Mayer Hawthorne, J. Rocc, Peanut Butter Wolf, Dam Funk

Mayer Hawthorne

The "retro soul" tag is added to almost any contemporary work that sounds like it was originally recorded before 1980, and Mayer Hawthorne is aware of how trends come and go.

But, he says, he's not interested in taking it back to the "good old days," as much as he is in creating the "new good days." And to fans like producer Mark Ronson, who said, "I have no idea what this is, old or new, but it's fucking good!!!" upon first hearing Hawthorne's music, age ain't nothin' but a number.

On How Do You Do, his first major label effort for Universal Republic Records, Hawthorne proves that he is not part of a trend. The classic Motown sound that provided the blueprint for his self-produced independent debut, A Strange Arrangement, remains, but is joined on How Do You Do by music reminiscent of late 1960s California pop and the best work from the likes of Steely Dan and Chicago.

"Hawthorne emerges with a jaw-dropping collection of classic soul," RollingStone.com proclaimed upon hearing A Strange Arrangement, but with this latest release, the formula has been updated. The vocals are stronger, the music more varied and vibrant, but it's still Mayer Hawthorne. And the message is love.

Hawthorne grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, just outside of Detroit, and vividly remembers, as a child, driving with his father and tuning the car radio in to the rich soul and jazz history the region provided. "Most of the best music ever made came out of Detroit," claims the singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, who counts Smokey Robinson and famed songwriting trio Holland, Dozier, Holland among his influences, but also draws inspiration from Michael McDonald, Juan Atkins and J Dilla.

Hawthorne has produced and played instruments for much of his life, but never intended to become a singer. What he became, however, was a new school soul sensation, touring globally and earning accolades from Playboy, NPR and Entertainment Weekly. "He's an able singer...an arranger of astonishing precision," wrote the New York Times when Hawthorne first hit the scene.

On "The Walk," the first single from How Do You Do, Hawthorne plays a man scorned and content with saying "So long, you did me wrong" to the lady in his life. "A Long Time" is both a brilliant homage to Steely Dan's "Hey Nineteen" and a storied history of Hawthorne's beloved Detroit, followed by a duet – yes, duet – with the incomparable Snoop Dogg on "Can't Stop."

"It's Snoop like you've never heard him before," Hawthorne told Billboard.com before the two performed together at the South by Southwest music festival in March.

The rest of How Do You Do is a trip through generations and tales of love cherished and love lost. Songs like "Hooked," "You Called Me" and "You're Not Ready" are vintage fare, while "The News" and "No Strings" add a modern, 21st century flair to the proceedings. The album culminates in "Henny & Gingerale," an ode to the signature cocktail complete with the party banter and pulsating dance floor R&B of Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up."

Snoop Dogg once heralded Hawthorne as his new favorite artist, praise shared via Twitter by other stars such as Kanye West, Justin Timberlake and John Mayer. With the release of How Do You Do, such sentiment is sure to grow, just as Hawthorne himself continues to grow as an artist and performer. It was soul music from which he came, and those roots will never be left behind. But there is more to this artist than just soul music.

"A lot of my other influences are coming out on this record," Hawthorne told Billboard.com. "There are a lot of other genres that are blending in now.

"It's just turning into me."

J. Rocc

One of the original turntablists, J. Rocc founded the Beat Junkies in 1992 with Melo-D and Rhettmatic, but has done just as much on his own as in a group setting. He began DJing in the mid-'80s with a California group named PSK. Soon after forming, the Beat Junkies became a seminal force in the rise of instrumental hip-hop, including core member Babu plus future stars Shortkut and D-Styles.

In addition to numerous mixtapes and his own production for Stones Throw releases, J. Rocc has been the DJ for Madlib's live shows since the early 2000's, was the 3rd member of Jaylib (Madlib & J Dilla) during the group's live events, and collaborated with Madlib on Beat Konducta Vol. 5-6: A Tribute to J Dilla.

