Sunday, October 18, 2015

"Northern Soul" premier at the Nitehawk Cinema!

"Northern Soul" Premier at the Nitehawk Cinema

On September 16th 2015 Elaine Constantine's film "Northern Soul" was screened at the independent theater "Nitehawk Cinemas" in Brooklyn, New York and the event was hosted by Kurtis Powers, host of "The Face Radio". Before the theater was opened I sat down in the theaters bar while a DJ spun Northern Soul classics. Fred Perry provided the employees with their own Polo's, which I admired in envy, it'll be the first thing on my Christmas list this year. I devoured some steak tidbits as I tapped my feet and took a moment to look over my day. I discovered my debit card had been frozen as I tried to buy a Metro ticket, which led me to miss my intended train causing me to arrive in Brooklyn much later than I attended. But on the train there I realized how minuscule my problem was in comparison to the legions of Soulies who made their Hajj to Wigan, the Wheel and the other countless dance halls where this movement exploded. When the call came to enter the cinema In took a seat next to a couple, their accents betraying England as their country of origin. Before the film itself started we were shown various clips related to the film, the music video to Dobie Gray's "Out On the Floor", an advertisement for the Soviet made "Lada" and of course the classic frisbee in electrical station PSA, The comments from the couple were hilarious enough, but the movie would turn out to both meet and exceed my expectations. 

             A mix of hilarious comedy, floor fillers and excellent acting, "Northern Soul" was a wonderful and completely lovable depiction of the scene. Even the darker portions of the scene including the abuse of amphetamines was tackled and handled well, but in a movie like this the most important aspect is the soundtrack, which was impeccable. I wasn't alive for this movement, nor was I even born in the country it originated from, but while watching this film I felt the need to jump into my car and tag along with these characters to Wigan, even if that required traversing the Atlantic Ocean. It would've been worth it. After the films conclusion we all returned to the bar to get out our own energy after watching the actors dance for the duration of the film, After working up numerous sweats I called it a night, bid Kurtis farewell and traveled back to Grand Central, only to find out that Metro North stops running after 2 am, After a $91 fair back to White Plains I returned to my campus, my feet blistered but my soul burning. I laid down and dozed off to Frankie Valli's "The Night" as I imagined myself in the middle of Wigan, with nothing but the music in my ears. Keep the Faith.

A thank you to Fred PerryMod Cup CoffeeArt Gallery ClothingThe Face Radio and Kurtis Powers, and of course the folks at Nitehawk Cinema for an amazing night!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Dig the New Breed: The Best New Bands Hitting the Scene Pt.3

It has been quite a while since I've updated my blog, College got in the way. But I intend to get back to a weekly update schedule again and keep the blog well maintained. Now, where were we?

Aloe Blacc

Known mainly for his vocals on Avicii's "Wake Me Up" and his commercial hits "I Need A Dollar" and "The Man", Aloe Blacc has brought back a soulful sound to the charts with his two latest albums "Good Things" and "Lift Your Spirit". Starting out in the indie hip hop scene in and around California, he mixes the sound of neo-soul with more contemporary hip hop and pop to make a blend that is irresistible to any music fan. 

Eli Paperboy Reed

After traveling from Massachusetts to Mississippi and diving into the world of Soul and R&B, Eli Paperboy Reed has crafted 4 fantastic albums that should hold a spot in every Mods record collection. If you like a mix of American Gospel and some hard rocking blues you'll definitely want to check him out, 

The Electric Mess

Getting back to the home turf.  The Electric Mess are just that, a delightful mess of electric Garage rock that will leave you fried, in a good way. With 3 albums out and a good live presence around Brooklyn be sure to give them a listen!

Lake Street Dive

Self described as if The Beatles and Motown had a party, these  Bostonians turned Brooklynites have created an incredibly masterful blend of soul and pop with their 3 major releases. With a saturated touring schedule and what seems like endless energy Lake Street Dive will no doubt continue to pump out incredible tunes. 

St. Paul and the Broken Bones

St. Paul and the Broken Bones is the go to example when people say music just isn't the same. It is, and might even be better. I can't express enough praise for this group, exploding on stage with their Soul and Gospel infused sound straight out of Alabama, these guys take the energy of Otis Redding and channel it into what is undoubtedly one of the tightest groups out there now. Check them out.


