Monday, December 7, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays

Waking up to the sound of rain is not so common to the average socal dweller, in fact seeing any precipitation over our former desert land is a blessing in our drought-ridden state. I only hope that in the long run of this global warming crisis that we continue to adapt to the changes of our environment, and that every attempt we make to slow down the warming process, whether by going green or living a sustainable lifestyle, will get people thinking consciously about the decisions they make and how they affect the world.

Unlike the random June gloom we've experienced this past year, this week's winter storm felt a bit out of place but has been quite refreshing, particularly with cleansing the air in my neck of the woods. It had given me the notion to use this instrumental Jazz version of the Carpenters hit, 'Rainy Days and Mondays,' in today's post to fit with the scene; I saved a perfect song for a rainy day. The song starts off with another Carpenters classic, "We've Only Just Begun," and switches off with 'Rainy Days' in the latter. If you feel burdened upon unwanted overcast and heavy drizzles, deceived by invisible water-filled potholes and intimidated by a possible chance of hail storms that wishes to scream all over your beautiful Frontier's windshield, then I hope this Carpenters cover cheerfully lights up your day.

Shout out to all the bday peeps as well, Mary Rose, Nicole, Nat, Dom, and all the other Sagittariuses of 2009.

And now, for the music...

New Horizon's "Rainy Days and Mondays"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Soulful Sunday

Some Sunday ago back in October, a distant record collector/acquaintance sent me a friendly text, giving me the heads up about him and his girlfriend's yard sale, which to my past experience was something like a weekend excavation for some classic 'must-haves' and sentimental gems. In the past he's made generous offers that insured me that I wouldn't be walking home empty handed, and yet his impressively vast collection of good ol' soul, jazz and rock that surpasses my own, reassures that today's a sure thing (not to mention that his is more organized than my deranged dungeon of obscure children's exercise records and random Christian funk or Christian Rock records. The mixture of obscurity and well-defined genres only makes it even more difficult to categorize, but that's the kinda stuff I love). I figured that before I make way to the local coffee shop and hit the books I should at least gander upon his collection; and yet again, killed some time but came up on some good shit.

I came home with 62 donuts and one LP of Cal Tjader in a trader joe's bag; no regrets. A lot of it was soul, which definitely satisfied my own.

I particularly swooped some all time and personal favorites on 45, the kinda stuff that you'd see in thrift stores for $3 that you'd like add to your collection (ECM joints, Kudu records, endless Sergio Mendez stuff, etc.) but that you're willing to put on hold till there's a "50% off sale;" that time was finally up for me. Alongside the classics were some rather unknown (that is to my knowledge) 7 inches that I couldn't wait to sample on the MPC (with respects, RIP MPC).

...getting down to it all...

Betty Wright "Tonight Is The Night pt. 2"

Brenton Wood "Lovey Dovey Kinda Love"

First pick off my stack is Betty Wright's "Tonight Is The Night pt. 2," which is sampled on DJ Quik's "Tonight." Aside from breaks and samples, for those of you who know me well, I'm secretly a growing fan of Brenton Wood songs. If it's not "Show Me A Little Sign," then it's perhaps any other Wood song that's crept into my cranium and is horribly amplified in my series of singing in the shower.

El Chicano "Sabor A Mi"

When names like El Chicano, Malo, Tierra and War come into mind, I have this vivid image of Los Angeles in the 1950s. That wave of brown-eyed soul bands and artists depict a nostalgic picture of low rider angelinos cruising through the streets, giving me this aural yet conceptual idea of what LA was like back in the day. That or I am reminded of that specific scene in Jackie Brown scene when Ordell pops in a tape of Brothers Johnson in the whip and then rubs out Beaumont (love that scene).

The Masqueraders "I'm Just An Average Guy."

When I first cued this track, it just had to be a Wu-Tang beat; the deep sound-draining bass, plucking guitar, heavy soul singing, it all sounded too familiar annd too much like the Wu from there on. My first assumption was "Liquid Swords," but it turns out that it was sampled on Gza's "Collection of Classics," "an exclusive and limited edition album full of classic songs and unreleased gems," that was only released in Europe in 2004 (shucks...). ( I personally haven't heard that album yet, but if I ever come across it, I'd know I have at least the sample to the intro.

Tyrone Davis "Can I Change My Mind"

Tyrone Davis' "Can I Change My Mind" can be found on the 1968 single of "A Woman Needs To Be Loved." "Change My Mind" became a b-sides hit in the late 60s, finding it's way to top of R&B Billboard Charts for three consecutive weeks. Davis first started off as a chauffeur for the legendary Blues artist Freddie King (in 1993, Gov. Ann Richards declared September 3 "Freddie King Day." That's how legendary he is, but that's another story). Born in Greenville, MI, Davis moved to Chicago in his early 20s and sang in local clubs around the city. Soon, he was discovered by Harold Burrage, and was then later picked up by Carl Davis, who signed Davis on to help kick off the newly formed Dakar Records, Cotillion Records's little brother, which both were the subsidiary to Atlantic records.