J. Rocc is currently working on a solo album for Stones Throw.

Peanut Butter Wolf

As a young kid growing up in San Jose, Chris Manak sought out an escape from suburbian life in the Silicon Valley. The age of nine was his coming of age. This was the year he discovered sports (Pittsburgh Pirates), video games (Pac man), girls (Anita Balderama), and hip hop ("Rappers Delight"). Alongside partner Sweet Steve, young Chris fashioned primitive mix-tapes (using the pause button) and ran amok at the local roller rink.

He took on the name Peanut Butter Wolf in the late-80s when he realized that, in an odd turn of events, a girlfriend's youngest brother feared the "peanut butter wolf monster" more than death itself. Wolf and his more conventionally-named counterpart, Charizma, began recording in 1989 when the two were still teenagers. Within three years, the duo signed a contract with Hollywood Basic (Disney) alongside label mates Organized Konfusion and DJ Shadow. Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf were riding high, touring Europe, receiving press in magazines such as Billboard and (a then newspaper format) Urb , hanging with radio legends Sway & King Tech on Wake Up Show and performing live shows with groups like House of Pain, Nas and The Pharcyde. Then, in December of 1993, Charizma tragically lost his life. Stunned, Wolf temporarily gave up on music.

After releasing the song "Just Like A Test" with Charizma for David Paul's Bomb Hip Hop Compilation early in 1994, Upstairs Records, a label known primarily for house music, approached Wolf to record an instrumental LP. Thus, the Peanut Butter Breaks was born; the record became the Wolf's calling card, leading to meetings and collaborations with like-minded DJs like Q-bert, Cut Chemist and Rob Swift.

After the release of Peanut Butter Breaks, PB Wolf found himself in demand as a producer. His track for the all-scratching compilation Return of the DJ was labeled "incredible" by The Source magazine. He released a 6 song compilation for South Paw Records in 1995, featuring collaborations with up and coming San Jose MCs. He also produced Kool Keith's first single as a solo artist "Wanna Be A Star." These releases, amongst others, led to a picture disc EP for British label 2 Kool Records.

In 1996, Peanut Butter Wolf founded Stones Throw Records. Charizma's posthumous "My World Premiere" was the single to launch the label. A few highlights in the beginning were the songs "Unassisted" by Rasco, Super Duck Breaks LP by DJ Babu, and hip hop 7" series.

Lately, PB Wolf has moved away from producing (save the odd remix or compilation track) to build the Stones Throw label and to travel as a DJ to Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, and across the US. Through his willingness to experiment and provide Stones Throw's artists with musical carte blanche, he has overseen the releases of Lootpack's Soundpieces, Quasimoto's The Unseen, Breakestra's Live Mix, Yesterdays New Quintet's Angles Without Edges, Madlib's Shades of Blue, and Jaylib's Champion Sound.

Known as Los Angeles' "Ambassador of Boogie Funk," Dãm-Funk represents the citizens of the Funkmosphere. Headquartered in the Leimert Park section of L.A., Dãm (pronounced: 'Dame' as in Damon) spent the last few years cultivating a musical renaissance rooted in the early-'80s styles known as Boogie, Modern Soul and Electro-Funk.

The next phase of the Ambassador's mission is his debut album Toeachizown: continuing the classic West Coast tradition into today's scene with Dãm's own original "Modern-Funk" compositions. By plugging in his arsenal of vintage synths and drum machines, Dãm channels the galactic harmonies of his inspiration into his own brand of new boogie. Stones Throw Records' like-minded honcho Peanut Butter Wolf brought Dãm on to the team to glide into the future with his unique, synth and bass-driven vibe. It's a promising new chapter for Southern Cali space funk.

$40.00

Tickets

New Years Eve. In a ballroom just north of Downtown LA. The location will only be released to ticket buyers the day of the show at 3:00pm. Alcohol is included in the price of admission and capacity is limited. This is an intimate dance party with friends and family from Stones Throw, FYF and the djs and we hope you will be joining us. It will be wild. Any questions send us an email at info@fyffest.com.

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Mayer Hawthorne, J. Rocc, Peanut Butter Wolf, Dam Funk with Spinning 45's All Night Long

Monday, December 31 · 9:00 PM at Los Angeles, CA