Sound

Vancouver B.C.’s Alien Boys have put out a punk rock record that is pretty close to flawless. If you don’t want to read any further, feel free to head over to their Bandcamp page and see if I’m right. But on the off chance that you need more convincing (from me), on Night Danger they have found the sweet spot where rocking really fucking hard (which they do) meets smart, passionate politics (which they have). I’m having a hard time thinking of something critical to say about them. Maybe it will come to me later. (More…)

Like millions of people around the world, I follow troves of bands online and frequently purchase music from Bandcamp, mostly punk and hardcore records. (More…)

I wrote somewhere, maybe here, that I always get nervous when I hear that Martyrdöd are about to release a record. I can still remember when I first heard their classic In Extremis (2005), a record which rocked me as hard as any crust record ever had. Ever since then I’ve been sort of waiting for them to drop off in quality. (More…)

Even viewed from a distance, the underground scene in Boston and eastern Massachusetts in the late 1970s and early 1980s was one of the most vibrant in the country. The city and its environs produced more than its share of blazing, straight ahead thrash acts, including the likes of Gang Green, Jerry’s Kids, the F.U.s, SS Decontrol, and DYS. (More…)

MAGAM’s new album, Another, is a tour-de-force of eccentricity. The companion to the band’s 2017 debut, One, conceptually linked by a play written by a band member who goes by the mysterious name of “moody alien”, it avoids conventionality with a steely rigour. (More…)

The Weight, the latest album by Dutch duo Weval, is a surprising record. Although released on Kompakt, a label famous for interesting elaborations on the microhouse and minimal techno dance genres, it seems only intermittently interested in maintaining a DJ-friendly attitude. While “Heaven, Listen” builds to a readily danceable rhythm, slower tracks like “False State of Mind” feel more like meta-dance.[MORE] They invoke different subgenres of electronic dance music, without fully committing to any of them. (More…)

When I saw that my favourite place in Tucson, The Loft Cinema, would be celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation, with the band’s drummer Steve Shelley, its archivist Aaron Mullan, and local legend Howe Gelb — part of a national theater tour — I knew I had to be there. I wasn’t sure what would be happening but figured it didn’t matter. (More…)

When I first heard Park Hye Jin’s I Don’t Care, I was intrigued. I’d been listening distractedly on my new Bluetooth headphones as I performed household chores. I like sampling new music that way. Most tracks don’t interest me enough to pull my phone from my pocket. But this one made me think. (More…)

Even more than previous years in what has been a consistently stressful decade for me, 2018 was defined by the divide between what I absolutely had to do and what I felt I didn’t have time for. As a result – and I think this applies to a great many people, even ones who had relatively good years – I ended up prioritizing experiences over the pursuit of novelty. (More…)

My father called it “Mini-Paris.” “We lived in Brussels in the 1950s when it was still a wreck from the war,” he told me. “The only people who spoke French were the cops. Everyone in the neighbourhood was a refugee from Italy. Except us, of course.” (More…)

Natural disasters, mass shootings, constant political turmoil, and the sense that long-standing alliances might be irreparably damaged: 1968 was the year when everything seemed to be falling apart. And the eponymous double album The Beatles released near its end was the perfect mirror, a testament to the centrifugal forces that could break even the strongest bonds of fellowship. How fitting that it should be reissued now, (More…)

As a term for classifying popular music by genre, “dub” dates back to the late 1960s. In both this regard and others, its history intertwines with that of “punk.” Although casual listeners might struggle to detect any sonic similarity between your average “dub” track and the stereotypical three-chord fury of The Ramones, The Stooges and The Sex Pistols, the more one knows about the two genres, the more apparent it becomes that they represent opposite sides of a coin minted in an era of abandoned dreams. (More…)