Thursday, July 31, 2008

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Born King - The 8th Of June (Symbol Of Greatness/Mad Thinkah Productions)

Last Halloween, Born King released the album Krad Edis, and less than a year later he came back with The 8th Of June, which was released, well, on June 8th. It's only 33 minutes long, but I like the whole approach of dropping shorter projects more frequently. He still has kind of an esoteric, conspiracy theory element to his lyrics, but I feel like he's evolving and expressing a more coherent personal philosophy on this one. Right now he's got the album on sale at the Sound Garden, and also at He had a song up on his MySpace page a few weeks ago called "Mission Statement" that I thought was great, and that's what got me hyped up to go buy the album, but then once I took it home I realized the song wasn't even on the album. And it's not even on the site anymore, but apparently he's gonna drop another album this Halloween, and he told me he might put that song on there.

Born King - "MC Squared" (mp3)
This beat is crazy, I'm not sure if Born King does his own production, if not he needs to give his producers some shine and credit them on the albums.

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In this week's issue of the Baltimore City Paper I wrote a piece about DJ K-Swift's passing last Monday. The piece includes quotes from Buck Jones and Ogun, as well as some quotes from an interview I did with Blaq Starr a couple years ago. It was a really surreal experience for me, to see K-Swift spin at Artscape, and then wake up 2 mornings later to a text message about her death. I didn't know K-Swift personally -- I briefly spoke to her on the phone maybe once or twice, and had many mutual friends. I saw her DJ several times, I own at least a dozen of her mix CDs (last week I loaded them all into an iTunes playlist and just listened to that constantly), and have spent possibly hundreds of hours listening to her spin on the radio. But it was still really strange for me to write about her life, and to be quoted in the Sun's obituary. Even after writing one about Mr. Wilson just a month ago, it was really difficult to write about someone recently deceased, to speak to people who knew them well and ask questions. I feel terrible asking about potentially painful memories, instead of just leaving them alone to deal with the healing process on their. But the article was also difficult for me, because, like I said, I didn't really know her.

Of all the people in the Baltimore club scene that I've interviewed or see around and am friendly with, K-Swift was one of the few people that remained kind of larger than life to me, distant and unreachable in a way that celebrities are, and in Baltimore she truly was a celebrity. Not that she was unapproachable -- by all accounts she was a nice, down to earth person. But after I made the tough decision last year to blog about an anonymous letter circulating locally that accused her and her station of a lot of unethical practices, I always kind of feared that she hated me, or would've had a good reason to if she was aware of me to any extent. I hope, if she ever saw those posts on Gov't Names, she also saw how much of a fan I was, and that I continued to write favorably about every CD she released since then, including one just a week before her passing. I always figured the right opportunity would pop up for me to really meet her and interview her, and possibly get her side of the controversy I'd help publicize (although by the time of her death it had all kind of blown over, and I was disgusted last week when a certain 'news' site, who'd never written about K-Swift during her life, dredged up that old story to float some kind of 'foul play' theory about the circumstances of her death). Now, I regret that I didn't pursue an opportunity like that while it was possible. But she was so omnipresent in the Baltimore music scene that everyone involved in it will feel her absence. Club music will always bear her mark.

(photo by Josh Sisk)

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Scottie B. takes KarmaloopTV on a tour of Baltimore.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Cutthroat - Words Can't Explain It Chapter 3 (For The People Entertainment)

Cutthroat is one of the founding members of For The People Entertainment, who I featured in the City Paper last year and are probably my favorite Baltimore hip hop label right now, mainly because they're an actual label with several artists who all put out their own albums, not just a vanity imprint for one artist/glorified CEO that the whole thing revolves around. And out of all the artists on FTP, Cutthroat is probably the one that makes the most solid and cohesive records, and finds a way to say some thoughtful shit without it getting too artsy or boring about it. Bear and Cutthroat both recently dropped solo CDs (this and a re-release of Bear's first album) in preparation for their collaborative project Silent Flutes, which I previewed a track from last year and am still really looking forward to. This CD features 10 new songs, and one bonus track, "Exquisite," which was one of my favorite songs on Chapter 2.5.

