He’s the Izza Kizza

The inbox has been blasted with emails about Izza Kizza. Now, I never took the time to listen to Izza Kizza, or watch Izza Kizza in action.
But based on this track, “I’m the Izza Kizza”, Ickmuzic like-a the Izza Kizza.

Within my hip-hop appreciating being, this is the beat of choice. The preferred dope groove. And anyone who weaves “Bahama Mama Punani” and “Unabomber Punani” into their rhymes is okay with me.

Yesterday morning, I whined on Twitter about the Izza Kizza emails hyping his new mix tape.
Tonight, I’m posting this badass video and guiding you to IzzaKizza.com to download his brand new mix tape for free.
Funny how things work out sometimes.

I’m The Izza Kizza

Recap: McDowell Mountain Music Festival

(or why I came home with a gnome)

Early Friday afternoon, a rented CruiseAmerica 25′ recreational vehicle rolled into the WestWorld complex in Scottsdale, Arizona. In the back, my two little girls, ages 3 and 5. In the passenger seat, my wife. And rollin’ gangsta-style in the driver’s seat? Suge Knight!! WTF?! Heh, kidding of course. ‘Twas me. The RV:  that’s how we rolled this weekend for the McDowell Mountain Music Festival. We cruised into the RV area, hooked up our casa on wheels to power and water, and it was time for my favorite local festival….

Austin City Limits 2009 Lineup Announced


If you’ve been hiding under a rock for fear of contracting the Swine Flu, you might have missed the lineup announcement for this year’s installment of the Austin City Limits festival (Official Link) – and it looks to be a hell of a lineup. They are clearly going for a certain demographic (which I am fairly certain that I belong to), and at $185 for a 3-day Pass it comes in less per-day than seeing any of the headliners solo. The festival takes place October 2-4, 2009 at Zilker Park in Austin, TX.


The Friday Five: April 24, 2009

I want that shuffle, not excuses.

For those who have not joined in the Friday Five here is all you need to know; each Friday I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes and share my five and drop a little knowledge and insight for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes we have guest, but most of the time it’s just me.

The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments. The more the merrier!

The Five:

“Love Song” by 311 (from 50 First Dates)

On occasion a cover song reimagines the original to such a point that it becomes its own unique entity (see John Cale‘s “Hallelujah” and Jimi Hendrix‘s “All Along the Watchtower”) and far surpasses the original. This is one of those cases. As much as I love the original, 311‘s sun-drenched take on The Cure track captures the essence for me.

Love Left Us Strangers” (mp3) by Space Needle (from The Moray Eels Eat the Space Needle)

In the late 90’s I worked for a little record store in upstate New York. Anders Parker of Space Needle (and Varnaline) was a former employee and this record was the soundtrack to the winter of 1997.

“Song That Jane Likes” by Dave Matthews Band (from Remember Two Things)

“I’ve got a little sister named Jane and this is the ‘Song That Jane Likes’…”

Like It Is” (mp3) by The Damnwells (from One Last Century)

Easily a contender for one of my favorite records of 2009, this one came at the recommendation of Jeff from Popdose and it’s been in constant rotation ever since. If you like what you hear you can download the entire record (legally) from the band’s official website (and really it’s free, so why wouldn’t you download it?)

Don’t Get Me Wrong” (mp3) by Lily Allen (from Radio 1: Established 1967)

Sometimes the song just fits. I don’t think that I’ve exposed my deep seated hatred of The Pretenders on Ickmusic yet. Despite that I absolutely adore this reading of their 1986 classic. Miss Allen adds her signature ska-lite lilt to the tune while staying spot on in her rendition of Chrissie Hynde‘s delivery.

Tag! You’re it… what’s the soundtrack to your afternoon?

