Thursday, April 27, 2017

DANGERDOOM Enlist The Roots Emcee Black Thought & Vincent "Vinny" Price for Previously Unreleased "Mad Nice" from THE MOUSE AND THE MASK 3xLP METALFACE Edition Re-issue (@grimeytapesnewportcigarettes Version)



"Back in 2005, super-producer Danger Mouse and Hip-Hop super-villain DOOM came together for THE MOUSE AND THE MASK, a collaborative album released under the name DANGERDOOM. Among DOOM's most successful projects both critically and commercially, the album was inspired by Cartoon Network's late-night [adult swim] programming slate and includes appearances from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Space Ghost, Harvey Birdman, and more. THE MOUSE AND THE MASK also features guest spots from Talib Kweli, Ghostface Killah, and Cee-Lo Green," METALFACE Records wrote within a villainous statement; they're gearing up to unleash a 3xLP and deluxe CD edition of DANGERDOOM's critically-acclaimed first and last album, THE MOUSE AND THE MASK this upcoming May 5th. Let me make an attempt to best convey the musical climate THE MOUSE AND THE MASK was released into (albeit, on Punk/Hardcore label Epitaph Records)... prior to forming DANGERDOOM, Danger Mouse's last album was his The Beatles & Jay-Z-mashing The Grey Album (2004) and DOOM—then, still going by "MF DOOM"—had previously released his critically-acclaimed MM.. FOOD on Rhymesayers Ent. and how could we forget Madlib-produced MADVILLAINY?!!!??! To commemorate METALFACE Records' 12th anniversary deluxe re-issue of THE MOUSE AND THE MASK, I took it upon myself to enlist the rather unique artistic talents of self-described "The Visual Durlin Lurt" aka Hulk Cokegums, better known as Instagram artist @grimeytapesnewportcigrattes to re-design THE MOUSE AND THE MASK's iconic cover image in his unique Folk/outsider art style. You can now feast your eyes on the @grimeytapesnewportcigarettes re-interpretation of THE MOUSE AND THE MASK (METALFACE Edition) up above and compare it against the original METALFACE version within the Soundcloud window.


Ahead of their slightly expanded METALFACE Edition re-issue, DANGERDOOM have let loose a previously unreleased prime cut from the upcoming 3xLP and deluxe CD collection. The Roots emcee Black Thought and Vincent "Vinny" Price-assisted "Mad Nice" is one of "several bonus cuts not [included] on the original album;" while it's currently unclear what exactly the rest of these newly-dusted off bonus cuts may in fact be, THE MOUSE AND THE MASK (METALFACE Edition) will indeed include a high-quality audio re-mastered version of DANGERDOOM's 2006 digital-only OCCULT HYMN EP. It's pretty amazing to hear Black Though and DOOM trading hard-as-nails verses back and forth over an intricately warped Danger Mouse beat. Now, this is 100% unconfirmed and merely just personal speculation, but "Mad Nice" may very well be one of the sonic remnants from Black Thought & Danger Mouse's seemingly long-abandoned post-THE MOUSE AND THE MASK collaborative rapper-producer album tentatively titled DANGEROUS THOUGHTS. Long-deceased American actor and voice-over artist Vincent "Vinny" Price (whom many of you may recognize from "Thriller") also makes an unexpected appearance on "Mad Nice" by way of a sinister opening monologue and ghoulish quasi-hook cleverly inter-woven throughout. THE MOUSE AND THE MASK (METALFACE Edition) is currently available to pre-order from DOOM's Gas Drawls web-store in a number of formats and special packages: deluxe CD, 3xLP vinyl, or a super-deluxe package complete with CD, 3xLP, and a THE MOUSE AND THE MASK T-shirt of your choosing. METALFACE Records pre-orders are currently expected to ship by or before May 5th.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Drastics Drummer & Producer Anthony Abbinanti Launches Happy As a Lark Imprint with Inaugural Releases, Noir+"What a Ting" & Noir Dub+"The Lick" (digital LP/physical 7-inches)