Cutthroat - "Ain't In Love Wit It" (mp3)
"You ain't in love with this music, you in love with diamonds, drugs and stacks/ and that's why this music don't love you back." I'm not usually real into songs that get preachy about materialism in rap or try to dictate that one person deserves to be in hip hop and someone else doesn't. But I'm feeling this song right now just because I do hear so many artists now that can't rap for shit and don't have anything to say, and I wonder why they bother. I mean, if they do have the passion for the music and just haven't gotten their skills up yet, or they're not the kind of animated performer that the love of it is really obvious, that's cool. But a lot of these dudes don't seem genuinely invested in it, which seems like a waste of their time to me.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hip Hop 101 may have symbolically died back in February. But after the actual death of the event's founder Mr. Wilson, Star Status Entertainment have decided to bring it back in honor of his memory. The first new Hip Hop 101 will feature Comp, 1st Family, Dirty Earl/Vision and Little Clayway.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Frank Ski is back in Baltimore this weekend, and will be DJing at the Iguana Cantina tonight to raise money for K-Swift's family, so come out and party or drop off money if you can. Frank Ski might also be doing a guest DJ shift on 92Q this weekend, I just heard him on there today, giving some incredible history lessons on the beginnings of Baltimore club.

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DJ Diamond K and DJ Tameil - "The Ones We Lost (K-Swift Dedication)" (mp3)
New Jersey's DJ Tameil on the beat and DJ Diamond K on the mic shouting out K-Swift, as well as Baltimore club's other late legend, Miss Tony. I'm really loving this and Skarr Akbar's tribute track, K-Swift's life was music and we should remember her through music, too.

More K-Swift coverage in the Sun on Wednesday, here and here.

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Blaq Starr will be performing on the side stage of the Rock The Bells tour over the next few weeks, including the stop at Merriweather Post Pavillion this Sunday, July 27th, where he'll be dedicating his set to K-Swift. He'll also be performing at the TaxLo after-party for Sunday's show at Sonar.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

In the past month I've finally started occasionally taking photos to accompany some of my posts on the City Paper's Noise blog at (with asterisks next to posts that include pictures by me). My latest posts included: The Club Beat with Dirty Nation Entertainment, Teop with Mullyman (pictured above), Comp, Skarr Akbar, Little Clayway, Huli Shallone, Heavy Gold, Al Great, SL Danga and 1st Family @ Sonar*, 2 Time Quitters, Raspberry Campaign and Engine @ the Ottobar*, Pearl Jam and Ted Leo @ the Verizon Center, and "Weird Al" Yankovic @ Pier Six Pavilion. I also spent last weekend doing a lot of festival coverage: night 1 of Whartscape with Matmos, Nautical Almanac, Ultimate Reality, Mark Hosler of Negativland, Leprechaun Catering, Blue Leader, Ben Heresey and Missoula Oblongata @ the Charles Theatre and Artscape with Dru Hill, Mario, Joan Jett, Mike Doughty, the Oranges Band, Blaq Starr, and what would end being the last time I'd get to see DJ K-Swift (R.I.P.) spin.

(photo by Al Shipley)

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Updated Funeral Arrangements for Khia Edgerton aka “DJ K-Swift”

Thursday, July 24th
Viewing: 3pm – 8pm
Joseph Brown Funeral Home
2140 N. Fulton Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21217

Friday, July 25th
Viewing: 2pm – 6pm
Wake Services: 6pm – 8pm
New Shiloh Baptist Church
2100 North Monroe Street
Baltimore, MD 21217

Saturday, July 26th
Wake Services: 10am
Funeral Services: 11am
Morgan State University – Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center

Burial Services will be held at:
Loudon Park Cemetery
3620 Wilkens Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21229

Flowers can be sent to:
Morgan State University – Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center
2201 Argonne Drive
Baltimore, MD 21251

