New music and art by DMLH, plus other good tunes for all tomorrow's leaders.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A message to you: 2-Tone and Punkrock as heard through Start Fires. Music transcends time, style and subculture to shape the way we create. This is futurebeat.

YO - this is a short journey through the memories that brought about the music I make today. It requires reading for the next five minutes, perhaps with some follow-up exploration which is included at the end. Its fairly relevant and only takes a moment of your time. Here is the new Shermstixx single "Fun Summer" to enjoy as you read.

Fun Summer by shermstixx

If you have been paying attention for a while then you well know that Shermstixx and DMLH START FIRES. When we were teenagers Shermstixx was my guide into the true history and knowledge of punkrock, while I became the only local source (in our small mountain region of Vermont)for in depth conversation on the history of Ska. He wore shirts ripped by time, I wore thriftstore suits. He wore a black knit beanie, I wore a pork pie hat. He put glue in his spikes, I used Murray's hair wax (or a razor for a while). We both wore boots, laced green for the home state.

We scoured record shops and college-radio signals for the music. This was in the mid nineties: the internet had just barely become image-based, Netscape was revolutionary and Yahoo battled Altavista for search supremacy. We piled together for trips to Boston, New York and Montreal for cultural cues, on pilgrimage to legendary clubs and hangouts. Burlington, Vermont, was a tour stop for most bands of the time, either at the 18+ Club Toast or the all ages 242. We lived for the music, for the connection it brought to the outside world, and the sense of history we found in identifying with the subculture.

After a few years in our small scene we became the college-radio djs, the players in the band, the kids with a guestlist and a growing network of friends. Our musical taste expanded as we explored hip hop, electronic, soul music, jazz, disco, continuing our autodidact education in 20th century music forms. Our own creative work and style soon encorporated these influences, and by the time we were living in Boston as adults, post-Napster but pre-Myspace, we were laying the foundation for START FIRES with honest, political raps over what Shermstixx had begun calling "space-age driveby muzik".

When I listen to the semi-live, basement-produced, collection of political and personal songs that make up the first START FIRES album "Dedicate Your Growth To The World", I find the influence of 70's ska and punk perhaps more prevalent than the immediately recognizable influence of electro and hip hop. Each song has a direct message, the energy is inclusive and loose, and we clearly produced it with the tools cobbled together on a nonexistent budget, learning to do it ourselves the whole time. These are the hallmarks of the worlds we studied from far away in the mountains, music at the forefront of its time, reaching its first peaks while we were still toddlers. For me, that means one thing: THIS ARE 2-TONE.

This little voyage through my memory was inspired by watching this documentary Shermstixx posted to his very informative blog "Resort to Cannabilism"

If you are a facebook user, go right now and Like Shermtixx and Start Fires. You know you Like it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

New music from Weather Exposed "Ghost Pedal" and "Ten Years" - Ambient, Instrumental Music from Portland, OR

Weather Exposed (aka multi-instrumentalist Jason Gray) has been creating deeply expressive music that pushes boundaries and breaks expectations in various forms for the past decade. As his material slowly comes out those of us listening have been able to hear the evolving process of an artist able to critique and challenge his own creative instincts. I've written about his music before, most recently his collaborative noise/ambient project Saudade (with the intrepid con artist Chris Cantino) and now always check in with his soundcloud to see what he is up to.

"Ghost Pedal" has a restful tone, looping guitar over soft radio static and unknown percussion. Not quite moving forward, though not retreating, the sound stays suspended in its own beautiful realm.
GhostPedal by weatherexposed

"Ten Years" sounds exactly like that. It builds steadily with repeated keyboard notes over deep passages of extended ambient tone. Is it a reflection on the past decade, or a mediation on the passage of time? It could be both or neither, creating a sonic space where either action would be at home.
Ten years by weatherexposed

Jason has a few releases you can check out, notably on Peasant Magik, and the Saudade album on Arena Rock Recordings.

Friday, December 02, 2011

DMLH watercolor portrait by Erin Please

WOW. "Artist & Adventurer & Half Centaur" Erin Please just posted a super nice watercolor portrait of yours truly, as part of a collection of Portland rappers. I am way honored to be included in this snapshot of what is actually happening here in the northwest! Also more than a little stoked to read the quote he got from Onry Ozzborn (Oldominon/Grayskul/Dark Time Sunshine) that compared me to Buck 65. WORD.

DMLH Watercolor Portrait by Erin Please

Gonna have to hit Erin up to show this in next years PRISMactivism