Bits: Lolla’10, Yuri’s Night, Lou Barlow tour, TBK in NYC2, new Big Boi jam

  • While we don’t post too many festival line-ups unless A.A. Bondy or the Felice Brothers are involved (we play favorites, we admit it), the Lollapalooza 2010 line-up is pretty great. Standouts for us: Jimmy Cliff, the Black Keys, Cypress Hill (we saw them on a previous Lolla go-’round, and they had one of the best sets of the day), Mavis Staples, Mumford & Sons, Dawes and Royal Bangs. It’ll be a something-for-everyone weekend.
  • If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, you should be getting tickets for Yuri’s Night at the NASA Ames Research Center this Saturday because the entertainment lineup is straight-up awesome. Les Claypool, The Black Keys, Common, N.E.R.D. and more. We ain’t got nothing like that going for the CLE celebration.
  • Lou Barlow will be touring with Mike Watt’s missingmen, though sans Watt, in June.
  • After the quick sell-out of the Black Keys’ upcoming Summerstage show, a second date has been added. Go get you some, NYC.
  • Pitchfork has a new Big Boi track, “Shutterbugg”, for you to listen to. BB has signed with Def Jam, so his solo album should finally see the light of day.

If it was possible to have carnal relations with music, while we would have a steady conjugal visiting schedule with the entire Black Keys catalogue, we would also have a tawdry affair with Lou Barlow’s “Gravitate”.

Late to the Party: BlakRoc

NTSIB could be all late-to-the-party all the time. Some music I am slow to warm up to (I’m just now starting to get on board with Local Natives). Some music I know I like, but I don’t really get into until years after I first hear it. Some music I don’t even know about until it’s old news.

BlakRoc falls into the third category for me, and I’m still mystified that I didn’t even know about this project this time last week. For others who may be as out of the loop as I have been on this: BlakRoc is a collaborative project between the Black Keys and Damon Dash of Roc-A-Fella Records. Dash helped bring a number of hip-hop luminaries in for the project, like Mos Def, Ludacris, Raekwon, Q-Tip and the RZA. The fucking RZA! Names even white people recognize! There’s even a from-the-grave appearance from Ol’ Dirty Bastard.

It’s no secret that the Black Keys have soul, and their groove-heavy music is a perfect, strong background for the rhymes laid down on this project. BlakRoc is fucking sweet, and NTSIB hasn’t been this instantaneously excited about an album in a long time.

The BlakRoc website could keep you busy for hours because not only have they posted videos of their appearances on Letterman and Fallon, but they also have webisodes of each of their recording sessions.

BlakRoc Official Website

John Fahey: Poor Boy

It seems that when one falls in love with music, when it becomes something one feels the need to know everything about, the more one moves forward, the further back one ends up. Or perhaps that’s just my own experience. I may be a special case (feel free to define “special” however you want there), but I find when I fall in love with a new artist, I want to know what moved him, who influenced her, what did they listen to that caused them to pick instruments and play? I’ve found many favorite artists whom I might never have heard otherwise that way: Doc Watson, Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, Django Reinhardt, etc.

So when A.A. Bondy listed “John Fahey’s right hand” alongside influences/inspirations like trains, people who play bowed saws and James Jamerson’s pointer finger, I had to look Fahey up to satisfy my curiosity. And, as with many of these backwards discoveries, I felt stupid for having never heard of the man before.

John Fahey was an exceptional finger-picking guitarist who was born in Washington, D.C., in February of 1939 and died in Salem, Oregon, in February of 2001 after a sextuple heart bypass operation. In between, he heard Bill Monroe’s cover of Jimmie Rodgers’ “Blue Yodel No. 7”, bought his first guitar from a Sears-Roebuck catalogue, released his own albums (sometimes secretly slipping them in amongst the stock at record stores and thrift shops), graduated college with degrees in philosophy and religion, created the legend of Blind Joe Death, earned a Master’s degree in folklore, brought bluesmen Bukka White and Skip James back into the public eye, drew on influences from the blues to classical to Gregorian chants, did a hell of a lot of finger-picking and influenced a number of artists, who in turn have been influential themselves – like Sonic Youth, down the line.

Sadly, not dissimilar to so many of the stories of the blues greats who influenced him, Fahey died poor after years of miserable health. But, also similar to those blues greats, his influence keeps reaching forward and lacing its way through music today.

John Fahey Official Site
Blind Joe Death Memorial Site