Wandering Eye: O'Malley plays guitar, an oral history on Baltimore club, and more

"Get Your Life," Nat Thomson's oral history of Baltimore club music, was originally published in Wax Poetics magazine back in 2006, and last month the magazine put the long-sought-after piece on its website (Wax Poetics itself is a kind of collector's item and back issues are often hard to come by and a bit on the expensive side), though it didn't seem to pick up on social media until earlier this week, which is when we first spotted it. The piece is hardly comprehensive, though its reliance on quotes from major players such as Scottie B, Shawn Caesar, Rod Lee, and DJ Booman along with slightly lesser known figures like Equalizer, Dukeyman, Theo, and Mark B is vital. And because it was aimed at Wax Poetics' music-nerd audience, it explores some of the stranger contingencies of club music rarely touched on when a big-deal website talks about the stuff. Namely, you get a sense of club music before Baltimore knew what club music sounded like, when local DJs were grabbing hard-edged dance songs from wherever they could, which led to them spinning instrumentals of Chicago house and U.K. rave tracks and sometimes even just the parts of a record over that sounded enough like club to get people dancing. The piece also references an oft-forgotten proto-club track from here in Baltimore, 1987's 'Git The Hole (Remix),' credited to Dem Niggas and produced by Thommy Davis and DJ Spen of the Basement Boys. And a conversation about the way that specific gear, such as the ASR-10 sample keyboard, assisted in birthing the sound is also fascinating. Here's how producer Dukeyman describes the ASR-10: "It's dirty, it sounds like trash. Trash is a good thing." (Brandon Soderberg)

 

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced his presidential candidacy a couple days ago, thrilling some on the left. Finally, someone to challenge Hillary Clinton's corporate consensus. But there is something missing, and Vox puts its finger on it here, explaining why Sanders does not talk about race and racism: "This isn't an accidental oversight. These simply aren't issues Sanders is passionate about in the way he's passionate about economic injustice." He comes by it honestly, the story says, quoting from an old friend and colleague of Sanders' at the University of Chicago in the 1960s, who says Sanders is more like a 1930s radical than a 1960s radical, all about trimming corporate clout and getting union wages, decent hours, vacations for working people. It helps too that Vermont is about 94 percent white: "Sanders has never had to win an election by working to appeal to white, black, and Latino voters all at once — he's won election after election by successfully representing the concerns of a single constituency." The story mentions Jim Webb of Virginia as a guy who is right on prison reform. Martin O'Malley's making nice noises about immigration—but his record is poison on police-community relations in the inner city. Of course, Sanders may appeal more broadly to people of all races, nationalities, and gender identities who have had it up to here with the trigger-warning, "micro-aggression"-obsessed pea-brains now dominating the academic left. But Vox is not wrong to note the fact: "Sanders is running to make the same points he's always made: that the rich are too powerful in America and the government needs to fix it. Clinton is running to win as many votes as possible." (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

Former governor and cool dad Martin O'Malley is making a BIG announcement at Federal Hill tomorrow, but what could it be??? O'Malley has said "new leadership is needed to move our country forward," rented some office space in Station North, and shown his mug around Iowa a bunch, but all of these things could be mere coincidence, right? Des Moines is supposed to be really nice this time of year, we hear. This morning another piece of the puzzle was dropped in our laps in the form of a YouTube video where the dream-boat politician and Irish rock frontman plays the opening bars of "Hail to the Chief." Could it be O'Malley is running for president? Why must he tease us so with this obtuseness? (Brandon Weigel)

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