Read All About It


1) There’s something like a gazillion blogs being created every day. The vast majority are worthless. Then there’s Just Blaze’s blog. It is whatever lies at the far, far opposite end of worthless, especially with posts like these.

2) Jay Smooth – a legend in three games: radio, blogs and now – vlogs). What’s with the cat though?

3) KRS-One is still going after Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop. I’d like to take some time out to comment on this further but I’m short on time. Suffice to say, KRS actually has some compelling points to make but alas, along with his rigor comes a decent amount of mortis.

4) Everyone’s favorite British soul singer (no, the other one. The brunette with bad teeth.) will be discussed today on WYNC’s Soundcheck. Myself and Ann Powers will be weighing in. Should be fun.

Taking It To the Max


One of the compliments once paid to Soul Sides was in regards to our now famous “Apache Post” that was an adaptation of a Michaelangleo Matos paper given at the Experience Music Project Conference a few years back – this time, complete with sound files to help illustrate the point.

The reason people seemed to like it is that it seemed to embody the potential for audioblogs to create a unique medium for discussion and expression. After all, it’s more than just text or music on its own, but can combine the two in illuminating ways.

On that note, I’d like to pay respect to another EMP paper, this one given just the other month by ethnomusicologist Wayne Marshall of Wayne and Wax. It’s on the “Zigzagging Zungazung Meme,” which should be familiar to anyone who has, y’know, listened to hip-hop or reggae in the last 20 years. In this paper, Marshall traces the beginning of the “zungazeng zunga zunga zang” chant from Yellowman’s “Zunguzung” in 1982 and how it managed to creep into everything from the music of BDP, 2Pac, Biggie, Joe Budden and Matisyahu.

It’s a completely mesmerizing journey that Marshall takes you on and it’s only abetted by the fact that he includes sound clips for every key way station you pass along the way, culminating in his massive “Mini-Mega-Mix.”

This is well worth taking some time to read and listen. You’ll thank yourself for it.

“Follow Me Now: The Zigzagging Zungazung Meme”




King Sun: Sippin’ Brandy (edit)
From 12″ (Big Boss, 1993)

Meanwhile, I also had some time to catch up with some other audioblogs and seriously, When They Reminisce‘s two-part series on the samplings of “Blind Alley” (uno/dos) is what this medium is also all about. Eric, with help from Jaz, basically cobbled together a few dozen uses of the Emotions’ “Blind Alley” (perhaps my favorite sample of all time) which is probably best known on Big Daddy Kane’s “Ain’t No Half Steppin'” but has been flipped many, many times since. The WTR folks did a bang up job turning over every stone, with a lot of songs most of you younger dudes have never heard and older cats like me forgot about.

Personally, aside from BDK, two of my other favorite uses of the song are: 1) Redman’s “Reggie Noble vs. Redman” as well as 2) Craig Mack’s “Funk Wit Da Style” (both are included in the Part 1 post) and the reason why is because they let the main loop play. At least half of the songs WTR includes are tracks that flip the drum break off the song but filter the loop out and personally, I love the song FOR those bells so any song that puts ’em front and center is good in my book.

Which leads us to…

One of the songs included is King Sun’s “Sippin’ Brandy” a legendary early ’90s single that appeared on both Big Boss and Money Bag Records. Notoriously rare even though King Sun wasn’t exactly obscure. I have to thank Ed over at Sandbox for getting me the Big Boss version into my hands, many years ago. In any case, it uses the “Blind Alley” loop but flips it a bit different from other folks.

I noticed the song was included in the WTR post and taking a listen to it I realized with a chuckle: it’s the version of the song I put on my Incognitos Redux mixtape (not currently for purchase but I’m working on it). I know this because there’s a breakdown in the song where I mix in part of a Motion Man single (Joe Quixxx, holla!) and sure enough, on the WTR version, that same mixed in segment is there. However, it sounds like they have a burn of a burn or something pretty lo-fi so I decided to re-up a better version above, albeit one where I edited it so it’s only the first verse and chorus. Sorry but this is one of those songs that I still like to keep close to the chest, if you know what I mean. Still, you can see what makes the song pretty dope just based on what you have here. One of these days, someone needs to do a proper reissue of it. Such a lost classic….

But my point? When They Reminisce = killing it. Go peep their posts and check out those tracks before their gone. Great, great post so ’nuff respect to them.

Updated Blog Roll


So we finally updated the blog roll.

1) Steinski has a blog?! Awesome. Seriously, Stein is like the dudest of dudes ever.

2) Album blogs are now, for the first time really, represented. It was inevitable.

3) I’ve also include a few sites that are not, technically, pure audioblogs but mix content, such as the always excellent rap-related sites like Oh Word, Smoking Section and The Rap Up.

