SOME STUFFS: New releases for the week of April 27, 2010

If you’re looking to find some new music to buy this week, here’s a partial list of what will be out on Tuesday:

Jeff Beck-Emotion & Commotion
B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray
Bullet For My Valentine-Fever
Canned Heat-Woodstock Homecoming
Mary Chapin-Carpenter-The Age Of Miracles
Miranda Cosgrove-Sparks Fly
Miranda Cosgrove-Sparks Fly (Deluxe Edition)
Duke Ellington-Carnegie Hall Concerts 1943/1947 (8CD box set)
Melissa Etheridge-Fearless Love
Peter Frampton-Thank You Mr. Churchill
Iggy & The Stooges-Raw Power (box set)
Jo Dee Messina-Unmistakable (EP)
Cliff Richard-The Early Years
Soil & Pimp Sessions-6

FROM THE BOX: Radio Free Hawai’i ballot

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Once upon a time in a land far, far, away…

Radio Free Hawai’i was one of the best things to happen to Hawaiian radio in its broadcast history. The idea of a radio station playing anything and everything, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, was like a dream come true. This was at a time when the University of Hawai’i station KTUH could only be tapped into if you were in the right parts of Manoa, if you were lucky. Radio Free Hawai’i was broadcast on KDEO 102.7 FM, a station whose original format was country music (their slogan was “K-DEO…Radio”). The station was started by Hawaiian radio legend Ron Jacobs, who also helped to create the Home Grown album series in San Diego before taking it back home to Honilulu (the second installment of the series, Home Grown 2, would help spawn the musical career of Nohelani Cypriano.) KDEO, as a country station, was considered “old people music”, and when I was growing up in the late 70’s/early 80’s, none of my friends listened to country music so the only time I heard country music on the radio was Juice Newton‘s cover of “Angel Of The Morning”. I had moved to the mainland in 1984, but would come back every few years. In the summer of 1991 I would return, and I found out about a brand new radio station. At 20 years old, I felt this is what Hawai’i desperately needed at a time when all of the mainstream stations played the same old crap. Hawai’i loves what’s popular and there was little to no adventure on the radio, even stations that played traditional Hawaiian music started to sound boring.

I came back home, and at every record store (back when they were plentiful), various department stores, and even at 7-Eleven were ballots where people could take a survey and write a list of songs they wanted to hear. It would be played, just like that. It was revolutionary then as it is now, although this was 1991. Most people didn’t have the internet, most people didn’t have computers. You still had to buy your cassettes at physical stores, records were dying out (allegedly), and people were finally embracing compact discs. Here was a radio station that played Young MC, Metallica, Talking Heads… now this was at a time when the Talking Heads were considered alternative and “college rock”, not “classic rock” as they are now, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, this was music going out to everyone and you didn’t have to turn to the traditional “left of the dial”. In the middle of this, they might play Sons Of Hawai’i or Makaha Sons Of Ni’ihau. The station was on permanently, and I wished it would have lasted forever.

The format stopped for a bit, then returned, and then KDEO were bought out. By the time the station was purchased, MP3’s were still a dirty little secret for music fans and not the threats to the industry it was, and streaming radio, iPod’s… non-existent. There is still a greatness to the airwaves that exists, but is often ignored in favor of new technologies. Yet Radio Free Hawai’i proved you could pull it off and let people know that you can play anything and everything, and still gain an audience who are willing to ride it out with you. May the spirit of Radio Free Hawai’i live on.

To find out more about the legacy of Radio Free Hawai’i, click here

RECORD CRACK: Twilight back in the zone with reissues on Ubiquity

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If one were to tell you about a hot new soul/R&B band called Twilight you might say “that’s hot, very timely name with the movies being all the rage right now.” If you’re a cratedigger or are a soul/funk fan who loves the obscure stuff, then the name Twilight may bring back some fond memories of the 1980’s. If it does, then you also know that Twilight is not the name of a band, but the nom de plume of Lawrence Ross.

Ross was a California kid with ambitions of wanting to become a star. He wanted in the studio, but knew that studio time meant money, so like many others, he got a job to make it happen. When he couldn’t find musicians to work with him, he learned a few more and kept going to the studio. Ross didn’t want to play what people might call “his norm”, so he went all out to be as musically diverse as possible. The end result was the 1981 album Still Loving You, which didn’t sell massively (he could only afford to press up so much) but it did make people curious about this one-man band, especially at a time when people thought Prince really didn’t play anything on his own albums. It would be years before Ross followed it up, but what he made from it would go right into Pains Of Love, where he was able to get some help from others to help create the musical vision he wanted. Unfortunately, at a time when artists were crossing over in every way, maybe Ross did not have the chance to be heard by the massive. However, all it takes is for a few vinyl junkies to discover your music and realize it’s something that needs to be heard almost 30 years later.

