News and opinions from Broklyn Beats Records and Applecore Mailorder.

Monday, December 31, 2007


Our Fave music will be posted later alongside a DJ mix of said tracks. For now a larger look at my favorite items this year... probably to be edited more later...

0. BUSH IS ANOTHER YEAR CLOSER TO LEAVING OFFICE. I had a big rant on this topic, but realized none was needed.

1.OTHER PRODUCERS DISCOVERED DUBSTEP. A small, but talented new genre of London-centric producers helped rejuvenate a much larger contingent of electronic producer, from Si Begg to Bong Ra, techno to breakcore, (the Appleblim/Villalobos remix seeming to top the media.) These same producers helped rejuvenate dubstep's already dimming star. Maybe it's all just electronic music after all... Dubstep has worked hard this year, so maybe they deserve to spend their offnights patting each others' backs.

2. WE WATCHED TOO MUCH TV. Weeds, Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sportscenter, our own videos we had to sound edit, YouTube, Netflix, Top Chef, Globe Trekker, No Reservations, Weird Food, NBA< NFL< MBA, the fucking National Spelling Bee... GODDAMN I HOPE I GET AN iPHONE FOR KWANZA!!!!

3. NYC PARTIES. Most notably Dub War, whose dubstep parties on the old Twilo soundsystem harken 90's all-night memories, but also the Trouble & Bass parties and Funkworthy soundclashes... and our own Pure Fire. Pure Fire's what's become of my ability to promote in NYC. That is 20% of a 5-person DJ crew who holds it down when someone deems it hold-downable. We fight over timeslots, underpromote, overplay, overdrink, undersmoke, undereat and always stumble out relinquished of the need to legitimize our record-spending habits for another week. Guess it's time to make another mix CD. Happy holidays, here's a link to our summer mix.

4. BROOKLYN. Always fascinating, celebrating our tenth year here in May of 2008. Sure the yuppies are taking over the city, but fuck 'em. They're not on my block yet... maybe...

5. UGK. First, Pimp C was released from prison in 2006 and then, after a few delays, we saw the release of UGK's "Underground Kings" double CD. This was easily the best rap record of the year, especially if you pare it down to an 80 min. CDR without so many of the pimp tracks. This shit was played by me every day since it came out with about a week where I gave my roommates a break. Then Pimp C goes and dies last week of natural causes at 33. Damn.... buy this record - you won't be disappointed...

6. CORMAC McCARTHY Oprah hyped "The Road" a post-apocalyptic father-son zombie book and it shot back up the book charts. Then "No Country for Old Men" was made into a perfect movie. Try finding any of his less recent books in the library or book store. Chances are the one you're looking for isn't to be found, even in downtown Manhattan. An elusive author who truly sums up the American underbelly and underclass, McCarthy seems to be having his day in the sun in a year when he didn't even write a book.

7. VINYL Many people have already begun mourning the end of vinyl. Distributors have continued to go under and those who haven't have gotten further behind, waiting for their download shops to be built. Sales are definitely down, but somehow there's hope that the consumer will miss vinyl and enjoys taking home a nice package with good music instead of an overpriced CD or blah MP3. It's also been a great year to buy used vinyl as everyone and their sister decides that all they need in their life is a laptop.

8. PUNK BLOGS. Many of my favorites have already stopped caring about new entries, but from someone who spent all his money buying punk records only to sell them all for rent years later, it's great to have sites with full mp3s and cover art. Some serious gems, including this early Bad Brains track and this rare NYC squatterpunk blazer from Nausea.

9. RADIO. Internet radio to be exact. I didn't listen to as much as I would have liked but enjoyed what I did hear. DJ Rupture's weekly Mudd Up Radio On WFMU was always a treat, as was WreckTech's local Math & Science Show on WNYU. I will be hosting a 40-min. faves of 2007 mix in January on Amsterdam's wonderful Another Nice Mess show. Don't sleep... and all the best in 2008!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Radio Ruido

Firstly, our new Pure Fire 2007 Summer megamix is out online for only $5!!! Whereas the previous mix had all 4 of us doing separate mixes, this one has us mashing shit up in Ableton for a more consolidated view of our record boxes... and look at what dubstep would sound like if it was invented in Atlanta...

