Travis’ Two Cents (In Five Parts)

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Hi, I’m Travis Holcombe.

I’m a new(ish) DJ here at KCRW and you can catch me on the air on Tuesday nights midnight-3AM (which is technically Wednesday morning). I’ll also be filling in on Aaron Byrd’s show this week on Thursday night. This is my forum to muse and ramble about music and whatever else pops into my head.

…aaaaand ACTION! —

1) Further fanning the flames of a long-speculated Black Star follow-up, Talib Kweli and  Mos Def ( now known as Yasiin Bey) appeared together (assisted by J-Rocc behind the decks) on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report and debuted a brand new Madlib-produced track called “Fix Up”. It felt like 1998 all over again (in the best way possible) with Kweli and Mos trading verses; I especially love the interchange around the 3:08 mark.  Watch below:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Black Star – “Fix Up”
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

I’m no fortune teller, but with a new song and several tour dates scheduled, it’s looking pretty good that we’ll be seeing a new Black Star album very soon. Fingers crossed…
2) Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi’s soundtrack to the unrealized film, Rome, is about to get real(ized). According to Variety, music video director, Chris Milk, will direct the feature film inspired by Rome and based on Alden Bell’s novel, “The Reapers Are The Angels”. Chris Milk has been a frequent collaborator with Danger Mouse in recent years, directing videos for Rome’s “3 Dreams Of Black” and Gnarls Barkley singles “Gone Daddy Gone” andWho’s Gonna Save My Soul, but he’s probably best known for his next level interactive video for the Arcade Fire’s “We Used To Wait”. Mark my words: This will be AMAZING. Only one question remains: when can I buy a presale ticket to the Thursday night screening at midnight?

3) KCRW darlings Best Coast announced last week via their facebook page that the follow up to last year’s Crazy For You will be produced by Jon Brion and that recording will begin in a few weeks here in LA. I’m so happy for everyone involved. I honestly can’t think of a more natural pairing.

4) Last week on this blog, I challenged you to name another Western artist in the last 50 years in the mediums of music or film whose work has gotten stronger with age, or at least hasn’t seen a marked decline in quality besides Tom Waits. Several of you, including my fellow DJ and mentor here at KCRW, Mario Cotto, weighed in on the blog and on my facebook page. Though none of you were able to disprove my thesis that Tom Waits stands alone on the pantheon of freakish artist careers, one person came very close. My old friend, Harry Marquez submitted into the argument Werner Herzog.

While I think there is a strong case to be made for Herzog (director of two of my favorite films: Even Dwarfs Started Small and Stroszek), I don’t think he reaches Tom Waits #LVLZ because his post-Fitzcarraldo filmography is relatively fallow until the early aughts, whereas Tom Waits consistently cranked out a classic album on average once every five years since 1973. Herzog’s recent work is arguably among his strongest, but Tom Waits still trumps him in my mind due to his steady consistency over the last 40 years. I will grant you that Herzog is the Tom Waits of the film industry, however. Well played, Harry.

Thanks for playing, everybody! If you think of anyone else, feel free to comment…

5) By now, everyone with a connection to the outside world has heard about the untimely death of Steve Jobs. I still wanted to add my two cents…

The word “genius” gets thrown around a lot in our society. Very few people assigned the label actually fit the bill. Steve Jobs was one person who did.
He was a once-in-a-generation visionary and creative genius whose contributions to technology went well beyond Apple products  — he revolutionized personal computing, mobile phones, tablet computing, computer animation and (for better or worse) the music industry. He not only changed the way in which we think about technology, he changed the way we think.

The world is a better place because of his ideas. We were lucky to have lived in a time where there was a Steve Jobs.

This is an unaired ad narrated by Steve Jobs in 1997. The words in it could just as easily be applied to him as the other “crazy ones” featured in the video.

Thank you for everything, Steve. May you rest in peace.

-Travis Holcombe