Sound
From Crisis to Sol Invictus

From Crisis to Sol Invictus

Tony Wakeford has been making music since 1977, starting with political punks Crisis. Wakeford and ex-Crisis members started the seminal postpunk/neofolk Death in June. Afterwards came his current project, Sol Invictus. Wakeford’s career has not been without controversy. He recently discussed his legacy with Souciant. More»

Making Grind a Threat Again

Making Grind a Threat Again

+HIRS+ is a Philadelphia duo dedicated to harsh noise and queer politics. Their motto, as emblazoned on their t-shirts, is “looks like hell, sounds like shit, no gods, no cops.” The band’s singer, Jenna Pup, sat down with me to discuss sampling, what it’s like being a queer band in the grind scene, and the role of music in delivering political messages. More»

Of the Wand & the Moon

Of the Wand & the Moon

Of the Wand & the Moon are one of the big guns of contemporary neofolk. Arriving a generation after founders like Death in June, Sol Invictus, and Current 93, Of the Wand & the Moon have breathed new life into this beautiful and perennially misunderstood genre. OTWATM’s 2011 The Lone Descent LP is widely regarded as a neofolk masterpiece. More»

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»