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September 22, 2005

The Hum



  • The act of liberating someone or something
  • The act or manner of terminating a musical phrase or tone (in music)
  • The termination of someone's employment
  • Activity that releases or expresses creative energy or emotion
  • Merchandise issued for sale or public showing (especially a record or film)

It could be a guy getting out of jail, a sigh, a bird leaving an open cage or, in this case, the proverbial CD release party, of which there are two in Arcata Saturday, Sept. 24.

The guys from Nucleus just took delivery on 2,000 copies of their latest release, The Art of Reaching. "We're pretty psyched about it," said Nucleus drummer Pete Ciotti. "I think it's way different from anything we've done. The songs have an extended sonic palette, a lot of layers, strings, horn sections and things like that. We built it piece by piece like a work of art instead of just going in and recording tracks."

In part because they recorded it themselves with guitarist Piet Dalmolen handling production, they were able to work at their own pace. "It made for a relaxed environment to create. And at the time we were listening to and reading about all these great modern records; the first that comes to mind is Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which was praised for its sonic qualities. We took the ideas we read about to see how we could make them work for us."

Keyboard wiz Brian Swizlo provided some of the textures on the album and he'll be up for the CD release Saturday at Arcata's Portuguese Hall. "We also have Moo-Got-2 starting things off at 9," said Ciotti, "and we have this samba troupe, Bloco Firmeza, a bunch of HSU kids. Moontribe is gonna do some stuff too, and we'll do two sets. It should be fun." For a preview, catch Nucleus live on Mike "Funk Prophet" Dronkers' show on KHUM this Thursday at 1 p.m.

Across town that night, Que La Chinga celebrates the release of their second album, Don't Mind Me (I Just Live Here), at Humboldt Brews, with their buddies The Rubberneckers opening the show. (BTW, the promo pack for the QLC CD included a bottle of whiskey and a cigarette.)

"We're pretty proud of the new record," said Chinga guitarist/vocalist Bret Bailey. "We did it out at Big Bang. They have analog tape capabilities and we like that. We were trying to make a quintessential album, something that represents where we are."

Now that it's done, he says, "It's like we're free to go any direction. We put all our best songs on it. We're usually thrown in the Rubber-

neckers-type country punk category, and we have some kind of punk songs on there, some kind of countryish songs, but the new stuff we're coming up with now is not really either. We have a clean slate to start from." Does this mean a new direction for the Chingas? Not really. "We've always considered ourselves a rock `n' roll band, and we'll keep playing rock, but with a slow evolution in who knows what direction."

Back in the '60s, David Bromberg abandoned plans for a career as a musicologist to become a folk musician and ended up working as a guitar-strumming sideman for Bob Dylan, Jerry Jeff Walker and others. In the '70s he struck off on his own, landing a contract with Columbia, then Fantasy and recording a series of albums with the eclectic sense of a musicologist. The '80s saw him pursuing a new career making violins, which eventually brought him to Wilmington, Del. where he makes, repairs and sells violins and jams a couple of nights a week with friends in town. Lately he's been taking his fiddles, guitars and mandolins on the road again, which is how it happens that the David Bromberg Quartet plays Friday, Sept. 23, at the Van Duzer.

That sweet li'l songwriter Lila Nelson is back from Nashville where she showed off her songs at the Americana Music Assoc. Conference. She's at the Metro Friday, Sept. 23, singing some of the new tunes she's been working on for a new album with Tim Gray producing. Lila also has a new gig. "Meet Me in the Morning," an acoustic music show on KHUM, with Lila as host, debuts Sunday morning, Sept. 25, at 9 a.m.

And speaking of new radio shows, as I type this on a Tuesday afternoon, I'm listening to Melodious, who took over what was once Candace's "Ramblin' Folk" show. Melodious' range is eclectic as hell, veering far from folk, and he has great taste. Turn on, tune in and enjoy.

Does Humboldt have more benefits per capita than most places? There sure are plenty this weekend. Let's start with one for the dogs. Sequoia Humane Society hosts Woofstock (great name) on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24 and 25, at Halvorsen Park with some of the proceeds going to relief for animals left behind due to Hurricane Katrina. While Sunday is doggy day with the Mutt Strut and various doggish contests, Saturday is human music day (well-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome). Kulica kicks things off at 12:15. (They also play Friday night at Six Rivers. Fans should note: They're taking October off.) Jammers Papa Bear follow at 1:30, then it's the hard-working Clint Warner Band (2:45), more blues from Checkered Demons at 3:30, and at 4:45, Vintage Soul, who play earlier that day at the Arcata Farmers' Market. In case you have not heard them, V.S. is a truly fine cover band. With three vocalists they're able to create a musical revue focusing on some of my favorite styles: blues, funk and, yes, soul, from the '60s onward, including dead-on takes on tunes by The Meters, Etta James and the like.

Democracy Rocks Again at the Bayside Grange Saturday night, as SoHum psychedelic rockers The Non-Prophets headline a benefit for progressive politicos Local Solutions PAC. Show up early for the "Plato Fabuloso" dinner and dine with special guest DA Paul Gallegos. (Reservations required for dinner.)

Back when most of New Orleans was still underwater, I got a note from local reggae/blues singer Madi Simmons calling out to "musicians on the North Coast who want to help with relief for the hurricane victims. Letz get busy!" So it's only natural that Madi is part of the ambitious Coastal Roots Relief Benefit this weekend at the D Street Neighborhood Center. (Please stop calling it the Old Arcata Community Center.) The two-day event, presented by the local reggae crowd with help from Placebo, starts Saturday afternoon at 2, with a show that includes the Bambu Station Talkin' Roots II tour with Black Culture, Lady Passion, Ras Bumpa, Ijah Menelik and Child, a crew of artists mostly from the Virgin Islands. Also on the bill, Brooklyn-born Rasta Rocker-T, Jah Levi and the Higher Reasoning Band, Harrison Stafford from Groundation (playing solo) and some local acts including West African dance and folks from New World Ballet. Madi and friends are among the 10 acts on the all-day Sunday lineup along with Heznebakuk with Selah and the Fyah Roots Crew, Vidagua with Tony Dee, WoMama, Jimi Jeff, The New Lemurians, a New Orleans funk/hip hop/dub outfit based in S.F., FreeSound, a reggae/rock band from Hawaii, and Batch and Ras Attitude, another group from the Virgin Islands. Yeah mon.

BTW, the Bambu Station Talkin' Roots II tour is at Mazzotti's Friday night. (Talkin' Roots II is the band's new album.) Mazzotti's has more reggae Saturday, Sept. 23: Junior Reid, the vocalist who replaced Michael Rose in Black Uhuru, backed by Reggae Angels.

Irish-style punkers Smashed Glass and just plain punks The Crooks play at Sal's Off Broadway Saturday night and they, too, are donating to help Katrina's victims.

And last but not least, proceeds from this month's Mateel Community Jam, Thursday, Sept. 29, at the Mateel (where else?) go to hurricane relief. This time the featured acts are NoHum's acoustic eclectic folk rockers, The Living Rooms, DJ Mason Ruckus and African storyteller Raymond Thoy. Got a tune you play solo or with a friend? Sign up for the open mike. Sing your song and help rebuild New Orleans.



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