FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD: King Megatrip’s “A Year in the Soul Society October 2010”

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In the United States, kids of all ages are celebrating the tradition known as Halloween, so if you honor the day, got dressed up and didn’t get your fill of junk, may I recommend something with better nutritional value. Well, no carbs or calories, but you’re sure to feel the after effects of listening to this new mix from King Megatrip, the 10th installment in his series, A Year In The Soul Society. 10 down, 2 more to go. Here’s the track listing for #10:

01 zion i _ do it (instrumental)
02 orquestra cubana de musica moderna _ vehicle
03 tyrone davis _ love bones
04 chairmen of the board _ from the days of pigtails (and fairy tales)
05 black ice _ shake down (part 1)
06 blossoms _ cherish what is dear to you
07 jimmy huges _ lock me up
08 eddie bo & inez cheatam _ lover and a friend
09 alan alper _ patrol
10 los sospechos _ jano’s revenge
11 1619 bad ass band _ i am mine
12 fraykers revenge _ self-serving delusions
13 ohmega watts _ clap on clap off! (interlude)(instrumental)
14 john public _ to da break of dawn
15 john legend & the roots _ our generation (j.period remix)
16 juganot ft. joell ortiz, red cafe, maino, cassidy & papoose _ dollar (remix)
17 outkast & raekwon & crystal castles _ skewed empathy (skratch bastid mix)
18 dj chamber _ ramblin’ man
19 cut chemist _ adidas to addis
20 jolly boys _ i fought the law

To download, click over to

VIDEO: Gregory Porter’s “Illusion”

It’s rare that I come across a soulful singer that is simply a soulful singer, not trying to do more than they’re capable, but hearing them makes you want to hear more. This is Gregory Porter, and while they’re also calling him jazz, I hope that doesn’t limit him as just a jazz singer, as some will lead you to believe. The song is taken from his new album, Water (Motema), and while that was released half a year ago, don’t let that be the reason you wouldn’t want to hear this. Click the play button, listen, and hear a voice that you may have been longing for, or didn’t know you were.

VIDEO: Jasmine Mans’ “Nicki Minaj (spoken word)”

There’s a sense amongst some hip-hop fans that the sense of power has diminished, or is being manipulated by those who have nothing to do with hip-hop. A perfect example is the female MC. There was a time when there was a new lady stepping up to the microphone on a weekly, if not daily basis, trying not so much to be the queen, but to become an addition to the exclusive community. Yet there was always a view, particularly from men, that a woman does not belong on the stage that Roxanne Shante and Ms. Melodie once spoke of, but is preferred masturbatory eye candy.

Spoken word artist Jasmine Mans touches on this topic in a spoken word piece called “Nicki Minaj”, as it focuses on a woman who has brought back the discussion of female MC’s, but in a context that is very different from the era of “Ladies First”, “Monie In The Middle”, and “Paper Thin”. Many of the cherished women in hip-hop came from the golden era, a time when it was about self-awareness, Afrocentricity, honor and price for the music and self. Yet take a look at what’s happening today, and soon sensuality became more important than sexuality, because let’s face it, most mainstream female rappers are rarely about being sexual. It can be argued that regardless of how blunt dancehall reggae artists can be, artists such as Lady Saw and Tanya Stephens have taken over in spots that some female rappers have forgotten.

But back to this video. Mans looks at Nicki Minaj and while proud that a woman has taken the hip-hop spotlight once again, she also asks at what cost? Mans basically states in her piece that Minaj may represent the “same as it ever was” mentality, and that as a message from one woman to another, Mans is basically telling her to look in the mirror and understand what she’s doing before she helps influence a generation of disposable Barbie dolls.

RECORD CRACK: The Octopus Project’s “Hexadecagon” Zoetrope instructional video

If you have never heard of The Octopus Project, you should begin immediately. This Texas group have been around for a few years, have been winning people over with their brand of music and recently added a “visual artist” into their lineup to add a different dimension to their brand of music. This has resulted in a brand new album called Hexadecagon, which can be purchased on vinyl as a 2LP set. To make it interesting, The Octopus Project have placed locked concentric grooves on it, which means once it reaches the end heads towards the run-off groove, it will infintely loop a sound made specifically for that section of the record. However, a “concentric groove” also means that when you apply the needle to the record, it may play different songs each time the record is played.

In addition to these things, the record comes with a zoetrope, or a series of four zoetropes, one for each side of the record, which you can see by clicking the instructional video below. Short version: you cut out a piece of paper, place it onto the record label, and you will be able to see/watch an animated sequence on your record. Zoetropes have been used on everything from playgrounds to art displays and even McDonald’s Happy Meals, so it’s definitely bringing back the concept of the old, onto a means of audio technology that’s old, into the new and modern digital era to those who may have never known these vinyl tricks can be produced.

