Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chuck D talks Race, Rap, and Reality at Eckerd College

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 12:14 PM


I could tell you that Chuck D is funnier than you might expect him to be. I could tell you that he is simultaneously a commanding presence and a humble man simply living out his plan. I could remind you that he does not mince his words and has very little problem speaking truth to power.

I wanted to show you Wednesday night’s Race, Rap, and Reality event but the powers that be wouldn’t allow it.

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Rockin’ the booze: Recipes for music-inspired bevvies.

From a Rufus Wain-White Russian to a Purple Kiss Cosmo, and more

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 9:49 AM

About a dozen years ago, I threw a blowout so bombastic it required its own signature cocktail. The resulting Pink Floyd Electric Lemonade was a smash hit that my friends took to calling “Comfortably Numb,” and they continued asking about it for many parties to come. I’ve never quite been able to re-create that particular bevvie-making milestone, so in honor of the Drinking Issue I’ve put together some more ideas for music-inspired libations that can be made at home. Have some fun with it and come up with a few of your own. Just pair your favorite alcohol with your favorite artist, shake or stir, and bring on the buzz...

Rufus Wain-White Russian - LEILANI POLK
  • Leilani Polk
  • Rufus Wain-White Russian
Rufus Wain-White Russian
Artist/song inspiration: Rufus Wainwright, “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk”
1 ½ shots vodka
1 ½ shots Kahlúa
¼ cup heavy cream (half & half OK)
Hershey’s chocolate syrup
1-2 maraschino cherries
Whipped cream
Hershey’s chocolate bar shavings
Pour the vodka and Kahlúa into a lowball glass filled with ice. Stir. Add the cream and chocolate syrup, then a dollop of whipped cream. Use a fine grater to shave chocolate onto the fluff, and drop a maraschino cherry or a few on top. Pair with a handful of Chocolate Pudding and Cappuccino Jelly Bellys, and one American Spirit cigarette (optional).

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Tonight in live music: RL Grime, The Expendables & more

Concerts this Thurs., Feb. 26

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 4:50 AM

A rather interesting lineup of live music on this Thurs., Feb. 16. A breakdown of highlights below...l

  • Andi Elloway
RL Grime with Djemba Djemba, Tommy Kruise Bouncing up from the bowels of Los Angeles’ EDM scene is young Mr. Henry Steinway, aka RL Grime, who blends up a brew of dancefloor-grinding bass music, ominous synth-whirring trap and rhyme-sampled hip hop. He is a co-founder of the WeDidIt collective/label with Shlohmo, Groundislava and D33J. His debut full-length on WeDidIt, Void, includes guest spots by Boys Noize, Big Sean (the hard kicking “Kingpin”) and Djemba Djemba, the latter an LA compatriot and dirty beat-maker who joins RL Grime on his current tour. (The Ritz Ybor, Ybor City)

Florida Strawberry Festival: Alabama with Bobby Vinton The Florida Strawberry Festival has become THE place to see a showcase of superior country music talent, from buzzed-about up-and-comers to longtime vets of the genre, though you’ll find the odd rock, pop and R&B acts, too. The 85th fest’s Headline Entertainment gets rolling in 2015 at 3:30 p.m. with vintage pop-lounge croons by Bobby Vinton (“Blue Velvet,” “Mr. Lonely”). Purveyors of Southern rock-fried bluegrassy country sounds, Alabama, headline the evening’s sounds with a catalog spanning more than four decades, 19 studio albums and 32 Hot Country hits (the longest-running “Jukebox in My Mind” in 1976). (Festival Grounds, Plant City)

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Hip Hop ABCs: Letter A; vote on Letter B

The alphabetical rap battles continue.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 11:01 AM

Over a year ago, Infinite Skillz ran a series of Facebook polls asking friends, peers and overall passionate hip hop fans which emcee or group they felt was the best in the game as driven by the letters of the alphabet. No specific rubric or criteria was given; just a simple request for answers to the question, "Who is the best emcee or hip hop group beginning with the letter 'A'?; 'B'?; 'C'?; 'D'?..." and so on. The responses were immediate and spurred some pretty spirited discussions, so per my request, he brought the results of his polls to Ear Buds, revealing the letter and its "winning" artist here over the course of the past many months.

We made our way, A through Z, and after revealing the winner (Zulu Nation), we kicked off a new poll for the Letter A.

Now, I don't want to assume that the winner of Letter Z, Zulu Nation, affected the outcome of the win for Letter A, but certainly being reminded of Afrika Bambaataa's greatness in the last post for Z didn't hurt his odds of claiming Best Hip Hop Artist beginning with the Letter A.

Here's a few bulletpoints for your reading convenience; vote for Letter B at the bottom of this post...

—As Skillz mentioned in the previous Hip Hop ABCs post, Afrika Bambaataa founded The Universal Zulu Nation, which expanded hip hop culture while spreading a message of peace, unity and fun and giving former and prospective gang members an alternative to violence; the now-international organization continues its harmonious agenda to this day.