There's been plenty of dopes sounds coming off the web lately, namely DJ /Rupture's new weekly program on WFMU on Tuesdays from 7 - 8. His debut kicked off with Drop the Lime in-studio droppibg some of his wicked new sounds before tromping off to Europe for a month. It's archived here.

Our own Disco Rallado program has been on hiatus for over a year, but our sponsor has upgraded to the new Openserver title and can be found here with plenty of groovey stuff, namely a Wordsound interview.

Also online is a big new release from Les Trolls available for free download here. It culls live music from their recent tour of the Middle East...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Applecore Mailorder

After two months of data entry and re-entry, is up and running for your pleasure. We have been sitting on a ton of wicked new material while this has been completed, so check the new section for all of our obscure little goodies. We'll be begin selling downloads of the Broklyn Beats catalog by next month and you should notice audio samples of many of the new shop items.

Sparkling or still?

In addition to all of the (maybe you...) ardent Broklyn Beats / Applecore fans' support, our endeavors have also been funded by years of work in the New York City service industry. This is fodder for many a blog entry, but for now I'm focussed on celebrity and idolatry and my place therein. Waiting on tables Downtown, you realize celebrities eat and eat out. My first brush was with Francis McDermott just after Fargo, thinking to myself "She's had the baby?!" My second did affect me, being Clive Barker; writers tended to impress me more since my co-waiters tended to be actors who only read screenplays and certainly not horror. Then there was Bill & Ted, Monica Lewinsky, Ben Affleck, the redhead from "Sex & the City" (a true sweetheart), Bill Moyers, Christina Ricci, Willem Dafoe, Robert Plant (and his entire family w/ that same hair) Leonardo DeCaprio, Common and Q Tip, sadly scared off by rats under the banquet... Celebrities are only a hassle because the management is on you, writing VIP on the kitchen ticket and making sure everything goes invisibly well at the table. Inevitably, the person in question is simply hungry and wants to eat without any pomp, most likely catching up with an old friend, trying to be normal. Good fucking luck... Nonetheless, the only way to get through the job of waiting tables in Downtown NYC and get back to the Brooklyn studios is to wait on everyone perfectly, regardless of who they are, simply moving them in and out, filling the belly and showering the face with smiles and chuckles.

Aside from a brief conversation with David Byrne and waiting on Pulitzer Prize winner Art Spiegelman and his wife numerous times, the specter of celebrity has been lost on me. This is celebrity, eating itself for the sake of tomorrow's star, for the sake of tomorrow's meal. Which brings me, aside from an aside, to my point of meeting two members of two of my favorite bands all in practically the same week. After a decade of rolling my eyes at another VIP table needing bottled water, I found myself on my own time talking with people who in some bizarre alter-universe, were real celebrities, although good luck finding anyone on the street who will share your enthusiasm!

First, there was Hank Shocklee. Public Enemy's Bomb Squad defined controlled chaos and the idea that this guy blasting the airhorn all night at last week's Dub Wars party was actually the originator of "Bring the Noize" and "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos." It made the whole night that much better. Timeblind was along with me on the dancefloor and mentioned the airhorn blaster to me. Unbeknownst, I heard Shackleton instead of Shocklee. Mistaking a member of Public Enemy for a younger white British bloke, I gave Mr. Shocklee a pound in the bar, mentioning how great his Skull Disco imprint was. Somehow I was still giving him the props he deserved and possibly made less of a scene because of the mistaken identity! Alas, maybe meeting your idol is alright as long as you don't realize that you actually are!

