Friday, November 30, 2018

The Diabolical Doctor Strange & Swiss Beat-maker Sauce Jacqson Join Forces As STRANGE JACQSUN for Beat Album (Dreamzone Records)

Villainous producer and founder of The Guerilla Godz crew, The Diabolical Doctor Strange AKA Solomon Strange AKA Solomon Caine, has returned with his first full-length project since 2017's The Friday Night Philosopher. This time around, Solomon Strange has joined forces with Swiss beat-maker and producer Sauce Jacqson to form STRANGE JACQSUN. The Diabolical Doctor Strange & Sauce Jacqson's STRANGE JACQSUN project has been mysteriously teased on their social media accounts for a few weeks now, with today's date, Friday, November 30th, being curiously referred to as "the third quarter of the moon phase." Honestly, there's very little to no information online concerning either Solomon Strange or Sauce Jacqson and even less regarding newly-minted STRANGE JACQSUN. Although, the bulk of Doctor Strange's scattered discography has been self-released under his own Guerilla Godz banner, as well as Canadian imprint, Makebelieve Records. Sauce Jacqson, on the other hand, has released the majority of his music on his own Neuchâtel, Switzerland-based imprint Stay Suave Music, in addition to a number of labels based all across the world... and the galaxy.

STRANGE JACQSUN is a staggering 28-song "Enlightened" Hip-Hop beat tape-style album collaboratively concocted by both Sauce Jacqson & The Diabolical Doctor Strange. "Members of the cult," AKA STRANGE JACQSUN, fittingly describe the contents of their co-produced tape as "ancient knowledges in a forgotten and forbidden language played by futuristic instruments." STRANGE JACQSUN is peppered with sparse features throughout from Guerilla Godz's own Ari Yusef & Ab Souljah, as well as L'Expert & DJ Eagle. 100 limited edition copies of STRANGE JACQSUN are currently available on cassette tape (or "Membership Stones") from Dreamzone Records, while supplies last. The Diabolical Doctor Strange & Sauce Jacqson have also, promised to make digitized copies of STRANGE JACQSUN available for "specialized libraries and erudits" because, of course they have! Below, I've included STRANGE JACQSUN's Space Release from their press-sent Space Kit because... you really just have to read this thing in full! STRANGE JACQSUN are playing an album release show with Sebb Bash at Escape 032 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland at 7:00pm on "the third quarter of the moon phase."

The work of two alchemists from back then, when the when was not, became a true quest for a whole community. Throughout ages, the quest became a cult, worshiping the many faces of the invisible huwoman. This being of light only comes in the darkest days. It happens where there is nowhere and what happens is not allowed to be spoken of. Wait for The Black Dawn and look at your reflection in the fourth face of an onyx stone, the gate will then open. Some lost souls have brought back a tape, but never could tell what didn't happen... For booking, requests, or Membership Stone, please, wait until the next Black Dawn—November 30th, 2018 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

- STRANGE JACQSUN (Space Release)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Star Slinger Returns with 20-track Sample-based Instrumental Hip-Hop Album Home Is Where We Start From (Bandcamp/Jet Jam)

Star Slinger is one of the many recording aliases of "hairy music producer/DJ" Darren Williams. He's currently residing in Ljubljana in The Republic of Slovenia (Central Europe) but originally hails from Nottingham, UK. Williams has actively been recording and releasing music as Star Slinger since 2010 and quite honestly, was one of the very first artists, I believe, I ever covered here on The Witzard. I can still vividly remember hearing Star Slinger's lushly-orchestrated Volume 1 and Remixes 2010, both released online—Bandcamp was still in its earliest stages—over the Summer of 2010; the latter, featuring unofficial Electronic/Hip-Hop remixes of Deerhunter, Small Black, Rollerskaters, Alpine, and FIVENG tracks. Over the course of the past 8-9 years, Star Slinger has either worked with, remixed, or collaborated with Blackbird Blackbird, Childish Gambino, Dawn Richard AKA D∆WN, Ellie Goulding, Kilo Kish, Lil B, Reggie B, Sam Sparro, Stunnaman (of The Pack,) Teams, and Three 6 Mafia's Juicy J & Project Pat. Star Slinger describes his music as falling somewhere in-between "the fringes of Hip Hop, Electronic, and Dance music" drawing influence from Kanye West, J Dilla, The Avalanches, Armand Van Helden, Kenny Dope, Brian Eno, and Aphex Twin. Star Slinger has released music with D∆WN & Hundred Waters on Skrillex's OWSLA imprint and was personally selected by A$AP Rocky to open all shows during his 2012 European Tour.

Earlier this year, in addition to a slew of singles and remixes, Star Slinger released a 5-track collaborative EP with Laura Penate as Stranger ThAngs, as well as an album entitled First Love Music with vocalist and song-writer SCALLY. Now, Star Slinger has returned with a 20-track album called Home Is Where We Start From, quietly released just before Thanksgiving. Upon its release, Home Is Where We Start From was made available on a Name-Your-Price basis on Star Slinger's Bandcamp page for a limited period of time. The 20 track collection was entirely produced and created in the comfort of Star Slinger's own home. "My bed was never far away, which meant that I made it really organically. It just felt like a really homey project to me; despite their being Club bangers on there, it still feels like a homey album," @starslinger wrote to The Witzard within an Instagram message. "It was made on a lot of afternoons. I would also, break up the days by jogging for an hour to podcasts and reading on my Kindle. One of the books I read on the Kindle was by psychotherapist D. W. Winnacott called Home Is Where We Start From," Star Slinger continued. For Home Is Where We Start From, Star Slinger, somehow, sampled everything from 50's vocal groups to Jazz standards to Psychedelic Rock, as well as the infamous King Krule Interview episode of The Drunken Slinger Podcast and even his my 5-year-old daughter's voice. Home Is Where We Start From is now available on Star Slinger's Bandcamp, as well as like-minded digital streaming platforms.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"BALTIMORE HIP-HOP DESTRUCTION" Group @soulcannonband Unveil Funk-tastic Self-titled Third Album (Mailing List Review)

First and foremost, major shout-out to Soul Cannon for sending out FREE Bandcamp download codes to everyone subscribed to their mailing list over the weekend. While their latest self-titled album has been on our radar for a few weeks now, we have to admit, that complimentary download code was really what it took for us to delve head first into the album just this past weekend. Now, with that out of the way, this brand spankin' new Soul Cannon album is phenomenal! Eze Jackson's Twitter page (@ezewriter) describes him as the "Frontman for @soulcannonband. Reporter for The Real News Network. Host of The Whole Bushel." Eze has been steadily making and releasing music since 2007, if not longer, and his most recent project is a string of 008 weekly Soundcloud singles dubbed #StashHouseSundays. In addition to Eze Jackson, Soul Cannon also, includes Matt Frazão on guitars/electronics, Jon Birkholz on keys/electronics, and drummer Charles Wilson. Although, Soul Cannon's most recent self-titled album still features drum fills throughout from one-time Soul Cannon drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell.

Soul Cannon self-describe their genre-eschewing sound as "Experimental/Hip-Hop (from the future)" and "BALTIMORE HIP-HOP DESTRUCTION what's up?" While Eze, Matt, Jon & Charles readily describe themselves as "93% real juice, 7% ABV, and all-natural*," obviously. I would, however, personally describe Soul Cannon's sound, as heard on Soul Cannon, at least, as something sonically similar to Rage Against The Machine, Phony Ppl, and the Beastie Boys with a bit of their own unique flair thrown in, for good measure. Just this past week, Soul Cannon partnered up with Dominican Republic-based online publication VENTS MAGAZINE to premiere the music video for "Hospital Records." "Socially, lyrically, and physically, it's always about pushing the limits with our music. Sometimes, we write things we can't play yet because we always want to do more and be better," Jon Birkholz told VENTS MAGAZINE within said video premiere. Soul Cannon's current and upcoming shows are listed on the Events section of their Facebook page. Soul Cannon's self-titled third album is now available to purchase on their Bandcamp page, as well as all reputable digital streaming platforms.

