Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Via - Modcast #72: Toro y Moi "Made In Bed Mix"

Chazwick Bundick: musician, nap-taker
This is too good not to share, especially if you are a mixtape-making nerd like me:

Chazwick Bundick, better known as the mastermind behind the A.M. chill-pop beats and blips of Toro y Moi, made a hazy, lazy, crazy-good pop comp. 

You can download it here via the Modular People website, which is pretty fuckin' kickass (tons of great tunes, music-related articles, inside dirt on up-coming releases, awesome Modcast mixes by indie luminaries, and so on and so forth). Sit a spell an' learn a bit.

Anyhoo, here's Bundick's Modcast inspired mix in all of it's washed-out, flute-powered, rum-punch-induced, single track glory:

Modcast #72: Toro y Moi - Made In Bed Mix

King Tubby “A First Class Dub”
Dorothy Ashby “Come Live With Me”

Piero Piccioni “Part Version 8”

Chorafas “Pealed Tomato”

Connan Mockasin “It's Choade My Dear”

Ennio Morricone “Mariangela e la Seduzione”

Robert Lester Folsom “Show Me To The Window”

Enrico Simonetti with Goblin “Chi Mi Cerchera”

Bixio Frizzi Tempura “Was It All In Vain”

Kathy McCord “Rainbow Ride”

Les Wanted “O Sabia”

Julian Lynch “Clay Horses”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Outlier/Feit "Supermarine" Cycling Shoes

Outlier/Feit Supermarine cycling shoes
Leave it to Outlier to create even more dashingly desirable bicycling apparel that's outside of my meager price range. The princes of high fashioned, high priced cycle-centric clothing hit yet another seemingly pitch perfect note with their entry into the ever-competitive world of feet covers by collaborating with independent shoemaker, Feit. And the results are a simple, elegant and - quite frankly - breathless shoe.

The Supermarine looks to be a slimmed-down version of Feit's Superclean Low 1, minus the welt stitching. The silhouette of the Supermarine is spartan, yet striking; in this case less appears to be more. This "handmade" sneaker comes in two colorways (Flat Black and Olive), features a reflective strip on the heel and is made from breathable water resistant materials. They come housed in an almost logo-free box paired with a black satchel bag akin to the kind Clae used to provide with their shoes.

This being Outlier, these puppies, of course, aren't cheap. A mere $260 is the price you'll have to pay if you want these elegant sneakers cradling your toes. $pendy? Oh, no doubt. But just look at these shoes. I mean, who really needs things like food and shelter, anyway?

Now, if only there were a way for me to review these shoes and give you, the reader, a performance assessment of them. Hmm....

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fiver - Episode IV: Jason Lives (S.S. Records Edition)

This year marks S.S. Records' 10th anniversary. Yep, label head Scott Soriano's punk funnel has been tossing rare-right-off-the-press wax like barbed bocce balls, with the space between your ears as his target. One of Sacramento, California's most unsung, yet highly praised record labels, S.S. has released skids by A Frames, Duchess Of Saigon, Nothing People, Crash Normal, The Intelligence, Antennas Erupt, Karate Party, Cigarettes, ...and on and on the list goes.

To celebrate S.S. Records' big 1-0, there will be multiple shows cases at this year's Noise Pop fest in San Francisco. Information is as follows:

S S 1 0: SS Records 10th Anniversary Fiesta! 

Friday May 20
A Frames / Cheveu /  Hank IV / Charles Albright
Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco
Buy Tickets Here

Saturday May 21
feedtime / Lamps / Nothing People / Wounded Lion
Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco
Buy Tickets Here

Sunday May 22
The Mantles / Nar / Duchess of Saigon / LENZ
Hemlock Tavern, San Francisco
Buy Tickets Here

More information at

This, then, is a Fiver dedicated not to just one of the best record label's going, but the grumpy guy making it happen. Good on ya, fucker.

1. Wounded Lion "Carol Cloud"
From the Carol Cloud 45 (2008, S.S. Records)
I used to know a girl named Carol. She was a bit of a schmuck. The girl Wounded Lion's singing about here doesn't sound like she'd cry about getting the wrong color Volkswagen Cabriolet on her sixteenth birthday.

2. Cheveu "Hello Friends"
From the album Cheveu (2008, S.S. Records)
So, I wonder if the guys in Cheveu know the fellas from Les Thugs. You know, because both bands are from France. Les Thugs are the only French band my ignorant American ass actually knows about - and their hey day was back in the 90's! I mean, are Les Thugs even around? I seriously need to travel more.

