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Friday, 14 April 2006
death and resurrection
Now Playing: just wrapping up the work day...my brain checked out long ago...
Topic: rants de macedonia

postcard from Audio Underground Recordings International

[this one was originally published in ON THE VERGE v3.0 e-mail monthly for May 2, 2001. it's about my reactions to the loss of a punk rock icon as well as a record store close to my heart and the variables connecting both, as well as some spiritual matters. it's Holy Week, what can i say?]

death and resurrection

I was frozen. There was nothing I could say. I had gotten the news via e-mail through a friend. Audio Underground, the premier record shop of the Capital District and home base for Albany and upstate New York ravers, burned to the ground last month. Everything was destroyed: countless records, listening booths, computers, a mother cat and a few of her kittens. Damian Galban (a.k.a. DJ Dames) served as the proud owner of A.U. for several years. I can’t even begin to imagine what he’s going through.

I hadn’t been up to Albany in a few years, hadn’t been to A.U. since I graduated college, yet I felt a severe sense of loss. There was a lump in my throat. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t sleep. It was all I could think about the following day at work. I said a prayer for Dames. I prayed for strength, for perseverance, that this wouldn’t dampen the spirits of the raving community in Albany as a whole and that they might pull together and rebuild that which was taken away from them.


A few days later on Easter Sunday, punk rock suffered a great loss. Not just punk rock, but every category of music that stepped outside the confines of music theory. Joey Ramone died of lymphoma. And some people wouldn’t have known had others not told them. As influential as the Ramones were, regardless of the fact that there aren’t many groups who have written so many songs with so few chord changes, Joey’s death didn’t get a full minute’s coverage on most news programs. And probably the hardest thing to get over for most people was that a punk rock icon died from cancer. Not drugs, not alcohol, but CANCER. As if the pills ‘n’ booze scenario would’ve sat better with some of his followers. And sadly enough, IT WOULD HAVE.

My wife was in tears. She put on “Blitzkrieg Bop” and sobbed. I dug out a Simpsons disc and played the cut where the Ramones sing “Happy Birthday” to Mr. Burns.

“We’d like to say that this gig SUCKS!”
“Yeah, up yours, Springfield.”

My friend DP tagged a train in Joey’s honor and wore an armband that read "J.R." to work the next day. Recently, he sent me an e-mail: “My co-worker made an interesting point. Joey Ramone died on Easter Sunday…that means he’s coming back, right?” Had he died on Good Friday, I might have considered that wishful thinking. But the truth is that we will never hear him count off a tune ever again. If he does come back, it will be through his legacy, which will be here a long time.

Anyone who’s lived in Albany for a period of time will tell you that it ain’t Detroit, but there are some brief similarities that can be made between the two. Not only are both working-class cities, both also feature techno as an integral part of their musical soundtracks. Other sounds have become popular within Albany’s underground sectors over the years - house, jungle, West Coast breaks - but techno was its main soundtrack prior to those (and after the rise and fall of its long-standing industrial/goth scene). It’s been that way ever since a humble little record shop opened its doors on a side street in downtown Albany, prior to its Lark Street expansion. It’s been that way since the house parties, the outlaw events, and anywhere that there was a sound system and a generator. My interest in the hows and whys of techno grew long after my time within the Capital District had passed. Back then, I was too preoccupied with my own downbeat agenda. I danced to techno, I appreciated techno, but I can’t say I completely understood techno. I do now, though. Now more than ever.

Tragedies such as these quickly separate the shortsighted from those who see the big picture. Most of us (myself included) want to see Audio Underground rebuilt. Ask those who are close to Dames and they’ll say that’s not nearly as important as rebuilding the shattered pieces of a friend’s life. It was something I needed to be reminded of, and it took my mind back to a spiritual epiphany from a few weeks ago (before the fire at A.U.). I was at church on a Sunday morning, listening attentively to the sermon, when GOD said, “If you lost all of your music in a fire, would you still love Me? If you couldn’t spin anymore, would you still trust Me? If you lost your hearing and couldn’t enjoy music anymore, would you still worship Me?” Questions like those shake me up, but they’re guaranteed to help me regain my focus.

The big picture: While Albany did lose Audio Underground, they did not lose Damian. He’s still here. That’s important to remember. A caring, kind, and giving brother is still here, and while he’s going through his own personal fire right now, he will get through this. The true heads will see to that.