Ubiquity Records will be reissuing both Twilight albums on both vinyl and compact disc on May 11th. The look of the covers is very “of its time”, but the music can finally be appreciated for what it’s worth, in the now time.

(Still Loving You and Pains Of Love can both be pre-ordered from Insound.com, click the title links. The links will lead to pre-ordering the vinyl, but CD versions are also available as well.)

RECORD CRACK: Cultures Of Soul Records to focus on the unreleased

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Cultures of Soul Records are a brand new Boston-based label with a love for classic soul, funk, jazz, Brazilian, and whatever moves them at any given time. While a lot of labels are doing the same, what Cultures Of Soul want to do is offer songs that are previously unreleased, so they’re making the effort to find what lurks.

Their debut release will be a 7″ 45 by Original Black Sheep of the Family. “Heaven Must Have Made You Girl” b/w “Do You Wanna Dance” are both taken from the original master tapes. You can hear excerpts of each song, and pre-order your copies by going here.

The label is an extension of Cultures Of Soul, so now you have more to explore.

RECORD CRACK: Rob Walmart offers a triple play

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Even though she’s not on the album, Rihanna somehow appears on the new album by Rob Walmart in spirit. Then again, if you’re named Rob Walmart, you can pretty much have anyone you want on your album if you try.

Walmart is an artist from Portland who just released the 3-record set Everybody Hurts (Marriage), and for all you know, this is music that tickles. Walmart creates experimental electronic music that at times can be funky, sometimes may remind you of interplanetary hip-hop, and other times you’re in the listening experience for the sake of hearing more. There’s a lot of uncertainty in what he creates, and he likes it that way.

You can buy the album, and download three full-length MP3’s from the album, by clicking here. If you really want to show support, you can also purchase a Rob Walmart/Lionel Richie T-shirt and other clothes of interest.

SOME STUFFS: Purchase benefit album to raise awareness of malaria relief

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Indie Rocks! A Benefit Album For Malaria No More (Red Ink) was released last year to help raise funds towards helping people with malaria.

Sleep Out To End Malaria is an all-night event being held today, organized by the Organized by the United Nations Foundation (UNF), and it will show participants how they can help end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. Hundreds of students at each venue from LA, Nashville, NYC, DC, Seattle, & Philly will be sleeping outside under mosquito nets. It may sound adventurous and out of the norm, but that is the whole point.

To find out about Malaria No More, click here.

RECORD CRACK: The PCC get the 33 x 2

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The Poison Control Center (or The PCC for short) are a band from Iowa who will be heading on a national tour in support of their new album Sad Sour Future, due out on May 18th. The band recently obtained their copies of the album, to be pressed as a 150g double LP with gatefold cover (not a “double gatefold” as they’ve indicated, which would fold out twice).

Check out their official MySpace page to see where they’ll be, as they’ll be doing shows for most of the summer.

RECORD CRACK: Ceschi releases songs as vinyl postcards

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If you’ve been a record collector for a decent amount of time, you have probably heard about Poland releasing records as postcards (here are some examples. The concept has been revived in 2010 by Ceschi, who has released the 3-postcard/record Postcard Package (Equinox). Each postcard features one song, so you’re getting a 3-song EP in the form of a set of vinyl postcards. The tracks were produced by DJ Scientist, with the artwork done by The Raincoatman.

To make it even more interesting, the EP will not be made available anywhere else, no digital release, no compact disc. More? Well, not too much more, since only 25 copies will be made. You can find out more about the set and see photos of the complete package by clicking here.

While record/soundsheet postcards are nothing new, for younger generations and to most Americans and non-vinyl junkies it is. One hopes more artists and labels will continue to release interesting projects/concepts like this one.

(Mahalo to Lauren Muneoka of Asita Recordings for the tip. Asita has recently released two 45rpm singles of the hip-hop variety, which you can read more about here and there.)

RECORD CRACK: yU prepares to offer up life “Before Taxes”

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In rock circles, the name VU will usually bring to mind the greatness that is Velvet Underground. In hip-hop, the name yU may bring some greatness as well, especially among those who still long for not just “the real hip-hop”, but quality hip-hop. Before Taxes (Mello Music Group) will be released on May 4th, and will feature Grap Luva, Omun, EyeQ, Bilal Salaam, and others.

Now here’s the interesting thing. The album is available for free on various websites through downloads via MP3. However, if you love the album and want to show support, then opt for the vinyl. Pre-orders are being taken at Underground Hip-Hop.