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Regular Show is The Matrix. The 2011 Don’t Talk To The Cops album introduced two main characters, DJ blesOne and emecks, who activated their radically organic, anti-machine approach to dance music. “Cold Nuts,” for instance, displays a band nimble enough to dodge bullets. On the opening track, blesOne repeats, “When they drop the bomb I want you in my arms,” metaphorically referring to the underground refuge city of Zion. Similar to Neo in The Matrix, the protagonists in “Guess I’m Strange” don’t fit in to stiff, normal society, and yearn for a freer reality. DJ blesOne is fully complemented by his musical partner emecks, just like Neo and Trinity work their formidable best as a team.

Let’s Quit feels like Reloaded, with perhaps even more action and drama than the first iteration. In fact Reloaded opens with Trinity and Neo romantically involved. “Tattoo My Name” from Let’s Quit is a real life documentary of emecks and blesOne declaring their love for each other. The mad, leaning tension in “Laos! Laos! Laos! Laos!” and “Tiptoe Right By Em” is as captivating as any high speed, eighteen-wheeler, tractor-trailer collision ever was. Reloaded may have magic orgasm cake created by the Merovingian, but Let’s Quit has a murderous hamburger leaving a trail of pickles and ketchup in its wake. Even the title Let’s Quit refers back to the first film in which Neo takes the red pill and “quits” the Matrix.

Champions Of Breakfast corresponds to Revolutions because in many ways it is the climax chapter of the story. Neo is carried to the Machine City and filled with electricity, which reboots the Matrix. The impossible-to-verbalize themes of this pivotal scene are captured by the instrumental power chords and b-boy floor-rocking energy in “DJ blesOne’s Theme” and title track “Champions Of Breakfast.” But many Revolutions viewers felt that the franchise lost the edgy vibe established in the first two films, and that’s how I felt about Champions Of Breakfast. “Michael Jordan’s 50” and “That Ain’t What 2048 Mase Do,” both show a band risking everything on a sound that felt like chloroform. In the skit “Bles The Mess,” blesOne plays an invincible medieval hero similar to Neo. “Hast thou ever had an encounter with Bles The Mess? So, are the legends true?” a character asks. By the end of both Revolutions and Champions everything is saved by the Deus Ex Machina. Both Neo and Don’t Talk To The Cops have metamorphosed into something entirely new.

2016’s Forevers reminds me of Resurrections because it is defanged, declawed, and simply not “Dangerous” to quote one of the album’s song titles. We already know the general plot so we can’t be surprised like we were the first couple of times. In addition, the meta scriptwriting approach keeps us in our heads the whole time. Just like Neo and Trinity, emecks and blesOne are older, and more like everyday people than the superheroes we remember. The title track “Forevers” sounds mellow like Art Of Noise cosplaying as Muzak. Here’s the deal, if Bruce Illest heard this tame s*** he would be pissed. Some Forevers tracks that should have sounded unfamiliar or bracing like opener “What You Say What You Want” and “Animal Planet Rock” simply feel safe like we’ve been here before. Forevers feels like coloring inside the lines. At the end of Resurrections, Neo and Trinity fly off together in hopeful expectation, and that’s exactly how I imagine emecks and blesOne ending this exciting and important band. Written by Novocaine132

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Swamp Jams II

In the 2020s, Hollywood is obsessed with the “Multiverse,” a place where anything is possible and infinite shards collide to create each reality. The multiverse-based film Everything Everywhere All At Once dominated the Oscars in 2023. Don’t even get me started about the glut of Marvel and DC superhero multiverse films. The Pacific Northwest is ahead of the curve on this topic, as we have had a true multiverse DJ since at least 1996. His name is DJ blesOne, and he is a producer/B-Boy/DJ who found audiences with his first group Mash Hall from 2004 until they stopped recording in 2010. Then he joined a second group, Don’t Talk To The Cops, in 2011.

Don’t Talk To The Cops’ music was always bananas, sound effects and beats attacked from all angles. Sudden changes were the hallmark of a DTTTC track, and any moment could bring a drum break or a swerve from music into dialogue. The first two DTTTC albums, Regular Show and Let’s Quit were high-energy, greased lightning for the dance community. Their third CD was the more abstract Champions Of Breakfast. The group appeared to be at a crossroads, and put out a three-song ep called Swamp Jams, which included the scorching track, “Ronald Reagan Racist Reagan.” Then a noteworthy short album named Swamp Jams II dropped a bomb on everybody.

Swamp Jams II is a brief experience, only 25 minutes long. The tempo swings wildly between slower and faster fare. One of the first identifiable tracks on the faster end, “Shaq Attaq,” is hilarious, especially because the only lyric is “Shaq attack,” over and over. The slower “Kicked Out Of Capitol Hill” is El Mizell’s angry rebuttal to the forces of gentrification which changed Capitol Hill from an affordable-if-grungy underground culture factory, to an expensive, clean, homogenous Bellevue-lite.

