“My Body is Full of Stars” (Afrofuturism mixtape)


“Afrofuturism carves out a space for black people to write ourselves into speculative pasts and futures, to reimagine our identities beyond and before human history and form.”

Black History Month is just about over, so I figured I better go ahead and show some love for the this mixtape that I came a across a little while back. Curated and programed by a music journalist and producer named Ian McQuade, it’s an accompaniment to a larger multi-media project created by the Irish-Nigerian writer/sociologist Emma Dabiri about the concept of Afrofuturism. (If you’re up for an intellectual treatise on race and culture and parallel histories you can Dibiri’s essay on Afrofuturism here— it’s pretty heady stuff though so be warned.)

Anyway, the concept is dope, and perfectly articulated—I mean cutting up a Sun Ra lecture at Berkeley and using it to thread the line between Jimi Hendrix, Egyptian LoverTV on the Radio, Shabazz Palaces, Deltron, ActressLTJ Bukem, Missy Elliot can’t get with that?

Dowload/stream the mix and check the tracklist after the jump.

Hendrix – EXP // Actress – Uriel’s Black Harp // Roots Soundtrack
Sun Ra – Berkley Lecture snippet
A Number of Names – Share Vari
Dirty Paraffin – Papap! Papap!
Missy Elliott – Smooth Chick
Binghams Speech
Strafe – Set It Off
Laura Mvula – That’s Alright
Richard Pryor – 2001 Monologue
Freddie Hubbard – This Is Combat I Know ­
Shabazz Palaces – An Echo From the Hosts That Profess Infinitum
Deltron 3030 – Virus (acapella)
TV On The Radio – The Wrong Way
Jimi Hendrix – 1963 (A Merman I Shall Be)
London Lucumi Choir – Cantos Espirituales
James Stinson phone interview
The Other People Place – Eye Contact
Egyptian Lover – Egypt Egypt
Sun Ra – Berkley Lecture snippet
Nigga Fox – Ze Piqueno
Bryte – I Like Your Girlfriend
Azealia Banks – Fierce
Tyree – I’m Free
DJ Cndo – Terminator
Leif ft Spank Rock – Star Alliance
SupaNova Slom – Energy
LTJ Bukem – Atlantis
Sun Ra – Outerspaceways Incorporated
Sun Ra Berkley lecture snippet

Deejay OM – “Blood From My Soul” Parts 1 & 2

 Here’s a special V Day gift for all of you.

I was cleaning out my hard drive over the week, and I found these dynamite rare soul mixes that San Francisco-based Deejay OM made a while back for the always excellent San Francisco Disco/Boogie/Funk blog The Beat Electric. Both of them were done the old-fashioned way: a box of 45s and two turntables. Neither have track lists, but trust, these are definitely the goods.

Enjoy!  (right click & “save as” to download)

Blood From My Soul: Music for Heartbreak

Blood From My Soul Part 2: Time Heals All Wound

Open Mike Eagle – “A Special Episode Of” EP

Los Angeles-based Mike Eagle, who raps as Open Mike Eagle, has been in the game for a minute, paying dues as a battle MC, and establishing himself with legendary open-mic workshop-turned-record-label Project Blowed. The Chicago transplant also has ties with Mush Records, and L.A.’s Hellfyre Club crew.

His cadence is measured and his delivery, spirited, and lyrically, he strikes just the right balance of clever and ridiculous. He also manages to do so without becoming irritating like so many other nerdy rappers who try to be “clever” and “funny.”

For the proof, just check out this little gem of an EP he recently dropped this  on his Bandcamp page, it’s got guest spots from milo and MC Paul Barman, plus there’s production from Exile and Gold Panda.

Our Favorite Sounds: 2014 Edition


High Life before they sold out butcher Schlitz selfies… ahem. Let me try that one more time.

Happy new year everyone! We have a tradition at DECIBELity where we do our best-of/end-of-year lists at the beginning of the following year instead of the beginning of December like those other blogs.  Perhaps you thought we negligent or maybe just really late—well, you thought wrong. We are right on schedule.  You see, we do things a little bit different ’round here, it’s one of the many ways we set ourselves apart from the rest.