Now the funny thing (and reason this is worth writing about) is that it practically happened a second time 9 days later. While having a drink with Doily over Memorial Day we began talking with a couple of strangers at the bar. Talk moved from The Sopranos to Chelsea apartments to plants, gentrification, accounting, bookkeeping, and on and on, the drinks going down easy. At some point I asked the gentleman David where he was from. He said Austin, I asked if he'd ever seen Scratch Acid and he said he was in Scratch Acid!?! Here we are talking with David Sims of Scratch Acid, Rapeman and Jesus Lizard fame. For me, these bands defined my early 20's and I think Lizard was easily the best live band of the 90's. Well, I didn't mean to fawn, but probably did a little. In the end it was just a nice conversation with a couple really nice strangers at a local bar. Nonetheless, I'd seen him play live a good 8 times 15 years ago and came away very happy to have thanked him for highlighting my post-adolescent years in the Midwest. A Jesus Lizard concert in 1992 was a big event, something you planned for, something to look forward to. As far as recorded output, "Liar" and "Goat" may rival Nirvana's 2 LPs for best records of that period.

Anyway, the point is, to reiterate, I hope you meet your idols, your personal celebrities, your heroes, your inspiration and I hope you don't recognize them. Would you like bottled or tap water? Sparkling or still?

Monday, May 07, 2007

The End of Tonic, Part 3

It's been a few weeks since Tonic's closure, an odd space of time finding new jobs, showing up at job interviews only to have other Tonic employees waiting their turn. The final Pure Fire "Goodbye subTonic party" went down great with a sizable chunk of the downstairs performers showing up. It was the best sound system we ever had at Tonic accompanied by 4 visual people and my parents who had come from a Les Paul show to sit in the middle of a blisteringly loud set with a film of some French guy flying an enormous kite... Another highlight was the 8-bit grooves of Bubbly Fish playing with O blaat.

Yet another highlight of the final days was the all-employee 6-hour jam session of which I'll spare you the mp3s and leave you with the photo... although we did manage to record 5 hours onto CDs! I recommend any group of people who have been laid off to play music together for 6 hours!

The final night's show was a mad rush of work, containing a lot of drunk people who were very unhappy to see Tonic go. Doily and I ducked out before Marc Ribot was arrested, preferring to sleep after finishing work around 7 a.m. One last half-drunk look back at a long club night and the last of Tonic's. The next time I went by Tonic was a week later and all of the tons of detritus from the basement had been neatly piled in a massive dumpster. The End.

Pure Fire
got slippery over at APT last week, our first big move from an Eastside basement to a Westside basement. DJ Rupture tore it up alongside the Pure Fire Crew, including new resident DJ $mallchange. Thanks to everyone who came out to support! Next month we'll be hosting Balkan Beatbox, our favorite act from that whole energetic local scene. June 14th, baby. APT has a wicked system in a wicked room. Come early for our open bar from 9 - 10 and save a round or two!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Synapse mag contents lovingly rendered online while Synthesis Mag posts a sweet little Drop the Line mix blending old and new. Meanwhile I patiently wait for my own Xiosynth to be re-sent. Gotta love NYC mail delivery!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The End of Tonic, Part 2

The bathroom graf eulogy.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The End of Tonic, Part 1

In a sad, smoked-out bleary late-night TV session, I watched Food Network chefs make New York skylines out of Rice Krispie bars. One chef was making the Lower East Side skyline because she loves the diversity of the neighborhood. That's why she laid out CBGBs next to The Rivington Hotel, L.E.S.'s first luxury high-rise. Well, the Lower East Side isn't made out of candy and diversity isn't welcome if it can't pay the rent and hire a doorman to clean 24 hours a day.

Tonic is closing. SubTonic has closed. We are all reeling having lost jobs, but most importantly, a very special locale for our family of co-workers and music-makers. I could wax poetic (wait, I am...) but will try to keep it short... As a historically rich center for music, New York City is unlike many large cities in that it has A LOT of musicians. Tonic has always been a place for those weirder-than-most musicians to come home to after tour or to show up and see an old friend who is on tour. While there are numerous music venues downtown, few stand for the musician, paying the cuts Tonic always has to the musician. Few cater to more than rock, singer-songwriters or club DJs. Few are embedded in the community the way Tonic has been.

SubTonic has been closed since February's Matthew Dear show was raided by the Quality of Life Task Force. We had just finished letting people in to a packed party when 12 members of police (undercover and uniformed,) fire, health and buildings stormed downstairs in a flurry of summonses and fines. SubTonic was done. While many will talk about Tonic, I want to spend a minute on SubTonic. Doily has worked there since it opened and I've been, for all intents and purposes, its #1 regular... until I actually started working there...