McDowell Mountain Music Festival kicks off Friday

What: McDowell Mountain Music Festival
Where: Westworld – north Scottsdale, AZ
When: Friday, April 24th & Saturday, April 25th

This is a weekend I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. My favorite local festival, the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, kicks off tomorrow. Over the next two days, north Scottsdale’s WestWorld grounds will transform itself into the music mecca of the area for the weekend.

The next two days will feature some seasoned veterans: Hot Tuna and New Riders of the Purple Sage (a band that once featured one Jerry Garcia); some festival favorites: Michael Franti & Spearhead, Railroad Earth; an Irish band from L.A. (the Young Dubliners); a Hasidic Jew with a flair for all things reggae (Matisyahu); and then, headlining Saturday night, a band that has us – the desert dwellers – abuzz: the Flaming Lips!

Fun in the sun, groovalicious tunes, cold brewskis for those of us who enjoy such things, great food, great people….

And a nice forecast…

I’ll be snapping up some photos, and tweeting around throughout the weekend. For now, I leave you with a cool version of the Flaming Lips covering Madonna’s “Borderline”. See you all on the other side!

Sweating under the Gaslight: The Gaslight Anthem @ the Clubhouse in Tempe

If you or any of your friends question the quality of new music today, grab them (or yourself) by the ear and take ’em to see The Gaslight Anthem when they come to your town.

Tuesday was our first 100 degree day here in the Phoenix area, and the temp hadn’t cooled inside the small n’ sweaty Clubhouse in Tempe. It was steamy, it was sweaty, and the Gaslight Anthem cranked the heat up even further with their searing 90 minutes of uptempo Strummer/Boss-inspired rock n’ roll.

Standing a few feet back of stage left, it was impossible not to be swept right into the experience. First off, each of the four members of Gaslight are characters in their own right: drummer Benny Horowitz and his steady rapid-fire machine gun rhythms; lead guitarist Alex Rosamilia – bearded, hat low over his eyes and cocked to the right just a touch – alternately slumping over his guitar and thrashing about in short bursts; bass player Alex Levine, who reminds me of Paul Simonon, with his cool rock star bass pose: legs spread wide, bass slung low…

And then there’s Brian Fallon. White t-shirt, arms sleeved with ink, and a confident, strong demeanor on stage. Not cocky – completely gracious and interactive with the audience, actually. Example: during one of the encore tunes (“Angry Johnny And The Radio”, I think), he noticed one of the fawning girls in front of the stage looking especially thirsty (how I don’t know, a front man’s sixth sense?). He managed to gesture for a water bottle, sing the lyrics, play his guitar, and signal toward the girl – all in that smooth rock star swagger. Impressive!

nope, not my pic, taken from Flickr (credit below)
Brian Fallon: nope, not my pic, taken from Flickr

Fallon is as magnetic and commanding of a front man as I’ve seen in a young band. But hell, if you’re raised on Strummer and the Boss, you’ve got two of the best to model yourself after.

The electricity that occurs when these four guys play a song – just incredible. The examples are too numerous to mention. But they had me completely by the balls during songs like “The ’59 Sound” and “The Patient Ferris Wheel”. When Rosamilia ch-ch-chunked his guitar to lead off “Ferris Wheel”, it reminded me of a chainsaw firing up – the FORCE of these guys playing together. There is a clear chemistry that these four share, and they need to keep this band together and evolving as this unit – at all costs.

Do I sound excited yet? Well, that’s what a hot night of real rock n’ roll does to me. Sounds so cliche, but some of ’em ring true.

The guys played the lion’s share of songs from their great label debut, The ’59 Sound. They also dipped back into their first full length, Sink or Swim, which I just picked up tonight on eMusic (I HAD to have these tunes). They wrapped up the night with a fired up take on the Tom Waits-penned “Downtown Train” – hardly recognizable compared to the original, save for the lyrics.

Taking in this amazing live band, and scanning the young crowd around me, fists pumped in the air and singing along to every song, it was all pretty damn refreshing, and renewed my spirit. Hell, it’s been a very spiritually renewing month of live music for me – Springsteen, Cockburn, the Gaslight Anthem – thanks April!