The Drastics drummer-producer and founder of Chicago-based Reggae imprint Happy As a Lark, Anthony "Nantee" Abbinanti sat down with fellow Chicagoan Richard Milne from 93XRT for a recent installment of his Local Anesthetic Podcast. Milne asked Abbinanti to define "Dub" and to clarify the difference between Dub and Rub-a-Dub. Anthony Abbinanti readily replied: "So, Dub is... I think you could apply to anything. I mean, I think The Clash dubbed their albums. So, it's just taking the track and adding the delays and the reverbs and sparing it up. Basically, Lee ["Scratch"] Perry called Dub "X-ray Music," which is a term I really like; where you kinda take the track and you see different layers at different times. Rub-a-Dub: the actual origins of it, I couldn't pinpoint exactly right now... but it sort of encapsulates more of a backbeat-style Reggae that was popularized more in the 80's. Gregory Isaacs' stuff, Roots Radics' back stuff—[Lincoln] "Style" Scott on that drumbeat, specifically." However, as a direct result of "many many... many...... many life events and obligations" currently keeping The Drastics from performing live and actively touring, Abbinanti and company recently decided to form a small label and Chicago-based imprint "to keep the music alive and distribute that music [they] love to make!" Abbinanti recently told me that the current plan for Happy As a Lark, still in its earliest stages of development, is to include one (if not two) 7-inches along with each corresponding full-length/EP digital release. Happy As a Lark's inaugural release was The Drastics' March-premiered fifth full-length, Noir with "What a Ting" 7-inch pressed on either limited edition black (250) or super-limited edition (50) green wax. I just wanted to take a minute to send a special shout out to Jamison "DJ Prestige" Harvey at Flea Market Funk for initially tipping me off to Michigan & Smiley's "What a Ting" 45 and Happy As a Lark, as it's truly a infectious and unique find!



"The newest physical release from Happy As A Lark is "The Lick" from MC ZULU backed by The Drastics. "The Lick" is a ruff reality/sufferer-style vocal cut over a rugged Rub-a-Dub instrumental in the vein of Roots Radics. The flip features an expertly-crafted Dub version ["Who Dare Live?"] that will take you to outer-space and back; incorporating vintage and era-appropriate tape delays, spring reverbs, and synthesized drum tones. Its accompanying digital-only full-length is a Dub version of The Drastics' Noir, appropriately titled Noir Dub and comes as a FREE download with purchase of the 7-inch. A super-limited number of copies are available on sherbert orange wax," Anthony Abbinanti explained within a recent email transmission on the morning of Noir Dub+"The Lick"'s release. Abbinanti is accompanied by his long-time Drastics bandmates: Tom Riley (Rom Tiley) on tenor sax, flute, and "cable-wrapping," Andrew Zelm (Baby Dre) on trombone, melodica, and "chord clusters," Luke MacRoberts (JTT) on guitar and "band eyes," Brian Citro (Citbro) on guitar and "legal precedent," Bijan Warner (Dr. Professor) on organ, Rhodes [piano,] and "mid-west Oregon Trails champion," Chris Merrill (Hundo) on bass and "30hz," Fada Dougou (Doubad) on vocals and "jukin'," and MC ZULU (The Bad Man) on vocals and "tough love" throughout both Noir, Noir Dub, and their companion pieces of wax. Noir+"What a Ting" and Noir Dub+"The Lick" 7-inches are currently available from Happy As a Lark's newly-minted Bandcamp page. I strongly suggest you mosey your way on over to The Drastics' personal Bandcamp page and pick up FREE digital downloads of Michael Jackson re-dubbing MJ a Rocker (2009) and MJ a Rocker No. 2 (2013) straight from, as they perfectly put it, "1982's future of 2187!"

Monday, April 24, 2017

Pissed Jeans & STREET STAINS Drummer Sean "On The Drums" McGuinness Speaks On READY TO BE RICH Solo Tape, Re-working Kids Songs As a Musical Exercise & Recording WHY LOVE NOW? with Lydia Lunch (The Witzard Interview)


"Sean McGuinness is an American musician living in Philadelphia. He has played with Pissed Jeans, Utensil, The Great Collector, Bazhena, Technician, Navies, Go to Sleep, Like Language, Ready Set, Air Conditioning, Oil Drum, Birth Control, Rat Fist, Des Ark, Dark Blue, STREET STAINS, and Remote Places, among other sit-ins, sessions, and general groupings of friends and strangers," Sean "On The Drums" McGuinness' newly-minted Bandcamp Bio simply reads. As you can see, the long-time Pissed Jeans drummer has his hands in a lot of pots... even the brewpot at Ardmore-based Tired Hands Brewing Company, where he bartenders a few days a week, when not recording or touring with Pissed Jeans. Although, McGuinness is fresh off a handful of local dates with Pissed Jeans, he also played on STREET STAINS self-titled self-released debut with long-time friend and collaborator Chris Richards, formerly of Q and Not U and currently of The Washington Post. And even though I just recently met Sean behind the merch booth at WHY LOVE NOW?'s March 10th Record Release Show! at Boot & Saddle, he somehow forgot to tell me he was planning to release a 2013-16-recorded solo tape, READY TO BE RICH, under his Sean On The Drums moniker.