Monday, November 26, 2018

DC to Bmore: Lace Berriez & Jumbled Join Forces for 90's Boom-Bap-leaning YOU BEST NOT MISS EP (Harford & Reckord Tapes)

Lace Berriez is an emcee and producer hailing from the Northeast quadrant of Washington, DC. For musical inspiration, he readily draws from Soul, R&B, Funk, Jazz, and of course, DC-rooted Go-Go. Since 2017, Lace has self-released a staggering 5 albums and EP's, as well as countless stand-alone singles, on his own Bandcamp page. Lace Berriez's latest 7-track EP, YOU BEST NOT MISS, was produced by Baltimore-based producer and The Witzard mainstay John Bachman AKA "DJ" Jumbled. "Growing frustrated with the slow pace of return projects, Jumbled reached out to Twitter saying he needed rappers to feed beats to; Lace Berriez Responded and the email exchanges began," reads Lace & Jumbled's EP press release. Although, they've only met in-person once at a 2016 beat event called DATBEET #2, Jumbled & Lace Berriez stayed in touch online and ultimately, created this Funky little Boom-Bap-leaning EP together. It appears as though a number of music videos from the project should be coming fairly soon, as well.

Stylistically, YOU BEST NOT MISS draws from Jumbled's as-yet-to-be-fully-realized "Green Room phase," as well as 90's Boom-Bap, buttery smooth string and Soul samples, obscure vocal samples, and even Buffalo-bred Jazz-Fusion band Spyro Gyra. However, YOU BEST NOT MISS, overall, is reminiscent of Wu-Tang Clan, early Action Bronson, and Madlib & MF DOOM's MADVILLAINY's cartoony bounce; plus, if Jumbled & Lace Berriez were going for a 90's Boom-Bap-evoking sound, that's definitely been achieved here! In a year chock-full of EP's—or EP touted as full-length "albums" and vice versa—Lace Berriez & Jumbled's YOU BEST NOT MISS EP is definitely one of the strongest examples of an Extended Play, in my humble opinion. It appears as though Lace & Jumbled were already aware of this, though, as their EP press release reads in part: "the cover art was created by Jim Ventosa, in an effort to place Lace Berriez near the top of the emcee "deck" in DC." YOU BEST NOT MISS is currently available to stream or download from Lace Berriez's Bandcamp page. Limited edition cassette tapes are coming soon on Jumbled's own Harford & Reckord Tapes.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Record Store Day Black Friday: DJ Nu-Mark's "Zodiac Killah" 7-inch Feat. Method Man, Dan Ubick & Money Mark (Hot Plate/Fat Beats Records)

First and foremost, Happy Thanksgiving Day Weekend/Black Friday to all of our trusty readers out there and Happy Record Store Day Black Friday to my fellow crate diggers! Full disclosure: I'm pretty sure one of the first CD's I ever bought for my Walkman was Will Smith's 1997 solo debut, Big Willie Style. Regardless, it was definitely one of my earliest brushes with Hip-Hop/Rap, which ultimately, changed my life! A few of my earliest favorite Hip-Hop albums I discovered on my own were Atmosphere's Seven's Travels, Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill & Paul's Boutique, Wu-Tang Clan's Enter: The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers,) and Jurassic 5's Power In Numbers. The latter has always had a special place in my Hip-Hop-loving heart and I would soon, go on to discover DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist's heavily-bootlegged BRAINFREEZE, Chali 2na & Roc 'C's Ron Artiste' super-group, and Jurassic 5's "last" album, Feedback, released in 2006. However, after a few years apart, Akil, Chali 2na, Cut Chemist, DJ Nu-Mark, Marc 7, and Soup AKA Zaakir, decided to reunite in 2013 for a round of shows across the globe and have since unleashed a number of new singles.

Earlier this year, Cut Chemist let loose his long-awaited sophomore album, DIE CUT, Soup has re-emerged as Fullee Love with an album entitled FREE, WHITE & 21 produced by Nicholas Eaholtz AKA Nick Green of The Internet, and Chali 2na released his 10-track Instrumentality EP. DJ Nu-Mark scored a big gig as the in-house DJ for Jensen "Hot Karl" Karp & Ben Winston's The Late Late Show with James Corden spin-off, Drop The Mic. It's hosted by Wu-Tang swordsmen Method Man and Stephen Baldwin's daughter, Hailey Baldwin. DJ Nu-Mark & The Katz provide cuts between celebrity battle raps, throw to commercial breaks with his top-notch DJ skills, and created a fresh "Drop The Mic Theme Song." For the past few years, DJ Nu-Mark has been painstakingly creating and released monthly zodiac-based Zodiac Tracks, which he mixes together directly from vinyl and uploads to his Facebook page. "It was a trip to get a cold call from James Corden's office to DJ Drop The Mic with Method Man as the host. My Zodiac Tracks vinyl mixes were a big factor in [the] producers picking me for the show," DJ Nu-Mark told HIPHOPDX during a 2017 interview.

"They were familiar with my production and knew I'd be able to create the theme song. Anyone who really knows me understands how much I like comedy, so it was an easy "yes" for me," Nu-Mark continued. Now, for Record Store Day Black Friday, DJ Nu-Mark has returned with his first taste of new music since ZODIAC TRACKS Season 2; for "Zodiac Killah," Uncle Nu recruited his Drop The Mic co-star, Method Man, as well as Dan Ubick & Money Mark. Meth, of course, provides sharp-tongued rhymes, as always, somehow, touching on all 12 zodiac/astrological signs in just under 2 minutes! Dan Ubick of Breakestra, Connie Price & The Keystones, and The Lions fame provides bass, guitar, and background keys; while Money Mark—whom you might know from his work with Beastie Boys, The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs or Handsome Boy Modelling School—provides his trademark Funky fresh keys throughout "Zodiac Killah." DJ Nu-Mark & Method Man's "Zodiac Killah" is now available SOLD OUT on 7-inch vinyl through Hot Plate Records, as distributed by Fat Beats. Although, it's available digitally on all major streaming platforms with Main, Clean, Inst. & Acapella versions of "Zodiac Killah" included, as well. It appears as though Slimkid3 (The Pharcyde) & DJ Nu-Mark AKA TRDMRK are planning to unveil some sort of follow-up to 2014's Slimkid3 & DJ Nu-Mark... Just keep an eye on UncleNu's YouTube channel on or around February 1, 2019 at 1:00pm!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Aesop Rock & TOBACCO Re-emerge As Malibu Ken & Unveil Grotesque Rob Shaw-directed Music Video for "ACID KING" (Rhymesayers Ent.)

Fresh off an extensive Fall US tour with Nine Inch Nails & The Jesus & Mary Chain in support of Black Moth Super Rainbow's latest effort, Panic Blooms, multi-instrumentalist and producer Thomas "Tom" Fec AKA TOBACCO has returned with Malibu Ken; both a collaborative effort and newly-formed rapper/producer group with long-time touring mate and world-renown emcee Aesop Rock. TOBACCO & Aesop Rock, actually, first worked together on "Dirt" from Fec's 2008 anticon CD/DVD F*cked Up Friends. Later that same year, Aes & Tom "worked together" again on a mash-up/remix project called The Hood Internet vs. Tobacco & Aesop Rock "featuring" Breeze Brewin, Cage, Mr. Lif, The Mountain Goats' frontman John Darnielle, Zaid Maxwell, Camp Lo, Rob Sonic, and El-P. The Hood Internet's Aaron Brink & Steve Reidell implemented a similar style on 2010's The Hood Internet X TOBACCO X Felt, remixing tracks from both TOBACCO's Maniac Meat with Slug & MURS' Felt 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez, which was produced by label mate, Aesop Rock. Remarkably, both Aesop Rock & TOBACCO have, arguably, had the greatest successes of their careers, in recent years: Aes with his three collaborative 2015-17 LICE EP's with partner-in-rhyme, Homeboy Sandman and TOBACCO with 2017's Ripe & Majestic (Instrumental Rarities & Unreleased Beats) out-takes comp. and this past year with Black Moth Super Rainbow's aforementioned album, Panic Blooms.