3. A Frames "Surveillance"
From the album 2 (2003, S.S. Records)
I once dated this chick that lived in Baltimore. Needless to say, I ran up a considerably high telephone bill one month; my being in California and all. To pay the $327.86 I owed AT&T, I stupidly sold some records, and 2 was one of 'em. Now this LP's fetching over $50 on eBay and Gemm. And the girl? Long, long gone. No long-distance relationship is worth sacrificing your record collection for... EVER!!!

4. Karate Party "Pressure"
From the album Black Helicopter (2005, S.S. Records)
Chris Woodhouse of Mayyors fame was in this band. That's it - enough said. I shouldn't have to say anymore about this fuckin' awesome record is than that. No, seriously; "humorous" asides and what I believe to be funny quips are not required for this mini review. 

5. Nothing People "Twinkie Defense"
From the album Late Night (2009, S.S. Records)
Hey, where is Dan White buried? I've never shit on a grave before, but honestly, I can't think of a better burial site to do so upon. Can you?  Play this song by Nothing People while paying your respects to the man who allowed fat-fried cakes to drive him to murder.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Serge At The Verge

Okay, it's been like, what? A month since this event happened? Yeah, yeah, yeah...

Celebrating possible one of the coolest white people to ever grace this tiny blue sphere, the Verge Center of the Arts and The Sacramento French Film Festival joined fundraising forces in March to celebrate the life, times and unlimited talents of what could be arguably considered one of France's  finest exports: Serge Gainsbourg.

What can you say about this guy that hasn't already been said? He had a charmingly vulgar vocal delivery, acting and directing chops akimbo, enough moxie to choke a donkey, was tethered to a bevy beautiful women (Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin, etc.) over the course of his lifetime, and looked spot-on even (or especially) when he was soft-hell dishevelled. What can I say? The Man was - and still is -  a god.

Anyhoo, here are some drunken pictures I took with my friend Susan's camera and my crappy 2G iPhone. Enjoy!

Serge's silhouette beckons Susan inside
...or threatens to swallow her whole.
Gainsbourg, literally beside himself.
Le crowd.

Two of Sacramento's best graphic designers,
Stacey McConnen and Laura Edmisten of Asbestos Press.
The always fashionable Bows & Arrows
co-owner Olivia Coelho Citron-ing it up.
I'm not entirely sure who this couple is, but hey,
"bon!" regardless.
Ditto this couple.
Annimal House's fashionable scribe, Ann Tindall, and
her man (how thrilled is that chick in the background?)
I don't know who this beautiful woman is, but DAMN!
Midtown Monthly head honcho Tim Foster and his
lovely wife (and Verge commander-in-chief) Liv Moe.
The Citron was a hit! Even that guy in the back seat is all
like, "Dude, this car is pimp."
Oh, yes. Pimp, indeed sir.
Projected Serge.
Your author boat captain-ing
the Citron (photo by Susan). 
The always dapper Chris Tafoya,
paying lip service to his cigarette.

Serge on film.
All night Susan was like, "That fuckin' car is mine!"

"Zee answer is always 'oui, oui!' my dear."
One last look at le Citron. Va-va-vroom!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

The KDVS 90.3 FM Annual Fundraiser, 2011

You know, it can be fairly easy to take a vital public resource like KDVS 90.3 FM for granted. For more than 40 years now, this local free-form, community-based radio station has been dutifully providing the Sacramento/Davis/Yolo County region with independent music, current events programs and community activities. Turn your dial to 90.3 FM, and you can largely expect KDVS' dedicated, all volunteer staff to be there providing you with 24-hour entertainment. I mean, it's a given that the station will be there forever, right?

Recently, another independent, community-based radio station was bought-out from under its staff and had its radio frequency sold to a corporation. KUSF, much like KDVS, provided the Bay Area with news, information and underground music (these two stations even shared shared the same 90.3 signal). Then one day this year, POOF! KUSF was off the air, it's signal changed to that providing classic music 'round the clock. The dedicated staff, volunteers and listeners were stunned. KUSF's bandwidth space on the FM dial was bought, sold and terminated just like that (the station still exists, but in an Internet-only capacity now).

In a way, those of us in the valley who appreciate having an independent source of news, information and (especially for this writer) independent music are pretty damned lucky to have KDVS. San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area is a fairly large, progressive metropolitan space. If a radio station that should seemingly be able to thrive withing those feted Bay Area borders can be easily snuffed-out as in the case of KUSF, whose to say the same coudn't happen to KDVS?