I'm guessing it was either just that ill-planned or he simply decided to release it on a whim. I'm going with the latter, as READY TO BE RICH was haphazardly announced on @yumsean's Instagram page at the top of April and seemingly rushed out ahead of its planned April 29th release, once McGuinness unexpectedly received the tapes last week. READY TO BE RICH is best described by Sean McGuinness himself as "real weird" World, Ambient, Funk-Punk music that's neither exactly in, nor out. I'm happy to have finally gotten a chance to interview McGuinness, as I've previously interviewed his bandmates Matt Korvette (Pissed Jeans) and Chris Richards (STREET STAINS,) and most recently, "The Bar Is Low" music video director Joe Stakun. Now, all I need to do is score an interview with professional wrestler and Hardcore frontman Ultramantis Black to close off the proverbial Punk/Hardcore "Circle Jerk" I've been unknowingly creating; so, without further ado, I invite you to pop a copy of READY TO BE RICH into your cassette deck (or Bandcamp player,) sit back, relax, crack open a Tired Hands brewski, and delve deep into my latest comprehensive interview with Sean "On The Drums" McGuinness!



I. Are you currently working on any additional outer-Pissed Jeans projects- be it solo material, newly-formed bands, or anything else of that nature? If so, when might we be able to hear some material from these projects?

Chris [Richards] and I are working on making some STREET STAINS shows happen later this year. I just finished at tape of solo material [READY TO BE RICH] using the name Sean On The Drums. It's more than just drums—there are a lot of loops and some bass. I threw a bunch of vocal ideas at it and to some extent, I think they work. It's real weird, but I am very proud of the fact that I started and finished this thing. I had a lot of help from people that I have a lot of respect for. I have a fantastic friend named Mike Petillo that lives in [Washington, DC] and he and I have been working down there in his synth hut on some new wild and exciting tunes. Hopefully, some of that will see the light of day soon!

II. How long ago did you start recording the material that ultimately ended up on READY TO BE RICH? When exactly did you decide to compile your amassed recordings into a proper self-released cassette? It seems kind of sudden, as even after we met at Boot & Saddle and speaking at length via email, I still had absolutely NO IDEA about READY TO BE RICH!

The tape has stuff from when I first started messing around with microphones and recording on my computer that Happy Mike [Sabolick] set me up with and that was close to six years ago. The songs on the tape cover all of that time up until January of this year, when I decided that it was done. Some of the material, I started and then, hit a wall on and came back to it two or three or four or five years later with the mindset that I was gonna get as much as I could, to a point where I could consider them finished. Some of it just kinda came out all at once. Some was painstakingly edited and looped and deleted and then, put back in. A lot of whatever I considered to be vocal tracks were one of the last things to get done. I figured out a bassline kind of last-minute and some tunes I just never figured out, so I deleted them once and for all.

I had been picking and poking at a bunch of different things over the last year and not really getting anywhere on anything and it was making me feel crappy about myself. I decided that if I was ever gonna get anywhere on them, I had better set a goal; like no one is gonna make a finish line for you and rarely do unfinished ideas just let it be known when they are all good, so I needed to set some deadlines. I missed all of them in the process. Every one, but the tape was the finish line and I crossed it. Last December, I realized that in my attempt to finish everything up, I couldn't see the forest through the trees. I took it to my friend, Happy Mike, and asked him to tell me what he thought was done and what could use work. Without his input, I would still be chasing my tail.


III. When we last spoke at Pissed Jeans' recent Boot & Saddle show, I made my particular affinity for your "Bob The Builder" cover no secret (if you haven't heard it, GO LISTEN NOW!) How, if in any way, did the demos, song sketches, rough cuts, etc. from your Sean On The Drums Soundcloud influence your first proper solo tape, READY TO BE RICH?

The "Bob The Builder" thing I made for my son for his 3rd birthday (he's 5 now). I think that was the second or third track that I attempted with a clear intention to to finish it. It's a little easier when it's an already written song. The curse of the home studio is knowing when something is finished. As a creator, [it] is very easy to keep chasing that high of creating layers and adding to excess. As a listener, I don't think you need as much complexity as you would think to continue to stay engaged. [Those] Soundcloud tracks are early attempts at trying to figure out if and when something is finished. Even that "Bob The Builder" track has close to 100 guitars, or something absurd like that, on it.

IV. After having released a seemingly endless (and ever-growing) catalog of recorded music with Pissed Jeans, Utensil, The Great Collector, Bazhena, Technician, Navies, Go to Sleep, Like Language, Ready Set, Air Conditioning, Oil Drum, Birth Control, Rat Fist, Des Ark, Dark Blue, STREET STAINS, Pontera,and Remote Places, etc. what ultimately made you decide now would be the best time to unleash your long-awaited solo "debut," READY TO BE RICH?

I can't really say that it was a "long-awaited" release. Not a single person has ever begged or pleaded with me to open up the vault of unfinished tunes that I have in my basement because they deserve to see the light of day. That said... a little bit of shame and a little bit of trying to keep up. When is a good time to do anything, really? No time like the present? It's way easier to put stuff off than put stuff on? I'm not sure what the exact spark was that lit the fire, but a big part of it was that I just wanted to prove to myself that I could. [Pissed] Jeans were putting together a record, the STREET STAINS stuff was coming together, and I tried to time it a little bit around those things coming out. We are currently fur months into 2017 and there are three records out that I have varying degrees of direct, hands-on involvement in their coming to be; for whatever reason, I'm feeling pretty good about that!


