It seems rather unnecessary to wax about the cassette tape. Not because as an object the tape doesn’t contain poetry — rather because if you were there you know how damn great cassettes were. Not only did you get new music on them for cheap but you could tape other tapes, tape CDs, tape records, tape radio shows, tape tv on the radio, tape over recordings over and over again creating audio palimpsests, and tape odd bits of aural ephemera. All on simple equipment that by the age of 8 you had all you needed. And that is all before the all might mix tape and pause tape. I spent countless hours on that shit. Other people have already written about that.
Instead I’m just going to get to it: I haven’t had a functional tape deck for at least 8 years. I recently borrowed one and brought back a shoe box worth of tapes from my parents’ basement. Out of a larger mess, I grabbed some demos, some mix tape made for me, some random blank mysteries, and some gems. I’m going through them, recording them, and uploading them here. Check in periodically to see what batch comes up.
First up is the dorm room classic “Me. You. Youth Crew!” Made a bit by me, a bit by my roommate Ethan (the Ten Yard Friend), this is 90 minutes of hardcore 7″s that we were jamming to in 1998-1999. I’m amused by the inclusion of Connecticut’s Death Threat, but overall it is a solid mosh down memory lane. I did have to do a little surgery, putting cello tape at the start of side two.
Side 1: Youth of Today, Inside Out, Indecision, Death Threat, Ten Yard Fight, Trial, Up Front, Fastbreak, Time Flies, Better Than Thousand, Ensign, Insted, Judge, Trial, Follow Through, 97a
Side 2: Slapshot, Reach They Sky, In My Eyes, Ten Yard Fight, Side By Side, Good Clean Fun, Youth of Today, Cornerstone, Atari, 97a
The Rails and The Waves
In the heyday of tapes, in the time of mp3s being for nerdarios and ipods being science fiction, you just used to drop mix tapes on friends. Ethan made this one.
Side 1: Johnny Horton, Rumbleseat, Murder City Devils, Templars, The Pogues, Traditional Songs, Johnny Horton, The Pogues, Murder City Devils, Pinhead Gunpowder, Ancient Mariners
Side 2: MC5, Dead Boys, CCR, The Reducers, The White Stripes, Richard Hell, The Mooney Suzuki, The Standells, The Rolling Stones, The Stooges, MC5
Stoned Wellesley Funk
Dat spelling do
Birdman invited Ethan and I to do his weekly radio show and I recorded it on a boom box in the studio. Funky shit. No track list. No coherent spelling on the tape label.
Random Tape Number 1
Only in the past year did I own a car that had a cd player. I used to make tape after tape of songs I was feeling to either jam out to on a walkman or in the car. I suspect that this unidentified mix of emo/hardcore is one of those. It is stands as a pretty solid take of 1996-2000 era emo/hardcore. I was able to remember (accurately, I hope) all the bands just listening to it once.
Side 1: Avail,Inquisition, Boy Sets Fire, 400 Years, Sleepy Time Trio, Rye Coalition, The Monorchid, Action Patrol, Current, The Promise Ring, Texas is The Reason, Jimmy Eat World, Sleater-Kinney, The Never Never, Team Dresch, Charles Bronson
Ten Yard Fight, Fastbreak, Ann Baretta, Hot Water Music, Discount, Kind of Like Spitting, Sunny Day Real Estate, Jazz June, The Regrets, Knapsack, Rainer Maria, Piebald, Spazz, Alan Ginsberg
I’m doing a one hour set at the Bel-Air fundraiser party at Alphville on 2/21. An hour is super quick so I threw a bunch of disco records in the bag to sort out what I want to bring. It needs to be an hour of power – straight burners. So this is the rough set that I will be playing, with some records being taken out and others added. And, being the first run through, the mix, ahem, has a few flaws. But listen to it, get the vibes, and come down on Saturday.
So things got a little broken down around here. I broke fingers, my computer broke, causing my posting to breakdown. Now its a new year – same hand, same computer, but improved vibes!
I plan on update frequently, adding new angles to what I’m doing here, and getting some new looks, too. Until that all kicks off I made a mix to commemorate the year gone by. These are my favorite dance / house songs that I bought in 2014. I can’t say that these are exclusively the best burners from the past year, but I can say they are the best burners I got.
Caribou- can’t do with out you / Chez Damier & Ralph Lawson- a dedication to Joss / Eli Escobar- ny so h.i. / DJ Dodger Stadium- one who lost / Crowdpleaser- nenckri crowdpleaser dub / Noema- the shake / Social Disco Club- man of magic / Kinetic Electronic- astral kin / Leo Zero- feel it / Cities Aviv- perpetuate the real / Joakim- three laser fingers / Marquis Hawkes- can’t find the reason why / Genius of Time- juno jam / Gunnar Haslam- anatolia / Glacher Lustwerk- fate / Steve Summers- the outer maze / Gusto- circulation / Laurent Garnier- beat (da box) / Pittsburgh Track Authority- pitfalls / baking soda, I GOT BAKING SODA!