Each of us, as has become our custom, have chosen 15 or our favorite records and we each have created a mixtape including a single song from each of the aforementioned favorite recordings.

So, enjoy and we’ll be sure to continue to keep it DECIBEL’d for you all in ’15.

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Decibel Cast Vol. 22 “Lost&Found”


It’s the end of the year and i’ve been harboring this mix since early september. I was lost…I was found…I was lost again. It’s been a heavy 3 months but here we are, a new year upon us and it just didn’t feel right leaving this mix unheard. So…here it is, DecibelCast Vol. 22 “Lost&Found”  enjoy you beautiful people

(we should have our end of year lists up shortly)

Download Lost & Found

The Limiñanas – “Barrio Chino”

The Memories – “It Was A Hot Afternoon”

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - “It’s Got Old”


Acid Baby Jesus - “Vegetable”

Tomorrows Tulips - “surplus store”

Lace Curtains - “Wilshire And Fairfax”

Stardeath And White Dwarfs - “Sleeping Pills And Ginger Ale”

Ariel Pink - “Dinosaur Carebears”

The Brian Jonestown Massacre – “Days, Weeks and Moths”

Melted Toys - “A Postcard”

Black Market Karma - “Can Opener”

Magic Castles - “Silent”

Christian Bland & The Revelators – “Guns For Guitars”

Donovan Blanc – “Veronica”

Parkay Quarts - “Uncast Shadow Of A Southern Myth”

The Asteroid No.4 - “The Windmill of The Autumn Sky”

Julia Brown - “the way you want”

Adult Swim & Ghostly International “Ghostly Swim 2″

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As with everything else, the maxim of “you get what you pay for” generally holds true with regards to free internet music compilations. And so it is a relatively rare thing to come across something as expertly curated Ghostly Swim 2.

Of course Adult Swim isn’t your ordinary player in the music game. The beloved cable cartoon network-turned-indie-media-empire has been dabbling in music for a while now, and their typically free compilations seem to have been getting better and better. For this round, which arrived just in time to stuff our proverbial stockings, AS up has hooked up once again with venerable Michigan-based Ghostly International. The sequel to 2008’s free compilation is deeper and headier than its predecessor. It’s a  heady jaunt deep into the realm of ambient techno, with a first class selection of tunes featuring contributions from Ghostly mainstays like Shigeto and Feral, but there are a host of unknowns, whose track really shine.


Grab it here


My first exposure to Rory Fereira, who raps as milo, came back in 2012,  when i stumbled across a bootleg mixtape of his verses over instrumentals from LA-based Anticon affiliate and DECIBELity fave Baths– aptly titled, Milo Takes Baths.

Fereira, who got his start rapping in a Wisconsin hip-hop outfit called Nom de Rap, is a college drop out, a reformed philosophy major, whose interest in the cannon of western thought permeates his post-modernist lyrics, to mingle with navel gazing observations, references to Internet culture, bad puns and other absurdities.

This distinct concoction of lyrical subject matter, combined with a somewhat monotone droll and a penchant for esoteric beats that click and pop rather than boom and bap, place him squarely in the tradition of the leftfield art hip-hop pushed by Anticon.

Feirra’s music offers us a fresh angle on the wordy nerd rap trope; he’s probably the only MC you will ever here quote the famous last line of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philisophicus “Where of one cannot speak, there of one must be silent” and then rhyme it with “but I yawned and I burped and I passed gas loudly.”

It certainly doesn’t hurt his case that his choice of production is superb. All of these tracks are abstract and heady but without over doing it i.e. crossing into avant masturbatory electronic noodling, rather they form a perfect vehicle for Fereira’s stream of conscious monologues.

His latest record A Toothpaste Suburb, released this fall on Hellfyer Club is one my picks for 2014.  A few guests pop up along the way such as fellow label mate Busdriver and Das Racist alum Kool AD, but it’s Fereira ideosyncratic affect that really carries this record.



Check out the rest here.

Here’s some of his older work which is definitely worth a listen.

And here is the the aforementioned Baths “tape”.