There is strength and empowerment in techno. Before techno was around, that same strength could be found in punk rock. If you have a Ramones album, break it out and crank it up. If you’ve got a DJ Dames mix tape in your possession, rock that joint loud. And in either instance, don’t be surprised if you get a little emotional. I did…

{jason randall smith}

Posted by macedonia at 3:05 PM EDT
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makin' due
Now Playing: daily source code for friday, april 14, 2006
Topic: rants de macedonia

a negative of a positive...

[this was originally published in ON THE VERGE v2.0 e-mail monthly for April 5, 2000. weird, though...there are parts of this that could've been written yesterday. what was true then regarding my place in the Lenten season is true right now: haven't been doing that great this year. AT ALL.]

makin' due: sacrifice and the price of knowledge

Lent has been kicking my butt this year. Not entirely, but I have been feeling the sting of sacrifice. It’s longer than it usually is: Easter Sunday doesn’t come until the end of this month. For the second year in a row, I’ve given up music purchases for Lent. I’ve included video purchases this year as well as swearing. Surprisingly enough, it’s the words that have been tripping me up.

I don’t even curse that often, but I figured that there’s always room for improvement, right? Especially since my wife had considered doing the same (good thing, too, ‘cause Beth swears like a sailor. Just kidding, honey. Kiss, kiss…). Remember that Simpsons episode with the swear jar? We figured we’d charge a quarter for any foul mouth antics and keep a tally during the day. Can you imagine my disappointment when I was averaging $1.50 per day during the workweek? If I curse at all, it’s usually at the job (that figures), but that’s still a lot for me. Meanwhile, Beth put “crap” on her list of words not to say. Now, why did she go and do that? Whenever something goes wrong, her favorite expression is “aw, CRAP!!!” needless to say, that didn’t change overnight. That was a guaranteed twenty-five cents per day.

I started to think, dag…if this keeps up, we’ll be able to buy Joseph that new Technicolor dreamcoat he’s been wanting. Beth and I have both considered each putting a five spot in the jar and calling it even, but it hasn’t come to that yet. It always seems like the moment you decide to really apply yourself to do right, obstacles come from all sides and grow in intensity.

Last month, various thoughts drove me into a state of depression that I couldn’t get out of for a while. In the wake of unarmed Black men being brutalized and/or killed by police, I re-read a book by civil rights activist Derrick Bell in order to remind myself of the realities of racism. Entitled Faces At The Bottom Of The Well: The Permanence of Racism, Bell suggests that it is an indestructible part of our society and while we can come up with ways to lessen its burdens, we can’t destroy it entirely. The book holds many shocking and powerful truths - all of which come at a price. Knowing that there isn’t much that one can do to eliminate hundreds of years of institutionalized unwritten “laws” is a heavy burden to bear.

And while thinking about that, I thought about music and the intangible levels that GOD keeps showing me through it. I thought about the power it contains, how it can display and provoke emotions and feelings that can’t be summed up in words. I thought about how people who only care about money are deciding for the majority of this entire nation what music they listen to and how the masses allow it to happen. I thought about those same people buying up smaller radio stations and stripping the DJs that decide to stay of their creative freedom, demanding that they play certain songs at certain times of the day. I thought about how the greed-fueled agendas of a few are making it next to impossible for many to even have the chance to be exposed to something different, to be able to make a choice, to possibly expand their minds.

N’Sync sells two million copies of their new album in its first week and I’m supposed to believe that there are No Strings Attached? Does anybody else find that album title as ironic as I do? And does anybody realize how difficult it is sometimes to function in this life when you have all of this in your head?

It was a Friday. It was sunny outside. Absolutely gorgeous. I should’ve been happy. And I was sitting in my cubicle wondering if I was having a nervous breakdown or not. I was reminded at that moment why most tend to use music as a means of escapism. Society’s ills are the last thing that anyone wants to think about while on the dance floor. Contrary to what some might think, I don’t think that music should always be serious. Anyone who has seen me dancing and jumping around at a rave knows that (even when I spin, for goodness sake). However, I do take the art form of DJing seriously. I take the politics that record companies and radio stations have polluted music with VERY seriously. And I treat music like I know it’s a gift from GOD and not just filling up the background settings of my life. I’ve recently decided to do away with music while on the job - not because I think that it distracts me from my work, but because I think my work distracts me from music. It deserves our utmost attention, and I’ve just begun to discover the balance between losing myself in it while giving it the attention that it so rightly deserves.