V. Sub Pop's recent WHY LOVE NOW? "Pissed Jeans Individual Unearthed Mix" contained nearly 11 minutes-worth of "home recordings from each band member, including work-in-progress song ideas, found sounds & more;" would you care to briefly detail your contributions to the mix? Where might we see some of this material properly released?

We all contributed a song for that thing and mixed it with some audio of interviews that we have done over the years—just bits chopped up and looped as a little bump between tunes. I think the order was [Randy] Huth, [Brad] Fry, [Matt] Korvette, and me. I really dig that all of us make tunes on our own time. At the the risk of offending people, Huth usually has the best sh*t. He is pretty prolific in a sense that he will get real streaky and pump out a legit song per day for a two-week stretch. It’s nuts! I think it makes for an interesting dynamic when we all get together to play.

VI. What would you likely cite as some of your greatest sources of inspiration, as an "aging" Punk/Hardcore drummer? What were you listening to during the writing and recording processes attached to Pissed Jeans' latest WHY LOVE NOW?

I resent the use of the word "aging," but maybe that is to say I resent the truth. It's tough to say specifically what I am inspired by. I've been subscribing more towards the thought that pure concrete inspiration is pretty rare and could strike at any time, so you had better be ready when it does. I don’t really remember what we were listening to in the studio, [Black Sabbath's] Technical Ecstasy, for sure. Lydia [Lunch] had some young Hip-Hop prodigy she was pushing. I’m usually always listening to [Brian] Eno. Lydia worked with Eno in the 80's and it took me 10 days to work up the courage to ask her about him, kind of already knowing she didn’t think to highly of him. She was leaving the next day, so at dinner with [Matt] Korvette and our friend Mary, I brought it up and she just eviscerated him.


VII. What was it like working in-studio with Philly Metal legend Arthur Rizk and 1980's No Wave pioneer Lydia Lunch WHY LOVE NOW? How did their creative and recording processes differ from Pissed Jeans' past producers?

Arthur was so professional when it came to keeping the session moving, tossing around ideas, and helping us dial in some insane sounds! He has a killer ear and what most people don’t know about Arthur is that he is a very good guitar player. Lydia is a motivational poet and naturally gifted vibe primer. She was super-encouraging and incredibly Jazzed the whole time. She extinguished a cigarette on my neck on the very first day. Truly, an unforgettable experience!

VIII. What's the story behind WHY LOVE NOW?'s utterly hilarious, yet oddly fitting cover image? It almost evokes a late 90's-early 2000's "boy band" kinda vibe, for lack of a better term! Whose idea was it to shoot and lay it out in such a tongue-in-cheek, provocative manner?

Matt [Korvette] is so often the creative visionary. He is really great at conjuring up and idea and turning out a finished, fully-formed concept. It was pretty much his idea and I think we pulled it off pretty well!


IX. How did you initially come to form STREET STAINS with former Q and Not U frontman and current Washington Post writer Chris Richards? How did it serve as an outlet for your ideas that you might not have been able to bring to Pissed Jeans?

The first time I can find us talking about playing music together is on May 5th, 2008. It was on G-chat. I went back and dug it up, here it is:
"Chris: I would kill for a band practice to go to!
Sean: Dude, get a band. Come here once a month and you and I will play in my basement.
Chris: Can I just sing while you play the drums? It'll be like Bobby Valentino x This Heat!"

Honestly, it was started as an outlet for the two of us and nothing really past that. It almost seems accidental that over the course of seven years, we managed to come up with anything that remotely resembled a record. A lot of that I attribute to Richards—he is a talented writer and singer. And he’s handsome. My thought is that we pretty much stumbled our way through those tunes and ended up with an unintentional "record" and what to do when you lack intent, other than share that happy accident with your friends.

X. I loved Justin Gellar's 2016 Remote Places EP, Nights & Weekends, which I know you drummed throughout. Justin's told me he's currently working on some new material. Are you involved yet again an if so, would you care to elaborate on it a bit?

I'm glad you like that. I was flattered that he asked me to play on that record; it was an incredibly enjoyable experience. I really enjoy working with other people to help interpret there ideas, make what they hear in their head an actual thing, and we did a lot of that with this band. I’m stoked that he is working on new tunes—its about time!


XI. Are you still currently working with Rat Fist, your critically-acclaimed project with No Age founding member Randy Randall? I know you played on their inaugural RF 1 7-inch EP (which was awesome!)

I haven’t been involved with Rat Fist for a few years. I’m not sure if you can call Rat Fist "critically-acclaimed," but we did make a 7-inch, which I don’t recommend doing—it's really expensive. Randy came to Philadelphia a few times and we recorded a whole bunch of stuff, but nothing ever came of that. Rat Fist still exist(s)ed without me, though. I like all the music that I wasn’t involved in!

