Jah Shaka, the article don! Seen? UK based reggae/dub artist, soundsystem blaster. A.k.a. the Zulu Warrior’s spiritual test came in the 1980s when he held it down for roots cultural tradition against prevailing trends towards slackness in the dancehall. Jah Shaka does not waver at the pinnacle of UK dub with the respect of his Jamaican dreadren secured. The Commandments were a series of albums that were released on his own Jah Shaka Music label between 1982 and 1991 and Chapter 7 stands out for its occasional weird drum production and synth noodling which stamp it 80’s, yet twerked enough for it to take this long to get it. Turn up the bass, rattle the rearview, future-time is now, seen? 33 1/3rd. MtheG.
This is a three band compilation of funky Mexican psyche rock from the late-60s-early 70s. Think Os Mutantes and Os Brazoes but Mexican not Brazilian, closer to LA if you will [pssst: organs]. A signature of American soul drumming was what Bernard Purdie called ghost-notes, or grooving on the 16th. American psyche bands, like say Blue Cheer, didn’t really apply this technique, but Mexican/South American psyche bands didn’t leave anything out, driven by their native sounds, and mixing in anything dripping down the continents from frequency to frequency. Sure the guitars are mad fuzzed out like your shirt when you pull the new sweater off, but then it also sounds like they got Clyde Stubblefield from James Brown’s band in on the groove sesh. This psyche rock with soul-drumming style is best exemplified on the Los Papos track: I See You Very Lonely. As well, the song’s open drum break is probably already a must have for break record nerds and beat-smiths. So you can drop blotter and twirl in circles to this trippy rock, but your moves better be on the one, jack! Plays at 33. Mann the General.
14 hip-hop instrumentals from LA’s Alan Maman The Alchemist released in 2012. These instros eventually became songs and freestyle beds for the rap luminaries like: Prodigy, Capone-N-Noreaga, Rick Ross, Eminem, and Cam’ron. The standouts are Ten Dollars, Microphone, and Deathwish– boom bap beats, heavy synths, and moody keys with occasional vocal snippets. The Michael Mann emotion of it all makes rap vocals unnecessary and allows it to stand on its own as a rugged composition. Mann the General.
The guitarist says, “It’s the best record.” 26 brutal soundtracks about west bay drug cartels, drinking crews, dank devils, dick riders, dusthead rebellions, respect for the old school, hip-hop, pro wrestling, Shoalin Monks, hippie extermination, Hirax fascination, graffiti, record collecting wit, and the demise of emo and backpack rap. For most of the crust-spawns, Spazz from Redwood City was undoubtedly the most lethal gateway drug for a life-long addiction to brutal music, and they led by example, redefining and criticizing the style they were exploring as they went along. Spazz always seemed very aware and confident about their place in history, in regards to where they got it from (name-dropping Neos) and where they were going with it (625 Thrash/Slap-A-Ham). And what it wasn’t: the typical pose that was passing for hardcore at the time. And they spelled it out [if you can decode the lyric sheet] for all to adhere to or “buy the next ticket out of our town, when you are chased – out of Redwood City. Musical felony – won’t be forgiven.” All this from a grind record with sax and banjo on it; the Spazz smirk forever present. Here’s the common reaction by a young gremlin from the 90’s when you mention Spazz: “I didn’t know what I was listening to. Death punk was my first guess. I was listening to a lot of death and black metal at the time along with some hardcore. This was back in the mid-90’s. Powerviolence was huge in the underground but I had not given it a chance till I heard Spazz. I bought La Revancha just to hear more of them. I gave them a chance and man was I blown away! I got into the scene and was hooked.” Great vocal sound-bites, beats and loops between songs, one which features the legendary voice of Kool Keith of Ultramagnetic MCs, the Spazz of rap one could argue. If you like your music short, fast, heavy, bass-y, crazy, ugly, fed up, noisy, loud, groovy and yes, clowning the herbs…. you must blast Spazz, the conduit against what conforms. Plays at 33. Mann the G.
