Alphabethead: Music From The 1960's & 1970's

Bit of a gift from the cuzzy Alphabethead...

The mix is mostly pop, with a touch of folk and psych rock. Some of my most beloved songs from that era are in there; Jefferson Airplanes ‘Crown of Creation’, Beach Boys ‘In My Room’ and McDonald & Giles ‘Flight Of The Ibis’. Also Kiwi psychedelic rock bands Human Instinct and Quincy Conserve are featured. Human Instinct do a droll cover (with searing guitar solo) of The Kink’s ‘You Really Got Me’ to great effect!

Please check it out – I hope you enjoy. You might even discover your new favourite ‘old’ band! Also available as a second generation cassette dub.

Alphabethead: Music From The 1960's & 1970's

Aloe Blacc Interview

photo by Dan Monick

A few days late posting this not that it matters too much. Shouts to Martyn Pepperell for hooking us up with some dope interviews this year...

Somewhat like a young Bill Withers just before his prime, with the release of his new album Good Things first generation Panamanian American singer, rapper and musician Aloe Blacc (government name: Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III) has, with the assistance of Stones Throw Records and Truth & Soul productions, comfortably asserted himself as a force for modern American soul music. Fittingly, in light of his socially articulate song-writing eye, a background which includes status as a graduate of the University of Southern California and a love of transcendentalist thought, existentialism and the monologues of contemporary social critics such as Cornell West, at the heart of his work is a desire to make moves a little deeper.

As he puts it, " My philosophy is an amalgam of concepts ranging from spirituality and philosophy to economics and social-psychology. The key force shaping my present approach is capitalism. I believe it is an overwhelmingly powerful force that needs to be modified. As consumers, we need to be more aware of our needs and curb the desires that lead us to conspicuous consumption. We also need to understand the impact made on people in other parts of the world with regard to the products we purchase. Similarly, corporations need to be more compassionate about the effect that a product's life cycle has on the ecology and on culture. I want to use my voice to make some change or at least start the dialogue about how we can make positive changes in the realm of resource distribution and improved quality of life for all people."

Raised in Southern California, Aloe Blacc, as he puts it, " fell in love with hip hop at an early age." Thinking more inwardly on the path that has, over an EP, two solo albums, countless tapes and records as a member of both Eamanon and Bee, positioned him with a global career as a recording and touring artist, Aloe Blacc sharpens the focus on his past. "My love for music is largely due to my participation in hip hop culture as an emcee, b-boy, and producer," he reflects. " The Latin vibes in some of my music comes from my parents who are Panamanian and used to play a lot of salsa, merengue, soca, and calypso when I was growing up. Influence from the Caribbean is especially [evident] in the songs on Shine Through. Songs like 'Patria Mia' and my salsa cover 'Ordinary People' are just a few examples of the direct expression of Latin vibe."

On Good Things however, Aloe Blacc steps away from the future beats tinged, Latin/Caribbean accentuated rap'n'soul of Shine Through to weigh in with a swaggering body of observational soul arrangements, as spearheaded by his breakout hit 'I Need A Dollar'. First drafted up in an incomplete form in 2005, after numerous false starts 'I Need A Dollar' came together in a studio jam session. As Aloe Blacc admits, "The lyrics in the second verse are autobiographical about getting got laid off and the other verses are about experiences of people around me." Built at the same time as a few other Good Things numbers, 'I Need A Dollar', despite the fast spike of momentum in generated through placement as title track on HBO series How To Make It In America was far from a factor in the records direction. In Aloe Blacc's words, "The intent all along was to make a soul record."

Still, that didn't mean he wasn't going to take the accolades associated with a breakout commercial underground hit. " The placement has been a big help in gaining new fans," he says. "Since the song has become so popular, I have been back and forth to Europe to promote Good Things and have had the chance to perform on TV shows several times in France, Belgium, Germany, and England. The most exciting of them all being the Jools Holland show where I got to sing in front of Sir Paul McCartney, who danced and bobbed his head all the way through."

The wider record though, much like 'I Need A Dollar' was handcrafted with assistance from Williamsburg, Brooklyn's much lionised modern soul production team Truth & Soul (Jeff Dynamite and Leon Michels), the men behind acts such as The El Michels Affair and Lee Fields and The Expressions. " I met Truth & Soul through Egon at Stones Throw and I went to record the album with them in their studio in Brooklyn," Aloe Blacc remembers. "At first, they gave me a CD of instrumental tracks for me to preview and write lyrics. Then we jammed in the studio to come up with other songs, and finally, I shared songs that I had written with them to recreate for the album. The album is what I like to call "brand new old soul" because it feels like it comes from decades ago, but it still has a freshness to it that makes it relevant today. Several of the songs on the album were written before the recording sessions and the influences range over the years from Cat Stevens to Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield." And upon considered listening reflection, brand new old soul it is indeed.

By Martyn Pepperell

On Thursday the 27th of January, Aloe Blacc, backed by his band The Grand Scheme, will bring his meditations on modern life to New Zealand for one exclusive show at Backstage (12 Galatos St, Auckland) with support from David Dallas. Tickets are available via

Harlem Christmas Party

The final Harlem gig for the year. I'm sure the boys are going to end the year in style so get down and kick your Christmas off right.
Big ups to Barnaby and the crew!

