Sound
The Art of Silas Blak

The Art of Silas Blak

One can break down Seattle hip-hop into four main movements. The first begins in the early ’80s and concludes in 1993, following Sir Mix-a-Lot’s apotheosis and subsequent canonization in hip-hop. The second is between 1994 and 2004, and coincides with the gentrification of the Central District (a transition best captured by Central Intelligence’s 2001’s “Real Estate”). More»

Instrument Meets Radio

Instrument Meets Radio

Probably 80% of DJs/producers use SoundCloud, and have enjoyed using it. I understand the beauty of being able to share your music, but the fact is that it is not regulated fairly for copyright owners. Piracy went from being uncool and illegal to becoming the norm in how we treat the work of rights holders. More»

Vinyl Solution

Vinyl Solution

For nearly four decades, punk was America’s counterculture. The scene was remarkably resilient, replicating itself hundreds of times over, in nearly every part of the country. Punk had a sense of timelessness to it, which made it seem independent of its partnership with pop culture. More»

Doom Metal in Pakistan

Doom Metal in Pakistan

Booming guitars accentuated by a crushing low-end bass reverberate from the speakers. The drums hammer down with monotonous intensity, making every riff take on the form of an unrelenting earthquake. More»

Savvy White Ally

Savvy White Ally

With the first video from his forth-coming album ISSKOOTSIK (Before Here Was Here), spoken-word artist, attorney and activist, Gyasi Ross recovers a revolutionary American moment that occurred on the banks of the Puyallup River in the rural area surrounding Seattle in 1964. More»

Metal Pakistan

Metal Pakistan

During the 1990s, numerous Pakistani bands arose from the nascent democracy that followed the end of the Zia ul-Haq era. Dusk was one of them: a Pakistani metal band with a sound that has evolved with the miseries of daily life. More»

The Death of Meaning

The Death of Meaning

Even if you’ve heard nothing about the new Sufjan Stevens album Carrie and Lowell, the cover should make its purpose clear. But I somehow managed to remain willfully ignorant until the moment when I put it on the stereo. It must have been a defense mechanism, because the minute his voice entered the warbling folk of the first track, I was already in tears. More»

From Extreme Metal to Islamic State

From Extreme Metal to Islamic State

When I set out to do ethnographic research on extreme metal for my doctorate in the mid-1990s, it was the transgression that fascinated me. I wanted to immerse myself in a culture dedicated to musical celebrations of the dark side, that flirted with sonic oblivion, that stared into the abyss. More»

Punk’s Past Alternate Future

Punk’s Past Alternate Future

I first started listening to punk and hardcore in 1988—not that music’s best period. Many of the great early bands, including the Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, and Crass, had broken up a couple years before, and it seemed that the genre might be at its social and aesthetic end. The politics were fading while metalcore and straightedge hardcore bands were in ascendance. More»

Dark Ages Dawn

Dark Ages Dawn

Few bands have a more problematic relation to novelty than Gang of Four. Persistently critical of postmodern capitalism’s relentless search for new sources of income, they still repudiated the nostalgia that has so often beset the modern Left, embracing electronic dance music when most of their fellow travelers looked down on anything that deviated from classic rock instrumentation. But that move looks a lot different now than it did in the early 1980s. More»

The Plague Dancers

The Plague Dancers

France is probably not the first place that one thinks of in terms of extreme music. While it has been home to obscure black metal acts such as Deathspell Omega and Blut aus Nord, the country has not, generally speaking, shown the propensity to produce death and grind bands as Britain or Germany (to say nothing of points further north). But in recent years that has begun to change. More»

Kurdish Spring Soundtrack

Kurdish Spring Soundtrack

The Arab Spring seems like a century ago. Starting in late 2010, there was every reason to believe that it would make the Middle East synonymous with social democracy. With the exception of its most fearful critics, no one could have predicted that it would dissolve into the bloodbath currently engulfing Syria and its neighbors. More»