Around September through November 2007, Aesop Rock went on "a massive, two-month North American tour," as then described by XLR8R with Rob Sonic, DJ Big Wiz, Cage, Blockhead, Black Moth Super Rainbow, and The Octopus Project. It was right around the release of Aesop's critically-acclaimed None Shall Pass (2007) as well as Black Moth Super Rainbow's Dandelion Gum, Blockhead's Uncle Tony's Coloring Book, and Rob Sonic's Sabotage Gigante. Although, F*cked Up Friends had still yet-to-be-released, one would almost assume TOBACCO & Aesop Rock would have treated their fans to a live version of "Dirt." Now, roughly 10 years later, Aesop Rock & TOBACCO have reunited to form Malibu Ken and will unleash their debut self-titled full-length on January 18, 2019 on Rhyemsayers Ent. Just yesterday afternoon, we were unknowingly treated to the first audiophinic taste of Malibu Ken by way of "psyche-warping" teaser single, "Acid King." Malibu Ken's progressively repulsive animated "Acid King" video was directed by frequent collaborator Rob Shaw with character designs/art direction from James "GUNSHO" Quigley and 2-D animation from Jesse McManus. Aesop Rock & TOBACCO Are Malibu Ken is currently available to pre-order from Rhymesayers' Fifth Element web-store in either die-cut gatefold LP, CD, and digital formats.

"TOBACCO and I have thrown around the idea of doing a project together since we first toured over a decade ago. I find his production to be something special and always wanted to see what I could bring to it. We recently found time to record some songs and MALIBU KEN was born. I brought a few stories to the table, but also, did my best to let the production dictate the subject matter throughout. We hope you like the soup... Huge love and thanks to anyone checking this music out. It means the world! Love you, @maniacmeat."

- Aesop Rock (@AesopRockWins)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

@simpsonsXcore Speaks with The Witzard On Tastefully Re-designed Punk/Hardcore & Ska Cover Homages (Interview & Spotify Playlist)

It's a fairly simple, yet effective concept: "your favorite Punk, Hardcore & Ska albums, but with four fingers." That, in fact, is the mantra of Instagram page @simpsonsXcore (formerly @MillionsOfDeadSimpsons) whose creations can also, be found on Facebook & Twitter. sXc has tastefully re-designed both classic and contemporary Punk, Hardcore & Ska albums. The Witzard has been Following @MillionsOfDeadSimpsons/ @simpsonsXcore's Instagram since roughly September 2017 and to be completely honest, it's one of our favorite accounts!

We recently had an opportunity to conduct a comprehensive interview with SimpsonsXcore, which has been lightly edited for general clarity. Make sure you Follow @simpsonsXcore's pages on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for regular updates and side-by-side comparisons. Additionally, SimpsonsXcore was kind enough to put together a last-minute 20-song Spotify playlist consisting of their favorite Punk/Hardcore selections from 2018 exclusively for The Witzard.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
The Simpsons & Futurama Die-Hard

I. What made you decide to start re-imagining Punk/Hardcore album covers and posting them on your now-defunct @MillionsOfDeadSimpsons Instagram page?

It started as a Thread on a friend of ours' Facebook Wall. It was, initially, just posting band logos on top of screen-grabs, like Homer with the Rasta beanie next to a Sublime or No Doubt logo. They started to get a little more intricate as the Thread went on and from there, the concept was born. This was only ever meant to be a small joke amongst friends hahaha!

II. How do you typically go about selecting bands/albums covers to Simpsons-ize? Once you've selected an image, how do you decide which characters or scenarios to use?

So, we only like to do albums that we actually enjoy. The first bar: is this an album we like listening to? From there, are there any puns/references that match up with the band or album name? If no clever wordplay arises, then, is there a visual gag from a famous [Simpsons] scene or meme that makes sense with the existing artwork? The albums that make sense to do get whittled down from there. There are tons of albums we love that just don't lend themselves well to this niche medium.

III. What's your relation to the Millions of Dead Simpsons Facebook page? Now, what prompted your recent name change to simpsonsXcore (@SimpsonsXcore)?

Initially, another friend of ours was involved in that aforementioned Facebook Thread. The friend made the Facebook page jokingly, after the name Millions of Dead Simpsons was thrown around, parodying Millions of Dead Posers, which was obviously, parodying Millions of Dead Cops (MDC.) We made the MDC cover with Officer Wiggum and they threw it up as the profile pic. We made an [Instagram page] under the same name because they didn't have an Instagram account, at the time.

The mission of the two pages was different, though; we were only posting our own covers, which were actual replications of existing real albums... the FB page was very much more tongue-in-cheek with lots of sh*t-posting, though, they were posting our work, too. Eventually, due to exposure through VICE/Noisey (shout-out Dan Ozzi!) Epitaph Records and bands themselves re-posting covers, both pages grew and grew. It became confusing for people who would reach out to us regarding the [Millions of Dead Simpsons] FB and visa-versa, so it was decided that a re-brand was in order. We kinda liked the idea of having a name that wasn't a direct reference to an existing entity, so we changed!

IV. Now, how do you design each @SimpsonsXcore cover... did I see you typically do them right on your iPhone 7?

Not typically, exclusively! Hahaha, we use a suite of apps on an iPhone 7S. Most are free, one costs us about $5.00 a month. We've had to get creative in obtaining some of the things we want... but the specific apps we use are a little secret, hahaha. They're all on The App Store, if anyone wants to give this a go, they should play around and find ones that work for them!

V. What type of feedback have you received thus far from the participating bands, artists, or labels?

Feedback has been amazing! Bands we've looked up to for years have reached out to say "thanks." One mentioned that this was equivalent to getting a Weird Al parody of one of their songs, which is like the ultimate compliment. Knowing that not only music fans are enjoying this, but the musicians themselves, as well... it's just such a good feeling. We never expected to get here, but want to keep doing it as long as everyone is having fun.

VI. Thus far, which album cover has been the most difficult to Simpsons-ify? How about the easiest to re-design, so far?

A few have definitely been more challenging. The Magrudergrind cover was certainly ambitious, at the time. Someday, we'll probably revamp some of the older ones, as our standards have gotten a bit higher, as we've gone along. The Blood for Blood cover also, caused us to have to adapt and think outside of the box. The most rewarding one to pull off (and one we feel, is under-rated) is Minutemen's Double Nickels On The Dime with Otto on the cover. The easiest ones to pull off are generally, the ones that are mostly text-based, like Descendents or Man Is The Bastard, though, sometimes, tracking down just the right font is the hardest part.

VII. How did your newly-enacted monthly Instagram FREE album give-album contest in collaboration with Epitaph/Hellcat Records start? I would imagine it's pretty great to have the label(s)' support!

Epitaph reached out to us, after re-posting a few things. They've been great! We started the contests back in April or May and are slated to run through the end of the year. They had us tour their HQ last time we were in LA and have been very supportive. Shout-out to Matt & Brandon! They're the ones who actually ship the records out to each month's winner! They've been massive, in terms of our audience growth.

VIII. What we're some of your personal favorite Punk/Hardcore releases of 2018? Have you SimpsonsXcore-ized any of them?

Gouge Away, Birds In Row, F*cked Up, IDLES, Drug Church, Culture Abuse, Frontierer, and American Nightmare have put out some of our favorite releases of the year and we've covered a few of them! We try to keep it a good mix between contemporary releases and classic stalwarts.

IX. Are you currently working on any "top-secret" SimpsonsXcore-centric art or collaborative projects?

We have two more Epitaph give-aways this year. We'll just have to wait and see what 2019 has in store for us! We'd definitely like to do some more T-shirts.

X. Who were your personal favorite musical guests on past episodes of The Simpsons? What Punk/Hardcore acts would you, ideally, like to see animated into the show?