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Skarr Akbar - "The Eulogy (My Own Way)" (mp3)
This has been a tough summer for the Baltimore music scene, with the deaths of K-Swift this week and Mr. Wilson last month. Skarr Akbar made a song to express what he's feeling, rapping over the beat and hook from Three 6 Mafia and Good Charlotte's "My Own Way" and I think he did a great job. I was literally driving home today listening to a Mr. Wilson CD when I put on the radio and 92Q was playing this song, and it really hit me hard.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A brief update about yesterday's sad news about the death of DJ K-Swift:

- The Baltimore Sun's Sam Sessa wrote an obituary that ran in today's paper, and he quotes me in there a couple times. It's become clear in the past day or so that she died of neck injuries from an accident in her home swimming pool. Sam is also looking for anyone who was there to come forward to shed some light on the circumstances surrounding her death. Likewise, anyone that knew her and would like to speak to me for the City Paper's coverage of this story, feel free to contact me.

- I wrote a review of Artscape on the City Paper's Noise blog, including K-Swift's set on Saturday night. I'm not sure if she played any clubs later that night or on Sunday before she passed away, otherwise I guess that was the last DJ set she ever played. Either way I'm happy I got to see her spin one last time, and the above photo (with Buck Jones) is one that I snapped during the set.

- I also wanted to try and help straighten some things out about the confusion regarding K-Swift's age, which I may have contributed to myself. In most of her official bios, her birthdate is listed as 10/19/80, which would make her 27, so I put "1980-2008" in my post yesterday, which I think a lot of people assumed made her 28. But Sam Sessa got her true birthdate, 10/19/78, directly from K-Swift's mother, so she was 29.

- Some more ran obituaries and articles about her death, including some from national publications and media outlets that I was actually kind of surprised to see observe the passing of a DJ from Baltimore: Vibe,, Aural States, WJZ, Idolator, and I'm sure a whole lot of other blogs and papers I haven't seen yet.

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A couple weeks ago I posted an announcement about the opening of my friends' new business, Mobtown Studios, and here's another press release, about the open house their hosting this Thursday, as well as the discount they're offering for sessions booked by the end of July. There was also an article about the studio on Baltimore Examiner on Monday. I definitely recommend checking out the open house if you're at all interested in working with the studio in the future, I'm sure I'll be there on Thursday and will see you there if you show up:


New recording studio
hosts open house
Mobtown Studios marries music and art

Baltimore, MD July 17, 2008 -- Mobtown Studios will host an open house on Thursday, July 24, 6-9 pm, at 2603 N. Charles St. The public is invited to tour the facility and meet the people behind the new recording and mastering studio in midtown Baltimore.

Also opening at Mobtown on the same evening will be a series of works of art by Donald Edwards, as part of the studio's interest in marrying visual artwork with a musical workspace. The Baltimore artist works in layers of various materials, including paint, plaster, found junk, epoxies and crayon and ink on paper. No piece of work is singular and various bits from other projects are recycled into the next piece. Everything he works on is connected to the art he has made before.

Mobtown Studios is owned by Matthew Leffler Schulman and Emily Leffler Schulman. As the drummer for Baltimore's The Seldon Plan, Matthew is known as an engineer with a musician's ear. He has been recording bands for over 15 years and is a graduate of the renowned Music Recording program at Middle Tennessee State University.

To celebrate the grand opening, the studio is announcing a special discount. Artists who call to book a session by July 31st will receive 1/3 off the normal rate for studio time. A deposit is required to book a session.

Mobtown Studios offers in-studio and remote recording services for music and commercial broadcast. Other services include mastering, mixing, producing and web design. Artists interested in booking a session or discussing an upcoming project can visit or call 410-235-0898.

Individuals interested in learning more about the artwork of Donald Edwards can visit

Mobtown Studios
2603 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21218 • P 410-235-0898 • F 443-390-1135

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Monday, July 21, 2008

DJ Booman - The Return EP

Since I just posted the other day about another release called The Return (which Booman also appears on), I might as well talk about this one now too. It's an 8-song digital EP that Booman dropped in June, featuring a lot of his recent club tracks like the "Flashing Lights" remix (although it doesn't have the newer "Lookin' Boy" and "Closer" remixes. There are 2 tracks that are tributes to Bo Diddley and James Brown built around samples of their music. You can preview and purchase the whole thing on his MySpace and is definitely worth checking out. Booman is just on fire this year, constant good music coming from him lately, including the 410 Pharoahs album out on August 4th.