Where upstairs was often focussed on acoustic groups, SubTonic hosted electronic sounds and for the past 9 years, there really was no better place in New York to see electronic music. From the Polar Bear Club to The Bunker to Barreled to Pure Fire to Phenomenon to... I forget the rest... you just couldn't find a better place to hear underground electronic sounds... our sounds in our space. A space the owners, Melissa and John, were happy to salvage and share with a bunch of crazy musicians who were lucky to get anyone but their friends and roommates to come to their gigs! Sometimes, however, a lot of people came out and a lot of fun was had, dancing (illegally!?) in a basement crammed full of kosher wine barrels full of nutters happy to be done paying rent for another month.

For Doily and I, we lose a haunt, a place where we spent a good part of our first decade in New York. This was where Broklyn Beats was nurtured. We have done the majority of our NYC gigs here, every record release for every record except the first. It was probably time to move on, climb out of the basement, but to what? This week, Sin-e, another LES musician-friendly haunt, closes. I've heard Boogaloo, home to Trouble & Bass's wicked monthly, will also close. CB's has been closed. Surely this isn't the end, but a new beginning. Nonetheless, we'll all miss working together. The majority of Tonic's staff has been there over 7 years together. We can all remember when there was nothing else on the block but Lansky's speakeasy and Lansky's was still open. When everything around the corner on Delancey was mom & pop spots. Well, the yuppies can have it. And for dessert, a CBGB Rice Krispie treat.

There is however, one last week to make a racket and this is our contribution:

Tonic (upstairs) 107 Norfolk
Mon. April 9th, 2007
10 - 4

Pure Fire and Broklyn Beats Records invite you to a SubTonic Farewell Party commemorating all the good times we have had playing in SubTonic. This is an open call for all denizens from SubTonic's illustrious past to come down and play one last time. There will be a sign-up sheet for 5 -10 min. slots for you to plug and play or DJ one last handful of vinyl / bytes...

For all of the years that SubTonic has provided us a wonderful locale for hosting and attending experimental music, it's our turn to say thank you and goodbye! With SubTonic previously closed, this party will be hosted upstairs at Tonic, but SubTonic will be listening! There will be a DJ set-up, extra tables and a mackie mixer provided. Plan to keep it short and sweet. Sign-up will be at the door with the party started at roughly 10 after the early show. Spread the word!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Vinyl Mania & Empire Rink Close!

Doily and I just went to Vinyl Mania about two weeks ago after a job interview up at Wave Hill, former home to Mark Twain among others. Vinyl Mania represented the old school disco and loft DJ. Conveniently located around the corner from the Paradise Garage, the place never lost its place in history. I always made a point of going a few blocks out of my way to check what discounted rap vinyl was floating around. Inside, the vibe was always sweet: a cashier DJing some house track, smiling as I came in, some mangy street cat happy to be sitting inside and a ton of vinyl without proper homes. The last visit scored me Young Jeezy's first LP for cheap, but unfortunately it's my last score. Vinyl Mania closed this week, open since 1978. Read an old interview with the owner Charlie Grappone.

Also closed this week is Empire Roller Rink in the heart of Brooklyn. Empire was where roller disco was born and up until the end, the place continued to be busy. Now it will be yet another storage facility stuffed full of evicted tenants' possesions, bootleg purses, drug and weapon caches and tools and supplies for the entrepeneurial developer.

While I'm on the nostalgia tip, I gotta mention how I met Kool Herc last week, even got to buy him a Corona. If I wasn't so starstruck, I would have asked for a picture. He stopped by Jazzy Jam's new weekly at Tonic. It's bumped Pure Fire into hiatus until Subtonic reopens, but I'm happy to have the Zulu Nation peoples at Tonic. Damn, Kool Herc and his girl dancing on an empty dancefloor to Zulu Nation DJs at Tonic... I had to rub my eyes a few times, pinch myself, hope I would wake up to a city that really did believe in preserving its cultural heritage...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Les Trolls Wander East

While we drink beers on the beach, our pals Les Trolls are making a tour of the Middle East, playing parties in Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. Check their blog for some great photos and plenty of French words. Can't wait for their upcoming LP! (Have you heard their Broklyn CD?! It's wicked!!!)

