Welcome to “No Tyme For Nowhere,” a column wherein DJ Frank Cardoza, of Olympia, Wash.’s KAOS 89.3, will introduce us to his world of music, featuring bands the rest of us may not otherwise ever be exposed to. This week he features Olympia-based hip-hop acts Afrok & the Movement and AKA & the Heart Hurt Goods.
As I travel through life, there has always been a soundtrack in my head. Songs that fit the road and the cities I visited and created an aural atmosphere for trips. Through punk rock, dirty garage rock and hyper-kinetic ska, I continued to devour music. Foreign balladeers and flirty U.K. chanteuse always tearing a piece of my ear away, with trip hop slow motion and languages that I would never speak but could still feel the emotional bleeding from the melodies. I love music with a passion that has never flickered.
I never had enough skill to stay in groups, I was the bass player who could keep a beat but wasn’t going to be able to hit the strings like Claypool or Jamerson. Yet I always could pick out a great song and frequently was among those people who loved introducing music to others via mix CDs (or for you older people, the ever meaningful mix-tape.) Always wondering where in the musical landscape I could fit in. One day it hit me that I had all the qualities of a great radio DJ. Yes the format is probably ten years past it’s prime as a outlet but in the area I resided in, there was a very well known community radio station that went by the iconic call sign KAOS.
So I ventured down and joined as a volunteer, took the DJ training course and was certified to be a on-air DJ on February 8th, 2012. I spent the first few months subbing on shows and holding down the Monday slot on the KAOS Block Party. All the while I was putting together the plans for my own radio show, No Tyme For Nowhere. A show that would encompass all the music that I’ve heard and felt throughout my 36 years and the newer music I’m still discovering. I finally found the perfect slot on May 26th, midnight, and ending when the time felt right. I’d had the idea of starting each show with a song from The Clash, a couple picks from the vinyl library in the KAOS studio and a 4 song set at the end I dubbed “The Last Call Set.”
As months passed, I came to love the process of putting together a set list that would be encompass new music, but would also keep some of the older music that may have never had much play into the ears of my late night listeners. With a chaotic playlist, I especially keyed in on some fantastic local hip-hop that is very prevalent in the Olympia area, a much maligned genre of music that in Olympia takes a lot of different forms.
Two of the unique groups that cover not only Hip-Hop but R & B, rock, funk and in some instances a vocal type of jazz.
Afrok & The Movement “Doin’ My Thang” Live at the Olympia Ballroom for Hip Hop 4 The Homeless
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AKA & The Heart Hurt Goods “Falling off the End Of The Middle” Live at the Eastside Club
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Just an introduction to the madness and the beginning of this madcap journey. Until next time I shall leave you with the immortal words of Joe Strummer “If I had five million pounds I’d start a radio station because something needs to be done. It would be nice to turn on the radio and hear something that didn’t make you feel like smashing up the kitchen and strangling the cat.”
Dawn Richard gets to the heart of contemporary R&B on Goldenheart while proving her mettle as a pop songwriter
Dawn Richard, formerly the lead singer of Danity Kane and one-time collaborator with Sean Combs’ Diddy-Dirty Money, jump-starts 2013 with her latest solo LP Goldenheart, which stands out as an affirmation of what good modern pop R&B can do when it gives real music a fighting chance. “Return of a Queen,” “Golliath” and “Riot” launch this album with a sense that everyone involved simply wanted to make a great pop album, letting the music speak more than the usually requisite hype. The result is a song-cycle which showcases the depth of Richard’s craft, filled with hooks which should lure people onto the dance-floor and then back home to those headphones, where they can pore over the intricate details.
“I’m searching to find my way back to the throne, and I know if I could climb back through these walls maybe I’d get home,” Richard sings as “Return of a Queen,” and she sounds perfectly within her element as she lifts the track far beyond easy comparisons. As the album progresses, we get drawn into the tempos and movements she requires for us to fully let our guard down, and the reward is an album of contemporary pop R&B which transcends the triple-filtered sludge radio wants to force down all our throats.
She even saves the best for last, with “Goldenheart” tying everything together via a beautifully evocative piano melody coupled with her fluid vocals to form a hybrid of classical pop. The result forces you to hit repeat to hear how everything fits into the whole of the album’s concept, making this album ultimately a rewarding listening experience beyond what anyone would expect from a mere pop showpiece. From start to finish Goldenheart is sequenced to be a memorable listening experience which changes minds as to what R&B can accomplish.
I’ve been meaning to write about these guys for a while now, but when their single “Life Won’t Let You Down” crossed my desk again today I couldn’t resist. This is one of those r&b pop nuggets perfectly built for summer consumption, ready-made to be played full volume from speakers as you roll the windows down and belt out the chorus to various passers-by. Austin’s Suite 709 brings r&b and soul together to build a formula for pop music which is immediately accessible to a wide audience — it’s the kind of honest party atmosphere the people behind that cesspool known as LMFAO could only dream of.
Suite 709′s album Night & Day has brought immediate comparisons to Michael Jackson and James Brown, but the vibe on songs like “She Ain’t Easy” reminds me of what Maroon 5 used to be before Adam Levine sold his soul to pop-Satan. The rhythm section behind this group is to die for, and Night & Day is chock-full of singable pop smashes in the making. Call them a logical follow-up to the soul-pop revival of bands like Fitz and the Tantrums. If this is the direction r&b-based pop is heading, I’m definitely along for the ride. You’ll be able to hear the full album when it comes out July 9th, but until then, check out “Life Won’t Let You Down” below:
Leonard Friend is ready to take a blind flying leap into the world of R&B-inspired funk pop, and he’s going all in. Whether you’re convinced he’s making “serious music” or you’re just along for a lark, you’re soon to be convinced that this is music you’ll want to hear much, much more of. Creating an alter ego based around his grandfather, who abandoned a promising career as a big band saxophonist when he entered the family’s traveling salesman business, Alex Felder (formerly of the Brooklyn band the XYZ Affair) paints on a musical canvas inspired as much by the New Jack Swing of Michael Jackson’s Dangerous as it is by Morris Day and the Time, and from the minute you press play, the energy never lets up. Check out his debut video for “Serious Music” below, then ready yourself for what’s sure to be a great ride come January 31st, when Lynyrd Frynd EP drops loud and proud. Trust me, 2012′s already off to a mighty solid start.