To be honest, we've been watching recent seasons almost out of obligation, but there haven't been many stand-outs recently, in terms of musical guests. There are numerous acts it would be fun to see in the show—it was great getting a quick Mighty Mighty Bosstones cameo in the Boston episode a few seasons back—but it's almost better, if that doesn't come to pass; leaves more room for us to bring those cross-overs to life ourselves. We'll see what happens, though, with Simpsons becoming a Disney [intellectual property] now. 🍩

Monday, November 19, 2018

Jack Moves Unveils I'm Insane: A Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne EP Including 5 Ozzy/Black Sabbath Covers & An Original (@jackmovesloops)

Since the release of his Work to Rule EP earlier this year, emcee, beat-boxer, and live looper Jack Moves quietly unleashed a Bandcamp cassingle entitled "Smoke Break​/​Sweet Revenge." Now, he has returned to unveil his next Extended Play. It's titled I'm Insane: A Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne, which is obviously, a 6-song tribute to The Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne and his long-time/now-defunct band, Black Sabbath. I'm Insane includes Jack Moves' previously released and extremely spot-on cover of Ozzy's howling 1983 single, "Bark at The Moon," as well as his 1995 Zakk Wylde & Geezer Butler-assisted single, "Perry Mason." For I'm Insane, Jack Moves additionally tackles "Shot In The Dark" from The Ultimate Sin (1986) and "Mr. Crowley" from Blizzard of Ozz (1980) as well as Black Sabbath's "Black Sabbath" from their 1970 self-titled debut. Then, Jack Moves and his guitar-playing buddy Philip Miles took it upon themselves to pen and record an Ozzy Osbourne-indebted original for I'm Insane's title track.

On his source of inspiration behind "I'm Insane," Jack Moves says he and Miles "had a running joke about how every solo Ozzy song involved lyrics talking about how he was insane and how people keep asking him stuff and he doesn't know the answer." Although, likely, most notably is Jack Moves' All-Voice/Vocal Live Looping Version of "Black Sabbath," which, as its title alludes, was created with just Jack Moves' own voice; he uses a live looping technique, aided by special equipment, wherein he can essentially, record himself and continually, keep recording and meticulously layering his voice until he has a fully-fleshed out completed song, such as "Black Sabbath." Jack Moves' I'm Insane: A Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne is now available on all major digital streaming platforms. We would also, suggest Following his social media pages for regular updates and original content. Keep an eye on Jack Moves' YouTube channel for newly uploaded live looping/beat-boxing videos every Wednesday.

"'He got in a bad ATV accident. You know he was probably giving the finger to a camera or something just before that." So said a buddy of mine [Shane Bennett] a ways back RE: Ozzy. Thanks in large part to @101WRIF Detroit, Ozzy Osbourne's songs were part of my Rock "N" Roll diet and education. Even though, from a young age his goofy, schlock Horror, post-Alice Cooper (but on WAY more drugs) persona rang as a bit more of an act than I'd like—especially, after I learned about Mayhem Emperor, et. al.—I had heard his songs so many damn times I couldn't deny he was The Godfather. And after, I discovered [Black] Sabbath in earnest, well sh*t, as if I needed more proof. So, cheers to the Heavy Metal forefathers, such as Mr. John Osbourne, who stumbled across something infinitely cooler than some beefed-up Chess Records knock-off by Cream that they were probably trying to ape at the time (just playing, Cream, you know I love you!) No matter how many times you exhort us to "GO CRAZAAAAY," I never fully doubt your sincerity."

- Jack Moves (@jackmovesofficial)

Friday, November 16, 2018

All-around Breakdown: Tashme EP Breakdown with Canadian Hardcore/Punk Band's Frontman Lautaro C. (High Fashion Industries)

"I will try to keep this breakdown brief. It seems fitting, as our songs themselves are short and fast. We're a Hardcore Punk band from Toronto, Canada. We have been a band for over two years and have a few tapes that we have self-released, but this is our first proper EP. Our sound takes influence from everything we like to listen to, but is most often, and obviously, compared to 80's US Hardcore. We love US bands like Void, YDI, Jerry's Kids, and Cro-Mags, etc. but also, listen to Punk from all over the world. [We] especially enjoy Japanese Hardcore bands from the 80's and Burning Spirits bands. We also, like Metal.

The entire EP was recorded in Boxcar Studio in Hamilton, Ontario by Sean Pearson in one day, before we headed out to play a show in Kitchener, Ontario that night. A key to "good" Hardcore is playing fast and to the point; this is also, reflected in our recording process. The production on the record is pretty much the same song-to-song. There's not much to say about it, other than we wanted it loud. Give it a listen! I'll go into lyrical content for individual songs, [but] you're better off listening to the EP, than reading anything I could say about it, musically."

- Lautaro C. (Tashme)

1. "09/11/1973"

"The first song is about the 1973 Chilean coup d'etat. The coup and military dictatorship that followed drastically impacted the lives of both my parents. You can research the atrocities of the regime. The lyrics touch on the experiences of my parents and how that has shaped me and my identity."

2. "Last Laugh"

"Sh*tty conservative positions and attitudes that hurt people."

3. "What's It Worth?"

"It shocks me how many systems we have in place to protect property versus how much more we could have to protect people. No one is around forever; the best we can do is be good to each other. It's easy to lose sight of what's actually important, when everyone is worried about owning the right things and their position in social groups."

4. "Stagnant"

"Feeling stuck in a rut..."

5. "Where You Fall"

"Whenever you haven't been open-minded or open to learning about something you don't agree with."

6. "Information"

"In part, this song is about the lack of caution we take in how much we give away about ourselves on social media. It's also, about how these platforms make interactions with others a much more flattened and empty emotional experience. I use social media myself. I'm not trying to say I'm better than anyone or that you shouldn't use it; just pointing out that it's scary how much we let people and companies monitor us."

Thursday, November 15, 2018

"VAN HALEN... GOREFEST, AUTOPSY, DEF LEPPARD & SPAZZ:" The Legend of SPAZZ & Kool Keith/Dr. Octagon (Turned Out A Punk)

It all started just a few days ago, when I saw a post on F*CKED UP frontman Damian "Pink Eyes" Abraham's Instagram page (@leftfordamian.) He was teasing a then-upcoming episode of his weekly podcast, Turned Out A Punk, featuring Chris Dodge from "The Beastie Boys of Hardcore," SPAZZ. A photograph of @mrchrisdodge was surrounded by images of No Use for A Name, NOFX frontman Fat Mike, CROSSED OUT, Kool Keith, Southern Lord Records, Melt Banana, and The Melvins. I (@sharpcheddar856) posed an exclamatory question through comment, "Woah, now, what's Chris' relation to Kool Keith!?" Fellow Instagram Punker @bengonzales815sl soon Replied: "@sharpcheddar856 Kool Keith did a guest spot on a SPAZZ record," which I soon learned, was in fact, SPAZZ's 1997 album, La Revancha. Later, Damian Abraham himself, actually, Replied back, as well: "@bengonzales815sl @sharpcheddar856 they are also name checked on Dr. Oc." Hip-Hop heads will immediately know, he's of course, referring to Kool Keith's 1996 album, Dr. Octagonecologyst, painstakingly created with Dan The Automator, DJ Qbert & KutMasta Kurt under the collaborative alias of Dr. Octagon.

With a little digital sleuthing, I soon stumbled upon a 2007 RIPPED OPEN BY METAL EXPLOSIONS (ROBME) article fittingly titled "KOOL KEITH: AUTOPSY, DEF LEPPARD AND SPAZZ??!?" Lo and behold, it was penned by Eons One AKA Kung-Fu Dan AKA SPAZZ's own Dan Lactose, who's HEALER / DJ EONS Presents: DANK GOBLINS split was recently featured within these very pages of The Witzard. He quickly confirmed the validity of the 2007 ROBME Blogspot piece in question and had, indeed, met Kool Keith & Dan The Automator that fateful night in either 1995, 1996, 1998, or 1997... Below, we've included DJ Eons One's original 2007 post in full explaining the relationship and mutual admiration between SPAZZ & Kool Keith/Dr. Octagon. While the aforementioned Chris Dodge-centric episode of Turned Out A Punk can currently be found, according to Damian Abraham, "at all the best podcast stores!!!" Kool Keith, Dan The Automator & DJ Qbert miraculously reunited earlier this year for the third proper Dr. Octagon album, Moosebumps: An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation. Chris Dodge's latest D-beat/Hardcore band, TRAPPIST, recently unleashed a phenomenal beer-themed album called Ancient Brewing Tactics on Relapse Records. Tankcrimes re-released three essential SPAZZ albums—Crush Kill Destroy, La Revancha & Dwarf Jester Rising—earlier this year, which have now been made available digitally for the first time in 20+ years.

