The last word on last weekend's Corndogorama: squelching heat, phallic food, hot beer, mustache contests, tricycle racing, watermelon tequila shots and fifty indie rock bands.
(Photo by Alan Friedman)
In an era in which blogs have become the breaking though not altogether credible source for hip-hop related news, gossip and interviews, Vibe magazine announced today that it's shutting its doors after 16 years in the business.
Gawker posted the following note from editor-in-chief Danyel Smith:
On behalf the VIBE CONTENT staff (the best in this business), it is with great sadness, and with heads held high, that we leave the building today. We were assigning and editing a Michael Jackson tribute issue when we got the news. It's a tragic week in overall, but as the doors of VIBE Media Group close, on the eve of the magazine's sixteenth anniversary, it's a sad day for music, for hip hop in particular, and for the millions of readers and users who have loved and who continue to love the VIBE brand. We thank you, we have served you with joy, pride and excellence, and we will miss you.
the former Chief Content Officer VIBE Media Group
& Editor in Chief, VIBE
Ironically, I just interviewed Smith two weeks ago, following the announcement that Vibe's new quarterly urban lifestyle pub The Most was due to hit newsstands with divorced couple Nas and Kelis covering the first issue.
When we talked by phone, Smith was excited because she'd just finished editing Vibe's upcoming story on the Dungeon Family which was scheduled to run as the August cover story. The photo shoot which took place in Atlanta about a month ago and brought together the core members of OutKast, Goodie Mob and Organized Noize had already stirred up blog buzz and anticipation. Even Smith seemed excited, suggesting at the time that the story, written by Linda Hobbs, might need to be stretched out over two consecutive issues. Hopefully, it will still see the light of day in some form or fashion.
In 1993, Quincy Jones and Time Warner gave birth to the general interest music magazine with a focus on hip-hop and R&B. The first issue featured an edgy, emerging artist then known as Snoop Doggy Dogg on the cover.
Stay tuned for my interview with Danyel Smith in which we discuss her two-term tenure as head editor at Vibe, the magazine's credibility within hip-hop, and some of her favorite interviews over the years.
Gawker also posted a note addressed to staff from Vibe Media CEO Steve Aaron outlining the challenges that took the magazine under:
Ecstasy, Valium and Xanax seem to be the new drug cocktail of choice these days. Well, at least for lead singer Nathan Williams of Wavves. Is it any wonder he doesn't even remember what Pitchfork has called, "the most epic onstage meltdown a band of their small size could conjure"?
In his latest Pitchfork interview, he sets the record straight, sort of:
"I can't fuck up once? If people think that I'm not going to fuck up, there's no reason to even come and watch me."
Note to Nathan: Leave the big boy drugs to Motley Crüe and Guns N' Roses.
Jeffrey Butzer and Midwives
With a solid following that continues to build in Europe, Asia and the US, Jeffrey Butzer is easily one of Atlantas new prized musicians with music that is reminiscent of Gainsbourgs darker days in France, of the thematic explorations of Galt McDermont, and of songs that create the setting of late nights that are experienced but experimentative, the sort of nights we all wished we had more often. Read more about his new CD here. For our July show, Butzer is joined for a special reunion with his original band The Midwives, but will play a short set of songs off his new album. Were very excited to hear both sets.
Tous Les Jours
Tous Les Jours is the psychedelic hypno-drone guitar rock project of Ronney Douglas, who has become a fixture in the rapidly growing Atlanta scene. Originally a guitarist in Ocha La Rocha, he now heads Tous Les Jours, and is also in the improvisational Gringo Star side project Pink Police. Tous les Jours' original recordings are lovely in their minimalist experimentation, with songs that feature little more than a voice and a stripped down guitar to the more expansive tracks complete with an accordion. His full band however, with two guitarists, bassist and drummer, promises to be a much higher energy version of the Ronney's original concept. You'll want to see it.
Free. 9 p.m. Star Bar, 437 Moreland Ave. 404-681-9018. More about the rest of the line-up following the jump.
Michael Jackson made the moonwalk world-famous during his performance in the 1983 TV special, Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever. But who inspired the King of Pop to make it his signature step? Here's a glove full of earlier moonwalkers who could have influenced him in one way or another:
Jeffrey Daniel, a dancer/choreographer who worked with him on the Bad and Smooth Criminal videos, claimed in a recent NPR interview that he taught Jackson the move. Daniel moonwalked in on BBC television's Top of the Pops in 1982 and says he got it from the Electric Boogaloos.
Tap dancer Bill Bailey, brother of singer Pearl Bailey, was the first to moonwalk on film, which he called backslide, in the 1943 classic Cabin in the Sky. Bailey can also be seen doing it at the end of a tap routine in 1955.
French mimes had a similar traditional move for walking in place. Marcel Marceau's teacher, Jean-Louis Barrault did it with moving scenery in the 1945 French film Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du paradis).
This week's CL cover story, "The Life & Times of Bobby Ubangi: How Atlanta's garage rock mascot saved himself before dying," chronicles local music fixture B Jay Womack's battle with cancer. The video montage was created by We Fun director Matthew Robison and Zack Wilson.
