Thursday, August 07, 2008

Bold As Love: giving the freshness

One of the things I appreciate about Rob Fields/Bold As Love is he gets that Black Rock is a community thing. You can have all the innovative, off-the-hook performers and artists forging new territory, but it's fans and the community they form that supports the efforts. Fortunately, this is not a binary relationship--that's why I'm talking about community. Any musician is also a fan (if s/he is only a fan of him/herself that's a sad state of affairs) of other bands, of particular music promoters, of particular venues and sound and light people in those venues, of the fans that shout them out on Myspace, youtube, etc. So the world goes round...

Mr.Fields has started a vimeo channel and thusfar has interviews with Boston Fielder and Shena Verrett of URB ALT, and one of Verrett talking about being a black woman leading a rock band, Tenderhead, and her new album OOZE. There's also an interview with James Spooner, co-founder of the AfroPunk Film and Music Festival, and director of the Afro-Punk documentary. Right now my favorite video up there is an interview with Brooklynite Bryan Edwards a "Black rock fan," reportedly a part of an upcoming series of fan interviews. Edwards (aka Kaos Black) talks about growing up in Brooklyn something of a Cosby kid, with an interest in journalism and world affairs, and later discovering that there was a community of like-minded folks--and they had a name--when he saw Spooner's documentary. Watching the Spooner interview first gives some context on that aspect of the film's impact. Edwards also gives a run down of his current playlist. It's a pretty rich offering, particularly notable were rock bands coming from the African continent. I was listening and washing dishes, so didn't take notes.

Fortunately, Fields (ever considerate consummate fan) has listening posted about one of the bands, BLK JKS, out of Johannesburg, South Africa. They played Brooklyn twice this past April. Rob also thanked writer Sean Jacobs for alerting him to the Guardian UK article that recently profiled the band. Jacobs's blog is called Africa Is a Country. I believe the very dry humor is intended; Jacobs' identifies himself as "an African immigrant living in New York City (and Ann Arbor)" (sounds like an academic trek/track).

That put me in mind of a t-shirt I saw this weekend, the front of which had the phrase "Africa Is Not A Country...It's A Continent" and a map of said continent with every country identified. Of course, you know I had to find out where to get one. Where else but Africa is not a where they feel your pain: "'Africa is not a country, it's a continent.'...Are you tired of explaining this fact? Let your t-shirt do the talking instead." The t-shirts in various styles are 100% cotton from American Apparel (yes, American Apparel has developed a yuck! factor now that they're attempting to compete with Calvin Klein and Abercrombie & Fitch using Lolita-esque advertising--however, they still make quality t-shirts without sweatshop labor). Africa is not a country also has "No, I don't speak African" t-shirts for those encounters with the even more atrociously misinformed.

• You can access most of Bryan Edwards/Kaos Black's playlist from his MySpace page friends list.

Yep, it's a MySpace on it....

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At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Thanks for the love. Africa is a country btw.

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