously, they call him that) rolled down to the home studio to talk about the music tastes of teenagers, being the token Chinese DJ for Filipino rappers and…his summer song choices. Yup, we’re bringing the summer songs series to the podcasts (which is […]

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