Ariel Pink – “Pom Pom”

First, I’d like to say that I love Ariel Pink‘s music… even when it’s horrible which some of it undoubtedly is (and has to be with a songwriter as prolific as he). I mean, sure, as a human being he may be a notorious dickhead, but whether he’s an overgrown petulant child or just some celebrated neek with a personality disorder, his skewed take on pop music makes me feel weird and fizzy and (at its best) slightly inebriated.

His latest bomb, lobbed from 4AD, exploded on the internet just a few weeks ago — perfectly timed for my end of year list. It harkens back to the stunningly weird, but atrociously recorded 4-track experiments Pink used to concoct in his bedroom before he decided to get a band together (Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti) and record his eponymous “breakthrough” in a real studio. The players he assembled were really good, and the increase in fidelity from going to a professional studio was of an order of magnitude, and so the results were positive, but a lot more conventional at least by Pink’s whigged-out standards. This record revives that classic “what-the-fuck” feeling I used to get from his recordings but with much better sound quality, which is basically all I ever wanted.

Here’s the first single “Put Your Number in My Phone”

Here are a couple of low-quality previews with which to whet yourself:

Ariel Pink – “White Freckles” (128kbps)

Ariel Pink – “Lipstick” (128kbps)

Ariel Pink – “Nude Beach A G-Go” (128 kbps)

And, you can purchase this thing over at the 4AD store.

November Shoegazing

There’s something about this time of year just really brings out the troubled indie kid in me— the crisp air, the alarmingly short amount of daylight (it’s already dark when I get off from work), the imminent encounter with family looming large—all of it ads up to me feeling like one mopey teenage lad.

It’s probably unsurprising that given this I tend to gravitate musically toward a particular shall we say, flavor—usually something atmospheric and vaguely sorrowful, with soft jangly melodies and melancholic lyrics. So shoegaze (the derisive name for a genre of bands so adverse to performing that members would rather look at their shoes than at the crowd) is one of the ideal genres to slake my anhedonic proclivities.

Now I’m not at all an authority on this style, so it’s fortunate that I discovered these two new bands (well new to me, both have actually been around for awhile), and that they’ve both put out solid records in 2014. Neither is exactly pushing new territory, but both Nothing and Whirr execute the formula—twee whispered vocals and multifaceted guitar layering, with a heavy helping of distortion-driven feedback—pretty expertly.


This Pennsylvania-based  quartet was founded by Dominic Palermo, a veteran of the Philadelphia punk and hardcore scenes, who apparently became fed up with the violence surrounding the music. He formed the band back in 2011 and after a few EPs, they signed to Relapse Records, releasing the single “Dig” which also happens to be on this year’s LP Guilty of Everything.

Stream and download the rest of the album over at the band’s Bandcamp Page 


Hailing from San Francisco, Whirr began its life in 2010 as Whirl, but was forced to change names after a copyright dispute with another artist. Guitarist and founding member Nick Bassett has also played with the much-vaunted San Francisco shoegaze/metal hybrid Deafheaven. They released their latest album Sway back in September via Savanna, Georgia-based imprint Graveface Records.

Grab a physical copy or the digital download over at Bandcamp.

. . .

Oh, and interestingly enough as it turns there’s a side project featuring members from both of these bands called Death of Lovers, who self-released an eponymous EP that sounds kind of like Joy Division making a shoegaze record— surprisingly good stuff really, although it’s not particularly cheerful in case wasn’t abundantly clear already.


Salva – “Peacemaker”

Paul Salva isn’t new to the game so to speak. He’s clocked time living in Chicago, Miami and the Bay Area among other places, and paid his dues early in the world of turntableism, soaking up the influences of his various locals— be it Miami bass, techno or IDM. In  2011, he hooked up with the Friends of Friends crew to release his debut Complex Housing as well as a pair of subsequent  EPs.

With his most recent project Peacemaker, the (currently) LA-based producer has assembled an impressive array MCs, some of the games hottest up-and-comers. And while managing to get Young Thug, Freddie Gibbs and ASAP Ferg on the same track is impressive, it’s Salva‘s beats that will stay with you afterward—simply put: these tracks hit harder than fuck!

Download the whole thing for free here.