DJ Booman - "Love The Way" (mp3)
No idea what the sample is on this but this shit is gorgeous, with some really creative drum programming.

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R.I.P. Khia "DJ K-Swift" Edgerton, 1978-2008

I woke up to this text message from Fredlocks from Mic Life magazine:

"Just heard from a reliable source that K-Swift just died at Good Samaritan Hospital from a head injury sustained from a swimming pool accident."

And now there are already dozens of R.I.P. messages on her MySpace page, so I guess it's true. This is shocking, tragic news. I just saw her DJ at Artscape on Saturday night. This is a huge loss to the Baltimore club music community.

7/22/08 EDIT: I have corrected K-Swift's year of birth from 1980 to 1978. She was 29.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

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Friday, July 18, 2008

PenDragon - "DC GoGo Slam" (mp3)
Bree f/ PenDragon - "Outta Control (Remix)" (mp3)
More new shit from PenDragon, cause I feel like he's on a roll right now and has some great ideas. After he sent me Wale's "Bmore Club Slam" record he decided to do his own flip on the concept, with a Baltimore MC shouting out D.C. and their indigenous sound, grabbing some Chuck Brown samples for the Go-Go feel. He also decided to spit a verse on a track by local R&B singer Bree, which I originally heard on 1 Fam Productions' The Show a few months ago.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

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Baltimore hip hop/R&B/club music artists performing at Artscape this weekend:

Friday July 18, 2008
8:30 PM Blaqstarr DJ Culture Stage
9:00 PM Dave Nada DJ Culture Stage

Saturday July 19, 2008
12:00 PM Chuck Maddox DJ Culture Stage
3:30 PM JSoul Organic soul Main Stage
5:00 PM Rye-Rye, DJ Class, K-Swift & Scottie B Hip-hop Main Stage
6:00 PM K-Swift & DJ Class DJ Culture Stage
7:00 PM Mario R&B Main Stage
8:00 PM Rye-Rye DJ Culture Stage
8:30 PM Dru Hill with SISQO R&B Main Stage

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mullyman - The Return (DJ Gemini/Major League Unlimited)

I feel like Mullyman has come a long way in the three years since Mullymania, going from kinda being known for things like beef and getting famous rappers to guest on his tracks, to being known for all the right reasons, consistently dropping good music and putting on strong live performances, he's really earned his spot. At this point he could drop a whole CD of just recent singles and guest appearances, and that's kinda what this is, give or take a few new tracks, and I'm not complaining. "Move Over" with DJ Booman and Ray Lugar and "Party Walk" are two of my favorite songs out of Bmore from the past few months, and those are on here along with other singles like "I'm Good There" and "Hustleman Shuffle" and previously released collabs with Nik Stylz, Ogun, Bless and Young Dip, and new collabs with Verb and Lady D. I think this has been out for at least a couple months now, but I didn't get a chance to cop it until the Teop show at Sonar, where Mully put on one of the craziest performances I've seen in a minute, just a ridiculous amount of energy. He also had a DVD release party shortly after that, but I haven't seen the DVD yet. It's funny, even though every time I see Mully now he tells me that he's been staying in ATL, he keeps popping up here doing shows, so I'm glad he's still maintaining a presence here even as he's making moves elsewhere. Go check out him on MySpace and get this mixtape.

Mullyman - "Superstar" (mp3)
I was not a big fan of the beat from the Lupe Fiasco song, but Mully works with it pretty well here, and I love the way DJ Gemini scratches in that Jeezy line from the official remix, "every time I watch The Wire it's like I just left Bmore."

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The City Paper's annual Big Music Issue is out this week, and it features No Static At All, my story about the rise of streaming internet radio in the Baltimore hip hop and club scenes, alongside lots more interesting articles (including an oral history of Baltimore clubs like Paradox and Choices by Michael Byrne, a piece on the Latin music scene by Robbie Whelan, and an article by Raven Baker that parallels the DIY scenes of Baltimore and D.C.).

