Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Rain & Releases

Its raining in San Francisco. Its a delicate, half-hearted downpour, but perhaps a prelude to a deluge.

For those outside of the city, our mayor, Gavin Newsom, had an affair with his secretary , a married woman, (predictable, pathetic, but no joke) then checked into rehab for alcohol abuse.

The homicide rate has reached a dispiriting 20 deaths, meanwhile a nonchalant attitude toward youth violence in our city prevails. Although to some the rain of bullets is a trickle so common that we hardly notice, I suspect there's a thick, dark cloud that looms just over the horizon.

In my work with struggling high school English students, every tremor in their neighborhoods triggers an earthquake of emotions at school and home. Everyone has a cousin, brother or neighbor who's suffered violence or its aftermath. This makes getting to school, let alone remembering one's books a task in itself. But in a city like SF, this is all lost amongst the latte foam, even as tons of well-intentioned non-profits and change agents try and offer support to youth in the crosshairs.

Somehow, its not enough.

I don't mean to sound bleak, but the epidemic of youth violence in my city is something I have vowed to make my issue of focus for 2007, and ForwardEver welcomes your positive suggestions to turn the tide.

Here's my initial, unscientific top three ideas to address youth violence in America:

1) Increase funding for public education on all levels, with special emphasis on increasing the number of Middle and High School programs that address life skills (computing,internships, college funding).
Kids are smart and take to things quickly once they learn the navigation system. With life streaming by like the CNN news ticker, adults have abandoned their life coach roles in favor of "getting things done". The few Boys and Girls clubs and community-based organizations do their best to provide a safety net, but wouldn't it be better if every neighborhood had a council center to offer all youth services–rec, counseling, jobs, fun–under one roof? Those who dream that big in America usually don't live very long.

2) Delay school start times to 9 a.m. and create robust after-school arts, music, vocation and internship training opportunities.
Teenagers need more sleep, and they want to learn to do things, especially in the context of games, entertainment, social events and mentored activities. The number one answer kids give when adults ask teens what they need: "Some one to pay attention."

3) Adults: make a commitment to check in with one kid a day for 30 minutes. Make it about them. Their interests, triumphs, struggles, esteem and efficacy. Simply put, kids need allies.

And because we live in a post-priest abuse & Mark Foley world, I'll add this: Adults, know your boundaries, and act responsibly.

This probably comes off sounding terribly preachy from a non-parent like me. I'm just putting you up on my observations from inside the classroom, where I'm witnessing a slow-motion catastrophe...he says, stepping down from soap box...


Here's our semi-regular look at forthcoming album releases:


Current Releases
Tony Tuff—Say Something—Minor7Flat5—JAM—roots reggae
Winterpills—The Light Divides—Signature —US—indie pop, like Shins, Mojave3
Six Parts Seven—Casually Smashed—Suicide Squze—US—post-rock, indie instrumntl
Biosphere—Circque—Touch—NOR—ambient, IDM, reissue
Detalles—Micros Morning—Kupei—US—minimal techno
Minus The Bear—Interpretaciones—Suicide SqueezUS—indie electronic
Vieux Farka Toure—Vieux—WorldVillage—MALI—acoustic African blues
Drei Farben House—Any Kind ofn Feeling—Force Tracks—GER—dreamy tech-house
Various—Studio One RubADub—Soul Jazz—JAM—reggae, rocksteady

Out 2-17-07—2-28-07
Kerri Chandler—Coast2Coast—NRK—US—soulful house, mix CD
Denzel & Huhn—Paraport—City Centre—GER—IDM, electronic, atmospheric
Noiseshaper—Real To Reel—Miracle Sounds—GER—dub downtempo
Eluvium—Copia—Temp Residec—US—ambient, symphonic indie
Gui Boratto—Chromophobia—Kompakt—GER—techno
Jesu—Conquerer—Hydra Head—UK—heavy indie rock, drone
Tujiko Noriko—Solo—Mego—AUS—experimental pop
Various—Thisish Vol 1—Thisish—US—instrumental hip-hop
Ojos de Brujo—Techari—Six Degrees—SPA—electronic-flamenco

Out 3-01-07—3-17-07
Wailing Souls—Classic Cuts78-84—Greensleeves—JAM—roots reggae, 12” versions
Barrington Levy—Englishman—Greensleeves—JAM—roots reggae
Blue Six—Aquarian Angel—Naked Music—US—house, lounge
Tinariwen—Aman Iman—WorldVillage—MALI—Malian blues, rock
Azam Ali—Elysium Remixes—Six Degrees—IRAN—Persian-global remixes
Various—Johnny Greenwd Contrl—Trojan—JAM—reggae classics
Lanu—This Is My Home—Tru Thoughts—UK—nujazz, broken beat
Various—Kings of Reggae—BBE—UK—reggae, 2CD
Damero—Happy In Grey—Bpitch—GER—avant-electronic pop
Hauschka—Room To Expand—Fat Cat—UK—neo-classical, post rock
Various—Morris/Audio Vol 3—MorrisAudio—GER—microhouse, techhouse
Phat Kat—Carte Blanche—Look—US—hip-hop, Detroit MC
Bear Colony—Bear Colony—Esperanza—US—indie electronic
Marcia Griffiths—Anthology—VP—JAM—rocksteady, reggae
Various—Jazzmataz Vol. 4—7 Grand—US—hip-hop, jazz, soul

Out 3-017-07—3-30-07
Thes One—Lifestyle Marketing—Tres—US—hip-hop instrumentals
Up, Bustle, Out—Mexican Sessions—Collision—UK—downtempo, jazzybeats
A Northern Chorus—The Millions Too Many—Sonic Unyon—CAN—melodic indie pop
Various—Bargrooves Black—Navarre—US—house, techhouse
Miguel Migs—These Things—Salted—US—house, downtempo
Poison Arrows—Straight Into The Drift—File 13—US—indie rock, post rock
Various—Deep & Sexy 4—Wave—US—deep house, Latin house
The Field—The Field—Kompakt—GER—minimal, ambient techno
Lusine—Podgelism—Ghostly—US—techno, IDM
Various—Ame…Mixing—Sonar Kollektiv—GER—house, techhouse
Supersoul—Plastic Rap—Metatronix—US—exprmntl hip-hop, danceh

Out 4-01-07—4-15-07
Céu—Ceu—Six Degrees—BRA—Brazilian, electronic beats
Pole—Steingarten—Scape—GER—minimal electronic beats
Nostalgia 77—Everthing Under Sun—Tru Thoughts—UK—jazz, nu-jazz

Out 4-15-07—4-30-07

Various—Mark Farina House—Om—US—deep house mix CD
Calvin Johnson & The Sons Soil–S/T—K Records—US—indie rock, pop
Eliot Lipp—City Synthesis—Metatronix—US—instrmtl hip-hop, IDM
Gudrun Gut—Put A Record On—Monika—GER—experimental pop

Out 5-01-07—5-15-07
Amon Tobin—Foley Room—Ninja Tune—UK—electronic, IDM, jazzy
Cinematic Orchestra—Ma Fleur—Ninja Tune—UK—folkie jazz