Sound

As I was finishing a Hawaiian plate lunch with my daughter and her mother in Encinitas, they announced that they were going to do some “girl” shopping on the main drag. I said I’d come along. But then I was overcome by a familiar urge. (More…)

Punk bands never die. They just turn into H&M t-shirts. Or, in the case of the field recording below, supermarket sound system fixtures in southern European immigrant neighborhoods. If Joe Strummer were still alive, he’d delight in the specificity of the product placement. (More…)

The Christal Methodists began working together during the late 1980s. Formed at Portland, Oregon’s Reed College, the group went through several lineup changes (and one band name) before it released its first cassette under the Methodist moniker on its own Goy Division label, in September 1994. (More…)

It was my friend Jerlyn who got me into hardcore punk. We went to high school together. At the time, I was a wayward ex-raver looking for something — anything —with a drop of integrity. I was around sixteen when I went to my first hardcore show.
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Fifty years into his career, Bob Dylan is still making waves. Sometimes, just by showing up. Such is the case with his upcoming concert in Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv, on June 20th. Cultural boycott, anyone? As always, Dylan is doing what he wants to, regardless of public opinion. (More…)

For ten years, San Francisco’s Asphodel label was America’s premiere experimental music imprint. Trafficking in everything from turntablist 12″s by the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, Mixmaster Mike’s legendary Anti-Theft Device LP, DJ Spooky’s best full-length, Songs of a Dead Dreamer, musique concrète by Iannis Xenakis (Persepolis,) minimal techno dub from Berlin masters Rhythm and Sound, and symphonies made out of midi-controlled dot matrix printers, Asphodel was it. (More…)

The day before the official release of the Fleet Foxes’ sophomore album Helplessness Blues, I was intently listening to NPR’s label-sanctioned stream when my twelve-year-old daughter broke in: “I really like this.” (More…)

Most mornings I wake up in my personal panopticon and set myself to making quiet guitar, tape or music box pieces over coffee.  This collection includes some such pieces encompassing the past year or so.
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Heavy Metal is often seen as a quintessentially white, Western, music. That is indeed the case much of the time. Metal emerged out of white, blue collar mutilations of the blues in working class heartlands such as the West Midlands. Metal imagery is often festooned with such ur-symbols of whiteness such as Viking warriors and corpse-painted pagans amid the snowy forests of Scandinavia. (More…)

“Lippy Kids”, the strongest track on Elbow’s latest album Build a Rocket Boys!, takes a while to build up momentum and even longer to ease to a close. Over the sparest possible piano figure, a single note played over and over, simultaneously insistent and muted, a series of tasteful accents is gradually added and then subtracted. Only the carefully spaced intrusion of Guy Garvey’s evocative voice imparts the weight of a full-fledged song. Even then, the music sounds like it’s about to evaporate, making the six-minute running time something of a miracle. (More…)

San Francisco-based Thomas Dimuzio is one of those unsung artistic figures whose influence and abilities have substantially outstripped his visibility. Composer, multi-instrumentalist, sound designer, experimental electronic musician, collaborator and mastering engineer – Dimuzio has been busy doing his thing(s) since the late 1980s, but is still only known to a small circle of electronic music enthusiasts. (More…)

Hospital waiting rooms are a horrid place. You’re either about to be diagnosed with something awful, or in love with someone who is. My San Francisco hospital, in its boundless touchy-feeliness, commissioned a harp player to set up next to us and play harp arrangements of Debussy and other typically floral-sounding songs. (More…)