To see another example of a zoetrope on a record, click here.

Hexadecagon is out now as a CD and trendy MP3, but the vinyl pressing will be hitting the analog streets on November 9th. You can order your copy from

RECORD CRACK: Mmmm, yes: Kate Bush album steps into the audiophile world

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It’s hard to believe that the album was release 21 years ago, but now Kate Bush‘s The Sensual World is getting the audiophile treatment, as Audio Fidelity will be reissuing it as a 180g vinyl pressing. This version was remastered by Steve Hoffman, so if you missed the original UK or US vinyl pressings (I have the U.S. Columbia), you’ll want to spend the money for this one. Not only is it her best selling album, but there’s some great songs on the album, including “Love And Anger”, “The Fog”, “This Woman’s World” (later covered to great effect by soul vocalist Maxwell), and the sensual title track.

You can order your copy from CD Universe, or pick it up at your local record shop when it is released on November 2nd.

VIDEO / OPINION: Nicole Scherzinger and why she is “Poison” in more ways than one

Pro: This is a brand new song by Nicole Schersinger, from hopefully will not be an album and/or project that will be scrapped. It’s nice, she’s looking good as always, and with enough of a push it will be a hit.

Con: While the song is okay, it’s not extraordinary. It’s more ordinary than anything, but if one is to compare this with other tracks she has done on her own (i.e. outside of The Pussycat Dolls and Eden’s Crush, it fits in because it has a nice pop sound. The one thing that gets to me is that producers are not utilizing her voice and talent to its greatest potential, and that for the most part, people are trying too hard to fit her into a style that they feel is perfect for her. She can do dance, she can do pop, she can sing soulful, she could be dropping cameos on hip-hop tracks if she wanted. Go back to when she did songs as Nicole Kea and she could easy create nice and beautiful acoustic songs, she would be perfect alongside Jack Johnson, Donavon Frankenreiter, or Bruno Mars. One song of hers that didn’t get pushed properly was a single she did a few years ago called “Super Villain”, where they tried to give elements a slight Lil’ Jon touch. The song, and the two other songs Interscope released around the same time, went nowhere.

  • So what’s the problem? Too ethnic? Or is it because someone with her background seems difficult to market in today’s music world? She doesn’t look like Lady Gaga or Katy Perry and yet they’re trying to push her in that same bracket, or even Britney Spears. Britney fucking Spears? Scherzinger has a voice, and one that could do some serious damage if she was placed in the hands of the right producers in a recording studio. I’d love to her Scherzinger do a song with Phonte Coleman, or Latoiya Williams, Gloria Ry’ann, Destani Wolf, or anyone who actually has a voice and a soulfulness that makes her more than just a face.
  • Yes, I say that as a fellow Hawaiian so I’m going to give Scherzinger all the aloha I can from afar. Yet I would not do that if she was someone without the talent. Her track record proves this: she showed up on a VH-1 diva show where the spotlight was meant to be on others, and everyone wanted to know “who was that thin Asian chick who can belt it”? I knew who she was, and all of a sudden she was on radio and TV everywhere. I became a fan, and the voice takes me away. But no one has yet to give her the right songs to take her to the top. Hell, I have a song for her, let’s get ?uestlove on drums, James Poyser and Nicolay on keyboards, and do a song. Why not?
  • Nonetheless, I show support but I just hope this video is a small hint of the greatness to come. Otherwise, she will get lost in the crowd, and I would not blame her if she were to leave the music industry behind and say “screw this, let me be in films and television, at least people will be in tune with who and what I am.”
  • OPINION: The Supervillains and how not to write about them

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  • Blame the economy, blame modern technology, blame high costs in advertising, you can place the blame on a number of things for the demise of the newspaper industry. It’s a topic that’s discussed everywhere from cable news shows to blogs and forums. People may buy a newspaper out of habit, but a lot of times most people will just read one section and one section only, two at the most. Because of the decline, one thing that doesn’t get any mainstream coverage is the decline of the writing. While people are writing, reporting, and investigating, a lot of times it seems that not enough of it is being done, and it’s bad when it comes from people you know are good writers but get caught up in trying to meet a deadline.
  • That is the case with an article about a band from Florida named The Supervillains, an indie rock band with reggae and ska overtones in the vein of 311, Sublime, and Linkin Park. The Supervillains are performing locally at a nightclub next week, and the headline in the Tri-City Herald article is that they are a reggae band. One look at their photo tells me that they’re not a reggae band. It’s not because they are all lighter in complexion than the average reggae band, but even if they were, they don’t look like a band that’s strictly reggae. If they were a reggae band, they looked more like a group that combined ska and rock, like The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. To me, they didn’t even look like a ska/rock band. Hell, one of the guys looks like Pick Boy (played by actor Jeff Sutphen) from the old Nickelodeon show U-Pick Live.

