He knows way from San Jose
Excuse the pun (on second thought, no, don’t), but Mike Park is pedaling his music. The Bay Area singer, songwriter, activist and independent label chief is touring the West Coast -- by bicycle. With 14 musicians and friends, Park undertook the bike tour from Seattle as a fundraiser (www.pleaforpeace.com) for a new youth center in his hometown of San Jose.
Send painkillers. “My left knee is screwed up right now, and frankly I’m worried,” reported Park on Tuesday from Morro Bay, having trekked 1,100 miles southward on a 1981 Schwinn he bought for $150, acoustic guitars in tow. “We’re a pretty ragged bunch -- I’m wearing Converse high-tops, a bathing suit and a T-shirt. One guy is riding a bike he bought for $5 at a rummage sale.”
In between stops at clubs, the musicians have done small performances at campgrounds. Tailwinds (and aching joints) willing, Park has a date Friday night at Chain Reaction in Anaheim.
His new album, “North Hangook Falling,” on L.A. imprint Sub City Records, sounds beefier and delves deeper into racial issues than the former punk rocker’s first acoustic effort two years ago. Many of the songs, including the title track (“a plea for a unified Korea,” Park says), were derived from Korean War stories told by his parents, who emigrated to the U.S. in 1966. “It’s learning about my own heritage,” says Park, 35. “This is where I came from.”
London calls Aeon Spoke
Add Aeon Spoke to the list of Southland bands (which includes the Colour, among others) whose music has gained more notice in Britain than in its hometown. The arching, melodic rock of the L.A. quartet won fans when its album “Above the Buried Cry” was released in April, but the songs “Emmanuel” (in the movie “What the Bleep Do We Know?”) and “I’ve Seen Those Eyes” (on the “Cry Wolf” soundtrack) haven’t sparked enough interest for a U.S. deal yet.
“It’s curious how things have happened for us in the U.K.,” says singer-guitarist Paul Masvidal, who, with bandmates Evo, Chris Kringel and Sean Reinert, returned to L.A. after summer shows in London to work on new material. “America is great, but it seems like the market for music has so much turnover and is so driven by the fast dollar.”
The band’s biggest London show was scotched -- it was scheduled for the day of the July transit bombings. “But we were so encouraged by the rest of the response,” Masvidal says, including airplay on BBC Radio 1 and 2. “It just really solidified the reality of the U.K. for us.”
L.A. hip-hop quintet L.A. Symphony celebrates the release Tuesday of “Disappear Here” with a show Friday night at the Knitting Factory. Fans might wish they’d had “Dance Like” to shake to this summer (but try not cracking a smile when you hear “Don’t Call Me”).... Jason Falkner has joined the bill for tonight’s benefit at the Derby for Hurricane Katrina relief.... Psychedelic rock fixes: Sweden’s Dungen at the Glass House on Friday, and New York’s the Occasion at Spaceland on Saturday.... The Meat Puppets’ Curt Kirkwood releases his first solo album, “Snow,” on Tuesday; he performs at the Hotel Cafe next Thursday.
-- Kevin Bronson