OMFG awesome things are happening in Rustbelt hiphop!!!

  • Tunde Olaniran: OMFG, Tunde Olaniran!  From the sadly infamous Flint, MI, Tunde Olaniran is superfantastically trans-everything.  Go listen to Transgressor and then buy it and then listen to it again and again and again.  I seriously absolutely equally love every single track on that album.
  • iRAWniq: Another Michigander, she has a fun mixtape, but I’m sorta preferring her more polished EP Black Girls on Skateboards, and the single “Cunt”
  • Passalacqua: I’m still exploring these guys, both from Detroit; been loving everything I’ve tried by them. This mixtape is a low-risk place to start, but I’m leaning more toward their albums CHURCH and Passalacqua, and the Banglatown EP.
  • Noname: This poet/rapper from Chicago is awesome, the natural inheritor of the crown Lauren Hill dropped after releasing The Miseducation of Lauren Hill.  Noname’s Telefono mixtape is absolutely mandatory listening.  Go grab it now!  Hell, at the very least go right now and listen to track number one (“Yesterday“) and tell me you don’t absolutely love Noname without reservation.  GO!

Here’s some poppy Tunde to play us out:

RECOMMENDED LISTENING: Three Stories I Recently Dug

These stories have nothing in particular to do with each other, apart from the fact that each speaks to a fundamental, existential truth.  If you ever find yourself wondering, “Jeez!  Why can’t these guys just admit to how totally off-the-rails this situation has gotten?”—well, here are three answers that are really one answer: Some truths entirely annihilate you.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: “Leonard in Slow Motion”

Yes, it’s a really straightforward one-gag SF sort of story executed in a “lit fic” mode (i.e., “white-people magical realism”)—but it is really completely, pleasingly executed.  Consider it the short-film equivalent of that $7 cup of coffee that you’re pleasantly surprised to discover really is worth $7.

Leonard in Slow Motion

(Also, I just love Martin Starr.  Y’all reckon he’s related to Ringo Starr or Kenneth Starr?)

Leonard in Slow Motion from Peter Livolsi on Vimeo.

Go Grab Your FREE Copy of @nomediakings’s ANGRY YOUNG SPACEMAN *NOW*!

Angry Young Spaceman was the first real ebook I ever read (on a Palm IIIx, no less). Several close pals read it at about the same time, and it had a *huge* impact on how we framed our 20s at the time. It’s a real gem, from a really swell guy (who’s now doing some really fun films, including Ghosts with Shit Jobs and Haphead; check those out, too).
No Media Kings Launched 15 Years Ago — FREE DOWNLOAD of ANGRY YOUNG SPACEMAN


It’s official! My new DIY book—Junkyard Jam Band: DIY Musical Instruments and Noisemakers—will be in stores early next year. This is what I’ve been working on over the past couple years, as a follow-up to Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred: Seriously Geeky Stuff to Make with Your Kids, and offers a whole new slew of musical instruments and noise toys:

Junkyard Jam Band is a step-by-step guide to making a full array of complete musical projects on the cheap, no previous carpentry or electronics experience required. Each build includes tips on how to coax the best sounds out of the instrument and encourages you to mod the project to fit your own style.

Wanna Sneak-Peak?

Here are a few of the videos I shot while prototyping projects (FUN FACT: While I live in Michigan, where my DIY books are actually physically printed, my publisher is in San Francisco, and I’ve only ever met one person in the company—and I knew her from back in knucklehead days. So, these books are entirely developed and executed as a series of disjoint emails, YouTube videos, Dropbox uploads, and disorientingly time-delayed VoIP calls.)
First off is the Elephant Trumpet, which is one of the bone-simplest projects in the book, a quick goofy-fun build (that’s my nephew tooting that rubber shofar, FYI):

And here’s the prototype of the core of what ultimately became the Twin-T Phaser/Wah, one of the more complicated builds (although still pretty accessible, even to folks new to hobby electronics—one of the things we’ve done in this book with the more complex projects is broken them into modular components that can be combined flexibly, so you can level them up into more complicated instruments and effects):

We’re also including a section on improvised percussion, which I wrote based on interviews and chats with Vince Russo, who’s featured on lead vocals and washboard with the Appleseed Collective in this video (their shows are tons o’ fun; definitely check them out if they tour through your town):

Wanna Pre-Order?

In all honesty, I’m flattered—’cause it’s a remarkable leap of faith on your part, as I’m actually still drafting the copy for the last several projects (if you caught my recent tweet-of-existential-relief when I discovered that a critical failure in a circuit was just a bum switch, that was in reference to the finalized production version of the Twin-T Phaser/Wah circuit demoed above). But, for reals, there’ll be a book come my baby girl’s third birthday in 2015, so order away!
PRO-TIP: The publisher, No Starch Press, is mos def offering the sweetest pre-order deal: 30% off plus free DRM-free ebooks (the PDFs of these books are *sweet-ass*! It’s the PDF of my first book that I use as a reference when I’m building projects and doing demos.)

  • Pre-order Junkyard Jam Band: DIY Musical Instruments and Noisemakers from No Starch Press and save!
    And, of course, Amazon will hook you up:

  • PRO-TIP: RadioShack “medium replacement headphone earpads” fit Sennheiser PX-100s

    Mostly just posting this because I had to hunt a fair bit to sort this out. If the foam earpads on your Sennheiser PX-100s are shot, you can replace them with these guys from RadioShack (which are half the price of the replacements from Sennheiser):
    RadioShack Replacement Foam Headphone Speaker Pads (Medium) : Headphones |
    They won’t *look* like they’re going to fit, because the skirt on the back of the pad is tighter than what you’ll see on the blown-out foam earpads that came with your headphones. But, if you slip one edge of the RadioShack replacements on, and then work carefully around the perimeter (kind of like getting a bike tire back on the rim), the skirt will slide right into place. The RadioShack pads feel good as new, if not better.
    Incidentally, the PX-100s are *excellent* headphones (I don’t know if they’re $100-excellent–that’s the current price on Amazon–but were certainly worth the $50 I paid for mine, like, a decade ago). They are light, easy on the ears, fold into their own case–and thus travel well in your computer bag–and the sound is really nicely balanced, with good bass and clarity. The surprisingly good sound is a consequence of having an open-backed design, which means they function more like stereo speakers than headphones (important, since most music is mixed with actual sound systems, not dinky headphones, in mind). Most headphones are locked into plastic housings, which constrains how much air the diaphragms of the speaker can move. This fundamentally dicks with how you are hearing the music (since that’s all about vibrations in the air); the fact that the music is mixed to be heard on actual speakers doesn’t help. The result tends to be dead bass and muddy sound. An open-air design better emulates a speaker situation, with the added benefit (in my opinion) that it *doesn’t* block as much ambient sound (being sealed inside my music tends to creep me out; I have issues). Also, in my experience, and open-air headphone speaker is easier on my inner ear and ear-drum, since it doesn’t focus a blast of pressure waves into my skull.