Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Brooklyn. Hurricane Season. Lessons.

The Res show was March 12th, so I am admittedly ultra late on this, but I felt a reflection was in order. I know I speak for my partners in crime on this show, Terrance Wilmore and Talib Nelson (www.thisisrealmusic.com) when I say that we thank everyone that showed love that night and came through despite the terror of the Wizard of Oz weather. A million and one things went on that night. Writing about all of it would turn this into a mini thesis, but there is something that I learned and took away from the experience- The Strength of Energy. I seemed to have grossly underestimated the power of positive and negative energy. Not at all to be on some moonbeam hippie ish, but I would be remiss if I didn't note how important it is to be surrounded by people that not only give off that light and that warmth, but to expel those that bring the rain and the storm indoors. That's not news to anyone I'm sure, but it hit me hard on that particular night and a reminder never killed anyone.

I also gained a jewel in overstanding why God blessed the child that's got his own. Simply put, bulding your own world means that you can let in who you want. Being a part of someone else's (however grand) means that you must deal with all the people that are already there-as well as the new unwanteds that haven't arrived yet. To my extended family, my hardworking musical and art adoring community, our kingdom is being developed. It's small, but it's lovely and most importantly, it's ours. As we continue to grow our circle from within, let nothing tear asunder.


A special shout: To my bandmates who played to perfection: Dave Chege, bass. Stephen Spencer, keys and guitar. Mark Bell, drums. To my sisters Shane and Keisha that held down the merch table ALL NIGHT and to Amanda that held down the front door ALL NIGHT. To Dj Metaphysic who played hit after hit. To Liz(www.nobodybeatstheliz.wordpress.com)and Joann (www.musiclookslikethis.com) for taking marvelous flicks. Thanks y'all!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pardon the Stranger Tees!


Wear us to the office. The boss won't mind!

Bonus: Our debut album, "We're Here to Help" comes with your purchase. Winner=You!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February Movement

As promised, keeping you informed of all the ups and forwards:

First off, this Friday 2/19, come check me out on the turntables as I do my DJ thing for all you true music lovers. Have a drink, say hello, nod your head and move your body!

Allow me to bask in my 10 seconds of glory in the new Letoya Luckett (formerly of Destiny's Child) video for "Good to Me". Peace to brother J-Harris on the the help out for this one. Me and my guitar against the world!

LeToya "Good To Me" from Music'N'BS on Vimeo.

And finally, the new Sade album is out and there have been some interesting discussions on it. Peep my review on www.thisisrealmusic.com and tell me if I'm either on target or deaf. Just click on "Articles", then "Reviews".

Til next time kids.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dilla Brought Us Here

Last night was the "One Won't Do" J-Dilla tribute show at North 4 Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. After getting off the stage and over the painting on the wall of Bill Cosby naked with rainbow swirls shooting out of his johnson, I took a second to look around and realize what was happening. I was surrounded by family. This is not family in the traditional sense of blood relatives or people that would take a bullet for you. This is something different. This family is born out of something very exclusive yet inviting. It's this thing... This love of music. This love of art. They seem to bind people together in a way that's indescribable. The collection of familiar faces when you are about to perform, the conversations about what's going on in each respective world of creativity, the exchange, the mutual admiration, the overall scene- it has value. Not to say that it doesn't have its fair share of salt and slight sense of competition as well, but those are minor dings and barely felt. What I'm talking about is the unified climb. The beautiful struggle we all go through as artists gets less painful and more pretty as the members of this community grow and continue to embrace each other. That is truly the only way any scene can expand. It gets bigger from the inside out and not the other way around. In the end, we're all still the youngsters rhyming in the cafeteria, singing in the school talent shows, painting on the walls and dancing in the community centers. The only differences now are that our canvasses have gotten bigger, our palettes more sophisticated and our vision more refined. We don't call it dreaming anymore. That's for kids.


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Go (that way) DJ!

There are times when very interesting, sincere and valid questions arise from a conversation. I embrace those moments. I sat down in a round table of sorts with a few DJ friends of mine and listened to years of turntable experience at work. It boiled down to something that I had not considered before: What is a DJ's responsibility?

This past weekend, I went to my dude's party at a small Jersey lounge. With the exception of a quick guest spot by yours truly, he was the man on the wheels for the night. The place was packed with early 20-somethings celebrating birthdays- mostly girls in short skirts with their boyfriends thirsty for champagne, a chance to be noticed and a flashy night out. I must say that my friend is a DJ for the people, meaning he assesses the crowd and spins accordingly. Although the song selection of hardcore fist pumping, monotonous, synthetic drum sounds and radio fluff made me sea sick, it was clearly what the crowd craved. He did what he had to do. I respected that and swiftly made my exit.