4) Of the new-new blogs, the most promising seem to be:

    A) >bounce/oz. The spelling of their site is awkward – even if it is a musical reference – but the content is cool.
    B) Funky Czech-In. I should have added this months ago. Not only does it have a great name but it’s the kind of audioblog I really appreciate – super-focused.
    C) Undercover. An audiophile that specializes in soul/jazz covers? Holla!
    D) Loaded to the Gills. Another site that should have been on the roll a long time ago, especially since it’s one of our fave new spots. If only they got off the yousendit tip. See below.
    E) Number One Songs in Heaven is dead. Long live Crying All the Way to the Chip Shop. We have no idea what that title means but where London Lee goes, we follow.
    F) Konstant Kontakt. Stretch Armstrong has a blog? With posts of his and Bobbito’s old shows? Oh yeah baby.
    G) Press Rewind. We mentioned them before but the last two posts, including Big L doing “Devil’s Son” live is just next level.

5) Pet Peeves: Seriously, sites need to realize there’s a lot more options out there for hosting than yousendit.com, rapidshare.com and whatever else. Unless you’re posting up albums, there’s no excuse for song sites to be using anything that doesn’t allow easy previewing of the songs. No offense, but I hate having to download a song just to hear it. Get familiar with:

COMMUNITY CHECK-UP


Every so often, I take it upon myself (pretension alert!) to look around the audioblogosphere (try saying that 10 times quick) and offer some general comments. Here’s my latest installment:

1. ZShare = ?

One of my pet peeves in the past are sites that rely on rapidshare or yousendit or similar free services to transfer single songs (albums are a different story) mostly because it forces the reader to download the song without being able to listen to it first. What I like about ZShare is how you can listen to whatever it is you’re about to DL before you DL it, thus coming to the conclusion, “hey, maybe I don’t actually want to DL this?”

For any site that doesn’t have the bandwidth to self-host, I haven’t seen a better alternative than ZShare yet. I’m open to suggestions however.

2. Album blog insanity

I mean this in a good way (mostly). I’ve probably commented on this in the past, but while I’d never go album-based for Soul-Sides.com (too time consuming, too much potential liability), I fully appreciate the appeal of them, especially when it comes to out-of-print material accompanied by actual context for why you should care to begin with.

I will say this much – and this is a larger philosophical point pertaining to cultural content and the internet in general: it is mind-blowing how much stuff is archived online now. No offense to the heydey of Napster but even that once mighty institution is starting to pale next to the simplicity of Technorati or Blogsearch to find practically any song/album you might reasonably imagine. I know the recording industry is crapping bricks over this (and to a large degree, I can understand why) but for music fans, it’s an amazing time to get listen and learn to decades worth of amazing music.

In any case, if you find this all overwhelming too, blame/praise folks like these:

    Loronix. Hands-down, in terms of volume and consistency, the best album blog I’ve seen out there. If you’re not a fan of Brazilian music and especially bossa nova after a few hours perusing the site, there’s no hope for you. (Nitpick: They need better looking t-shirts. Just saying).

    Wake Your Daughter Up. They don’t boast the volume that other hip-hop album sites do but in terms of the depth of writing that accompanies every post, I just appreciate the thought that goes into them. Quality over quantity, you know?

    The Smoking Section. Part album/song-blog for new releases, part online rap magazine. These dudes hustle harder than most bloggers I know put together. Especially as other bloggers have made the transition into more professional work (see Nahright’s Eshkay power move to XXLMag.com), I foresee Screw and Gotty being next to blow.

3. Where else to tune? For those of us still based around song-sites (so old school), here’s two of my favorites plus a new spot:

    Office Naps. Yeah, I know, we partner with DJ Danny so I’m biased but f— it. This is what I wish most audioblogs were like: great songs, great content, nice clean design. (You need to fix your RSS feed though!). As far as I’m concerned, I’ve yet to see a song-based blog that’s got the overall package as nicely bundled as Office Naps. Look and learn.

    Captain’s Crates. No fading the Captain either – just a great site with exceptional taste. Many of the songs he puts up earn their way onto my want list (much to the detriment of my pocketbook). Plus a radio show archive to boot? We’re not worthy.

    Press Rewind If I Haven’t Blown Your Mind. I love the basic conceit of this relatively new blog: not just song MP3s but magazine scans that accompany them. It’s a great resource for not just music but also rap journalism.

4. Your suggestions? If you have a blog that you’d like to see considered for our blog roll, holla here. I’ll probably update the list by sometime next week.

THE SOUL SIDES BLOG ROLL

Soul Sides link policy:

1) I only link pages that I’d actually visit myself. You might have the most kick ass death metal audioblog ever created but mine is not an appropriate site to trade links with. You might try Tofuhut though, who maintains the most thorough audioblog roll I’ve ever seen.
“Appropriate” means you at least include some postings that deal with soul, funk, jazz, hip-hop, etc.
2) If you don’t update your site at least once a month, I’ll likely remove your site from the roll. I don’t clean house often but when I do, I check every single site I link to.
3) Do not post links to the comments below. From now on, please email your link requests here. I’ll try to check every so often but don’t expect a lightning quick turnaround.