Well, I'll tell you; I didn't know KUSF 90.3 very well. Sure, I enjoyed listening  to this radio station every time I'd go to San Francisco, and their DJ's played some pretty awesome records indeed, but my heart always belonged (and still does to this day) to KDVS. And I'm confident that I'm not the only one who feels this way. KDVS survives (solely it seems) on the persistent dedication of its staff and the listening community - both of which it can be said, could be considered one in the same.

This week KDVS is hosting another one of its annual fundraiser events. While a small amount of funding to operate this free-form community-based radio station actually comes from the UC Davis Board of Trustees, the bulk of funding comes from you, the listener. In turn, your monetary support goes to paying for things the station desperately needs, such as maintenance or replacement of equipment, boosting the signal output, hosting community events, etc., etc.

To show you their appreciation, KDVS is offering premiums for your pledges. And we're not talking water bottles or keychains with the KDVS logo splashed across 'em. Nope, we're talking records, CDs, DVDs, books, handmade crafts, T-shirts, airtime, mobile DJ's to cater your event, and dozens and dozens of more goodies. Honestly, you can spend an entire day perusing the premiums available for your donation. Receiving bundles of good stuff while supporting community-based, free-form radio? It's a win-win.

Now, speaking for myself, I honestly don't know where I'd be in my appreciation of music if it weren't for KDVS. More than 50% of the bands and songs I hear about were gleaned directly form KDVS and its crew of dedicated DJ's. And these aren't feckless DJ's who play disposable Top-40's hits (whatever those are these days). No, this is a crew whose tastes are vast and varied, playing everything from punk to indie to hip-hop to folk to Tuvan throat singing, and just about any musical genre you can think of. And unlike a certain Robo-radio station chain, the DJ's at KDVS play what you want. Go on! Call in and request a song. Not only will you talk to an actually live person, but you'll hear the song you requested played mere minutes later. A novel notion, no?

In addition, KDVS hosts a bevy of live music festivals and events, such as Operation Restore Maximum Freedom and Picnic Day. Then there's KDVS Recordings, an in-house record label which has produced recording by bands such as Art Lessing and The Flower Vato, San Francisco Water Cooler, Pregnant, and many, many more.

But KDVS isn't just about the music. News and public affairs broadcasts, both local and international take president. KDVS is the only radio station in the area that hosts Democracy Now and Al Jezeera America, as well as a bevy of locally produced and informative talk shows such as This Week In Science, Radio Parallax, It's About You, Local Dirt, KDVS Radio Theater, and many, many more. This station is, simply put, an information powerhouse.

And it belongs to you.

That's right. KDVS is your radio station. A point of pride, if you will, for those of us living in the Sacramento Valley. And it's not like KDVS 90.3 FM is some sort of cloistered, exclusive club which is inaccessible to the public; anyone can become a DJ or volunteer, and many in our community have. Those commercial breaks? Produced and featuring volunteer actors (which are, quite frankly, a lot more enjoyable, quaint and far, far less shrill than those "professionally" made money-tuggers on commercial radio stations.) Add to this, KDVS reaches not only folks here in the central valley, but listeners all over the world. Thanks to it's streaming radio feature, KDVS 90.3 FM is heard virtually any and everywhere. Yep, KDVS 90.3 FM is a global phenomenon.

So, what say? Ready to pledge your support for your local community-based radio station? KDVS has literally always been there for you. What do you say that we keep it that way?

(I'll be riding shotgun during my good friend Tim Matranga's fundraiser show, Kicksville 29BC. this Sunday, 4/24/11, from 10:00pm to 12:00pm. Tune-in to hear my melodiously nasal voice beg for change. This is the final show of this year's fundraiser. Should be fun!)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Rocket Science Alliance Tribute To Record Store Day 2011!

Today marks the fifth year of Record Store Day, the national event celebrating local, independent record retailers, the superiority of vinyl and hording rare, limited edition slabs o' wax destined for eBay.

We here at The Rocket Science Alliance would like to take this opportunity to celebrate Record Store Day (otherwise known as our favorite day of the year after Arbor Day) with a virtual mixtape. Please enjoy the sounds of...