Boriken beats

Only months into this blog and I already find myself writing the dreaded vacation entry. Doily convinced me 6 months ago that we needed a break in the sun. In a rush I forgot the laptop's power adapter and was happily computerless for 12 sweet days. I was harbored among beach life, Cormac McCarthy's "Suttree" and family dice games(?!) drinking Medalla lights, full bellies of rice and beans and red snapper.

We were greeted in San Juan on a Friday night by Critical Mass bikers blocking the bridge to old San Juan. Time in San Juan was a macrocosm of our Williamsburg barrio with a lot more tourism. Considering it's 85 degrees everyday, I can see why. My personal aim was to sniff out the reggaeton scene and see how it was poppin'. Judging by rolling systems on the strip in Condado, we were stoked for the nightlife. Condado is like Miami Beach and there's a few dance clubs and casinos which didn't promise much. In Old San Juan we found an old disco, Club Lazer, which had a reggaeton night and The Noise, a converted apartment which, judging by the name, promised more. Trouble was trying to ever find a good party at these places on a Saturday night when tourist dollar is precious (The Noise was $22 that night yet free on Sun.) We opted for Lazer which had a ladies free with metal detector door. We got a few chuckles, but that usually implies there's no other gringos (gallitos) there...

Reggaeton really hit its stride in 2005 and has quickly established a large and limited Latino market. The DJ played a solid thump, dropping a couple interesting new things, but pretty much running through a large majority of the genre's tracks within a couple hours, giving us staples like "Gasolina" and "Contacto." The bar was cheap and strong and the scene was young, guys all Don Omar, Daddy Yankee, white-on-white Yankees caps, sunglasses hanging off chin, doo-rag strings drooping, girls snapping gum drinking Alize specials with requisite nail jobs. The dancefloor in this old Spanish building had an old wooden disco feel to it, but had to compete with 8 TVs above the bar showing both a boxing match and a panned view of a girl in a bikini, occasionally zooming in on body parts...

Stumbling back down the blue-glazed cobblestones, I later found a nice little salsa place called Nuyorican Bar. This is where the hipster gallitos perch! Nonetheless, between the Spanish architecture, the weather and this raw squatter-esque bar, I started to really feel like I was in Barcelona. There was even the trip to the obligatory weekend disco... and it wasn't that bad!

The majority of our trip was chillin' on the beach in Vieques, a smaller island saved from the U.S. Navy's bombing exercises by a fleet of endangered egg-laying sea turtles. Tourism is slowly creeping in (note my white ass burning on the beach!) but the incessant rooster crowing and night-shift sound of the tree frog's "Coqui!" will keep any neurotic light-sleepers from vacationing here.

Back in San Juan for the last couple of days, we took in the old Spanish fort (see photo,) some wicked Puerto Rican food and I finally found a record store. Actually it was a junk store, but after 20 minutes of perusing I realized that the entire back of the store was formally a record store with all records ending at a 2002 date. Somewhere around that time, the music transformed itself from new to junk with carved wooden sailors and antique spoons nudging Silk the Shocker and Biggie to the back room... I also finally found a shop that sold mixtapes. It was a hip hop clothing spot with "50% off all camouflage gear" and a rack of CDs on the counter. I asked the woman if they had any reggaeton mixes and she scoffed no, telling me the artists only make LPs and not mixes. I said this is strange because in New York there's a ton of reggaeton mixtapes. At this point she lost interest, implying that reggaeton wasn't her bag, most likely due to its bawdy club nature. They were playing Mobb Deep at the time and it seemed weird to me to embrace one and not the other, especially considering the wealth of local talent. Maybe the backpackers are just jealous of the youngsters' success, rapping over the same incessant rhythm, pelvises thrusting, accessories drooping...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Goodbye 2006

France's Chica Chic always asks us for our favorite tracks of the year and we usually oblige for the sake of turning others on to these releases. I admit I wish I had perused a more diverse array of sounds this year, but DJing Pure Fire every week of this past year has kept my ears firmly planted in my record bag. Nonetheless, I have heard African rave, more and more gypsy punk, hyphy, Swedish pop (props to The Knife!) and enough international YouTube images to keep me smiling with discovery.

