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[Music Monday]: J. Rocc & Roll

The way I see it, you have two options on Saturday Night...
2015-08-24 16:43:25

J. Rocc, the god damn Bilbo Baggins of hip hop DJing, plays Arkham on Saturday

Music Monday is a weekly SmartShanghai column, serving up songs from bands living and making music in China (or coming to China, or thinking about coming to China, or whatever). Copyright holders: if you would like your song removed, please contact us here, and we'll honor your request promptly.

The way I see it, you have two options on Saturday Night.

One being a nice evening out at Shanghai Centre, listening to the rocking folk tunes of Jeffrey Lewis. Since the show finishes before midnight, should you get a night cap somewhere? No, I think not, we have that Make Your Own Aroma Therapy Candle workshop in the morning and don’t want to be groggy for the wicking.

That’s one way to go.

Another option is to hit up the legendary Beat Junkies crew founder J. Rocc at Arkham club for a night of hop hop fundamentals. Maybe start out the evening picking up a four pack of Asahi tall cans at the Hengshan lu corner Lawson's. Wash that down with some street BBQ in front of Phebe 3D Club judging all the tourists and locals for participating in the all-you-can-drink antics while secretly feeling jealous that you can’t join in. After heading into Arkham and downing a few more drinks, you are really feeling that beat-juggling vibe and start dancing like you’ve never danced before. After the gig you and a friend chat up a couple girls and decide to get a drink down at local Australian pub The Beaver.

Wait, what did that girl just buy on the corner? Now it’s 6am and your dancing with four Ukrainian “models" at Lolawood? Now it’s 9am and you're back on Hengshan lu trying to get a taxi home feeling the shame stares of decent people headed to their Make Your Own Aroma Therapy Candle workshop. Oh, the humanity!

Jeffrey Lewis

Native New Yorker Jeffrey Lewis is one of those endearing musicians & artists who sarcastically inspires hope that creativity will continue to prevail over pop dullness. I love this guy. He has been releasing a stream of narrative albums on Rough Trade records for nearly 15 years along with a plethora of self-released material. My favorite album is titled 12 Crass Songs, which he put out back in 2008. As the album title suggests, it's 12 straightforward covers of the historic anarcho-punk band Crass, but in a folksy way. Since Lewis main attraction comes in the form his quick wit, the politically charged anarchist songs roll of his tongue as naturally as a bear shitting in the woods.

Lewis also doubles as a well-respected comic book artist who wrote his Senior Literary Thesis on the Watchmen. I didn’t learn about the Watchmen until the 2008 film adaptation, but Lewis had been lecturing on the subject since the late 90’s and even had one of his lectures adapted into a graphic novel by Jan Baetens. Most of his comics are based on his day-to-day life but one of my favorite of his works is the promotional comic for the Mountain Goats' Heretic Pride album. If I was a nerdy chick, Lewis would be getting an HJ in the Shanghai Centre parking lot after the show from me. Heck, I still might offer…

Touring with acts like Jarvis Cocker, Thurston Moore, Beth Orton, and other amazing musicians, Lewis has been around the world and back again just to end up at Shanghai’s door playing five China dates in total He is also making stops in Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia, in case you are considering becoming a “Jeff Head” and following him around Asia.

If you are fan of Jeffrey Lewis or in general comic book art, then make sure to head down to the Basement 6 / Idle Beats community space on Sunday, August 23rd at 7pm. Lewis will be displaying some of his favorite hand drawn works and doing a small music performance. Idle Beats will be screen printing and selling Jeffrey Lewis tour posters as well. Opening up for this event will be a new performance group called Red Beard, which features the drumming of Tyler Bowa from Spill Your Guts on top of the perverse words of Ryan Shank (from your local tavern). Sounds like fun for the whole family!

Jeffrey Lewis – "The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song"

Jeffrey Lewis & the Jrams – "Painted Into a Corner"

J. Rocc

S.T.D. crew are stepping up their game this Saturday by bringing in seminal turntablist & producer J. Rocc, who co-founded the legendary Beat Junkies crew back in 1992. One of my personal all time favorite DJs & remixers, J. Rocc ‘s knowledge of music from soul to rock to electro along with his skill of putting it all together is unprecedented. He's also one of the world’s best vinyl record diggers, hitting spots from Japan to Australia. In fact, nearly all of the music he plays out is ripped in the highest quality from his personal records.

You may be a fan of the deceased J Dilla, but you may not know that J. Rocc was the third member of Jaylib, which featured Madlib & J Dilla. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of J. Rocc’s contributions to the musical world though. His Beat Junkies crew brought up guys like DJ Babu of Dilated Peoples along with Melo-D, Rhettmatic, and many more. While his first solo album of original material came out in 2011, he has been remixing and reworking songs for years. One of my favorite projects is his edits of the Stones Throw Records Minimal Wave compilations. Those are mostly darkwave electro songs and couldn’t be further away from traditional hip hop, showing J Rocc’s true versatility.

As a core contributor for the Red Bull Music Academy back in February, J. Rocc could be found promoting the applications for this year’s Paris edition. Maybe he’ll remix a track from Pan Daijing, our hometown hero dark princess producer who was accepted into the Red Bull Music Academy this year. If you still got an ounce of bounce in you, then make sure to check out J. Rocc this Saturday at Arkham club.

Beat Junkies – "Sick Days"

J. Rocc – "More Fun"

Hard Corps – "Dirty (J. Rocc Edit)"

Well that’s a tough choice for Saturday Shanghai. Fuck it, I’ll try to make both gigs.


This column is written by DJ Sacco, who runs Uptown Records, Shanghai's dedicated vinyl shop. Ironically, they don't sell Mp3s or dabble in anything digital, instead they have 7" and 12", EPs and LPs from rock to electronic, rare pressings, DJ equipment and band merchandise. Find them in an old bomb shelter at 115 Pingwu Lu.