During a four year break from MCing, MF Grimm became a respected author of the Eisner-nominated, Glyph Award winning autobiographical graphic novel Sentences: The Life of MF Grimm, and in 2010 he released his 8th studio album in the same vein: You Only Live Twice-The AudioGraphic Novel which includes a 16-page comic book crafted by cartoonist Jim Mahfood (of Kevin Smith’s Clerks fame). Grimm gave birth to his rhyming discog by shouting “Shit ain’t never gonna change, FUCK IT!” on the Kool G Rap classic Take ‘Em To War, then put on the masks with MF Doom and King Ghidorah when he joined up with the alcoholic metal-faced one’s Monster Island Czars, so I guess you could say this graphic novel form of hip-hop would be his third incarnation and his most positive message/attitude-wise to date (funny how becoming an award winning author lets you brush off the thug angst and cruise thru your midlife crisis). Problem is, I think a lot of his original fan base is still bumping Take ‘Em To War and haven’t gotten over it. I mean, I haven’t anyway. But when that hardrock stance leads to you shot in the spine and trapped in wheelchair for the rest of your life, I’m sure a change towards positivity and understanding would be the only move. So I’m a dick for taking that shot; I just really love that G Rap track, b. The wide blend of production on Twice from Twiz the Beat Pro is hit or miss, often not gloomy enough for a guy named Grimm. Return To Eden and the title track go, hell the whole first plate goes, though I lost interest on the second, and the first track is my favorite where he invents a sparse new NY rap style, name drops “blessings from the Elohim” and says “thank you for giving me rap in its purest form to save ’em all.” Maybe even M the G.
The full title of this release is Adrian Younge presents 12 Reasons to Die, and that is important to note. Adrian Younge is LA’s current head procurer of dark soul with his interesting style that sounds like he’s composing 70s movie score type jams on an Akai MPC sampler/sequencer and then having his resident soulburner band, Venice Dawn, replay his compositions (utilizing old timey recording techniques [read: protools plug-ins] I’m sure) with a careful intent not to lose any of the original dirty feeling that a sample-based rap jam has to have to be just that. This style was effective on Younge’s earlier projects (the Black Dynamite Soundtrack, Something About April, and AY presents The Dramatics) and his record remains unblemished here. Only the Roots, Dr. Dre’s Niggaz4Life opus, and Above The Law’s post-Black Mafia Life catalog pull off a live hip hop thing better. Younge is on his shit. Now to the raps. I wouldn’t say this is a GFK career defining lyrical presentation but it is way above par and he gets an A+ for a cohesive story throughout all 12 songs about a ruthless black gangster preyed upon and murdered by the evil DeLucca family with his remains being mixed into melted vinyl and pressed into 12 records to be held by the 12 heads of the family. Problem is when the records are played the spirit called the Ghostface Killah rises for bloody revenge. This is Elmore Leonard-Donald Goines-Blaxploitation on wax. On top of that the CD comes complete with a full instrumental version that should really be filed under dark soul rather than hip hop, it has a really heavy plot even without the crazy vocal vengeance. The CD also comes with a “tape” version of the first 11 tracks where up and coming Detroit producer Apollo Brown remixed the whole shit, which has affectionately been dubbed “The Brown Tape” by real rap heads who prefer Brown’s lo-fi all sample-based compositions to Venice Dawn’s attempts to interpolate Younge.
This is the re-issue of the classic late-70s novelty record and Dr. Demento fave: Larry Move Your Hand, about a backseat girl’s (or rather a male impersonation of a brazen female) struggle with her date Larry’s wandering extremities. The funniest part to me is when she guzzles the white lightning straight out the bottle, good long gurgle, ha! The classic is accompanied by its instrumental and 5 other burning and sexually insinuative 70s funk jams recorded by raw, funk-drenched session players during leftover studio time after real sessions went down. You Got The Makings Of A Real Freak (which also has an alternate remix version) could make any down-and-out disco dean into an all night groove-machine. Save your funniest moves for Penguin Feet & The Teardrop Kid, a lot of PG-13 Blowfly/Bobby Jimmy & the Critters going on here. Mann the General.
