By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
THURSDAY, FEB. 16
I bet you're asleep when this comes out.
We go now to Ellen Griley, chick who likes college rock, to discuss why she likes Koufax, who may not be actual college rock but who favor the heavy-lidded countenance and floppy clothes of the college-rock fan. "Like Hot Hot Heat," she says (college band). "If they listened to Wilco" (college band). "They have some quasi-lame (college term) political lyrics set to real nice pop. It's like if the cool poli-sci (college term) hipsters (college term) all got together and made a band." In related news: a mind is a terrible thing to waste, particularly on college. At Chain Reaction, wild and young and free and contemplating junior college in the fall.
ALSO: Somewhere in the hot sun between Cypress Hill and the lonely mariachi band playing the town square in a Peckinpah movie is Delinquent Habits, the horn-sample-heavy hip-hop crew whose immediately distinctive "Tres Delinquentes" (and sequel song "Return of the Tres") was the mandatory cruise track of the summer of . . . 1996? New record New and Improved—a title departed member Kemo the Blaxican might take a little personally—sounds like it'll stick to the same 808s-and-vihuela production and rapid-fire flow, plus girl-for-the-hook Michelle back from the Merry Go Round. With Malverde and Krazy Race and more at the Vault.
PLUS: Pop power with the Checkers at Que Sera; flop power with Warrant at the Galaxy.
For eight years, DJ Cocoe and co. (including DJ Scotty Coats, hopefully recovered nicely after his nasty fall some time back) nurtured their Abstract Workshop club night (now settled at Detroit) toward landmark status, pulling guys like Aceyalone, Atmosphere and Phife Dawg all the way down to the back corner of Orange County, and we are the better for it. And now Abstract goes tangible with the debut of its record label—Abstract Workshop Records—and its first release by longtime Abstract regular Jud Nester. Hometown hip-hop gets a new helping hand at Detroit.
AND: Dub is gigantic around here this week, and its loving home was Lee "Scratch" Perry's Black Ark studio, where the kick drum sounds came out of palm trees and chicken wire kept the magic confined in the microphones. Jamaican outlaw studio tech was just about as glamorous and exciting as engineering ever got, and one of the most dynamic instances where guys could pose behind a mixing board and look downright heroic. And the era ended in flames when Black Ark burned to the foundations—sometimes Perry says it was an electrical accident, sometimes he says it wasn't—but Perry kept rising high (and higher), becoming a genre superstar and even a spokesperson for Guinness. Tonight he brings some real low-end to the Long Beach RaggamuffinsFestival at the Long Beach Arena along with Spearhead, Alton Ellis, Horace Andy, Gregory Isaacs and more.
Reggae Part 2 from Matisyahu, the most famous orthodox Hasidic dancehall star of all recorded human history: while dude made an initial impression based, like Cat Stevens, on admirable conviction and a formidable beard, he has continued to wow the MySpace generation with his waterfall flow, inspirational lyrics (which are delivered so earnestly you can't help but agree that youth truly is the engine of the world) and formidable beard, and while this writer is only a passing fan of the terminally poppy dancehall style, he can always admire a well-kept beard. Vapid? My best records are just great haircuts. At the Raggamuffins Festival at the Long Beach Arena.
PLUS: Early Man meddles with the metal pedal at the Galaxy with flanking by Priestess and the Sword.
Belle and Sebastian curate their entry in the Another Late Night CD series and select tracks by fountainhead Oxnard hip-hop group Lootpack, tropicalia guitarist Gal Costa and reggae band the Ethiopians, as well as 2,000 (give or take 1,999) songs by Donovan. Out this week . . .
Divine Forces Radio have been an independent Southland hip-hop fixture for—well, looky here, they started the same year as Abstract; 1998 was a special time—and they're doing their extremely exciting and exclusive anniversary party at Long Beach's Blue Nile, the conscious diner's coffeehouse of choice. And present in some capacity, though tact and anticipation both prevent us from divulging full details, will be Long Beach rapper LMNO and the divine force himself. Well, he's big. RSVP through www.divineforces.org or watch sadly through the window.
THURSDAY, FEB. 23
Alkaholiks farewell tour for farewell record Firewater, putting what they call a "graceful" end to one of the West Coast's most respected hip-hop dynasties (plus onetime home to Pimp Your Wreck superstar Xzibit). It seems that J-Ro is already out to Sweden, but E-Swift and Madlib are apparently going to knock out a collaboration (due out around 2kweed), so it's not a time for endings so much as it is new etcs. If ever there was a group to pour one out for . . . at the Vault.
See Calendar listings for club locations. Also: be smart; call ahead.