satellite high - new tune PUSH/PULL and MFOA interview

san fransisco rapper satellite high has just released a dark and excellent new track called PUSH/PULL, and was kind enough to agree to do an MFOA interview. lyrically PUSH/PULL is a brooding introspective journey, sonically the song is a heavily experimental meditation on what rap can be...recorded with analog instruments and avoiding samples and synthesizers (the lack of sampled vocals that are present in many rap hooks adds to the sense of isolation in the tune), the verse part grinds forward with a distorted low end over high ptiched woody percussion, while the chorus blooms with an ominous psychedelic style guitar figure. as with the best rap songs, the track creates the perfect atmosphere for the lyrics.

while you are listening to that, check out the interview below:

MFOA - what is your recording setup like? why do you value recording alone at home as opposed to in a "real" studio?

SH - my recording setup is pretty elaborate at this point, the core of it is my mac and logic, that's where everything ends up most of the time (unless i'm recording to 4-track cassette, which happens sometimes too). From there, it's an MPC-2500 and a battery of old synths and 'analog' instruments like upright bass, hand percussion, guitars, various noise-makers, etc. about the only thing i'm not tracking live these days are drums -- i'm a drummer, and eventually i do want to start getting into tracking my own breaks, but recording in an apartment can put the damper on those sorts of goals.

i value recording at home, and working mostly as a solo act, mostly because of personality dynamics, i guess. i have very clear ideas and visions of how i want stuff to sound, but i'm also not the type of person who enjoys arguing about that stuff, or struggling to make my voice heard, so working this way allows me to have complete control out of what goes in to the process and what comes out. and of course, the financial aspect of it is huge -- i'm a pretty prolific songwriter and if i were limited by the financial constraints of 'professional studio time' i don't think i'd be able to record half of the ideas that i have

MFOA - some people may have (very) inaccurately labeled your tunes "nerdcore", possibly due to your heavy internet presence, appearances on (ironically one of which was making fun of "nerdcore") and large amount of twitter followers. while that label is obviously incorrect, another that you have been given, "internet rapper", seems to apply a little bit more, for better or worse. how do you feel about interacting with/gaining fans/releasing music online? do you feel the internet/self releasing has given you more power to reach fans on your own terms?

SH - the 'internet rapper' thing is weird. obviously everybody's an 'internet musician' at this point, if you want to achieve an audience to some degree, but it also feels kind of dismissive when people imply that what you do is somehow disconnected from the real world. i play shows, i go on tour, i make physical product, i do all the things that rock bands do and that people have been doing for decades. the internet is just another place to connect with people but i don't think it defines my output in any legitimate way.

however, yeah, i recognize that the internet (and twitter/tumblr especially) have been somewhat instrumental in building a fan base and that can't be ignored. i know a lot of people who seem to think that there's a specific way to 'game' social media and catch a small following; i'll frequently have people ask me "how to get followers" or whatever, and that's silly. the small amount of notoriety or whatever i have comes almost entirely from just being a human being with people. i'm lucky in that i am naturally an internet loudmouth, i would be part of this whole conversation whether or not i had music to promote, and i think that's the "secret".

i do definitely feel a lot more agency from self-releasing on the internet for sure; i grew up self-releasing music in the pre-web days and sometimes it amazes me to realize that there are more people have probably listened to a single satellite high song than people who encountered any of my other musical projects combined. so yeah, the power for outreach can't be denied. mostly, though i just feel that i'm a much more effective promoter there than in person, so it's an avenue i've pursued pretty consciously.

MFOA - on a similar note, you recently opened up for a live performance by the folks behind the very popular welcome to night vale podcast, which also has a large twitter following. how was the show? do you like the idea of a live show mixing genres and mediums like this one did? did that situation make for an inviting, welcoming performance/audience for you?