Karlmarx – Mists

Karlmarx - Mists by MPMCGN

Karlmarx are Isaac Aesili and Mark McNeill.
Their EP Mists will be out officially in January (pressed on white vinyl + limited to 500 copies) and is the first taster of their forthcoming full-length „The Karlmarx Project“.
The song „Mists“ will also be featured on the forthcoming Brownswood comp Lefto & Simbad present Worldwide Family Vol.1.

Djay for iPad

So this has been keeping me busy. Working towards using it instead of Serato or CDJ's when playing digital music.
It's got a great easy to understand interface. Check the video:

Paul Rodriguez Nike SB Commercial

Back from Sin Sydney with a few dusty psych records, new Supreme cap & few skin shades darker. Time to blaze up the half joint I left myself and chill the fuck out. Shouts to my man Jelly (aka Eric Koston) by the way...

New Jay Electronica

Today's tune is Jay Electronica Ft Tone Tressure - Jazzamattaz (a guru tribute)
Tracks like this make me think he's the next to blow.

Jay Electronica featuring Tone Treasure - Jazzmatazz by Hypetrak

DJ Nate - Hata's our Motivation

So, Dopeonplastika and Tones are away on holliday in Sydney for the Moodyman, Carl Craig and Theo Parish throwdown. Least i could do was post a song each day to hold down. Third day today, I'm going to switch it up. Some footwurk to get you into the weekend party vibe.

CocoRosie- By your side

Mount Kimbie

After diving right into Deer Park for two days straight I revisted Mount Kimbie's "crooks and lovers" This one is one of my fav's. Kinda whacky Video

D:unk - Sunshine -o-

New one from the homie D:unk, guy keeps gettin' better and better...

Deer Park - Walk Into The Sea

Shanalog sent through some of his new album with his band Deer Park. Here's a little piece from the press release to give you an indication of their sound...

"guitars traded for trumpet,toy sampling keyboards, underpowered casiotones, an analogue synth and miles upon miles of decayed 4-track tape loops. Taking their cues equally from the hazy wonked out hip hop of the likes of Flying Lotus and the melodic no-fi shimmer of Coco Rosie or Animal Collective."

A good way to rollout what seems like an endless week of DJing...

Malty Media - Kleine Wasserbar

The homie Jet Jaguar has once again hooked us up, this time with some of his new collaborative work Malty Media. A dope free release for all of you. For more info and what not check out Angry Rabbit. Cheers Mike!

Solomon Ilori & His Afro-Drum Ensemble - Gbogbo Omo Ibilie

One of my workmates brought a copy of this into work. Was quite surprised that it was a Blue Note release but upon listening (to the last 3 tracks at least) the jazz is more evident. While the first six tracks are more African high life based the last three tracks begin to explore the astro jazz which Alice Coltrane and like would produce a number of years later. Album features Coltrane drummer Elvin Jones, Hubert Laws as well as Donald Byrd.

Lee Fields X J Cole "ladies"

Had the catchy Lee fields and the Expressions track "Ladies" in my head for a good week and then got put onto this.
Super Hot Flip from J Cole. (another jewel in the roc nation crown)

Tried for Your Love (Hudson Mohawke Remix) | XLR8R

Feeling this Hud Mo remix well 90's vibe going on head over to XLR8R for the DL

Electric Wire Hustle - Experience EP

The cuzzies just dropped their new EP.
You know the deal with these boys, quality over quantity.
Go cop it and if your in Wellys next Friday, check the the gig.


As if there wasn't enough things to check out this week. Heres one more.
DJ Krush is in town this week. The man has been around for an age and for good reason.
Last time I seen Krush he was off the fucking chain. No doubt he'll be tearing NZ audiences to shreds once again. I'll be throwing down in support with my homies D:unk & Excelle.
Tickets from Real Groovy & Dash
Wellington Friday 3rd Dec - San Francisco Bath House
w/ support from D:unk Live, Excelle & Izz The Wizz

Auckland Saturday 4th Dec - Zen
w/ support from Dylan C, Scratch 22, Dan Paine

Harlem Present

Thank god for computers and the nimble finger skills it takes to make beats. No doubt you need a perfect musical ear and rhythm running through your veins but that is what these guys have.

On Dec 2nd Harlem will play host to Auckland's most dope Hip Hop beat makers. Bringing the finest to one place at one time.

For anyone who has their finger on the pulse they will have heard most of these names being thrown around in underground hip hop banter.

These guys will all be playing beats of their own creation throughout the evening taking the reigns of the Auckland Hip Hop movement.

Christoph el Truento has just released an EP on Wonderful Noise.

Haz is Homebrews alchemist of beats.

Miso Shiru is a part of Koru Licks.

Saxby is the beat maker for Nothing to Nobody.

Shanalog sounds like a trip through space and time.

Influence beats is a part of The Boom Bap Kids hailing from North Shore.

Featuring Jeremy Gallagher and Lui T - Live MC's


The homies Marek & The Jewel School have got this dope lil number hooked up for Betty's this Friday. If your into dancing, then this is the place to be.

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