Get Yours or Go Home…

The Life and Times of Grandpa Parm & Scheme-On

Reggae Review

With so much bad music making the rounds in these tumultuous times, many of us music aficionados look to the good ol’ days to provide us with quality vibrations. Reggae is no different, and because the genre has had a fairly drastic makeover in the last 25 years, reggae is the perfect example of how the old is so much better than the new.

In an effort to define the genre of reggae music, I will describe what I see as two schools of reggae. Dancehall reggae and roots reggae are very different and should not be confused although artists tend to cross lines quite often. Dancehall is known for its fast rhythms and talking or chanting over the beats. DJ’s made this form popular as the youth found something to relate to while on the streets of Jamaica. These days, one could consider the vocal aspect of dancehall as a form of rapping, and dancehall is credited for influencing hip hop.

Roots reggae on the other hand is slower with simple drumbeats and traditional singing. Roots is the original Jamaican musical genre known as “reggae”. Modern reggae reflects this division in the genre and although dancehall is currently more widely accepted and popular around the world, there are many roots reggae bands springing up all over the place. Bands such as Groundation, Gondwana and Rebelution are a couple of my favorite modern roots bands.

Unfortunately, for reggae purists like me, heavy roots albums exists few and far between. On top of that, the best decade for roots reggae was the 70’s, which makes some of the true gems hard to find. Luckily, there are many modern reggae labels such as Blood and Fire, Greensleeves, and Heartbeat, who are repressing and distributing classic albums for our enjoyment.

For an example of such an album, look at Twinkle Brothers‘ 1975 album, “Rasta Pon Top”. This gritty roots record shows the rawness of true roots music and the beauty that is the fusion of great voices and the simple riddims of the time. Look out for more examples of hard, heavy roots music here at the Review.

– Parm

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September 29, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can’t Stand the Heat…?

Can’t Stand the Heat…?
Then get your ass out the city!
(News, Careers)

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San Francisco, CA, 9/21/08 – Dichotomy and juxtaposition are the essence of living on Post and Taylor in SF. Two blocks south you have crack heads, prostitutes, and the gangbangers of the Tenderloin. Two blocks north you have the pompous restaurant connoisseurs of upper Nob Hill. Two blocks east you have the clueless tourists of the Union Square hotels. And it’s all flooded with art students, restaurants, bars, clubs, galleries, and boutiques. That being said, when living here you’re forced to consume an auditory smorgasbord 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. Everything from your expected honking, to the drunken screams of twenty-somethings, mentally-ill homeless vets with turrets, construction, loud questionable bangs, but far and away the most common auditory experience comes in the form of sirens. However, this morning a little after 4am it wasn’t sirens that woke us from our peaceful slumber, but a very loud alarm from inside our apartment hallway. I immediately ran to the front windows and saw a street full of firemen, their equipment, and a large latter extending up to a building just a few doors down with smoke spewing out. Relieved that our building wasn’t the object of attention, my curiosity still forced me downstairs and out into the street with many other fascinated onlookers. Luckily, the building didn’t burn to the ground or anything, but it did displace six people and one firefighter was injured by falling debris. Seeing these dudes at work was impressive, and made me really appreciate the fact that there are people out there that are willing to put there lives on the line for poor schmucks like me and you. Not that there is even the slightest comparison, but seeing that shit go down last night made me think of 9/11 and how dope firefighters and paramedics are. Not to say that pigs don’t put their lives on the line for complete strangers, but when was the last time you heard about a corrupt firefighter or EMT? And if you’ve ever gotten an open container ticket by a dude wearing a helmet and oxygen tank, let me know and I’ll tell you you’re a fucking liar.