“Ordering A Pizza” is like “Shaq Attaq,” a merciless rhythm attack with a repeated refrain. If you ever meet blesOne, ask him about the Midwest club he once DJed where patrons could order a pizza and the servers would bring it right to the dance floor. It’s a good story. “Bumble” slices a line from emecks’ verse in “I’m @ The Ocean Kid,” and blasts it at you again and again. These repetitive, thumping tracks remind me of Daft Punk’s early grinders, because they are unforgiving, relentless, and downright insulting to the listener. They sound like record-skipping musical pranks, until something clicks in your mind and the genius becomes evident.

After all the speedy madness so far, the slow creep of “Tommy Nautica Polo” near the end of the album rekindles the ether-soaked-rag slow burn from Champions Of Breakfast. As rides through the multiverse go, Swamp Jams II is one of the coolest. Your musical device is not skipping, this is the hyperactive hive mind of Don’t Talk To The Cops. Written by Novocaine132

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Champions Of Breakfast

Don’t Talk To The Cops are the closest thing to Seattle rock stars that I can fathom. The group’s first album Regular Show in 2011 was a psychedelic fruit salad of creative tasties, including “Guess I’m Strange,” and “Girls Buy Me Drinks.” Their second album Let’s Quit the following year crystallized the flavor even more on wild experiences like “I Don’t Like Rachel,” and “Tip Toe Right By Em.” Then in 2013, right on schedule, a third DTTTC album called Champions Of Breakfast arrived. It was released in a limited edition, cardboard “cereal box” with a CD inside, very collectible. The group’s DJ, El Mizell aka Gatsby, was billed for the first time as a full-fledged DTTTC member. As a historical note, the trio had previously posed together for a frameable March 2012 City Arts Magazine cover photo.

Champions travels to way more abstract places than the first two albums dared. Regular Show and Let’s Quit are firmly rooted in rhythm, but this third offering is slower and more vaporous. Interestingly, the two tracks I respond to the strongest are both instrumental cuts, “DJ blesOne’s Theme” and “Champions Of Breakfast.” These two beats have a singular quality which was plentiful on the group’s first two albums, that head-banging feeling you get when your body just wants to move. “Bombshell” gets close to perfection, but the looping quality of it prevents me from getting immersed like I usually do in a blesOne production.

Actually, to my dismay, much of Champions Of Breakfast is elusive to me, and contains no handles to metaphorically grab onto. For instance, the songs “That Ain’t What 2048 Mase Do,” “Gimme That ’80s Butt,” and “Michael Jordan’s 50” ensnare the listener in a hazy, chopped and screwed, Jupiter-level gravity zone. It’s paralyzing and imitates what I imagine being stuck in a ketamine hole would be like. One happy exception among the vocal tracks is the boisterous “I’m @ The Ocean Kid,” which renewed my faith in this important band.

The whole Champions Of Breakfast album plays like a series of experimental demos, as though DTTTC had grown tired of its own previous sound, and wanted to grow and evolve. Sure enough, there was much more to come. The group dropped an angry swan song of sorts titled Swamp Jams II in 2014, then a true coda called Forevers in 2016. Written by Novocaine132

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Let's Quit

Mash Hall was a Seattle band which released a flood of interesting music from 2004 until 2010. On albums like Love Family, Streaks And Blurs, and of course, the epic They La Soul, DJ blesOne, Ronnie Voice, Christine Supreme, Gatsby, and Janae Jones presented a wild party for anyone who cared to listen. In 2010, Mash Hall stopped recording together, and blesOne decided to create a new band experience with partner emecks called Don’t Talk To The Cops. DTTTC’s first album Regular Show in 2011 sounded different than Mash Hall, more high energy and dance centric.

For their second project, 2012’s Let’s Quit, DTTTC kept the weirdness flowing like a faucet. “I Don’t Like Rachel” is a good example of this hundred-mile-an-hour sound. It just rushes through you like a kind of chaotic euphoria. As a humorous side note, DTTTC featured an artist named Rachel Ratner on three Let’s Quit tracks, but she is not the Rachel referred to in the song. The speed-run continues with “Swag Treated Treated Swag,” and “Laos! Laos! Laos! Laos!” The latter includes a geography lesson when emecks yells, “I’m not just Asian, I’m Laoatian, get it right b****.”

“Tiptoe Right By Em” reunites blesOne with his cousin Ronnie Voice, the previously mentioned Mash Hall co-founder. “Tiptoe” includes the catchy refrain, “I thought I told you don’t talk to the cops,” repeated over and over. Every time I listen to this hyperactive song, I laugh when I hear the lyric, “Egypt, I’m in the pyramids, oooh.” Let’s Quit has a remix of “Girls Buy Me Drinks” which is more compact and protein-packed than the original version on Regular Show, thanks to a short verse by Hollywood Holt.

One of my favorite memories of 2012 was being an extra in the music video for “Tattoo My Name” at Havana on Broadway. In fact, many of the tracks on Let’s Quit have delightful corresponding videos that you can search for on Youtube. DTTTC was a true Seattle art movement, way larger than just a band. They were able to maintain such a high energy level over their first two albums by devoting themselves 100% to the culture of dancing and having a good time. Written by Novocaine132

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