SH - the night vale show was great! it's obviously a pretty new audience for me, and i don't really come from a world that intersects with 'fandom' frequently, but the fans are really positive and energetic and they've really sort of adopted me as part of that world and i'm very very thankful for it. the show itself was also really weird and fun; playing in a brightly-lit bookstore to a seated audience is not the typical 'hip hop experience' but it was also a great chance to play for people who were really excited to see the whole affair. probably one of the most receptive audiences i've encountered and a far cry from the arms-crossed "prove yourself" audiences that tend to dominate indie hip hop shows around here.

MFOA - you grew up in florida, playing in hardcore/punk bands in and around the scene that gave rise to such acts as against me and hot water music (aside: please correct me if i'm wrong about these bands). many musicians from this scene have gone into an alt-country phase or other different directions as the years have worn by. what led you from hardcore and punk to hip hop? have you always loved hip hop, and kept it on the back burner, or did you discover it later in life? what are a few records that helped bridge the gap (not that it is necessarily a huge gap) between punk and hip hop, and influenced you to make this music? how does your background in punk/hardcore inform the tunes you make currently?

SH - [side note - you are right about those bands, i went to high school with HWM and against me's drummer and i were very good friends and bandmates in high school]
hip hop has definitely always been my first love, really. the first albums i ever bought were these weird compilation rap tapes, one of 'em i got specifically because it contained 'the superbowl shuffle' but it also had tracks by doug e. fresh and the symbolic three and a bunch of pretty legit old-school tracks. i got into punk and hardcore based more on ideology than music, really, and i think i probably would have started rapping much earlier if i had the confidence to do so. i was a very self-critical kid and the punk/hardcore scene back then was very inwardly-focused in a way that really connected with me. rap sorta felt like this 'other world' that i didn't have an entry point into.

i got into writing rhymes and shit when i was wicked young but i dont think i ever rapped in public until i was in college and starting freestyling with other dudes at parties and shit. i got pretty into the whole freestyle/battle scene in florida in the early 2000's for a bit, but kinda soured on the hypermasculinity and faded out and went back to rockish music. it wasn't really until i moved to california in 2006 or so that i decided to 'get serious' about hip hop. think a lot of it was just not knowing people at the time and not having anybody i'd have to explain my gear-shift to, and the realization that i enjoy making music a lot more than 'being in a band.' i'm kind of naturally controlling with music (as mentioned above) but i’m also not a 'leader', so band environments lead to a lot of unwilling compromise and eventual resentment.

as far as how that background influences my music, it's tricky. for the first couple years (and releases) i was making a concerted effort to channel that hardcore spirit in a way that i think may have been a little forced. i definitely tended to write about issues from a very heavy-handed lecture-focused punk rock mindset and i find those tracks a little difficult to listen to now. i think i also came at rap with a pretty typical snotty punk attitude of "TEAR IT DOWN AND START AGAIN" until i discovered the 'right way' to break the rules without pissing all over an art form. nowadays, i think the biggest visible part of that punk/DIY/hardcore mentality is evident in the way i work, and my commitment to doing things as independently as possible. and dumb lyrical references to samiam records and shit.

downlaod a bunch of satellite high albums for name-your-price right here.

saturday city - saturday city EP

norwegian contemporary folk band saturday city is made up of brothers magnus and stian gulbrandsen, both veterans of the norwegian rock scene. saturday city grew from the fact that each brother had written a bunch of softer material that didn't fit well with their harder rocking bands. to their surprise they found that saturday city was better received in norway than their previous projects, and now they've released a new self titled EP to give the people what they want.
the tunes themselves are nice romantic folk numbers, augmented by light percussion, mandolin, piano and synth pads, with fine, hushed voices and brother-harmonies taking center stage. a favorite of mine is track two, the quietly electric and fairly maudlin 'i'll be fine'.

stream and download this bit of americana by way of norway, free of charge, right here.

matt pless - tumbleweed

baltimore, MD's matt pless hit me up from the middle of a cross country tour to ask me to write a little about his latest album. 'tumbleweed' is a solid, no frills collection of emotionally confessional folk punk songs. there isn't any production aside from guitar and the occasional harmonica, but the playing/singing is solid throughout, there is even a traditional 'talking blues', in the mode of woody guthrie, about the information age, in which matt name checks william blake, which if you've followed this spot for awhile you know won me over. there is a good mix of uptempo, snotty type punk songs and softer more reflective finger plucked ballads.