"I used to play in a Hardcore band called SPAZZ. We were around from 1993-2000 and put out a ton of records and played a bunch of shows. We recorded our second album, La Revancha, in 1997, which had a drop by Kool Keith on it. It totally bugged everyone out, at the time, (including myself) and I'm constantly asked to tell the story how it all came about, so I figured I'd write it up here and give you all the real deal.

SPAZZ was heavily inspired by the Underground Hip-Hop explosion of the 90's. Hirax Max (drums) and I were avid listeners of college radio mix shows and I was DJ'ing and collecting Hip-Hop 12-inches and making beats, much to the chagrin of some die-hard punks. If you check out our lyrics, there's tons of references to old Hip-Hop tracks and we even named our third album, Crush Kill Destroy, as an homage to Organized Konfusion homaging the [Ultramagnetic MC's]. I can safely say I was listening to a lot more Hip-Hop than Hardcore while we were doing the band.

Our friend, Neil, was a childhood friend of Dan The Automator and had met Keith [when he] took a trip with Dan out to NY. Neil told of Keith's infamous peep show and video arcade route and told us Keith's pockets were bulging with change ready to begin the trek. He even brought Max back a signed promo poster for the Four Horsemen LP. I was jealous. One night, Max calls me up and says Neil had just called him to see if we wanted to meet Kool Keith up in SF. Max had school or something, so he called me and said I should call Neil back ASAP. I called Neil, got directions and in my haste, grabbed my recently purchased Basement Tapes [1984-1990] LP that happened to be sitting out... Keith was in town recording the Dr. Octagon LP at Dan's parents' house. I drove up to SF, met Neil in front of the house, and we ended up chillin' in Dan's room while they were working on "Girl Let Me Touch You," waiting for them to take a break. [They] finished their take and Keith emerged from the makeshift vocal booth. We chopped it up a bit and I showed him the Basement Tapes LP and he got pretty bummed."

"He asked where I got it and he said Ced was doing all sorts of sh*t with their material and he had no say in any of it. I told him where I picked it up and he asked Dan if they could go there tomorrow so he could buy one. Then, he reached down beside Dan's bed and pulled out this huge blue duffle bag. "Do you like Max Hardcore?" he asked, as he unzipped the bag, which was stuffed full of VHS porno tapes. He started pulling out different tapes and talking about [them]. We talked porn for a minute. Somehow, we started talking about Metal bands—I think, Neil told Keith he should check out SPAZZ or something. "Do you like Gorefest?" he asked. I told him they were alright. "Do you like Autopsy?" I told him, of course, and that I knew one of those dudes. Keith was pumped. I told him I had a tape of the record we were working on and Dan The Automator threw it in, so we could check it out. Keith was bugging out on it. He asked if I could do that same guitar sound on the record they were working on. I said, "no problem" and told him I would get in touch with them tomorrow. I asked Keith if he could do a shout-out for us and we would put it on the record. Automator flipped the tape over and recorded Keith's drop that you hear on La Revancha.

The next day, I called the phone number Automator had given me to figure out if and when I could go back up to the studio and do some guitar. I never got through and they never called me back. "Andy Boy" is credited as playing guitar on the track and while I cannot confirm or deny it, Neil told me it was Andy ["Airbourne" Anderson] from Attitude Adjustment. I was happy enough to chill with Keith and get that drop. To this day, it has to be one of the most bonkers Hardcore/Hip-Hop cross-overs in the history of music. The Judgement Night soundtrack has nothin' on this!

A few days later, Neil called and told us that Keith had mentioned SPAZZ in one of his new rhymes. What the f**k??? We never thought it would see the light of day, until we heard "I'm Destructive." Holy sh*t! The line taken almost word-for-word from the conversation Keith and I had that night. And then, Dr. Octagon drops and completely blows up, etc. etc. I'm not sure how many people who were listening to SPAZZ were also, listening to Ultramagnetic, at the time, but it seemed that EVERYONE was listening to the Dr. Octagon LP. A lot of people were catching the SPAZZ reference and asking us about it. I'm not sure if Keith ever got a copy of La Revancha (I'm still holding one for you, man!) but I hope someone has played it for him, at some point. It's one of my favorite records we recorded and I'm stoked to have a Hip-Hop legend on it. Yeah, I know that this post is on some fanboy ish, but it's Poppa Large; The One, Rhythm X; KOOL MOTHERF***IN' KEITH!!!"

- Eons One (@DanLactose) 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Alap Now & Merc Yes Return with First MRC Riddims Single Since SICKA THAN YOUR AVERAGE "Tilted" (Internet & Weed Recordings)

MRC Riddims is a Stoner Tech-House, Pop, Dancefloor & EDM DJ/production team consisting of Alap "Alap Now" Momin & Marc "Merc Yes" Sorrillo. Alap Now has either played with or recorded music as BKGD Audio, Deadverse, Numbers Not Names, This Immortal Coil, and MGR, as well as functioning as Oktopus, a founding member of Noise-Rap pioneers dälek from 1998-2010. Merc Yes, on the other hand, has functioned as a multi-instrumentalist for New Jersey-based Shoegaze/Noise Rock band All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors for the past 22 years, as well as having a hand in Ifwhen and his own Marc Sorrillo Audio Production. It appears as though Alap Now & Merc Yes first met when Alap engineered All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors' 1996-98 albums All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors & Turning Into Small; they even appeared together 10 years later on a 2008 split 12-inch entitled dälek vs. Ifwhen ‎– Hear Less / No Good Trying with two Deadverse (Alap/Oktopus) remixes on Side B. Earlier this year, MRC Riddims released their debut full-length, SICKA THAN YOUR AVERAGE, on Alap's own Internet & Weed Recordings. From what I understand, it's a 14-track quasi-compilation album of previously released singles and vinyl EP's issued by Araçá Recs & Silver Rocket Records, as well as original tracks featuring John Morrision, Subtitle, and Miss TK.

Now, MRC Riddims have returned with their first proper release, "Titled" since SICKA THAN YOUR AVERAGE. "Its deep thump and a playful bounce are a common thread throughout their distinct sound," reads a press statement from Internet & Weed. "Even when they journey into their deepest, heaviest moments, MRC Riddims never take you too far away from that feeling you had the first time you stepped into a roller rink as a kid!" it continues. It appears as though, from what I can gather, that "Titled" is merely the first of many upcoming singles to be released from MRC Roddims. Alap Now says, "we will be releasing a bunch of singles throughout the next year and then, a second compilation album [in] late 2019" similar to SICKA THAN YOUR AVERAGE. "Tilted" is also, accompanied by a quick, yet thorough, 1 minute-long video teaser uploaded to Internet & Weed Recordings' YouTube channel. It's very reminiscent, to my ears, at least, to Ice-T & MR.X's recent EDM/Hip-Hop-centric output on their newly-formed label, EBE NATION. MRC Riddims' "Tilted" is currently available on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify, and like-minded digital streaming services.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

DJ Filthy Rich Lets Loose A Clan Called Wu - Enter: The Marauders In Honor of 36 Chambers & Midnight Marauders' 25th Anniversaries