 "The Splendid Adventurers Club Presents: Champion Chimes For Splendid Times"

1. The Divine Comedy "I Like"
2. Cats On Fire "The Border Of This Land"
3. The Soundcarriers "Caught By the Sun"
4. The Cat's Miaow "Seventeen"
5. The Dials "Watch Her Walk Away"
6. Jim Noir "Don't You Worry"
7. Brown Recluse "Rainy Saturday"
8. Tender Trap "Do You Want A Boyfriend"
9. Viola "Popsicle Summer"
10. Summer Fiction "Chandeliers"
13. Spectrals "Peppermint"
14. Camera Obscura "If Looks Could Kill"
15. Cocoanut Groove "The Castle"
16. Maple Leaves "Tapestry"
17. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart "A Teenager In Love"
18. Readymade "Rehearsed Disaster"
19. Orca Team "Let It Go"
20. Social Studies "We Choose Our Own Adventures"
21. Reading  Rainbow "Always On Mind"
22. The Postmarks "My Lucky Charms"
23. The Superimposers "Autumn Falls"

Happy hunting everyone!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fiver - Episode III: Thrice As Nice

The best thing about music these days? There is so goddamn much of it. And some of it is actually pretty good.

Seriously, back in the day, if you wanted to hear something a little different - a little more underground than say, Living Colour - you had to thumb through volumes of grungy mail order catalogues or fanzines made out of flimsy newsprint and wait two weeks for your records or cassette tapes to arrive in the mail. It was either that, or motor on down to the nearest Tower Records and take a chance on a disc whose cover artwork looked vaguely similar to that of the last slab you bought. Honestly, you kids have it so easy these day - there are more readily available and eager bands on the interwebs than you can shake an empty PBR bottle at.

Oh, listen to me go on. Just pass me my Ensure aleady, would ya? And while you're at it, sample these songs by 5 outta the kajillions of other bands your generation has the luxury to ignore. Also, get off of my lawn!


1.  Family Portrait "Other Side"
From the album Family Portrait (2001, Underwater Peoples)
Something about the vocal delivery of the lead singer of Family Portrait (along with that gritty guitar strumming away with reckless, lazy abandon over drums chugging along like a Rambler on it's last legs) convinces me that this dude has an impossibly cute girlfriend who wears butt ugly shoes. I dunno. Call it a hunch.

2. The Antlers "Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out"
From the album Burst Apart (2011, French Kiss)
Ya know, it's funny. I just got back from seeing my dentist this morning, and I have a pretty severe case of gum disease (like in the 5 and 6's range). Then I get home and discover this song by The Antlers about teeth falling out as you sleep. Ha-ha! Funny, right?!? No, not really.

3. Sandwitches "Grey Wizard"
From the compilation In A Cloud: New Sounds From San Francisco (2011, Secret Seven)
Hey Sandwitches! You know what? Gay wizards are people, too!!! I don't know why you guys feel the need to single out magic-conjuring sorcerer-Americans because of their sexual proclivities, but that shit's fucked up! It's not like... Huh? What's that? Oh, "Grey Wizard." My bad. Carry on.

4. Sleeping Bag "Slime"
From the album Sleeping Bag (2011, self released)
You know what I love about this song? It sounds like Sleeping Bag is playing it for you out of some sort of obligation; like you nagged and nagged them to do so until they dragged their instruments to your house and went through the motions. "There. Happy?"

5. Dirty Beaches "A Hundred Highways"
From the album Badlands (2011, Zoo Music)
So this is what the elevator music in David Lynch's dreams sounds like...!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dreamin' & Schemin' Pt. 1: Mashugina Shoe Works

While I'm no Emelda Marcos or Carrie Bradshaw, I do have a certain predilection for collecting shoes. My shoe buying habit isn't as bad as it once was (about 50 or so boxes of tennis shoes before I came to my senses about fives years ago and realized I was seriously hording), I still manage to find closet space for adidas, Clarks and Clae

Tennis shoes these days, however, aren't as fetchin' to me as they once were. Aesthetically, shoes just ain't doing it for me much these days. Then I started asking myself exactly what kind of kicks I would want to wear, and I quickly scribbled-out the shoe you see to the right.

The Mashugina Shoe Works' "Lo-Fi" would be a chill shoe made for both function and fashion. It features a wrap-around banding side walls, gum rubber soles and the Mashugina patented rear panel stripe (in red, of course, to honor a certain Jamaican beer maker). It also features an internal padded foot arch and a small hide-y pouch in the tongue. All-in-all, a simple, functional and aesthetically pleasing shoe (well, to me anyway).

Here are some more of my sketches. If you know any potential investors willing to take a gamble on a an indie shoe-making venture, send 'em my way!