The promo package, marked Special, arrived on my desk in May from Ultra Records in New York City. Hastily, I tore the envelope open and yanked out the CD within, letting squiggles of packing confetti fall where they may. A bronze and glistening, near-naked, possibly underage Brazilian boy stared fiercely from the cover. His bulging genitalia were not quite stuffed into a Gummi-red Speedo. His hair dripped with viscous product. Read more »
Is there a single animal on God's once-green Earth that is as closely equated with drama and pageantry as the mighty horse? Powerful, elegant, showy as all hell it's no wonder we've cultivated such a fascination for them, particularly when it comes to using them as signifiers. Equus, anyone? Or how about Patti Smith? When she torched the rock 'n' roll playbook with her revolution more than 30 years ago, which animals did she pick to lead the charge? Lions? Bears? Squirrels? Read more »
Despite their Rasta affiliation, dub jams, and dread heads, Bad Brains are perhaps the greatest hardcore band of all time black, white, or indifferent. Make a top three list in your head. You can quibble about the order, and you can shuffle bands in and out, but you know damned well that the Brains have to anchor the whole thing. Insert Black Flag or Minor Threat, and you realize the debt that both bands owe H.R., Dr. Read more »
When Jake Mann ponders his recent move from Davis to San Francisco, he puts it in terms of a song. "Left behind the right things I know / How does this one go?" Mann muses on "Beat the Drum," as though making your way in a new scene were like playing a tune whose chords you haven't quite learned. That SF has scenes at all was part of Mann's concern. "People are specific about their genres here," he notes. "I've always felt spread across a lot of sounds."
This is borne out on Mann's new LP, Daytime Ghost (Crossbill). Read more »
Latinos rarely receive credit for all they've brought to the rap game. After all, it was primarily Puerto Ricans who authored those boogaloo break-dance moves in the Bronx. And what would Cali hip-hop be without the laid-back style of Chicano cholos and their "low lows"?
Currently, a contingent of local Latino rap artists is pushing hard for recognition. Its members are on the Thizz Latin label, an imprint of Mac Dre's Thizz Entertainment group. Read more »
Los Angeles two-piece No Age ex of Wives ply a grimy, low-tech hybrid of fuzz-prone guitar loops, surfy psych-noise, and ear-shattering skate rock that's been hell-raising the SoCal music scene since the band's April 2006 debut.
When they're not generating a shoegazey yet Ramones-channeled noise punk, vocalist-drummer Dean Spunt and guitarist Randy Randall use the band name as an umbrella under which to display their talents as visual artists. Read more »
New Pornographers ringleader A.C. Newman's life has changed a lot since his 2004 solo debut, The Slow Wonder (Matador), became the secret darling of indie aficionados round the world: he relocated from his native Vancouver to Brooklyn, married the girl of his dreams, and became a morning person.
His music has metamorphosed too. "Some people think that this record is a real departure for us," Newman explained early one recent morning from his Park Slope home. Read more »
London's DJ Youngsta would much rather be heard than seen. Even at his recent spotlight guest DJ appearance on Mary Anne Hobbs's top-rated BBC Radio 1 electronic program, Youngsta uttered nary a word. Known as dubstep's most peerless and perfectionist technical mixer, Yunx as his friends casually call him lets the tunes do the talking. Read more »
Wanna take your backyard pool party to the next level? You'll need the Traditional Fools on speed dial: their infectious, scuzzy surf punk is the best accompaniment this century has to offer to the twist, the shimmy, and the ladling of tropical punch. Read more »