Cut Chemist: Sound of the Police

Lucas McFadden, the founding member of seminal Los Angeles groups Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli who’s better known as Cut Chemist, has a new mix out called Sound of the Police. Inspired by the Boogie Down Productions song of the same name and, of all things, Ethiopian military bands, Cut completed the mix CD using just one turntable, a mixer and a loop pedal. When he performs live, Cut likes to put cameras right on the gear so the audience can see on the big screen just exactly how he works his magic.

“You don’t have to be into DJs to enjoy my show,” says Cut. “It’s like walking a sonic tightrope and the audience gets to see me fall if something goes wrong. The interesting parts are when I mess up and fix it, and the audience goes crazy and appreciates what a balancing act it actually is.”

Nothing went wrong when Cut recorded “Disco in Addis,” the first single from Sound of the Police, and you can download your free copy at

One Hell of a Video Worth $500

Have you been practicing your death metal growl lately? Detroit deathcore band And Hell Followed With has a new album called Proprioception out on the Earache label, and they also have $500 to give to the winner of their create-a-video contest.

Entrants need to grab a free download of the song “This Night is the Coroner’s,” make a video for the cut, upload it to YouTube and then promote the vid on the net. The winning video will be the one that garners the most views by Aug. 31.

The winner takes home the cash, a signed digipak copy of Proprioception and a meet-and-greet with the band at an upcoming show closest to the winner’s home. Contest details are available on the And Hell Followed With MySpace page.

Black Gold Dance Contest

The latest single from Black Gold, “Shine,” is one of the songs featured in the contestant exit montage on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and that’s inspired the band to launch a Web-based dance contest. Entrants need to make a video of themselves dancing to “Shine” and then upload the video to YouTube.

Don’t let the fact that you may be a bad dancer keep you from entering; the band stresses that entries will be judged on creativity, originality, humor, vibe and the number of YouTube views racked up as opposed to dance expertise. And what do you suppose the prize for this one might be? A series of dance lessons from a local dance school in the winner’s hometown, of course. Find the details at Contest ends Aug. 19.

It’s a Guitar, Dummy

If you have one of those six-string thingies lying around and you’re serious about improving your playing, you might want to buy a copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Guitar Exercises. The book is full of lessons designed to build up strength and endurance, increase dexterity and generally improve your technique so that you can play to the best of your ability.

There’s an easy-to-understand explanation of the CAGED system of playing scales and chords, practice patterns that show you how to beat the monotony of playing scales and exercises written in both standard notation and tablature. An audio CD with over 150 exercises comes with the book, which is gathering praise from hotshot guitarists like Mike Mushok of Staind, Alex Lifeson of Rush and jazz cat Mike Stern.

Lost in the Trees Take Los Angeles

The Chapel Hill-based folk rock orchestra Lost in the Trees is about to release their album All Alone in an Empty House, and they’ve also got a series of showcases planned at intimate venues around town. The album of “self-described campfire arrangements with tales of heroes and villains and biblical-like imagery of raging fires” drops Aug. 10 on the Anti- label, and the band has shows scheduled at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica Aug. 7, Spaceland Aug. 9, Amoeba Records Aug. 10 and the Hotel Café Aug. 12.