Sound
It's All About Locale

It’s All About Locale

You didn’t want to listen to it. That is, the song you hear repeatedly in your head, untethered from your iPod, and your CD collection. Overheard in an elevator, or while shopping, such sounds have a colonizing effect. We hear it during our most private moments. We think about it when we try to script our own musical sensibilities. Everything about our sonic imaginary is defined in relation to it. More»

The Party is Still Over

The Party is Still Over

Political activism, and especially political music, has always suffered from the problems of nuance and restraint. In order to get your point across to the masses, you can’t just stand on the street corner with a megaphone and scream at everyone. If you’re lucky, all that will happen is that you’ll be ignored. If you’re unlucky, you might find yourself in jail or a mental asylum. More»

Music for a Dying West

Music for a Dying West

In “The Operable Man,” German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk stated, “It is neither our failure nor our accomplishment that we live in a time in which the apocalypse of man is an everyday occurrence.” The music of Killing Joke is the sonic corollary to this existential predicament. Let me show you how. More»

Sound System Revival

Sound System Revival

October saw the American dub-reggae-based sound-system scene get its profile raised with the launch party for Dub-Stuy Records, the Brooklyn label launched by Quoc “Q-Mastah” Pham’s Sound Liberation Front crew. But as Vice tech-site Motherboard notes, the party was really centered around the debut of the deluxe 15,000-watt sound system that SLF has spent the past year building and tweaking. More»

Hungry in Turin

Hungry in Turin

The Apple Store had finally opened. Located in a nineteenth century building on Via Roma, across from H&M and Bennetton, the American chain had set up shop in appropriately branded surroundings. Seeing that the store was packed with Sunday shoppers sporting bags emblazoned with the logos of its neighboring retailers, I decided I’d take a rain cheque. The frenzy was overwhelming. More»

The Right People's Choice

The Right People’s Choice

NoMeansNo were an acquired taste. Starting out in the early 1980s, they wrote jazzy, complicated songs at a time when the shorter, louder, faster aesthetic was ascendant. The scene from which they emerged in Victoria B.C. was certainly less well-known than others in the Pacific Northwest. More»

The Many Deaths of Punk

The Many Deaths of Punk

Hard-coded into punk’s DNA is a contradiction worthy of Hegel: A desire to impact the mainstream combined with a disavowal of anything that achieves success. It’s a perfect formula for self-destruction. This core tension has prevented punk from achieving its highest ideals, and has caused the movement to die out several times over. More»

Produce in Berlin

Produce in Berlin

Germany’s capital is not synonymous with fresh produce. If Berlin has any edible signifiers, it’s prepared foods, like doner kebab, and currywurst.  Try and link the city to fruit and vegetables, and residents will shake their heads and mutter something about Spain or Italy. Or, in the case of street markets in less fortunate neighborhoods, China. More»

History, Not Nostalgia

History, Not Nostalgia

“Groundhog Day” is a real pile driver. The first track off of the new Corin Tucker Band LP, Kill My Blues, it’s the perfect context setter coming from the ex-frontwoman of a legendary riot grrrl band, nearing forty. Tucker paints herself as a “Rip Van Winkle in a denim mini skirt” who “took some time to be a mom” and is now distressed that the place of women hasn’t advanced: “We fight the same battle, over and over again.” More»

What is G-Beat?

What is G-Beat?

“G-Beat” is a genre tag I first started seeing last year, used by the late Kenneth Duffy (AKA Kenn Kroosaficks) to describe Deathcharge’s 2011 LP, Love Was Born to an Early Death. The hotly anticipated full-length represented a transition from D-beat hardcore to hard-charged gothic rock, emblematic of a larger sea change in punk. What exactly is G-beat, though? More»

Brixton as Genre

Brixton as Genre

“Drum and bass, dub, roots and culture.” To anyone used to shopping in Brixton Market, the loop is as familiar as a Jamaican patty. Recited for hours on end by a street rep equivalent for London’s University of Dub, the promoter has a lock on the genres the locals prefer, not to mention a rotating cast of first class artists to pitch. More»

Merchandising Bob Marley

Merchandising Bob Marley

“These headphones stand for peace, love and togetherness,” reads the product description for the Redemption Song on-ear headphones on the website for House of Marley, the official merchandise company for the Bob Marley brand. More»