matt's in the middle of his tour so check here for show dates and maybe help him fill in some gaps. name your own price for this album, as well as several other ones, right here.

the westies - hell's kitchen

the westies are a contemporary folk/americana band out of new york city that sing about the street gang culture of early 1960's new york...apparently one of these gangs was known as the westies. although this conjures up images of west side story, the tunes are more along the lines of late career bruce springsteen, john mellencamp, or the quieter, more reflective moments of tom waits than they are like show tunes (although tom waits does do a great version of 'somewhere'). think humming brushes, quiet guitars, and gravelly baritone vocals singing story songs about living, dreaming and dying on new york's mean streets.

find out more information about the westies, including show dates and releases, right here.

julian fulton - two little thieves

julian fulton of new jersey brings and eclectic mix of genres on his latest tune 'two little thieves'. if i had to say it, i would call it something like 'noir-caberet-chamber-jam-rock'. julian and his band have been steadily playing around the new york/new jersey area and building quite a reputation, including being named the #1 unsigned songwriter by deli magazine. so check this tune out and get in on the ground floor.

buy a digital copy of this tune, as well as some older ones (some of which are free) here. head right over here to purchase merchandise and physical albums. check here for info about new releases and shows.

ryley walker - live at galerie rademann (video)

ryley walker is arguably the most mysterious of the burgeoning new generation of american primitive guitarists, having a fairly minimal online presence, despite a growing reputation, until the very recent release of his single 'the west wind' on the tompkins square label. his guitar picking is quite impressive, but despite being labeled american primitive, his sound is a little more jansch than fahey and 'the west wind' features full band arrangements. the ever excellent dying for bad music had him and daniel bachman up to their sleepy little mountain town in germany and the following performances resulted.

if you like what you see, grab the bootleg recording right here from DFBM... guess what, you can score the daniel bachman set as well. both are name your own price downloads. ryley walker's full album 'the west wind' will available from tompkins square on black friday

bognor - river hymn

another bedroom symphony from bognor, called 'river hymn', about floating on rivers and being lost in the woods. this time around, it is much more guitar oriented, and the bedroom it was recorded in happens to be right across the hall from mine. layers of guitars accumulate over the nearly 7 minute length of this spaced out ballad, dreamy vocals reach for the stars at the big ending.

listen to more bognor here. observe the other artistic endeavors of the man behind bognor here.

keith kenny - and the light came blaring in

keith kenny of new jersey is bluesy singer songwriter who gets the most out of his acoustic guitar. the tunes on his latest album, 'and the light came blaring in', vary from mellow, finger-plucked ballads to louder hendrix-inspired blues rambles where distortion is applied to his acoustic axe. the approach of this album in general reminds me of a recent neil young album, 'le noise'...just a man and his guitar, filled out at times with swirls of distortion and solidly rhythmic playing.

buy this album and his two previous albums here. this november, keith will be headlining a benefit concert in loas, called 'we are kind', for victims of unexploded ordinance (bombs and landmines) left over from various wars in that region. a good cause. here is a video advertisement for it, in laotian.

jom rapstar - autobiography of joseph keith graham miller

i saw jom rapstar for the first time last night at the eclectic open mic might at the firkin tavern in inner SE portland. he is portland born and raised and is becoming well known through small shows and open mic's around town. but i think the best way to introduce him is to let him introduce himself, through the bio from his website:

