Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Record Store Day Is April16

FBC! interrupts her writing session to let you know April 16 is Record Store Day, when you can do the unthinkable, that is walk into a record store, see what's out there, talk to some real human beings who are also knowledgeable about their wares and buy vinyls, or, if you really insist, CDs. Beats soulless mp3 any day, no?

It's all very well, you'll say, but are there still record stores around? Of course there are and here in Los Angeles,  like good bookstores they even abound. This blog very handily published a list, to which I'll add Origami Vinyl in Echo Park and Vacation Vinyl in Silverlake, and Atomic in Burbank. And, the latest project that I really like, the roaming vinyl truck just launched by Butter Vinyl. They have a website too, which I find a bit complicated to navigate  and would deserve a better layout, but don't let that deter you and please follow them, but most importantly, buy records from them and all the aforementioned stores. Nothing better than putting a vinyl on the turntable and hear that warm sound coming out of the speakers.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Help The Japanese People

The Japanese are as we all know  currently undergoing the triple whammy of an earthquake, a tsunami and the eminent likelihood of a series of nuclear meltdown.
if you wish to help, FBC! would like to point you out toward two charities that, unlike, say, the Red Cross (whether the American one or the International one), don't spend the majority of your donations on their overheads, but really to help the people.

Here's the link to MercyCorps

and here's the link to Operation USA

and as always, Doctors Without Borders.

And as with every major disaster, it's not only the help you can send now it's also what you can do in the long run. The Japanese economy is likely to be in shambles for a while,  so maybe what we can do in the next few months is try to buy Japanese goods, for a change. Japan is going to need all the help we can give.

Image: Hokusai A Sudden Gust Of Wind, woodblock print, 19th century

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, John Cale

March 9, 1942, saw the birth of the immense John Cale in Garnant, Wales, the son of a coal miner and a school teacher. The world without John Cale would have been a helluvah lot different and very boring, indeed. Whereas the world could very well continue without Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, the Black Eyed Peas and the Jonases, you know, the prepubescent siblings whose name rhymes with "asses"?

But without John Cale and his talented cohorts, no Velvet Underground, so no indie songs for you, Williamsburg and Silverlake hipsters who think the music started with Sonic Youth  and ended with the split of the White Stripes - it didn't, in fact, but that's another story.

Cale has had the most amazing trajectory, from the musical avant-garde pioneering experiences of John Cage and LaMonte Young to the mythical Warhol's Factory. He produced the first albums of Iggy & the Stooges, Patti Smith, Happy Mondays and load of others.
He  has represented Wales at the Venice Biennial in 2009, has played at prestigious venues, old world theaters and dingy bars  alike,  has issued dozens and dozens of albums spanning all genres from pre-punk, noise, experimental music, contemporary classical music, scored the soundtracks of famed movies (American Psycho), resurrected Leonard Cohen's career by re-arranging Hallelujah (subsequently played to death by reality TV hacks, alas), was Nico's everlasting musical √©minence grise, created music to the words of Dylan Thomas and William Burroughs... The list is endless and the resume would put to shame lots of stalwart musicians out there.

In short, he has had a career like no other and he keeps on touring and composing music, but alas hasn't issued an album since 2005. And it's a shame, so let's hope a record company will see the light and will help Cale deliver something fantastic in 2011.

We've been posting a lot of John Cale music on these pages last year, since the Welsh genius graced our shores with a concert at Royce Hall, his only one in the US in 2010 and so far, no other show is planned here in 2011. Which sucks, as Europe is seeing a lot of him these days. He just finished a mini-tour of Portugal, and is going to play at a few festival in Spain, Austria and the UK this Spring. Check up the Primavera Sounds Festival in Barcelona, the line-up is to die for, in passing.

Anyway, since it's already the 9th on the East Coast and in Europe right now, let's wish Mr. Cale a Happy, Happy Birthday and a most excellent health for the next couple of decades or so. May he continue to invent innovative music and rock the house everywhere he plays, and may the gods of Fortune shower him with wealth, because he deserves it much more than, say, Kanye West or the aforementioned and forgettable pimply teenage youth who pollute our airwaves and ear canals without contributing anything remotely interesting to music.
So, dear readers, to celebrate Cale's birthday and help him out to get that wealth thing covered, please buy some of his records* today, or if you are in Europe, book tickets for a festival he's playing at. You won't regret it.

* all of his records are excellent but one is dispensable, IMHO,so it's OK if you don't buy "Walking on Locusts".