As always, all vinyl. Mixed live straight from the mixer.
To my barely teen self, Tim Dog’s Fuck Compton, along with NWA and Boss’s “I Don’t Give a Fuck,” was part of a spate of rap releases that straddled the line between fascinating and frightening. I was fairly oblivious to the nitty-gritty of the East Coast – West Coast rap beef, but being from the northeast I just reflexively threw my lot in with the East Coast. Here Tim Dog menacingly threatens NWA and anyone in their orbit. To my mind at the time, anyone willing to call out NWA must be a real badass.
And that is the sticking point — at that time. Listening to it now it comes across as cartoon goonery over ESG and James Brown samples. On one hand he calls them out for fighting for gang turf but then he quickly goes to the other hand threatening to beat and rob them for being from the West Coast. If it wasn’t for the call to arms I don’t think Tim Dog’s flow or technique would have him stand out from his peers.
I point out the cartoon aspect of the song not because he was likely exaggerating or speaking from a persona, many rappers do that, but because at the time I fully believed that what was presented on the song was who he was. It probably helped that I was very young and from the suburbs but I was effectively conned. I bring this up because I hadn’t given Tim Dog much though until I read that he was on the lam, accused of being a con man and possibly faking his own death. Turns out he did pass away but the accusations appear to be real. One ironic aspect is that one of his cons was promoting an all male “Chocolate Thunder” stripper tour — the b-side here is Wild in the Penile where Tim Dog breaks down his time in jail where he makes it clear he is not down for any gay shit. Anyway, the thread I’m trying to tie here is that I was fully willing to believe that he was a true goon who shouldn’t be messed with, I was willing to be hoodwinked into believing his story. I wasn’t alone judging by the amount of controversy and press Fuck Compton generated. Tim Dog apparently had gift of getting people to believe his version of reality.
A while back I wrote up the Evelyn Thomas single, High Energy. While digging in Philly last weekend I came across an alternate cover. It isn’t a record that is necessary to have doubles of, so it went back into the bin after a snapped the photo. This one is a bit more descriptive and a bit cheesier. I do like how the logo of the record company made it onto the billboards.
I picked up this Cem Karaca Kardaşlar 45 on my trip to Istanbul a few years ago. The mother of the woman who owned the store recommended this record, saying Kardaşlar is one of her favorite bands from the 1970′s. I was more familiar with Barış Manço and Selda from Turkish psych comps that were popping up a the time and this seemed like as solid of a recommendation as any. After returning home and giving the record a spin I was pleased to find that it was exactly the East meets West Turkish fusion that I was trying to hunt down.
Cem Karaca got his start in an Elvis cover band, which seems to be a good of place to start in the early 1960′s. He moved onto a Turkish language band, Apaşlar (The Rowdies) by the late 60′s and fully moved into a strong rock-Anatolian fusion with Kardaşlar (The Brothers). For those keeping watch of their Turkish psych comps he also spent time in Moğollar and Dervişan. He has a fulsome discography, with Discogs listing 53 releases.
In the mid 1970′s, at what was his most creative period, Turkey was shuddering under political repression and coups. The turmoil in society bubbled up into pop music too. Barış Manço and Cem Karaca represented two opposing political currents and identities. Manço the nationalist-traditionalist stood on one pole and Karaca, the leftist-internationalist, stood on the other side. For some it was a political litmus test presented as taste. It might have been his mixed background that gave Karaca his more cosmopolitain outlook. Karaca fled the country in 1979 to see his citizen stripped and an arrest warrant issued a short time later. It was nearly a decade before he was pardoned and allowed to return.
I often overlook dollar bins but there can be records in there that are worth the digging. DMC Limited was a DJ subscription service where dance singles and mixes were sent out to DJs. The DMC records have been largely relegated to the ignominy of the land of dollar recs. For a dollar or two you can get three or four house singles on one record. I’ve been able to come across some really random tracks on the DMC records too, like a medley of the songs from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. There are also DMC records that are side long mixes by DJs for, I guess, a DJ to take a pee break during their set.
The second side of the December ’91 release, “Paradise Peaks ’91″ mixed by Steve Anderson, is one that is right in my wheelhouse. A mix that features Little Louie Vega, and Joey Negro is going in the correct direction from jump. The A side I’m a little less enthusiastic about but it is a snapshot of the time.
The DMC subscription service was started by Tony Prince, who is on of those Forrest Gump type guys in the music industry who has been around for everything and met everyone. He started off in a band in the early 1960′s to then move onto being a pirate radio Dj, tv presenter and running a label. In the early 1980′s he played DJ mixes on his radio show and started the subscription service in 1983. He started Mixmag at that time also. Clearly the dude had some passion and energy. DMC is still going strong and Prince is still up on the latest in music.
I’ve been away for a little over a week camping. Just before I left, DJ $bin$ and I did a quick show on bel-air.org. A few butter finger moments from both of us but otherwise it is a good mix. Funny enough, Paul brought the more organic records and I was straight house records in this session.