I spent most of my money on dubstep this year: Loefah, Boxcutter, Mala, Appleblim, Shackleton, Skream, Digital Mystiks and Kode 9. Finally music for us heads, something to smoke to... Reminds me of the way I felt after hearing jungle for the first time, all organic bass dread and techy cinematic flourishes, but for a mid-life body ready to dance a little slower. Dubstep also gave us vinyl heads reason to run to the record store - well-cut tracks on thick vinyl with clever concepts and sharp graphics.

It was a great year for hip hop with The Clipse, Ghostface, E-40 and J-Dilla all delivering stellar LPs alongside other great stuff from Lil Wayne, Nas, and a half million Southern acts, as well as outsider acts like CX Kidtronik and grime's JME and Wiley...

We were very focused on our own output this year and didn't hear enough breakcore we loved, but there were definite standout tracks from Filastine, Aaron Spectre, Timeblind, Istari Lasterfahrer, Rotator and Cycheouts-Ghost, among others. Many underground electronic acts tried to branch into group acts as the spectre of the laptop live act floundered amid the ease of Ableton live, Serrato and the like. Here's hoping underground electronic musicians pull some solid LPs out their ass in 2007, because 2006 didn't see enough.

I tried to branch out and listen to more indie rock, but wasn't as excited with it the way I was a year ago with Gang Gang Dance, Animal Collective, Black Dice, etc., who all continued to release dope shit in 2006. Sorry, I'm not feeling The Decemberists, Tapes 'n' Tapes, The Destroyer, Califone, Calexico and dozens of other similar groups floating around Williamsburg iPods. Not that it's bad music or bad songs or badly produced. Most of it is really good music... and that's the problem: conservative expectations for conservative hipsters.

Where are the Broklyn Beats acts, you ask? Well, I have a separate, devoted list of my favorite tracks from our own roster. These will have to wait for our upcoming label sampler on our new sublabel Applecore. Until then, peruse the lists and good luck to all in 2007!!!
Criterion, Broklyn Beats Records

Top Ten Favorite LPs of 2006
DMZ imprint - Hard to pick favorites from the litter of 12"s that Mala, Coki and Loefah gave us this year, so let's pretend they're all on one CD which should happen anyway: "Root," "Anti-War Dub", "Left Leg Out" for starters...
Skull Disco imprint - Ditto here... Appleblim and Shackleton's hand-full of singles were full of tribal dread from the echo chamber percussion to the bass experiments to the cover illustrations.
Skream "Skream!" LP - Could do no wrong this year with his clean, bubbling dubstep sound.
The Clipse "Hell Hath No Fury" LP - Actually their "We Got it for Cheap" mixes were the true winners this year, but we'll take this for the inclusion of "Trill" and "Hello New World."
J-Dilla "Donuts" LP (Stone's Throw)
Wasteland - "All vs. All" CD (Transparent) The most overlooked record of the year. Scud and I-Sound hammer out their most industrial release yet, shimmering with unspeakable horrors and beauty, a sound pure and innovative.
Bad Brains "Live at CBGB's 1982" DVD - an undeniably powerful testament to one of the best live acts ever.
Ghostface Killah "Fishscales" CD
CX Kidtronik "Krak Attak" CD - Outsider rap incorporates everyone from downtown electronics to Harlem's Dipset while focusing on CX's wicked raw beats and innovative DJ ear.
E-40 "My Ghetto Report Card" LP - Not enough people making fun music in an ear-candy vein these days.

Top Ten Favorite Singles of 2006
Skream "Lightning"
Parts & Labor "Tiny Lightning"
The Clipse "Hello New World"
Lil Wayne "Fireman"
E-40 "Tell Me When to Go"
Loefah "Root"
Rotator "Distorted Species"
Turbulence "Notorious"
Boxcutter "Brood"
Les Trolls "Ultrasonic Breakfast"