If you’ve been around here a while, you know full well of my adulation for John Graham Mellor, aka Mr. Joe Strummer. Well, on Sink or Swim, and played during the encore last night, there’s a tune that shows how in synch I am with Mr. Fallon and the boys. It’s a song called “I’da Called You Woody, Joe”…

And I never got to tell him so I just wrote it down,
I wrapped a couple chords around it and I let it come out,
When the walls of my bedroom trembled around me,
To this ramshackle voice over attack of a bluesbeat,
And a girl, on the excitement gang.
That was the sound of the very last gang in town.

The Gaslight AnthemI’da Called You Woody, Joe (mp3)

Quick Primer: if you want very quickly to become a Gaslight Anthem fan, watch this January performance of “The ’59 Sound” on Letterman. Click the HQ button for some high quality action. You’re welcome.


Links: Official Site | MySpace | Slideshow from the Phoenix New Times


The ’59 Sound

Sink or Swim

Brian Fallon Photo Credit: Munkin on Flickr

Review: Mike Watt & the Missingmen @ the Launchpad in Albuquerque

The extended Ickmusic family has been out catching some quality live gigs this month. Tonight, my old friend Jason gives us a detailed account of his night with Mike Watt this past Saturday down New Mexico way… – Pete

Mike Watt & The Missingmen
The Launchpad, Albuquerque, NM,  April 18 2009

For those unacquainted with Mike Watt’s work, let me relate an eavesdrop from outside Saturday’s show, during a nicotine infusion:
“So, who’s playing tonight?”
“Mike Watt,” said the fan to his tagalong, “bassist from the Minutemen.  You know them?”
The fan was met with a blank stare.
“He’s kinda in the Stooges now, for the last couple albums and tours…  C’mon, MIKE WATT, you know him.”
The fan was met with a blank nodding head.
“Well,” said the fan, “you secretly know him.”

And that may be you, dear reader.  You’ve heard The Minutemen.  You’ve heard of fIREHOSE or Banyan.  You certainly know The Stooges, and have been meaning to pick up their latest album, The Weirdness.  You sort of remember when Sonic Youth did those Madonna covers.  When your friend played you that Gov’t Mule cover of CCR’s “Effigy“, your head bopped soulfully.  You may have even thought guiltily to yourself, “Man, this Kelly Clarkson song actually kinda rocks.”

In other words, you too secretly know Mike Watt.

And so you find yourself, wandering into that little venue downtown, where hipsters and rockers congregate, where the 30+ crowd is pleased to discover tonight is 21+, not like that mind boggling 18+ MC5 show.  You cough up a $10 cover and choke down some $9 tequilas, switch to $1.50 PBR, and make your way toward the stage to hear Mike Watt, Tom Watson and Raul Morales practice their latest rock opera.

“Really?” the girl you brought asks, “Rock opera?”  The strains of Bohemian Rhapsody burn behind her eyes.
“Well ostensibly,” you answer, citing the interview read earlier in the local rag, “it’s about Walt Whitman, The Wizard of Oz, mortality, and jackalopes.  But it’s not completed, or quite ready.  So tonight they’re just practicing.”

And then you notice the man brushing through the crowd from the bar wearing a gig bag like a backpack.  “Oh, that’s Mike Watt,” you think.  He takes the stage, preemptively tunes, adjusts the mic stand.  And then the band explodes.
The first barrage of the power trio is so loose, rather, so… not tight, with double bass thuds popping just slightly too far behind the frenetic drums, you think, “Hmmm, they really do need practice.”  But it’s a ruse.  Watt screams, “COLTRANE!!!” into the mic, and they’re off.  “Oh yeah, this is Mike Watt,” you say.