Get Charred or Go Home…
Scheme-On

September 22, 2008 Posted by | Careers, News | , , , , , | 2 Comments

“You’re Alright Larusso”

I can’t imagine somebody actually saying outloud,”Yo, that movie sucked”, when talking about John Avildsen’s “The Karate Kid”, but I am sure it’s happened.  Personally, I grew up watching that movie like it was the only movie we had.  I think I’ve seen it seriously a thousand times.  Actually it was part of my father’s ‘old’ collection on beta including titles such as, “The Boy Who Could Fly”, “North Shore”, “Lucas”, and “Top Gun”.  Classic films from the decade known only as “The 80’s”, that should be recognized for the greatness they so closely resemble.  I mention this only because, when I showed “The Karate Kid” to my girl for her first time, she couldn’t stop talking about how good it was.  I had never considered if it was a good movie because I know every word and have always thought it was great.  I think back to when the movie first came out, and I can’t remember because I was three, but I imagined it started many conversations in bars that year.  Even if people didn’t think it was the greatest movie they ever saw, it still has a certain value to it that will last forever.  I could not believe my girl liked it, because she generally doesn’t like 80’s movies that I watch.  It shows how truly amazing “The Karate Kid” is as film that impacts people’s lives even 24 years after it was made.  My brother-in-law still quotes Mr. Miyagi almost on a daily basis.  So, give it up for Daniel Larusso and download “The Karate Kid” for your enjoyment.  Bonzai!!  Bonzai!!

-Parm

September 21, 2008 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Duality of Humanity…

The Duality of Humanity…
Shepard Fairey @ White Walls

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San Francisco, CA, 9/13/08 – I remember skating around Encinitas when I was like 13 seeing this crazy “Obey” image around town and being so confused about what it was and what it meant. In our small North County San Diego beach town, besides the rampant surfing and skateboarding culture, there wasn’t much else that we were exposed to. I assumed that it was a new skate company or something, but I remember someone telling me I was wrong and that is was some kind of social experiment, which totally blew my mind, but I still didn’t fully understand. 11 years and a whole lot of experience later I’m blessed with the opportunity to check out Shepard Fairey’s “Duality of Humanity” show at White Walls in SF, which was ridiculously impressive to say the least. Besides the incredible aesthetic talent that this dude possesses for collage, mixed media, screen printing, etc…, the overarching messages surrounding consumerism, the environment, war, and politics, displayed mainly through altered propaganda posters, are extremely powerful and fascinating. The genesis of this street art mastermind began in 1989 when his Andre the Giant sticker bombing missions in Providence, Rhode Island started a nervous societal buzz and sparked an idea about exploiting the sociological implications of art in public… and the rest is history. Fairey’s passion and determination for using graffiti, mainly postering, as a means of communication has brought him around the world and his mark has been left in almost every major city out there. With so many contemporary/urban artists roaming the streets these days, the fact that Fairey has been able to truly set himself apart is an enormous accomplishment and makes you wonder where he might take it from here. There’s talk that with the upcoming election and potential for widespread change, a lot of Fairey’s work has taken an optimistic turn, which is evident in one of his more recent and widely distributed pieces that depicts an image of Barak Obama with the word “Hope” underneath. Fairey says that the Duality of Humanity show addresses the “human struggle between good and bad, hope and fear,” and come November 4th, hopefully the duality of this country won’t change Fairey’s optimistic tune…

Get Obeyed or Go Home…
Scheme-On

September 16, 2008 Posted by | Art, Politicos | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Download Your Life Away…

Download Your Life Away…
Fresh Tunes at Your Fingertips

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The World Wide Web, CS, 9/11/08 – Ah yes, the Internet… servin’ up fresh tunes and whatever the fuck else you want round the clock. When I moved into the dorms and got my first hi-speed connection it was like releasing a raging pedophile at a gymnastics meet. I ran wild in cyberspace downloading everything from movies, to software, to porn, but my embezzlement of choice was an art form in which the medium is sound organized in time… yup, you guessed it, MPmotherfuckinThrees! I spent countless hours on LimeWire hitting pause, resume, preview and loving every goddamn second of it. I built my library to an insurmountable size, but eventually my 27gig laptop caught viruses, slowed down to the pace of an 82 year-old woman on methadone, and exploded. I was then forced to head back to Amoeba and sift through millions of used CDs with all you other schmucks until I got a new comp. Since then there has much discussion questioning the ethics of music piracy and even laws passed such as the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which deems copying of copyrighted music (with the exception of making a copy for your own use) as illegal. I understand that my plunders in the open seas of cyberspace haven’t provided artists with their well-deserved royalties, but to be honest, it’s not like I would have gone out there and bought thousands of albums with my milk money anyways. The simple fact that there are fresh tunes right at my fingertips is why I seek it, and shit, when I find something I dig online I let people know and they might be stupid enough to go pay for it? Bottom line, I don’t think music piracy has had as drastic of an effect on the music industry as some people may think and if I’m wrong… fuck, they’ll get over it.