    Then it was the actual headline that did it for me: Ehh, brah. I’m from Hawai’i, to me that could mean one of two things:
    1) These guys are a Jawaiian (Hawaiian reggae) band from Hawai’i
    2) These guys are from California, where saying “eh, bra” (which translates to “how are you, my brother?”, “sir, how are you today?” or “howdy, friend”) is a part of the surfing community lingo.

    The article, written by journalist Dori O’Neal, says that the term, which is a part of the name of their album, Ehh Brah, Party, “is a familiar greeting used throughout the world of reggae music.”

    Um, since when? For as long as I can remember, I’ve always heard a greeting from Jamaica, the island nation which gave the world ska and reggae, as being “ey mon”, as in “hey, man”, same as “how are you, my brother”, “howdy, friend”, or “wassup, bra”. Now, go to Africa, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Australia, or throughout the Pacific Rim. Go to any place where reggae music is a personal favorite, and despite the different accents and language barriers, you will always hear someone saying the word “mon”. “Good music? No problem, mon.” In other words, “ehh brah” is not a familiar greeting amongst the world of reggae music, unless you are part of the surfing communities of California, Hawai’i, Australia, and New Zealand. Now, they are from Florida, where there are a number of surfing communities across the state (Kelly Slayer is from the Cocoa Beach area), so it’s quite possible that the guys in the brand might talk surfer lingo, but they’re also closer to the source of reggae than anyone West of Florida is, and they more than anyone would know that it’s “mon” and not “bra”, or the incorrectly spelled “brah”. Even Jeff Spicoli would say “that’s bogus.”

  • O’Neal’s article does go on to say that they include rock and punk rock with their sound, so right there, that means that they are not just a reggae band. It’s false advertising, and while I hope most people would sense that, I would hate to think that someone expecting some nice roots reggae end up at a show that’s a bit wilder in nature.
  • As for the article referring to vocalist Dom Maresco being off-color with some of his on-stage comments, fans can decide whether or not that is of value. That should be a dead giveaway too, but it was hard to say if that was addressed because of any alleged comments Maresco had made in the past, or because dancehall reggae can occasionally be lyrically offensive. By being what they are, do they think they can get away with saying these things? I honestly don’t know.
  • But how is their music? It’s not too bad. It’s not out of the ordinary for a punk band to dip into reggae or share their love of ska, that has been underway since The Clash, Madness, and TheSpecials did it, even Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols has admitted to be a long time fan of ska and reggae, and managed to incorporate it a number of times with Public Image Ltd..
  • Nonetheless, the article seemed like it was extracted from a press release and assembled to make it look half decent. Of course, most newspapers aren’t trying to be investigative about any thing related to music, but give the reader a reason to want to spend 5, 10, or 20 dollars at a concert, give them a reason they should stop playing Farmville and have a good time with a Florida band who has been around for a few years.

  • RECORD CRACK: Jed & Lucia present a splendid 10 inch

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    Jed & Lucia have released a single that is a preview of what will be on their forthcoming album, Super Human Heart. You’ll get to hear “Apostrophe”, along with a Shawn Lee remix of the song, and “April Showers”, along with a Shlohmo remix. This single will be released as a limited edition (300 copies) 10″ EP.

    The songs are described as a mixture of bossa nova, psych, aggro-beats, and… well, when you have Shawn Lee and Shlohmo involved in remixes, you know that the original mixes must be pretty cool.

    You can order the 10″ by clicking to Ubiquity Records. The Super Human Heart can also be pre-ordered here, the vinyl version is being sold with both the CD and access to MP3’s. Nice.

    FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD: MED’s “Bang Your Head III”

    The Sounds of VTech / VTech: Bang Ya Head III Mixtape   

    Are you a fan of Med? He has a new mix tape out now that you can have for free, mixed by Mixed by DJ Romes of The Lootpack, with a nice mixture that you are sure to enjoy. Here’s the track listing:
    1) Intro -prod by JRocc
    2) Advice – LMD prod by Madlib
    3)Misunderstood –MED prod by Madlib
    4) Candlelight –MED feat/prod by Georgia Anne Muldrow
    4) 50,000 Watts –MED prod by Soul Professa
    5) Salute – J Rocc/MED feat WildChild & Baby Boogalu
    6) Fall Back – Fred feat Med/Pok prod by FRED
    7) R.E.M –Epsilon Project Feat MED prod by Oddisee
    8 ) West Iz Back –MED prod by Khalil
    9) Saga Cont. –Babu feat MED prod by Babu
    10) O.U.T –Matt feat MED prod by MED
    11) Listen –Descry feat MED prod by Descry
    12) Outro Prod by JRocc feat Daru Jones on the drums

    Now go listen. Go.