As any well-rounded Hip-Hop head should already know, we recently celebrated the 25th anniversaries of two of Hip-Hop's most revered and widely-loved albums: Wu-Tang Clan's monumental debut, Enter: The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and A Tribe Called Quest's third album, Midnight Marauders both originally released on November 9th, 1993. Wu-Tang's 9 surviving clansmen, as well as ODB's son, Young Dirty Bastard (@DirtyBastardJr) have recently been making the rounds in celebration of their 25th anniversary; making recent appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Good Morning America, and in Staten Island AKA "Shaolin" in honor of Wu-Tang Clan Day. Wu-Tang also, dropped a career-spanning documentary called For The Children: 25 Years of Enter: The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers.) A Tribe Called Quest's surviving members—Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Jarobi White—on the other hand, have remained a bit more silent since their 2016 "final" album with founding member, Phife Dawg, We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service. I've personally, been a fan of both albums, since I first discovered Wu-Tang & Tribe around 2002, but I, honestly, had no idea 36 Chambers & Midnight Marauders were both released on the same day and initially, distributed by RCA through Loud/Jive Records. Now, to celebrate Wu-Tang & Tribe's 25th anniversaries, Toronto, Canada-based DJ Filthy Rich has assembled a 30-minute mix/blendtape with Wu-Tang Clan's expertly-woven rhymes atop A Tribe Called Quest, Skeff Anselm & Large Professor's dusty instrumentals from Midnight Marauders. He's even fittingly dubbed it "a clan called Wu - Enter the Marauders." Check out DJ Filthy Rich's story about his relationship with the albums, as well as the making-of A Clan Called Wu - Enter: The Marauders directly from his Soundcloud page down below the break. 👐

"November 9, 1993 will forever go down as one of the greatest days in Hip-Hop history. Two of the genre's most revered albums dropped on the same day: Wu-Tang Clan's debut, Enter: The [Wu-Tang] (36 Chambers) & A Tribe Called Quest's third LP, Midnight Marauders. I remember riding my bike to the mall, with money I had earned from my after-school job. I had anticipated this day for a while and saved up in advance to pick up both CD's—at that age, $40 felt like $500. For the months that followed, both albums fought for playing time on my single-disc CD player. One moment, I was transported to the boulevard of Linden and the next, to the rugged streets of Shaolin. Those albums stayed in my rotation forever (literally!)

To mark the 25th anniversary of both LP's, I thought it might be a good idea to try and take the vocals from Wu-Tang's album and blend them over the instrumentals from Midnight Marauders. I wasn't sure it would work at first, but as is usually the case, inspiration hit at midnight, when I was trying to sleep—the coincidence of the timing is not lost on me. A couple of hours later, I managed to pair up every single Wu-Tang vocal with a suitable beat from MM. The intent was not to improve on the originals in any way... that would be impossible, as I consider them both to be perfect bodies of work. Rather, it was about orchestrating a fun concept and putting a totally new spin on these well-worn classics. The contrast of Wu's gritty street raps over Tribe's Jazzy production works in a pleasantly unexpected way. Now, I present to you my personal tribute to these legendary groups: A Clan Called Wu - Enter: The Marauders [a blendtape by DJ Filthy Rich]."

- DJ Filthy Rich (@djfilthyrich416)

Friday, November 9, 2018

Weekend Money Unveil "Guatemala" Music Video from Long-awaited Third Album 8-Ball Emoji (Directed By: Gina Amama) 🎱

Weekend Money (or W$) are a Hip-Hop/Electronic duo consisting of emcee NE$$ AKA @NESSTAGRAM and producer/vocalist Amar "Baghdaddy" Ibrahim AKA @AmarBagh & @Bagh3d. NE$$ & Baghdaddy originally hail from Philly & Iraq, respectively, but are currently based somewhere in-between Philly, Brooklyn, and Miami. Weekend Money, during their earliest aughts, were affiliated with now-defunct Das Racist and, at one point, were even signed to Heems' label, Greedhead Music. NE$$ is also, one-half of The A-Alikes, a crew with affiliation to dead prez and their "militant rhyme crew," People's Army. I can still vividly remember seeing W$ at one of Das Racist's final gigs at Union Transfer in Philly right around the same time as their 2013 debut EP, Naked City. If I'm remembering correctly, I believe, Baghdaddy & NE$$ nearly ripped through the entirety of their genre-blending as-yet-unreleased 9-track EP. Now, if my memory is serving me correctly, I believe, in addition to Das Racist & Weekend Money, Greedhead affiliates LE1F, Lakutis, and SAFE also performed at Union Transfer that fateful night in October of 2012.

It's likely, best described by this scenario from Weekend Money's own Facebook page: "if "Ether"-era Nas had French Electro-Dance tandem Justice as his backing band." Weekend Money's music, to my ear, at least, also contains sonic allusions to Pharrell & The Neptunes/N*E*R*D, Kid Cudi, A$AP Rocky, Chromeo, The Cool Kids, and even 80's Electro-Rap. NE$$ says a weekly series called "Weekend Money Wednesdays" is poised to start within a matter of weeks. Perhaps, most phenomenally, Weekend Money's sophomore release, Queen-referencing Freddie Merkury (2014) contains tracks entitled "W$ Will Rock You," "Trapper Keeper" with Fat Tony, and "Clockworkin;'" the latter, yes, containing lyrics such as, "We gettin' guap around the clock tonight / We gettin' guap, guap, guap 'til the broad dadlight / We gettin' guap. We gettin' guap around the clock tonight" delivered in a similar cadence to Bill Haley & His Comets' 1954 smash-hit, "Rock Around The Clock." It's been a few years since Freddie Merkury and there have been a couple false starts, but NE$$ & Baghdaddy are planning to return on Art Basel Weekend with their third full-length release, 8-Ball Emoji.

Weekend Money's "Guatemala" video follows a brief hiatus, which allowed for free time to work on personal projects, such as Bagh's 3-D/VR art installation, Escape to Guatemala and NE$$' Brooklyn-based art space, World Money Gallery. "After my Brooklyn apartment burned down, I had two options: cry about it or find creative release. I chose creative release," says creative director Gina Amama. "A space that was once so dear to me within minutes, lost its charm and became a house haunted with charred walls, burnt furniture, and rubble. "Guatemala" brought me a feeling of a mysterious and dark space. Being able to capture that essence and create from a situation that seemed hopeless was monumental," Amama continued. It appears as though "Guatemala" is just the first of many striking music videos to be released from 8-Ball Emoji. Weekend Money's long-awaited third album, 8-Ball Emoji, will be independently released on Friday, December 7th during Miami's infamous Art Basel Weekend still has yet to be released...

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Ice-T & Charlie Funk vs. The Mighty Mocambos - "BOUNCE THAT A$$" REMIX Music Video & Exclusive 7-inch (Mocambo Records)

As you may recall, The Witzard published comprehensive interviews with both Ice-T & MR.X from EBE NATION, as well as Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band multi-instrumentalist/band leader Björn Wagner right around the same time just a few months back. Now, it appears as though Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band's self-described "alter-ego" or "evil twin" band, The Mighty Mocambos have joined forces with EBE NATION founders Ice-T & Afrika Islam AKA MR.X under his zany Funk-tastic alter-ego, Charlie Funk. Here's how Björn Wagner tells it: "the story is rather short: we met Charlie back with [Afrika] Bambaataa in Hamburg, performed together at Reeperbahn Festival, and recorded "Zulu Walk" & "Battle" in Hamburg. The tracks ended up on The Future Is Here (2011) record." "We kept in touch and recorded more songs for the second album. When Charlie was planning his new label with Ice, he approached us to do this Funk version. Parts of the video were shot in Hamburg, so we could make our video version for the ["Bounce That A$$"] Remix," Wagner continued, referring to The Mighty Mocambos' 2015 album, Showdown. The Mighty Mocambos seemingly still consists of Ben Greenslade-Stanton, Bernhard Hümmer, Nichola Richards, Sascha Weise, Sebastian Drescher, Victor Kohn, and of course, band leader Björn Wagner.