P.S. – I just downloaded the new TV on the Radio album, “Dear Science”, and it doesn’t even get released for another week… fucking awesome!

Get Downloaded or Go Home…
Scheme-On

September 12, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Three Reasons to Keep Living

One: Portishead – Third

Almost six months old now, this album has blown me away in more ways than one over the last month or so. They say it’s a more industrial album, straying from the traditional trip-hop sound we’re used to from Portishead. I say it rocks! Some of the songs put me in a trance while others feel like they are synchronized to the beating of my heart. True musical coordination. Beth Gibbons continues to deliver meaningful lyrics with a hint of sarcasm and a tone like no other. Check out the track titled, “Small”. A definite banger.

Two: The Genius/The GZA – Pro Tools

At the tender age of 42, Wu-Tang’s most mysterious and talented mc shakes the earth by dropping another solo gem to add to his discography of pure genius (tons of pun intended). I pre-ordered this album cuz I like to be spontaneous like that, but it did not disappoint. Unfortunately, all the guest appearances are simply beat by a better mc on this album. That mc being the GZA, with his same monotone style that brought him fame every since “Liquid Swords” hit the suburbs. Having said that, some of the mc’s that got destroyed are the RZA and Masta Killa to name a couple. These guys are just as famous but lack the quality and consistency found with Genius’ lyrics. He makes me laugh with shit like, “I brought butter for the popcorn, dips for the chips, egos for you to trip, and scripts for you to flip…” -Alphabets. F-ing genius huh? Check it before he turns 60 and quits.

Three: Murs – Murs For President

My man Murs never disappoints and I assure you I know nothing about his new album cuz it ain’t out yet. Even so, I expect nothing but gems and bangers from this long time Living Lengends storyteller. He’s got a track with Snoop Dogg on this one, so at least he’s gonna surprise us a little. Having Humpty Dumpty/Shock G on an album was kinda cool, but Snoop Dogg is another story all together. Can’t wait!

Go Home!

-Gramps

September 12, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Beautiful Losers…

Beautiful Losers…
Inspiration, Motivation, & Creation

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San Francisco, CA, 9/5/08 – Circa 2004 I attended an exhibition at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in SF entitled, Beautiful Losers, which featured work from a diverse group of visual artists who spawned from street culture, specifically, the subcultures of skateboarding, graffiti, punk, and hip-hop in urban America. With my roots in the Southern California skateboarding culture, supplemented by a couple years of living in hyper-diverse SF, this exhibit was strangely familiar and of course, inspirational. Fast forward to September 2008, I’m walking down the street and as I’m passing a small independent movie house, I see a poster for the Beautiful Losers film. Stoked to see the familiar aesthetic and intrigued by what the film may convey, I make sure to attend opening night. As expected, the film was a documentary about the artists, their lives, and the art they create, but it was much more than just that. Beautiful Losers was a film about life, told by some of the most interesting and honest losers I’ve come across, including Aaron Rose, Ed Templeton, Shepard Fairey, and Stephen Powers just to name a few. It was about a cluster of friends from all different backgrounds coming together and creating something bigger than themselves and unique to the world around them. It was about growing up knowing you don’t fit the norm, embracing it, and telling everyone else to fuck off. Put it this way, the word “eccentric” doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface, so gather all the beautiful losers you know and check it out…

Get Inspired or Go Home…
Scheme-On

September 7, 2008 Posted by | Art, Film, Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Do I Really Care About Football?

