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Wednesday, September 4 2013

The Sound the Earth Makes While Vomiting the Grotesque

In underground metal, ritualized hymns are brought to the boil in the catacombs of the psyche, pointing to the malevolence that awaits in the darkness of the cosmos, linking the baleful depths of the Earth directly with the ominousness of galaxies overhead.


Monday, August 26 2013

How to Make Political Pop Without Trying

"Dancing in the Street" did not seek the kind of greatness ascribed to it -- it simply woke up one morning and found that greatness bestowed upon it.


Wednesday, August 21 2013

Zimbabwe and the Beauty in the Struggle

Throughout the political, economic, and social trials that have dominated and threatened to decimate one of the world’s most vibrant cultures, musicians have stood fast—drawing on ancient traditions to give voice to the hopes, fears, and frustrations of the people of Zimbabwe.


Tuesday, August 20 2013

In Defense Of ... New Radicals

New Radicals sort of invented the term "frenemies", didn't they? Regardless, the group's lone record, Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too, still stands as one of the lost treasures of the '90s.


Sunday, August 18 2013

The Mind-Numbing Conservatism of Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros

Traditionalism is the key to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, beginning with their devotion to the past -- but it's a past with all the rough edges, those cuts that make us bleed, rendered dull and ineffectual.


Wednesday, August 14 2013

Bassist Stephan Crump, from Pop to Avant-Garde and Back Again

Bassist Stephan Crump makes pop with his wife Jen Chapin, experimental improvisation with guitarist Mary Halvorson, and he's a great mainstream player, too. What can't he do well?


Sunday, August 11 2013

John Fogerty Is Still Square, But He’s Kinda Cool, Too

John Fogerty has teamed with a group of contemporary artists to deliver a celebration of his songs and of American music with Wrote a Song for Everyone. It couldn't be a more welcome celebration.


Thursday, August 8 2013

Scores of Summer 2013: Pulse-Heightening Horror, Twee Indie, Thunderous Action and Old-School Blues

No matter how classically trained (John Williams) or pop-minded (Hans Zimmer) a composer might be, the skill set required for making great movie music is unlike any other form of composition.


Monday, August 5 2013

Istanbul Calling: Hip-Hop in the Melting Pot

At once ancient and modern, Istanbul, one of the world's most eclectic and evolving cities, adds yet another element into its cultural melting pot: hip-hop, a music and subculture that has impassioned many Turks -- and infuriated others.


Tuesday, July 30 2013

In with the A&R Crowd

Will crowdsourced talent discovery kill traditional A&R? Or is it just the boost the industry needs?


Sunday, July 28 2013

Latin Music Is American Music

For more than a century, immigrants—particularly those from Latin America—have helped forge the cultural identity of the United States. In so doing they've spiced up America's food and thankfully, its music, too.


Wednesday, July 24 2013

In Defense Of ... Boycotting the Corporate Concert Industry

$400 for a VIP package to see Matchbox Twenty? Nearly $300 smackers for a regular ticket into the Legends of Summer tour? How much is enough when it comes to the big business end of the live music industry?


Tuesday, July 23 2013

Nippon Riffin’: Japan’s Nastiest (and Best) Metal, Part II

We're tackling death, doom, blackened thrash and black and sludge metal, here; the heavier end of the Japanese metal scene is our destination.


Monday, July 22 2013

Nippon Riffin’: Japan’s Nastiest (and Best) Metal, Part I

Japan has a proud history of exporting some fantastically thunderous metal. This month's Ragnarök is a two-part exploration of the Japanese metal scene, covering its history and an in-depth look at five of the nation's very best metal bands.


Wednesday, July 17 2013

America’s LGBT and Straight Game Changers

These LGBT "game changers" are moving us all forward, into a world where sexual orientation is no longer the characteristic by which we solely define people.


Tuesday, July 16 2013

Everything Old Is New Again: Reimagined Jazz Standards

Two young musicians, singer Kristin Slipp and pianist Dov Manski, have made an excellent classic recording of startlingly updated jazz standards. Here's how they did it.


Wednesday, July 10 2013

Ideas on the Ephemeral in Live Electronic Music

We take a look at how improvisatory genres such as jazz have embraced the one-off performance and how live electronic musicians can incorporate more ephemeral elements.


Tuesday, July 9 2013

King Crimson: A Prog-Rock Case Study

King Crimson, as much as or more than any other prog rock band, consistently shaped and refined a unique vision, arguably creating whole new types of music in the process.


Sunday, July 7 2013

In Defense Of ... Retiring the Band Name Sublime

As the quarter-century anniversary of the So-Cal ska/punk outfit passes, it should be noted that there will forever be only one Sublime, and Bradley Nowell is the only lead singer that should have ever been part of it.


Sunday, June 30 2013

Country Music Ain’t Black & White: ‘Hidden in the Mix’

These explorations of the African-American presence in country music are welcome at a time when country music is treated, by insiders and outsiders, as a purely white genre, and exceptions to that are treated as aberrations, gimmicks or novelty songs.


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