We debriefed the next day at the "roundtable".

My argument: Something for everybody usually means nothing for anybody. I follow DJ's and go to venues that play what I want to hear. I seek them out, therefore I don't want the sounds to veer towards the Jersey Shore soundtrack just because there are a few greasy cats with glitter on their chests that want their horrid musical taste buds appeased. Regardless of the TYPE of music played, I want the VIBE consistent and I want to share space with people who desire the same. I stay away from the one-stop shopping clubs and bars that have to appeal to the masses and play whatever pop fodder that's considered safe and generic. I don't invade and criticize; I go where I call home and play my position. As I begin to delve into the world of DJing, I promote and reach out to like-minded heads that feel what I feel and can relate to the mood I'm creating. I know my audience and go after them. Hopefully others will join in the movement and help it to grow, but I maintain my direction. As far as I'm concerned, a city bus's route is clear. If it doesn't go where you want it to, wait for the next one. I feel the same way about the parties we attend.

So I ask: Overall, is the responsibility of the DJ to adapt to the flavor of the spot at all costs and be a virtual jukebox, or is his job to set the tone and convince the crowd to see it his way at the risk of clearing the floor at any moment?
Obviously there are a million variables to this question that prompt more than a few non black and white answers, but I'm very interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

BlackFlag Shoppe Haiti Benefit

Peace to O and Les of BlackFlag Shoppe for putting together this benefit for Haiti. Black Flag is one of my favorite stores, period. They truly connect with the community and really have a hold on what it is to be immersed in the culture they cater to. They do it the way it should be done. PTS was proud to be a part of it.
Make sure you check them out @ www.blackflagshoppe.blogspot.com

*Special shout to Elete's jug of sangria: the new stage accessory.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Taking the Pajamas Off for 2010

Ok. So I've definitely been sleeping when it comes to the blog updates. My vow for 2010 is to keep you all up on not only what's been going on with PTS, but also heads within our ridiculously talented extended family. Forgive the snoozing. The alarm has gone off

1) Firstly, I have to show love to my brother Ed Marshall. He is an amazing photographer out of Brooklyn, NY that has kept his eye firmly fixed on the underground music scene. If you know Afro-Punk or URB ALT, then you know Ed. He has recently put out a collection of his work called PhocusED available at www.blurb.com. Luckily, he chose to show yours truly to be a part of the collection. Do the right thing. GET THE BOOK!


2) You know Def Dom right? Of course you do. The man stays working. He just completed his project with Delinquent Soundz MC, Phonetic to create, Phonetically Def. Without hearing a note, you already know the beats bang and the lyrics don't falter. It will be available very shortly, so don't leave the computer screen. Yes, I already know I dropped the ball on posting the flyer for the listening party last week (just shut up about it), but still, the visual should be burned into your brains.

3)Hasan Salaam's latest album Children of God is a testament to why hip hop should remain in the forefront of our lives. The release party for his video for "Angel Dust" is approaching. Do your best not to lick the screen as you watch the trailer. Ameena Dove is difficult to turn away from.

Make sure you come to Public Assembly in BK on 1/23/2010 to see it all live and direct. Yes, PTS will be there to touch the stage as well.

4)J-Dilla could've been his own element in hip hop. He was responsible for countless hits and brought Slum Village to the world, so it's only right that we celebrate his contributions to our collective eargasmic experience. Come peep the Dilla tribute 2/5/2010 and understand why we salute this man. Peace to DJ Metaphysic for letting me be a part of the festivities.

5) Last but not least, I have to thank my longtime bredren J-Harris for thinking of the kid when he needed a guitar player for Letoya Luckett's new video "Good to Me". the day was long, but it was worth it to spend some time with some down ass folks. See the little plaid figure on the right? Yeah, that's me trying to play it cool and not pay attention to the camera shooting Letoya's twitter blast.

Copy and paste the link to peep the post:
(sorry, blogspot is being difficult with the embed code)


Alright family, that's all for now. I promise next time I will not wait so long to give you the scoop. A special apology goes out to my sister Shane, who consistently yells at me for having to find out about these events from elsewhere. Sorry doll, you know I love ya. And YOU too!