Rhythm Lab Radio 10 Year MicroFest

Peanut Butter Wolf

"LA's Best DJ"-Randall Roberts. LA Weekly Best of issue. 10-2-08

Chris Manak first started buying records in San Jose, CA in 1979 at age 9. It was mainly soul/funk 45s by artists like Cameo, the Gap Band, and Rick James. By the mid 80's, he was DJing and making his own beats for MCs and a few years later, he met 16-year-old rapper Charizma and they soon signed with Hollywood Records. In December 1993, the world lost Charizma to gun violence. Wolf took a break.

"Making beats" eventually became therapy for the next few years and in 1996, he started Stones Throw Records out of his bedroom as a vinyl-only record label that catered to DJs. His own album My Vinyl Weighs A Ton, was the most successful release of the label's early years. In 2001, Wolf moved to Los Angeles, bringing hip hop artist Madlib along with him, who became the center of the label for many years. When Madlib made Quasimoto's The Unseen, Stones Throw saw a turning point and defied more conventions with each year.

With artists as varied as Dam-Funk and Anika, Stones Throw grew a reputation for its left-field style, while Madvillain and J Dilla's Donuts, cemented their status in hip hop. As the founder of Stones Throw, Wolf has also curated albums for Adult Swim, 2K Sports, Serato, and Urban Outfitters. He has also discovered Mayer Hawthorne and Aloe Blacc, encouraging both artists who were rappers at the time to become singers.

After three decades of vinyl DJing, PBW now prefers A/V sets, playing music videos pulled from his personal collection of rare VHS, DVD, laser disc, beta, etc.

Peanut Butter Wolf the label founder still enjoys a DJ career that has taken him around the world since 1992. Whether it's a private dinner party for Bill Clinton, a string of dates with the Beastie Boys, Gwen Stefani's birthday party, or his own high school reunion, Wolf is equally at home behind the turntables.

A documentary on the life of PB Wolf and his label Stones Throw, Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton, is now playing at film festivals, focusing on the path of Chris and the record label he created nearly 20 years ago.

Natalie Prass

Natalie Prass is the kind of artist Spacebomb was created for–a songwriter's songwriter and performer's performer blessed with a golden voice and universal appeal–a singer who understands the vision and brings an undeniable talent to the process. She's a joy for any listener to discover–a lover and a fighter and old-soul trader in genuine energy, aiming straight for the heart. Prass turns a sly eye to the pageantry of emotion, the drama of love and the mysteries of everyday life with a disarming mixture of sincerity and cosmic insolence, unapologetically romantic, spinning golden threads of lyric and melody, each inflection and melisma planned and considered, each word tailored for meaning and effect–the pop gesture as artform. She delivers it all with carefree charm and nearly divine intuition. Her voice, at times so ethereal, is shot through by strength and sinew and just a hint of transient grit. The feeling is soft, but it cuts so deep, leaving any listener with a trace of a soul, thunderstruck and enchanted.

Born in Cleveland, in the heart of the 1980s, Prass entered the teenage slipstream back on the east coast, past the haunted houses, surf shops, and burger joints of Virginia Beach, a mid-tier, rough-around-the-edges resort town. There is an inevitability to every biography, a myriad of strange narrative palm lines that twist and intersect, and she followed hers bravely to a seam of alternative beach culture, living close to the Atlantic Ocean but studying a less bronzed way of life. With her pet bird on her shoulder, she took intensive music and visual art courses all through high school. Going to a good music school was the next logical step, but after a year in cold, snowy Boston, Prass dropped out of Berklee and returned to the beach. She spent a spell working and playing shows in boardwalk clubs before moving out to Nashville where she has spent close to the last decade developing her craft, collaborating with some of the better characters on the edges of Music City culture, building a reputation with her radiant voice, unique performances, and for being a bit of an iconoclast. Prass has carefully avoided the glossy singer-songwriter scene, reaching for something more interesting, more exciting.For her debut performance at Nashville's storied Ryman Auditorium, she surprised fans by pulling off a guileless reggae set in front of an Isaac Hayes poster she had displayed behind her band.

When the time came to record a full length, Prass returned to Virginia to work with Spacebomb Records, a label able to realize big visions and lush productions within the rustic charm of its attic studio. The match made sense musically and her ties to Matthew E. White go back to playing in rock bands in their high school days. The two worked together, selecting nine tracks to run through Spacebomb's creative machine. With hard work and the alchemy of circumstance, they crafted an unassuming masterpiece–a real stunner that sounds both thoroughly out-of-time and impossibly fresh.

Prass is a powerful, beguiling performer and cunning pop composer–one for the moment and one for the ages.

Taylor McFerrin

Brooklyn-based producer, composer, pianist, DJ and live musician Taylor McFerrin released his first full length LP, Early Riser, in June 2014 on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder record label. Taylor's musical style is equally influenced by the legends of 60s/70s Soul, the kings of the Modern Beat Generation, Golden Era hip hop, free form jazz and electronic music. By playing all of the instruments on his productions, while also relying heavily on sampling and chopping up his live takes, he has found a sound that seamlessly bridges myriad musical worlds and draws the listener into a constantly shifting audio soundscape.

$20 - $25

Tickets

Rhythm Lab Radio 10 Year MicroFest
Friday, July 24, 2015

88Nine Radio Milwaukee Studios
220 E. Pittsburgh

All AGES

Celebrate Rhythm Lab Radio's 10th anniversary with a micro-fest featuring Peanut Butter Wolf, Natalie Prass, and Taylor McFerrin

Rhthm Lab Radio is broadcast every Friday night on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee (88.9fm)

Tarik Moody, a.k.a "The Architect" has played a crucial role in introducing new and upcoming bands and musicians through The Rhythm Lab and this "Microfest" is a showcase of some of his favorites!

This event is part of a series of public events co-sponsored at the station by Radio Milwaukee called Cultural Commons. 

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