"Jom Rapstar is an underground Hip Hop artist from Portland, Oregon. His style and dilivery are very unique in many ways. He lets his imperfections shine thru just to show you he’s human. He also suffers from asbergers syndrome, a miner form of autism. Jom was born 4/21/1985 OHSU Hospitial in Portland, OR. his dad left his mom when his brother was born, so He was raised by his mom until he was 3 when she was homeless, so his great aunt took him in raised him til he was almost 9. During that time, he attended Beech Elementry sheel til the schoolyear ended in 1992 than Woodlawn elementry the following year & was always rowdy & got into trouble in school when he was going to Woodlawn Elementry School. Over a month b4 he turned 9, his father took him & his brother (Steven Michael Graham miller) from his great aunt & Grand parents & took them to Everette, WA. He still got in trouble in school, but he cooled down some on that as he got older. 3 months later, his dad started abusing & molestin him “I’m not going into any detail on that even tho” says Jom Rapsar. he never spoke publicly about being molested by his dad except in July1998, “But the same thing happened in june 1998 & june 1994) My dad also beat me with a fishing pole & made me stand in a sitting potition. My dad’s xwife’s parents always hit me in the face & just like my dad, they made me go without food as a punishment for bad behavier. (Don’t judge me) ” he explains. He got an interest in Hip Hop in 2001 when his brother plaid Eminem’s “Marahal Mathers LP”. It was a song he did about a fan wno writes him 3 letters then drives off a bridge. “I thought thas was funny to watch” says Jom Rapstar. That was when he lived in Ohio. After the first year of rappn, heI got better @ it tho he wasn’t eble to record or rhyme over beats until he came back to Portland, Oregon (his birth place) He was rhymin on micro cassettes aftes someone stole the first tape he recorded over cassio beats. His raps were about evil until 2006 when he stopped recording on cassettes & started puttin his songs on CDs & mp3s. He graduated High School from Marshall in June 2004 & Finish a Transition Porgram in 2006 in Portland, OR. he worked @ New Season Market 7corners from 2006 til 2010 (January that is) sorting bottle returns & Georgia Pacific stocking papertowels & tp. 4 2 months & he’s now on SSD due to his disability. Meanwhile he finished his debute album “Jo Miller Xposed” ‘which feature’s the lead single “it’s Gonna Be Alright” late 2010. This is just an overview of Jom Rapstar & the musical history. he also appeared on The Showcase 79 mix tape mixed by DJ Smoke & coast2coast Djs & The Showcase 143 staring Slip & Slide recording artist Duece D & mixed by DJ RPM & The Underground fix Volume 24 all 3 courtesy of coast2coast mixtapes. He played shows @ The Wounder Ballroom, Satyricon, Liberty Hall, Jade Lounge, Rock Around the Clock, Watershed PDX, BC’s Bar & Grill, & The Backspace in Portland, OR. He also did countless open mics in Portland OR over the course of His career: That’s Pub At The End Of The Universe 40+ times, Airplay Cafe 5+ times, Ladd’s Inn 100+ times, Hawthorne Theatre 30=times, & Alberta St Pub 3 times. he got a fanbase exceding 2,000 & his live performance attendences range from about 5 to 40+ audience members present during his set. Jo Miller Xposed was released December 21, 2010 through Miller Entertainment, a label he owns. He’s currently working on promoting his debut album & just finished his sophmore LP “My Journey Thru Life. & is now getting ready to promote it with the lead single “Ailianated” He has also finished the videos for “Neva 4Get U & “How We Get Down. My Journey Thru Life Was Released on 12.06/11. He has also released the second single off “My Journey Thru Life” titled “My Recumbent Late July 2012 He has released his 3rd album “Autobiography Of Joseph Keith Graham Miller” December 8, 2012 following the lead single, "Made Me Stronger" & followed by the 2nd single, "To Be Remembered", Which was released in December 2012.. . All Jom Rapstar music videos are now on except “Neve 4Get U”.The music videos for Jom's 2012 singles have been finished & put up for public view by mid 2013. He is now working on the music video for his 10th single, "I'm Shinin Bright" which is the 3rd single off "Autobiography Of Joseph Keith Graham Miller". He is also working on his 4th album title "Finding Inner Peace", which is due out December 2013 following the lead single"Call On Me" through his new label "Microphone Destroyer Records"."

