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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Funk,Taco,Speakeay,Pimps of Joytime,The Heavy,Kings Go Forth


Taco Mania
Growing up in Virginia a couple of decades ago, tacos were not standard fare.  Occasionally, tacos showed up on the school lunch menu and were a big hit. Old El Paso with ground beef was the idea of a taco dinner at home.
Plus I got to help make the tacos...shredding cheese, chopping iceberg lettuce, hothouse tomatoes and yellow onions.  Now the taco, often considered a Mexican staple, is becoming an American staple like Chinese food years ago.  The taco is gaining a foothold shore to shore by truck, by storefront takeout and by climbing onto an haute cuisine menu near you.
Tacos Everywhere
Taco taken to competition and spectator sport. Check out photos and article in Metromix.

Taco Trucks
A google search for "taco trucks" yields nearly 100,000 results.
The whole Taco Truck phenomena started hitting the East Coast (NYC being my point of reference), to an nearly ubiquitous level about two years ago.  Now it seems in order to qualify as a hipster destination, in Brooklyn anyways, a Taco Truck has become a prerequisite.  Kogi Korean BBQ in LA became a juggernaut in the Taco Truck popularity wars by mastering a social media niche; and from the reviews, serving a tasty taco or two.

Kogi Korean BBQ, a taco truck brought to you by Twitter

Where will this unique taco truck park next? Only the tech-savvy know for sure.

February 11, 2009|Jessica Gelt
It started with a 4 a.m. glass of Champagne and a carne asada taco after a night of serious bar hopping. Thirty-year-old Mark Manguera was sitting with his 25-year-old sister-in-law, Alice Shin (his wife Caroline was already sleeping soundly), when the taste of L.A.'s most ubiquitous street food caused him to have a drunken revelation.  READ MORE.
Could we be ushering in a new speakeasy era?  Leave it to New York to take an economic crisis and turn it into an aesthetic touchstone. Moody, dark dens with obscure entrances, shuttered windows and low candles are hidden in nooks, back rooms and gritty streets across the city. Here's a New York Times piece from the summer.  READ MORE.
I've noticed a definite trend lately that popular music is FINALLY getting more musical.  Full blown backing bands, rich lyrics and yeah singers that can SING.  Even some amazing vocal comebacks on the horizon with Sade's new release.  Sultry, get sweaty, make you want to holler new soul and funk are leading the way, funking in 2010.  Here we go!
Pimps of Joytime"Keep That Music Playing" PTJ MP3 download.  The Pimps of Joytime are my favorite NYC band.  Their shows have an infectious good time, party vibe.  Been checking out there shows for about 4 years and every show is an energetic 'let's party y'all', throw down on stage.  Here's a video for "San Francisco Bound", a song PJT have been performing for a couple of years.  For PJT fans, it's a sing-along jam.  And keeping it hi tech but lo-fi and intimate, the video was shot on an iPhone while the band was touring on the West Coast.

The Heavy's bio on Ninja Tunes calls their sound "guitar-scorched hip hop soul"; but, I HEAR FUNK. 

"That Kind of Man" is what brought on the funk accolades with the shades of Curtis Mayfield in Swaby's vocals.  The funk fueled songs I heard is what attracted me to the band after a friend that is a Creative Director recommended the band.    "How Do You Like Me Now" growling soul/funk with memphis style backing horns has a catchy hook (you've heard it in a commercial for sure).  The drummer, Chris Ellul beats the hell out of the skins on the track. "Cause for Alarm" has a caribbean flecked lilt and a stuttered  ska beat that is a departure from what I have heard so far.  For me, The Heavy are more rocksters with a range of influences rather than funksters mining the 70's. Here's a link to a recent review of The Heavy's "The House That Dirt Built."
Here's the video for "That Kind of Man".
Kings Go Forth is a 10 piece combo set to expand their fan base well beyond Milwaukee now that they have signed with David Byrne's label Luaka Bop.  
You can hear some of their music on Myspace. "Don't Take My Shadow" puts horns out front from the start with a steady bass line and the lyrics pull me into the hopeful survivalist rebel spirit heard so often in funk.  "One Day" is steaming with retro funk.  The track channels the swing, swagger, positivity and vibe of 70's AM Soul radio.  Percussion and horns stand out along with a sweet guitar solo. Man, wish I could do a roll call of all the influences crammed into this song.  But the specter of Curtis Mayfield is never far away,"Move On Up" echoes and ripples throughout. Do we have a theme happening...Curtis Mayfield as unsung hero of Funk and Soul influencing a new generation?  The band is an odd assortment of characters, not exactly a marketers dream but their sound makes you want to close your eyes and dance. That is the heart of it all THE MUSIC not the machine.  Here's a video for "One Day."

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