This is a collection of noise from Spastic Colon’s Pinch a Loaf Productions label. Based out of Downey, CA, PAL has 18 releases under their belt and Adventures in Modern Electronics is #13. 10 tracks by 10 different noise artists/outfits, each between 5 and 9 minutes long. 1) Aube: notable for it’s use of silence after the initial crash. Those who wait thru it are rewarded like counting the seconds btwn flash & thunder. 2) Not Breathing: waxpaper-winged cicada, space probes, hallucinatory boiling meter-less jungle, ends humid. 3) Pain Jerk: industrial loop, harsh edges keeps steady metronome with competing plods then burns into total DHRish chaos, smolders and space phasers out. 4) Smell & Quim: industrial loop and dry beep distortion code, constantly morphing patterns, tempo-twists tight. 5) MSBR: piercer phases into electronic robot gatling gun and laser weld fades out with soft pierce. 6) dB Orgy: starts with effective silence and fades in extremely slow for a full minute then becomes a satellite floating the nebulous. 7) Kazumoto Endo: intemittent harsh blasts, with lower sounds between, bangs more frequent with friends joining in, goes insane for 2 mins then chills to catch breath then destroys again, chills at end too. 8) Thirdorgan: possessed fax machine/calculator watch combo, with a live contact slammed thru a raggy woofer cone. 9) The Haters: sheets of tin banging in a far off and cavernous warehouse. 10) Spastic Colon: the hosts for the evening created a beautiful and edible center piece to decorate and nourish their guests who are the main course with some bubble bath drill at the end. Eat yourself. Mann the General.
The first west coast death metal guru we sought evil wisdom from was Erik of Epidemic. His Shaolin Temple was the convenience store where he worked which was adjacent to the Tressider Student Union video arcade on the Stanford Univ. campus and where we’d loiter hoping to get a chance to play Tempest against John Elway or overhear Erik bestowing upon some older head what was lame/cool in the middle of the periodic table. I can picture our guru having two words for Olympia’s Bone Sickness: “Autopsy minus the Exodus parts.” But guru, if I may, it’s not just sans doom riffs. BS strips away over-abundant intricacies and excessive production value (like maybe no post-prod whatsoever) and seriously cuts the fat when it comes to song/riff length (all 7 songs clock in under 20 mins). Not because they can’t (this is one tight quartet for sure) but because that’s all this desperate modern life will allow or deserves. This stripping also provides a self-sufficiency to the onslaught giving it that living hard with what you got in the stash thing. Like Epidemic and Autopsy this is fully west coast lineage. No contrived sludgeness or multifarious crust here: ripping pace, velociraptor-minded death metal through and through, but a lot of the time being hella good at one thing is the sick way to go. The eye-catching cover drawn by Hand of Beaver is perfect for contemplating decomposition for the rest of the month. Plays at 45. Mann the General.
Independent sample-based hip hop released on vinyl the way it should be done. Philly’s production duo of Drumz and Llingo bring the most out of their SP12 with this one, teaming up with some cutty NY MCs for the perfect blend of streetwise wisdom both sonically and verbally. Heavy on the east coast traditional beat digger vibe and the remix on side B is a bit more spacey. The stand out MC for me is the last in line John Robinson, his gravely voice is reminiscent of Mr. Cheeks of Lost Boyz but his flow is more like a megablunted Keith Murray. KicDrum Products and their Silver Seven Series of indy rap 7″s are the future of the history of this real rap shit. No FCCs, plays at 45. Mann the General.