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St. Petersburg Jazz Festival brings five days of grooves to four area venues

Among the scheduled performers are James Varnado Jazz/Funk Band and The Claudia Quintet (full schedule plus video included)

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 6:00 AM

Kevin Mahogany
  • Kevin Mahogany

Now in its seventh season, the St. Petersburg Jazz Festival returns for another five evening’s worth of concerts, which finds some of the elite musicians who keep our local jazz scene a vital and vibrant part of the community performing alongside a few well-respected national talents brought to town just for this occasion.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Album review: Drake, If You're Reading This It's Too Late

A look at the unexpected new mixtape release from Drake; stream included.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 1:05 PM


Drake shook up the music industry on February 13 with his sudden iTunes release of If You're Reading This It's Too Late. No leak. No advertisement. No problem. He sold over 500,000 copies in the first week and rocketed to the number one spot on the Billboard charts.

The album was originally planned as a free mixtape release hosted by DJ Drama, but all that changed after his recent lawsuit against Cash Money Records. Drake has made sure the public is well aware of his unhappiness with the Cash Money situation. That said, whether or not this truly a mixtape or just a recording hurried along to fulfill his contractual obligations doesn't really matter; If You're Reading stands strong on its own merits, proving a fine effort by an artist in transformation.

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Album review: Dan Deacon, Gliss Riffer

More of the same from the electro-punk musician. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 5:00 AM

Gliss Riffer, out Feb. 24 on Domino Records
  • Gliss Riffer, out Feb. 24 on Domino Records

Dan Deacon’s ultra-high-energy electro-punk records are advertisements for his even-more-ultra-high energy concerts. Partly, this is true for the same reasons it’s true for every musician these days – selling recorded audio just isn’t a way to make money anymore. Deacon even includes links labelled “Steal” next to discography entries on his homepage, sending visitors directly to a Piratebay search for his name.

But mainly, it’s the pure ecstasy of the live Deacon experience that makes his recordings a little less than definitive. Back when he first really broke on the scene with 2007’s Spiderman of the Rings, Deacon would set up his gear on the floor rather than the stage of the various dive bars he swung through, and guided his deliriously boozy hipster crowd through some mix of calisthenics and team-building exercises. And let’s not forget the iconic neon green skull pulsating in time to the maniacal jams — a Dan Deacon show is a sweaty, strobe-ey, psychedelic mess of a great time.

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New Music Tuesday! (February 24): Iron & Wine, Big Sean, Emile Haynie, Gang of Four + more

A curated list of the most noteworthy albums out this week; audio & video included.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 5:00 AM

It's your weekly curated list of new releases. This marks the final set of albums that come out in February and damn, this month sure did fly by. Info and hyperlinks for your further perusal included, along with some additional info tidbits and video or audio for your immediate consumption. Enjoy. And if you think I missed something, feel free to comment — I'm always ready to be turned on to something new...

Sour Soul
  • Sour Soul
The Airborne Toxic Event, Dope Machines (Epic)

All That Remains, The Order Of Things (Razor & Tie)

BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface KillahSour Soul (LEX Records)
An exciting collaboration between the Wu Tang rapper and the instrumental post-jazz trio from Canada.

Mahalia Barnes & The Soul Mates feat. Joe Bonamassa, Ooh Yea! The Betty Davis Songbook (J&R Adventures)
It’s about time someone paid tribute to the one-time wife of Miles Davis (not the actress, note the spelling). Betty Davis made a mild splash with some unabashedly strong, sexual, hardcore soulful feminist funk in the 1970s, only releasing three albums before abadoning the biz and settling in Pennsylvania. The fact that Mahalia Barnes has dedicated an album to Betty gets her immediate props, and Barnes — an Aussie songstress  — does Betty proud. Check out "Nasty Gal" below.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Tonight in live music: Trash Talk at Orpheum, Ybor City

The thrash-punk group hits town with Lee Bannon and Ratking.

Posted By and on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 5:15 AM

  • Brick Stowell
  • Trash Talk

If you missed the last minute free show that happened in Ybor last June, thrash punk torchbearers and Odd Future compatriots Trash Talk return behind fifth full-length album, No Peace Yesterday. First single "The Hole" is filled with all the debauchery you'd probably expect from a group of reckless skateboarders-turned-even-more-reckless-punk-rockers – two straight minutes of repetitious chords dotted with mammoth growls and crushing drums. NYC indie rap group Ratking and NYC-by-way-of-Sacramento experimental hip hop producer and frequent Joey Bada$$ collaborator Lee Bannon join trash talk on their national tour while local support comes from Mushmind and Samurai Shotgun. 7 p.m. doors, Orpheum, Ybor City, $12-$15, all ages.

Media after the jump...

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Concert review: Justin Townes Earle with Gill Landry at Crowbar, Ybor City

A look back at the Mon., Feb. 16 show, with photos.

Posted By and on Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 12:42 PM

Justin Townes Earle and Paul Niehaus. - PHOTO BY BRIAN MAHAR
  • Photo by Brian Mahar
  • Justin Townes Earle and Paul Niehaus.

What does it mean to be a country musician in this day and age? For some, it means singing about souped-up pick-up trucks and red solo cups. For others, it means straddling the past and the present, carrying on a tradition of earnest songwriting and storytelling while adding to it. Gill Landry and Justin Townes Earle, who played the Crowbar this past Monday night, are proudly of the latter variety. [Text by Shae, photos by Brian.]

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