so, there you have it. check out his latest album "autobiography of joseph keith graham miller".

hear his two previous albums and throw him some $ to download them right here. below, check out a video for the single 'made me stronger'

find quite many more videos on his vevo. find jom rapstar himself at an open mic near you if you happen to live in PDX.

made of ants - rusted sky dub

made of ants out of chicago pumps out some serious ambient/drone/techno vibes. one my favorites on his soundcloud is 'rusted sky dub', (i'm a sucker for anything that is spacey and dubbed-up) a gritty, dubbed-out, long form ambient take on 90's techno subgenres. he seems to be a bit of a technique/gear head, and offers a detailed explanation of his process, which i'll add here:

"i had some critical issues with my studio computer so i decided to work with only things and equipment i had laying around. this led to me recording the two slabs of audio that would eventually be the final product.

the first slab was a sample i hobbled together in my SP202 and then ran through a decaying delay line on a weird bass multi effects pedal i had laying around. i recorded this to four track and allowed it to decay for a while creating a lot of neat artifacts and rhythmic distortions.

the second slab was a little more complex, it started out as a bass hit i lifted from an old house tape i found in an alley, which i supplemented with my PSP (using PSPSEQ as a drum machine). after recording these to four track i setup a send that was again the bass multi effect pedal (i forget the exact effects i used and while i seriously doubt it's important feel free to ask and i'll dig it up).

around this time i got my computer situation fixed and promptly recorded both of these into reaper, which if you don't know is a really rad and super affordable DAW. At this point i decided i could only use a handful of VSTs i knew really well and the sounds i had already recorded.

the rest of the process was simply cutting and placing audio chunks then EQ and compression. for the curious this is the ninth draft, using 3 versions of the original bass slab (3 different frequency bands), 3 versions of the melody slab (left, right and center panning). all this is accompanied by various LFOs and envelopes and stuff that i normally don't mess with but i really wanted to do a proper multitrack hence working within different restrictions."

this process led to an interesting result.

listen to a bunch more made of ants right here.

the loomis fargo gang - the prettiest shade of blue

the loomis fargo gang, of norfolk, VA, deliver smooth honey coated indie folk on their newest album the 'prettiest shade of blue'. shimmering guitars, tight harmony vocals and laid back, dandelion field melodies recall the "canyon rock" vibes of late 70's california. some moments are 'pure' pure prairie league, at other times the album drifts more into beach boys-meets-burrito brothers territory. a solid listen.

this slab is not available for download at this point, so stream it for now. you can also check out their older album, 'humans, nature, and human nature'. below check out this hazy drift of a video for their tune 'hazy lazy blue'. purchase these tunes at cd baby or itunes.

francie moon - morning red

thanks to a new correspondence with the fellow eclectic music chronicler over at popa's tunes i was introduced this morning to new jersey singer/songwriter and somewhat badass guitar player francie moon. her bluesy tunes are recorded in a bit of a haze of distortion and reverb, making for rough around the edges, DIY style sound that works perfectly for her spot on performances. what stands out for me is some unique and artful guitar playing, and good singing all around.

name your own price for it today on the bandcamp.

according to her facebook page, she seems to be on a long tour of the whole country, so look there to see where you might catch her live.

fin-folsom - tell-tale

new york's fin-folsom apparently moved back in with their folks in order to fund the recording of this EP and i reckon it was worth it. tell-tale is a quick blast of somewhat anthemic guitar pop/rock, with moments of pleasant instrumental, surfy digression.

name your price for it right here. below is a video for the lead track 'yellow stone'.

dizzy bats - angry eyes and these kids i teach

dizzy bats, of brooklyn, ny, are back with a decidedly louder sound than when i last featured them here. they've taken their pop punk/90's power pop inclinations, electrified them to a greater degree, and produced two slightly bitter, perfectly snotty and heavily infectious jams.

listen to more dizzy bats here and here. pick up the EP these tunes are on, titled 'appendectomy', released yesterday, on bandcamp and itunes.