The introduction really kicks me off my feet with some slappin' funky drums, prideful blaring trumpets, jolly undertone licks of the funky guitar, and with a hook that continuously haunts me with the line "start all over again..." A song for the broken hearted, attempting to form anew? My bitterness only chuckles as my records continue to spin.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Time To Face The Real

Yes! I'm back!

After undergoing many life phases (some awesome, some regretable, overall, all was a learning experience), I've finally slowed down and began to reprioritize the important aspects of my life that make me who I am.

But enough with the personal reconnections and "what does it all mean" questions, I'm about ready to drop some new dusted off, grimey ass wax; drop some of the latest beats I've been grinding on beatmaker and speak the latest stories through my third eye lens.

I've avoided committment and questioned life for too long; it's time that I face the real and drop this shit.

For now, I gotta dance! (ballroom 101, because I don't dance)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Looking Into The Abyss

Amidst of all my school work, "work" work, and going to shows, I desperately try to squeeze even the littlest time to indulge myself into extensive researching and writing for the sake of content of this blog. Troubling commitment? Nope, not even. Writing for look&listen is more like me watering my plants on a weekly basis... mind you all that only ONE (of two) died! Scurrying from my embarrassment, this look&listen post shines on forgotten musicians that have vanished before reaching fame and artists that I simply know NOTHING about (ironic huh? As if I'm supposed to do all the homework for every post, heh).

Aalon Cream City

Aalon - "Summer Love"

Aalon - "Magic Night"

Not much can be said about Aalon. You can google about them all you want but there's scarce coverage on the band, likewise on Wikipedia. I personally haven't excavated into the band's history due to the lack of time, but if anyone's willing to do the nitty gritty and find more info, school me, because I would like to know.

Signed by Arista in 1977 (or is it Thump Records?), Aalon struggled to gain mass appeal with it's unique mixture of "Rock n' Soul." Underrated by the masses, the group produced only one album but it failed to hit charts and band quickly faded into oblivion in the late 70s. Yet their ecstatic mixture of Disco/Soul R&B/Rock remains noteworthy, especially during a time when not many bands or artists pioneered in such combination of genres. "Summer Love" takes a different approach from the rest of the album's songs, whereas the majority of tracks resemble more of a Rock sound similar to bands like Chicago and Steely Dan. Aalon Butler, founder of Aalon and former guitarist of the Eric Burdon Band, shared ideas with Burdon in combining the sounds of R&B with Rock. With influences from "Sly & the Family Stone, Graham Central Station, Ike & Tina Turner, and the Isley Brothers (among others), Cream City was a soul-funk gem with a definite rock influence." (All Music Guide)
Not much can be said about the groups disbandment and Aalon left the late 70s fusion music scene with Cream City as their only album.

Unknown test pressed record

unknown track1

unknown track2

unknown - "Feel Like Making Love"

This was one of those occasional "good accidents" I had stumbled upon in a local LB record store a year ago. It's also another reason why I treasure dollar bin boxes so much, you just never know what great gems you will find. Flipping through the crates, I stumbled upon this copy of what sounds to be some great Brazilian Jazz LP. With a bland test pressing label and illegible penmanship, I was unable to accurately decipher the artist, album information, otherwise a valuable pen scribble of some sort of name. The first track of the LP (possibly the second 12" of the album) begins with a fluctuate rolling of keys off the electric keyboard, which is carried by a steadfast, jaunty melodic voice, sung in Portuguese (please correct me if I'm mistaken). The second track plays smooth Bossanova, bringing one's mind at ease; while on the b-sides, we have an elegant rendition of Roberta Flack's hit, "Feel Like Makin' Love."

I have suspicion that this LP is a reissue through the site, as the words "whatmusic" is labeled on the b-sides of the record. I'm assuming that the artist or album's title is the cursive word on the far right of the test press side, but my inability to comprehend the name leaves me clueless of who the musicians are. If anyone knows anything, drop a line via comment box or email.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

R U Long Beach?

I was at an art show a few weeks ago, one that my friend and a Long Beach art and cultural collective put together. "R U Long Beach," name of the collective and the event, featured a beautiful display of work from various artists of LB, overfilling the warehouse venue with a mass of hipsters, college students and bohemians alike. The location, enhanced with creative graffiti wall art, skateboard-shredded quarter pipes, resonant reggae and 80s throwback music and dim twilight lighting, only made the scene better that what one would imagine in essence of any other art show.

the brothers.

mark canto.

Yet the event didn't last for long...