1998 was arguably the craziest year in this crazy man’s short life. He rescued a 4 year old girl from the burning wreckage of a car crash, snatched the mic and slighted Puffy at the Grammy’s, pleaded guilty to attempted assault on his wife, was the victim of home invasion at his girlfriend’s house in which he got shot in the arm and back with a .357 but the wounds were deemed superficial, was arrested for shoplifting $50 sneakers with $500 in his pocket, and was finally acquitted for weapons and attempted murder charges. In 1999, after being arrested in February for being a convicted felon wearing a bulletproof vest and doing time for possession of marijuana and 20 vials of crack cocaine, he recorded and promoted this album album until he was forced to enter a court-ordered drug treatment program which he escaped from in October of 2000. He was also monitored by the FBI during this time: His FBI file was released to the public after a Freedom of Information Act request. It contains details of numerous crimes, such as alleged connections to three murders, a shoot out with the NYPD, and a RICO investigation against the Wu-Tang Clan. The production on this is handled by three camps: the Neptunes (their best work ever in my mind), Irv Gotti and posse, and Wu-affiliates (RZA, True Master & Buddah Monk). Soulheads will be drawn to the familiar voices of Chris Rock and Pharell on Recognize or the Rick James cover Cold Blooded or the chart-topper Got Your Money that launched R&B singer and rapper Nas’ wife Kelis’ whole career. But the two highlights for me are 1. the album’s soulful cohesiveness aside from the positively erratic and insane vocal performances, though it was not as critically acclaimed as his debut album (Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version), I think it is more of a complete and discerning work with no filler, and 2. the track Gettin’ High which is a Brooklyn Zoo posse cut where Ol’ Dirty is absent, when it comes to throwing the publishing around the man was a humble genius through and through. There is FCCs through and through also so only for safe harbor unless somebody cleans it up.
Surprisingly rugged new single from the usually subdued and introspective Blu. The production by Bombay (never heard of him before but hope to hear more like this) is almost industrial, grungy savage, distorted all levels blocked out in the red, the sound wave of the entire track probably looks like a brick thru the window of Wells Fargo. Blu is joined by legendary undergrounder and NY boxing aficionado RA the Rugged Man and Tri-State of the new Alchemist-produced group Durag Dynasty. Blu and Tri-state are MC killers for sure who play the bread nicely with well above par verses, but RA is the butcher in between who really strips the flesh from the corpse with the illest endeavor; he says, “In a world of murderers and rapists, and children with exposed ribcages, organ damage from famine, flies on their faces, blood thirsty baby killers and mental cases, gun-totin’ cops born racist, school districts preaching hatred, angels with black wings holdin’ automatic guns like gatlins, bodies blown to bits, bloody torsos that lack limbs.” The b-side is the same beat, but it only has Blu on the solo tip with 3 verses (1 is his original and 2 alternates), but I wish it was the instrumental because this beat is so large it should stand on its own. If you dug Gangrene you’ll dig this chaos too. Plays at 45. Mann the General.
Progressive power violence from the culture’s no gimmick mainstays. The first CD labeled “White Glove Test” the music version which is guitars, vocals, drums is the definitive work here, while the second CD labeled “Finds More Filth” the noise version which plays at equal length was recorded while playing along to the finished first CD so the end result can be albums played simultaneously, separately, or mixed in and out in the listeners never ending quest for the “best” version to them personally. It can be whatever you want. The result is interactive power violence that gets buck like a handcart kicked around by a triceratops inside a linear accelerator tunnel; it piles and stammers, slackens and dins forth obliviously into an austere profusion of cutting riffs, magnetic tom assaults and shouting like it’s all they got. The best example of the music version marrying the noise version is the run of Hidden Task, Brutal Supremacy I-III, and Plasma Separatist, moments of silence that were once there in the solo listen are fractured with uncomfortable voltage that gives a different cohesiveness to the work that could also be called claustrophobia. When it comes to PV these dudes art the smartest in the game (band-wise, label-wise, DI-Yze, launch a hog leg and get swivey on the wheels. Mann the General.