XII. You previously mentioned that you were into "deep dome techno" and I remember you recently posting about Omar-S.'s 004 FXHE Records 12-inch on Instagram; would you care to elaborate on your interest in this genre?

Yeah, I like Omar-S! My buddy was jamming some Juan Atkins the other night—that guy is pretty dope! Atkins has a few deep records that he did with Moritz Van Oswald. When I said "DEEP DOME TECHNO," I think I meant the really dubby Electronic stuff, specifically Rhythm & Sound. Mark Ernestus' Ndagga Rhythm Force's [Yermande] is probably a desert island record for me, at the moment. I can get down with just about everything that L.I.E.S. (Long Island Electrical Systems) had done, Gary BEATO. Korvette pointed me towards the Whiti.es label from the UK and I've been jamming [to artists] Reckonwrong and Avalon Emerson. There is a sick label in DC called 1432 R and I have loved everything they put out, so far. Demdike Stare to Shackleton to Future Times to Mood Hut. So much damn music exists, I'll take all that you got!

XIII. I hear you're a craft beer aficionado, Mr. McGuinness; with that said, what style or brand of beer would you recommend drinking while listening to Pissed Jeans' latest blood-curdling album, WHY LOVE NOW?

I roll with the eat what you like and drink what you like philosophy. Personally speaking, I like a light, dry low ABV Blonde beer with a medium-bitter finish. Braumeister Pils and Taras Boulba come to mind... Augustiner Brau Lagerbier Helles. Logan Plant, son of Robert (yes, that one) has a Brewery in North London called Beavertown. [Their] Gamma Ray APA is delicious. I like Coniston Blue Bird Bitter and Half-Acre Daisy Cutter, too. I could also go on and on.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Homeboy Sandman Enlists 2-D Animator, Visual Effects Artist & Musician Kris "Schlonglord" Baldwin & Self-proclaimed Lowbrow Artist LURK for "Bamboo" Music Video (The Witzard Interview)


LURK is a self-described "lowbrow artist and lover of the weird." He's originally from England, but is now based out of Canada and simply told me, he did art as a kid and now, does art as an adult. "A little while ago, I did a portrait for the @homeboysandman; if you haven't heard his music and love Hip-Hop, go give him a Follow. @schlonglord offered to animate a quick clip using the portrait! Kris and I are now Skype friends. It's getting kinda serious," @thelurk1 half-jokingly gushed on Instagram roughly 24 weeks ago. 2-D animator, visual effects artist, music video director, and musician Kris Baldwin (@schlonglord) had reached out in an effort to animate LURK's recent zombie-esque The Boy Sand portrait for a short animation to accompany Sandman's Jonwayne-produced "America, The Beautiful" from HALLWAYS (2014.) Not only did Instagram play an integral part in initially connecting LURK and Kris Baldwin with each other, as well as Homeboy Sandman and Robert "Photo Rob" Adam Mayer, it also played a major role in connecting myself with both LURK and Baldwin; once I watched Sandman's "Bamboo," I almost instantly decided to message LURK on Instagram over Easter Weekend.

Upon completing his half of the interview, LURK (Russ) instructed I reach out directly to Schlonglord in an attempt to obtain some Hi-res "Bamboo" video stills to use within the body of my write-up. I then, proceeded to message @schlonglord on his Instagram page and after speaking a bit, we collectively decided it might be best of Baldwin to answer his own batch of questions, as well to accompany LURK's answers and together, make a more fully-formed comprehensive interview. It wasn't until after I had interviewed Kris Baldwin concerning his duties writing, directing, editing, and animating Sandman's "Bamboo" that I realized he's also spent many years actively recording and touring as a musician. Kris Baldwin played with rumored United Nations frontman Daryl Palumbo and long-time guitarist Justin Beck as part of Post-Hardcore band Glassjaw from 1993-98. Baldwin has played with Long Island Ska-Punk band Edna's Golfsish, played with Victory Records-signed Indie Rock band Action Action, acted as a session musician and co-writer for Epic Records' Kid-Punk band Graystar (which ended up scoring him a Jimmy Neutron song-writing credit,) and is currently working on what he calls an Indie/Ambient/Dance-inspired "Outer-space music" solo project.



I. How did you initially come to meet Homeboy Sandman? I would assume you're a fan first and you did a silhouette for him, correct?

LURK: He actually found me through a mutual friend of ours, Her name's @marthalicia on [Instagram.] She did a portrait of me that Sand liked, he contacted me after that!


II. Who exactly contacted you to work on Homeboy Sandman's latest video for "Bamboo" from VEINS? Now, in addition to yourself, who else did you get to collaborate with during its creation?

LURK: So, I contacted Schlonglord, or he contacted me maybe, about animating the floating head—it went from there. Sand was so stoked on the animation that he decided we should do a music video together. He hooked up the [photographer] for the shoot, Mr. Photo Rob NYC! Schlonglord came up with some storyboard ideas and we all went from there.


