August 22: Final mixtape from Outernational's Mehanata residency... we're moving to Maxwell's in Hoboken, but the online playlists will keep coming every week!
I'm in a sentimental mood, gonna miss the musty basement at Mehanata and all the good times we had there. The original mixtape from the show was a little different (see the full list below). Most of those songs aren't showing up online, but the artists are, so I've made a special mix just for this blog which pulls at the heartstrings...
MIA's 20 Dollar always sounded familiar, but it took me dozens of listens to figure it out - she's partly covering The Pixies' Where Is My Mind?!? Below is MIA's version, and the Pixies are track one of this week's mix.
More nostalgic vibes from Johnny Appleseed, a beautiful folk song by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros. "He's the only hero I ever met who wasn't a disappointment" says our next artist, Manu Chao, about the Clash frontman. "He was a great teacher for me - like an uncle. I remember meeting him at a festival in Japan. He had a campfire and it was six in the morning and he was still playing his little mix tapes to keep the party going. I looked at him and thought 'I want to be like that'. Mr. Bobby is Manu's call to another global music hero (not bob dylan, the other bob), who answers with I Know a Place.
Salón Victoria are another great ska-punk band from Mexico City and Sol de Medianoche (midnight sun) is a tearful drinking song "estoy borracho, y estoy cansado". Follow that with a Bachata (Dominican Ballad) by Frank Reyes and you too might be llorando.
J Dilla aka Jay Dee was a hiphop producer who worked in the shadows making classic beats for A Tribe Called Quest, the Pharcyde, the Roots, and even Janet Jackson. His solo albums show his skill at making bugged-out soulful and hilarious masterpeices from cutting and pasting sampled records. He's a tragic story, passing away in 2006 at age 32... Check out his final album Donuts, released just days before his death.
Dilla is sampling Dionne Warwick in Stop!, which leads us to two girl groups: Motown singers Martha Reeves & The Vandellas and The Bodysnatchers from 2 Tone Records. 2 Tone was home base of the Specials and the 2nd wave ska movement, which kicked off in Britain in 1979, inspired by a certain punk band who broke the color line by playing reggae.
Speaking of punk rock, even dudes with mohawks write sad songs: check out Journey to the End of the East Bay, Rancid's ode to their first band, short-lived legends Operation Ivy (1987-89). And I actually found Avail online!! These guys had so much heart, here they are with Taken.
Culture's Joseph Hill wrote Two Sevens Clash after a premonition of chaos and disorder striking in 1977. He may of been picturing a biblical scene of fire and brimstone, but I can't think of a better ode to that certain punk band, whose first album was deemed "unfit for human consumption" by CBS Records and came out in 1977.
We slow things down with Dennis Brown, named "The Crown Prince of Reggae" by the aforementioned king, Mr Bobby Marley. DBrown's voice is incredible, he started recording at age 14 in Jamaica at Studio One, one more of the hundreds of ridiculous talents to come from that Connecticut-sized island just south of Cuba.
Closing this week is the Hypnotic Brass Band from Chicago, which if you're lucky, you can catch performing on the streets of NYC in the summertime. 8 of the 9 dudes in this band are sons of trumpeter Phil Cohran, famous for his work in the Sun Ra Arkestra. Peep Phil playing his invention, the Frankiphone:
Where Is My Mind??? - Pixies - Surfer Rosa & Come On Pilgrim
I know a Place - Bob Marley - Lost treasures of the ark
Ciudad Sin Guerra - Salón Victoria - Locos Y Rucas In Retro
Mutiny introducing Mush One - King Django & Lonely Boys - Version City
Si Lo Amas A El - Frank Reyes
Improvisando - Fruko & Sus Tesos - Colombia!
15th Brigade - Joe Strummer
Breaking The Girl - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Mr. Bobby - Manu Chao - Proxima Estacion: Esperanza
Stop! - J Dilla - Donuts
[Love Is Like A] Heat Wave - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
Away - Swinging Cats - The 2 Tone Collection (A Checkered Past)
Right Brigade (Bad Brains cover) - Diplo & Santogold - Top Ranking
Predictable - Avail - Satiate
Banned In D.C. - Bad Brains - Attitude: The Roir Sessions
Staayyyle - Spazz - Crush Kill Destroy
Crush Kill Destroy - Spazz - Crush Kill Destroy
You'll Find A Way - Santogold - Santogold
Three Meals A Day - Dennis Brown - The Promised Land 1977-79
Black Star Liner Must Come - Culture - Two Sevens Clash
Tumbao Fregao - Salón Victoria - Locos Y Rucas In Retro
Hong Kong - Michi Sarmiento y sus Bravos - Colombia!
Awungilobolele - Udokotela Shange Namajaha - Indestructible Beat Of Soweto
War - Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - New York City Live