Recent Features

26 Mar 2007 // 10:59 PM

Behind the Music

It's impossible to listen to music in a vacuum, to take the sound of a band on its own merits. There are so many outside factors at play – reviews, friends opinions, larger cultural influences . . .

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A Hammock and a Brook: An Interview With Explosions in the Sky

After getting on the big screen and the small one, Explosions in the Sky learn how to relax even as they grow.

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Good Times, Other Realities: A Conversation with Panda Bear

Whether with Animal Collective, through his solo work, or via a handful of other projects, Noah Lennox (or Panda Bear) makes a kind of disruptively joyful, emotionally affecting music operate on some sort of limbic plane to change your mood.

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Fight or Flight: The Dichotomy of Manowar

True metal believers or a mousse-abusing joke? Begrand explores how Manowar, one of the most polarizing and contradictory metal bands of all time, can simultaneously flaunt Spinal Tap-isms and ignite a crowd of 30,000 screaming fans.

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22 Mar 2007 // 11:00 PM

In the Eye of the Glitterball

In a rare confluence of art and commerce, two homosexual Italian Americans from working-class families in Brooklyn developed the cult and culture of the DJ and put them at the vanguard of New York City nightlife.

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Why Don’t the Planets Speak?: An Inquiry Into Music and Language

Speech involves saying something individual in a rigid system of conformity. Music seems to attempt something similar -- or, more appropriately, people attempt something similar through music.

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20 Mar 2007 // 11:00 PM

All Talk and No Stick

When it comes to drummers, style can briefly eclipse substance. Before you know it, people are coming up to you in bars talking about what a great drummer Don Henley was.

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19 Mar 2007 // 11:00 PM

P.M. Mixtape, Vol. One

Maybe the sun has set on the days of the cassette tape, a format that made you work for your music. Huff, feeling nostalgic for the "fast forward" and "rewind" buttons, makes his own theoretical cassette mix of oddball hip-hop tunes.

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Out of Nowhere: An Interview With Maps

James Chapman's moody, dream-fuzzed songs spent 2006 evolving from home-taped reveries to NME-charting singles. This year, with a new album in the works, a partnership with Bjork soundman Valgeir Sigurdsson, and a rising tide of blog interest, the Northampton (UK) songwriter is poised to move from off the map to off the charts.

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The Rudest, Crudest, Lewdest, Drunkest Band in Christendom

Extreme was the nature of the Macc Lads' music, as was the nature of reactions to it. Within their deftly created insular world, traits of civility, sensitivity, and compromise were anathemas. Therein lay the foundation of their punk-inspired wit.

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13 Mar 2007 // 10:59 PM

The Slip [Boston/Montreal]

The Slip have moved away from years of jazz-inspired instrumentals and towards more traditional pop structures, leading them into exciting new territory and bringing compositional dexterity to their recent pop.

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Bling, Bling, Bia, Bia!: How Hip-Hop Can Survive Beyond Black History Month

If hip-hop is an art, or a larger entity such as a culture, then we must be able to assess it. No body survives unchecked, so what sets hip-hop apart? As its producers and participants, fans and Stans, we must be able to navigate conversations about our actions.

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Complex Music for Everyone: An Interview With Loney, Dear

Emil Svanägen, the Swedish pop auteur otherwise known as Loney, Dear, has no patience at all for minimalism or primitivism or any of the -isms that make music less baroquely abundant than it naturally is. "For me I want to make complex music that everyone can like."

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Celebrating John Coltrane, Personally

Spurred on by a couple of anniversaries, a new podcast "Traneumentary", and plenty of memory, Layman reflects on the music and meaning of John Coltrane.

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Eggs, Tea, and a Georgia Peach: An Interview with Gregg Allman

The way things have gone, Allman explains, he might have been better off as a dentist.

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Mob Rule: An Interview with Kaiser Chiefs

Keyboardist Nick Baines explains the rise from peanuts to festivals.

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The Stooges take 34 years off and become punk legends

The Stooges once made groundbreaking, life-altering music, and they paid dearly for it. Now more than three decades after they came and went, the Stooges have returned, acknowledged as legends and basking in unprecedented respect, adulation and cash.

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5 Mar 2007 // 9:00 PM

Jamie, Take a Bow

Jamie Stewart, front man for noise-rock confessional Xiu Xiu, goes beyond therapy on his new album, The Air Force.

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5 Mar 2007 // 8:59 PM

Band of the Year: An Interview with Arcade Fire

The artistic license offered by an indie label led to the darker and more ambitious Neon Bible. It brims with arrangements that include a symphony orchestra and a choir recorded in Budapest, Hungary, and a massive church organ. "It felt sometimes like we were making a film rather than a record," Win Butler says.

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The Revolution Will Not Be in a Stadium

If the Chinese revolution has a soundtrack, it won't be the Rolling Stones' songs; especially given that their ticket prices are more than most Chinese can afford.

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