III. How did you go about picking which images fit best or what to design to accompany Schlonglord's various "Bamboo" scenes?

LURK: Pure luck, Schlonglord had some cool ideas. He was the experienced animator and knew what would work best.


IV. Were you contacted to simply design artwork to be overlaid atop director and animator Schlonglord's previously filmed "Bamboo" footage, much like the majority of RUFFMERCY's work?

LURK: Yes, but it was all very planned out. Each shot worked perfect for the storyboard.


V. What else are you currently working on that both fans of my site and your work can expect to look out for before too long?

LURK: I have a very cool project coming out late spring 2018 with Chris [Collins] D.O.G.T. I have lots of smaller projects: socks, shirt designs. I'll be showing work at a Lowbrow convention in Portland in August. I'm also producing a LURK wedding this summer!


VI. How did you initially come to get involved with Homeboy Sandman's latest VEINS video-single, "Bamboo?" Were you directly discovered and contacted by Sandman and his camp?

Kris Baldwin: LURK and I have been friends on Instagram for a few years now and last September, he created this amazing alien-like portrait of Homeboy Sandman that I absolutely fell in love with. Something about it just called to me and just for fun, I asked LURK for permission to animate that very portrait. I worked on it for a few days and I created this. Well, Sandman actually saw it and DM'ed that very day and asked if I wanted to work with him. I couldn't believe how something I just did for poops and giggles turned into one of the coolest projects I have ever worked on!


VII. How did you go about recruiting your fellow "Bamboo" collaborators, artist LURK and cinematographer Robert "Photo Rob" Adam Mayer? Were all three of you ever on set together or did you collaborate electronically?

Baldwin: Check out the answer to question one for the LURK backstory! "Photo Rob" had worked with Sandman before on his "VerbalSoulClapmania"chris music video. I loved the clean look and crispness of that video and was beyond stoked to have him on board the "Bamboo" train. LURK is up in Canada, I'm in Southern California between San Diego and LA all the time, and "Photo Rob" and Sandman are in New York. So, we all haven't all officially met in person. So, mainly emails and I would Skype with LURK and talk to Rob on the phone.

VIII. Where did your inspiration behind "Bamboo"'s sick, twisted, and whimsically deranged concept stem from? How exactly do the assorted "AND SO IT GOES," "WHAT DO THEY KNOW?" "I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU," etc. title cards play into said underlying concept?

Baldwin: The only thing we knew in the beginning was that we wanted to somehow bring Sandman into LURK's demented world. I'm a huge ginormous Sci-Fi fan, so I suggested that maybe Sandman should be a space/time/multiverse-traveler and travel through some portals or wormholes and get super-weird between dimensions. Everyone was down with that concept and we went from there. The phrase "so it goes" foreshadows Sandman's death at the end of the video. It is a frequent saying in Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, which represents death, as well as a detachment from death for beings who live in the fourth dimension. In the fourth dimension all moments, past, present, and future always have existed, always will exist. So, death is just an illusion. The "I've been waiting for you" title card is to just emphasize the exact moment of the death of 3-D Sandman and the re-birth of 4-D Sandman.


IX. I know you previously mentioned you "wore many hats on this one;" what exactly were these various "hats" and would you care to briefly describe each?

Baldwin: So, I wrote, directed, edited, and animated the "Bamboo" video. I came up with the concept of space/time-traveling Sandman. I created the story, drew storyboards, and edited together all the amazing footage that [Photo] Rob captured in NY. Then, I got to work with LURK and gave him a basic idea of what was going on in the shot action wise and he would send me these absolutely amazing creatures. Then, we would both pow-wow and work together to figure out how to best bring these monsters alive and then, I would animate and composite them in After Effects.


X. What else are you currently working on that both fans of my site and fans of your work can expect to look out for before too long?

Baldwin: I'm talking right now with one of my favorite bands, Small Black about doing an animated music video. I am also a musician and I just started pre-production on a music video for one of my own songs. That project has yet to be [named,] but I like to call it "Outer-space music;" Ambient/Indie stuff with Dance beats. I am also beta-testing some animations for an Augmented Reality App for smartphones, which looks super-promising. And as always, I'll be hanging with my cats Milo and Princess xZoey animating big fat schlongs!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Aspiring Fashion Designer Phil "BLKrKRT" Ford Stitches Together Final Album Before Retirement, Post-Dilla Instrumental Hip-Hop "Love Letter to Boom-Bap" BLKrKRT LP II (The Witzard Premier)