I apologize again for my long absence, but I'm back, and I will be running an hourly Mod Radio show at SUNY Purchase on our Student Radio program, so that's something to look forward to as well. I'll post something about that as soon as I can, thank you for reading and keep the faith!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Dig the New Breed: The Best New Bands Hitting the Scene Pt.2

   First off I'd like to say thank you so much for the unbelievable response to part 1 of this series. It means a lot to see my writing get that much exposure and appreciation and just shows how great the entire Mod community and scene is! Now let's talk music.

Nick Waterhouse 

When someone asks me who my favorite new artist is, Nick Waterhouse is always the answer. A powerhouse of the most stylistic and smoke filled bar-esque American R&B, this California native has created 2 LP's that stand toe to toe with any of the greats. I won't compare Nick to anyone else, one reason being he doesn't seem to like it when people do, but also because he truly has his own sound. Personally I listen to Ray Charles along with him, so if anything theres your comparison. With 2012's "Time's All Gone" and 2014's "Holly" under his belt Mr.Waterhouse already has quite the resume. But after you've listened to both albums 20 times over you'll understand why he's on this list. 


Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

    From the simply amazing "Daptone Records" out of Brooklyn, New York comes Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. This group serves as the face of Daptone and there's a reason for it. With 5 albums to date this group delivers hard hitting soul that'll get anybody's feet moving. 


The Riots


        Mod Revival from General Winter. All the heavy lyrics and pop sensibility of The Jam are what you'll find with Russia's "The Riots". Currently on a tour of Europe, these guys pack a punch and offer a serving of power pop that'll have you riding your Lambretta around Red Square until Vlad comes out and joins ya!

The Urges

    Pyschedelic Beat and haunting reverb effects. The Urges, formed 2003 in Dublin, Ireland, provide that hard hitting garage sound that gets your heart racing and your feet tapping. With one LP and a few singles, The Urges are a must listen for any freakbeat fans and Mods in general. 


The Strypes 

  And one more band from Ireland! I've already written another article on The Strypes so go check that out for a more in depth review. But to keep it plain and simple, these are guys you definitely want to keep your eyes on. 


That it for Part 2! I promise that Part 3 will come out MUCH FASTER than Part 2 did! If you liked the article share it with your friends to remind them that Mod is still Modern!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Dig the New Breed: The Best New Bands Hitting the Scene Pt.1

Some of us in the Mod Scene are reluctant to let the new generation of Mod or just Mod friendly music in general have an effect on the scene. In an effort to help show some of the more conservative Mods the benefit of appreciating the changes the scene is going through I've compiled a list of some of my favorite new artists, Mod specific or otherwise, that prove that the 60's doesn't have a monopoly on good music. Here's part 1.

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

With influence ranging from Howlin' Wolf to James Brown, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears explode with a mix of Blues,Soul and Funk that can shake any body out of it's seat. With 3 studio albums as of now, each one is masterfully crafted and is a definite recommendation if you have any spare change hanging around. Two of my favorite tracks are "Gunpowder" and "Sugarfoot", both off of "Tell 'em What Your Name Is!", their 2nd LP. If you want gritty hard hitting R&B look no further. 


Men of North Country

Formed in Tel Aviv, this group is signed too Acid Jazz records and produce a mix of Soul,Pop, and Mod influenced tunes that'll have you tapping and singing along. Their first LP "The North" contains great tracks like "Magic" and "Pandora". Their sound is very original and I can't wait to see what else they have to offer!


The Above

From Brooklyn, New York comes a personal favorite group of mine, The Above. Already featured in another one of my posts, The Above bring an amazing mix of Beat and Garage tunes that will be sure to impress. Both their LPs, "The Above" and "Waterbury Street", are worth a listen and purchase. And if you get the chance, see them live!


The Lovers Key

Formed in 2012 and hailing from Southern Florida, The Lovers Key have already left a mark on the scene with their debut album "Here Today Gone Tommorow". Serving up a healthy mix of Soul and R&B, The Lovers Key are a prime example of how musical styles can stay fresh while retaining the same sound, and what a sound! I can't wait to see what these guys have to offer next, and so should you! 


Miles Kane

Miles Kane already has an amazing resume with former bands "The Little Flames", "The Rascals" and "The Last Shadow Puppets" behind him. But now he is a solo act sporting two amazingly crafted LP's "Colour of the Trap" and "Don't Forget Who You Are". Some have even gone as far as too call him the new "Modfather", which is a well earned designation in my opinion. Kane is hugely popular for good reason, he's extremely talented and knows how to write a good song, so give him a listen!