I spoke to DJ Excel, Amotion, DJ Diamond K, Dirty Nation Entertainment and Shaka Pitts for my article, and listed a few website addresses for Baltimore-based internet radio stations in it. But there are a lot of other people with shows and stations right now, and I wanted to compile a list in this post of all the ones I know of, just as an easy guide for anyone who reads it and wants to check out any of this stuff, and hear underground Baltimore music on their computer any time of any day of the week:

Baltimore Klub Krank Radio @
Bmore Original Radio
Buck Jones Presents Baltimore Talent
Deep Flow Radio
The Diamond K Show
DJ Chris J Live Baltimore Club Mix Show
DMV's Blogtalk w/ G Major
Real Talk w/ Spitts McMan
Revolt Radio @
Unruly Radio
X-Rated w/ 1st Family

Honorable mention to DJ Technics, who had a radio stream on for a number of years that doesn't appear to exist anymore.

(Cover illustration by Kevin Sherry)

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

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Monday, July 14, 2008

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Mic Life Magazine has resumed publishing, after a brief hiatus, with the July/August issue out this week, and I wrote a little for the mag in its previous run and am back in the new issue, writing an article on Baltimore rapper and Byrd Gang member NOE, basically a long intro to an interview with him. The issue also features a memorial article about Mr. Wilson.

Jim Jones, NOE and Riz - "Pipe Smoke" (mp3)
Jim Jones, NOE and Riz - "Keep Watching" (mp3)
NOE is featured extensively on Jim Jones & Byrd Gang's M.O.B. (Members Of Byrdgang) album that dropped two weeks ago, on 11 of the 15 tracks, so he's on the album more than any MC other than Jim Jones. The album did pretty respectable numbers on Billboard last week (#29 with 17 thousand) for a relatively low profile project, so hopefully that'll clear the way for NOE to get a solo album out on Byrd Gang/Asylum sometime soon. I haven't really fucked with any Dipset music much since 2004 or so, but the album is pretty decent. These are the two iTunes bonus tracks that feature NOE.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Here's Fuel TV's tour of Baltimore, with Timmy Grins, DJ Excel and the Unstoppable Nuklehidz, stopping through the Sound Garden and getting a chicken box.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

The Club Queen K-Swift - Jumpoff Vol. 13 (Unruly Records)

After volumes 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 all dropped back to back within a few months of each other, you should already know the deal, K-Swift is relentless with this series and probably sells them by the boatload. And as usual, I'm behind one, because 14 is already available on her online store. This one's got the latest hits from Say Wut, K.W. Griff, Rod Lee, DJ Pierre, the list goes on.

DJ B-Eazy - "Clap Your Handz 2008" (mp3)
I profiled DJ B-Eazy in a recent Club Beat and I really think he's a smart, down to earth dude, good to see him getting some shine on big mixes like K-Swift's these days. This might be my favorite track of his, great Stevie Wonder sample.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Vision - Still Here (Star Status Entertainment/B.M.W.B. Affiliates)

Although I'd previously heard a little of his work with Banga Bill, I didn't really know much about Vision until a few weeks ago, when Sonny Brown put me in touch with him as someone to speak to for my posthumous article about Mr. Wilson, I talked to him a few times and got some music from him, and he was really helpful and gave me some great quotes and the picture that accompanied the article. He gave me some of his own mixtapes, which he's made a ton of, and I posted a track with Mr. Wilson from this one recently. This one's short but consistent, all original beats and he's got a low key, conversational kinda flow. More guest appearances by DJ Jabril and Dirty Earl. Couldn't find a MySpace or website for him anywhere, maybe he doesn't have one?