Once again, we arrive in your mailbox with reviews of releases both old and new. Some artists you know about, some you don’t. There may be something here that you will never come across in life. However, there may be something here that will call out to you at a record shop tomorrow (life’s funny like that). As always, we hope there’s something that makes you laugh, makes you think, and makes you excited about music all over again. If these three things are accomplished, then we’ve done our job.

One love, one life, one universal language. And when in doubt, DIG DEEPER. Peace…

{jason randall smith}

Posted by macedonia at 2:03 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 12 April 2006
food for the mind...
Now Playing: the invisible hour on giantstep.net
Topic: articles

been holding on to these for a while. first off, check this book review on a tome that will certainly make black power heads shudder...or maybe not. seriously, you can play this game on a number of different levels...white distribution, black recording artists, white coaches, black basketball players, et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

...and then there's this little gem. this is a great example of how necessary it is for people of different walks of life and experiences to talk with one another...

Posted by macedonia at 4:41 PM EDT
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the Radio BSOTS promo is done...
Now Playing: Gilles Peterson Worldwide radio show on giantstep.net
Topic: my podcasts

for any podcasters on the check-in, please download my promo and play it on your show. anybody else who wants to check it, by all means, cop it. pretty happy with how it turned out...

Posted by macedonia at 2:53 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 11 April 2006
BSOTS exclusive on Podshow Music Rewind #28
Now Playing: much-needed silence at the office...
Topic: my podcasts

okay, so while this isn't my show, i am featured within this show. i recorded a clip for Podshow Music Rewind and it was included in show #28, which just premiered two days ago. it will also be featured on Sirius Satellite Radio tonight at 9pm Eastern Standard time. much thanks to Marcus Couch for featuring my clip. show notes are below...


Podshow Music Rewind is hosted by Marcus Couch. Presented by Podshow.com.

• MUSIC: Supersuckers - "Some People Say"

Get Jacked, hosted by Jack Elias.
• MUSIC: Martha Redbone - "Future Street"

Radio BSOTS, hosted by Macedonia.
• MUSIC: Hired Gun - "What Makes The Man"

Build The Church with Mark Linder.
• MUSIC: Jack in the Pulpit - "Life Goes On"

Podshow Radio, hosted by Brent.
• MUSIC: Smeer - "Digging"

The Riverbend, hosted by Mike Wills.
• MUSIC: Jake Coco - "Daddy's Eyes"

The Digivegas Podcast, hosted by Paulie Podcaster.
• MUSIC: Futon - "Guessing Game"

Zero Gravity Radio, hosted by Mark Ries.
• MUSIC: Miss Sad UK - "Headspin"

The Scene Zine, hosted by Marcus Couch.
• MUSIC: Eight Stops Seven - "Doubt"

Posted by macedonia at 5:59 PM EDT
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Thursday, 30 March 2006
BSOTS 016 - womanifesto: love for the (s)heroes (pt. one)
Now Playing: pizzicato five - love theme (automator remix)
Topic: my podcasts

squeezing this one out at the end of the month after a necessary week away from it all. good thing i waited, though - i was able to score some great tunes for this two-part series focusing on music from the podsafe sisterhood. here's how the first one shapes up...

download ||| subscribe ||| go here to stream shows

add to my PodNova

uncle seth*double-double - a waltz for voice
theory*woman II woman
full*push it down (buy it at cdbaby.com)
georgia anne muldrow*larva
alice smith*dream (visit her myspace page)
si*se*(morerain) more shine (dj center & l.e. mix)

background music:
claudia bonarelli*a2 (download the entire ep here)

other key info: R.E.A.C.Hip-hop, Octavia Butler article

Posted by macedonia at 11:23 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006 11:32 PM EST
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Monday, 27 March 2006
ain't that a snitch...
Now Playing: "surrender" by gum
Topic: articles

i used to see the "stop snitching" t-shirts every now and again, but never knew what that was all about. so serious thanks go out to Marc Lamont Hill for breaking down the science (and then some) in this article. as with all things Marc Lamont Hill, some stuff i agree with, some i don't.