If you like these artists spread the word, share this with your friends and show them Mod is still Modern!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Motown: The Musical

                 If there's one genre of music that is almost universally loved it would probably be the sound that was produced out of Hitsville U.S.A, the Motown Sound. Sporting such untouchable artists like Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Edwin Starr; the Motown label created by Berry Gordy Jr. is responsible for creating some of the greatest music to ever grace the airwaves and touch the hearts of people all around the world. Motown also obviously holds a special spot in all Mods and Soulies hearts for it's beautifully crafted sound and rhythm that leaves you with no choice but to dance. So naturally with something so universally loved and popular, it was only a matter of time before Broadway got involved. In a similar vein to "Jersey Boys" (another must see production by the way), "Motown: The Musical" takes the hits we all know and love and puts an amazing cast together to perform these songs and provide us with the story of how Motown got it's start. The plot itself follows Berry Gordy Jr.'s amazing journey from his humble beginnings as a writer and amateur boxer to his difficult decision to sell the Motown legacy he worked so hard to create. All the actors capture their respective artists wonderfully and it truly feels like a live performance taken right out of time. If you've got a chance make it a priority to see this show, and to all our friends around the world or not exactly close to the Big Apple, hopefully the show will eventually go on tour. And when it rolls round don't even think of skipping out on it!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Face: Mod/Soul Radio out of Brooklyn,NY!

Out of the hippest borough of New York City comes "The Face", a Mod/Soul internet radio station off of Brooklyn's community radio station BBOX. It's host Kurtis Powers drops some of the most renowned Mod and Soul songs, along with the new groups from all around the world that are making themselves known on the scene.

Kurtis Powers
With already 12 Episodes to date as of writing this article, "The Face" premiers every Sunday at 9:30pm EST or on Affinity Radio every Saturday at 8pm GMT and unleashes a new wave of Funk,Soul,Jazz,R&B and whatever else you'd consider "Mod" upon the unsuspecting masses. This stations got something for everybody, so tune in!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Brooklyn Garage Blitz: Feat. Quitty and the Dont's, The Stents, Muck and the Mires, and The Above!

     August 16th at Hank's Saloon was the site of a what I've chosen to describe as a "Garage Blitz", a relentless bombardment of the best Mod/Garage sounds the Northeastern United States has too offer. The night started off with Brooklyn sensations "Quitty & The Don'ts" who will be making a trip up to Montreal for Parka Pat's MODtreal Weekender from August 29th to September 1st. Before the show started the crowd was given 3-D glasses in an effort to provide what I can only assume is the proper way to experience their sound, 3 Dimensions. What followed was a vicious attack of Freak-beat balanced by soothing distorted chords that made clear why this band is quickly making a name for itself. I'm sure these guys will make us proud when they go conquer the North, hopefully more successfully than our ancestors attempt.


Next was The Stents from Baltimore,Maryland. With a passion for power chords and a sound reminiscent, to me at least, of "The Purple Hearts", The Stents exploded with great tunes and reached into the audience quite literally as members of the band dragged their wires through the crowd and mounted stools and tables like Gargoyles only to rush back to the stage shortly after! I almost tripped five times, but it was well worth it! The Stents ended their set with a cover of The Jam's "In the City" as a nice gesture to the Mods in the crowd.


Following the Stents were Boston's Muck and the Mires. With a sound self described as a mix between The Ramones and The Beatles, Muck and the Mires brought the sound of the British Invasion to Hank's with their wonderful blend of hard hitting punkers and 60's beat. They closed off with a great cover of The Ramones "Commando", and left the stage smoldering. 


And finally too close off the night, The Above. Having just released their second LP "Waterbury Street" the "Mockers" showed they sounded just as good live as they did in the studio playing selections from their 3 singles and 2 LPs. This perfect blend of Mod sensibility and the rough Garage sound of their native Brooklyn was the perfect way too close an amazing night. Everyone in the audience was left in ruin (in a good way) and the Garage Blitz of August 16th came to a very satisfying close. I was accompanied on my train ride home with an LP, 3 singles, and 2 buttons emblazoned simply with "The Above", all evidence of this one crazy night in Brooklyn.