The following mp3s cover musical output from the Lids on up to some of his most recent songs that appear on Inside the Mind of Bobby Ubangi.
The phone call interrupts dinner around 6 p.m. on a Thursday. It's my girlfriend's birthday and our meals have just been served up at her favorite Italian restaurant. Normally, I wouldn't answer at a time like this, not even for my own mother. But the picture of B Jay pops up on my phone's screen, his arms outstretched like Mr. Bill when he's about to get squashed. I have to answer.
For the last nine months, Benjamin Jay Womack has been soldiering through terminal lung cancer that has spread to his brain, liver and God knows where else at the age of 34. I answer, expecting to hear his voice on the other end asking for a ride to get something to eat or a pack of cigarettes. But it's his roommate Jessica. "I had to put B Jay into hospice care today," she deadpans. "His hips gave out and he's having a hard time walking. We're filling out paperwork with a social worker right now and B Jay wants to know if he can put you down for power of attorney." I answer yes, envisioning the worst-case scenario as a wave of denial sweeps over me.
One year ago, the man best known by his stage name Bobby Ubangi was a rebel without a pause, partying like a rock star and working as the grouchy door guy at the Drunken Unicorn off Ponce de Leon Avenue. Long considered a mascot of sorts for the Atlanta music scene that nurtured such bands as Deerhunter, Black Lips and Gentleman Jesse, B Jay was a founding member of Carbonas before he got kicked out because he didn't like to practice. He went on to play guitar and sing in such local garage-punk outfits as the Lids, the Gaye Blades, and Bobby and the Soft Spots. "B Jay is omnipresent around here," says Jared Swilley of the Black Lips. "He's been around forever."
(Photo by Chad Radford)
A rather peculiar blog war has broken out in recent weeks. Hip hop writers are taking sides. Although no fatalities have been reported, there's been some serious name calling.
At the crux of the dispute is Gucci Mane's merit as a rapper. His populist appeal is not in doubt, but bloggers like Noz and Brandon Soderberg insist that he's underappreciated by hip hop tastemakers. A couple of weeks ago Soderberg wrote a well-considered treatise on what writers talk about when they talk about Gucci, although Soderberg goes a bit far in my opinion when he claims that white people can't properly evaluate the emcee's merits.
...it's only a matter of time before the mixed metaphor of bloggers/white writers as colonialists wanders into the debate or accusations of flat-out racism get tossed around when someone like Gucci's given a good critical look-over, part of the debate really is Black and White. Not "Black vs. White" but rather, Gucci's cultural context switches in a way that's simply not available to white or essentially, non-black listeners.
The whole thing is made weirder by the fact that Soderberg is white himself. Not surprisingly, this proved irresistable for We Are Respectable Negroes blogger dissertation-style treatment by breaking down its lyrics.
How much 'unh can one girl take
How many cakes can one man bake?
In this context, unh refers to penis. For Gucci, this rhetorical question is not a macho sexual boast; it is a nod to radical lesbian feminist awakening. Another way of framing the question is, how much rapacious male sexuality must a woman endure before she rebels against hegemonic patriarchy and becomes a fully realized, liberated human being?
>>The recent meltdown of lead singer Nathan Williams of Wavves continues to gather commentary from everyone. To refresh your memory, Ohmpark gives an interesting chronicle of the event and aftermath.
A few weeks ago, Wavves had a meltdown on stage at a big music festival in Spain which Pitchfork called the most epic onstage meltdown a band of their small size could conjure
>>Last year Matador teamed up with True Panther Sounds record label to help put out Girls' debut 7". The band is back at it again with a target release of September 22.
We are proud to announce the September 22 release of the debut full-length from Girls, entitled Album. The record will be released by True Panther Sounds, the label that released Girls debut 7?, Lust For Life, last year, in conjunction with Matador.
>>Shining Path, the Balkans and the Trashcans show is still creating quite the buzz amongst fans. 7" Atlanta does a good job describing the show and an even better job of making you feel guilty for missing out.
The Trashcans shared the bill Friday at the Watch Yr Head House with a couple of awesome young bands.
The house is located off Memorial and has a basement in which the bands play and a barn-style garage for chilling in between sets.
>>If I had the money, I still wouldn't carry a Gucci man-purse no matter what Crunk and Disorderly says:
Titty Boi and Dolla Boy [collectivly known as Playaz Circle] were two of the more fashionable acts to perform at Birthday Bash this past weekend. And yes, thats a fork dangling on Dollas chest. Tell mama the first thing that comes to your mind.
On Fri., July 3 the student voice of Georgia State 88.5 FM/WRAS will host its summer fundraiser concert, with performances from Zoroaster tapping into the raw power of the stoned cosmos while the Spooks rattle their garage rock chains from beyond the grave. Thy Mighty Contract plays terse and chiming post-hardcore and Danger Woman, the crime fighting super hero whos disabled, but able to rock will round out the bill. $10. 7 p.m. Eyedrum. 404-522-0655.
(Photo courtesy of the Spooks)
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