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Old me would hate this new me.

I even got my CDs down to one rack this pass!

ONE?!? ONE?!?

This is madness,

-Shady

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a fair amount of my DVDs.

Now, I’ve moved on to my CD collection, which over the years has admittedly grown to a ridiculous size. I decided to tackle this enormous task by first getting rid of my burned (not purchased) CDs.

Back in the day (early 2000s), I’d go to the library, borrow the maximum amount of albums, copy them to blanks, and then add them to my collection. Over time, the burns in my collection grew to numerous hundreds.

My ever-shrinking CD collection.

The big question though was, “What do I do with these burned CDs?” I could chuck ’em, easy. But then they’d just be sitting in a landfill where they’d still be on the day I took my last breath. Also, even though they’re just burns, we’re still talking about some quality (and free) music here!

My good friend Erik Rose suggested donating them to a School of Rock. There, my burns could become a library of sorts for kids to pull and learn from. Not only was that not a bad idea, but we actually know a couple that are opening a new School of Rock in Woodland Hills in 2015.

And so tomorrow I’m parting ways with hundreds of hours of music I’ve grown to love over the years. Sure, I have them all ripped and backed up, but I put a shitload of effort and time into the creation of these discs, so a little part of me will be sad to see them go.

Another (bigger) part, however, will be happy to pass them on to a new generation of music lovers and creators.

If one song on one album connects with one kid, it will all have been worth it.

And then my CD collection was nearly halved,

-Shady

Venice, California is known as the birthplace of numerous punk and metal acts (Suicidal Tendencies, Beowülf, etc.), but soon the small beachfront community will also be known as the birthplace of hip-hop MC/songwriter/producer Pause (AKA Daniel Kushnir).

After spending a handful of years concentrating on live performances, Pause headed into the studio to create Pacific Rose, his solo debut. The result is a base of classic California-bred hip-hop peppered with jazz and soul, along with a few surprises thrown into the mix to keep listeners guessing.

The best part of Pacific Rose is that it’s hard to categorize; each track changes things up just slightly. At times, it dips into early nineties nostalgia (MC Serch… yeah, I went there). Other times, infectious, J Dilla-inspired beats dominate, giving listeners a nod to the hip-hop of a decade prior. And occasionally, Pause doesn’t sound anything like a Southern California MC, as his lyrics and delivery bend more toward Midwest folks like Aeon Grey.

But while Pacific Rose pays its respects to the hip-hop of the past, it shines when it finds its own sound. Like any good album, the music should be less about what hip-hop is, and more about what hip-hop can be. And while the album doesn’t follow that credo 100% of the time, it manages to veer off and become its own thing numerous times throughout its nine-track course.

It’s a great start for Pause, especially when you find out that Double K of People Under the Stairs contributed both beats and verses to the album. Not a bad guest to have show up on your freshman release, right?

Learn more about Pause and Pacific Rose here.

Below is the music video for “Caroline,” the album’s second track. Check it out:

Paused,

-Shady

…just started up a new Kickstarter page to help raise money for his band’s (Demo Team) new album (“Trimurti”).

I donated $20 and am getting a copy of the album and a bunch of stickers! Support the arts (and get your very own copy of “Trimurti” in the process) by checking out Demo Team’s Kickstarter page here.

“The Blarg” is a jockstrap for the arts,

-Shady

…right here:

Books:

Think Outside the Box Office by Jon Reiss (Hybrid Cinema)
Breaking into the film industry has always been easier said than done. The digital age, of course, has made the world much smaller, bringing people closer together. One would think that this would make it easier to get a film made, but it’s unfortunately had the reverse effect; it’s forced filmmakers to get creative. Just look at the popularity of films like “The Blair Witch Project” and “Paranormal Activity.” The filmmakers of those movies thought outside of the box and made a killing because of it. Think Outside the Box Office can easily be regarded as a bible for those types of filmmakers. Whether you’re looking to produce a feature film, web series, short, or even a clip for YouTube, this book outlines unique distribution strategies and marketing methods for filmmakers of all sizes. I can see readers who aren’t surrounded by the film industry becoming a little bogged down by some of the book’s lingo and terminology, but don’t let that discourage you. If anything, this book should force you to learn those terms, not run from them. If filmmaking is an industry you’re looking to get into, pick this up, grab a highlighter, and get reading.

The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch (Atria Books)
You know the backward episode of “Seinfeld,” where Kramer’s gigantic lollipop gets bigger and bigger as the episode goes on? Well, this novel kind of has that same premise, minus Kramer and his ever-growing lollipop, of course. The 13th Hour is a thriller told in reverse. The story begins on July 28th at 9PM. Nicholas Quinn sits in an interrogation room at police headquarters unjustly accused of his wife Julia’s murder. Then, through the help of a mysterious man who enters the room, Nicholas is given the power to go back in time (one hour at a time) and solve the murder of his wife. Admittedly, at first, the story’s premise can come across as being cliched or gimmicky; but if television shows like “Lost” and films like “Memento” have proven anything, they’ve proven that it all comes down to how the material is handled. Author Richard Doetsch has done a great job of steering far away from the ridiculous, and has given readers a story that is as interesting as it is unique. I admit I’m a sucker for stories that begin at the end (or end at the beginning, for that matter), but The 13th Hour is more than just a clever idea; it’s a damn good novel.

