Brandon Bussolini

Devin the Dude

Emerging underground hip hop
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PREVIEW: When the Mayan apocalypse hits in 2012, Devin the Dude will have been at this rap stuff for two decades. Read more »

What's Up

Technical instrumental post-hardcore with feeling
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PREVIEW Post-hardcore is as straightforward as it sounds: the bands that hardcore musicians started that drew on a broader range of music beyond the self-imposed limitations of hard 'n' fast. Read more »

Live bait

Ups and downs: what you get from Born Ruffians and Wire
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Thirty-something British band Wire secured its place in rock history with three soberly brilliant LPs released in the late 1970s. Born Ruffians, a much younger Canadian combo, gets steady attention despite having only two uneven releases under their belt. Both groups will be playing likely well-attended shows this week, to audiences who either cut their post-punk teeth on Wire's Chairs Missing (Harvest, 1979) or got really into Born Ruffians' Red Yellow and Blue (Warp) since its release eight months ago. Read more »

McShhhhh!

Quiet, Please scarcely scratches the surface of the library experience
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REVIEW Whether you admired his fierce intelligence or considered him a negative influence on the young, you have to admit that David Foster Wallace was one of the few contemporary writers who managed to pin down and unpack questions of writerly narcissism and grasp their implications. The McSweeney's brand owes its greatest debt to Wallace. Read more »

Hawnay Troof

Oaklander Vice Cooler makes confessional music with straight-ahead energy
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PREVIEW When I think of Hawnay Troof after listening to approximately one-half of his first full-length, Islands of Ayle (Southern/Retard Disco), the cover of the Geto Boys' We Can't Be Stopped (Rap-A-Lot, 1991) comes to mind. I might have found out about the image — Bushwick Bill just forced his girlfriend to shoot him, and he's in a gurney that the other dudes in the group are pushing down a hospital corridor — from Vice magazine. Does that mean it's not a legit memory? Read more »

Nachtmystium

Chicago's experimental black metallers struggle not to be political
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PREVIEW Nachtmystium, Chicago's premier experimental black metallers, are on their fourth album with Assassins: Black Meddle, Part 1 (Century Media). Beyond the surface punning and musical nods to Pink Floyd — "One of These Nights" is the black mirror reflection of "One of These Days" from Meddle (Capitol, 1971) — the Chicago foursome seem to be out to offend the sensibilities of black metal traditionalists with spacious production, electronic scribbles, bluesy solos, and a deeply epic scope. Read more »

Manifestos and sodas

Lit Crawl 2008: Joshua Clover wrangles popular poetry and the poetry of pop
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INTERVIEW Joshua Clover is probably just as well known as alter ego jane dark. It's the pseudonym under which s/he writes sugarhigh! (janedark.com), which makes equal space for dialectical thinking, pop and country music, and film. I've spent time talking with friends about his criticism and his two books of poetry, 2006's The Totality for Kids (UC Press, 76 pages, $16.95) and 1997's Madonna anno domini (Louisiana State University Press). Read more »

Does Vampire Weekend suck?

Treasure Island Music Festival: A critical mass of critical stabs
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In terms of the Internet music hype cycle, seven months is an eternity. So while last winter the controversy surrounding Vampire Weekend — four mild Columbia alums who make a crowd-pleasing brand of Afro-pop punk — threatened to hold the Web hostage, more recently the discussions of privilege and charges of cultural appropriation that marked the backlash have all but disappeared. Read more »

Class revolting

Treasure Island Music Festival: Chester French fronts the new school of college-rockers
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Americans are allowed to talk about class on the condition that we say we are all middle class — never mind if your 'rents pay for an out-of-state, private college without financial aid, or if you're a single mom struggling to pay Bay Area rents on service industry wages. Regardless of our assets, we're all the same if we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, right? Read more »