Aside from The Future Is Here & Showdown, The Mighty Mocambos quietly released a 2009 album entitled This Is Gizelle Smith & The Mighty Mocambos on their own Mocambo Records, as well as an assortment of 7-inch singles issued by Favorite Recordings, Légère Recordings, Love Lane, Old Capital, Soul Seed Records, and Tramp Records. Ice-T is, of course, a world-renown emcee and frontman of Thrash/Heavy Metal band, Body Count, as well as an award-winning actor on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU) since 2000. Early on in his career, Ice worked closely with Afrika Islam on his first three albums, Rhyme Pays, POWER, and The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech... Just Watch What You Say! as well as 1991's O.G. Original Gangster. Now, Ice-T & Afrika Islam have effectively reunited, after years DJ'ing overseas as MR.X, to form a world-class EDM/Hip-Hop label, Electronic Beat Empire AKA EBE NATION, together. MR.X's first two releases on the imprint, The Brutal EP and HIP HOP DJS DONT PLAY TECHNO, are currently available on Ice-T & Afrika Islam's EBE NATION imprint. The Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band's second full-length, The Serpent's Mouth, is currently available on Big Crown Records; while, I hear, The Mighty Mocambos are holed up in Hamburg, Germany earnestly working on their third proper long-player.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Sweatin' On The Dance Floor: Australian DJ, Producer, Turntablist & Briztronix Founder DJ Bacon "Cuts It Up" with The Witzard (Interview)

"DJ Bacon is one of Brisbane's best known and best loved DJ's. He began performing in the mid-1990's at some of the city's formative venues. Across 20 years in Melbourne and Brisbane, he has played at most of Australia's iconic club venues and events. He is a former QLD DMC DJ Champion and Qmusic Award winner. He is rightly famous in the Australian music underground for his effortless blend of Hip-Hop, Soul, and Funk from every era. DJ residencies across the country have included world-class venues, such as Laruche, Cloudland, Revolver (Melbourne,) First Floor, The Evelyn, E55, Kerbside, Lychee Lounge, X&Y Bar, Press Club, Bavarian Bier Cafe, Sake Restaurant, Rumpus Room, Brooklyn Standard, and more. DJ supports of note have included all-time Hip-Hop pioneers, such as Grandmaster Flash, DJ Shadow, DJ Dexter, Cut Chemist, Jurassic 5, The Roots, and many more. With his band, Briztronix, he has won QLD Music Awards, released 3 full-length LP's, and appeared on dozens of compilation CD's and vinyl."

- DJ Bacon (@therealdjbacon)

I. So, I HAVE to know: how in the world did you ever get your DJ name, DJ Bacon?

Everyone loves the name. Even vegetarians. I just had to own it and i have. It goes back to when I was in my teens and bacon sandwiches were like a religious experience for crushing hangovers. My mate, Goo, said I should call myself "DJ Bacon" 'cause I was always making bacon sandwiches for us because we were always hungover. I thought it was hilarious and stuck with it... that was around '94. I don't take myself too seriously; I'm not like DJ Lethal or DJ Killer B—just DJ Bacon!

II. How did you first get into Hip-Hop/Rap and what exactly made you decide to start mashing up, remixing, and blending together your favorite artists?

I got into Hip-Hop in '86 when I first heard "Walk This Way" on a compilation, Greatest Summer Hits-type deal. I had a mate, Mark Nair (RIP) who had a mate that he dubbed the Raising Hell cassette from and I remembered how much I loved "Walk This Way," so I copped the album myself. This was the coolest music I'd ever heard—particularly, growing up in Australia and having zero exposure to Hip-Hop on the radio. I started collecting Rap records from this point—all the Def Jam releases, plus, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, The Fat Boys, Ice-T, some early Breakdance/Electro compilations, and Run-D.M.C. religiously—they were #1. I got every piece of their stuff on every format I could find, which was difficult in Brisbane pre-Internet.

I started making pause mixtapes for my friends on this very primitive 3-in-1 stereo my dad had that would let me actually play the CD and phono channels at the same time—I think because it was so dodgy... but it was cool I could play an [instrumental] on vinyl and put some spoken word or something similar over the top; that was like '94ish that I started giving close mates these really bad tapes. I never even knew what a DJ mixer was then. I wondered how Terminator X and [Jam Master] Jay and all these guys would repeat the sound sometimes without the scratch sound.... My mate, Goo, hooked up with his neighbour, DJ Cybex, around the same time, who was and still is the illest Electro B-boy DJ legend. He gave us so many tapes and we went to his house and saw all the records and DJ mixer and he showed me how it all worked... I was already so into this stuff—this just catapulted me into like, "this is my deal now."

III. About how many songs do you typically sample/incorporate into a track such as your AC/DC & Run-D.M.C. blending "Back In Hell" Mega-mix?

For the "Back In Hell" Mega-mix I used literally just the two records Back In [Black] and Raising Hell—all vinyl. If you know these albums well, you will notice a piece of each song from both albums in the mix—sometimes, a tiny drum fill—other times, a loop or a whole acapella... I did have to use the "Walk This Way" and "My Adidas" [acapellas] from digital, as I couldn't find them on wax. Previous to this mix, the mega-mixes I made used an artist's whole catalougue, so for the "RUN-BST" mix, I'd say over 150 samples from the two bands, Run-D.M.C. & Beastie Boys, that I used.

IV. What's the difference between your "Back In Hell" Mega-mix and recently re-released "Back In Hell" (7" Black Adidas Edit)? Also, congrats on your first 7-inch!

Oh, thanks, yeah... the 7-inch version is only 3 minutes and 30 seconds [long]. I just looped an instrumental section and made it the outro to cut it to 3:30. So, it's like the first part, you could say... the full mix is over 7 minutes.

V. How exactly are your "RUN-BST" (Run-D.M.C./Beastie Boys) and it's "sequel," "Fear of An O.G." (Public Enemy/Ice-T) mega-mixes sonically related to each other?

I used a similar formula: keeping the music in key and making the samples rhyme... but, I think, the production on a lot of Hip-Hop from '88-92 is already incredible—I would just try different loops over each other and try to see what worked. They were both mastered by my mate, Chris Stevens. I'm by no means technical when it comes to sound and frequencies, etc. I just trust my ears, but Chris may have a better answer.

VI. On the heels of Ad-Rock & Mike D-penned BEASTIE BOYS BOOK, would you mind briefly discussing your "Sure Shot" (Rock Steady Remix) and "Shake Your Rump" (DJ BACON 80'S RAP MEGA-MIX)?

I'm really only just getting into remixing... I prefer the tough slog of the mega-mix and really pushing the limits. The "Sure Shot" Remix took me an hour—I put it on Bandcamp and people really liked it... now, it's on the 7-inch and DJ's are playing it. I walked past a DJ yesterday playing it. I just love the Beastie Boys so much that it's always fun for me to use their music 'cause it makes me feel young and I get excited about music, when using their stuff. The 80'S RAP REMIX is more of a conceptual remix trying to fit a lot of dope loops into the one song... I really like it, but need to keep working on the mix of it—the 808 kick is killing stereos and annoying Chris, my mastering guy... not unlike the Beastie Boys tale in the book about the "Hold It Now, Hit It" 808 kick... however, I should point out: I made this remix well before the book's release.

VII. Now, I know Briztronix's first album in 11 years, Briztronix IV, was released just this past September... but so yourself, Ben Eltham & RUFFLES have any immediate plans for "Briztronix V" ?

Well, we haven't really given this new release, IV, a proper push yet. I think 10 years in the wilderness, we are just throwing it out there now to see what reaction we get, at the moment... I'm super proud of the record and all the work Ben and Kieran and I put in to make it sound like it does. I've listened to it about 500 times and [I'm] still not sick of it. All feedback has been positive, but I really think with how busy we are, it's difficult to promote an underground instrumental release that is firmly not aimed at the radio. It's destined to be a slept-on classic, though, mark my words. No immediate plans for V yet, but one of us is always putting something together; a beat or some synths or loops, so it's ever-evolving.

VIII. What type of feedback have you received thus far from artists you've remixed, sampled, mega-mixed, etc.?

Great feedback. I mean, there is a fine line between biting and homeage—I think, purely, with the amount of work I put into these mixes, they are embraced. I was always weird about putting images of other artists on my stuff, but when the artists themselves give you props, it makes it OK, I think. The best example of this is when I released an Ice-T/Public Enemy mash-up that I spent ages on... I Tweeted to Ice-T [@FINALLEVEL] to let him know and he straight Tweeted it to Chuck D [@MrChuckD] saying it's the hardest mash-up he's ever heard... so, I was completely stoked—I mean, the first gig I ever saw was PE & Ice-T, so these guys are literally my heroes. Getting a message from Ice-T, like "homie..." it's a trip.