Admit One: My Life in Film by Emmett James (Fizzypop Productions)
Everybody’s got a story, and Emmett James is proof. In this autobiography, James looks back on his life, from his cinema-obsessed childhood in South London in the 1980s, to his crashing of the Academy Awards in Hollywood. James’ obsession with movies runs deep in his blood, from watching films at a local theater as a child, to an acting career in the business itself. (He even made a brief appearance in 1997’s “Titanic” as 1st Class Steward.) Here, James reflects on all of it, bringing together his very private real world with the very public plastic world of the movie-making industry. With every chapter, James compares and contrasts his real life with the scripted fiction of some of Hollywood’s most well-known movies. In doing so, he manages to blur the lines between reality and surreality, leaving the reader wondering what is true and what’s been written simply for more effect. But who really gives a shit, right? Because in the end it’s all about telling a good story; true, false, or somewhere in between.

DVDs:

“Revolution in the Head: Rage Against the Machine and the Art of Protest” (Sexy Intellectual)
Rage! Against the Machine! Anger! I love Rage, and this documentary reminds me why. This DVD is very similar in content and style to this Nine Inch Nails DVD that I reviewed a few months back. There’s most definitely a lot of great information here about Rage Against the Machine, as well as some fantastic live performance footage, but the members of RATM are noticeably absent from the film itself. Still, there are a lot of great interview subjects featured including Rage producer/engineer Garth Richardson, and Rage biographer (to be read: Rage Against the Machine Nerd, or RATMN) Colin Devenish. The best part of the documentary is that, while it’s definitely a film about Rage, they use the group as more of a vehicle to talk about the broader topic of protest musicians, everybody from Pete Seeger to Public Enemy. If you’re looking for just a live performance DVD you’re going to want to sit this one out. But if you’re looking for a film about Rage’s creative process and the history of protest music, pick it up.

“Wesley Willis’s Joy Rides: It’s a Rock You Mentary” (Eyeosaur Productions)
There are two types of people in the world: Those who “get” Wesley Willis and everyone else. I was fortunate enough to catch a live performance of Wesley a few years before he passed away, and I can honestly say that no matter what your opinion of the man may be, he was a consummate performer through and through. This documentary about the music, art and life of the man delivers that message. What the film shows is that beneath the mystery of Wesley Willis (beyond the headbutts he’d give fans, beyond the commercial jingles that ended each and every one of his 5,000+ songs) there was a warm and caring guy who wanted nothing more than to make people happy with his witty and bizarre music. That’s it. Unlike so many people in the music industry, he wasn’t out for fame or fortune. He really did only care about the music. When I first heard that Wesley died back in 2003, I have to admit that I really didn’t feel anything. He most definitely wasn’t a healthy or well individual, so his death wasn’t a big surprise. But while watching this documentary I actually found myself missing him. Weird. Rock over London, Wesley. Rock on Chicago. Indeed. For those of you who have never heard of Wesley before, check out this short piece on him. If you like this, you’ll also like the DVD.

CDs:

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros “Up From Below” (Community Records)
I have to admit that when I first saw a video of Edward Sharpe and his joyful hippie-esque clan of Magnetic Zeros, images of The Polyphonic Spree popped into my head. (Note: Edward Sharpe is actually a fictional character portrayed by lead singer Alex Ebert of Ima Robot fame.) Ugh… I shudder. But this bizarre band of musicians has something the Spree doesn’t: TALENT! Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros are more Muppet gypsies than they are crazy hippies… not that there’s anything wrong with that. But what do they sound like? Well, they sound like the theme song of “The Great Space Coaster” as covered by the original 1971 Broadway cast of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Yeah… kind of like that. Sure, the music is both catchy and quirky, but not once did it feel gimmicky. Beyond the beards and barefoot performances lies a rag-tag group of talented musicians who just want to have fun while making quality music. Mission accomplished, folks.

I miss One-Sentence Reviews,

-Shady

S2uRv8ZE_Tc

…are these five albums:

1) Feathers’ “Synchromy”

2) Fitz & The Tantrums’ “Songs For A Break Up: Volume 1″

3) Various Artists “Urban Revolutions: The Future Primitive Sound Collective”

4) DJ Cam’s “Mad Blunted Jazz: Disc One”

5) Victor Bermon’s “Arriving At Midnight”

You know the drill.

Blindly picking,

-Shady

PS: I write these posts mainly because I’m honestly interested in hearing what other music people are listening to. If I come across something that sounds cool, or if it’s something I’m not familiar with, I do seek it out. So please, spread your musical knowledge. This is how new favorite bands and albums are discovered.

…are these five albums:

1) Ween’s “White Pepper”

2) Charlie Haden’s “Nocturne″

3) Vic Ruggiero’s “Understanding New Jersey/Living In Sin”

4) Boss Hog’s “Whiteout”

5) The Chemical Brothers’ “Brother’s Gonna Work It Out”

And today you’re listening to…?

A lot of “white” lately,

-Shady

…are these five albums:

1) Disc Two Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ “White Lunar”

2) DJ Shadow’s “The Outsider″

3) Nirvana’s “Sliver: The Best of the Box”

4) Prodigy’s “The Fat of the Land”

5) The White Stripes’ “De Stijl”

And you?

Rocking it,

-Shady

Old Poop!

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