Dear reader at this point, I should point out that I didn’t attend the show with forethought of writing this review.  Hence, I have no up-the-nose, front row, cell phone pix for you, no shaky, EQued-out YouTube vids, nor even a desultory set list.  I did recognize a few covers, The Stooges’ “Fun House” and Wire’s “Three Girl Rhumba”, to name a couple.  But mostly I was violently entranced by the complexity of the noise, the raw punk energy of the performance.  Watt appeared to be alternately attempting to swallow his tongue or spit it from his mouth like a wad of chewed Fruit Stripe.  He barked lyrics like a berserker Tom Waits.  Watson crafted rhythm riffs and feedback drones into a driving, irresistibly head-banging gale. I think Morales had three drumsticks.  This is opera?  I like opera.

I dunno. If you were writing this, how would you describe this music?  Zappa conducting with a tungsten fungo bat?  The Stooges dragged behind a rockabilly locomotive?  Capt. Beefheart covers Muddy Waters with a timebomb strapped to his balls?  You wouldn’t wax so poetic.  “It’s Mike Watt,” you’d simply say, “You know.  You secretly know.”

And you do.  You know that Watt’s gracious low-key smile is genuine.  You know that when he thanks the smallish audience for, “being so kind,”  he truly means it.  When he asks, over the mic, if anyone has, “a safe place for our boat (his van) and a place for us to crash tonight.”  You just know it’s not odd.  Mike’s on tour.  Mike jams econo.  When he curses, “the machines,” after his mic stand falls slowly to the stage for the umpteenth time and states, “This one’s the timber machine.”  You know he’s actually punning, “the timbre machine.”  When he personally sells you a t-shirt after the show and calls bullshit on the fact they’ve run out of some sizes after only two gigs, you know the band stickers he gives you really are an apology.

But most of all you know, as you step into the night, that you will most definitely show up for the next practice.


Upcoming “Prac’n the 3rd Opera” Tour 2009:

04-21 Houston, TX – Rudyard’s
04-22 Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon
04-23 Tallahassee, FL – The Moon *
04-24 Jacksonville Beach, FL – Freebird Live *
04-25 Charleston, SC – The Music Farm *
04-26 Asheville, SC – The Orange Peel *
04-27 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle *
04-29 Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood Theatre *
04-30 Richmond, VA – The National *
05-01 Lancaster, PA – Chameleon Club *
05-02 Baltimore, MD – Ottobar *
05-06 Cambridge, MA – T.T. the Bear’s
05-07 Hoboken, NJ – Maxwell’s
05-08 New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
05-09 Philadelphia, PA – North Star Bar
05-10 Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe
05-11 Cleveland Heights, OH – Grog Shop
05-12 Detroit, MI – Shelter
05-13 Grand Rapids, MI – Billy’s Lounge
05-14 Chicago, IL – Schubas Tavern
05-15 Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
05-16 Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room
05-18 Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge
05-19 Salt Lake City, UT – Bar Deluxe
05-20 Boise, ID – Neurolux
05-21 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
05-22 Seattle, WA – Crocodile Cafe
05-23 Bellingham, WA – The Nightlight
05-24 George, WA – Sasquatch! Music Festival

* with Dinosaur Jr.

Leonard Cohen Giveaway: The Winner is…

Twelve people – 12 (!?) – ended up entering themselves in the Leonard Cohen giveaway contest. I either don’t know my demographic / readership, people really are lazy, or the post didn’t make it in front of very many eyes (could have been due to the comments issue as well). Who knows. But it sure made the odds of winning pretty damn good.

At any rate, it went down like this… my head was swimming in coffee & Dayquil this morning – the old man is sick as a dog –  so I left the winner selection to my 3 year old daughter. Yesterday was her birthday, so she deserved to crown the victor, don’t ya think?

Names were written on tiny pieces of paper and placed carefully into her metallic Barbie Princess® purse. She reached in, picked one out, and handed it to me…

As you see – our winner this go around is SINZIANA.