NEEDING NAPS

I’ve been derelict in updating my blogroll but seriously, it’s just a low priority since I rarely, rarely have enough time to browse other blogs. That said, I do try to check out suggested new sites when people send me queries. Most of them I’m just not that into on a personal level – that’s not a criticism, it’s more than, musically-speaking, I’m not vibing off what’s there.

One recent exception? Office Naps.

It’s devoted to 45s (good sign #1) and it’s actually incredibly informative in terms of explaining genres, offering up examples and breaking things up thematically (good sign #2). All said, it’s probably one of the best new sites I’ve seen in a long, long time: there’s clearly a lot of thought – and trouble – that’s gone into Office Naps and I can appreciate that.

Oh yeah, and the site has it’s own server (good sign #3) instead of forcing people through the headache of rapidshare.com or similar free server set-ups. I can respect, cost-wise, the desire to go through megaupload or yousendit but in terms of convenience, if I can’t get to the song in one click, I usually don’t bother. In fact, I’d personally rather deal with one-click streaming audio than sit through a few minutes of waiting for rapidshare to “allow” me the privilege of downloading.

What was my point? Oh yeah: Office Naps. Get familiar.

WORDS FROM YOUR SPONSOR

After three straight weeks of collaboration fever (Soul Hut, Blunts vs. Soul), we’re going to just return to our good ‘ol days of solo Soul Sidery for a few (though I still got stuff cooking in the pot involving some great guest editors). I have Nina Simone on tap, a bunch of Eastern European rock and jazz, and more Latin sides to slide your way.

Just a quick note: I think this began with the Rolling Stone article but I don’t specialize in “R&B and soul.” Those two terms are redundant. The line between “R&B” and “soul” is as ill-defined as between “rap” and “hip-hop.” I know this sounds nit-picky but we do soul here, among other genres, but not soul and R&B.

More new audioblogs in our midst:

Of The Mirror Eye. Bob has an eclectic mix of songs up right now, including some Funkadelic, James Brown and a cut off Dante C’s Chains and Black Exhaust mix-CD. The Mirror Eye also gets bonus points for not using one of the same four Blogger templates that 90% of other blogs seem stuck with. Don’t get me wrong – I’m using one too but it’s nice to see a different look for once.

Copy, Right. How did I not know about this blog? Liza is all about cover songs, which, as the Soul Sides faithful know, is a personal love of my own. Right now, she’s got a cover of the Go-Go’s “Vacation” done by The Frogs, and Billy Idol doing “Don’t You Forget About Me” among others. She also get extra props for having one of the best names for an audioblog.

Not new but Scissorkick is kicking major ass of late. On the design tip, he’s also added new icons to discern between different kinds of postings.

Last but not least,

1) Dick B., one of the SS massive, emailed me a song that he’s been trying to ID. It’s a jazz song he heard on Belgium radio (though the artists involved may not necessariyl even be European). He (and now I) was hoping someone might identify it.

Artist?: Mystery pracht jazz.

From ? (?, 19??)

Know it? Drop a comment.

2) We have another listener contribution, this time from John S. in NYC. Really excellent Ohio Players’ cut – I don’t spend nearly enough time listening to these guys.

Ohio Players: Pride and Vanity

From Pleasure (Westbound, 1972)

MO’ BETTER MUSIC

It might be autumn here in America but it’s springtime for audioblogs. Everytime I turn around, more and more are springing up. Here’s a few that are glowing on Soul Sides’ radar:Jazz and Conversation. Nick Francis from QuietFM.com just kicked this off, bringing his awesome knowledge of jazz to the forefront. Recent postings include a

gorgeous, subtle Duke Ellington track off of Money Jungle and a great female vocal song by Madeleine Peroux.

The Naughahyde Life. I have no idea what the hell naughahyde means (and I’m too lazy to look it up) but when you got someone nicknamed Thebeathunters behind the posts, you know you’re in for treats. Here’s a blogger after my own musical heart: funk, soul, jazz and an emerging set of electronic offerings that I think will really help distinguish the site. They recently put up some Nancy Holloway songs that are hot like fyre and some ace Bill Conti soundtrack compositions for An Unmarried Woman.
Benn luxo du tácco. Ok, I don’t know what that means either but I do understand that it’s a blog out of West Africa, as is much of the music he’s highlighting. He just finished with Mali and is moving towards Senegal. Follow him.


New on the watch list: whenmadwastallandphatwascold: obscure NY and Chicago hip-hop.

I have to be honest – god bless Cocaine Blunts and others, but for some reason, I’ve been more wary about posting up my hip-hop butters. Thankfully, the upcoming “Soul Blunts” battle (act like you knew) has been an incentive for me to be a little less tight-fisted about it. Stay tuned.