Posted by macedonia at 4:51 PM EST
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macedonia covers "cake"
Now Playing: 6 degress of santana (compilation)
Topic: music appreciation

so, here's the story: a radio show host from WFMU, easily my favorite station, requested for his listeners to submit cover versions of a poem/rant that he plays often: "Cake" by Todd Colby. haven't heard this show in the longest, but i was familiar with the piece and thought it was a great idea. i got inspired and submitted a version of my own, which Kenny (the host) told me was both "fantastic" and "incredible..." i say it's rather silly and that it gets the job done.

my version - along with Todd Colby's original and countless others - has been posted to the WFMU blog. just look for the one listed as "cake by listener macedonia." make sure to download the original version as well, if you haven't heard it already. it will also be featured along with the rest of the covers on Kenny's show, Intelligent Design this Wednesday, March 29, 2006 from 3-6 p.m. eastern standard time. if you miss it, show archives will be available soon afterwards.

gotta start downloading those other versions...i'm rather curious...

Posted by macedonia at 3:57 PM EST
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Friday, 24 March 2006
matthew dear - backstroke
Now Playing: herb alpert's tijuana brass - rewhipped
Topic: 2004 reviews (jul.-sep.)

i love Matthew Dear's work. this EP is a testament to his brilliance. experimental pop goodness, i tell you what.

Record label: Spectral Sound
Format: mini-LP/CD
Release date: July 2004

(Review originally posted to BSOTS website september of 2004)

You really have to admire Matthew Dear’s work ethic: he seems to have been releasing music consistently since the start of last year. What I don’t understand is how the quality has been able to match up with the quantity of his output. The tone was set with a pair of EPs in 2003 that focused on his minimal techno sessions. He was already getting recognition as one to watch; then he dropped “Dog Days” (the leadoff single for his debut album) and that’s when things really got interesting. A summer dance floor anthem if there ever was one, Dear held the ship steady while maneuvering through house and techno waters, riding the current of a catchy chorus. This would bring his vocal side to the forefront. The mini-album Backstroke picks up where Leave Luck to Heaven left off, albeit a heavier focus on Matthew’s vocal-led material. With a knack for creating unconventional pop tunes, the payoff is big, establishing him as possibly the next superstar in techno.

The music’s accessibility is due to its winning combination of new wave/synthpop song structures, unbridled dance floor energy, and Matthew’s capable vocal ability. Both “Tide” and “Grut Wall” sound as if they were crafted to be the blueprints for underground chart toppers. There’s nothing that these songs don’t possess: memorable and catchy lyrics, infectious grooves, and 100% genuine in its presentation. “Huggy’s Parade” plays with the formula a little bit, keeping the music minimal yet bouncy as Dear’s vocals sound like they were phoned in from another planet. “I Know Howser” slows things down to great effect, its somber and melancholy tone being a natural platform for Matthew’s chops to shine (techno’s first balladeer, maybe?). The showstopper comes in the form of “And In The Night” as Dear switches gears to deliver some midtempo disco from an alternate universe. Latin percussion loops and the repeated phrase “sometimes I think about you” get stirred into a wonderfully messy stew. Vocals bubble over the top of this mutant pop cauldron, somewhat disembodied yet still passionate. This track contains more twists and turns than San Francisco’s Lombard Street, making for a great closer to this release. Absolutely fantastic.

{steve crognale}

you can purchase this release at emusic.com or at bleep.com (see media player below).

Posted by macedonia at 4:35 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 24 March 2006 4:39 PM EST
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Thursday, 23 March 2006
so...did you notice the blog name change?
Now Playing: know your rights - radio show on eastvillageradio.com

"the number that you have reached, holy war in the mental, has been changed. the new number is...welcome to camp lo-fi... please make a note of it..."

it's high time, really. holy war in the mental has worked as a blog title for the past two years and change, but if you listen to my podcasts, you know that i've been using the tag line welcome to camp lo-fi as part of my introduction ever since they started. so that's the new title of the blog. the time was right for the change: i want the podcast and blog to compliment each other. at the same time, i'll be moving several years of rants and music reviews over here, a little bit at a time.

this is lifeblood for me, and i hope it holds some interest for you.

signed, macedonia (your friendly neighborhood camp counselor).

p.s. you can bookmark this url for the blog and podcast: http://www.bsots.com/restless/

Posted by macedonia at 4:36 PM EST
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