In January 2004, Luisa Cardoza (aka DJ LC) started spinning music on The Great 88. It all started when she enrolled in our broadcast class while working at the UCSC Ticket Office. Luisa loved our Friday afternoon “Not So Distant Relatives” program so when host DJ Abel graduated, she and DJ Soul Patch (Ben Kutcher) took over. LC also did a great job as part of the longest running women’s radio collective in the world, Breakfast in Bed (Sundays 9-noon) and subbing on “Jazz Kitty” (Saturdays, noon-2). Luisa has recently moved to San Francisco, where she’s hosting the show “Tapestries” on KCSF Radio every Wednesday as part of SF City College’s Broadcast Media program. The station streams live via TuneInRadio with programs also archived on Mixcloud.com. Even though LC is now on a different spot on the dial, she’ll always be a loyal fan of where she got her radio start, KZSC.
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata (Madlib Invazion)
Gary, Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs is set to release his fourth collaborative project on March 18 with critically acclaimed producer Madlib, known primarily for his work with MF DOOM (Madvillainy) and J Dilla (Jaylib). Freddie Gibbs was originally signed to Young Jeezy’s label CTE World in 2011, but due to contract disputes Gibbs left CTE and started his own label called ESGN last year. Their previous 3 EPs Thuggin‘, Shame, and Deeper, have shown Freddie Gibbs talent to rap over Madlib’s unorthodox style of production. With Piñata, we can expect more of Gangsta Gibbs’ street-inspired rhymes.
Kevin Gates – By Any Means (Bread Winners’ Association)
Kevin Gates will be following up a very successful 2013 with his new mixtape By Any Means, set to release March 18. The Louisiana rapper’s 2013 releases Luca Brasi Story and Stranger Than Fiction showcased his ability to incorporate the Southern rap style popularized by Master P and T.I., with very well-thought out lyricism. Kevin Gates has found much popularity in his home state, but has yet to fully break into the national spotlight. Perhaps By Any Means will be the release to change that.
Future – Honest (Epic/Freebandz)
Future has gone from being a one hit wonder to one of the biggest names in the rap industry today. He kills the hook game. Following up his 2012 debut, Pluto, the self-described “Astronaut Kid” looks to bring more extra-terrestrial sounding, infectious rhymes on Honest, set to drop April 22. Future has already taken advantage of the rising fame by starting his own label called Freebandz, on which has signed several up and coming rappers. Future is the cousin of Rico Wade, member of Organized Noize, the producers behind countless hits by Goodie Mob, TLC, and Outkast. So it is no surprise to see a rare Andre 3000 verse featured on this. Honest also includes guest appearances by Pharrell Williams, Pusha T, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Drake, Wiz Khalifa, and Freebandz affiliates Young Scooter and Casino. You can play the video game accompanying his new single “Move That Dope” at MoveThatDoh.com.
The Ides of March turned out to be a bummer for Caesar, however it also marked the beginning of the new year for the Romans. It’s a new season of world music releases at KZSC including station favorites from the experimental fusion group Beats Antique, internationally acclaimed Tuareg guitarist Bombino plus the collaborative work of Sudanese vocalist Alsarah with French electronic artist Debruit. A modern, haunting take on Sudanese music heard through the sonic lens of French electronic, I can’t tell you how much I’m loving “Aljawal Soundway”. And we just received one by Pink Martini with The (“Sound of Music”) Von Trapp Family. Theatrical world music? More on this one next time. Here’s a quick look at 10 new world recordings worth hearing:
1 BEATS ANTIQUE A Thousand Faces, Act I Beats Antique
2 BOMBINO Nomad Nonesuch
3 DEBRUIT AND ALSARAH Aljawal Soundway
4 OMAR SOULEYMAN Wenu Wenu Ribbon
5 LAS CAFETERAS It’s Time Self-Released
6 VAADAT CHARIGIM The World Is Well Lost Burger
7 DIDI FAVREAU Deal With It Didi Favreau
8 BOSSACUCANOVA Our Kind Of Bossa Six Degrees
9 ALSARAH AND THE NUBATONES Silt Wonderwheel
10 JAMES WHETZEL Beats For Venus
“Extra large what?” Well, this isn’t a “what”, it’s a “who”. Local favorites Extra Large have been called “uniquely Santa Cruz” by serving up their supersized sound of reggae, Latin, hip-hop, funk, and rock for years. Voted “Best Band” for many years by Santa Cruz Weekly and Good Times readers, Extra Large blends original material with creative takes on covers that are so funky you just gotta dance. Find out in person when Extra Large plays at Don Quixote’s International Music Hall in Felton Saturday, March 15th. Showtime is 7 pm. Check out this selection from their first album “Dance to the Spin” https://soundcloud.com/vlealxl/dance-to-the-spin
This post (and picture) comes courtesy of DJ Compost, one of the hosts of KZSC’s “Dead Energy” program.
Full Disclosure: The last time I saw Laura Marling in concert, it was before I came to KZSC. I used a fake press pass to get into the 21+ venue. With a hand-crafted and surprisingly legitimate looking photo ID badge and the acting skills of Nicholas Cage on a good day, I somehow got into the show. When I told Laura about it after her performance, she called me a “fucking genius” and told me of her own experiences as an underage music aficionado in England where she’d sneak into shows with nothing more than fake DJ equipment and confidence. A bonding moment to remember. I recently saw Laura again at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco and this time, as a real media-type person. Laura walked on stage to a microphone stand three inches taller than her pixie-like self. Standing on her tiptoes, she timidly chimed “hello,” before beginning to play. I thought she’d adjust her mic to better accommodate her height, but she never did. It seemed strategic for the self-proclaimed and endearingly awkward folk singer to hold her head craned upwards where her eyes could easily travel to the ceiling. She opened with the first four songs from her new album, “Once I Was An Eagle”, each one blending seamlessly into the next, which built to the fifth and angriest track on the album, “Master Hunter.” Laura joked that if she were us, she’d be rioting against hearing new material, then played a pair of brand new songs. Apologizing for her lack of bantering skills, she laughed ironically then announced, “Now for the hits” and played gems from her previous three albums plus a beautiful Townes Van Zandt cover of “For the Sake of the Song.” Laura let us get to know her during the next hour and a half, but only as much as she wanted, keeping parts of herself hidden away-dark, mysterious, vulnerable and inviting at the same time. Closing with “Where Can I Go?” from “Once I Was An Eagle”, Laura cooed gently: “I am cold and I am bright/ It’s a curse of mine to be sad at night.” At 23 years old, she seems to bare more of the world on her shoulders than she should have to; a blessing and a curse as a songwriter. She voices an honest vulnerability that is absolutely inspiring as if she’s swallowed up the entire world and spat out the good in beautiful prose and the bad in fiery spurts of fury. Find out more about Laura Marling at her website and listen for her on KZSC.
If you haven’t seen The White Album Ensemble, you should. They reproduce music that The Beatles recorded but did not perform (“Rubber Soul” through “Abbey Road” albums). The Kuumbwa Jazz Center, with its great acoustics and grand piano, provide a perfect setting for an intimate concert of Beatles songs “unplugged” – acoustic instruments with an accent on vocals and harmonies. Special guests include vocalists Tammi Brown and Alysha Antonino along with percussionist Steve Robertson. The White Album Ensemble’s “Beatles Unplugged” show comes to the Kuumbwa in downtown Santa Cruz Friday, March 14th at 8 pm.