Sound
The Chapo Dilemma

The Chapo Dilemma

The left-wing podcast Chapo Trap’s House’s ascendance in the online media sphere is built on vulgarity. At first, this is just an observation and not a value judgment, and in some ways this brash attitude among its hosts – Will Menaker, Matthew Christman, Felix Biederman, Virgil Texas and Amber Frost – has proven to bring left ideas out of the cold halls of academia and into a “real world” that could do without political correctness. They’ve taken on the term, “the dirtbag left.” More»

Field Recording Politics

Field Recording Politics

As we move further away from the 1960s, the idea that music has a role to play in radical politics becomes increasingly irrelevant. Long gone are the days when people believed that rock music, or hip-hop, had any effect on the powers that be. More»

Metal Trump

Metal Trump

Amongst all the frenzied accounting over whom to blame/credit for Donald Trump’s victory, one group has escaped notice – the metalheads. Indeed, there is no evidence that metalheads voted for (or against) Trump (if they voted at all) in greater numbers than anyone else. More»

The Past is Alive

The Past is Alive

Of all the words in the lexicon of music writing, legendary must be about the most over-used.  Yet I am very much of the opinion that it applies here. Anti-Cimex formed in the days when the U.K. punk scene of the late 1970s was metastasizing into the hardcore punk scene of the 1980s. More»

Snow in April

Snow in April

When the surprising news of Prince’s death was announced last week, I reflexively moved to post something to social media. And so did a great many of my friends. But we were immediately reminded of just how little material was available for free online. His insistence on being properly compensated for his work had made it hard to mourn him collectively through social media. More»

America Needs Smart People

America Needs Smart People

Running a record label is a pain in the ass. It always begins with the best of intentions that reside somewhere in the mix of DIY ethics, wanting to support your friends, and simply trying to release your band’s arguably mediocre record when nobody else will do it. More»

Long Live Lookout Records

Long Live Lookout Records

Larry Livermore is responsible for getting a lot of great songs stuck in my head. Years before I played my first punk show, I memorized choruses on mixtapes gifted from my skater friends, which included tracks from Green Day, Operation Ivy, Crimpshrine and various other bands I had never seen, but would eventually come to know as part of Livermore’s record label. More»

Somebody do Something

Somebody do Something

The refugees are right. Europe is a place to escape to. Never mind the populists and the neo-Nazis. They’re nothing compared to getting shelled every day by artillery, or losing your home to Russian missiles. No matter how hard the journey is, nothing could be worse than remaining in Syria, and Iraq. The Middle East is death. More»

Where Are We Now?

Where Are We Now?

In the week following David Bowie’s death, a period my friend Ann Powers referred to as “sitting shiva”, my social media feed was dominated by content related to his career. Personal reflections on his impact, pieces about his career and countless links to clips testified to his cultural significance. At times, this collective outpouring felt like a desperate attempt to assert that we all still had something in common. More»

Pre-Hipster Metal

Pre-Hipster Metal

There is a kind of literalism that permeates metal culture when it comes to the word ‘metal.’ Metal is hard, unyielding, unbreakable, weaponised, destructive etc etc. Metal is a metaphor that is applied to the music and to its culture; it represents an ideal as much as a description. More»

The Wu-Tang Clan’s Failed Experiment

The Wu-Tang Clan’s Failed Experiment

Last year, the world was treated to an unexpected announcement from one of the most famous acts in hip hop. The Wu-Tang Clan revealed that it had secretly recorded a massive 31-track album that supposedly brought the band back to its roots and the raw, rugged, ominous sounds that made its debut, Enter the 36 Chambers, an instant classic upon its release in 1993. More»

The Dream of the '90s

The Dream of the ’90s

The eldest of the three talented women from Portland that comprise The Ghost Ease might have entered kindergarten in 1991, the year that Nirvana’s mainstream breakthrough album Nevermind was released. More»