Their record company describes this “Flipper viewed through heavy gauze.” I’d say it is quite a bit heavier than that. This is Lexington, Kentucky’s redefinition of indescribable doom / sludge / noise / rock. With instruments ranging from the usually doom guitar, bass, drums, carbon-hallowed growl vocals all non-understandable to noise implements like synths, contact mics and tape, this four pieces leave listeners rattled with plodding destruction and explosions so evil that at first it slits your throat then it lets rats and worms live and feed in the wound and finally it steps on your disgusting mascara-ed face kinda like the cover which was drawn by the vocalist/illustrator Matt Minter. A lot of totally original (the way they play and the arrangement of the songs) doom chaos going on here, a lot of the tracks have drone/noise intros and outros for effortless radio-friendly mixing with other such soundscapes for transitions into doom and other metallics. Plays at 33. No FCC.
This is an electronica DJ mix album attempting that classick epicness- beats, basslines, instrument snippets, mistakes that go, dusted vocals, goofy-dope electonica shit with joyous the principal’s on whip-its let’s make summer forever vibe. Gives twisted nods to exotica, spoken word, Coldcut, Man Parrish (kinda), Colourbox, MARRS, the Avalanches, and even Juan Garcia MF Esquivel, I swear! I have fun listening to these weird and unique songs, saying to myself, oh I know where that’s from like I’ve heard the sample source before, knowing damn well that I have never heard that record and would have never even heard that sound if it wasn’t for Total Normal. It’s a good weave. These tracks bug out hard so they’re not just for fashion events, polo shirt bachelor douche-bags plotting mass murder or boutique drinking platform flip-flop wearers, I mean you could smoke bath salts, play whiffleball, do dishes and bang your girl to it too. I ride for this. Mann the General
Following in the footsteps of dub luminaries Lee Perry and Scientist (AE&E3 have collaborated with both), these former BSI label-heads stay devoted to the true essence of dub even when they get out there in a modern way. They flatter with their imitations of traditional predecessors, but balance this fanboy inspiration with nuances that bring new characteristics to the dub-iverse. Echo-delay vocals are potted up naturally and don’t sound like samples, while sudden key riffing and tempo jumps/drops show that these are not loops; what starts as a sacrifice to the old gods mutates into the scribbles of the new electronic scripture that actually lives when the lasers start firing and the 2″ tape starts whirring in the back ground. Both are slow and stoney and play at 45. Mann the General
The BSU self-described:
HARSH NOISE,INDUSTRIAL PORN GORE POWER ELECTRONICS OUTFIT FROM LONG BEACH CALIFORNIA.FORMED IN 2009 WITH A REVOLVING LINE UP INCLUDING CORE MEMBERS- THEE SLUGLORD, MS. 45 & THULSA DOOM. I don’t think this really reaches the precision harsh levels of say Merzbow and Actuary (though they released a split cassette with Actuary two years ago, so ya that so cal scene). It reminds me more of sloppy movie-score power-noise like Mutant Video’s Head-Scan tapes on the Iron Lung record label minus the Yamaha DX7 and plus distant construction site hollering of confusion and despondency. And I hear and see no porn on here so that part of their description is incongruent for this release anyway. The flip with The Vomit Arsonist is more of the same smolder and tin-ripping with quite a bit more vocals in the dehydrated demon extracting from the human host style. Word. Plays at 33 but flipping it on 45 makes the vocals sound like baby wraiths throwing fits in feces, which is pretty cool too. Good for the seamless confluence of on-air noise mixtures and layerings. Mann The General.