Vision - "Hataz" (mp3)
This song is dope, good original beat and catchy hook. And considering that half the songs on the radio these days are about haters, it could probably be a hit.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Mobtown Studios Opens in Baltimore

Below is the official announcement that went out today about Mobtown Studios, a new recording studio up on Charles Street. The owners are very good friends of mine and I've watched this place getting built up and readied for business over the past year, and have worked with them in their previous studio, and I have every confidence that this is going to be a great recording resource for Baltimore, and I really hope all the musicians around here take notice and look into the place for their next project, rock bands, hip hop and R&B and dance music artists, everybody. I've been helping them with little stuff, painting the studio and helping them network in the local music scene and I'm going to be writing some content for the Mobtown site starting soon, and I'm just really excited about this finally coming together. There's an ad running in the City Paper this week, a discount if you book a session now, and there's going to be an open house later this month, but you can just check all the details and contact info in the press release below:


New music recording studio opens in Baltimore
Mobtown Studios joins thriving local music scene

Baltimore, MD July 8, 2008 -- A new recording studio opens its doors in Charles Village this month, amidst a flourishing Baltimore music scene that has recently garnered coverage in Rolling Stone, Blender and Paper. Husband and wife team Matthew Leffler Schulman and Emily Leffler Schulman announced the opening of Mobtown Studios at 2603 N. Charles Street, in the heart of one of the city's most artist-friendly neighborhoods.

The couple were running a studio out of their home in Washington, DC when they decided to move back to Emily's hometown in 2006. "We had been operating on an informal level for many years and it was time to step it up," says head engineer Matthew. "Coming back to Baltimore allowed us to keep our rates low and make our services available to a wider range of artists in a really interesting scene. Baltimore has that small town flavor that makes it easy to connect to artists, yet the city's teeming with everything from experimental noise to shoegaze to Baltimore club."

Baltimore's own indie band Kadman was one of the first to record at Mobtown. "They not only encourage creativity, but the warmth of the rooms and the friendliness of the engineers inspire it." says lead singer Dave Manchester. "They gave us the tone we wanted at a remarkable price and with great efficiency and excitement."

The first thing one notices when entering Mobtown's first floor rowhouse space is the feeling of warmth and homeyness. "We spent a lot of time planning how we could maintain a light-filled living room feel, but prioritize the acoustics and sound of the room. We had to cut out the noise of the Charles Street buses, but still let the light in," says designer Emily. Their efforts paid off and resulted in a studio that is anything but the cold sterile environment typical of many professional studios.

Audiophiles and technophiles alike hone in on Mobtown's unique blend of digital and analog equipment. "The Tascam 4-track will always be my first love," says Matthew. "I still use it from time to time, right alongside my digital console. I'm not a believer in this war between analog and digital. I think they both have pros and cons and it's a matter of using them both effectively to achieve the desired result." This approach translates to an eclectic hybrid studio stocked with everything from a vintage Hammond organ to a late model Mac Pro.

As the drummer for Baltimore's The Seldon Plan, Matthew is an engineer with a musician's ear. He's been recording bands for over 15 years and is a graduate of the renowned Music Recording program at Middle Tennessee State University, located just outside Nashville. As a result, the studio has already earned a reputation for listening to and collaborating with clients to create their desired sound. "They are more than just knowledgeable about how to record, they know how to create the perfect tone to match the artists vision," says Manchester.

Mobtown Studios offers in-studio and remote recording services for music and commercial broadcast. Other services include mastering, mixing, producing and web design. The studio will host an open house on July 24. Details to be announced. Artists interested in booking a session or discussing an upcoming project can visit or call 410-235-0898.

Mobtown Studios
2603 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21218 • P 410-235-0898 • F 443-390-1135

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Jade Fox f/ Eva Castillo and Pere - "Bloody Sunday" (mp3)
Last week Jade Fox released the 2nd advance track from her next album, "Bloody Sunday," as a free download, and I haven't been able to stop listening to it for the last few days. It takes what made her previous album special, namely the long, soul searching verses and the bold, creative production, and goes even further out with a 7-minute epic. Her production team (Tytanium for 2Minds 1Soul Productions and Chris Bentley) really go in on this one. She also released the single "Goodbye Now" with Skarr Akbar, which is also on her MySpace, and it's really cool to hear the 2007 Best of Baltimore best male MC and best female MC on a track together. Jade Fox has a bunch of shows coming up, locally at the Ottobar and Penguins and also elsewhere in D.C. and Pennsylvania.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008


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