"I'm a lover of the Avant-Garde, Abstract, and Electronic [music.] My work is about the subjective nature of human experience through art, it's effects on the human psyche, and the efforts to create elegant, yet basic shapes, usually utilizing a post-Internet methodology. I like cutting up things and re-purposing them. I love to collaborate, especially via The Internet. I am a product of remix culture. I love to use samples, clip art, and font. I adore collage. Currently, I am actively pursuing an adventure in fashion design," Fort Worth, Texas-based Instrumental Hip-Hop producer BLKrKRT (Phil Ford) wrote within his about.me profile. I actually met BLKrKRT through my frequent collaborator and friend Darko The Super, who released Ford's The Witzard-premiered Okinato Black on his U DONT DESERVE THIS BEAUTIFUL ART imprint. Darko actually flipped Okinato Black's "3,000 Words" into "God, F**k America" from his recent Rock sample-based album, Apocalyptic Bastard, as well as another beat from the album for "A Very Darko Christmas." Since releasing Okinato Black in December 2016 and announcing his impending retirement from music to peruse a career in fashion design, Phil Ford has released an album's-worth of "microwave beats," Precious Metals, Heavy Gems II and an album of contagious rhythms and impassioned melodies called i n d i g o_2 . 0. Now, enter: BLKrKRT LP II, the proper follow-up to his 2016 BLKrKRT LP, which will likely be Phil Ford's final self-released album before retiring and his fourth album since Okinato Black (just four months ago!)


Phil Ford described his BLKrKRT LP II, via email, as "a love letter to Boom-Bap. My inspirations were cocooning, YouTube e-digging, musical grit and noise, harmonics, analog warmth and thick EQ's of late 90's Hip-Hop, the duality of life that human inexplicably create, and the unresolved feelings we have when something has ended. This album is a celebration of my musical pursuits up until this point and feels like a good stopping point." BLKrKRT LP II is quite fittingly tagged on Ford's Scenster Bandcamp page as: .wav, abstract, beat culture, boom-bap, electronica, experimental, fort worth, instrumental hip-hop, post-dilla, poor stylus, sample-based, Texas. "The original BLKrKRT LP (2016) was presented as a day-in-the-life... whereas part II follows more of an internal narrative about self-belief, doubt, the acceptance of limitation, and the liberation from old pursuits in favor of new ones. The elements of the album are mostly improvised... stripped down sample-based works, exploring riffs and basslines. Rather than the more subdued, gritty and crunchy lo-fi sound, here the more finely EQ'ed, wide, spatial mix technique was more fitting, reminiscent of a late 90's vinyl-listening experience... including dirt, slight over-loading, warm receiver response, and bad stylus blip in tow," BLKrKRT fondly detailed. Although it's labelled as Post-Dilla Instrumental Hip-Hop, BLKrKRT LP II is very evocative of J Dilla's magnum opus Donuts, Electronic-based Ruff Draft EP, rapper-producer album Champion Sound with Madlib (as Jaylib,) and even his late 90's-early 2000's work with the Soulquarians collective. BLKrKRT LP II is currently available on Phil Ford's Scenster Bandcamp page, which just reached the 10,000 digital downloads benchmark, along with roughly 43 past self-released albums, mixtapes, beat tapes, and EP's spanning his 6-year career.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Darko The Super Whips DEVO & Zev Love X Samples Into 55th Self-released Album, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Darko! (The Witzard Premier)



"Whoopsy daisy never lazy, so I heave-ho / Whippin' sh*t like DEVO, whip it good (That thang!) / Whippin' sh*t like Elmer Fudd and Mr. Fudd slang / Listen to my guitar twang as I sang," Zev Love X tactfully rhymed on KMD's "Constipated Monkey" from their shelved 1993 album, Bl_ck B_st_rds. The Witzard's favorite demented beat-maker Darko The Super sampled a bit of Zev Love X's "Constipated Monkey" verse for appropriately-titled "Whippin' Sh*t Like DEVO" from his landmark 55th album, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Darko! but I'll let him explain the rest: "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Darko! samples and is inspired by my favorite New Wave band, DEVO. My dad was the one who got me into DEVO, which is his favorite band. He has their debut Q: Are We Not Men? album cover tattooed on his leg. The album cover I chose to make parodies the original and utilizes the #2 pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, Darko Millicic; my alias, "Darko," still frustrates Detroit Pistons fans and recently was part of the reason HipHopDX's Marcel Williams hated me." Ahead of Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Darko!'s Easter Sunday surprise release, Darko The Super unleashed "Watered Down Demon Fuzz" and "Satan" from his next album, Watered Down Demon Fuzz, as well as Marcel Williams-bashing "HipHopDX Bad, Darko Good."