Cops came through and busted the event; a lot of injustice went down. One of my buddies was cited for DJing without possessing "a DJ license" (aka a "mobile DJ business license." Yes, there is such a thing...). Another friend was arrested for "ignoring" the officer and closing the entrance's front door on him. The cop responded with an inconsiderably powerful kick, swinging the door hitting several other bystanders, surely a duty in an officer's protocol "to protect and serve." Hopefully the next function doesn't go down like this...

(Chronologically, my pictures of the police occurred prior to taking pictures of the art show. In our first encounter of the police, the show was busted but a compromise was made and the show continued. Although in our second encounter, the cops completely shut down the event. I re-ordered the chronology of the pictures for the sake of my writing composition. I also felt that explaining this in the beginning of the article would have been too complicated and discouraged you fellow viewers from reading further).

R U Long Beach 4.11.09

For more information on "R U Long Beach":

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hip Hop Helps the World

It's been awhile since I last wrote an article post on look&listen, and rather than venting the last several weeks aloud like a ranting twitter page, I'm gonna move forward and make the best to provide tasty updates.

Next Sunday is a special fund raising event for a talented group of kids who flew all the way from Cambodia to tour around the U.S. and do one thing... breakdance!

And you're probably thinking, "what's the big deal? They're just another b-boy crew, what of them?"

Tiny Toones, and I don't mean "all the little loonies" of Steven Spielberg, is an organization that teaches the youth in Cambodia how to b-boy/b-girl while also providing the children with the motivation to stay in school, avoid gangs and stay drug free. What started out as a solo b-boying session, "KK" aka Tuy Sobil, the founder of the organization, was approached by a set of kids who were inspired by his fresh style. The kids were eager to learn and KK was willing to teach, hence Tiny Toones, an org teaches b-boying.

The crew has been on tour around the U.S. for the last couple of weeks. This upcoming Sunday, May 3, 2009, is one of their last events of their tour, which is going to be held at the Chuco Justice Center of Inglewood, CA. Come join us for this special all ages event. We're accepting $5-10 dollar donations at the door and we won't be refusing anyone if you cannot donate. There's a line up of some great performers and b-boying/b-girling action, along with bracelet making, graffiti tagging, live art, T-shirt silk screen making and other family fun recreational activities.

Tiny Toones Community Event & Fundraiser
Sunday May 3rd
5:00PM - 10:00 PM
Chuco's Justice Center
1137 E. Redondo Blvd
Inglewood, CA 90321

For more information, go to

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Save our cafes!

About two and a half weeks ago I spun at Diggin' Sunday and attended the Lost Souls Cafe fundraiser in support of both cafes that struggle to stay afloat in this sinking economy. It's no question that business is bad every place you go, but what's more depressing is walking through the streets of downtown to find all these small businesses immediately gone, with tons of for lease posters sticking on empty windows and pickets signs standing near the front door. The world is literally becoming a ghostown and it's up to the people to keep these business running. But if business fails, we should cherish our last moments with these mom and pop shops.
(RIP Acres of Books, the original Shades of Afrika and the many small shops from around).

Diggin' Sunday @ Tribal Cafe
Diggin' Sunday is this open turntables event that's held every 3rd Sunday of the month in a cafe spot called Tribal Cafe. DJs and record collectors from different parts of LA county (but not limited to) come to this spot in Historic Filipinotown to spin some good soul/funk/80s RnB/90s throwback/rock music with hopes that it attracts music enthusiasts and customers for the business. Besides being an attraction, Diggin' Sunday is a free event that provides a perfect atmosphere for some loungin', reading, rendez-vous spot for friends, digging into some good eats and (in my opinion) an ease to your mind, ridding the stresses of life. Josh, the owner of Tribal Cafe, serves some delicious sandwiches and fruit smoothies. For any first timer, I recommend trying the Adobo sandwich with a large Pina Colada. I claim the Adobo sandwich as the cafe's trademark specialty; I don't know many other cafes that make such a sandwich.

Pictures from Diggin' 2.15.09 & 3.15.09

DJ Waxstyles


joel quizon


sudoku, my old addiction is calling me back.

the cafe & etc...

Lost Souls cafe
Lost Souls cafe is another coffee shop venue that puts up some dope performances by various community artists and traveling performers. A performing artist collective called Tuesday Night Katalyst (TNKat), particularly holds their first three showcases at Lost Souls cafe as they start off the new season. TNKat provides a space for featured artists and open mic performers to perform in front of a live and web-streamed audience. It's a free event held in Lost Souls cafe and in the Aratani Courtyard in Jtown LA. Check out their webpage for updates of their shows.

Lost Souls cafe 3.15.09

walking through downtown LA

@ Lost Souls

In front is daytime... back is night.

some light graffiti fun.