brock ginther - the breakfast cowboy

brock ginther, newly transplanted to portland, OR, by way of boston, brings a 22 song smattering of lofi indie-pop bedroom gems on his album 'breakfast cowboy'. with clever lyrics, occasional anti-folk style rambles, and noisy bursts of experimentation in between the catchy melodies, the album is reminiscent of of montreal, guided by voices, and adam green/moldy peaches. no wonder that brock hails originally from ohio, a known breeding ground of quality lofi pop. the GBV comparison has an interesting side note...brock's former band, king pedestrian, recorded with late career GBV producer todd tobias.

download this thing for 7 bones right here. find more of brock's tunes, some of which are free, here.

abe po' ugly - ghost tracks

very happy this morning to present three 'ghost tracks' from my brother abe po' ugly. these songs are about grudges i think, from small town to interplanetary in scale. they are presented in a pretty stripped down manner, recorded on an ipad i think, but contain an vague air of psychedelia.

hear more of abe's music right here.

jim mucko - songs and videos

jim mucko is a portland, oregon film-maker and musician. his tunes tend towards ambient, mellow guitarscapes, some with sampled bits of conversation (in an interesting touch, some of the conversation samples are from a found answering machine tape). his films are lego animation, but more robot chicken than michel gondry. mucko makes characters of the lego people and focuses on themes of humorous satire.

tunes -

and the lego film 'origins: the movie' -

check out the rest of his youtube channel for more.

salvaticus - live at the attic (video)

here is a video of brutal blue ridge mountain black metal band salvaticus shredding it up at the attic in (i'm guessing here) luray, VA. haven't heard much from these dudes since posting about their demo 'hidden manna' quite awhile ago.

find out more about shows and upcoming releases from these grim mountain folks here.

american cave and breanne/playfair

i am happy to present this morning my newest album, 'american cave'. as with all my music, it is a free download, i only want you to listen to it and enjoy it. i put a lot of work into it.

recording 'american cave' was a really long process and towards the end i took a break and recorded this other short EP called 'breanne/play fair'. enjoy that for free as well.

get it all plus my old stuff here. the modern folk music of america.

aaron tinjum - american road (video)

DC by way of austin, TX singer song-writer aaron tinjum brings us this dylan-esque blast of lyrical topicality that is quite timely at this juncture where the politicians we have put our trust in are behaving in such a disappointing manner. 'american road' chugs along much like something off of 'highway 61 revisited' but with a totally acoustic arrangement that includes some ripping lead guitar and fiddle playing.

find out more about aaron tinjum here, and pick up his latest EP 'mirrors in the dark' on itunes.

wes tirey - false idols

wes tirey of asheville, north carolina has had a good year. his excellent album 'i stood among the trees', initially released early in the year, has received good reviews from spots like hearth music and no depression and a second edition was released today in a limited, handmade run with a few bonus tracks on the dying for bad music label. the release i'm featuring here today, false idols, is a short three song collection, made in classic apartment style on a small tape recorder, replete with a heavy hiss and a distant sound. tirey's guitar picking ebbs and flows, accenting the spaces between his often sad and literary lyrics, rich with sacred and profane imagery, like a high catholic mass inside the muddy canvas tent of an appalachian revival meeting.

the proceeds from the $1 purchase of this dire little EP go to fund wes's upcoming european tour. pick it up here and help him out. check out his other music as well, its all worth a listen. grab the newly released second edition of 'i stood among the trees' DFBM limited edition here.

sean proper - design engine

from the always excellent dying for bad music comes this amazing release by florida's sean proper. design engine is an album length maelstrom of american primitive fingerstyle storm clouds and sunbeams. the eastern and american folk inspirations that are key to the genre are discernible, but the intensity of the playing gives the impression that there is some metal or other heavy guitar music leaning in sean's ear. these waves of steely picking crash down in both a 6 and 12 string delivery.

pre-order it now for nine euros in a limited edition (50 copies) handmade CD release. Release date is 10/6.


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