The answer is yes, very much yes. I have to admit though, I am truly not the fan that some people in this country are (see photo to left). Apparently, some folks up there in Green Bay, Wisconsin feel that football is truly a sacred part of their lives and that anyone who betrays another in this precious game should be smitten to hell. When I first started pondering why some football fans are absolutely insane, the answer seemed simple. Geography. I mean, what else are you gonna do in Pittsburgh or Green Bay? Go play in the snow while its ten below? Go to a Pirates or Brewers game? I’m sure a lot of people actually do the latter, but you get the point. These are cities in states that are boring and don’t have a whole lot going on besides football and bad weather. You ever been to a Chargers game? Sometimes there’s more fans for the opposing team than for the San Diego team. Why? Because everyone is at the beach or a pool lounging around drinking beer and playing ping pong waiting for reality to strike them. It is no coincidence why San Diego fans are some of weakest in the game. Packer fans travel everywhere with their team and I give them props for it, but easy on the “God won’t leave for the Jets” shit, cuz that is way outta hand. How about Raider fans? F-ing stupid. I didn’t realize it until recently, but a lot of people don’t like the Raiders simply cuz of their retarded fans, and I don’t blame them. Wait for Halloween to dress up as a pirate from the movie, Gladiator. Come on. I digress. Fans are truly the reason some sports get so much hype and I am all for that. Tattoos and fights and masks and face painting. It’s all great fun. Speaking of tattoos, back in January, Propaganda Tattoo held a free “bolt” tattoo day for any die hard Charger fan that needs a bolt imbedded into their skin with ink. Awesome. Anyway, football is here my friends and we should all just sit back and enjoy since this is the greatest five months of every year.

-Gramps

September 3, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

McCain Has a Bun in the Oven?

Not literally, but now that McCain’s newly acquired running mate’s 17 y/o daughter does, are the reds screwed? At first glance it seems so, as negative publicity always comes with premature motherhood. Plus, who wouldn’t question the mother of a girl who gets knocked up before she can even vote? I know this kinda stuff happens all the time, but for it to happen to a presidential nominee right before the biggest election ever seems like horrible timing. Or maybe it’s perfectly planned. According to the Today show, sources say that McCain was well aware of the youngster’s pregnancy before he chose his veep. This tells me that it was all part of his scheme to appeal to the common woman and steal valuable votes from Barack. The decision to choose a woman looked desparate at first, as female republicans who were on the fence are now more likely to vote McCain purely because he has a woman next to him. People aren’t that dumb, but now he locked up those voters because they relate to the struggles of motherhood. As scandalous as this guy may be, I have to give him snaps as this makes the most interesting election to date much more interesting.

– Gramps

September 2, 2008 Posted by | Politicos | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bang the Drum 2008…

Bang the Drum 2008…
Sunshine, Tall Cans, & Canibus

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San Francisco, CA, 8/31/08 – Now I’m all about the environment, going green, fighting global warming, saving the world and all that shit, but damn, it has been so fucking nice and warm in SF the past week I’m thinking about opening up my own industrial processing plant and letting fossil fuels and oil just spew out freely into an ocean full of baby seals. Lounging in the grass under the warm SF sun was nice. Lounging in the grass under the warm SF sun with tall cans was even nicer. But lounging in the grass under the warm SF sun with tall cans, watching Canibus and Das EFX live for free was fucking epic! This was what the better part of Sunday afternoon consisted of for me and roughly 500 other ExxonMobil CEOs who happen to be hip-hop heads??? Weird. This splendid event was brought to us by Kevvy Kev, a legendary bay area hip-hop DJ and host of the world’s longest continuously running hip-hop radio show, The Drum. To celebrate 24 years on the air, Kevvy Kev hosted the free Bang the Drum concert, featuring 24 DJs and 24 MCs (which included Canibus & Das EFX) for an afternoon of bliss at Peacock Meadow in Golden Gate Park. I’m definitely not the hip-hop head that I used to be, let’s say… circa 2001, and I’ve definitely received plenty of shit for it from Gramps and Danamacha alike, but I have to say, sunshine, tall cans, & Canibus go together like ecstasy and Radiohead…

Go Green or Go Home…
Scheme-On

September 1, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments