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Wednesday, 3 May 2006
never con an honest jon...
Now Playing: Mike Lupica's radio show on wfmu.org
Topic: music appreciation

i think i'm finally catching up to what Mike Skinner's been doing all this time. seems as if people either love or hate The Streets: heads either think his work's brilliant or they think it's bollocks. there's no in between with his stuff. been checking out the new album called The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living. some say it's his most personal. others say it's his most catchy. both claims are true. Skinner's take on hip-hop lyricism is dry, witty, and distinctly British, and i think it's the last factor that has had so many singing his praises. at any rate, i dig a number of the tunes here, particularly the ones that are more personal, like "Never Went To Church." he even tries his hand at political fare with "Two Nations." lately, i find myself singing the choruses to both "When You Wasn't Famous" and "Pranging Out."

the Giant Step site has the whole album available to stream. i don't know, but something tells me that this would be a great drinking album as well. just has that feel to it, i can't explain it...

click here to check out the album

Posted by macedonia at 11:07 AM EDT
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Saturday, 29 April 2006
BSOTS 018 - screwdrivers, mic stands, and music...
Now Playing: listening to the show. right now...
Topic: my podcasts

diy - oh, my...

my mic sounds ass, check one...my mic sounds ass, check two... i come off a bit surly and salty on this show. the work week got to me, plus something weird happened with my digital recorder - it froze up while recording wav files. have no idea whether it's the recorder itself or the flash drive i'm using with it. and the flash drive was far from full, so it wasn't a lack of space issue. ended up recording some low-grade voiceovers that i think sound like ass, but what can you do...

alcohol-infused mic sessions are bound to make me a little chatty, so the show's a bit longer than usual. clocks in just under 42 minutes, but the songs included are really good.

download ||| subscribe

add to my PodNova

go here to stream shows

-in memoriam: lumumba carson aka professor x of x-clan -
kristin mainhart*another girl {pmn ||| buy album at CDBaby}
people's choice*ocean breeze (produced by j. space)
d. minor*cool conversation {pmn}
promo: ed's mixed bag
universal truth*the vibe {pmn ||| MySpace}
nu breed*spiritually connected
cocorosie*good friday {pmn}
mark ronson feat. alex greenwald*just {review album}

background music:
intaprize/grand hustle*minwitdropz

other key info:
dj kuttin kandi
rosa clemente
ralph mcdaniels
hip hop commedia

Posted by macedonia at 11:26 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 19 April 2006
public enemy - revolverlution
Now Playing: alpha omega podcast
Topic: 2002 reviews (Jul.-Sep.)

[this review was originally posted to the BSOTS website in august of 2002. i love reviews like this: so full of life and passion about the music. by the way, if you ever get a chance to hear Chuck D on the college lecture circuit, run, don't walk. he's brilliant. -jrs.]

Record label: Slam Jamz/Koch
Format: CD
Release date: 30 July 2002

Considering that most rap fans would rather raise the roof than raise their fists, you really have to wonder how many younger heads would care that there's a new Public Enemy album out. Those curious to know what made (and still makes) PE relevant should start with this album. Revolverlution is the best release from these brothers since Apocalypse 91. Realizing that hip-hop fans are not only fickle but overtly age conscious to boot (you'd think a 13 year-old rap listener had brought back the old slogan "don't trust anyone over 30"), this album caters to both the tried and true fans as well as those new to the noise. Revolverlution contains new songs and live versions of classics as well as a few remixes. It's also the first of a triple album set. And before you start having Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump flashbacks, have no fear: PE comes bangin' right out the starting gate.

Everyone's present and accounted for: Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Terminator X (more in spirit than a physical presence, but still down with the crew), even Professor Griff is on the joint. Serious props go to DJ and producer Johnny "Juice" Rosado for bringing the funk back into PE's sound. While distinctly different from the hip-hop cut-and-paste techniques of the Bomb Squad, Rosado updates the noise to keep things bumpin' and your mind alert. The lead-off cut "Gotta Give The Peeps What They Need" is probably the strongest track they've made since "Fight The Power." (The remix version featuring Paris, self-proclaimed Black Panther of rap and "Bush Killa" when George Sr. was in office, makes for a sweet bonus.) "Get Your Sh*t Together" furthers Johnny Juice's position as the future of PE's production, and also proves the group's relevance in terms of lyrical content. Chuck D has much to say about 9/11, and best believe that George W. doesn't escape the wrath either (see "Son Of A Bush" for the full rundown). Even in an ultra-patriotic America, Public Enemy refuses to stay silent and continues to "fight the powers that be." The snippet of the "Post-Concert Arizona Interview," where PE only played two songs on U2's Zoo TV Tour in protest of the state's refusal to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday as a national holiday, serves as a reminder of how long they've been in the struggle.

The most noticeable change is the larger role that Professor Griff plays on this album, showing off some able production skills. When it comes to his rhyming chops, brotha man's kinda rusty. But even back on his earlier solo works (what, you didn't know?), it was understood that he cared more about the message than its delivery. Behind the boards is where he does damage; the spirit of the Bomb Squad lives on in him. From "Son Of A Bush" to the title track to his solo cuts "Now A'Daze" and "What Good Is A Bomb," Griff's tracks are heavy and noisy, knee deep in head bangin' hard rock. Guitars aplenty. On the flip side of the mood, Flavor Flav does what he does best: make no sense whatsoever. Actually, "Can A Woman Make A Man Lose His Mind?" makes more sense than "Cold Lampin' With Flav" - at least he's not making up words anymore - but it's Flavor, so it'll still make you shake your head and laugh. (Wanna get your laugh on for real? Check out some joints on his solo album. Words fail me…)

Probably the best aspect of this album is all the extras. The live versions are dope, especially the joints taped in Switzerland and DJ Lord Aswod gettin' ill on the tables on "Miuzi Weighs A Ton." Those Public Service Announcements are a trip, too. (Quote Flavor: "If you don't wanna be a goner, stay away from the drugs on the corner!") While the remixes certainly won't overshadow the originals, it's cool that they were included. All four remixes were winners of a contest on Slam Jamz, Chuck D's online music label. He got his fans to play an active role with the album, something that never would've happened while he was on Def Jam, so the digital music revolution has its benefits. (While I'm thinkin' about it, big ups to Moleman - your remix of "By The Time I Get To Arizona" has been growin' on me.) Most of all, these remixes remind us that PE have never shied away from incorporating rock or odd sounds (electronic or otherwise) into their audio assaults, which makes the hip-hop nation's accusations of them being "sellouts" after re-recording "Bring The Noise" with Anthrax even more puzzling. (YES, I'M STILL MAD ABOUT THAT.) Lastly, I owe Gary G-Wiz a huge apology. Back when Apocalypse 91 and the Greatest Misses album came out, I kept comparing his style to Hank and Keith Shocklee and saying that he came up short. Now he's got me head noddin' to the point of whiplash on cuts like "Put It Up" and "54321…Boom." I just realized how long I slept, brother. Respect.

It's albums like these that make me wonder if Public Enemy ever really fell off. Seems as if they started a whole other life after the noise died down and people decided to get back to the party and bull. Even after they stopped moving units, they turned to the Internet and became champions of the MP3. Matter of fact, an earlier album of theirs was released on the 'Net first. They embraced a controversial format at a time when most major music artists wouldn't…and those that wanted to, couldn't. (Major labels don't swing that way.) For that alone, they prove themselves relevant to today's youth. Include everything that they talk about on this album and they're about five seconds away from being blacklisted, possibly even deported. It's cool, though: what some may suppress on a mass media level can always be let loose throughout cyberspace.

Revolverlution is a surprisingly good album for a hip-hop group that has been around for 15 years. Not a bad way to celebrate their anniversary. Considering that there's so much turmoil in the world and so little being said about it in today's rap music, it's a damn good thing they're still here. Chuck says it best on "Put It Up": "Somebody's gotta communicate beyond the beats."

{vic feedle}

this album can be purchased at emusic.com.

Posted by macedonia at 3:41 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 18 April 2006
caural - stars on my ceiling
Now Playing: the havenots - a fresh start
Topic: 2002 reviews (Jul.-Sep.)

[this review was originally posted to the BSOTS website in august of 2002. i absolutely LOVE Caural's music. this album remains a favorite of mine almost four years later. recommended if you like DJ Shadow, RJD2, or Prefuse 73. - jrs.]

Stars On My Ceiling
Record label: Chocolate Industries
Format: 2xLP/CD
Release date: June 2002

At least one artist comes around that stands out from the rest every year, one whose techniques are understated but will speak volumes to all that stop, look and listen. This time around, the honors go to Chicago's own Zachary Mastoon a.k.a. Caural. Recording for the Chocolate Industries label, he is certainly in good company alongside the genre-bending tactics of Sluta Leta and the block rocking beats of Push Button Objects and While. Adding his own influences to the mix, Mastoon's outlook on life and music seem full of wide-eyed innocence. At least that's the impression one gets while listening to Stars On My Ceiling.

Hip-hop is the underlying theme, but what happens beyond that falls under a wide spectrum. His beat-making style rivals DJ Shadow's in terms of anchoring his compositions with drums that take over your heart rhythms. Drop the needle on "All These Todays Melt Into Tomorrows," symphonic hip-hop against a lush backdrop of samples and percussion. (Then again, I like anything with a little kalimba in it. Nothing makes me chill out faster than the sounds of an African thumb piano.) "Red Sunshine" features the same types of juxtaposition. Hard, fist-pumping beats are front and center, but the playful lilt of Spanish guitars creates a nice contrast. "Sipping Snake Blood Wine" continues the jazz descent, almost displaying beats of a broken variety, but held in check by a tight bass line. Then there's the mushroom-enhanced visions of "Mint & A Hospital Watercolor" - stoned enough to conjure up a psychedelic jazz vibe without leaving you reeking of patchouli afterwards. Call it dreamlike soul, call it hip-hop from an alternate universe, call it what you will…just know that Caural is the bomb. And he's just getting started.


this release can be purchased through emusic.com.

Posted by macedonia at 5:52 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 19 April 2006 3:43 PM EDT
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(white) male privilege, black respectability, and black women's bodies
Now Playing: the chillcast with anji bee (chillcast.podshow.com)
Topic: articles

considering that writer and scholar Mark Anthony Neal currently serves as the Associate Professor of African-American Studies at Duke University, i was wondering what he had to say regarding the rape case involving the Duke lacrosse team. Dr. Neal's opinion is one that i hold in high regard, and once again he comes through with a perspective that the media won't touch. click here to check out the article.

as of this time, two members of the team turned themselves in. both have already posted bail.

Posted by macedonia at 11:07 AM EDT
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Sunday, 16 April 2006
Radio BSOTS: what it's about and how to subscribe...
Now Playing: v/a - idol tryouts two (disc two)
Topic: my podcasts

doin' the do at DMZ in Brooklyn, NY, 2002.

RADIO BSOTS - "the poor man's podcast"

devoted to rhythms and sounds from around the way to around the world. championing independent artists and unsigned hype of mixed genres including hip-hop, soul, funk, and electronic music. hosted by macedonia. new shows posted at least twice a month. listener feedback and comments as well as artist submissions are always appreciated, so please get in touch...

BSOTS voice mail line: 206-337-0281 ||| email: radiobsots@gmail.com

click on the banner to subscribe to the podcast via Podnova... add to my PodNova
you can also subscribe through Odeo or add one of the URLs below to your podcatching software...

regular feed: http://www.angelfire.com/electronic2/bsots/sound/radiobsots.rss
iTunes-enhanced feed: http://www.angelfire.com/electronic2/bsots/sound/radiobsotsit.rss

copy one of the links above and paste it into the "URL," "feed," or "subscribe" section of your podcast software. simple as that, really. all podcasts and show notes can be found here.

podsafe music network

Posted by macedonia at 11:49 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2006 1:36 PM EST
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BSOTS 017 - womanifesto: love for the (s)heroes (pt. two)
Now Playing: v/a - idol tryouts two (disc two)
Topic: my podcasts

beth and i at siesta key beach in florida.  march of 2006.

(i don't like posting the first show of the month so late in the month, but it's been absolutely nuts for me thus far. at any rate...)

wrapping up the all-female two-part series of shows. i dedicate this one to beth, my wonderful wife on the left of the picture above. for those that don't already know, we're having a baby!! a girl, at that. i speak more about it towards the end of the show.

go with the track listing here in the notes for the anji bee song. otherwise, not much else to say. enjoy.

download ||| subscribe

add to my PodNova

go here to stream shows

- interlude: i love my wife -
ekayani and the healing band*une fille qui parle des ses desires (album available at cdbaby.com)
DawN*self-titled; Strength
plastic chair with anji bee*all those days ago
blood ruby*sleepwalk (free download available at artist website)
kudu*playing house (free download available at nublu records)
chicks on speed*turn of the century (album available at k records website)
bettye lavette*you'll never change

background music:
camp*embrace (download the entire ep here)

other key info: lovespirals ||| the chillcast with anji bee

Posted by macedonia at 11:27 AM EDT
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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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