End of Earth is the first non-self-released full-length by Antwon, a local rapper from Sunnyvale, CA (even though all the blog write-ups say San Jose) who raps over post-punk progressive 80s worship pop party beats with a demented edge that side-step the concurrent “based” and “trap” genres of the area to truly represent the “Sick Sad World” party scene in Oakland that Antwon has been a fixture at for the last half-decade. The best example of his style is the track, Living Every Dream, which opens sampling Tom’s Diner on 10 rpm, think Suzanne Vega on quaaludes, and then bounces into a rhythm track more akin to Neneh Cherry or Snap (We Got The Power) than a rapper whose flow is that of multi-girlfriend-playerisms and heavy sexual content ala a west coast Notorious B.I.G. with a background in DIY hardcore (in 2009 before he started rapping professionally, Antwon was in the south Philly band Black Leather, and on his latest release In Dark Denim [which I’m hoping we also add] he has a track produced by B L A C K I E who hardcore folks like to refer to as the original Death Grips, so that’s the demented edge part I was talking about). Most of his lyrical content sounds like he spent his formative years watching the only two VHS tapes he had: Untamed Heart starring Chirstian Slater and Marissa Tomei and a fuzzy Anabolic interracial porn stolen from a dad, any dad. But, I cleaned up the whole album so have at it party people. Mann The General.
A child of the 80s, Killer Mike is a ten year rap vet rising out of Atlanta’s Dungeon Family production house who spent the majority of his career as a protege for the collective’s top-billers like Outkast and Goodie Mob. This album is a vengeful southern sonic crack-baby coming of age in the new millennium to expose conspiracies that plagued its NY/LA rap parents who jammed Public Enemy and NWA in the warzone. Bare-knuckled, politicized dirty south trap-talk over Escape from New York-esque, sci-fi, dystopian, cokey synth and bass heavy production courtesy of Company Flow’s one-man-heavy-artillery-division, El-P, who also shares the mic with Mike on one track (#9 Butane). Nods to when rap was punk and crunk was pop, post-911 New York noise and country thug-ism, with occasional gospel, soul and rock, supporting Mike’s 20/20 hindsight social commentary concerning the crack epidemic and the now exposed covert Iran/Contra operations and how they debilitated the black population in AmeriKKKa throughout the 90s. This sedition is best displayed on track #9 where Mike professes, “I’m glad Reagan’s dead.” He also says on the opening track, Big Beast, “I don’t make dance music, this is R-A-P/opposite of that sucker shit they play on TV.” Even if R.A.P. Music [Rebellious African People] doesn’t break enough rules or have enough of a platform to reach the revolutionary levels of Fear of a Black Planet (Public Enemy) or Straight Outta Compton (NWA) or Death Certificate (Ice Cube) . . . maybe it is the powerful late-career album those acts should’ve made now that the history they wailed and suffered through, has fully unraveled and been exposed for what it really was: genocide and human warehousing. The entire CD is the “clean version” so have at it; the untitled track #2 is a fo sho favorite. Mann the General.
Rare groove magazine WaxPoetics highlighted this LP in their July 2009 Brazil Issue. Its hard-as-hell-to-find [except for a $50-$100 price tag on the web] 1969 original press quickly became a minor grail for beat diggers around the globe in terms of Brazil’s deep bass groove-driven, garagey guitar-infused Tropicalia movement of the late-60s (perhaps sparking this 2012 Swiss re-issue distributed by Light in the Attic). Beatdiggers also love it for its bongo-pellas and Clyde Stubblefield-esque stank-funk, on-the-one open bass and drum parts (there’s a butter ass guitar/bass/drum loop in the middle of the Hey Jude-ish Espiral, side B track 3, that’s dying for a longer edit and I would be surprised if Kenny Dope hasn’t already done it). As a whole, it is an acid licking Brazilian sweatbox of bugged out fast funk and swarmed up psychedelics and sometimes almost folk rock (especially on the vocal tip) laced with some jazzy arrangements and subtly dusted space echo freak-outs as well (peep: Modulo Lunar, side A track 3). Be it Tropicalia, all of this rests on a foundation of samba and bossa nova characteristic to the country’s soul style but with a rawer edge than others I’ve heard from this genre such as Jorge Ben and Os Mutantes (Os Brazoes cover both here). I hardly understand Portuguese but one gets the feeling that the lyrics are sardonic and arcane like a Frost Amphitheater convo (peep: Volksvolswagen Blue, side A track 4). Still there is more than just a side dish of US soul persuasion here as well, and it is greasy. Mann The General