"The opener of this album samples the line "whippin' sh*t like DEVO" from KMD's Zev Love X (now known as DOOM,) as well as a slew of DEVO tracks. I produced and recorded this album in one week, besides the beat that closes the album, which is something I made back in 2013, sampling their [DEVO Live: The] Mongoloid Years album," Darko The Super enthusiastically continued. Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Darko! was produced under Darko's production alias, Doc Heller and spans the course of one 15:21-minute EP-length track; although, it's also available as seven separate tracks on Darko The Super's Bandcamp for an extremely reasonable Name-Your-Price basis. Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Darko! includes countless DEVO sample flips and cleverly inter-spliced interpolations or lyrical allusions to Sonic Youth founder Thurston Moore, The Pack's 2006 hit single "Vans," Fear Factor, B.B. King, Sum 41, Crazy Town's "Butterfly," The Simpsons, Eazy-E, and DEVO's own Duty Now for The Future (1979). Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Darko! is now available for streaming or download MASS CONSUMPTION from Darko The Super's Bandcamp and Soundcloud pages, as is his Rock sample-flipping album Apocalyptic Bastard and entire discography. Darko is planning to release his next solo album, currently titled Watered Down Demon Fuzz, "sometime later this summer" and plans to unleash Return to The Hell Hole Store with partner-in-crime ialive on June 23rd. Just this past weekend, The Hell Hole Store announced their upcoming "its all down south from here." mini-tour with fellow Philly emcee Torito, which will span eight shows between 4/27-5/10. "Duty Now for The Super Spuds! This album samples the legendary DEVO. Thank you for your inspiration, please don't sue me.


Love,

Darko."

Friday, April 14, 2017

Trenton, NJ Emcee Ray Strife & DKFG Producer Ill-Omega Unveil Part 1 of Go for The Gusto Series, G.G. Allin & G-Funk-evoking Preface: I Will Never Be Beautiful EP (The Witzard Premier)



Trenton, NJ-based rapper Raymond "Ray" Strife recently reached out to me, via email after seeing my write-up on JE DOUBLE F's HUMAN RITES teaser single, "JAGGED EDGE." I believe I actually got in touch with Jeff due in part to (or maybe even because of) my recent work with fellow East Coast emcees Height Keech and Darko The Super affiliates, STATIC BROTHERS. Ray Strife & JE DOUBLE F are both founding members of Trenton-bred Rap crew DKFG, which additionally includes Kahlil Ali, RayRayBeats, Luis, Roebus One, Wade Wilson, Cody Jones, Dready Mercury, Ill-Omega, and Cornelius The Third. "Raymond Strife used to play in Punk bands, until the iPod was invented and replaced musicians. Strife isn't actually his last name. Reads lots of comic books, but gets laid more than most nerds who read lots of comic books," Ray Strife's rather brief, yet fitting Bandcamp description details; included within for FREE or Name-Your-Price download are Ray Strife's latest solo albums I'm Sorry, I'm Broken (2013) and Self-Loathing Egomaniac (2010) along with two releases from his recently reunited "Pizza Hustle" Hardcore Punk band Crack Filler, 2014's Get Drunk & Let Bad Things Happen EP and Crack Filler... It's What's for Lunch! EP (2005.) Strife's most recent release was November 2016's interestingly named Gretchen On Acid Telling Her Mom to Shut The F**k Up with DKFG producer RayRayBeats, which was actually based on a real-life experience with a recent ex-girlfriend. In addition to DKFG and Crack Filler, Ray Strife is also a member of of comic book-referencing Hip-Hop group Dreadpool Parker with Wade Wilson and Dready Mercury, Tabasco Cats with Roebus One, and very recently-formed Negative Hardcore band called Dad D*ck—although, its name is likely to change prior to their first show in May—with "a few other aging Punks from Trenton."


"Preface: I Will Never Be Beautiful EP is the warm-up for the full-length, Go for The Gusto coming out this summer. Both are the product of Raymond Strife (lyrics and vocals) and Cap City Ent. founder Ill-Omega (production). [Go for The] Gusto serves as sort of a narrative for the rapper going through a huge transitional period of his life and [Preface: I Will Never Be] Beautiful represents the range of variety of [Go for The] Gusto on a much smaller scale," Ray Strife recently wrote within a text messaged statement. Preface: I Will Never Be Beautiful EP, part 1 of a proposed 3-part series, fully embodies Ray's go-to lyrical themes of "low self-esteem, addiction, relationships, Punk shows, and comic books;" although, Ray Strife tells me he's newly-sober, as of just eight months ago and now, spends the majority of his time rapping, riding his bike with other "clown bike punx," and trying to be as actively and positively involved in his city as he can. Strife's lyrical has been previously compared to artists as broadly-ranging as Snoop Dogg and self-destructive Punk/Shock Rock cult figure G.G. Allin, both of which, you can surprisingly, hear echoed throughout Preface: I Will Never Be Beautiful EP. Across its contained 5-track span, DKFG producer Ill-Omega lays out a rather interesting Blues, Jazz, and G-Funk-evoking soundbed for Ray Strife to rhyme over, which at times, sounds something like Asher Roth spitting over an imagined collaboration between Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA and The Chronic-era Dr. Dre. "The next thing I have of note is this Saturday [April 15th,] I will be guest hosting the Live from The Dining Room podcast. Go for The Gusto will be out this summer and I'm doing an East Coast, South, and Midwest tour with Lt. Headtrip and [The] Karma Kids out of NYC late June and early July,” Ray Strife said, in closing.