IX. For every project you've recorded and released, about how many ideas do you generally scrap? What specific criteria, in your opinion, is essential for a solid project base?

The idea is everything. The execution is the fun easy part, but it must be a great concept... sure, I could go and do a Native Tongues mega-mix and it would be great and I could spend six months making that as intricate and funky as all Hell, but that's not an original idea. Mixing Run-D.M.C. & AC/DC together—trying to make those two completely different things the same—that's an idea... a rather time consuming one, but now, people are like, really, really, really enjoying that mix... the feedback has been incredible! Chuck D loves it and told all his Followers about it, for example.

X. What else are you currently working on or preparing for imminent release?

I'm going to drop another 45RPM 7-inch shortly... probably, in The New Year, but maybe sooner, but yeah, I need to tie up a couple loose ends for it and see if I have the capacity to make it happen this year or not. I'm literally spending a few hours everyday, at the moment, shipping vinyl all over the world from my room—my first 45 release from October is still going off in The UK and I've now nearly sold out of the second lot of 150—there might be about 40 left on my Bandcamp... so, it may not sound like lots of records, but when you pack, sign, post, sticker, and fill out customs forms for every one, then, line up at the post office and wait, etc. that sh*t takes a huge chunk out your day! I've been getting my kids to help put stickers on the records and they love it.

PS: your copy is on the way, Matt. Posted that today. Thanks, my friend!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Various Artists V: How Compilations Influenced a Generation - Let Them Know: The Story of Youth Brigade & BYO Records (Halloween Hangover)

INTRODUCTION: Maybe, it's in the gray hairs that I've started finding in my thinning hair. Maybe, it's that dreaded third decade of life that seems to have been rearing it's ugly face around every corner. Maybe, it's a quarter life crisis, but something has been keeping me up at night. I sometimes, stay awake into the early hours of the morning spinning records and fumbling with CD jackets from high school, grasping hold of my youth for dear life. I search out elusive first presses of albums I'd somehow, lost to time, hoping that they'll somehow, tighten the thread leading from middle school to adulthood.

To be clear, I'm not fishing my torn band T-shirts or bondage pants from the depths of my closet, but as I make the transition into my 30's, shedding roommates and getting oil changes at regularly scheduled intervals, I can't help ruminating on where these albums came from and how they've shaped me. I can't help begging the question, "How did I get here?"

How I've come to be surrounded by this specific collection of music is largely, the consequence of efforts made by larger labels and their annual sampler CD's, but even today, I search out small Indie labels that pump out quality collections of exclusivities and excellent representations of a variety of music scenes.

Typically, priced at $4-5.00 and featuring, sometimes, up to 40 songs from just as many bands, compilations have always served as convenient and affordable ways to discover new and obscure bands. This is imperative to the formative years of a generation of listeners; compilations were the compass that one used to navigate the endless sea of Punk Rock and consequently, Hip-Hop, Hardcore, Indie, Reggae, etc. etc. ad infinitum. Many of these discs were used as shovels to tunnel into cozy nests of Punk records and artistic eccentricities.

It's this ability to influence and inform listeners that I'll be here every month to discuss. I'll be stopping The Witzard by to shed light on those discount albums in the so often overlooked "Various Artists" bins of the world, along with their influences within their communities, within their genres, and within the chronology of listener interests all across the globe, here in, Various Artists: How Compilations Influenced a Generation.

VARIOUS ARTISTS V: If a person were to subscribe to The Tralfamadorian's non-linear concept of time, there is a version of myself standing with my head between the floor joists of a Northern Illinois basement: I'm frozen in amber. I'm held still, arrested inside of an instant forever. But there are other versions of me, too, standing in roller rink parking lots; standing in Midwestern backyards, next to fires that rage inside of steel drums.

There is an army of snot-nosed versions of myself, clutching at nearly-frozen cans of beer. I'm standing in bars. I'm crowd surfing in living rooms. I'm shouting when I speak in garages, but without these images, I'd never know that any of these suspended moments existed. I'd never remember them.

What I remember are Halloween shows in basements and tribute shows in roller rinks. I remember shows in garages so cold that you couldn't feel your fingers. I remember shows in living rooms so hot that the ceiling bled condensation and the floor bent and bowed with the weight of 100 dancing misfits. I remember Shot Baker pretending to be Minor Threat. I remember bands forming out of the wood paneling of parties to perform as Operation Ivy... as The Ramones... as The Lunachicks.

I remember zombie-themed proms hosted in suburban lake houses and I remember washing stamps and X's, penned in permanent marker, from the backs of my hands; tearing wristbands, wrinkled with sweat and spilled beer, from my forearms. There are bands that exist only inside of the blurred memories of a single party. Groups that existed for a single night, founded on the mutual love of some obscure band or another.

It was nine years ago—nearly to the month—when Better Youth Organization (BYO) and American Hardcore giants, Youth Brigade took this idea to its natural conclusion, celebrating 25 years of activity with their multi-media release, Let Them Know: The Story of BYO & Youth Brigade.

Pressed to a translucent red double-LP and housed inside of a coffee table book complete with DVD documentary, Let Them Know tells an all-encompassing oral history of one of Punk Rock's most important mainstays.

Boasting an ambitious 31 tracks, the album compiles BYO artists as they pay tribute to one another and to the label that brought them all together. And in much the same way that we always did as kids; by covering tracks that reach as far back as the label's 1982 inception from The US, The UK, and Canada, respectively.

Despite some of these artists being separated by oceans and decades, there's a continuity in the tonality throughout these discs that's reminiscent of early Epitaph and Fat Wreck Chords bands; labels either critical to, or inspired by, the progressive DIY ethos of Better Youth Organization. Sensible, when considering Ashers' cover of Bad Religion's "In The Night" (1981) and NOFX's contribution, a prim and polished version of Battalion of Saints' "No More Lies" (1982.)

And maybe, it's the burnt color in the leafs that line these country roads and city sidewalks, but hearing some of these songs re-imagined, I can't help thinking of those long Fall nights in the parking lots of civic centers and VFW halls. I can't help thinking of those early BYO albums, held in the grimy hands of versions of myself that stand in skate shops or hide in Wal-Mart bathrooms, shoving security tags down the toilet. It brings to mind those late nights in high school where a person went home smelling like a bonfire, their heads spinning like vinyl LP's, skipping forward over the boring bits and playing over all of the best hooks. If they went home at all.

This double-disc breathes new life into old songs, bridging generational divides as well as blending genres. Whether it's Matt Skiba's Indie-Pop take on "I Scream" (The Brigade, 1986) or Krum Bums' grit-filled Street Punk rendition of "Hating Every Minute" (Alkaline Trio, 2004,) there truly is a conversation at every turn on this album. Conversations I've had many times.

These efforts remind listeners that we're not alone in our influences. Not only are we influenced by 7 Seconds, but so are The Bouncing Souls. The Briefs have the same Adolescents records on their shelves that we do. Suddenly, we're no more alone in the world than we were at those Halloween parties, singing the same songs as a hundred other kids. Paying homage to the bands that set us apart from our family, the kids at the skate park, our classmates, or our co-workers in the first place.

After 36 years of failed rhetorical statements on the part of the Hardcore community, songs about unity, oftentimes, seem like trite, tired tropes more than honest statements. Bits of cliché sensationalism more than genuine sentiment, but there's something in Kevin Seconds' strained vocal chords as 7 Seconds finishes this album off.

There's something about this Folk-injected cover of "Sink with California" (Youth Brigade, 1983) that puts the listener around a campfire with their heroes and suggests that the balding punks still believe in what they say. Suddenly, there are younger versions of myself in cold, crowded garages singing cover songs, dressed like an idiot, because admission is free with a costume.

John E. Swan (@midwest_stress) is a novelist and short story writer, as well as freelance editor and journalist. His first novel, Any Way to Elsewhere, takes its name from a compilation cassette that he curated during his time with Berserk Records. It can be ordered here. When he's not writing, he can be found making music in and around Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he lives with his girlfriend and their dog, Diesel.